5. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers may not have made a big signing, but the fact stands that they have Blake Griffen, Chris Paul, and Deandre Jordan. If this roster can stay healthy, they should be able to contend.
4. Boston Celtics
Some might view Boston’s placement on this list as questionable, but they filled needs and were very good last year. Isaiah Thomas played at a very high level and will likely continue to do so. The lineup is even better than last year with the signing of big man Al Horford.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan may have retired, but the Spurs signed Pau Gasol to replace him. The Spurs also still have Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge. The Spurs always contend and are top two in the West and will be again this year.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs won the title last year and have kept the roster largely intact. They have Lebron James, which should say enough. There is no way the defending champion isn’t at least number two on this list.
1. Golden State Warriors
As it stands, Golden State is the favorite. After signing Kevin Durant, they have easily the best roster in the NBA on paper.
Some lower tiered teams made moves and could make a run. Here’s the top 5 sleepers:
5. New York Knicks
Evem though Derrick Rose has called the Knicks a “known super team”, literally no one else in the world sees it that way. With that being said, they could be a sleeper. The starting 5 is a vast improvement.
4. Dallas Mavericks
Getting rid of Chandler Parsons and replacing him was a genius move. The Mavs are vastly improved by center and didn’t get snubbed this time as they got a great rim protector in Andrew Bogut. And I see no reason why Dirk Nowitzki can’t continue to produce elite numbers.
3. Chicago Bulls
Despite being basically robbed in the Derrick Rose trade and losing their best defender to the Knicks, the Bulls rank above the Knicks on this list. They signed a great distributor in Rajon Rondo, kept Jimmy Butler, and signed Dwyane Wade. These three are a very solid core. Chicago barely missed the 8 seed this past year. I see them making that jump.
2. New Orleans Pelicans
This is viewed as questionable at number two, I know, but the Pelicans weren’t at full health last year. The year before last, they made the 8th seed. They’ll likely have the services of Anthony Davis this year as well as other injured players, plus they got a spot up shooter in rookie, Buddy Hield.
1. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are likely the biggest sleeper this year after giving the Raptors a run for their money last year. They acquired Point Guard Jeff Teague in a trade, as well as signed Al Jefferson. This can make a big 3 in Teague, Paul George, and Al Jefferson, and one can’t discount the value of having Myles Turner at power forward.