1. Golden State Warriors – Well, this should be interesting—the most exciting team to watch in the NBA just got more exciting. With the addition of Kevin Durant, the Warriors have potentially the best three shooters in the league, a walking triple-double in Draymond Green, and a number of solid role players.
We don’t expect the Warriors to have a better regular season record than they did last year, but we do expect them to be a better team. There really is no ceiling for the NBA’s newest villains, and a third consecutive trip to the Finals is definitely in reach.
2. Los Angeles Lakers – Coming off a franchise worst record of 17-65, the Lakers look to get back on track with a new head coach in Luke Walton. Walton is potentially the best move the Lakers have made in years, players included, and looks to bring a winning culture back to Los Angeles.
With a young core of players in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, along with a number of solid vets and role players, the Lakers won’t get back to winning immediately, but the future is definitely bright. The likelihood of them keeping their top-3 protected pick is unlikely, but there’s a lot to be happy about if you’re a Lakers fan.
3. Los Angeles Clippers – With what seems to always end in a second-round exit, the Clippers will once again have one of the most talented rosters in the NBA. With a trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they will try to cure their playoff woes in 2017.
Jamal Crawford is still one of the best sixth men in the league, and the Clippers got front court depth on their bench in Mo Speights and Brandon Bass, while adding Brice Johnson and Diamond Stone through the draft.
4. Phoenix Suns – With a loaded backcourt in Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Brandon Knight, the Suns will have no problems finding offense—the only question that remains if if they can stay healthy, and will they keep all of their weapons?
Marquese Chriss could potentially be the steal of the draft, even coming in at pick number nine. He has shown in Summer League and preseason that he can score, grab rebounds and contribute in other categories. He could be a power forward of the future, along with Dragen Bender who has been less than impressive, but was always known to be a work in progress.
5. Sacramento Kings – Frank Vogel looks to bring a defensive culture to what’s been an underachieving Sacramento team. With DeMarcus Cousins contract expiring after the end of next season, this could be a make or break season for the Kings.
Sacramento added Ty Lawson who is still trying to find his stride since leaving Denver, along with Aaron Afflalo via free agency in the offseason. Afflalo is a defensive specialist and can be another scoring option. Other than adding more bigs to the roster, no major moves were made, and it leaves Cousins wondering exactly what the Kings are thinking. Expect another season of with a late lottery pick for Sacramento.