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Surprise Teams

high floor
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Surprise Teams

Indiana Pacers

  • I have to give them credit..... they looked good all season and showed that they were a threat in the playoffs. Now that the conference is as wide open as ever, I wouldn't be surprised to see this team push for the 3rd seed.

San Antonio Spurs

  • A lot of people are dismissive of the Spurs, considering the depth of the West & that "talent for talent" Kawhi is a better player than Demar Derozan. What is consistently being overlooked though is that this team won 47 games virtually without Leonard.... all while dealing with his distractive antics. Demar is a legit top 15-20 player, and adding him to a 47 win team should still make this team plenty competetive for a top 4 seed If Aldridge maintains his 2-way play & DeJounte Murray takes another step forward. Both are solid bets.

Washington Wizards

  • Yes, this team is highly combustible. But here are a few reasons for optimisims if you're a wizards fan. The first, Bradley Beal is just now entering his prime. And I feel that superstardom is within his reach IF Wall can adapt his game slightly and play more off-ball to allow Beal more opportunities to create & score. I know, long shot.... but crazier things have happened. Also, as much as I loathe Dwight Howard & believe his personality / ego was a detriment to his previous two teams, he is a talent upgrade over Gortat. Also, Porter & Oubre will likely improve on both sides of the ball. This team is my ultimate boom or bust squad.... and IMO they have the ingredients to win 48+ games with good health in a watered down East. But they could also win 35, and nobody would be shocked. We'll see!


TarHeelRaven
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As a Wizards fan and a guy

As a Wizards fan and a guy that absolutely despises Dwight Howard, I think Dwight even at this stage of his career is light years ahead of Gortat and Mahinmi in terms of talent. Dwight is not a guy youre going to throw the ball to in the post, but with Wall I think he will get a ton of lobs and he's still a force on the defensive end. The locker room in DC is my main worry. There isn't a true leader in that locker room and I think Scott Brooks is massively overrated as a coach. Someone has to reign Dwight in because my two and a half year old daughter is more mature than him. They have the talent to come out of the east but they also have the chance to massively underachieve and get an 8 seed and make a first round exit.

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Pistons stay healthy they'll

Pistons stay healthy they'll be a 6th-8th seed. I've read articles about Drummond losing 20lbs and the team training together all summer to build chemistry.

high floor
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Yep

I have Detroit replacing Cleveland in the playoffs this season. Blake & Reggie have to stay healthy though..... as I don't think Drummond is good enough offensively to carry this team. Even with his improved FT percentage & rumors of an added 3-ball. If Griffin / R Jackson play 65+ games, then they'll be pretty decent.

Luke Kennard could surprise this season. He was pretty good to end the year and looks like he has the poise to be a 15-17ppg scorer w/ good efficiency. If he takes that leap, they'll win in the mid 40's and be a tough out in the 1st round.

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Milwaukee adding Lopez was a

Milwaukee adding Lopez was a sneaky good move, he's a perfect fit with Giannis as a floor spacer and top of key playmaker. Coach Budenholzer will have them running a real system and now they have a bunch of good shooters

PHX wont sniff the playoffs but they're going to be a really exciting young team to keep an eye on

Memphis Madness
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My surprise team? The

My surprise team?

The Kings.

Surprised they are still in Sacramento.

HobbyOG
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HAHA they just got that new

HAHA they just got that new arena, that's why..

XYRYX
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I think the Grizzlies could

I think the Grizzlies could really surprise some people. I know Evans had a really good year for them and is gone now but it was also pretty clear after Conley and Gasol went down that the team is going to tank so take his numbers with a grain of salt.

Barring any major trades regarding Conley and Gasol, this team could really come strong out of the gates. If they find their new identity early after grit n grind, watch out. While both Gasols and Conleys contracts are horrible, both are still excellent players. Gasol already 33 but Conley is clearly in his prime. I don’t really know about the depth but after years of battles against my Thunder I understood to never count them out. Don’t say they will but they clearly could be as good as the Lakers for example for what it’s worth. Don’t know if they can make the playoffs but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on playoff course from the beginning.

Andrew1984
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I've always been a huge fan

I've always been a huge fan of Kyle Anderson; he will fit in nicely with his unselfishness, vision, IQ, grit, and experience. Dillon Brooks should take another step, and Jaren Jackson Jr.'s shotblocking and offense should give them a boost. If they stay healthy, they'll be relevant.

Dazzling Dunks ...
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I’m going to go in a

I’m going to go in a different direction and say Houston could surprise this season, and not in a good way. Sure, the core of their team in harden, Paul and capela is back, but a huge part of what made them so good last season was their defensive versatility and I believe they’ve lost a lot of that with the subtractions of Ariza and Mbah a moute. I don’t think they are as well built to sustain an injury to one of their key guys as they were a season ago, and CP3 in particular has a ton of miles on him and a troubling injury history. Carmelo could undergo an attitude transformation and revitalize his career in a supporting role, or he could be a complete disaster like he was in okc last year. Don’t get me wrong, if everything goes according to plan, they should still be one of the elite teams in the league. But if things start to go haywire, I see the potential for a pretty significant decline.

Andrew1984
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I like Denver to be a

I like Denver to be a home-court playoff team in the West. They were a top-6 offense last year and I see them improving on that mark with another year of chemistry with the core group together; they are balanced, they pass, they move the ball, they have tons of shooters, they play with pace and spacing; they're just really hard to stop. The question for them is defense, and I think this is the year they get tougher. They didn't make much of an off-season splash other than Michael Porter Jr., whom they won't depend on, so they're flying a little under the radar.

In the East I like the Knicks as a surprise No. 8 seed, providing Porzingis can return by Christmas. I think Fizdale can get Kanter to defend, and I think Kevin Knox will be this year's Jayson Tatum. I said it right after the draft and I still believe that they made a huge mistake taking Frankie over Dennis Smith Jr., but at least Frankie is long and Fizdale should be able to utilize his length to defend the perimeter. I think they'll position themselves nicely to make a run at Kyrie & Jimmy. New Yorkers would be drooling over the prospect of Kyrie-Jimmy-Knox-Zinger-Kanter with Frankie, Hardaway, and Mitchell Robinson off the bench!

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It also wouldn’t completely

It also wouldn’t completely shock me to see the sixers regress somewhat this year, at least temporarily. While I believe they are still well set up for the future, their overall offseason was underwhelming and they lost a couple key pieces in illyasova and belinelli who were instrumental in their run down the stretch last season. They snuck up on a lot of teams last season but won’t have that luxury this time around. More teams will try to copy the blueprint of how Boston played them in the playoffs and expose Simmons weakness as a shooter. Embiid was relatively healthy last season, but there will always be question marks going forward, and integrating fultz into the rotation may prove to be challenging. Plus, when young teams see a certain amount of success early, there can be a tendency for complacency and overconfidence to set in. I’m not necessarily saying any of this will happen, but I at least see reason to be slightly cautious about expectations for next year.

khaled_a_d
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Cleveland I think everyone

Cleveland
I think everyone have them in the lottery, I think they will make it to the play-offs.
This isn't 2010 Cleveland when LBJ left them, I think they are good enough and likely motivated to make it to the pla-offs and considering the renewal of Klove and that they didn't trade anyone from their core.

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