Truthfully, these 6 teams may be competing to reach the NBA Play-In Tournament up until the last week of the season.
First year Head Coach, Darko Rajaković looks to lead the Raptors back to the playoffs after losing in the play-in tournament last season. He will have to do so without Fred VanVleet who signed with the Houston Rockets in free agency. There is certainly talent on this roster led by Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, and Scottie Barnes. Notable off-season moves include the signing of point guard, Dennis Schroder and drafting sharpshooter Gradey Dick out of Kansas.
Brooklyn will be looking to compete for a playoff spot. Several familiar faces remain on the Nets squad despite losing Joe Harris, Seth Curry, and Patty Mills. The Nets brought in Lonnie Walker IV and Dennis Smith Jr. to help bolster their depth behind Ben Simmons, Spencer Dinwiddie and Mikal Bridges. Look for Bridges to be a legitimate scoring threat again after averaging 26 points per game in his 27 games with the Nets last season.
Once again, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic lead the way for Chicago. The Bulls team added some depth at the guard position with the signing of Maywood, Illinois native, Jevon Carter. Carter has been a journeymen to this point in his career since coming into the league in 2018. He has spent time with the Grizzlies, Suns, Nets, and Bucks. Carter now looks to make an impact with his hometown team, the Chicago Bulls.
Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks had a quiet off-season that featured the re-singing of backcourt mate, Dejounte Murray. The backcourt duo of Young and Murray look to lead the Hawks back to the playoffs in the 2023-2024 season after losing in the first round a year ago.
Pacers fans should be pleased with the off-season their team had. Extending Haliburton to a max deal over the summer was a big move for this franchise. NBA Champion, Bruce Brown signed with the team in free agency after being a key part of the Nuggets championship run a season ago. The team also acquired Obi Toppin from the New York Knicks. Second-year player Bennedict Mathurin looks to build upon a rookie season in which he averaged nearly 17 points per game. Don’t look now, but this Pacers team could be a lot of fun to watch this season.
The oldest player on the Magic roster is the newly acquired Joe Ingles at 36. Aside from Ingles, this team is made up of some young talent that is looking to build upon their experience. This team should finish with a better record than they did a season ago when they finished 34-48. They certainly have the pieces to do so behind Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, and Gary Harris.