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Thread: Lottery Teams most likely to make the playoffs (from ESPN)

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    Nba Logo Lottery Teams most likely to make the playoffs (from ESPN)

    More than half the teams in the NBA make the playoffs each season, but that still leaves 14 teams on the outside looking in. After all the shakeups this summer, it's likely at least one of the outsiders from 2009-10 will earn a postseason berth next season, so we've ranked the franchises below in order of 2011 playoff probability. Cheer up, Rockets fans, your future is bright.

    <OFFER>


    1. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 42-40)

    Without franchise pillars [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], it was supposed to be a lost season in Houston. Instead, the Rockets admirably turned it into a winning one, going 42-40 and finishing ninth in the Western Conference.


    If Yao, a seven-time All-Star, returns to form this season (and that's a Yao-sized if), don't be surprised when the Rockets catapult back into the top tier of the NBA. The roster has been tailored around the big center with strong complementary pieces, including one of the league's most efficient shot-creators in [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and disciplined wings in [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. All things considered, the Rockets have the highest ceiling of last season's non-playoff crop.



    2. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 37-45)

    Last time we checked, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] still plays for them. In 2009-10, the Hornets were 23-22 with Paul (healthy or not) and 14-23 without their franchise cornerstone. Not unlike the Rockets, whether or not the Hornets make the playoffs next season depends on the health of their star player. And, front office turnover aside, the Hornets have an exciting young nucleus in the backcourt.


    Rookie 2-guard [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] dropped 20.4 points per game over the last two months of the season and, with [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and his $6.7 million expiring contract in Oklahoma City, it's Thornton's time to shine. New acquisition [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] allows the Hornets to mix-and-match at the 3 spot; they can run-and-gun with Ariza or get perimeter punch in the halfcourt with [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. It's worth noting that the lineup featuring Paul, Thornton, Stojakovic, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] outscored opponents about 13 points per 100 possessions last season, lending credence to the idea that Stojakovic can still contribute.


    3. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 29-53)

    Looking over the past 10 seasons, 40 wins is the cut to punch a ticket to the Eastern Conference playoffs. An 11-win improvement may seem a tall order, but after adding [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], the Knicks are a prime candidate to fill the likely vacant spot left by the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].


    With all the new faces in Madison Square Garden, it's easy to overlook [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]'s potential for a breakout season. According to adjusted plus/minus data from [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], Gallinari was the most vital Knick last season, posting a team-high 4.4, indicating the Knicks were 4.4 points better than their opponents every 100 possessions when the Rooster graced the court. Just 22 years old, the sharpshooter should thrive with Stoudemire and Felton distracting the defense with pick-and-rolls.



    4. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 40-42)

    The Grizzlies are banking that organic player development alone will push them into the playoffs next season. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] was the marquee addition to their roster this summer, but there's enough youth on this squad to expect some internal growth; [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] will all be 24 or younger next season.


    The Grizzlies' young core was remarkably healthy last season, but some growing pains can't be ruled out for 2010-11. If everything shakes right, Memphis could enter into winning territory, but the ceiling isn't much higher than last season's 40-win campaign.



    5. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 32-50)

    The Pacers did a pretty good job masking their punchless offense by playing at breakneck speed last season. The second-fastest offense in the NBA won't slow down in 2010-11 but it will be infinitely more potent with lightning-fast [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] firmly in the pilot's seat.


    The Pacers will struggle to fill the rebounding void left by [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], but they can address that down the road. Indiana probably won't see huge dividends next season, but in one move, its future just got a whole lot brighter.



    6. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 25-57)

    Can the Kings become the first team since the Buffalo Braves to boast back-to-back Rookie of the Year award winners? With [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] around, the chances are quite strong. Cousins has the size and skill to put up big numbers in his rookie campaign, but he'll have to earn his minutes alongside bigs [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].


    The Kings have certainly beefed up their frontline after allowing the fifth-highest field goal percentage at the rim last season, according to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. While they added muscle up front, they still miss Kevin Martin's scoring punch on the perimeter. Can they score enough to make some noise? Cousins may be the key.



    7. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 29-53)

    It's tough to imagine a scenario that has the Clippers making the playoffs for the second time in 14 years. But at least they will have [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] back (as of now).


    More than anything, Griffin's long-awaited arrival means he can eat up shots that would otherwise go to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], who is one of the more overrated scoring big men in the game. Among bigs, only Stoudemire, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] ate up more possessions than Kaman last season (27.1 percent usage rate) and not coincidentally, they each received max contracts this summer. Kaman had the worst offensive rating among big men who played 30 minutes per game last season but shot the rock as frequently as a max guy. Griffin will help make sure that doesn't happen again.



    8. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] 2009-10 record 26-56

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] transforms this franchise's long-term outlook not unlike the way baseball phenom Stephen Strasburg took the Washington Nationals organization by storm -- excitement now, playoffs later. Even with Wall's off-the-charts athleticism and talent, the Wizards are at least a year away from contending for the postseason.


    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and Wall could produce a deadly loft-and-finish tandem reminiscent of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and CP3. But the only other star on the roster, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], is a questionable fit alongside Wall, and the talent down low is still too raw to bang with the rest of the league's premier bigs.



    9. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 27-55)

    The Sixers have over $50 million left on [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]'s contract, and the rest of the team's future isn't much brighter.


    Sure, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] could develop into [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]-lite, but he won't get there with [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] sapping up his opportunities. Turner and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] represent the light at the end of the tunnel, but this team will be happy just to win 30 games next season, much less punch a ticket to the playoffs.



    10. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 12-70)

    Five years is a long time, but new owner Mikhail Prokhorov's championship promise sure doesn't look any better today than it did two months ago.


    It won't go down as the worst signing of the summer, but inking the totally replaceable [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for three years and $10 million is precisely the type of deal 12-win teams cannot afford to make. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], whom the Nets signed as an undrafted free agent, could probably fulfill his role 10 cents on the dime. That said, with [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], Troy Murphy, [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in tow, the Nets can probably double their win total from last season.



    11. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 27-55)

    This is when the $86 million owed to [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] really burns. While most sub-30 win teams had enough cap space to chase some prizes this summer, the Pistons had no choice but to stay pat with their bloated contracts.


    As any Knicks fan can attest, Tracy McGrady is running on fumes at this point in his career, so that signing shouldn't be treated as anything more than a courtesy flier. Lottery pick [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] should help bolster the paint, but it's shaping up like another dismal season in Detroit.



    12. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 26- 56)

    In letting go Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph and Anthony Morrow, the Warriors unleashed three of the most promising young players on their roster outside of [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]. In efforts to rebuild, they wisely dumped [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]'s long-term contract for a couple of expiring ones in [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].


    A team built around [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and Curry has a promising future but won't make the postseason in 2010-11 -- even if it did sign Harvard and summer league sensation [Only registered and activated users can see links. ].



    13. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 40-42)

    After losing Chris Bosh to Miami, the Raptors effectively shifted their franchise into rebuilding mode. Toronto fans, be warned: This will be painful.


    Don't be surprised if next season's squad approaches Worst Defense of All-Time territory. The Raptors did nothing to address their league-worst 110.2 defensive efficiency when they netted [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] in the offseason. Youngsters [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] will provide some flash to pacify the fans, but this team is years away from vying for a playoff spot.



    14. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] (2009-10 record -- 15-67)

    General manager David Kahn has the NBA completely befuddled. He's rolling the dice with unpolished (and largely untalented) youngsters hoping they miraculously click at the same time. Just when he convinces us he's thinking strictly long-term, he hands 29-year-old [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] a fully guaranteed four-year deal after a fluke career year so he can play in a system that neutralizes his crafty pick-and-roll attack.

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    Superstar elcol's Avatar
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    hooorah, knicks at #3, as a knicks fan this is hard to disagree with.

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    #1 in the east

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    That was one powerful 4-way trade of role-players that will make an
    impact on each team. I will list the team who got the best of that
    4 way deal last.


    I dont expect Courtney Lee to get much playingtime in Houston with 2nd
    season Taylor healthy stepping up his combo-guard role off the bench to
    tandem with Brooks/Martin. Battier/Jefferies playingtime maybe reduce to
    one on one defenders vs the Kobe/Melo types while the team run alot of
    3-guard rotation having Yao/Miller and Scola/Patterson/Hill.

    The Pacers may have found their future PG-Collison.
    The Pacers been in search for a PG within the past decade.
    The pair of PG-Collison/PG-TJ.Ford may become the best rotation of PG
    in the Eastern Conference this season.
    Everyone slept on the powerful rotation of TJ.Ford/Calderon on the
    Toronto Raptors. Both their energy at PG pushed their Raptor teammates
    night after night to become a season playoff team season.
    Well, dont sleep on the Pacers this season with a healthy leadership
    PG-TJ.Ford to guide Collison.

    Trevor Ariza explosive switch at SF/SG is just what CP3 need late in
    the game on offense/defense to turn up the volume in New Orleans.
    Having two skillful passing thieves in the backcourt will benefit the
    team when Okafor make oponents change their shot selection.
    Look for PF-West to go back to his 20-10 stat game (SSOL).
    The question is Peja becoming Peja?

    Damn! Damn! Damn! the Murphy Law just put the Nets in a Win-Win situation,
    the Nets just turned into last season winning Bucks team with two rookies
    challenging for the ROY.
    The Nets gave up poor SG-Courtney Lee to get their missing double-double
    PF-Murphy that will give C-Lopez/SF-Outlaw more room to exploit oponents
    on offense/defense.
    Did Rod Thorn clean out his office? it sure look like he left the papers on the
    desk for the remaining piece to the Nets 2010-11 roster he put together
    before he resign to become the 76ers President.

    This 4 way team trade was based on filling missing pieces to on each team roster.
    If a few other Lottery teams get into a 3 or 4 team trade before
    training camp to get their roster missing pieces ......
    Lebron James wont be having another 60 win season.
    The Miami Big-3 will be struggling to have a 50 win season.

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    The One and Only KING~POETIQ's Avatar
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    I'm definitely glad that the Knicks are finally getting some recognition from ESPN...


    We're top three, so that's all that matters.


    I really believe that our Knicks will be a playoff team this coming season. We have so much talent that "supposedly" fits well with our coaches style of play, so we're "suppose" to play good this year, right??? Haha ... d'antoni better live up to his hype this year..

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    DAvid Kahn really gets killed on the prediction forums and articles....what a joke it is in Minnesota...they should stick with Hockey and resort to basbeall if they can make the playoffs.

    I like the Knicks being third, they have a great shot at making the playoffs especially since the Cavs are prob the worst team in the East, freeing up an empty spot for the playoffs.

    Even this writer admitted that the Warriors gave up three of their 4 most promising young talents in the David lee trade.

    Props to Donnie.

    Let's hope Mike D can have everyone gel by pre season and have no problems with assigning minutes.

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    Just 22 years old, the sharpshooter should thrive with Stoudemire and Felton distracting the defense with pick-and-rolls.
    Re: Felton, apparently he's not pleased with a 2 year contract. But Stat and Gallo, for the reason given above, are going to get this guy the most All Star votes he's ever had.

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