By David Kay
1. Los Angeles Lakers
Ron Artest knows he will a complementary player, right? I mean he has to, or else he wouldn’t have signed with the Lakers, right? If Lamar Odom is brought back, this team could win 70 games. Seriously.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The only thing preventing the Spurs from finishing behind the Lakers is their health. Love the Richard Jefferson trade, by the way.
3. Denver Nuggets
Was last year’s playoff run a flash in the pan? I say no, especially with Chauncey Billups running the show.
4. Dallas Mavericks
If Jason Kidd still has some gas in his tank and Shawn Marion can show a re-birth of sorts, Dallas will be a step or two behind the Lakers and Spurs.
5. Utah Jazz
Even with the likely Boozer trade, the Jazz should be a solid playoff team.
For the rest of the West, click here
1. Boston Celtics
If their 30-somethings can stay healthy for the majority of the season, the Celtics should be the team to beat in the East. The additions of Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels should help keep their older guys fresh. If Rajon Rando continues to improve as a point guard, watch out.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Over/under on the number of times LeBron James is asked if he is staying in Cleveland this season: 918,274.
3. Orlando Magic
They ultimately swapped Hedo Turkoglu for Vince Carter, which is a bit of a question mark. If Carter can play up to his potential, the Magic will be back in the Eastern Conference title hunt.
4. Atlanta Hawks
Bringing back Mike Bibby, trading for Jamal Crawford, and drafting Jeff Teague gives Atlanta one of the deepest backcourts in the league. The depth up front is a different story though.
5. Chicago Bulls
Losing Ben Gordon isn’t the end of the world as Derrick Rose should only get better based off his play in the postseason.
For the rest of the East click here
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