10. Charlotte Hornets (38–42)
The Charlotte Hornets were the surprise team in the Eastern Conference last season. After winning 48 games in their 2015–16 NBA campaign, the Hornets could fall back out of the playoff picture. Losing Jeremy Lin and Courtney Lee will seriously hurt their back-court depth, and Al Jefferson’s departure to the Pacers doesn’t help either. Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum will be running the show this year, but I’m not sure that will be enough to secure a playoff spot.
11. Miami Heat (34–48)
Despite re-signing Hassan Whiteside, it was a rough offseason for the Miami Heat. Key losses include Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, and Dwyane Wade — three of their top scorers from last season. To make matters worse, Chris Bosh’s status for next season is unclear. With that said, Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside are simply not enough to get the Heat back into the playoffs. However, if Bosh is able to return this season at full health, then we have a different story.
12. Milwaukee Bucks (34–48)
The Milwaukee Bucks are a talented young team, with insane length at almost every position. If Jason Kidd sticks to his word, then the Greek Freak will be running the point on offense, which will be a scary match-up for opposing teams. Even with the improved play of Giannis and Jabari Parker though, it will be tough for them to be in playoff contention this season.
13. Orlando Magic (33–45)
The Magic will once again find themselves out of playoff contention this season. There major offseason moves consisted of trading Victor Oladipo for Serge Ibaka, and acquiring Jeff Green and DJ Augustin. While they may be slightly better on paper this season, too much of their talent is in the front-court. Finding enough minutes for Ibaka, Biyombo, Vucevic, Green and Gordon is going to be a difficult task. In an Eastern Conference that is getting better by the season, Orlando likely won’t have enough firepower to make the playoffs.
14. Philadelphia 76ers (25–57)
76ers fans — tired of seeing your team in last place? This is the year Philadelphia starts to head in the right direction. The whole ‘Trust The Process’ scheme is over. With No. 1 pick Ben Simmons running the show, Joel Embiid reportedly back and better than ever, and Croatian superstar Dario Saric deciding to finally come to the NBA, the 76ers should finally have enough pieces to at least be entertaining to watch.
15. Brooklyn Nets (13–69)
The Brooklyn Nets don’t have much going for them at the moment. Last season, they won an uninspired 21 regular season games. With the loss of Thaddeus Young to Indiana, and Jeremy Lin being the most prevalent offseason acquisition, it would be a miracle if they got back to 20 wins. Worst of all, they do not own their first round draft pick once again.