I read haremoor's really informative post on his opinion on where the Suns would net out in the lottery. Based on moves made, as well as about to be made, I actually disagree with a couple of items. Rather than post a super-long comment, I thought I would just make a post.
Here are the contenders for teams being in the lottery (non-playoff teams last year, or bubble / playoff teams who have blown it up)
Out of these 18 teams, I believe these 4 will make the playoffs:
Cavs - I expect the Cavs to get over the hump this year. With Anthony Bennett, a continually improving Irving and Thompson, a healthy Varejao, and 1 solid free agent pick-up, I think they can make it to the 8th seed.
Bobcats - The east playoff picture just got a whole lot worse. Boston blew up their team, the Hawks will likely lose Josh Smith and the Bucks should lose either Jennings or Ellis. Al Jefferson and a healthy Bobcats squad can likely make the 8th seed.
And the lottery positioning will net out to:
13. Lakers - The Lakers will not resign Dwight Howard, coupled with Nash aging and Kobe's injury to start the season, will not make the playoffs
12. Trailblazers - The Blazers should improve with the development of their young guns but it will not be enough in the deep, deep West
11. Pelicans - The Pelicans will need time to gel together to make Holiday, Evans and Davis a playoff team. 2014 will not be that year.
10. Raptors - Lowry and Rudy Gay can carry this team to the 10th worse record in the NBA (which says a lot about them)
9. Bucks - The bucks would still have one of Monta Ellis or Jennings.
8. Jazz - The Jazz will likely resign Paul Millsap, and still have Hayward, Kanter and Favors, great players who can weather the storm
7. Celtics - The Celtics new superstar coach and a hodge-podge of talent (Rondo, Bradley, Green, Wallace) will prevent them from hitting the bottom 5
6. Suns - Here is our beloved team, just barely falling out of the bottom 5. A new culture, and an Eric Bledsoe / Goran Dragic backcourt will prevent us from repeating as the worse team in the West.
5. Pistons - Joe Dumars has just been horrible, and this will continue.
4. Kings - The Kings are still the Kings. After retracting Andre Iguodala's offer, don't expect much to happen to them in free agency
3. Magic - The Magic have Oladipo, who will surprise most people and prove he was worthy of the #2 pick. It will not be nearly enough.
2. Hawks - All that cap space and nothing to do with it? Expect the Hawks to miss out on the Dwight sweepstakes and stand pat for a year to prepare for the summer of 2014.
1. 76ers - What an enviable position for Sixers fans. Two 2014 draft picks and a potential all-star rookie who is injured (which is good), will let them bottom out and be in prime position to win the lottery.
Let me know your thoughts!