Los Angeles Lakers- people made such a big deal about Boston chasing after the 95-96 Bulls record of 72 regular season wins, but I never bought it. With this team though, I can see it. Adding Artest means that not only do they have the ability to flat out stop any one player on the other team, but it also means Kobe doesn't have to play him. The Lakers have a great bench featuring Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Adam Morrison (HAHAHAHA! I couldn't even type that without laughing; what a failure). The one weakness tey didn't address is the need for a quick point guard to matchup up against guys like Chris Paul, or Aaron Brooks, but I think Farmar can step up and be a bigger help there this year.
Denver Nuggets- Ever since Chauncey Billups arrived and started distributing the ball to other people, the team has thrived. J.R. Smith and Nene' both had career highs in points and even though 'Melo had a bit of a down year, the team was one of the elite. The Nuggets have every aspect of a good team from the superstar in Anthony, to the crazy energetic douche bag in Chris Andersen...expect them to be great this year.
San Antonio- Every year I tell myself the are too old, but they seem to be just fine despite having players who were alive when Lincoln freed the slaves. In the offseason, the Spurs got some big talent in Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess to add to the core of now superstar Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Roger Mason. They could be title contender, but the injury bug actually lives somewhere in their locker room.
Portland Trailblazers- Last season, the only thing this team was missing was experience and now they have it. Whether you have heard of Brandon Roy or not, he's a straight baller. The Blazers also have a core of great, young talent in LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw to help him out. I don't count Greg Oden here because 1) he is like 72, and 2) you don't get to be mentioned if you're gonna be in five games.
Dallas Mavericks- People are giddy about Shawn Marion here, but last year, all i saw was an old man that is playing in a game that was too quick for him. As always, they are gonna score a boat load of points, but where will any defense come from?
Phoenix Suns- The Suns are interesting because like Denver, they seem to have the makings of a good team; the problem is the "parts", are five years out of there prime. That doesn't mean they aren't good, but just a little slower. The biggest problem I see with them is that I don't see a team with identity. All of their players have different skill sets and that might cause issues in deciding whether to speed up the pace or set up the offense.
Utah Jazz- After a great year two seasons ago, Utah was terrible despite having most of the same pieces. If Boozer comes back strong, he and Millsap form a great front court to go along with point guard Deron Williams. The problem is that they don't have a true scorer which you really do need in the NBA.
New Orleans Hornets- Chris Paul is a basketball god that gets to play in front of 30 people ever night. The Hornets did nothing but back track in the offseason by getting rid of Rasual Butler and trading for oft injured Emeke Okafor...just set CP3 free so he doesn't hate his life.
Mediocrity Deserves Applause Too
Houston Rockets- Remember how I said the injury bug lives in San Antonio? Well, the injury gorilla live in Houston. T-Mac never plays more than 50 games an Yao is probably out for the year...again. they have a few good pieces to supplement a star, but no star.
Los Angeles Clippers- Had a great offseason, but does it matter? Blake Griffin could average a triple-double and they still wouldn't be mentioned in the newspaper. If LA doesn't care, why should I?
Oklahoma City Thunder- Kevin Durant might be the best scorer in the NBA and he has a few people around him that aren't terrible too. They look like Portland three years ago- scary potential, but not there yet.
Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzles, Golden State Warriors, and Sacramento Kings-
People always talk about how good the West is, but it's because they forget about these guys. Each team has one or two gems that are great, but the team is so bad, that no one cares.