Separating NBA Teams with Legit Hope for 2012-13 from Teams with Fools Gold

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Separating NBA Teams with Legit Hope for 2012-13 from Teams with Fools Gold
Elsa/Getty Images

While every team enters the NBA season with an equal chance at making the postseason, it generally only takes a few games to separate the true contenders from those that just don’t have what it takes to raise a banner when all is said and done.

Heading into the 2012-13 campaign, there are a slew of teams that look, on paper, like they could be gearing up for a title run. From retooled teams like Los Angeles and Boston to up-and-coming young squads like Indiana and Philadelphia—and of course the reigning conference champions Oklahoma City and Miami—there are no shortage of quality teams in today’s league.

However, just because a team looks strong in August does not mean it will still be playing in May or June.  With plenty of activity this offseason, it may be difficult to tell at a glance who is a real threat versus who is on the outside looking in, but closer investigation can help clarify who has a true chance at earning a ring.

Although there is always the potential for a dark horse to emerge, here are the contender and pretender designations for eight playoff-bound NBA teams next season.

Note: I didn't leave out the Clippers, I spent hours mulling over that team and couldn't come to any kind of definitive decision.

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