Breaking Down Which 2012 NBA Playoff Teams Will Miss the 2013 NBA Playoffs
The NBA playoffs.
They are the reason those of us in the Eastern time zone trudge into work half asleep.
We absolutely have to stay up entirely too late to see what happens in those late Western Conference games.
As good as it will be to get back to the traditional 82-game regular season, we all yearn for April with excited anticipation as we await the 16 teams that will make up the field for the 2013 playoffs.
There will definitely be some new teams at the party next season as some of the usual teams will be bowing out.
This opens the door for teams who were on the cusp and barely missed out or teams who have made bold offseason moves and believe they're playoff teams now.
Here's a look at the teams they will be replacing.
Denver finished 38-28 last season, good for seventh in the always tough West. They will be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Denver jumped in and helped Dwight Howard become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
They received Andre Iguodala in the deal. That's fine, but it's not enough.
The Nuggets will simultaneously be too old and too young.
Andre Miller is 36 and will still be counted on to log substantial minutes.
Kosta Koufos and JaVale McGee are 23 and 24 respectively and don't scare anyone down low.
McGee was prone to lapses in focus and displays of low IQ basketball before he got paid.
How will he respond now that the ink has dried on his new four-year $44 million deal?
Atlanta is the perfect example of a team that could get to the hump but could never make it over. They have solid regular seasons, get a four or five seed in the East and then fizzle in the playoffs.
They were 40-26 last season and earned the fifth seed. Then they were promptly bounced by the Celtics.
This was how the scenario played out with Joe Johnson, who has since been traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Sometimes addition by subtraction works out well, but this isn't one of those times.
Anthony Morrow is a player. Kyle Korver and rookie John Jenkins will spread the floor with their perimeter shooting.
The question is who will they be spreading the floor for?
Al Horford will try to bounce back healthy from a pectoral injury.
Josh Smith may be traded before the season ends; he may be traded before the offseason ends.
New Hawks GM Danny Ferry has a plan, we just won't be able to see what it is this season.
From world champs in 2011 to 36-30 and tied for seventh in the West and being swept by the Thunder. The Mavs' meteoric fall will continue.
The vulnerability of the frontcourt will be a glaring weakness. Elton Brand comes over from Philadelphia but he's past his prime. Chris Kaman has had injury issues of late.
They got younger in the backcourt with the additions of O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison but Jason Kidd and Jason Terry's experience will be missed.
Overall, It just doesn't appear to be a good mix.
Dirk Nowitzki won't be able to make all of them better and Mark Cuban will be forced to go back to the drawing board.
The Sixers were just good enough to sneak in and occupy the eighth spot last season with a 35-31 record.
The reason many expect them to make marked improvement is the reason I think they will falter.
It all lies squarely on the big shoulders of Andrew Bynum. He has all the tools to be dominant every night.
Being in Philly allows him to be the first option on a team for the first time in his pro career. The one thing missing is the desire to be dominant.
There are too many instances throughout Bynum's career when he finishes games with single-digit rebound totals. I hate to be hard on him but he should have six rebounds before he gets out of bed each morning.
He allowed JaVale McGee to channel his inner Wilt Chamberlain for a couple of games in the first round versus Denver last season.
It's all about want-to, and sometimes he doesn't have it.
Bynum is in a contract year so he will stay motivated a little longer than usual but it isn't like he's been playing for peanuts up to this point.
Doug Collins is a great man and a great coach, but he will have his hands full this season.
The Chicago Bulls battled and fought their way to a 50-16 mark last season. That was good for the top spot and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
It was all for naught as the injury-bug pestered Derrick Rose throughout the majority of the season before finally getting the best of him when he tore his ACL in game one of the first round series with Philadelphia.
For all intents and purposes, the timing of the injury will cost them two seasons as Rose won't be back until well into 2013.
C.J. Watson and John Lucas III were praised for the jobs they did filling in for Rose.
However, Watson is in Brooklyn now, while Lucas has moved on to Toronto.
Chicago drafted Marquis Teague who comes from a basketball family and just won a national championship at Kentucky.
It will be a whole new ball game for him and the Bulls this season though.
Tom Thibodeau will just have to grin and bear it and start anew as a contender in 2013-14.
Lastly, the most obvious. The Orlando Magic finished sixth in the east with a 37-29 record.
If new coach Jacque Vaughn even comes close to sniffing 37 wins with this team he should be the unanimous winner of the Coach of the Year Award.
He takes over what's left of the team in the wake of the Dwight Howard trade.
Arron Afflalo was a guy they coveted in the deal. They got him.
Moe Harkless has been spoken about in positive tones.
We'll all be waiting and watching. The Magic have also been marketing Glen Davis as one of their franchise players.
That tells you all you need to know.