The 2011-12 season ended in disappointment for 14 teams, but a few of these franchises will improve greatly in their upcoming campaign and reach the postseason.
A bold offseason move, a young player taking a leap forward or simply getting a star back from injury can catapult a lottery team to a winning season.
A few of the teams who made it to the playoffs last year will need to elevate their play in order to return, as they will face stiff competition from the up-and-comers.
Here are the teams who missed out on playoff action last year, but will still be playing in late April.
The Timberwolves appeared to be on their way to a low playoff seed before Ricky Rubio tore his ACL.
Rubio’s creative passing was an excellent complement to Kevin Love, who has grown into one of the most complete offensive players in the NBA. These two have formed the foundation of a playoff-caliber franchise.
The team added Andrei Kirilenko, Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger in the offseason. Derrick Williams is still developing and if he comes into his own this season, he will give his team depth and versatility off the bench.
Adding veterans gives this team an ideal mixture of youth and experience, and this roster will carry Minnesota to its first playoff berth since the 2003-04 season.
The Nets made a brave move and traded for Joe Johnson in the offseason, in addition to convincing Deron Williams to remain with the franchise.
Johnson and Williams form what is arguably the best backcourt in the NBA, and the rest of the Nets lineup is more than capable of pulling its weight.
Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez complement each extremely well, as Humphries can dominate the boards and Lopez is talented offensive big man. Gerald Wallace an ideal swingman for the team as he can slash, shoot and defend at a high level.
MarShon Brooks has been relegated to the bench, but his scoring abilities make him an ideal sixth man. The Nets have a well-constructed roster that will not only make the playoffs, but earn a high seed.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors opted to move the roster in a different direction last season when they sent Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks and received Andrew Bogut in exchange.
With Bogut in the middle and Ellis in the Midwest, playing time is freed up for Klay Thompson and the Warriors roster fits together much better.
Thompson and Stephen Curry are lethal shooters from long range, while Bogut and David Lee give Golden State an offensive presence down low. The only glaring hole the Warriors had on their roster was at small forward, and they addressed that in the draft by taking Harrison Barnes out of North Carolina.
Barnes excels as a midrange jump shooters, which makes him an ideal complement to the other four starters on Golden State. This team has the necessary offensive firepower to sneak into the playoffs.