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NBA Depth Chart Projections for Every NBA Team Entering 2013-14

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

NBA Depth Chart Projections for Every NBA Team Entering 2013-14

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    It's closing time for the NBA preseason, so throw your favorite jersey on and get League Pass fired up, because the regular season is here.  

    Rosters and lineups are being finalized, and with that, the most essential piece of information fans have at their disposal, the depth chart, is coming into focus.  

    While the rosters of high-profile title contenders like the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat remain largely unchanged from a season ago, up-and-coming squads like the New Orleans Pelicans and Cleveland Cavaliers shook up their personnel a great deal. 

    One important note before we get started: Players who are injured (i.e. Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, etc.) and will not be playing on opening day are designated with an asterisk on their respective depth charts. 

     

Atlanta Hawks

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    PG: Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroeder, Shelvin Mack, Jared Cunningham

    SG: Kyle Korver, Lou Williams*, John Jenkins 

    SF: DeMarre Carroll, James Johnson, Cartier Martin

    PF: Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, Mike Scott

    C: Al Horford, Gustavo Ayon 

     

    The Atlanta Hawks find themselves smack dab in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff conversation entering 2013-14 despite a relatively quiet offseason. 

    Fuss about the Hawks' modified roster was hard to come by, but the additions of Paul Millsap and his former Utah Jazz teammate DeMarre Carroll (at exceptionally good values) were both under-the-radar moves that should keep Mike Budenholzer's bunch in the thick of the chase for a playoff seed somewhere in the No. 6-8 range. 

    2013-14 will also provide us with a nice opportunity to gauge how much more upside point guard Jeff Teague possesses after posting career-high averages of 14.6 points and 7.2 assists last season. 

Boston Celtics

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    PG: Rajon Rondo*, Avery Bradley, Phil Pressey 

    SG: Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans

    SF: Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace 

    PF: Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger

    C: Kelly Olynyk, Kris Humphries, Vitor Faverani 

     

    Brad Stevens' roster is hard on the eyes, but that doesn't mean that there won't be intriguing players to track as the season gets underway.

    Primarily, we're talking about Jeff Green's evolution as the Boston Celtics' go-to scorer on the perimeter and the development of rookie center Kelly Olynyk, who could wind up being a dark horse to capture Rookie of the Year hardware after being selected No. 13 overall. 

    Avery Bradley will assume the controls at point guard in Rajon Rondo's absence, so we won't truly be able to grasp how good or bad the Celtics are until last season's assist-per-game leader returns. 

Brooklyn Nets

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    PG: Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Tyshawn Taylor 

    SG: Joe Johnson, Jason Terry, Alan Anderson

    SF: Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Tornike Shengelia

    PF: Kevin Garnett, Reggie Evans, Mirza Teletovic 

    C: Brook Lopez, Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee 

     

    There's very little that didn't change for the Brooklyn Nets over the summer, inserting Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett into starting roles that were formerly occupied by Gerald Wallace and a platoon of Reggie Evans and Kris Humphries. 

    There's not one position at which the Nets don't go two deep, and in some cases they're going three deep, like at shooting guard.

    With 10 men equipped to log regular minutes, Jason Kidd will face the challenge of appropriating playing time to his talent-infused roster, one that ranks among the Eastern Conference's best.

     

Charlotte Bobcats

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    PG: Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, Jannero Pargo

    SG: Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon

    SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeff Taylor, James Southerland

    PF: Cody Zeller, Josh McRoberts, Anthony Tolliver, Jeff Adrien 

    C: Al Jefferson, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood*

     

    Four of the Charlotte Bobcats' five starting positions appear to be locked in, with power forward the lone exception.

    Rookie Cody Zeller and veteran Josh McRoberts are engaged in a battle to start at the 4 for Steve Clifford's Bobcats, and the race is closer than you think.

    According to the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell on Twitter, "Steve Clifford said pregame he likes how this is going with Josh McRoberts as the starter at power forward." 

    Zeller will command his fair share of attention considering his stature as a top-five pick and an athletic freak, but McRoberts does provide Clifford's starting five with a more polished jump shooter at power forward, a skill Zeller needs to hone to be a more diverse offensive option moving forward. 

Chicago Bulls

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    PG: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Marquis Teague 

    SG: Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy  

    SF: Luol Deng, Tony Snell, 

    PF: Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Erik Murphy

    C: Joakim Noah, Nazr Mohammed 

     

    One through five, there may not be a more solid starting lineup than the Chicago Bulls'.

    They pack offensive punch with Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng while Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler contribute a bit of nasty on the defensive end, an attitude that runs through the team's roster. 

    The Bulls have assembled a nice collection of depth, and their second unit will be bolstered in the year to come thanks to Mike Dunleavy's presence on the perimeter. Coming off of the best three-point shooting season of his career (42.8 percent), Dunleavy should help a Chicago team that ranked 29th in treys made last season. 

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    PG: Kyrie Irving, Jarret Jack, Matthew Dellavedova

    SG: Dion Waiters, Carrick Felix 

    SF: Earl Clark/C.J. Miles, Alonzo Gee, Sergey Karasev

    PF: Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett

    C: Anderson Varejao, Andrew Bynum, Tyler Zeller, Henry Sims 

     

    Plenty has changed for the Cleveland Cavaliers from a depth perspective, having upgraded their talent level at all five positions. 

    Whether it's sixth man extraordinaire Jarret Jack, No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, "3 and D" specialist Earl Clark or the enigma that is Andrew Bynum, the Cavs have the firepower to compete for the playoff spot that has eluded them since LeBron James bolted for South Beach. 

    However, the team's big guns should not be ignored, as Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson are both in line for monster campaigns in the crucial third year of their development. 

    One position battle to keep an eye on: Small forward. Earl Clark, C.J. Miles and Alonzo Gee are all in the mix to start on the wing, but it appears as though head coach Mike Brown is deciding between Clark and Gee at this point in time, according to Bob Finnan of the News-Herald

    “Prior to tonight, they were close statistically,” Brown said.

    “(Gee) played like a small forward should play. I’m going to keep looking at the different scenarios.

    “It’s great to have healthy completion. I’m excited to have the depth we have.”

    Brown said the two players are even.

    Regardless of who starts, the Cavs are replete with solid defensive options on the wing, something they couldn't say a year ago. 

Dallas Mavericks

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    PG: Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, Shane Larkin, Gal Mekel

    SG: Monta Ellis, Wayne Ellington, Ricky Ledo

    SF: Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Jae Crowder 

    PF: Dirk Nowitzki, DeJuan Blair

    C: Samuel Dalembert, Brandan Wright, Bernard James 

     

    Plenty of change occurred in Dallas as well, with the Mavericks adding key pieces at point guard, shooting guard and center. 

    Monta Ellis will certainly garner the most attention of the Mavs' additions, but it's point man Jose Calderon whom fans should pay close attention to. 

    After spending years in basketball purgatory in Toronto, Calderon has a chance to play alongside a talented starting five that could create some real offensive magic during their first season together. 

    Regarded as one of the more efficient scorers and passers in the game, Calderon and the Mavs have a chance to take some Western Conference contenders by surprise if they can piece things together quickly. 

    Get ready for some fun with high pick-and-rolls between the Spaniard and Dirk Nowitzki. They're coming. 

Denver Nuggets

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    PG: Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Nate Robinson 

    SG: Randy Foye, Quincy Miller, Evan Fournier 

    SF: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari*, Jordan Hamilton 

    PF: Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson, Darrell Arthur, Anthony Randolph

    C: JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov

     

    The Denver Nuggets are facing some interesting questions in regards to how rookie head coach Brian Shaw will utilize the great depth he has at point guard and power forward. 

    Does he opt to go with the savvy veteran, Andre Miller, to back up Ty Lawson, or does he hand the reins over to the explosive yet inconsistent Nate Robinson? 

    At the 4, Kenneth Faried is the clear starter, but the battle for minutes behind him should be a fierce one between rebounding machine J.J. Hickson and the unsung Darrell Arthur. Although Hickson's name and numbers appear more favorable, look for Arthur to state his case with some nice defensive showings (the kinds that earned him minutes in Memphis) and a solid mid-range jumper. 

Detroit Pistons

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    PG: Brandon Jennings, Will Bynum, Peyton Siva

    SG: Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

    SF: Josh Smith, Kyle Singler, Luigi Datome

    PF: Greg Monroe, Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Tony Mitchell

    C: Andre Drummond, Josh Harrellson 

     

    Aside from the obvious at upgrades at point guard (Brandon Jennings) and small forward (Josh Smith), the Detroit Pistons now find themselves with a number of options at shooting guard. 

    Rodney Stuckey appeared like the consensus selection to start a few weeks ago, but a broken thumb may have derailed those plans for the time being. If he can't go, it'll be up to Mo Cheeks to choose players who are on polar opposite ends of the experience spectrum. 

    Chauncey Billups, entering his 17th season, is a safer choice than rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, although both possess the sort of perimeter shooting capabilities that the Pistons are looking for to help space the floor. 

    Caldwell-Pope has more explosiveness which will allow him to create off-the-dribble, but the job should belong to Billups if Stuckey can't go. While the Pistons may have loads of offensive firepower, stability is something that may elude them, and Billups brings plenty of it. 

Golden State Warriors

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    PG: Stephen Curry, Toney Douglas, Nemanja Nedovic

    SG: Klay Thompson, Kent Bazemore

    SF: Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes

    PF: David Lee, Marreese Speights, Draymond Green

    C: Andrew Bogut, Jermaine O'Neal, Festus Ezeli*, Ognjen Kuzmic 

     

    Andre Iguodala was a huge get for the Golden State Warriors for a number of reasons. Not only does he give them an elite defensive presence on the wing, but his presence now allows Mark Jackson to do some lineup shuffling that could ultimately strengthen his bench.

    It remains to be seen if Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes will be bumped into a sixth man role, but each represents an upgrade over what Jarret Jack provided them with last year despite an impressive campaign. 

    Elsewhere, Tony Douglas was a sneaky under-the-radar signing by the Dubs, and one who should help hold down the fort defensively when Jackson's bench mob is tasked with eating up minutes. 

    Keep an eye on Andrew Bogut, as well, as the gritty Australian big searches for good health and good fortune in a contract year. He has not made 60 appearances since the 2010-11 season. 

Houston Rockets

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    PG: Jeremy Lin/Patrick Beverley, Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Canaan  

    SG: James Harden, Francisco Garcia, Ronnie Brewer

    SF: Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi

    PF: Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas

    C: Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Greg Smith, Marcus Camby

     

    Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons. That's your big three in Houston, one that has a chance to achieve greatness if things go according to plan. 

    Where uncertainty reigns is at power forward and point guard.

    Kevin McHale is not short on options, though, with three intriguing bodies to choose from at the 4. Omer Asik is the most polarizing, for his starting job at center has been usurped by Howard, making his candidacy as the team's starting 4 a bit weaker.

    With extremely limited offensive tools, Asik doesn't quite fit the mold offensively for what the Rockets are looking for next to Howard. 

    Instead, Terrence Jones is a more logical fit for Houston's up-tempo scheme, one that can appropriately utilize Jones' best attributes: His speed, strength and athleticism. 

    Donatas Motiejunas is in the conversation as well, but Jones feels like a more appropriate fit at this point in time due to his versatility on both ends of the floor, including his ability to defend several different positions. 

    At the point, McHale recently came out and said that his team has "two starting point guards," per ESPN, which has surprisingly opened the door for 2013 postseason contributor Patrick Beverley to steal Jeremy Lin's job away from him. 

    The race is too close to call at the moment, but we'll give Lin the benefit of the doubt after developing a nice rapport with Parsons and Harden throughout last season. 

Indiana Pacers

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    PG: George Hill, C.J. Watson

    SG: Danny Granger, Lance Stephenson, Orlando Johnson

    SF: Paul George, Chris Copeland 

    PF: David West, Luis Scola, Solomon Hill

    C: Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi 

     

    Are bigger things on the horizon for the Indiana Pacers a season after they fell one game short of reaching the NBA Finals? 

    Now firmly entrenched among the Eastern Conference elite, the Pacers will search to add flash a bit more offensive firepower, particularly on the perimeter, when the season opens. 

    One big cog in the offensive machine is Danny Granger, whom head coach Frank Vogel said will "probably" start this season, per USA Today's Sean Highkin. However, whether he slots in at shooting guard or small forward remains to be seen, as Granger and Paul George are interchangeable at the two wing positions. 

    The last time the two played together, it was the George who played the 2 and Granger who got the nod at the 3. 

    The other key player in the perimeter equation is free-agent signee Chris Copeland, who comes to Indiana after a fruitful rookie season with the New York Knicks, one in which he hit on 42.1 percent of his threes. 

    Indiana needs all of the help it can get from beyond the arc after finishing 22nd overall in three-point field-goal percentage (34.7). 

     

Los Angeles Clippers

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    PG: Chris Paul, Darren Collison, Maalik Wayns

    SG: J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Willie Green

    SF: Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock

    PF: Blake Griffin, Byron Mullens, Antawn Jamison

    C: DeAndre Jordan, Ryan Hollins

     

    The Los Angeles Clippers sorely needed to add perimeter scoring to their starting lineup, and they did so successfully in acquiring J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley in the deal that sent Eric Bledsoe to the Phoenix Suns. 

    For their careers, Redick and Dudley are shooting 39 and 40.5 percent, respectively, from three, and represent major improvements over the likes of Willie Green and Matt Barnes in the starting five. 

    However, the Clippers still lack depth in the frontcourt, which could eventually spell doom for them if DeAndre Jordan doesn't rapidly evolve into a top-tier defensive center. And, let's not kid ourselves, that's likely not going to happen. 

    Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison aren't exactly intimidating post presences, and Ryan Hollins is more effective at starting scraps than he is at grabbing boards and swatting shots, which makes the Clips' depth at the 4 and 5 a major concern moving forward. 

Los Angeles Lakers

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    PG: Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar

    SG: Kobe Bryant*, Jodie Meeks, Xavier Henry

    SF: Nick Young, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams

    PF: Pau Gasol, Elias Harris, Ryan Kelly

    C: Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre 

     

    The Los Angeles Lakers' starting five isn't as bad as it's made out to be despite the additions of Nick Young and Chris Kaman in spots formerly occupied by Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard. 

    Once Kobe Bryant returns, the Lakers will have a respectable five-man unit to roll out, and assuming Steve Nash and Pau Gasol can stay healthy, they'll put up their fair share of points.

    The problems for L.A. start on the bench. Depth is going to be a major issue for Mike D'Antoni this season, evident by their extremely thin second unit. Steve Blake is a fine backup to Nash, but beyond that the Lakers are staring at a lineup comprised of Jodie Meeks, Wes Johnson (possibly Xavier Henry), Elias Harris and Jordan Hill.

    Creating off-the-dribble is going to be a major issue for the Lakers' bench, which means D'Antoni could be forced to lean upon his aging starters even more this year. 

Memphis Grizzlies

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    PG: Mike Conley, Jerryd Bayless, Nick Calathes

    SG: Tony Allen, Mike Miller, Jamaal Franklin

    SF: Tayshaun Prince, Quincy Pondexter, Tony Gaffney 

    PF: Zach Randolph, Ed Davis, Jon Leuer, Willie Reed

    C: Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufos 

    Why mess with success? The Memphis Grizzlies remained relatively quiet this summer, sticking with the starting five that propelled them to the Western Conference Finals last season. 

    The big move of note for Memphis was the signing of Mike Miller, who brings a much-needed reliable three-point stroke to the Griz offense. 

    According to Basketball-Reference, the Grizzlies finished dead-last in three-point attempts and makes last season, which made the acquisition of Miller absolutely necessary. Along with Quincy Pondexter, look for Miller to help space out Dave Joerger's offense. 

    One other name to look out for is 24-year-old Ed Davis, who was criminally underutilized by Lionel Hollins after being acquired in the Rudy Gay trade last winter. 

    With Zach Randolph now 32 with plenty of NBA mileage under his belt, don't be surprised to see Davis rack up his fair share of minutes in a role off the bench as Memphis begins to groom him as their power forward of the future. 

Miami Heat

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    PG: Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole

    SG: Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen

    SF: LeBron James, Shane Battier, Michael Beasley, James Jones

    PF: Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis

    C: Chris Bosh, Chris Andersen, Joel Anthony, Greg Oden 

     

    Seeking a three-peat, it was well-established that the Miami Heat wouldn't tinker much with the championship formula that has been so kind to them. 

    The Big Three are still in tact, with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh headlining Erik Spoelstra's starting five while Mario Chalmers and Udonis Haslem assume the role of sidekicks. 

    Aside from the usual suspects, there will be two intriguing reserves who could shake up the Heat's rotation this season. They are Michael Beasley and Greg Oden, two of the bigger enigmas in the NBA. 

    Beasley has the pure skill to carve out a niche for himself in Spoelstra's rotation, but his ability to buy into Miami's team-first attitude and play selfless ball will be paramount.

    For Oden, it's all about sustaining good health, something that's eluded him since being selected No. 1 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

    However, even if Oden does get healthy, it's hard to imagine him beating out Chris Andersen for minutes behind Chris Bosh in the Heat's frontcourt.  

     

Milwaukee Bucks

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    PG: Brandon Knight, Luke Ridnour, Nate Wolters

    SG: O.J. Mayo, Gary Neal

    SF: Caron Butler, Carlos Delfino, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton 

    PF: Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson, Ekpe Udoh

    C: Larry Sanders, Zaza Pachulia, Miroslav Raduljica 

     

    Among bottom-tier Eastern Conference playoff contenders, the Milwaukee Bucks are arguably the most unknown and unproven commodity. 

    Their roster doesn't boast one true superstar (Larry Sanders isn't quite there, yet), but they do possess some solid depth at all five positions. 

    Milwaukee will debut a brand new starting backcourt under Larry Drew, with Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo in for Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Improved efficiency and smarter shot selection is something Bucks fans can only hope to see now that their gunners reside in Detroit and Dallas, but it remains to be seen if Mayo can replicate the success he had last season with the Dallas Mavericks. 

    And although the focus will largely be on the Bucks' backcourt, young guns in the frontcourt could take center stage if Drew uses them appropriately. John Henson is particularly intriguing given his blend of athleticism and length, but he'll need a minutes boost (13.1 per game last season) to truly have an impact. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    PG: Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea

    SG: Kevin Martin, Alexey Shved

    SF: Corey Brewer, Chase Budinger*, Shabazz Muhammad, Robbie Hummel 

    PF: Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Dante Cunningham, Chris Johnson 

    C: Nikola Pekovic, Ronny Turiaf, Gorgui Dieng 

     

    It all comes down to health for the Minnesota Timberwolves. At full strength, the T'Wolves have extremely solid depth, going two vets deep at every position. 

    The focus, of course, will be on Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, but don't ignore the shooting guard tandem of Kevin Martin and Alexey Shved. Martin was brought on to improve the Timberwolves' putrid perimeter attack, and should do so considering he's a 38.5-percent shooter from three for his career. 

    The eventual return of Chase Budinger (35.8 percent career three-point shooter) will also help the 'Wolves from distance, while Corey Brewer is an upgrade at small forward from a defensive standpoint. His reputation as an acclaimed leak-out artist should be much appreciated by Rick Adelman, as well. 

    In the end, though, it's all about Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love, the two cornerstones of Minnesota's franchise. If those two can avoid major injuries, the T'Wolves should be playoff-bound. 

New Orleans Pelicans

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    PG: Jrue Holiday, Brian Roberts

    SG: Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers, Anthony Morrow

    SF: Al-Farouq Aminu, Tyreke Evans, Darius Miller

    PF: Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Lance Thomas

    C: Greg Stiemsma, Jason Smith, Jeff Withey 

     

    The New Orleans Pelicans have a new name, new jerseys and plenty of new, young talent to help energize a roster that has playoff aspirations. 

    Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans bring an infusion of offense to a team that managed just 94.1 points per game last season, while a healthy Eric Gordon could give the Pelicans a dimension they've longed for in the backcourt. 

    Evans has appeared receptive to the idea of coming off the bench, which is good news for Monty Williams. Strengthening his second unit with the addition of Evans, Williams now has the luxury of being able to slot in the defensive-minded and lengthy Al-Farouq Aminu at small forward. 

    And after a rookie season in which he he averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, shot 51.6 percent from the field and posted a PER of 21.7, Anthony Davis is primed for a monster season, and preseason action has been an early indication of that. 

New York Knicks

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    PG: Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Beno Udrih, Chris Smith 

    SG: Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Toure' Murry 

    SF: Carmelo Anthony, Metta World Peace

    PF: Andrea Bargnani, Amar'e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin

    C: Tyson Chandler, Jeremy Tyler

     

    Lineup variance has become a staple of Mike Woodson's time as head coach of the New York Knicks, so expect more of the same in 2013-14.

    Whether it's Woodson rolling with two point guards and Carmelo Anthony at the 4 or Iman Shumpert and Metta World Peace at the 2 and 3, respectively, there's no shortage of intriguing lineup permutations that the Knicks will be able to implement this season. 

    Where questions linger is at the traditional power forward spot. Both Andrea Bargnani and Amar'e Stoudemire are viewed as damaged goods; one is a seven-footer who can't rebound and has become a liability from three while the other is hurt more often than he's healthy. 

    Stoudemire has undeniably more talent than the Italian big, but what's not helping his cause is that he brings next to nothing from a defensive standpoint. In hopes of using his two defensively inept forwards in different spots, expect Bargnani to get the start and be listed at power forward despite Anthony playing more down on the blocks in a role he was so successful in last season. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    PG: Russell Westbrook*, Reggie Jackson, Derek Fisher 

    SG: Thabo Sefolosha, Jeremy Lamb

    SF: Kevin Durant, Andre Roberson, Ryan Gomes

    PF: Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Perry Jones III

    C: Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams, Hasheem Thabeet 

     

    Scott Brooks' Oklahoma City Thunder are seeking to catapult themselves to the top of the Western Conference title conversation a year after faltering in the second round of the playoffs.

    The reason they faltered was Russell Westbrook's untimely knee injury, one that will prevent him from playing over the first four-to-six weeks of the season. 

    Fortunately, the Thunder have a competent Reggie Jackson waiting in the wings to fill in during Westbrook's absence. 

    Aside from Westbrook's brief absence, there will be few drastic changes made to the OKC rotation this year. Jeremy Lamb will be counted upon to pick up the slack on the perimeter in place of Kevin Martin, but Jackson's emergence as the team's sixth man could feasibly scale back his role just a bit. 

    In the frontcourt, keep an eye on lottery pick Steven Adams, whose impressive preseason bumped him ahead of the offensively incompetent Hasheem Thabeet on the depth chart. 

Orlando Magic

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    PG: Jameer Nelson, E'Twaun Moore, Ronnie Price

    SG: Arron Afflalo, Victor Oladipo, Doron Lamb

    SF: Moe Harkless, Kris Joseph

    PF: Tobias Harris, Glen Davis, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell 

    C: Nikola Vucevic, Kyle O'Quinn

     

    First things first: Victor Oladipo is listed as the backup shooting guard based on his natural position, but he should play plenty of point guard this season in relief of Jameer Nelson.

    The consensus Rookie of the Year favorite is firmly on the league's up-and-coming star watch, and it's thanks to his combination freakish athleticism, defensive intensity and speed. If he can slowly work a steady mid-range jumper into his game, watch out. 

    In the frontcourt, it's worth noting that head coach Jacque Vaughn has yet to name a starter at the 4, as Tobias Harris and Glen Davis continue to battle for the job.

    However, Vaughn's decision will ultimately be dependent upon the health of Davis' foot. Big Baby has yet to appear in preseason action, and with less than a week to go until opening day it's more sensible to project Harris as the starter. 

Philadelphia 76ers

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    PG: Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, Darius Morris

    SG: James Anderson, Jason Richardson*, 

    SF: Evan Turner, Hollis Thompson 

    PF: Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, Daniel Orton, Arnett Moultrie, 

    C: Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown, Gani Lawal, Nerlens Noel*

     

    The ugliest roster award belongs to the Philadelphia 76ers, and it's not even close. The Sixers barely go one deep at every position much less two, and they lack a true perimeter scorer. Heck, they only have one small forward on their entire depth chart. 

    Nerlens Noel was set to provide a brief glimpse of promise to Philly's roster, but it's been reported that the Sixers could sit him for the entirety of the upcoming campaign in order to rehab his torn ACL. 

    Consider that James Anderson and Tony Wroten will be logging regular minutes for Brett Brown's squad, and there's simply no conceivable reason why you would want to watch the Sixers this season. 

     

Phoenix Suns

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    PG: Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall, Ish Smith, Malcolm Lee

    SG: Eric Bledsoe, Shannon Brown, Archie Goodwin

    SF: P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green

    PF: Markieff Morris, Channing Frye, Marcus Morris

    C: Marcin Gortat, Alex Len, Miles Plumlee

     

    Speaking of teams in the midst of a full rebuild, the Phoenix Suns are not without their fair share of glaring personnel issues. 

    Although the Suns' backcourt is significantly improved thanks to the addition of Eric Bledsoe, their depth on the wing is laughable. P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green are hardly a fearsome tandem, and one has to wonder if between the two of them they can combine to produce numbers that would be adequate for a solid starting 3.

    Power forward is another trouble spot, but a healthy Channing Frye (39 percent shooter from three for his career) could help ease the Suns' pains on the perimeter. With some nice showings on the glass and a proven ability to stretch the floor, Frye could realistically challenge Markieff Morris for stater's minutes at the 4. 

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Damian Lillard, Mo Williams, Earl Watson

    SG: Wes Matthews, C.J. McCollum*, Allen Crabbe

    SF: Nicolas Batum, Dorell Wright, Will Barton

    PF: LaMarcus Aldridge, Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver 

    C: Robin Lopez, Meyers Leonard, Joel Freeland 

     

    One of the most underrated starting fives in the NBA resides in Portland, where the Trail Blazers have their eyes set on the franchise's first playoff berth since 2010-11. 

    And on the surface, it certainly appears that they have the talent to be among the Western Conference's top eight contenders. Reigning Rookie of the Year award winner, Damian Lillard, is seeking to build upon an inaugural campaign that saw him average 19 points and 6.5 assists, but to really fine tune his game he'll need to cut down on turnovers (three per game in 2012-13) and start looking for more efficient shots (42.9 percent shooting from the field). 

    With a PER that was just above average (16.4), Lillard should enter 2013-14 seeking to bring that number into the high teens. 

    However, the biggest story for Rip City is their improved depth at all five positions. With the league's least dependable bench a season ago, the Blazers made a concerted effort to acquire reliable second unit contributors and emerged successful. 

    From Mo Williams and C.J. McCollum to Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson, Terry Stotts will now be able to take some of the onus off of big guns like Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge during a crucial campaign. 

Sacramento Kings

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    PG: Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, Ray McCallum

    SG: Ben McLemore, Marcus Thornton 

    SF: John Salmons, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Travis Outlaw

    PF: Jason Thompson, Carl Landry*, Patrick Patterson

    C: DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes 

     

    Before outrage ensues, a word of caution: The Sacramento Kings' starting point guard job is still very much up for grabs, with head coach Mike Malone saying that Isaiah Thomas and Greivis Vasquez are going "toe-to-toe" for the job, according to Sactown Royalty

    It's all a matter of preference for Malone, but Vasquez certainly brings a more deft passing touch and excellent court vision than his counterpart. Thomas, on the other hand, is a far superior scorer, and is coming off of a season in which he averaged a career-high 13.9 points per game. 

    However, when you consider that the Kings didn't have much trouble scoring the ball last season (ranking 10th overall with 100.2 points per game), Vasquez could wind up being the more sensible choice. 

    The other big change to the Kings' starting five is on the wing, where rookie Ben McLemore will be counted upon to stretch the floor and create-off-the-dribble. If he can assume a Bradley Beal-like role for the Kings, Sacramento will be pleased with their investment in the former Kansas standout at No. 7 overall. 

San Antonio Spurs

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    PG: Tony Parker, Corey Joseph, Nando De Colo, Patty Mills

    SG: Danny Green, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli 

    SF: Kawhi Leonard

    PF: Tim Duncan, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayres

    C: Tiago Splitter, Boris Diaw, Aron Baynes

     

    Like the Miami Heat, the San Antonio Spurs were not ones to mess with a formula that has been kind to them.

    Their starting five remained in tact, although they did let a few reserves in DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal walk in pursuit of bigger roles elsewhere. Not to fear, though, for R.C. Buford went out and found a near-perfect replacement for Neal in Marco Belinelli. 

    With the Italian wing in the fold, the Spurs managed to bolster a perimeter attack that recorded the league's fourth-highest three-point field-goal percentage (37.6) last season. 

    One other small note to keep in mind: After spending two seasons with the Indiana Pacers, the man formerly known as Jeff Pendergraph now goes by Jeff Ayres, and will back up Tim Duncan and Matt Bonner at power forward.  

     

Toronto Raptors

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    Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

    PG: Kyle Lowry, D.J. Augustin, Dwight Buycks 

    SG: DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields

    SF: Rudy Gay, Steve Novak, Austin Daye

    PF: Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, Quincy Acy

    C: Jonas Valanciunas, Aaron Gray 

     

    What are we to make of these Toronto Raptors? It's clear that they have talent at all five positions, but their struggles on defense and the glass, in particular, have them on the outside in preseason conversations about potential Eastern Conference playoff qualifiers. 

    Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan are a unique wing tandem given their ridiculous athleticism, but neither shot better than 34 percent from three during their time with the Raps last season. 

    A lack of efficiency continues to haunt the Raptors offensively, while defense is the team's biggest question mark after allowing a lowly 107.5 points per 100 possessions last season, per Basketball-Reference

    On a more positive note, center Jonas Valanciunas is firmly on the league's breakout radar after capturing 2013 Las Vegas Summer League MVP honors while a healthy Kyle Lowry could help steady Dwane Casey's defense just a bit. 

Utah Jazz

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    Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

    PG: Trey Burke*, Jamaal Tinsley, John Lucas III, Scott Machado

    SG: Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Brandon Rush, Ian Clark 

    SF: Richard Jefferson, Marvin Williams

    PF: Derrick Favors, Jeremy Evans 

    C: Enes Kanter, Andris Biedrins, Rudy Gobert

     

    The Utah Jazz may be among the league's worst teams this season, but at least they're rebuilding the right way. 

    Having already extended Derrick Favors, Utah is reportedly going to offer Gordon Hayward a contract extension prior to the Oct. 31 deadline, per ESPN's Marc Stein. With those two in the fold, a budding Enes Kanter on the rise and rookie point guard Trey Burke, the Jazz have shown that building a strong product through the draft is doable and necessary in a small market. 

    Losses will pile up in a hurry for the young and inexperienced Jazz, but the roster they've assembled is one that has already flashed immense promise and holds plenty more beyond 2013-14.  

     

Washington Wizards

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    PG: John Wall, Eric Maynor, Garrett Temple 

    SG: Bradley Beal, Martell Webster, Glen Rice Jr.

    SF: Trevor Ariza, Otto Porter Jr., Chris Singleton

    PFNene, Trevor Booker, Al Harrington, Jan Vesely

    C: Kevin Seraphin, Emeka Okafor* 

     

    It's hard not to get excited about the Washington Wizards when you consider that they have two young studs in John Wall and Bradley Beal primed to take big steps in their development this season.

    Where concern factors into the equation is in the Wizards' frontcourt, where Randy Wittman has been dealt a rotten hand thanks to an untimely neck injury to center Emeka Okafor.

    With Okafor out indefinitely, the Wizards are now extremely thin up front, and will rely on Nene, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker and Al Harrington to hold down the fort in Okafor's absence.

    Elsewhere, small forward is arguably the most intriguing position on Washington's roster, with veteran Trevor Ariza and No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter dueling for starting responsibilities.

    At the moment, it looks like Porter will start the season on the bench, but that doesn't mean he won't wind up stealing Ariza's gig at some point during the year. 

    If anything, it's comforting that the Wizards now go four solid players deep at shooting guard and small forward thanks to Beal, Ariza, Porter and Martell Webster. 

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