As the NBA inches ever closer to the start of training camp, the propagation of predictions, power rankings and over-unders is bound to hit a fever pitch.
The most hotly anticipated variety of speculation, of course, is the guesswork of who will finish where in the conference standings—which teams will make good on their playoff promise and which will end up bound to the conference basement.
But as with last year’s Phoenix Suns, there are bound to be at least a few teams who use the indignity of low expectations as motivational rocket fuel.
So join us as we pinpoint five teams who have a legitimate shot at proving us pundits wrong.
As such, all of our candidates meet one of two criteria: Either they missed the postseason altogether, or their rosters have endured such flux that this year’s prospects stand to look—on paper anyway—much grimmer.
The Suns couldn’t quite seal the playoff deal a year ago. Might these teams author a different fate?