1. Denver Nuggets. After playing very non-passionate basketball against the Lakers in the playoffs, Melo and AI will miss the playoffs. Denver basically gave Marcus Camby away, and haven't done much to fill the void.
If you ask me, they should've gone after Ron Artest. Who knows if Kenyon Martin will stay healthy, and I don't see the Nuggets getting a top eight finish in the West which continues to get tougher.
2. Washington Wizards. Gilbert Arenas hasn't yet learned to shut up and play. Why? Because he's been injured a lot the past two seasons.
The Wizards are a good team, but when either Arenas and/or Caron Butler are always injured, Washington has to rely on Antawn Jamison and role players like Antonio Daniels and DeShawn Stevenson. The Wizards. Washington will disappoint, but they'll probably sneak in at number seven or eight.
3. Atlanta Hawks. The East is getting better, and the Hawks didn't do too much this off-season. Atlanta only won 37 games last year, while Philadelphia won 40 games and added Elton Brand.
I also expect to see the Heat back in the playoffs, which means there isn't really enough spots for the Hawks this year, and losing Josh Childress doesn't help either. However, Al Horford should continue to develop, and re-signing Josh Smith is a huge move for the future. Atlanta should win between 35-38 games.
4. LA Clippers. Okay, so they added Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, and Ricky Davis (bust) but lost their franchise player Elton Brand, as well as Corey Maggette.
The Pacific Division is pretty hard with the Lakers and Suns as virtual locks to make the playoffs, and the Warriors fighting for a spot too. The Clippers could win as many as 40 games, but in the West that won't cut it.
5. New York Knicks. Yet again, the Knicks will be bad. The trade of Channing Frye for Zach Randolph is looking really, really bad. Not to mention Starbury who may or may not decide he wants to be part of the team.
No, it can't (well it shouldn't) be as bad as last season, but the Knicks will struggle. Who knows how Danilo Gallinari will pan out, and if Mike D'Antoni will win games without Nash as his guard. The Knicks will finish last in the Atlantic again.