Terry Foster of The Detroit News breaks down the teams in the Eastern Conference, in predicted order of division finish.
Projected record: 56-26
Additions: Austin Daye, Richard Jefferson, Maurice Williams
Losses: Brendan Haywood , Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, Kendrick Perkins
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — the big three will bring Cleveland a title. But can they stay healthy? And can Love fit in? Look for a slow start with James (back) not at 100 percent. But Tristan Thompson will add depth to the bench.
Projected record: 47-35
Additions: Bobby Portis
This roster is capable of winning a championship. Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah form a nice mix of scoring, rebounding and hustle. The glue, however, is PG Derrick Rose, who can’t stay healthy. The Bulls remain a dangerous team that fails to reach its potential.
Projected record: 40-42
Additions: Greg Monroe, Greivis Vasquez, Chris Dudley
Losses: Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia, Jared Dudley
This is a team on the rise. PG Michael Carter-Williams gets a training camp under him after being traded, and Greg Monroe gets his wish to play center. They won;t be title contenders, but they force teams to turn the ball over and are learning. The question is, can the Bucks hit 3-pointers?
Projected record: 38-44
Additions: Stanley Johnson, Aron Baynes, Ersan Ilyasova, Marcus Morris
Losses: Greg Monroe
The Pistons are an odd mix, and there’s no telling how the pieces will fit. They can spread the floor, but ball movement is a problem. They must learn team defense because individually they’re not real solid. Reggie Jackson must bring it all together or the Pistons hit the lottery again.
Projected record: 37-45
Additions: Chase Budinger, Rakeem Christmas, Monta Ellis, Jordan Hill, Glenn Robinson III, Myles Turner
Losses: Chris Copeland, Roy Hibbert, Luis Scola
Paul George and Monta Ellis should provide scoring punch. The problem is the Pacers lost their top three rebounders, and teams will muscle up during the playoffs. They also could run into trouble if George is injured again.
Projected record: 52-30
Additions: Bismack Biyombo, DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola
Losses: Tyler Hasbrough, Amir Johnson, Greivis Vasquez
Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas are All-Star-caliber players. Carroll provides 3-point shooting and defense. Opponents shot 45.9 percent, which is too high for a team gunning for a title.
Projected record: 37-45
Additions: Aaron Afflalo, Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez, Kristaps Porzingis
Losses: Cole Aldrich, Andrea Bargnani
The Knicks need Carmelo Anthony to remain healthy, but his selfish play is not conducive to winning. Rookie PG Jerian Grant must step up because veteran Jose Calderon has lost a step. Can Porzingis play or is he a wasted pick by president Phil Jackson?
Projected record: 32-50
Additions: Amir Johnson and David Lee
Losses: Gerald Wallace
The Celtics are deep and solid, yet unspectacular. There are no stars on this team. It is simply filled with good players who play defense and hustle. Isaiah Thomas is talented but is not going to carry teams down the stretch. They should contend for a final playoff spot.
Projected record: 30-52
Additions: Andrea Bargnani, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Losses: Deron Williams, Mason Plumlee, Alan Anderson
It was time to move on from Deron Williams — he simply was not good enough to lead the franchise. Jarrett Jack is talented but sporadic. Aging Joe Johnson and oft-injured Brook Lopez lead the charge and might be good enough to sneak this team into the playoffs.
Projected record: 22-60
Additions: Carl Landry, Jahlil Okafor, Nik Stauskas, Gerald Wallace
Losses: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
With Joel Embiid likely out for the season, the 76ers are already in rebuilding mode. There are no stars, and those with the most potential (Nerlens Noel and rookie Jahlil Okafor) are too young. This team is a bottom feeder.
Projected record: 55-27
Additions: Tiago Splitter, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Losses: DeMarre Carroll
The Hawks won’t match their franchise-best 60 wins from last season. Al Horford is talented, but Tiago Splitter could be the key. The problem is they just won’t be able to beat the Cavaliers in a playoff series, so the NBA Finals are out.
Projected record: 48-34
Additions: Gerald Green, Amare Stoudemire, Justise Winslow
Losses: Michael Beasley, Shabazz Napier
The Heat could be title contenders if LeBron James were here. Now its remaining big-name players — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — are question marks. Wade can’t carry a team for long stretches, and Bosh is recovering from blood clots. This team lacks 3-point shooting and solid rebounding.
Projected record: 42-40
Additions: Kelly Oubre, Jared Dudley and Gary Neal
Losses: Paul Pierce, Kevin Seraphin
PG John Wall is a superstar and could lead the Wizards back to the playoffs. And Marcin Gortat has developed into one of the better centers in the league. The leadership of Paul Pierce will be missed.
Projected record: 30-52
Additions: Nicolas Batum, Frank Kaminsky, Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, Tyler Hansbrough
Losses: Lance Stephenson, Bismack Biyombo, Mo Williams
The Hornets remade their roster, but holes remain, especially after an injury to Michael Kidd-Gilcrest — the Wizards are 62-55 the last two season with him, 14-23 without him. That puts added pressure on Nicolas Batum, who can be a big scorer. Is Frank Kaminsky NBA good or NCAA good?
Projected record: 24-58
Additions: C.J. Watson, Mario Hezonja
Losses: Kyle O’Quinn,
They’re athletic but just too young to compete consistently. Coach Scott Skiles wants a quicker pace, but that won’t happen without defense. Mario Hezonja has attitude, but not enough.