10. Toronto Raptors: It’s hard to get a good read on the Raptors, after a less than stellar offseason, but they have some talent in place. We will see how Rudy Gay fares in his first season in Canada and if he can lead the Raps back to the playoffs. Toronto has a nice core with Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry. Depth is the biggest question mark in Toronto.
9. Washington Wizards: Washington is another good young team that could potentially sneak into the playoffs in 2014. With John Wall healthy for a full season and Bradley Beal ready for his sophomore campaign, you have to love the Wizards young backcourt. I also loved the pick of Otto Porter, but the Wizards frontcourt could hurt them this season. Emeka Okafor is already hurt so you have to wonder if the Wizards have the necessary size to contend for a postseason spot.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers: Led by Kyrie Irving, the Cavs have a ton of young talent and could be on the verge of returning to the playoffs this season. However with the likes of Irving, Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, Tristen Thompson, Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum on the same squad, you have to wonder if the Cavs can stay healthy enough to contend.
7. Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks should still be a playoff team after the signings of Paul Millsap and Elton Brand to flank Al Horford. They also have added some talent for the future in Mike Muscala, Lucas Nogueira and Dennis Schroeder. Atlanta will still have cap space to use next offseason, but that doesn’t help them in the short term. The No. 6-8 spots in the Eastern Conference should be up for grabs and the Hawks should still be a better than average team.
6. Detroit Pistons: The additions of Jennings and Josh Smith make the Pistons a very intriguing team. Add those two to youngsters Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe and you have to like the core the Pistons have in place. Add in a veteran presence like Chauncey Billups and young draft picks like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva, and this Pistons team could be back.