The NBA season is long and grueling and incredibly prone to turnover. Look at how long the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks were borderline dynastic. Now you can put together both of their records and the Warriors will still win more. Every year a hidden NBA team rises from the pack to steal our attention or they plummet to the bottom, covering their face in shame from the flash of the news reporter. Let’s take a look at three teams to watch in the NBA for the 2015 season. Some of these squads will change for the better while others might just become surprisingly bad.
For almost 15 years owner Bruce Levenson has worked to put together a team that can compete while staying reasonable within the salary cap restrictions. It looks like the owner finally nailed what he was looking for. A solid core of Al Horford, Paul Millsap, and Jeff Teague made the Hawks 60 game winners last year. Many sports writers are already claiming that Atlanta will backslide in the Southeast and fall back to mediocrity but we aren’t so sure. With new veteran talent (Tiago Splitter, Tim Hardaway Jr) and promising young development players (Kent Bazemore, Dennis Schroder) Atlanta may just now be getting into their groove. Still, if Atlanta gets out to a slow start this could end up being a long year.
Miami went from a LeBron James championship team to a roster that couldn’t even make the playoffs in the dreadful Eastern Conference. Why do reporters think they’ll be challenging Cleveland and Atlanta for the Eastern Conference title this year? For one thing, Miami will be fully healthy. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will both be recovered and in the starting line up. For another, the additions of Gerald Green and Amare Stoudemire make this one of the deepest Heat squads in the last decade. Promising rookies and a coach that is determined to get back into the hunt in Eric Spoelstra should make Miami one of the darkhorse teams in the conference this coming season. However, we have to see their health hold out for this prediction to have any merit.
Orlando has probably the most talented young roster in the entire NBA. Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo will probably be considered one of the best backcourt duos within the next two or three years thanks to their defensive prowess and offensive abilities. Nikola Vucevic is a legit 20/10 player with upside whiel Tobias Harris and Aaron Gordon are athletic players who can shoot, distribute, and defend. The Magic are raw and coming off of a tough season and they have a lot of teams to jump in the East before becoming contenders but the recipe is all here. With Scott Skiles in the head coach position, bringing his Coach Thibs brand of defensive focus, we could see Orlando jumping from 25 wins all the way to around the 35 mark as they compete in the Southeast.