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1. San Antonio Spurs (Last season’s record: 62-20): The reigning champs went just 2-5 in the preseason, but don’t appear worried. They open Tuesday with a tough test against Dallas.
4. Los Angeles Clippers (Last season’s record: 57-25) The Clippers will play their first regular-season game in the post-Donald Sterling era on Thursday vs. the Thunder.
5. Chicago Bulls (Last season’s record: 48-34): If Derrick Rose can play like his old self, Chicago will be an NBA power again.
6. Memphis Grizzlies (Last season’s record: 50-32): Keep an eye on center Marc Gasol, who is much leaner this season. The Spaniard lost 23 games to a knee injury last season.
7. Houston Rockets (Last season’s record: 54-28): Dwight Howard returns to Los Angeles to play the Lakers in the season opener Tuesday.
8. Dallas Mavericks (Last season’s record: 49-33): The Mavs are a team to watch with the additions of Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler to Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis, but point guard is a big concern.
9. Portland Trail Blazers (Last season’s record: 54-28): Keep an eye on Damian Lillard, who has a chip on his shoulder after being cut from USA Basketball’s World Cup team.
10. Atlanta Hawks (Last season’s record: 38-44): The Hawks now have a healthy Al Horford playing alongside Paul Millsap in the post. Atlanta will be one of the East’s top teams.
11. Miami Heat (Last season’s record: 54-28): Life without LeBron James begins on Wednesday against Washington. Is this now Chris Bosh’s or Dwyane Wade’s team?
12. Toronto Raptors (Last season’s record: 48-34): Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors aren’t a surprise anymore and will face pressure to improve on their playoff appearance last season.
13. New Orleans Pelicans (Last season’s record: 34-48:): There will be a lot of pressure on the Pelicans this season as Anthony Davis and Co. are expected to make the postseason.
14. Charlotte Hornets (Last season’s record: 43-39): The usually reclusive Michael Jordan has been more visible lately with the return of the ‘Hornets’ nickname.
15. Phoenix Suns (Last season’s record: 48-34): Phoenix had success with a hard-to-guard, three point-guard lineup of Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas in the preseason.
16. Washington Wizards (Last season’s record: 44-38): Newcomer Paul Pierce will add much-needed veteran leadership and swag, but the injury to Bradley Beal (wrist) is a big loss.
17. Denver Nuggets (Last season’s record: 36-46): With a new contract and recent success with USA Basketball, the Nuggets are expecting an All-Star-caliber season from Kenneth Faried.
18. Brooklyn Nets (Last season’s record: 44-38): If the roster remains healthy, new coach Lionel Hollins has a very talented team. But it is an older, injury-plagued Nets squad.
19. New York Knicks (Last season’s record: 37-45): While it will take time for Carmelo Anthony to get used to the triangle offense, veteran point guard Jose Calderon should help him.
20. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last season’s record: 59-23): They would be ranked No. 2 if reigning MVP Kevin Durant (foot) weren’t out. The Russell Westbrook show is now in full effect.
21. Indiana Pacers (Last season’s record: 56-26): The Pacers want Paul George (leg) to play this season. If Indiana can stay in the playoff mix, George’s late return could give it a boost.
22. Detroit Pistons (Last season’s record: 29-53): Can new coach Stan Van Gundy get Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond to reach their potential?
23. Sacramento Kings (Last season’s record: 28-54): The Kings badly need DeMarcus Cousins to be the drama-free, dominant player he was for USA Basketball this summer.
24. Utah Jazz (Last season’s record: 25-57): Like the Pelicans, the Jazz will be one of the fun young teams to watch this season. Keep an eye on the backcourt of Alec Burks and Trey Burke.
25. Los Angeles Lakers (Last season’s record: 27-55): Kobe Bryant showed promise by scoring 26 points in his final preseason game, but the Lakers overall have a poor roster.
26. Boston Celtics (Last season’s record: 25-57): Boston isn’t revealing its hand, but point guard Rajon Rondo (hand) could return for the season opener against Brooklyn on Wednesday.
27. Orlando Magic (Last season’s record: 23-59): With Victor Olapido (face fracture) out a month, the Magic will need to fill the void with newcomers Evan Fournier and veteran Ben Gordon.
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last season’s record: 40-42): The Timberwolves start a new era Wednesday at Memphis without Kevin Love but led by heralded No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins.
29. Milwaukee Bucks (Last season’s record: 15-67): Jabari Parker will make his NBA debut Wednesday against Charlotte and is the favorite to earn Rookie of the Year honors.
30. Philadelphia 76ers (Last season’s record: 19-63): Reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams (shoulder) is expected to make his season debut around mid-November.
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