1. Miami- They are coming off their second straight championship and are once again the clear favorites to win the title, they amnestied Mike Miller, but they added frontcourt depth in Michael Beasley and Greg Oden.
2. Brooklyn- They now have one of the best starting lineups on paper with all-stars Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. This and newly added head coach Jason Kidd; a well respected on-court leader during his time in the N.B.A will surely make them a force not to be trifled with this season.
3. Indiana- They have managed to improve once again in adding prolific scorer Chris Copeland from the New York Knicks, talented back-up point guard C.J. Watson, and they have acquired once promising big-man Luis Scola in return for Gerald Green and rookie Mason Plumlee.
4. Chicago- Although they have managed to once again downgrade their bench, M.V.P. Derrick Rose will be returning and lead his team to the playoffs as a 50+ win team.
5. New York- It isn't really difficult to see that the addition of Andrea Bargnani wasn't the best idea for an already offensively minded/ defensively lacking team. Him, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, and Amar'e Stoudamire don't make for a great team. I predict the Knicks will suffer from poor chemistry this year.
6. Atlanta- They've added Paul Millsap and Elton Brand to fill in the void left behind by Josh Smith. They've also added talented big man Gustavo Ayon and rookie point guard Dennis Schroeder who has been compared to a young Rajon Rondo.
7. Cleveland- With number one pick Anthony Bennett, sixth-man candidate Jarrett Jack, and all-star center Andrew Bynum they are finally becoming relevant again. for the first time since Lebron James left in 2010. They have a very promising young core including Tristan Thompson, Kyrie Irving, and of course Bennett.
8. Detroit- Of course many motor city fans will be waiting in anticipation for this season to begin as this is the first time the Pistons have been in playoff talks in four years. They acquired trigger-happy point guard Brandon Jennings in exchange for Brandon Knight, they also added free agents Josh Smith and fan favorite Chauncey Billups as well as prolific 3-point shooting rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
9. Boston- It is difficult for me to come to grips with the likelihood that the Celtics will not make the playoffs this year. They traded the remaining members of the original big 3 as well as Jason Terry in return for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, and Keith Bogans. This will be a year of growth and hopefully the only year I have to watch my Celtics sit on the edge of glory (credit to Lady GaGa)
10. Toronto- With Rudy Gay playing they had a 17-16 record, this shows the future of things to come for the Raptors. They added Tyler Hansbrough, Austin Daye, and D.J. Augustine as well as trading away Andrea Bargnani for Marcus Camby and Steve Novak.
11. Washington- The reason I haven't placed the Wizards higher on the list is because of my worry about John Wall's ability as a leader. They have a promising veteran core in Emeka Okafor, Nenê, and Trevor Ariza as well as the third pick in the 2013 draft, Otto Porter.
12. Milwaukee- The Bucks have gone through a complete transformation, they've added Gary Neal, O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, acquired Caron Butler, Brandon Knight, and Luke Ridnour in trades, and added Giannis Antetokounmpo in the draft. In doing this they lost Monta Ellis, Samuel Dalembert, Brandon Jennings, J.J. Reddick, and Gustavo Ayon among others.
13. Charlotte- With the addition of free agent C/PF Al Jefferson they will be able to overcome the "worst team in the East hump." He, Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrest will make a "shmeh" lineup. Really, who cares? I guess this one is for you Bobcats fans.
14. Orlando- With the additions of Jason Maxiell, Quentin Richardson, and rookie SG Victor Oladipo, the Magic are still horrible. Even with that in mind, they have talented rebounding big Nikola Vucevic, young guys Tobias Harris, Aaron Aflalo, and veterans Glen Davis, Al Harrington, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Türkoglu. Sorry, the Magic still suck.
15. Philadelphia- Back to a more exiting team, they acquired the once debatably number one pick of the 2013 draft with Nerlens Noel for all-star point guard Jrue Holiday, although he may not be ready until Spring. They also drafted likely top ten rookie Michael Carter-Williams. Add technical rookie Royce White to the mix and you've got a team!
*Note: I only mention significant player additions and subtractions.
**Feel free to leave a comment!