Listed in predicted order of finish
Coach: Erik Spoelstra
Miami added Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem is healthy and Chris Bosh got bigger — but the team will win a title only when LeBron James can play at a two-time MVP level when it counts.
Coach: Tom Thibodeau
Derrick Rose won MVP, making Tom Thibodeau’s job easier in his first year as a head coach, but the Bulls will need more from a healthy Carlos Boozer and the newly signed Richard Hamilton to build upon that success.
Coach: Doc Rivers
Rajon Rondo will have more pressure on him to keep the Celtics relevant, with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Jermaine O’Neal getting older, and an unfortunate heart ailment befalling Jeff Green.
Coach: Mike D’Antoni
The Knicks should be better with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire together for a full season and Tyson Chandler as a defensive presence; back-court depth remains a concern.
Coach: Frank Vogul
The Pacers put a first-round scare in Chicago last season and addressed their biggest need in the offseason by adding underrated all-star forward David West to one of the youngest and most athletic NBA teams.
Coach: Stan Van Gundy
Dwight Howard trade speculation will cloud the Magic all season, but he remains the league’s best center and makes any team a contender simply by stepping on the court.
Coach: Doug Collins
The 76ers mattered again after Doug Collins established a culture based upon sharing the ball and defensive tenacity. Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner will need to improve since team made no significant roster moves.
Coach: Larry Drew
The Hawks let Jamal Crawford leave in free agency and Kirk Hinrich starts the season on the shelf, so they will need third-year guard Jeff Teague to become a star to avoid a precipitous drop.