Philadelphia 76ers (2013-14 record: 19-63)
Somehow, this team is even worse than last year. The bulk of the 76er wins (14 of their 19 total) largely came at the hands of Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Evan Turner, and Michael Carter-Williams, and three of those four have since parted their separate ways. They have a solid core with loads of potential in MCW, Nerlens Noel, KJ McDaniels, Dario Saric, Alexey Shved, a trillion future picks, and Joel Embiid, whose twitter presence may be one of the few things more laugh-inducing than the 76ers will be next season. Oh, also Kobe got paid more money last year ($30,453,805) than Philly's entire roster will get paid this season ($29,494,666).
Predicted record: 10-72
Boston Celtics (2013-14 record: 25-57)
The Celtics are about to commence season two of mediocrity, after missing out on Kevin Love this summer. Marcus Smart is their point guard of the future after the inevitable Rondo departure, and Boston picked up some role players for cheap (Evan Turner, Tyler Zeller, and Marcus Thornton), but there won't be much to look forward to in terms of winning basketball this year in the state of Massachusetts.
Predicted record: 24-58
New York Knicks (2013-14 record: 37-45)
Unbeknownst to or forgotten by many, the Knicks finished last year with a 16-7 record. While they managed to re-sign Melo, two of their other key players to close the season (Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler) are gone. Jose Calderon brings some much-needed stability for New York, Samuel Dalembert can play the role of a homeless man's Tyson Chandler, and Quincy Acy, Travis Outlaw, and Jason Smith could all work as serviceable bench additions. Cleanthony Early is certainly an intriguing pick, and while Thanasis Antetokounmpo may be nothing more than a name right now, he could end up providing some nice energy off the bench in a few years' time. They've sold Carmelo on a team for the future, which won't start to pan out for a season or two. All in all, the Zen Master did an admirable job of making lemonade out of nothing.
Predicted record: 35-47
Brooklyn Nets (2013-14 record: 44-38)
The Nets started off the 2013-14 season miserably. Shaun Livingston's renaissance year and a small ball lineup with Paul Pierce at the four were huge pieces to a resurgence after the New Year. Now, Livingston, Pierce, Andray Blatche, and Marcus Thornton are all gone. Jarrett Jack can't pack the defensive punch Livingston could provide for their small ball lineups. The return of Lopez has to come with a held breath from Nets fans, and Deron Williams seems to be on a downward career spiral with his eternal injuries. Things don't look too bright for Brooklyn heading into October.
Predicted record: 37-45
Toronto Raptors (2013-14 record: 48-34)
Toronto was one of the NBA's feel-good stories last year, and their makeup hasn't changed much. The positives certainly outweigh the negatives this offseason: the only major departure was the ghost of John Salmons, and they brought in James Johnson (defensive monster), Louis Williams (solid sixth man), and some other young talent. The overall roster is one of the youngest in the NBA with loads of potential. They will only get better as the years go by, but with several improved East teams (Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, and Charlotte), I wouldn't expect much more than what we saw last year.
Predicted record: 49-33