1. Indiana Pacers: This could be the year for the Pacers. They took the Miami Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference finals and could have won the series with a couple of breaks. Paul George is emerging as a superstar and the club re-signed David West to team with Roy Hibbert in the frontcourt. The Pacers also added Luis Scola for more bulk and physicality, so there’s no reason Indiana won’t see Miami again.
2. Golden State Warriors: When the Warriors were purchased by the ownership group that included ex-Celtics minority owner Joe Lacob, one knew good things were on the horizon. The group has invested money, put sound basketball people in positions of influence, and drafted well with their lottery picks. With Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson, the Warriors have all the pieces for a title run.
3. Detroit Pistons: The Pistons could be back after several years of insignificance with a retooled roster and a front line that includes Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Signing Josh Smith and trading for Brandon Jennings only adds to the talent pool. Detroit has major playoff hopes this season.