15. Utah Jazz: The Jazz re-signed Gordon Hayward while also drafting Dante Exum and Rodney Hood. They also traded for Steve Novak to help bolster their outside shooting. Utah wasn’t a good team last year however the addition of Exum and Hood give the Jazz more options on offense. Look for the Jazz to be better than last season but still nowhere near a playoff contender.
14. Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers drafted Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson while also making a trade with Rockets to land Jeremy Lin. L.A. also was awarded Carlos Boozer after he was waived by Chicago. The Lakers did lose Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar and Chris Kaman but none of them were expected to be with the team more than a year or two. L.A. went after every big name free agent but missed on every attempt. Look for the Lakers to have another sub-par season as they simply do not have enough talent on this team even with a healthy Kobe Bryant.
13. Sacramento Kings: Sacramento traded away its starting point guard Isaiah Thomas and then signed Darren Collison to replace him. The Kings also drafted Nik Stauskas. They were also able to get Rudy Gay to opt-in his deal and stay in Sacramento. The Kings have some solid young players but still don’t have enough to compete for a playoff spot. The decision to let Thomas go may also hurt the Kings.
12. New Orleans Pelicans: The Pelicans landed Russ Smith in a draft day trade as well as trading for Rockets center Omer Asik. New Orleans did lose sharp shooter Anthony Morrow to the Thunder. The Pelicans desperately needed a center to pair with Anthony Davis and finally have one in Asik. He alone should help the Pelicans defensive problems. New Orleans should be improved with Asik and a healthy Ryan Anderson, look for the Pelicans to fight for a playoff spot.
11. Denver Nuggets: Denver traded for Arron Afflalo and drafted Gary Harris. The Nuggets did trade away Evan Fournier in exchange for Afflalo. The Nuggets got a steal giving up so little to get Afflalo and having Harris fall to them in the draft. The Nuggets have a good core and should be more competitive in the Western Conference this year. The Nuggets could fight for a playoff spot if things go well.