7. Portland Trail Blazers: If Evan Turner’s preseason (15-for-25 shooting, plus-62 in 77 minutes) is an indication of things to come, the Blazers are going to be great. Winning their last five preseason games is a good sign, because they need to get off to a strong start, having one of the league’s easiest schedules over the first five weeks. Pat Connaughton will take Allen Crabbe’s spot in the rotation and may start on Wednesday with C.J. McCollum serving a one-game suspension.
8. Washington Wizards: Injuries playing a big part for the Wizards over the past two seasons. But the Wizards were just a few seconds away from an undefeated preseason and Jodie Meeks (who has played just 39 games over the last two years) looked like he could give them some production off the bench. With no back-to-backs in their first 15 games, coach Scott Brooks won’t have to go too deep with his rotation early this season.
9. Toronto Raptors: The Raptors are shooting threes, well thats what their new gameplan seems to be in the preseason. Even though it remains to be Kyle Lowry or C.J. Miles will be the only players able to do so successfully. They took more than half (208/407) of their preseason shots from beyond the arc, a rate only topped by the Rockets. They’re relying a lot on the newly-extended Norman Powell to unlock their floor-spacing units with Serge Ibaka at center, though Jonas Valanciunas had himself a pretty good preseason. And of course, it only took a few minutes for rookie OG Anunoby to pass Bruno Caboclo in the depth chart.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves: When the Wolves open their season in San Antonio on Wednesday, it will be 10 days since they last played a game. The other end of the floor holds the bigger questions, but their offensive cohesion will be tested as they play nine of their first 14 games (including all three in Week 1) against teams that ranked in the top 10 defensively last season. Spacing will be an issue (they ranked last in the preseason in the percentage of their shots that were from 3-point range), but it’s somewhat encouraging that more than half (10/17) of Andrew Wiggins’ preseason buckets (up from 47 percent last season) were assisted. The new addition to the Timberwolves will raise some eyebrows this season.
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William Johnson is a writer for Exxederasports.com. You can e-mail him here.