Last season, new-age messiah Stephen Curry (as declared by Andre Iguodala) lead the Golden State Warriors on a stunning exodus from the lottery wasteland to a playoff salvation. While the Warriors appear to be a lock, if healthy, for the 2013-14 playoffs, several teams aspire to make the same journey from the lottery to the playoffs.
Though it may seem typical, the leap from lottery bound to fringe playoff contender can represent a dramatic change in management philosophy. NBA idealists often suggest that an NBA team should always strive to be in one of two extremes; either very good or very bad.
However, the jump from very bad to very good is not immediate. Players must develop and rosters must be rebuilt before success is achieved. Also, just as very few teams are able to become very good, very few teams become very bad. Thus, there are several teams that will rise from the lottery, be it towards greatness or decency, to the playoffs.
The 2011-12 Warriors never truly bottomed out (though the egregious, self-imposed losing may be considered a form of rock-bottom), but, with shrewd roster management, player development, and luck, they managed to make the playoffs the next season, and now appear on track for future success.
Here are a few teams that could replicate last year’s Warriors