27. Houston Rockets
The Rockets signed Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Jeff Green, and Jock Landale this summer hoping to go from rebuilding to contending. Houston has young talent but lacks the superstar necessary for title contention.
Verdict: Shut, but could crack open if one of their young talents becomes a star.
26. Utah Jazz
The Jazz surprisingly won 37 games last season after trading away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Lauri Markkanen became an All-Star as Utah stockpiled draft capital. The franchise will be back in the lottery this season but has the assets to make a blockbuster trade. That alone puts the Jazz in a better position than several other franchises.
Verdict: Closed, but Jazz could open it quickly if they get aggressive in the trade market.
25. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers started a rebuild this summer, so why are they ahead of five other franchises? Scoot Henderson could be a superstar, and Portland has experience developing a standout guard. Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, and Deandre Ayton round out a young core who could blossom together.
The Blazers also got a massive haul for Damian Lillard, which they could use to add talent at any moment.