15. LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard proved he could be the best player on a championship team when he led the Raptors to the championship in 2019. It was his second championship, but little has gone right since joining the Clippers. He has played just 161 games over the last four years. The 32-year-old is still elite when on the floor, but can he stay healthy for a playoff run?
Paul George has also struggled to remain on the floor, and the Clippers just feel doomed after four years of frustrations.
Verdict: Their title window is open, but could shut quickly if either oft-injured star goes down.
14. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are surrounded by uncertainty. James Harden has requested a trade and is away from the team. If Philly takes a step back, what does that mean for Joel Embiid’s future?
The title window is open but could slam shut if Embiid asks out. The 76ers need Tyrese Maxey to become a star, and the franchise must remake their roster over the next year, which puts them in the middle of the pack.
Verdict: Cracked, but could close at any moment.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Anthony Edwards becoming a superstar, but the Wolves need to build their roster around him. Does the Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert frontcourt work? If not, Minnesota needs to make a trade. The Timberwolves could quickly leap into contention, but finding the right moves is key.