10th Denver Nuggets

Season-upon-season the Nuggets are quietly improving and closing in as a contender to make the playoffs. Now with the addition of Jamal Murray to go alongside Emmanuel Mudiay, this team has the potential to surprise more than a few people.

If Danilo Gallinari can stay healthy and Jarnell Stokes continues his D-League form into the NBA, then this could be a very good season for a young Nuggets team.

Their lack of depth in the Guard positions is a concern however, as is their experience when the end of the season draws near with a playoff spot within reach.

9th Minnesota Timberwolves

The ridiculous amount of young talent on board for the T-Wolves has not gone unnoticed with basketball experts and fans across the world. This team will be unmissable after yet another excellent pick-up in the draft lottery.

Kris Dunn will be installed alongside the dynamic duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They also have the explosive Zach LaVine, the underrated Ricky Rubio and the Summer League standout in Tyus Jones.

Jordan Hill, Brandon Rush and Cole Aldrich were all good pick-ups to provide depth to their bench. And under the guidance of Tom Thibodeau, this young roster should begin to become a lot more savvy on defence.

8th Portland Trail Blazers

After surprising everyone with a tremendous 2015-16 season, the Trail Blazers enter this campaign with a little more pressure.

The majority of that pressure will be on the shoulders of backcourt duo Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who will look to recreate the fine form they showed last season, driving Portland to another playoff appearance.

Festus Ezeli is a steal from the Warriors, while Evan Turner and Shabazz Napier add plenty more scoring to the bench.

Keeping Allan Crabbe topped off a tremendous offseason for Portland and they can prove once again how great a threat they are.

But they can’t afford McCollum to drop off on his Most Improved Player season last year if they are to replicate their higher playoff finish.

7th Utah Jazz

The Jazz have been on the brink of making the playoffs the last few years, but they look like a dead cert to meet that objective this time around.

Joe Johnson and George Hill were fantastic additions, and with Dante Exum back the Jazz have plenty to be optimistic about.

Gordon Hayward could have his best season yet as he enters free agency next summer, while Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert continue to develop a great partnership in the frontcourt.

The best defensive team in the West and quite possibly the league, the Jazz will be hard to beat on any given night, but sometimes a lack of scoring has cost them in many close games.

6th Houston Rockets

It has been an offseason that needed change for the Rockets, and they got just that. But what exactly that change will bring with it is hard to determine.

Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson can be instrumental scoring pieces if they stay healthy, while the dogged Pat Beverley will also hope to be more fortunate in the staying on the court department.

If Clint Capella can begin to fill in the scoring and rebounding void left by Dwight Howard, and work in tandem better with James Harden, then the Rockets have a shot at home court advantage in round 1.

Harden will need another elite season, but more defence and less selfishness will be needed if the Rockets want to avoid missing out on the playoffs altogether.