1. Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back, and it'd be tough to pick against them to defend their crown.

2. Los Angeles Clippers

Lots of talent, but the Clippers never quite got it together the way others did.

3. Denver Nuggets

Jamal Murray advanced in the NBA hierarchy with a fantastic bubble performance, and Nikola Jokic remains solid as ever.

4. Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic could be a serious contender for the MVP after an eye-popping second season a year ago.

5. Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchell will be tough to stop. If Mike Conley can become more comfortable in Year 2 with him, it could contend for a top-four seed.

6. Portland Trail blazers

Made smart additions in the offseason, adding solid players such as Robert Covington and Enes Kanter to go with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

7. Golden State Warriors

Suffered another gut punch with Klay Thompson out for a second consecutive season, now because of a ruptured Achilles'.

8. Phoenix Suns

Missed the playoffs, but ended last year on an upward trajectory and added Chris Paul to pair with Devin Booker.

9. New Orleans Pelicans

Brandon Ingram was last season's most improved player and Zion Williamson only promises to get better.

10. Houston Rockets

A lot of questions here — namely, how much longer will James Harden be with the team?

11. Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant showed he was a franchise point guard last season as the Grizzlies continue to find ways to build around him.

12. Timberwolves

If the Wolves can stay healthy, there's talent to compete night in and night out. Defense is the biggest question mark.

13. San Antonio Spurs

Didn't add much around DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

14. Sacramento Kings

They have De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, and new GM Monte McNair will have to figure out what pieces next best fit.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder

Its treasure trove of draft picks means the Thunder probably will contend again around 2026.