10. Toronto Raptors: New general manager Masai Ujiri's thoughts on this season, per the Toronto Star: "We might have to let this thing sit, let it ride and see what you have." Indeed, Toronto didn't do much in Ujiri's first few months on the job, save for signing Hansbrough and a few other free agents to modest deals, trading Bargnani and amnestying Linas Kleiza. Second-year center Jonas Valanciunas remains an impressive prospect, and Kyle Lowry (who is in a contract year), DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay are quality starters. But the Raptors are perilously thin and coach Dwane Casey will need to fix a defense that declined significantly in his second season. Toronto will be challenged to end a five-year playoff drought.
And of course, your weekly Bargnani reference:
5. New York Knicks: By acquiring Andrea Bargnani in a questionable trade that cost them a first-round pick and two second-round picks, the Knicks are going all in on Melo Ball. Bargnani is a floor-spacing shooter who will draw big defenders away from the basket, freeing up more room for Carmelo Anthony to operate. What he doesn't do is help a defense that deteriorated significantly after the first month of last season. New York's best chance to challenge the conference elite is if Amar'e Stoudemire can come back healthy and give the lineup offensive balance. But who wants to put their money on that darkhorse?