This NBA season has brought a fresh energy to the regular season. The new Play-In Tournament and the rise of new teams to prominence (the Knicks are good now, wut?!) have made this one of the most compelling NBA regular seasons in recent memory.
Now it’s time for the postseason. And with the Play-Ins right around the corner, it’s time for us to take a closer look at the potential newcomers you could see in the playoffs for the first time in a long time. For other organizations (cough, Sacramento), the long wait will drag on at least another year.
So we decided to look at which participants (5 East, 2 West) can end their long playoff droughts this season and get a chance to compete for an NBA title in a wide-open season. Some of these teams will have to make it out of the Play-In round to count as a “playoff appearance” first, but you know how it goes: baby steps.