The Pistons could make the playoffs for the first time since 2009 if Smith flashes his all-around brilliance and youngsters Jennings, Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond mature. The savvy Billups will give Cheeks the equivalent of a player-coach who can be a taskmaster if needed.

EARLY OFF-SEASON

9. Washington

2012-13 finish: 29-53.

Coming: Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall, Malcolm Lee, Otto Porter, Eric Maynor, Al Harrington, Glen Rice Jr.

Going: Emeka Okafor, A.J. Price, Cartier Martin.

Owner Ted Leonsis said he expects the Wizards to contend for the playoffs, which would be an epic achievement for a team that has gone 72-158 (.313) since he took charge in the summer of 2010. Trading for Gortat will help. But John Wall and Nene must remain healthy for a full season and Bradley Beal must generate some payoff from all that promise.

10. Toronto

2012-13 finish: 34-48.

Coming: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak, Austin Daye, Dwight Buycks.

Going: Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza, Alan Anderson, John Lucas, Mickael Pietrus.

The Raptors look remarkably similar for a team that just swapped general managers. Coach Dwane Casey and all five starters are back from last season, giving new General Manager Masai Ujiri time to evaluate everyone before making changes. If Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry do their jobs, Ujiri may not want to do much of anything.

11. Milwaukee

2012-13 finish: 38-44.

Coming: Coach Larry Drew, O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler, Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour, Gary Neal, Carlos Delfino, Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Miroslav Raduljica.

Going: Coach Jim Boylan, Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon, Samuel Dalembert, Luc Mbah a Moute, Marquis Daniels, Drew Gooden.

The Bucks are sparing everyone the pretense of trying to stay competitive, slipping into full rebuild mode. Actually, it's not clear what they're doing. They made no marquee additions to a team that was swept in the first round of the playoffs.

12. Charlotte

2012-13 finish: 21-61.

Coming: Coach Steve Clifford, Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Anthony Tolliver.