1. San Antonio
2012-13 finish: 58-24.
Coming: Marco Belinelli, Jeff Pendergraph.
Going: Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair.
Before anyone asks the Spurs to appear en masse on the next episode of "Derek," Ricky Gervais' thoughtful look at retirement home living, let's assess a few benefits of being old and reliable: San Antonio has finished first-first-second in the West over the last three seasons. Plus, the Spurs aren't really all that old; Kawhi Leonard, the team's new No. 3 option, is barely out of his Nickelodeon Jr. stage.
2012-13 finish: 56-26.
Chris Paul + Rivers = NBA Finals? It's certainly possible, but a few things have to happen for the league's onetime lottery-pick franchise to reach the elite level. First, Blake Griffin needs to become a late-game offensive option and DeAndre Jordan must morph into a defensive force. If the Clippers can also improve their three-point shooting, well, see you in June.
3. Oklahoma City
2012-13 finish: 60-22.
Going: Kevin Martin, DeAndre Liggins.
Hello, anyone there besides Kevin Durant for the next four to six weeks? A team already dealing with separation anxiety after the departure of Kevin Martin now must gird itself for a month or more without Russell Westbrook and his worrisome right knee. Even the spindly wonder known as Durantula may not be enough to keep the Thunder from taking an early-season tumble in the standings.
4. Golden State
2012-13 finish: 47-35.