Blogtable: Lottery teams that can make playoffs?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Playoff injuries | Lottery team(s) in 2015-16 playoffs? | Coaching carousel


> Of the 14 teams in next week’s Draft Lottery, who could be playing (instead of watching) at this time next year?

Steve Aschburner, So if the parameters are the lottery team most likely to reach the semifinal round, the answer has to be Oklahoma City. Missing the playoffs with 45 victories is a pretty decent start, and the urgency next season for the Thunder as Kevin Durant heads toward free agency will propel all that team does. Billy Donovan will be trying to make his NBA bones in a hurry, too. Indiana and Charlotte might be able to climb as high, too, because … Eastern Conference.

Fran Blinebury, Thanks for the tap-in putt sitting on the lip of the cup.  I feel pretty secure in saying Billy Donovan won’t have to do a Coach of the Year job to get a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and the Thunder back into the playoffs.  Ditto for the Pacers with Paul George back for the full season over in the East.  For a team farther down in the pecking order, I’ll reach for the Pistons in the second season of Stan Van Gundy.

Scott Howard-Cooper, The Thunder. I would be surprised if anyone says otherwise because OKC obviously isn’t a typical lottery team. A typical injury-riddled team maybe, but not a group that will be watching from the couch in 2016 if the roster stays healthy. No one else is so clear cut. One or two teams from the East probably get into the top eight, but which one or two will depend on offseason moves. The Thunder is the only team that can stand pat and make it.

Shaun Powell, What, is this a trick question? Heck, Oklahoma City might reach The Finals next season even without the luxury of the top overall pick. While the other lottery teams are chasing a franchise player in the draft and still looking at years before they scare anyone, all OKC needs is health. Oh, and Durant will be playing for money, as if he needed more motivation to have a great season. Miami and Indiana also might reach the conference semis next season with a solid off-season and good health.

John Schuhmann, The obvious answer is Oklahoma City. If Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook are healthy next Spring, they should be in the Western Conference semifinals. In the East, the answer has to be Miami. If they re-sign Goran Dragic, the Dragic/Bosh pick-and-pop combo, with Dwyane Wade making plays on the weak side, will be deadly.

Sekou Smith, Oklahoma  City would appear to have the quickest road to recovery of the lottery teams. A new coach, healthy superstars and the right bounce here or there and they could be in a situation where they are enjoying the sort of breakthrough season our friends in the Bay Area experienced this season. Of course, that’s easy to predict now. We have no idea how Kevin Durant will bounce back and whether or not Billy Donovan is the right fit. But for the most part, all of the proper pieces are in place for a prompt return to prominence for the Thunder.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.comIt’s a no-brainer: OKC could be the NBA’s most talented team entering next season (pending Kevin Durant’s health). My longshot would be Miami (pending Dwyane Wade’s health), based on the potential of their starting five and their good fortune of living in the East.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: Oklahoma City is the obvious answer. In fact, if they’re not in the Conference Semis next year, if health isn’t a factor, it will be considered a disappointment. For a team in the East, how about the Miami Heat, who made serious moves at the trade deadline, bringing in Goran Dragic, but then lost Chris Bosh to that freak injury. Assuming Bosh returns healthy, along with Dwyane Wade at full strength and a full season of Dragic and midseason surprise Hassan Whiteside, the Heat have a chance in the East to compete for a playoff berth.


  1. In the East I say Orlando and Detroit replace the Nets and Bucks…

    In the West I say Sacramento and OKC replace the Spurs and Mavs

    • jake s. says:

      Still too early for Orlando. They have one more season to build for. Replace Orlando with Miami Heat.

  2. tapk69 says:

    I smell KD will change teams if they don´t win next year.

    Lakers , Spurs , Mavericks or even the knicks.

  3. Adam says:

    You guys are funny, KD will be heading to LA in Free Agency, there will be no KD in OKC.

  4. I’ll probably be told that I am crazy, but I have to say Sacramento Kings. Once George Karl got coach, they kicked some butt and got high scores… If Demarcus, Gay and Williams can stay healthy, Kings will be relaxing in the playoffs.

  5. Banana says:

    Are you serious? you only expect the heat to maybe get a playoff spot? that is a very low bar for a team with actual talent around bosh. remember, he made the playoffs with his lackluster Raptors teams with a much less refined game. I for one expect a minimium of a second round exit, and more unless they play Lebron in the second round.

  6. JPetrakos says:

    People consider OKC a lottery team? Please they were out by one game and were injured. They come back next season with RW and KD (although he may not be the same) but they have a stronger bench now too. Add a few more pieces and they’ll might be in the finals

  7. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Anybody in the East..

  8. harriethehawk says:

    OKC and New York. I think the Knickerbonkers will at least make 8th seed whatever and whoever they get during the off season. C’mon, you can’t go down any lower, it must get better. The Fakers can’t compete in the western conference.

    • jake s. says:

      You are seriously telling me that the Knicks will finish above the Heat, Celtics, Pacers, Bucks, Pistons, or Hornets? I don’t see any of those teams dropping off next year.

  9. pj says:

    i think warriors get kD

    • jake s. says:

      They have 3 max contracts after Dreymond Green. Cap space will not allow that to happen. Now say, if you traded Klay Thompson and Draymond green for Kevin Durant and Anthony Morrow, you might be a little closer.

  10. Steph says:

    knicks, lakers, sixers been waiting for this…

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    Outside the obvious, I like the Pistons and Jazz a bit.
    The Pistons had a golden run without Josh Smith and came up a bit short but may have made it in the East, if the in form Brandon Jennings wasn’t lost due to injury.
    The Jazz were one of the best teams after the All Star break and even though they’re in the Hot West, they are such a young team and are only going to get better. Hayward has improved every year, then you have guys like Hood, Cotton, Gobert, Ingles. Favors could be a great player and Quin Snyder has had a year under his belt now.

  12. Niklas says:

    Scott Howard-Cooper and Lang Whitaker have very similar opinions 🙂

  13. Yoda says:

    Lang Whitaker and Scott Howard-Cooper have the exact same answers?