The NBA season is a little over three months old, but there’s still plenty of time to make some predictions about which teams will make the playoffs.
Here are five teams who are poised to make the leap this season, as well as some of the teams who could be on the brink.
Houston Rockets Rockets, 29-29 Houston Rockets head coach Ty Lawson is not only one of the league’s best coaches, but he also happens to be the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Rockets are looking to bounce back from a disappointing season in 2017-18, where they went 22-42 and missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
While Houston will need to rebuild its roster, Lawson is known for his work ethic, and he has a knack for turning around a team’s fortunes.
With the Rockets expected to be one of only two teams to make it back to the postseason in 2021-22, the organization has a huge opportunity to make an impact on the NBA’s biggest stage.
Utah Jazz, 31-31 Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder is expected to lead the team out of the gate.
The Jazz have the NBA Finals experience of both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but they also have a lot of talent in their frontcourt, which should help the team find success.
Snyder has the Jazz looking to take a step forward, as he has the experience to succeed in this role, as has Utah in the past.
With some of his recent success, Utah could be a threat to make a deep run in the postseason this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder, 29, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Head coach Billy Donovan has one of his best records in franchise history, as the Thunder have the second-best record in the league and are the only team that has won at least 40 games the past two seasons.
Donovan also has one major advantage over his predecessor, Kevin Durant, as Donovan has coached in the Western Conference for eight years and won three NBA titles.
Donovan has already been one of many coaches to be fired during his tenure with the Thunder, but with a new coach and a new team, Donovan is set to be an instant success in Oklahoma City.
Brooklyn Nets, 26, Brooklyn, New York Head coach Avery Johnson is one of four coaches with at least 20 years of coaching experience, along with Kevin McHale and Chris Mullin.
Johnson has a good track record in this league, as New York has been a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference and earned its first postseason berth in 2016-17.
Johnson will have an even better chance to turn things around this season as the Nets are expected to win 50 games for the second straight season.
Detroit Pistons, 24, Detroit, Michigan Head coach Stan Van Gundy is one year removed from his second championship with the Pistons.
Van Gundie has built one of those dynasties in Detroit, as this Pistons team has made the playoffs four of the past five seasons, winning at least 75 games five times.
Van Ged has one more year on his contract, and the Pistons have been one step ahead of the pack in the East.
Indiana Pacers, 26-21 Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel has a reputation as one of basketball’s best tacticians, and while the Pacers have been a contender this season with a winning record and a winning percentage over .500, they also lost in the first round in 2016.
The Pacers are looking for their first playoff berth since 2012-13, and Vogel will be expected to help Indiana achieve that goal.
Charlotte Hornets, 24-20 Charlotte, North Carolina Head coach Steve Clifford has a long list of accolades, including the Charlotte Bobcats franchise record for wins.
The Hornets have a new look, but the team has shown improvement this season and should be able to get back on track.
Chicago Bulls, 23-21 Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is one-and-done with the Bulls this season after leading them to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2017.
The Bulls have some talent on their roster, including Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson, and Hoibert will be looking to add some young players to the mix as he continues to rebuild the team.
Detroit Bucks, 20-18 Detroit Pistons Head coach Kent Bazemore was fired after the 2017-2018 season.
Bazemorre has been an instant star for the Pistons this season in Detroit.
The Pistons are coming off a disappointing year in which they finished with the worst record in basketball.
With Bazemoring’s coaching, the Pistons will have a chance to make another run at the postseason, as they finished in the top four in the West this season for the third straight season, and were a wild card in the playoffs last season.
Phoenix Suns, 24; Detroit Pistons Detroit Pistons coach Stan van Gundy will have one of a handful of coaches in the NBA with 20 or more years of