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With so much player movement in the NBA these days, teams sneak in and drop out of the playoffs on a yearly basis. There are always a few surprises, but also some teams that you expect to make a huge shift up or down due to big roster moves.
Let's explore four teams that will make the jump up into the playoffs this year.
4. Detroit Pistons (-185 to Make Playoffs)
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The Detroit Pistons finished last season in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. After firing head coach and GM Stan Van Gundy and hiring 2017-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, the Pistons could be poised for a big improvement. Blake Griffin on the team for a full season, with a full training camp alongside Andre Drummond, could make them a dangerous pair that could easily carry the Pistons into the bottom end of the wide open Eastern Conference playoff picture.
3. Miami Heat (-480 to Make Playoffs)
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Similar to the Pistons, the Heat finished just short of the playoffs. Although they have yet to make any major roster moves, their young guys are another year older and with that comes improvement. The real potential prize is the possibility of the Heat trading for superstar shooting guard Jimmy Butler. If Pat Riley can make that deal happen, then Miami catapults up to the top end of the East.
2. Denver Nuggets (-480 to Make Playoffs)
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The Nuggets missed the playoffs on the last day of the season in 2017-18 and, although they may not have made a splash in free agency this year, they have a solid core of young guys surrounding a bonafide super star in Nikola Jokic.
The biggest differentiator for Denver this season will be Jamal Murray. Murray is on the cusp of becoming one of the NBA's best young stars. If he continues his trajectory from last season (which was quietly ignored), he will be a stud, along with Jokic, carrying this Nuggets team into the playoffs with ease.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (-370 to Make Playoffs)
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This one is a given. No NBA team made bigger upgrades than the Lakers did this offseason. That's what happens when you add the best player in the world in LeBron James and his hand-picked band of misfits.
The Lakers finished with the second-worst record in the Western Conference last year, but with LeBron in house, they now project to be a top-4 seed.
While this Lakers team, despite adding LeBron isn't a title contender, they most definitely have everything they need to get into the playoffs. Missing the playoffs this season in LA would be arguably the biggest disappointment of LeBron's illustrious career.
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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.