-- Check out our win-loss projections -- based on Real Plus-Minus (RPM) -- for all 30 NBA teams along with detailed player breakdowns for 20 teams.
Proj. wins: 66.8
Last season: 73-9
Player spotlight: Kevin Durant
The Warriors' offense will feature Durant's skills, and he gives them another bailout option late in the clock. Nobody in the league is better at hitting difficult shots than Durant, who can get off a shot any time he wants thanks to his size (he's surely bigger than his listed 6-foot-9) and long arms. That can compel Durant to settle instead of looking for better shots, but he's also a gifted playmaker who will fill Draymond Green's role as a creator off the pick-and-roll at times.
Player spotlight: Kawhi Leonard
It's hard to believe now that Leonard was an offensive afterthought as recently as 2013-14, when he used just 18.3 percent of the Spurs' plays. That jumped to 23 percent in 2014-15, then again to 25.8 percent last season. That's still relatively low for a superstar -- aside from Leonard, the other noncenter All-NBA first-teamers since 2010-11 have averaged 30.5 percent usage, and only point guard Chris Paul has made the team with a lower usage rate in that span.
Player spotlight: Rudy Gobert
There's still plenty of room for improvement for Gobert on offense, where opponents started defending him with power forwards so they could use centers against Favors to neutralize his post-up game. While Gobert shows some promise as a passer (he averaged a credible 1.7 assists per 36 minutes), he's not a scoring threat at all away from the perimeter. Gobert shot 22.9 percent on attempts beyond 3 feet last season, per Basetball-Reference.com, which was actually a slight improvement on his 21.7 percent mark in 2014-15. And while Gobert can make smaller defenders pay on the offensive glass, he doesn't really have any semblance of a post game, making those crossmatches an effective option.
Proj. wins: 46.3
Last season: 53-29
Player spotlight: Blake Griffin
Griffin used a career-high 29.8 percent of the Clippers' plays. Creating more of his own shots means lots of isolations from the midpost to the 3-point line, where Griffin is a threat to shoot (he made a respectable 38.4 percent of 2-point attempts beyond 16 feet) or pass (5.2 assists per 36 minutes). Defenses have started to counter by putting their centers on Blake Griffin to bother him with length, opening him up to drive. Since Griffin is so effective with the ball in his hands, it's tough to understand why Doc Rivers has as yet been unwilling to stagger his minutes with Paul's to keep one on the court at all times.
Player spotlight: James Harden
The problem, of course, is defense. Harden's offensive output wasn't much worse than 2014-15, when he was a narrow runner-up to Stephen Curry for MVP (and won the inaugural players' choice award). But after improving his defensive effort, he fell into bad habits after a preseason injury affected his conditioning. Worse yet, Harden's defensive indifference seemed to infect his teammates, and Houston fell from sixth in defensive rating to 21st. If the Rockets are to improve, Harden will need to set the tone -- particularly after agreeing to a contract renegotiation and extension that locks him up through at least 2018-19. Playing fewer minutes might help. Harden played a league-high 38.1 minutes per game last season and shouldn't have to carry such a heavy load with more scoring on the roster.
Player spotlight: Russell Westbrook
Yeah, Westbrook takes too many jumpers off the dribble -- he attempted 8.2 pull-ups per game last season, the league's 10th-highest average, while posting a 42.3 percent effective field goal percentage (eFG) on those shots, according to SportVU tracking on NBA.com/Stats. Though critics still point to Westbrook taking 4.3 3-pointers a game at a 29.6 percent clip, he at least slashed his rate of long 2-pointers, of which he made 39.2 percent for a worse eFG, per Basketball-Reference.com. As a result, Westbrook both made better than 50 percent of his 2-point attempts and had an above-average true shooting percentage (.554) for the first time in his career. Alas, both will likely fall this season as Westbrook has to take more difficult shots without Durant around. His usage rate in games Durant missed in 2014-15 was greater than 40 percent, which would be the highest on record over a full NBA season.
Player spotlight: Damian Lillard
Lillard's ability to score in the pick-and-roll and isolations is central to Portland's post-Aldridge offense. He pushed his usage rate to 31.3 percent, the league's eighth-highest mark, while maintaining an identical .560 true shooting percentage. After Stephen Curry, to whom he's often compared, Lillard's 121 unassisted 3-pointers ranked second in the league, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Player spotlight: Kenneth Faried
After two down seasons under Brian Shaw, with whom he never seemed to click, Faried's effort level rebounded under new head coach Michael Malone. Still, Faried's role in Denver going forward is uncertain as the Nuggets continue to stockpile younger big men who better complement each other. With three years remaining on a contract that pays him a little less than $13 million a year, Faried is a likely trade candidate.
Player spotlight: Chandler Parsons
Before the meniscus injury, Parsons was playing as well as ever, posting a career-best .589 true shooting percentage. That was mostly thanks to shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range, better than his career 38.0 percent mark. Often a spot-up shooter with the Mavericks and Houston Rockets, Parsons would like to play more with the ball in his hands and was sold by the Grizzlies' pitch that his usage rate (never higher than 20.6 percent before) would go up in Memphis. Playing next to Tony Allen on the wing, Parsons should serve as a secondary ball handler and get to run pick-and-rolls more frequently. His 47.7 percent shooting as a pick-and-roll ball handler ranked among the top 10 for players with at least 100 attempts, per Synergy Sports tracking on NBA.com/Stats.
Player spotlight: DeMarcus Cousins
On the court, the biggest evolution of Cousins' game was the addition of 3-point range. He'd made only 11 triples in 69 attempts in his first six seasons before firing up 210 last season, which he made at a 33.3 percent clip. While the newfound range helped Cousins coexist with Willie Cauley-Stein in big starting lineups, the Kings would surely prefer him in the paint, where he drew enough fouls to average a career-high 10.6 free throw attempts per 36 minutes. Cousins also saw his offensive rebound percentage decline by more than a quarter. With his strength and quickness, Cousins is difficult to stop one-on-one in his favored left block. His 348 points on post-ups ranked fifth in the league, per Synergy Sports tracking on NBA.com/Stats.
Player spotlight: Karl-Anthony Towns
John Calipari accelerated Towns' development during his one season at Kentucky by forcing him inside. Towns retains the soft touch from the perimeter that made him such a promising prep prospect. He shot a below-average 34.1 percent from 3-point range, but his 50.6 percent accuracy on 2-pointers beyond 16 feet ranked second among players with at least 100 attempts, per Basketball-Reference.com. Thanks to Calipari's forcing him inside, Towns is also dangerous in the post using hooks with either hand and a fadeaway jump shot. His 231 points on post-ups ranked in the league's top 20, per Synergy Sports tracking on NBA.com/Stats. And when Towns draws fouls, he's an excellent free throw shooter for a big man (81.1 percent), boosting his strong .590 true shooting percentage.
Player spotlight: Anthony Davis
Davis' defensive effort was more disappointing than his offensive step back. Whether it was health-related or tied to frustration over the team's slow start, Davis' energy level wasn't the same as the year before, when he had started to make good on his immense defensive potential. Davis' block percentage dropped by nearly a quarter and his steal rate was down too. As a result, his defensive rating in ESPN's real plus-minus dropped from second among power forwards in 2014-15 to outside the top 15 last season.
Player spotlight: Harrison Barnes
"I think he can do a lot more than he's been asked to do, and that's what we expect to see," Dallas owner Mark Cuban declared after signing Barnes. The problem with that logic is it's precisely when Barnes has been asked to do more (i.e., create his own shot) that he has struggled. That was Barnes' role off the bench his second season, when just 62.6 percent of his field goals were assisted and he shot a dismal 41.9 percent on 2-point attempts and 34.7 percent on 3s.
Player spotlight: Devin Booker
By the end of the season, Booker was basically playing point guard, which would have been unthinkable based on how little he handled the ball at Kentucky. In part because of the limited talent around him, Booker wasn't yet very good in that role -- his assist-to-turnover ratio was barely better than 1 as a point guard, per NBAwowy.com -- but it was part of Booker's evolution. He posted up a little when opponents put smaller defenders on him, came off screens and ran pick-and-rolls, offering the potential of becoming a well-rounded shooting specialist in the mold of Ray Allen or Klay Thompson.
Player spotlight: D'Angelo Russell
The arrival of Luke Walton as Byron Scott's replacement should be great news for Russell, who will have more freedom to play his pick-and-roll game. While Russell wasn't efficient in the pick-and-roll as a rookie, his ability to shoot pull-up jumpers off the dribble with 3-point range forces defenses to play him honestly, setting him up to turn the corner. He made strides over the course of his rookie season in finishing with his right hand and showed a good in-between game, making 46.0 percent of his attempts between 3 and 10 feet, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Cavaliers player profiles coming soon
Player spotlight: Jaylen Brown
Few draft picks in recent history have been as polarizing as Brown, who rated poorly by most statistical projections based on his lone season at California. The stats-only version of my WARP projections pegged Brown as a below-replacement NBA player based on his inefficient scoring, and outside the top 100 prospects in the draft. Because of his combination of quickness and power, Brown still had plenty of believers in the scouting community, and Boston took him No. 3 overall based on that upside.
Player spotlight: Jonas Valanciunas
With DeRozan and Lowry struggling to score, Valanciunas stepped into a larger offensive role during the first two rounds of the playoffs, averaging 15.0 points on 55.0 percent shooting before suffering a sprained ankle that sidelined him until the Eastern Conference finals. However, it's Valanciunas' defense that figures to take on paramount importance in the first season of his four-year, $64 million extension because Toronto no longer has departed backup Bismack Biyombo as a defensive-minded alternative.
Pistons player profiles coming soon
Wizards player profiles coming soon
Hornets player profiles coming soon
Bucks player profiles coming soon
Pacers player profiles coming soon
Proj. wins:? 38.6
Player spotlight: Dwight Howard
These days, Howard is less Shaquille O'Neal and more Nate Thurmond. His offensive role in Houston kept shrinking until last season his usage rate slipped to a career-low 18.5 percent. The good news was that Howard's efficiency at the rim (70.6 percent in the restricted area, per NBA.com/stats) led to a career-best 62.5 percent mark on 2-pointers. His free throw shooting was again lackluster, dropping under break-even in 2015-16, and even after another summer of working on this chronic issue, it's silly to think it'll get better at this point.
Player spotlight: Justise Winslow
Winslow's defense is well ahead of his offense at this point, and his summer project was to build himself up on that end. As a rookie, he created little offense (12.5 percent usage rate) and was inefficient with the chances he did get (49.0 true shooting percentage). His strength right now should be running the floor, but he ranked in the bottom quarter of the league in transition on a per-play basis, per Synergy Sports Technologies.
Bulls player profiles coming soon
Player spotlight: Serge Ibaka
One of the bigger gambles any team took this offseason came on draft night, when the Magic acquired Ibaka from Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to Domantas Sabonis. Orlando GM Rob Hennigan sent away one of his own high-lottery picks (Oladipo) while he was still under his rookie contract for a player whose game showed wear and tear last season and who is entering a contract year.
Proj. wins:? 34.7
Last season: 32-50
Player spotlight: Kristaps Porzingis
At 7-foot-3, Porzingis proved remarkably adept at defending smaller opponents on the perimeter. His huge wingspan allows Porzingis to play a step off and still contest shots, and his nimble feet allow him to cover ground quickly against the pick-and-roll. Naturally, Porzingis' size also makes him an effective shot-blocker, and he swatted more shots than the average center. Ultimately, Porzingis' future lies in the middle, where he played about a quarter of his minutes last season, according to Nylon Calculus tracking. Porzingis will have to add strength to defend bigger players down low, and New York seems in no hurry to move him there full time.
Player spotlight: Jeremy Lin
The Nets were a great destination for Lin because this is the first time since Linsanity he'll have the ball in his hands full time, without a star shooting guard (James Harden and Kobe Bryant) or established starting point guard (Kemba Walker) with whom to share it. Lin has become a good enough 3-point shooter to play off the ball; he played more minutes with Walker last season (1,179) than as lead point guard (868). But Lin is still at his best running the high pick-and-roll with the floor spaced (OK, the latter is unlikely to happen in Brooklyn). He averaged 18.2 points and 5.4 assists per 36 minutes last season as a point guard, according to NBA.com/Stats, as compared to 14.5 and 3.2 playing with Walker.
Proj. wins:? 24.5
Player spotlight: Jahlil Okafor
Offensively, Okafor did prove more versatile than expected. In part because of the 76ers' poor floor spacing, his 0.85 points per post-up ranked 11th among the 13 players who scored at least 250 points in the post, according to Synergy Sports tracking on NBA.com/Stats. But Okafor was more effective facing up slower defenders and beating them off the dribble using his quickness (0.87 points per isolation play). And he was surprisingly adept as a roll man in the pick-and-roll, averaging 1.02 points per play. One way or another, Okafor is going to get buckets with high-percentage shooting. The next steps for him are drawing more fouls -- especially after he improved to 68.6 percent at the free throw line -- and making plays as a passer. Okafor's 1.5 assists per 36 minutes was third lowest among regulars who averaged 20 points per 36 minutes.