Five lottery-to-playoffs teams
Several teams make the leap every year. Who are next season's candidates?
This time last year, five current playoff teams -- the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in the East and the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets in the West -- were busy preparing for the lottery rather than worrying about how to upset an opponent in the opening round. That number is somewhat on the high side, and tied for the most turnover among playoff teams in the past three decades, but an average of exactly four teams per season have jumped from the lottery to the postseason in the past 10 years.
Which teams are most likely to pull off the feat next season? From most to least likely, here are our five picks, and reasons they will -- or won't -- make it to the postseason in 2012:
Why they'll make the playoffs: The Bucks were battered by injuries this season. They lost more games due to injury (277) than any other team in the NBA. Given average health, the Bucks should be improved.
To see the rest of Kevin Pelton's lottery breakout teams, become an ESPN Insider today.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Sharp-shooting Gasol leads Grizzlies by Clips
- Blazers beat Celtics, extend win streak to 7
- Heat hang on as Hornets fall short at buzzer
- LeBron: Cavs 'very fragile' amid 4-game skid