My colleague Bill Barnwell has made an annual preseason tradition out of successfully predicting NFL teams heading in a different direction by virtue of their records not matching the underlying level of performance.
Because rosters turn over more quickly and individual players are more important, the same task is a little trickier in the NBA. For example, the Portland Trail Blazers have several factors pointing up in 2023-24, but those are outweighed by the possibility of trading Damian Lillard and moving toward a rebuild around young guards Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe.
Still, there are some factors we can look at to determine which teams are likely to see their records change by virtue of better or worse fortune. In particular, I've focused on three aspects with a history of predicting improvement or decline the following season: expected wins based on points scored and allowed, games missed due to injury and opponent 3-point percentage.
With those stats in mind, let's look at four teams likely headed up in the standings and three that might win fewer games than they did in 2022-23.