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Starting lineup (cont.)

Posted: Monday October 29, 2007 2:16PM; Updated: Monday October 29, 2007 2:55PM
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More Rankings: 21-30

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21 - With Richardson joining Gerald Wallace, Emeka Okafor and Raymond Felton, they should continue their steady progress from expansion doormat to respectability. But the loss of Sean May and Adam Morrison to season-ending knee injuries won't help rookie coach Sam Vincent make the transition.
22 - They added the biggest prize on the free-agent market in Rashard Lewis. Along with Dwight Howard, it should be enough for new coach Stan Van Gundy to get their offense going. But with a young backcourt and a thin frontcourt, a second straight trip to the playoffs is no guarantee.
23 - With the NBA's longest-active playoff drought of eight seasons, the pressure to win is on in Atlanta. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and rookie Al Horford must be ready to take the next step, or coach Mike Woodson probably won't be around for the finish.
24 - With Elton Brand out at least the first half of the season with a torn Achilles, it will be difficult for them to get back in the West playoff chase. Ruben Patterson will help, but Sam Cassell, Tim Thomas and Chris Kaman must bounce back from subpar seasons for them to have a chance.
25 - New coach Jim O'Brien promises to bring discipline and stability to a club that has seen its share of distractions in recent years. Unfortunately, the roster is a mess and it is possible management will decide to rebuild by dealing All-Star forward Jermaine O'Neal before the trade deadline.
26 - They're hoping Reggie Theus can provide a spark, but what they really need is for veterans Mike Bibby, Brad Miller and Shareef Abdur-Rahim to regain their old forms and provide some help for Ron Artest and Kevin Martin. It won't help that Bibby (thumb) will miss the first six weeks.
27 - The loss of No.1 pick Greg Oden to a season-ending knee injury is a setback, but the future remains bright in Rip City. LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Travis Outlaw and Jarrett Jack form a solid young core that will make steady progress even if the Blazers don't win a lot of games.
28 - Kevin Durant is the centerpiece of their rebuilding plan, along with fellow rookie Jeff Green and new coach P.J. Carlesimo. But will Seattle fans bother to turn out when many believe owner Clay Bennett is greasing the skids for a franchise move to Oklahoma City?
29 - Led by their two Andres (Iguodala and Miller), they hope to build on last year's strong finish and continue the positive vibes of the post-Iverson era. But an otherwise young roster and a glaring lack of depth -- especially in the frontcourt -- means another long season.
30 - The departure of Garnett signals the start of what's likely to be a long and painful rebuilding plan in the Twin Cities. Al Jefferson is a solid piece, but he will need his young supporting cast to grow up in a hurry if his team intends to avoid finishing down here.

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