9. Lakers—Even with center Vlade Divac expected to return in a couple of weeks after back surgery, how good can Los Angeles be without Magic Johnson?
10. Celtics—If Larry Bird and Kevin McHale ever get healthy, Boston could put pressure on both the Knicks and Cavs in the Eastern Conference playoffs. But that's a big if, and the Bulls are out of reach.
11. Pistons—Orlando Woolridge recently got a two-year, $5 million contract extension that will keep him in Detroit until 1995. Whoopee!
12. 76ers—Charles Barkley's talent alone keeps Philadelphia from sinking even lower.
13. Rockets—With the exception of Otis Thorpe and, lately, Hakeem Olajuwon, none of last season's darlings has stepped up his game.
14. SuperSonics—A few weeks ago, when George Karl came in from Spain to coach Seattle, he forgot himself and spoke in Spanish to his players during his first game. Spanish. English. These guys have trouble understanding basketball in any language.
15. Pacers—They might be coming together: for the sake of coach Bob Hill's job security, they'd better do it soon.
16. Bucks—They will have to try hard to miss landing the East's final playoff spot. But they're capable of doing just that.
17. Clippers—Watch out next year. Sound familiar?
18. Heat—Hold on to that playoff fever just one more year, Miami fans.