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Cavaliers improvement heads predictions for the rest of the NBA season

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The Lakers are bad. The 76ers are on of the few teams that are worse. The Cavaliers aren't living up to the monstrous expectations.

And the Western Conference is far superior to the East. With about 20 percent of the NBA season done, those are the few things we kn

The question now is what will change during the rest of the season.

What will change

First of all, the Cavaliers will come together as a team. It can't be a huge surprise that they will have growing pains with a new group of stars playing together. But they're too good to remain a .500 team for long.

Now that Russell Westbrook is back, expect the Oklahoma City Thunder to make a charge. The problem is, it isn't so easy to charge back into a good spot in the west. Heck, the seventh seed if the season ended today would be the 10-5 L.A. Clippers. In the East, on the other hand, the seventh seed is the 7-7 Cavaliers.

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The top seeds right now in each conference will dip down into reality and likely be visiting teams come the first round of the playoffs. The Memphis Grizzlies simply aren't the best team in the West and, with DeMar DeRozan hurt, the Toronto Raptors are set to begin their descent in the standings as well.

What won't change

The Washington Wizards are a good team that is built to last. They toughened up over the offseason and have one of the best backcourts in basketball with John Wall and Bradley Beal. At 9-5, they are narrowly the second-best team in the East and expect them to stay near the top as the season progresses.

Philadelphia 76ers – They are monumentally bad and that is sure to continue as they break records for futility this year in hopes of netting the top pick (again).

Who is for real?

Golden State Warriors – The guard play in Golden State is fluid and efficient. They can shoot from the perimeter better than any team in the league and the Warriors' ball movement is textbook.

Houston Rockets – The Rockets play smart basketball and have two stars in James Harden and Dwight Howard who can keep them in games night in and night out. Howard's health is the main question mark.

Who isn't?

Milwaukee Bucks – At 10-7, they are currently second place in the Central Division. But, when you are counting on guys like Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova to lead you to a title, it won't work out for you. Jabari Parker will continue to progress and Brandon Knight has continued to be the guy averaging more than 17 per game, but they aren't a contender yet.

Portland Trail Blazers – There are plenty of good things about the Trailblazers with Damian Lillard , Lamarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews leading the way, but they aren't going to be able to continue being a top three team in the West as the season goes forward. There are too many other good teams that will leapfrog them. If they encounter some of the injury issues other teams have faced, they will sink quickly.

Who will improve?

New Orleans – Anthony Davis is obviously one of the league's best. But the Pelicans are more than him now and can win games. The problem is how good the West really is. Who will they beat?

L.A. Clippers – They knocked off the Rockets on Friday in convincing fashion and will continue to rise up the ladder as the season progresses to become one of the West's top seeds.

Topics:
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Eastern Conference
Golden State Warriors
LA Clippers
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Milwaukee Bucks
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Philadelphia Sixers
Atlantic Division

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