3. L.A. Clippers: Don't laugh. As dysfunctional as they've seemed this season, the Clips could be a playoff team next season on talent alone. Baron Davis and Eric Gordon make for a solid backcourt, the frontcourt trio of Zach Randolph, Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby is potent (if they're ever healthy at the same time), and the Steve Novak Experience has to be seen to be believed (more on him in the Insider Gems).
As with Washington, the Clips will get an advantage from their awful season in the form of a high lottery pick who should give them a big boost a year from now. And if they stay in contention there's a greater probability players like Davis will work hard instead of lazily jogging after loose balls (like he did in the opening minute Wednesday night, while Washington's McGuire breezed past him, took the ball and cruised in for a dunk), and that the defense will consist of more than an arm wave.