As I said while doing my league previews I tend to stay away from the prediction game. I like to give people a little history, a summary of changes, and maybe a look at the general possible trends of a team. The only point of predicting specific outcomes would be so you guys could come back later and say, "Dave, you're great!" or "Dave, you suck!" neither of which should really be the point of an NBA Preview. So I give you the general info plus a common sense analytical outlook with the caveat that the league doesn't always work based on common sense or analysis.
However just for fun (and because it reinforces the idea of trends) I thought I'd give my projected ranges for each team. I read in the ESPN League Review that John Hollinger had done the same thing but I didn't look at his at all to avoid being swayed. I am still not going to give specific win totals because that's mostly luck and voodoo. But I have broken down the possibilities into several categories. For playoff teams you have NBA Finals, Conference Finals, Second Round, and First Round, meaning the highest round that team will reach. I did not bother to distinguish between NBA Finals and NBA Champion, figuring that anybody making the Finals has a presumed chance to be champion. Below the playoff scale you have three designations:
.500 ball (somewhere between 39-43 wins but not in the playoffs)
Thirties (30-38 wins)
Twenties or Below (29 or fewer)
For each team I listed a high and a low range. The high is not excessively so. We're not projecting miracles here. The low is pretty much the lowest I can imagine though.
A caveat: I considered each team in isolation. I have no idea if this could all possibly fit together, though I suspect it can. Don't hold me to that though.
Detroit Pistons High: NBA Finals Low: Second Round
Cleveland Cavaliers High: Conference Finals Low: First Round
Toronto Raptors High: Second Round Low: First Round
Miami Heat High: Conference Finals Low: .500 ball
Chicago Bulls High: NBA Finals Low: Second Round
New Jersey Nets High: Second Round Low: First Round
Washington Wizards High: Second Round Low: .500 ball
Orlando Magic High: Conference Finals Low: First Round
Indiana Pacers High: .500 Ball Low: Thirties
Philadelphia 76'ers High: .500 Ball Low: Twenties or Below
Charlotte Bobcats High: .500 ball Low: Twenties or Below
New York Knicks High: First Round Low: Thirties
Atlanta Hawks High: .500 ball Low: Thirties
Milwaukee Bucks High: Thirties Low: Twenties or Below
Boston Celtics High: NBA Finals Low: Second Round
Dallas Mavericks High: NBA Finals Low: Second Round
Phoenix Suns High: NBA Finals Low: Second Round
San Antonio Spurs High: NBA Finals Low: Second Round
Utah Jazz High: Conference Finals Low: First Round
Houston Rockets High: Conference Finals Low: First Round
Denver Nuggets High: Second Round Low: First Round
L.A. L*kers High: First Round Low: Thirties
Golden State Warriors High: First Round Low: .500 ball
L.A. Clippers High: First Round Low: Thirties (if injured)
New Orleans Hornets High: First Round Low: .500 ball
Sacramento Kings High: .500 ball Low: Thirties
Portland Trailblazers High: .500 ball Low: Twenties or below
Minnesota Timberwolves High: .500 ball Low: Twenties or below
Seattle Supersonics High: Thirties Low: Twenties or below
Memphis Grizzlies High: .500 ball Low: Twenties or below
Also I always put aside my bias against predicting enough to project the NBA Finalists and Champion each year. I have not always been accurate on both Finals teams but I am working on some kind of ridiculous streak of 6 in 7 getting the actual Champion right. (I think I missed the Pistons over the Lakers in 2004.) This year, though, I want to really go out on a limb and test this streak thing. So I've decided to go away from the safe, sane pick...not too far out, but not the favorite by any means.
My projected Finals: The Chicago Bulls over the Dallas Mavericks
There you go. I never change in the middle of the year. Now you'll have something about which to call me completely silly or genius-savant.