The NBA off season is over, and now teams are getting ready to start their season off right. Big moves were made and the landscape of the NBA is as lopsided as it has been in a long time. The Western Conference is stacked, but there are some teams in the East that might give them a run for their money. It’s time to find out who the best, worst and most surprising teams are this season.
- Atlanta Hawks- 2017-18 record: 24-58
The Hawks traded Dennis Schroder this off season, signed a new head coach and drafted three player in the first round of this years draft. The young team will probably lose a lot of games, but they fixed their roster to have almost $50 million in cap space for the summer of 2019. Let the rebuild begin.
29.Brooklyn Nets- 2017-18 record: 28-54
What more can be said about the poor Nets. Since the trade with Boston that gave up a ton of their first round picks, they haven’t been able to do much. They added Jared Dudley and Kenneth Faried in the off season and have set themselves up to possibly sign two max contracts next season. Maybe Brooklyn’s luck is beginning to turn.
- Orlando Magic- 2017-18 record: 25-57
Orlando is another team that seems to be stuck at the bottom of the NBA. They are consistently drafting players in the top ten and trying to find one that can change their franchise. They resigned Aaron Gordon and drafted Mohamed Bamba. The rebuild hasn’t been a magical process, but maybe that’s soon to change.
- Sacramento Kings- 2017-18 record: 27-55
A common trend with these bottom teams is that they are in a constant rebuild. The Kings haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006 and are hoping that passing on Luka Doncic and drafting Marvin Bagley III will pay off. The Kings have so many big men that the pick seemed unnecessary, but maybe it will work out.
- Phoenix Suns- 2017-18 record: 21-61
The Suns drafted Deandre Ayton with the first overall pick in this years draft and picked up three other players to mesh with him and Devin Booker. They extended Bookers contract, but eight days before the season starts, they fired their GM Ryan McDonough. The Suns have plenty of young talent to do a decent job, but with all the turmoil behind the scenes the Suns might burn out.
- New York Knicks- 2017-18 record: 29-53
David Fizdale has a lot on his plate for his first year in New York. The franchise is desperate for change and this season is probably going to be another rebuild. Kristaps Porzingis is still nursing an injury, but the teams first round pick, Kevin Knox, looks like he’s ready to make an impact. If Knox looks good and Porzingis is healthy they might be able to attract some big talent to little ol’ New York next summer.
- Chicago Bulls- 2017-18 record: 27-55
The Bulls made some questionable move this summer money wise. They signed Jabari Parker on a two-year $20 million contract and extended Zach LaVine’s for $78 million. They have a young core and could potentially be a talented group, but the youth will continue to be their question mark. If these young players can learn fast and become full-grown bulls by the end of the season, they could see some playoff action in a week Eastern Conference.
- Charlotte Hornets- 2017-18 record: 36-46
The Hornets are an organization without a path. They keep making small moves that don’t seem to help enough for them to do anything. They added Tony Parker and Bismack Biyombo. Why? I don’t see an end game for the Hornets, who at this point should just accept a rebuild. Until then I’ll just leave them here because Kemba Walker is a beast. It just might sting Hornets fans if he leaves next season.
- Miami Heat- 2017-18 record: 44-38
The Heat stayed pretty quite this season and the only real news was they signed 36-year-old Dwyane Wade. They lost in the first round of last year’s playoffs and kept the band together for another run at it. Hassan Whiteside has been openly heated with the team, but they hope to pull together for playoff run.
- Detroit Pistons- 2017-18 record: 39-43
The Pistons were probably the most disappointing teams last season after trading for Blake Griffin and missing the playoffs. The Pistons picked up last year’s NBA Coach of the Year, Dwane Casey, off the free agent market and are looking to change the narrative of the team. I like the Pistons and with Casey, I think they will revamp this team into a well oiled machine.
- Dallas Mavericks- 2017-18 record: 24-58
The Dallas Mavericks are my dark horse team to come out of the Western Conference. They got Luka Doncic in a trade during the draft, signed DeAndre Jordan and still have Dennis Smith Jr. They have a solid starting rotation, but the bench will be the question mark. I think the Mavericks made some decent moves this off season that will propel them back to the playoffs. I just don’t think they will win a series.
- Memphis Grizzlies- 2017-18 record: 22-60
The Grizzlies took a jump off a cliff last season with one of the worst records they’ve had since 2008. With Marc Gasol and Mike Conley back and healthy, they should return to a more competitive team. The only good thing about their terrible record was being able to draft Jaren Jackson Jr. The West is loaded, but the Grizzlies have found ways to claw their way into the playoffs year after year.
- Cleveland Cavaliers- 2017-18 record: 50-32
A lot of people are down on the Cavs, but I think, they will still be competitive. Obviously losing the best player in the world hurts a lot. They drafted Collin Sexton, they still have Kevin Love and the team still has a winning mentality. The Cavs won’t defend the Eastern Conference Championship, but with a chip on their shoulder, they should make the playoffs.
- Los Angeles Clippers- 2017-18 record: 42-40
With DeAndre Jordan leaving the Clippers, the end of Lob City is finalized. An era in which the Clippers have played their most impressive ball is over and now begins a new style of play. They added two draft picks, Marcin Gortat and Luc Mbah a Moute, but unless Doc Rivers can make these guys play out of their mind, the Clippers season might be cut short.
- Minnesota Timberwolves- 2017-18 record: 47-35
This organization has gone from one of extreme positivity to just question marks all around. Jimmy Butler has made Minnesota feel like a hostile environment for its own team. On Wednesday it was said that he was verbally challenging the team and said “You f****** need me. You can’t win without me.” I mean he’s right but dang that’s harsh. Everybody get your popcorn ready and let’s see how the Wolves handle this.
- Washington Wizards- 2017-18 record: 43-39
The Wizards have been consistently decent for a while, but they added Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and Austin Rivers this off season. Now before you start handing them the championship, let’s wait and see how this all works out. Obviously John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to ball out, but I’m skeptical in how the team is going to fit together. Maybe Scott Brooks has a few tricks up his sleeve this season.
- Milwaukee Bucks- 2017-18 record: 44-38
The Bucks lost Jabari Parker this off season, but in all honestly, it was probably for the best. They drafted Donte DiVincenzo and added Brook Lopez to the mix. This team has a lot of young pieces and failed to live up to expectations last season. Mike Budenholzer will look to help this team be better and hopefully that guy Giannis Antetokounmpo will finally become a good player. P.S. that was sarcasm.
- New Orleans Pelicans- 2017-18 record: 48-34
The Pelicans look a little different from last year. They lost DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo to free agency and replaced them with Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle. Both are two young and talented players, but if last season said anything it was that an Anthony Davis led team will try to win at any cost. Payton and Randle should help Davis a lot. The Pelicans might be able to fly their way into one of the last few playoff spots when that time comes.
- San Antonio Spurs- 2017-18 record: 47-35
The Spurs still have Gregg Popovich and until he leaves, I will never underestimate this team. The off season was different for them as they lost Tony Parker to free agency and traded away Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. They did get DeMar DeRozen and Jakob Poeltl from the Raptors. They have good players and are another team to look out for in the West.
- Portland Trail Blazers- 2017-18 record: 49-33
You can’t ever count out the Trail Blazers. Terry Stotts takes a team that looks dead to the playoffs every season. Now what happens in the playoff is a different story, but they have talented stars and added a couple of pieces to try to make a push. Damian Lillard will lead this team to the playoffs but we don’t talk about what happens when they get there.
- Indiana Pacers- 2017-18 record: 48-34
The Pacers stepped up in a big way last season after trading away franchise player Paul George to the Thunder. They didn’t know and I don’t think anyone knew that Victor Oladipo would have a breakout year like he did. They almost beat the Cavs in the first round and they added some help, but they’ll have to stay feisty if they want to make a push in the playoffs.
- Denver Nuggets- 2017-18 record: 46-36
Another disappointing team from last season was the Denver Nuggets. They barely missed the playoffs and now they are all in on winning. They added Isaiah Thomas for basically nothing and with their young core they should make it this year. They also had the steal of the draft with Michael Porter Jr. who when healthy can make a huge impact for the Nuggets.
- Utah Jazz- 2017-18 record: 48-34
The Jazz are another feisty team that will beat you with their superior defense. They didn’t lose much this off season and added Grayson Allen through the draft. Another young team that already knows how to win and when everyone is healthy they pose a threat to any team.
- Los Angeles Lakers- 2017-18 record: 35-47
The team that will look to make the biggest jump is the Lakers. They had a decent off season and signed some guy named Lebron James. Again sarcasm. The Lakers had the best off season. Lebron, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee all look to make an impact for the Lakers. They have tons of young talent and with the contracts that most of their new acquisitions signed they will have cap space to sign another star next off season. If you love the Lakers get ready for their bright future, but if you hate them I’m sorry.
- Toronto Raptors- 2017-18 record: 59-23
The Raptors were the best ranked team in the East last season but were eliminated in the semis. They fired Dwane Casey and traded DeMar DeRozan in a last chance effort to bring a championship to the north. They got Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green and are hoping that this will be the team that makes the move in the east. If they fail and Leonard doesn’t resign than the team will go into rebuild mode and start over. This might be their last chance to go to the Finals for a while.
- Oklahoma City Thunder- 2017-18 record: 48-34
The Thunder made, in my opinion, one of the best decisions of the off season. They got rid of Carmelo Anthony. When they traded for Paul George I thought that was guines and then when they traded for Anthony, I knew they messed up. Anthony didn’t fit their system and now with George and Russell Westbrook, they will be a real threat in the West. Lookout for that Thunder.
- Philadelphia 76ers- 2017-18 record: 52-30
The 76ers took the biggest leap out of any team last season and showed that trusting the proccess was all worth it. They didn’t make any big moves this offseason since they didn’t have a GM but they did sign some pieces to help their young talent. They might win the east and if they can be healthy all season they will be a top dog in the NBA.
- Houston Rockets- 2017-18 record: 65-17
The Rockets signed Carmelo Anthony this off season but lost two key players. Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza to free agency and didn’t do much to replace them. The offense is going to be improved and Anthony fits perfect with what the Rockets do. They will be in high scoring games all season, and if they can stop teams from time to time the will absolutely demolish the competition. This could be the season the Rockets take off and go to the finals, but they will have to pass number one on this list to get there.
- Boston Celtics- 2017-18 record: 55-27
The Celtics were really good last year, and the scary part is that they didn’t even have their two best players. This was
the first offseason in a while that the Celtics didn’t make noise in free agency. They are stacked and probably the deepest team in the NBA. They are the favorite to win the east and if they face off against Golden State, I think they could win.
- Golden State Warriors- 2017-18 record: 58-24
Shocker, the Warriors are the number one team in the NBA. The Warriors lost their two big men but signed one of the best in the league, DeMarcus Cousins. It’s not even fair. They have and will continue to be the best team in the league. Unless anything catastrophic happens the Warriors will three-peat as NBA Champions.