Atlanta Hawks- Don’t mess up
It will be very likely that the Haws will end up with two lottery picks due to last year’s draft day trade. Trading the draft rights to rookie of the year lock, Luka Doncic to the Mavericks in exchange for the rights to Trae Young and the Mavericks 2019 first-rounder (top 5 protected) was a head-scratcher at the time but it makes a bit more sense now, a bit. It still was one of the bigger steals in a long time for Mark Cuban and the Mavericks. The Hawks have a line-up of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Taurean Prince, John Collins and Dwayne Dedmon. All but Dedmon are still on their rookie deals and with two lottery picks, Jaxon Hayes or Bol Bol will most likely be a Hawk this time next year. That means the Hawks could have their entire starting five and sixth man on rookie deals, clearing way for a mid-tier free agent like Khris Middleton…?
Boston Celtics- Figure it out
The Celtics’ roster is good, but their record isn’t. Sitting at fifth in the east, behind the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers is no excuse. Having nine-eleven players who deserve minutes is a problem and when is it time to question Brad Stevens. Stevens has been hyped up as the next great coach after Pop, but Pop has a worse team in a harder conference and is only a few games worse off. Arguably the only roster that is top to bottom better than Boston is the Warriors. One would think that without LeBron James in the East, the Celtics were up next. Embiid, Antetokounmpo, and Leonard disagree.
Brooklyn Nets- Possible dark horse?
The Brooklyn Nets are good and have their first-round pick. When was the last time you could say that? The Nets are a possible dark horse this year and next as they have the cap-space to surround their roster of budding talents like D’Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert, and Jarret Allen. If the Pacers hold on to the third seed, the Nets could pull off the rare-NBA first-round upset. A majority of their players are young and on rookie deals and their bad contracts are almost off the books. Look out for the Nets!
Charlotte Hornets- Please stay Kemba?
This is a very simple one. Do me favor and name me a Hornet not named Kemba, I’ll wait. Exactly, Charlotte has got Kemba and the All-Star game, that’s all the Buzz in this city. If Kemba signs somewhere else this off-season than the Hornets will become one of, if not the worst team in the NBA. I’m personally shocked that Michael Jordan didn’t buy in the trade market for a player like Andre Drummond or Bradley Beal to help the Hornets’ chances and to convince Kemba he should stay.
Chicago Bulls- Tank for Zion
They are really bad, and Zion is really good, it’s really that simple. Zion would help make the Bulls become a much better team and could jump start their re-build which is close to the end. As a Pistons fan, I really do miss the old Bulls Pistons rivalry and I’d imagine the Bulls do as well, this would really help out the Bulls and get them back on the way to another title.
Cleveland Cavaliers- Tank for Zion
They are really bad, and Zion is really good, it’s really that simple. Zion is what they really need to help out this franchise post-LeBron. The Cavs have nothing going for them as opposed to the other “Tank for Zion” teams. The Suns already have a good young core, the Bulls have a good young core too, and the Knicks have some young pieces, the ability to offer two max contracts, and they got New York.
Dallas Mavericks- Add one more
Kristaps and Luka are a great pair, but the Mavericks and Mark Cuban got another trick up their sleeve. Cuban is now famous for being pitched to on Shark Tank, but now it’s time for him to pitch someone. That someone is whatever third star that Doncic and Porzingis want to play with. That’s looking to be either DeMarcus Cousins or Kemba Walker most realistically. The Mavs’ title window is just opening, and Cuban is ready to go all in, showing why he might just be the best owner in the NBA.
Denver Nuggets- Are we legit?
The Nuggets are second in the West. Wait what? Yes, you read that right, Denver is second in the West and will only get better. Isaiah Thomas and Michael Porter Jr. are both injured and MPJ will return shortly, with IT already making an appearance for the Nuggets. The other day on one of the NBA talk shows on ESPN Tracy McGrady said that there’s no way he’d pick the Nuggets over the Lakers in a seven-game series, and I’d have to agree. Sure, the Nuggets are the second-best team in the West but surely, they couldn’t beat Oklahoma City or the Warriors… right?
Detroit Pistons- Pick a direction
Oh boy, the Pistons are “stuck in neutral” as I usually say. The Pistons sold at the deadline flipping expiring deals in Stanley Johnson and Reggie Bullock for young players and a pick. It was awesome to see that but then the Pistons put my mind in a pretzel again by signing Wayne Ellington? Why on earth is he joining the Pistons and not the Thunder or a real team? At least we got rid of Henry Ellenson, yet another draft bust. This will be a very pivotal offseason for the Pistons as we will see first if they make the playoffs (please for the love of god don’t), and then we will see if Blake Griffin demands a trade and whether or not we will blow it all sky high or “Build around Blake.”
Golden State Warriors-We’re still here
People keep talking about how good the Eastern Conference is and about how teams like the Thunder and Rockets could beat the Warriors, they can’t. It amazes me how these hot-take artists are able to genuinely believe the Warriors aren’t just going to go 16-0 in the playoffs and complete the threepeat. I’m guaranteeing a Warriors title this year and like the Patriots proved, the Warriors are still here.
Houston Rockets- Harden has teammates?
I understand that Harden is putting up ridiculous numbers, but he cannot do it alone. Once Chris Paul’s hamstring gave out, the Rockets imploded in the Western Conference finals last year. Another thing is if Harden injures himself or has an off night, the Rockets are screwed. Chris Paul, Clint Capella, Eric Gordon, and the Rockets shooters must be ready to pick it up if Harden slows down.
Indiana Pacers- Oladipo isn’t Indiana
When Victor Oladipo went down with his injury, almost everyone wrote off Indiana. But the Pacers are still hanging onto that third spot in the Eastern Conference and could still surprise people and make the second round of the playoffs. Wesley Matthews is a great addition to the Pacers and a good way to replace Oladipo for free and on the fly.
Los Angeles Clippers- We aren’t LeBron
Top free agents love Los Angeles, but not necessarily LeBron. The Clippers have a really solid roster and are having a great season this year. They have a nice core and adding one marquee player like Kahwi Leonard or Jimmy Butler could make this team a real contender in the West.
Los Angeles Lakers- Trust the Process
Trading your entire wrong core would have been a horrible idea. Is it crazy to suggest that the Lakers should tank and add another piece? They will land a star this summer and add another player to the roster who’s on a rookie deal. Kyle Kuzma is turning into a really good player and could be a star alongside LeBron. A LeBron James team is notorious for one or two starts and then all of the ring chasers and James’ friends on bad contracts. This Lakers team could be different with another star coming to the Lakers this offseason and the young core getting better? Trust the Process 2.0.
Memphis Grizzlies- Blow it up
It’s just time man. They traded one of their two franchise pieces in Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies were asking for way too much in return for Conley and they should have taken a young player, or a pick, not both. Jaren Jackson Jr. is a great young talent, and another top pick will help out the Grizzlies start their long overdue rebuild.
Miami Heat- Pick a direction
The Heat are like the Pistons, they need to either tank or go all in. Jimmy Butler would have been the best option for the Heat to go all-in however, that obviously didn’t happen. The Heat are stuck in what we call “Cap hell”. They have the highest payroll in the NBA and aren’t close to top of the standings. The best solution is to develop Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson, and wait out their bad contracts, most will be off the books in two years.
Milwaukee Bucks- Fear the Deer
Giannis Antetokounmpo is very good and so are the Bucks. The Bucks finally have a real coach in Mike Budenholzer and their offense is flawless. Adding Nikola Mirotic was the biggest move of the trade deadline. Giving the Bucks even more spacing to Giannis for him to dominate the paint is just unfair. The Bucks can now have all five players on the floor shoot the three and defend. LeBron left the East and Giannis is calling next, it’s time to Fear the Deer.
Minnesota Timberwolves- We miss Jimmy
Man, how one player can change a team. We should have seen this coming as the Timberwolves became a dumpster fire when Jimmy hurt himself down the stretch last year. Minnesota has no direction as they have a lot of money in many players and other than All-star Karl-Anthony Towns and maybe Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves don’t have much to get excited about.
New Orleans Pelicans- Bench Anthony Davis
If Anthony Davis plays another game for the Pelicans than New Orleans has no spine. Pay the slap on the wrist fine that Adam Silver hands out to you and tank! Get a good pick this year and get Jayson Tatum and one or more of Danny Ainge’s picks from the Celtics for Davis. Anthony Davis playing gives literally zero positives for the Pelicans or Davis himself. If Davis gets hurt, he loses value and will be way harder to trade, and if he plays the Pelicans are better which hurts their draft stock.
New York Knicks- Spend it wisely! (Tank for Zion)
Yes, the Knicks need to tank for Zion but that’s obvious. The Knicks are in a similar place to where the Lakers were post-Kobe Bryant. The Lakers are a big market team and struck out on their big stars and spent their two max deals money on Timofey Mozgov (three years 48 million), and Luol Deng (three years, 54 million), yikes. This cost them All-star guard D’Angelo Russell to get rid of Mozgov and Deng was bought out.The Knicks could win the Porzingis trade if they get someone like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Oklahoma City Thunder- PG is good
Who would have guessed that Paul George would still be in Oklahoma and not in Los Angeles? Even less people would have guessed that Russell Westbrook would be the second-best player on the Thunder. Paul George is playing on an MVP level on both sides of the ball, something that could never be said for James Harden. George is now the best 3-and-D player off all time, and could he carry the Thunder to the conference finals or NBA finals?
Orlando Magic- Could be good?
The Magic have got a good thing going. Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Mohammed Bamba, and Aaron Gordon are a solid young core that could bring the Magic back to relevance. Adding a solid wing in this year’s draft could finally do it for Orlando as I really think that they are year or two away from really competing and pushing for the Eastern Conference Finals.
Philadelphia 76ers- Process is complete?
This is the question we will find out this post-season. Many people are already taking about how the Sixers are already winning the east and maybe the finals. The Sixers got rid of most of their “process picks” and made their starting five while adding a lot of bench depth. This makes the Sixers better, don’t get me wrong, but I just think they aren’t there yet. They haven’t yet proven that they could win in the playoffs, so this question doesn’t have an answer.
Phoenix Suns- How much longer?
How many times are the Suns going to be at the top of the lottery? It seems like every season they are in the top four or five picks every season. Every season it seems as though the Suns are ready to move forward, but every season so far, Phoenix has disappointed. If the Suns could get Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, then the Suns may actually move into the playoff picture, but as always, it wouldn’t surprise me.
Portland Trail Blazers- Forget last year
I don’t know if it’s just me but there are sometimes where some teams lose in such a fashion were, I will trust them for quite a while. Last years’ additions were Virginia by crashing out to UMBC, and the Blazers getting swept by the six seeded Pelicans. The Blazers are pretty much the same team but the additions of Rodney Hood, Enes Kanter, and Seth Curry all help out the Blazers this season. I think the Blazers could win their first round but nothing farther.
Sacramento Kings- Kings are good?
The Kings are looking to end the longest current NBA Playoff drought at 12 seasons, the longest in franchise history. Harrison Barnes will be a great addition to the Kings’ playoff push. Coming into the season the Kings pick was predicted to be very high but budding star Buddy Hield, and De’Aaron Fox are changing that. The Kings might make the playoffs and then look out for them in the playoffs!
San Antonio Spurs- End of era?
It seems like every year we ask this question nearly every year, when will the Spurs stop being good. Greg Popovich is the best coach ever and year after year the Spurs stay in the playoffs. After trading Kahwi Leonard, this was supposed to be the year. However, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan still have the Spurs in the playoffs. Greg Popovich’s retirement will be the end of the Spurs dynasty.
Toronto Raptors- LeBron is gone!
One of the best memes of the year was the LeBronto joke that LeBron James owns the Toronto Raptors and their city. Even though they were the number one seed last year, no one thought the Raptors were going to win but no get swept. That embarrassment led to the Raptors trading away DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs for Kahwi Leonard. This has made the Raptors one of the top teams in the NBA for real this time. LeBron’s gone, now all that’s left is the Greek Freak.
Utah Jazz- We’re almost there!
The Jazz are a team similar to the Nuggets where they are almost there. They have two borderline All-stars in center Rudy Golbert and guard Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell was scammed out of rookie of the year last season and Golbert was the Defensive Player of the Year. The Jazz have tons of shooters to surround their star players, but they lack athleticism. When you think of Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Joe Ingles, and Ricky Rubio you surely don’t think of athleticism. This ends up hurting the Jazz who are one star away from being legit contenders in the West. Due to their current contract situation, they will have to settle for a mid-tier star or make trades to go all in and get enough cap space for a max deal this offseason.
Washington Wizards- Pick a direction
After the Wizards absolutely robbed the Bulls in the Otto Porter Jr. trade, the Wizards were able to get out of Porter’s contract that is $26 million this year, and $27, $28 million dollars in the next two. The Wizards are still in a tough spot, will they choose to re-build on the fly and sign a player this season or blow it all sky-high and trade Bradley Beal and start to tank until they could trade John Wall. The rebuild on the fly seems likely due to John Wall’s supermax salary making him virtually immovable, especially without trading away draft capital. The Wizards will have to make a decision this offseason to possibly trade away their stars, or to trade away their pick with a terrible contract to sign a player like DeMarcus Cousins this offseason to go all in with a pretty solid big three of Wall, Beal, and Cousins.