Here is my take on what every team should do that did not make the playoffs during the 2016-17 season. Some teams need to seriously invest in what they have, some need to buy a veteran, some need to sell and go into complete rebuild mode, while a certain team or two I just have no idea on what they should do.
The sad case for Brooklyn is that they have no players to sell, no assets to send off to buy, and if you are investing in Caris LaVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to be your future then you have serious problems within your franchise. The Nets cornerstone players currently are Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez. That’s also a problem in itself. Brooklyn also doesn’t have their first round pick this year or next. Talk about going nowhere fast.
Solution: Hope and Pray
Any fan, member. or player of the Suns organization can start thinking in a positive light. This is a team that is one more top draft pick away from having a complete solid foundation that will be a couple years away from playoff contention in the Wild Wild West. A core of Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker along with the continuing development of Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender bodes well for the future. Insert Josh Jackson or Jayson Tatum during the draft and the Suns will rise over the Arizona desert.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have a myriad of circumstances that surround their storied franchise in the coming weeks and months. Even if the Lakers somehow lose their protected pick to the 76ers, they still will have a chance at Paul George with the young assets they have. If Larry Bird doesn’t send George back home to Southern California and the Lakers retain their pick, they still have one of the best young cores in The Association with D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle along with a top 3 pick in a loaded draft. Heck you can even throw in Ivica Zubac and Larry Nance Jr. The REAL Los Angeles franchise will soon be back in contention like we are all accustomed to them being.
This is an obvious pick for Philly. They have a stud if he stays healthy in Joel Embiid, likely Rookie of the Year Dario Saric, 2016 1st overall pick Ben Simmons who will be available, and possibly two top 5 picks in June’s draft. #TrustTheProcess is about to come to an end sooner than later Sixers fans. You are a future Beast of the East.
The Magic still have not recovered from Dwight Howard’s departure. This is a team that has been in the lottery in every year of his absence and have failed to hit home on any draft selection. Elfrid Payton still cannot shoot. Aaron Gordon does make ESPN Top 10 every night for whatever that’s worth. Mario Hezonja hasn’t lived up to his potential. Former GM Rob Hennigan traded away Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis for Serge Ibaka who was dealt at the deadline to Toronto. Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier are the franchise cornerstones at the moment. Hey, they do have another potential top 5 pick in this year’s draft. Maybe that player will be a magician on the court.
Solution: Hope and Pray
This is a tough choice because the Timberwolves could buy by shipping out Zach LaVine for an older veteran presence on the wing, or they could invest for the future by keeping their young core intact. Minnesota can definitely score with the best of the league, but they only play on that half of the court. The best decision for Minnesota is to add a defensive presence next to KAT in the draft such as Jonathan Isaac out of Florida State. 2017-18 should be the year the Timberwolves finally are in legit contention for the 8th seed in the West.
New York Knicks
If Phil Jackson and James Dolan weren’t in charge of this franchise then my outlook would be completely different. It is already well known and documented on how those two clowns choose to handle business. Kristaps Porzingis just completed his second year in the league and he is already concerned about the direction of the team. Carmelo Anthony is already on his way out. Get rid of everybody and build from the ground-up New York.
Whew. Building a sparkly new arena does nothing for a franchise that isn’t headed anywhere anytime soon. Even with 2 top 10 picks this year this team is doomed. PACK UP AND LEAVE SACRAMENTO AND THAT SPARKLY NEW ARENA BEHIND. Birmingham, Kansas City, or Seattle maybe?
Solution: Sell Franchise, Relocate, Hope, and Pray
Until Dirk retires, there is only thing that this franchise can do. They need to win and win now. There is only one solution to meet that demand.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have chosen to go in a different direction than the rest of the NBA. To make this happen and acquire Boogie they had to give away some future assets, but down the stretch of the season, it didn’t seem to be that bad of a move. People don’t realize that AD and Boogie are not your natural big men that play together. Both can bring the ball up the floor and space the floor and shoot 3’s as well. If New Orleans can unload the contracts of Solomon Hill and E’Twuan Moore along with resigning Jrue Holiday and bring in some mid-level floor spacers, the Pelicans will be a solid team in the bottom of the Western Conference playoff standings. Stay pat with AD and Boogie.
Michael Michael Michael. You have a created a large dumpster fire in the Queens City. The franchise is strapped down with the contract of Nicolas Batum and others that were overpaid to hopefully contend at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoffs. This experiment needs to be reversed and reversed soon before this franchise slips any further. The Hornets need to sell or either be okay with having late lottery or mid-first round picks. Use your basketball IQ Mr. Jordan.
Stan Van Gundy is at least a man that has realized his mistakes in trying to turn the Detroit Pistons into the Detroit Magic. The idea of Andre Drummond being surrounded by 4 shooters sounded good until teams started ignoring Drummond on the offensive end. Even Dwight Howard averaged over 20 points per game in Van Gundy’s system and was also a better free throw shooter. The Pistons were also rumored to be shopping Drummond and PG Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline. That is a sign for things to come in the Motor City.
Denver has the argument for the highest immediate ceiling along with the Miami Heat. If Mike Malone had have been running the offense through Nikola Jokic from season’s start, the Nuggets could’ve been the recipient of Golden State’s first round sweep and that is not a knock on the franchise. Even if Denver loses Danillo Gallinari to free agency, the team still has enough young pieces to compete for the 8th seed in the Western Conference or maybe even slightly higher next year once this bright young core has another season of seasoning.
It was a tale of 2 halves for the Heat during the 16-17 season. Through the first 41, they were 11-30 and through the back 41, they were 30-11. I expect this team to be more of the later once the 2017-18 season rolls around. They have some uncertainties about resigning guys such as James Johnson and Dion Waiters, but they are set at PG and C with Goran Dragic and Hasaan Whiteside respectively. If Chris Bosh’s contract comes off of their books, then the Heat will be primed with ample cap space to pursue a piece to fit between Dragic and Whiteside. South Beach will be back in the playoff fold come this time 2018.
Written By: Nyck Young