Can we think of a team that is in rebuilding mode that needs to dump a veteran to a playoff contender other than the Suns? How Tyson Chandler is still on this team entering the season is unbelievable. It’s like daring someone to run up to Kevin Johnson, put a pie in his face, and not expect to get beaten to a bloody pulp. Having Eric Bledsoe is a luxury and your best trade asset. Bledsoe is lightning fast with the ball in his hands, great at getting to the rim, can set up the sharp shooting Devin Booker for open threes at will, and plays good perimeter defense. If Phoenix plays their cards right, you will receive a very nice return for Bledsoe. Not all is lost this season; the fourth overall pick Dragen Bender is ready to breathe fire on the league and make you realize that white European stretch five centers can make it, unlike Andrea Bargnani. Bender is the next Kristaps Porzingis except for a better passer but not the shooter Porzingis is.
Will owner Robert Sarver ever realize he has infected this organization with his stench that we should expect an all out mutiny by the players? The proof is not too far to look at who the head coach is. Earl Watson has his hands tied and overmatched, and it’s not even training camp yet. The only thing he can do is say “Screw it let’s just fling threes and hope for the best” This will be the only way Watson won’t lose control of the locker room and have another Markieff Morris situation on their hands. Expect to see this team come up with a decent offense and get torched all season on defense. This will lead to a 26-56 record and the cellar of the Pacific Division.
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to team turmoil. It’s unspeakable to see this team play and think to yourself that you don’t even see a division three team ran this way. The co GM’s for the Kings are legends Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. This duo is so unprepared to be NBA GM’s they make the three stooges look smart. Sacramento is so dysfunctional that if they were playing in your city and were offered tickets, you would rather take knitting classes while listening to Jewel than watch them play. In a league where point guard is the deepest position in the league, all you can muster up is Darren Collison?? Really?? You might as well trot out Michael-Carter Williams and alienate your fan base that this guy can lead you to the playoffs.
Not even the Spurs GM RC Buford could fix this roster if he took it over tomorrow. If he did, then he would trade Rudy Gay to Philly for Nerlens Noel and a first-round pick. Offer Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore to the Blazers for Allen Crabbe. Trade Darren Collison Skal Labissiere and two first-round picks for Goran Dragic. This would provide you a lineup of Goran Dragic, Allan Crabbe, Omri Casspi, DeMarcus Cousins and Noel. With backups like Matt Barnes, Ty Lawson, Arron Affalo, and Willie Cauley-Stein, this roster would have a purpose. Instead, this team is due for another season of an explosion ready to happen for everyone to see this time in front of a brand new arena. Expect a record of 28-54 and 4th place finish in the division.
Los Angeles Lakers:
Finally, the Lakers can move on from one era to usher in a new one. It’s rare we see a team hire a coach that fits the team he inherits. In Luke Walton, the Lakers hired the right guy to install a free flowing offense that will pay dividends over time especially for De Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram who this team is built on. The Lakers will show It’s youth a lot this season but expect to see stretches, where this team will play like the crystal ball, is right in front of you if this core stays together.
You can thank the new NBA of why the Lakers signed Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng to big inflated contracts. These are stopgaps until this roster matures and turns into what it should look like in 2 years. Don’t believe in the latest trade rumor that the Lakers would send Nick Young and Lou Williams to Sacramento for a one year rental of Rudy Gay. This would be a bad move for the Lakers to trade for Gay, it would make it awkward pairing Gay with Deng and Ingram who all play the same position and would stunt the growth of Ingram when you want him to spread his wings. Why not just build around Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Ingram. The rest is just cannon fodder around them if you follow this and don’t trade for Gay you will have a 31-51 record and not fighting for the eight seed just to get demolished by the Warriors in the 1st round it will be a win-win.
Los Angeles Clippers:
There might not be another team in the west under so much pressure to improve with the last season potentially you will see this core together like the Clippers. This veteran-laden roster they will be able to matchup with anybody in the league and yes including Golden State. Blake Griffin has the most to prove this season if he is worth the price tag he will command on the open market. If he has an average season, he will be in the Bradley Beal and DeMarr DeRozan discussion of overpaid contracts that might bite their respective team in the ass.
Doc Rivers did a good job putting the right mix of veterans on this team where there is no excuse why the Clippers can’t be in the Western Conference Finals come next May. If this team fails to reach that round of the playoffs, expect this team to be blown up and have a hard, painful rebuilding process centered on De Andre Jordan. But, for now, let’s enjoy this big three together with good veteran presence and outside shooting that you need to spread the offense. The Clippers will be 56-26 2nd in the division and a #3 seed in the West just behind San Antonio.
Golden State Warriors:
Everything that has needed to go right for the Warriors has since drafting Steph Curry in the 2009 NBA draft. Where Minnesota GM David Kahn had the thought of pairing Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn together would be a tandem backcourt until the end of time. Warriors fans should be sending Kahn Christmas cards every year thanking him for his stupidity. On top of that, two off-season’s ago the Klay Thompson for Kevin Love trade discussion was so rampant that the deal came close to becoming reality. With Jerry West saying no way to this and the hiring of Steve Kerr to make this offense go. The Warriors haven’t looked back while taking the league by storm in record fashion.
Let’s not kid ourselves here the addition of former MVP Kevin Durant to join this fearsome foursome is unprecedented. The league might have to change rules for teams to be more creative to put something like this together again. Coaches are going to have nightmares on who to leave open night in and night out. This is a pick your poison scenario if you cover Steph and Klay Thompson then Durant and Draymond Green will torch you on the inside.
If you smother Durant and worry about Draymond, then Curry and Thompson are ready to reign threes until you’re pounded into submission. With no real way to guard this team, expect the Warriors to cruise to a 66-16 record the Pacific Division title and the top seed heading into the playoffs.