In the next two days, the fans of 22 NBA teams will get to see them play for a chance at the title in the NBA Bubble in Orlando. What does that mean for the other eight fan bases to look forward to? The future. These teams may not compete for a championship this year, but they can prepare for next season. Here are outlooks for these franchises going forward from here:
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors would struggle without their best two players due to injuries (Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson). They ended the season with a 15-50 record placing them dead last in the Western Conference. This draft possibly could help them reload their team with more talent and make another title run next season. They are projected to receive the number one pick in this year’s draft which will give them the pick of the litter at talent.
Many draft boards say they could possibly take LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman. In this case, Wiseman will be the most practical pick for them. Golden State has a solidified backcourt for years to come and it would be more beneficial to add a 7-foot-1 center that averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in college. However, no matter who they pick in the draft, there’s no question they could definitely be title contenders next season.
Once again the Cavaliers are in rebuilding mode after Lebron’s departure to the Lakers. They’ve not been able to turn the corner and their last two seasons have not been good. The Cavs have picked some decent talent in the draft over the last two years such as Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. and Collin Sexton.
It’s been very difficult for the Cavs to land star players by trade or free agency over the years but they were able to land Andre Drummond earlier this year by trade.
With one year left on his contract, Drummond decided to opt-in and will play for Cleveland next season. However, will they play good enough to convince him to stay? That’s where the draft comes in. Cleveland is projected to be the second pick in the draft. Depending on who the warriors pick the Cavs will have to get the next best player on the board which could range from LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman as well.
Five years ago the Bulls were in the playoffs and had a superstar in Jimmy Butler who looked to become the new face of the Bulls for years to come. Fast forward to present day, the Bulls have been struggling since Butler’s departure and have been trying to rebuild. The Bulls have done most of their work in the draft and they have gotten some talent in the process.
Draft picks such as Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Coby White look to be solid talents for the team for years to come. The acquisition of Zach Lavine turned out to be a win for the Bulls as well. Lavine in his last two years has averaged over 23 points and is shooting 38 percent from three. As the draft comes late into October, the Bulls are projected to land the seventh pick in the draft. Isaac Okoro and Obi Toppin could be good fits if picked by them. Free agency can also be pivotal for Chicago if they can sign some veteran players to the roster as well. Chicago could be turning the corner sooner than people think.
Timberwolves have had up and down seasons for a while now. Either they barely make the playoffs or just miss them. This year wasn’t one of their best years and they ended this season with only 19 wins. However, there’s still some upside for their future. The Timberwolves have two solid All-Star caliber players in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell that they can build around.
Minnesota is projected with the same odds as Golden State and Cleveland with the best chance at the first pick in the draft. No matter who they draft, they will most likely get plenty of playing time and could have an immediate impact on the court. However, the work does not stop there. Minnesota will have to look to sign more talent during this free agency as well. With a stacked Western Conference, this team needs to get better quickly or their playoff hopes will dwindle away.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have been in rebuild mode for a minute now. They have drafted many players in the last couple of years and some have not materialized well as others. However, there is hope.
The Knicks have a bunch of young players such as R.J Barrett, Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson that could become pivotal pieces in a few years. The draft this year gives them a chance as well to garner more young talent as well. Depending on which pick they receive, they could possibly land any player from James Wiseman, Tyrese Haliburton or Oneyga Okongwu. It will be interesting to see who Tom Thibideau, their new head coach, will pick and how will the team perform under his tutelage next season.
The Hawks have not improved record-wise, but their play seems to be going in the right direction. Trae Young became an All-Star starter this year and players such as John Collins and Jabari Parker had solid seasons as well. However, the Hawks ended up being back in the lottery again this year. Any player they draft could help produce wins, but it won’t be enough to contend. The front office will have to try to sign some big-name players or veteran free agents in the offseason. Possibly one of their new guys such as Kevin Huerter or Cam Reddish could break out and become the next member of the Hawks’ core. All in all, Atlanta will improve next year, but the question is by how much?
The Pistons have seemed to be going in a bad direction as of late. This year was rough for them including losing key players such as Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. Derrick Rose is getting older and Blake Griffin will most likely test free agency waters soon if they can’t get any talent around him. The front office will need to figure out if they will keep Griffin or trade him and start building up their roster for the future.
Draft wise, the Pistons have their eyes on many guard prospects this year. Cole Anthony seems to be a name floating around their draft boards and his potential is through the roof. What better player to teach him the ropes of the league than the youngest MVP in the league’s history? In conclusion, Detroit’s playoff chances seem to be bleak for next year but anything is possible for the future.
The Hornets’ first season after the Kemba Walker era can be summed up as a decent one. What can you expect when you lose the best player your organization has had for almost a decade? Fans should feel disappointed but very optimistic about the team’s future. For example, the Hornets finished this season with a 23-42 record, which is not great. However, they were only a game behind the Wizards, who qualified for the NBA Bubble.
Besides, the Hornets may have found a gem in Devonte’ Graham. Graham, a second-round pick in 2018, ended up earning a position in the starting lineup while leading the teams in points (18.2 points per game).
Terry Rozier‘s first season in Charlotte went well also while averaging 18 points per game in his new starting role. The Hornets consist of many talented young players, but they will need much more than that to contend for the playoffs next year. Expect Charlotte to try trading for veteran players in the offseason or make a splash in the draft for a big name player.