1. Golden State. Their ability to shoot the ball and the young core of Curry, Thompson, Barnes in the playoffs showed that they should be a formidable opponent and have a bright future for the next several years. The lose of Jack and Landry will hurt significantly but the addition of AI will help with his defensive and passing abilities. I was not high on Barnes at all before the draft but am absolutely in love with him now. I am really excited about him as a player and how good he can be in a few years. He and Thompson should take another step in their development as players, pushing GS high in the rankings in the loaded West. Bogut's $14 mil comes off the books after this year so they will have some flexibility, but also saving money to hang onto Thompson/Barnes in the near future. I personally wouldn't trust Bogut and move his expiring contract, and go after Asik. Pairing Asik and AI's defense along with the scoring/shooting ability of Curry/Thompson/Barnes would be nice! Whatever they do, Mark Jackson's squad should be one of the league's best.
2. Cleveland. Kyrie Irving is quickly ascending into one of the top point guards in the league, and that might be an understatement. Along with Uncle Drew the Cavs have a number of young, talented, high drafts picks that they are banking on. Waiters proved that he can score. Thompson played much better last year and I am hearing really good things about his progress over the summer in terms of his post moves, extending his range, and an improved strength. On top of Kyrie and Waiters they bring in 3 other guys who are known for scoring, Jack, a proven veteran, and two rookies in Bennett and Saric. I wouldn't pay $ to Bynum but he is one of the best big men in the league when healthy*** They might not even make the playoffs this year like Gilbert has promised but adding a lottery pick in 2014 would only make this loaded roster of talented youngster's future even brighter.
3. Orlando. After this year Orlando will no longer be paying Gilbert Arenas as the highest paid player in the league so that alone should brighten their outlook. In addition to that, they also have an extremely young talented roster thanks to secretly winning the Howard trade. Vucevic showed some incredible rebounding skills, and versatility with the ability to excel on both sides of the floor. Still only 22, he too could be one of the best bigs in a few years. Harris and Harkless look to be also really promising and seem to compliment each other well with Harris scoring and Harkless slashing. And if they land a top pick in 2014.... And then Oladipo's work ethic allows him to reach anywhere close to his lofty comparison of D Wade.....Forget it! Andrew Nicholson is also solid, and I am a huge fan of Kyle O'Quinn as well.
4. New Orleans. I thought Philly was crazy for moving Holiday, especially with that contract in today's market. A Holiday-Davis two man game could be incredible for years. This is the main reason why they get the last spot here. They would probably be higher had they drafted ANYONE other than Austin Rivers last year. Also hoping they can move Gordon so they can avoid paying a max deal for someone who plays 0 to 60 games a season. They still have moves to make but I love the Holiday-Davis combo going forward.
What other teams do you like moving forward?
I like what they did this off-season as long as they can retain Pekovic. I am very happy that they kept Buddinger around and will sign Martin in the next few days. Bazz and Dieng won't be major impact rookies but they have roles on the team and the Wolves are as deep as they have ever been. Maybe the best moves were getting rid of Kahn and Adelman deciding to stay on with his wife in good health. The players lost hundreds of games due to injury last year so with a healthy Love, Rubio and Coach while being done with the Roy experiment I think they are going to have a huge improvement over last year.
Monroe and Drummond as a front court? That's deadly! Not to mention they've drafted Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Knight. Pistons look like they'll be a good team in the future.
But Greg Monroe is going to be an amazing player in the league.
Hopefully Josh Smith doesn't ruin it
OP The Cavs drafted Sergey Karasev not Dario Saric in the first round. Saric pulled out of the draft.
I agree with you assessment overall on teams who should rapidly improve this season.
I'd add the Washington Wizards if they stay healthy. The Wizards were horrid last season until John Wall came back and after that they started showing some real promise as a team. They also got lucky in the lottery scoring the number three pick which they used on Otto Porter who should play right away for them and be a key piece for the future.
Wow, yes, Karasev not Saric. Also said lose instead of loss.... I do a lot of dumb things.
Wall is a true talent but Beal doesn't do much for me, solid but nothing special. I like Porter even less. They have a solid roster and could make the playoffs this year but I don't see them changing the landscape of the league or truly contending like the other teams on my list might, despite Wall's talents.
@Toronto I recently wrote a thread about how I know think Drummond will bust ( http://nbadraft.net/forum/andre-drummond-showing-why-he-slipped ). Monroe is a nice player but not a fan of his defense. Brandon Knight, ehhh. I do however like KCP, and he has shown some flashes despite struggling mightily with his shot. I would be very leery if I were a Pistons fan. Leery of the young talent, the GM, and Josh Smith's effort on a nightly basis after receiving a big $ contract.
Any team that adds Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins lol.
Sorry but can't stop myself from hyping up my favourite team :P
The Blazers biggest problems last year were their interior defense and lack of depth off the bench. To address this, they've added Robin Lopez in place of JJ Hickson, who, although isn't a great player, will be perfect for them as the 5th option on offense and a defensive presence on the inside.
To shore up their depth, they let most of their bench players go and replaced them with C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Thomas Robinson and Dorell Wright. These guys, along with 2nd year players Joel Freeland, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton, give the Blazers some newfound solid depth at every position off the bench.
These roster changes as well as the fact that Lillard will be in his 2nd year in the league should lead the Blazers to a lower playoff seed in the Western Conference and possible 2nd round appearance like the Warriors managed last season.
They would probably be in my 5th spot but I just didn't add them in, probably because I don't believe in LA. I thought they would make the playoffs last year, but I forgot to look at their bench. You are right they upgraded in that area immensely. Meyers Leonard looked like he got even bigger and stronger over the off season. Big fan of WilltheThrill5. Lillard is working with Gary Payton over the off season and he looks like he will be a really special player. Covering him and McCollum at the same time will be tough, but they might have a tough time getting a lot of minutes together because of their lack of size and potential defensive liabilities playing in the same backcourt. I have always loved Batum but don't see him making vast improvements to his game. Same with Matthews. Very solid team but they might be in NBA hell- just good enough not to get a chance at a franchise changer in the draft, and not good enough to truly contend for an NBA title.
I really don't like the way cleveland is handling things... They could do more.
they have luck in lottery but really failed their draft. Waiters, Bennett, thompson should be good players but they missed Barnes Valanciunas McLemore who seems to have more potential and more complementarity.
Bennett and THompson both play PF... so one of them is going to be dealt or underdevelopped. The FA brings Jack... but he's a 29 year old PG (as Irving) who will cost 26 for the next 4 seasons. And they wan tto spend... excuse me... waste, 24M on an always injured demotivate Bynum.
they also got very interesting early 2nd round picks (valuable, senior proven players or players with great potential sliding...) in the last 2 draft and waste them.
This year they got rid of Crabbe who would have been a really interestnig complementary piece (3pts and shooting skills are more and more important in the nba) and forgot withey, rice, mitchell, franklin, ledo, wolters...
Last year they waste 24 / 33 / 34 to get zeller at 17 (sullinger was available)... even if Zeller is a solid role player he could have been available at 24 and could have drafted : ezeli, green, taylor, perry jones, O'Quinn, Lamb.
so after year 1 of waiters and zeller you not gone wait to see how good they can be? Also, this year bennet i agree may or mat not be the small forward they want him to be but he does have decent ball handling skills, and he does have a decent jumper which isnt better or worse than most players at his position in this draft. No draft is perfect, also no organization can get every pick they want or no how good that guy will be in the nba until they play and are given atleast 2 seasons or 3 to develop. Instead of using the word waste i think it would be more positive to wait for the season. Alos, did you just use the word waste on jack, a proven player? The cavs switched up the backup pg so much this past season, jack atleast, is a solid backup thats going to ensure good ball flow when irving is out the game. He also will be a solid pg if they decide to ever play irving with him at the 2.
You could even go really small for short stretches to put a little pressure and switch it up with a lineup of Irving, Jack, Waiters, Bennett, Thompson. Or play Irving, Jack, Waiters together with any of the big combos. That could be fun.
So, what JYD is saying is that they could have Kyrie-McLemore-Barnes-Sullinger-Valanciunas.
There are some players, in retrospect, I may have preferred instead. Personally, I'd have liked Klay Thompson and Andre Drummond instead of Dion and Tristan. In that case, it'd be Kyrie-Klay-Karasev/Clark-Bennett-Drummond. But I still like the roster a lot the way it is.
If Cleveland gets lucky once to sign Bynum and lucky again that he's healthy, the depth in the post looks good: Tristan, Varejao, Bennett, Bynum, Zeller. The guards are Kyrie, Dion, Jack, Karasev, Clark. I hear they may still add another guard.
New Orleans, Cleveland (if they get a high draft pick next year and possibly get Jabari/Wiggins), Washington, and Orlando are the biggest ones to me. For me it all depends on if any of these teams can land Wiggins, Parker, or Randle. I think they could put any of these teams over the hump into future contenders. Normally I would say Charlotte but as weird as this may sound, I think the Al Jefferson signing potentially set them back for years. IMO, this roster has the potential to be a 30+ win team that lands the 9th or 10th spot in the East, which means they would most likely be out of the top 3 picks next draft. If they over-achieve, they could be without a true superstar on their team for years, putting them in NBA purgatory (see: Milwaukee, Dallas, Portland)