here is my latest nba entry on my blog... man am i bored LOL
As we come to the end of the 2007-2008 NBA season, I have begun to think about the “worst” teams in the league and their prospects for next year. I hope to begin a discussion about how these teams might fair next season as I evaluate their rosters and possible draft picks as well as coaching changes.
So here are the bottom 7 teams and their records last season:
I will start with the Heat and work up the list.
Miami Heat – Coach – Erik Spoelstra
A look at the Heat depth chart reveals a huge injury issue with this team that struggled with a consistent rotation all season. They ended the season with Dwyane Wade, Shawn Marion, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright and Alonzo Mourning all on the injury list. As a group they lost 168 games to injury creating a huge hole in every position except point guard where Jason Williams was the leading player in games played at 67. The only player on the roster to play in 82 games this season was Ricky Davis, and he is an unrestricted free agent after this season averaging a little more than 3 points a game below his career average.
So here is what I see by position with the Heat.
At Center they have a huge hole after trading away Shaq and not really having a true backup with Mourning hopefully retiring and the options being small centers at best. Earl Barron at 7’ 0” but only 245 pounds is too small to play a consistent role as a back to the hoop center and found himself behind Mark Blount who probably should be a PF not a Center.
Here is the Heat starting 5 as I see them next season
PG – Derrick Rose – 2nd overall pick in the 2008 draft! Will fit in very well.
SG – Dwyane Wade
SF – Ricky Davis – unless he signs and leaves
PF – Shawn Marion
C – Mark Blount
I think the biggest problem areas they have right now are in the SF and C positions. With no assurance that Ricky Davis will return, the are very thin with Stephane Lasme and Dorell Wright. If they can find a free agent Center along the lines of a Jamaal Magloire, the starting rotation would become very solid in every position. With Shawn Marion entering his option year, I suspect the heat will look to re-sign, but with Carlos Boozer a restricted free agent, one can only imagine what this team would look like with him in the front court. Or perhaps they will pursue a SF to replace Ricky and a guy like Ira Newble would look good in this lineup.
Miami will have a difficult off-season as they wait to see how their free agent situation pans out and how they recover from their many serious injuries. I sure hope that Dwyane will come back 100% next year and not suffer through a partially healed shoulder again.
Well, the biggest issue for this team is found in this news report:
The Clippers hope they won't have to go back to square one this summer, but two major obstacles lie in the way -- securing the organization's future with forwards Elton Brand and Corey Maggette.
Both players are eligible to opt out of the final year of their respective contracts. In the case of Brand, he is due to make $16.44 million in 2008-09. Maggette is on the books for $7 million.
The possibility of this team losing BOTH franchise quality players would devastate this fragile franchise next season.
Here is another team that suffered huge losses due to injuries with Elton Brand recovering from Achillies tendon damage and C Chris Kaman missing 26 games this season as well while having a career season which took 13 points a game off the board while leaving them Paul Davis at Center, which can’t be a good thing.
Assuming that both Brand and Maggette back, here is the starting 5 for this team:
With the 7th pick they are projected to take either a SF in Danilo Gallinari from Italy, or Russell Westbrook, a SG from UCLA. We see that either of these would be chosen on the assumption of losing either Brand or Maggette. With Brevin Knight at backup PG and Al Thornton at backup SF those positions are solid and any additions would create a very good level of depth as Knight matures. Nick Fazekis is a free agent (restricted) and could be a good addition to any trade they might attempt this off-season.
IF the Clippers can solidify the Mobley Maggette issue, they could be a more consistent team unless injuries hit them again taking out Kaman and Livingston after a quick start and Brand only playing 8 games.
Knicks – Coach – Mike D’Antoni
Here is an organization in total disarray with no focus for the past 2 seasons while it seemed all news was about the coach Isaiah Thomas and the media frenzy that has surrounded him since he almost destroyed the Raptors.
Bringing in Mike D’Antoni instantly commits this team to an offense that will be explosive and exciting. And as we have seen, they will win a lot of games! The question becomes how long will it take the team to clean out the dead wood and bring in some consistent players. With Stephon Marbury able to opt out this off – season, Nate Robinson would probably become the starting PG but at 5’ 9”, he would be seriously out matched against most PG’s on a nightly basis. With the 6th overall pick, they are projected to get either Eric Gordon, a 6’ 2” PG/SG from Indiana or O.J. Mayo, 6’ 5” From USC. I bet Mike would love to get his hands on O.J. but Eric Gordon would fit well also playing either an SG or a PG position and O.J. would make a great PG replacement for the well-worn Marbury who seems to have run his course in New York. If the Grizz take the projected top C in the draft, then O. J. could fall to number 6 and the Knicks. If, as has been rumoured, LeBron James were to show up in 2010, this team would be set to run and score a lot of points!
Here is my projected starting 5 for the Knicks:
I am assuming that Marbury gets no offers and walks away to sign a free agent contract with someone like the Nets, wouldn’t him and Vince Carter look great whining together! Mike has a lot of work to do but has a lot of role players that the top teams would love to have on their bench and could get a few young players to develop in anticipation of 2010.
This team will still need a pass first guard and I suspect the Knicks will make the deal that will bring someone like Dee Brown to the team. Imagine that trio of guards in the Knicks back-court – O.J., Jamal, and Dee Brown. Very solid young running players, the kind of backcourt D’Antoni loves. Not sure anyone can run the O like Steve Nash did, but he would love to have Dee Brown’s energy and shooting. I suspect this team won’t lose 59 games next year.
Timberwolves – Coach – Randy Wittman
This young team has some young, talented players in Randy Foye, Corey Brewer, and Al Jefferson. A new coach and an off-season to blend this team that lost Kevin Garnett but has some young budding Stars on it will help them become respectable on a night to night basis. With the 3rd overall draft pick they are projected to get Brook Lopez. A 7’0” center from Stanford which would allow Al Jefferson to move to PF and become a very tough matchup against most western conference teams.
Here is the projected starting 5 as I see them:
With a new coach and a new system, this team will have challenges, but trading Antoine Walker for say a Jamaal Magloire would give this team a solid Center and allow the kid to grow a bit before starting. This team will struggle the first half of the year I suspect as the front court finds its structure and roles. This team could have a +.500% second half.
Grizzlies - Coach – Marc Iavaroni
Here is a team that lost its star player in Pau Gasol, its PG in Damon Stoudemire and is in recovery mode. With Rudy Gay coming into his own, this team is very thin up front. Darko Milicic and Hakim Warrick do not inspire much fear in any team in this league and together offer up 18 ppg. That is not good enough to win more than 25 games at any level of basketball. This team needs help up front and would find it in the 5th over all pick with either Kevin Love of UCLA or Brook Lopez if the T’Wolves pass on him. Either would be a good fit with Rudy Gay and take pressure off the back court to score 50 points a game to win! Even picking up Anthony Randolph would be a great pick as he would provide a rebounding presence up front.
I will work with the Grizz getting Kevin Love to replace the motion that Pau Gasol took with him for the starting 5.
Who knows, maybe someone will want Kwame Brown and make a deal for him and they pick up a true center. I am sure the Grizz are hoping that Lopez falls to #5 for them. This team will struggle next season as they recover from the loss of Gasol. The future looks better than next year as they need a mobile Center who can score. There aren’t many around at this point. I see a few deals being made to shore up the front court and give Rudy some help.
Bucks – Coach – Scott Skiles
This team should have won a lot more games this past season with Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut and Mo Williams and Charlie Villanueva, this team had injury issues and suffered through a very tough season. A new coach will bring a defensive energy to this team that will refocus them and allow the front court to provide the interior game that is potentially available. Mo Williams and Michael Redd offer a solid back court and with Ramon Sessions able to play either effectively, this team is solid on the back court. With the 8th overall pick, the Bucks should be able to land a solid SF prospect in Anthony Randolph or perhaps a Joe Alexander who would both provide a nice 3rd option up front and provide the Bucks a threat in the SF position. Projected by some to take Danilo Gallinari who has been compare to Hedo Turkoglu in talent and play sense.
Here is the starting 5 as I see them:
PG – Mo Williams
SG – Michael Redd
SF - Danilo Gallinari
PF – Charlie Villanueva
C – Andrew Bogut
This team has solid players and strong backups in the guard positions. It will need to strengthen the front court behind Charlie and Bogut to become solid with a bench that can compete as the falloff is too great. I suspect this team could make a couple minor deals to strengthen the bench with a vet or two.
SuperSonics – Coach – P. J. Carlisimo
Kevin Durant leads this team that struggled with youth at times. P.J. has little to work with beyond KD and Nick Collison. Luke Ridinour has spots of brilliance, but seems to be content with being in the NBA most nights. With no real Center, this team will need to shore up the middle to allow Durant the room he will need to patrol the paint and attack the rim. If they can do that, he could become a 25+ ppg player very easily.
With the 4th pick overall, the Sonics are projected to take PG Jarryd Bayless who can probably start at either back court spots. What they still will need is some power up front. Maybe they will sign someone like Jamaal Magloire to help, but unless they find a true center, this team will struggle a lot next season.
Here is my starting 5: