5 NBA teams with the most assets this offseason | Launderer report
0 out of 5
Craig Lassig / Associate press
As the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks had to make deep playoffs, arguably the best part of the playoffs was watching 2020 lottery teams like the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks suddenly take power.
It’s not only fun to see young stars like Trae Young and Devin Booker shine in their first playoffs, but seeing teams turn around so quickly should also give hope to those who missed the playoffs. .
To qualify a team as ‘breakthrough potential’, we ignore cores that have already won a title and / or run deep races together and have simply had a sluggish year (Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors), with an eye on young squads on the rise. Even making the playoffs in 2021 is a fair game for this list, provided there is still significant room for improvement.
These are the five franchises that are expected to show the strongest growth in 2021-22, based on young talent, a draft position and the flexibility to improve the roster during the offseason.
1 of 5
Nell Redmond / Associated press
Record / ranking 2020-21: 33-39, 10th place in the Eastern Conference
Key returning players: PG LaMelo Ball, SG Terry Rozier, SF Gordon Hayward, F Miles Bridges, PF PJ Washington
The Charlotte Hornets were in contention for home advantage in the first round for much of the regular season and were 27-24 on April 9 before ending in a 6-15 skid. Much of this can be attributed to LaMelo Ball’s wrist injury at the end of March and his understandable drop in play after his return on May 1.
Falling out of the playoffs (maybe for the last time in a long time) isn’t so bad, though, as the Hornets will pick 11th in a draft that still has plenty of talent beyond the top 10. Although cross is her greatest need, Charlotte should always aim for the best player available outside of the playmaker.
There’s also a free agency, where the Hornets can free up $ 21 million in cap space by relinquishing Cody Zeller and Malik Monk and bringing back impending restricted free agent Devonte ‘Graham. For a team that needs a new starting center, there should be plenty available (Richaun Holmes, Nerlens Noel, Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell, Serge Ibaka).
While Rozier, 27, and Hayward, 31, represent an offensively dynamic pair of wings in their prime, this list still has plenty of room for internal improvement.
Ball, 6’6 “and rookie of the year, is the type of great playmaker that other guys love to share the field with. His own shot looked long before the wrist injury (45.1% in total, 37.5% out of three), a previous concern before the project.
Bridges recorded 18.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 41.8% from three in 19 starts and looked like a different player next to Ball. Still, he’ll have to serve as a high-flying sixth man with Rozier and Hayward around. Washington can play both power and smallball 5, giving this formation the spacing it needs.
This team will live and die by Ball, but there are plenty of other emerging talent mixed in with playoff-tested veterans that will make a big increase in the East next year.
2 of 5
David Liam Kyle / Getty Images
Record / ranking 2020-21: 22-50, 13th place in the East
Key returning players: SG Collin Sexton, PG Darius Garland, C Jarrett Allen (FRG), SF Isaac Okoro, PF Kevin Love, PF Larry Nance Jr.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the worst team of all on this list, but they are entering the fourth year of a rebuild and have just had the chance to move up to third in the draft.
That means the Cavs can take on Jalen Green or Evan Mobley, both of whom could have an immediate impact while serving as a cornerstone of the squad.
While their record was one of the worst in the NBA last season, the Cavaliers never seemed to have their healthy core together. A starting five consisting of Garland, Sexton, Okoro, Love and Allen has played just seven games all season, posting a surprisingly good net score of plus-4.0 in 85 total minutes. The group are also set to start the 2021-22 season together.
Sexton looked like an All-Star contender early in the campaign, finishing with averages of 24.3 points (fifth among all shooting goaltenders), 3.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals per match. He improved his ball distribution (assists percentage, a career high of 22.6) while hitting more of the free throw line (6.4 attempts per game, up from 4.1 the previous season).
Garland took a big leap forward in his sophomore year, averaging 17.4 points, 6.1 assists, 1.2 steals per game and shooting 39.5 percent out of three. The exchange for Allen, 23, gave Cleveland the rim protector he needed behind a small backcourt, and Okoro looks like he’ll be a locked-down defensive wing over time.
The Cavs will likely still try to trade Love this offseason, but his skills are needed on a team that finished 29th at three. The 32-year-old finally looked healthy at the end of the year, with 17.6 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 51.4% of three shots in his five. last matches.
Give this young core another seasoning year with a top-three pick and some great players (Nance, Taurean Prince, Cedi Osman, Damyean Dotson) and the Cavs have a chance to advance to the playoffs in 2021- 2022.
3 out of 5
Andy Clayton-King / Associated Press
Record / ranking 2020-21: 23-49, 13th place in the Western Conference
Key returning players: C Karl-Anthony Towns, SG Anthony Edwards, PG D’Angelo Russell, SG Malik Beasley, PG Ricky Rubio
While Towns has been the face of the Minnesota Timberwolves for six years, that honor may soon go to Edwards.
A rookie of the year finalist, Edwards is already one of the NBA’s top young scorers and has shown exceptional growth in both his efficiency and his game over the season. In his last eight games, he’s averaged 27.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.0 blocks and shot 52.8% overall and 40.6% of three.
He was already a leader at 19, displaying an intense work ethic and a competitive spirit.
“I don’t see that in rookies, that personality. Ant was just loud and that got him going; that’s the way he is. That’s the way he’s been all season. would do it with Karl-Anthony Towns. ”It didn’t matter if it was Michael Jordan in there; he would be exactly the same person. It’s not personal; he’s just competitive, ”a Timberwolves coach told Bleacher Report.
Injuries didn’t give Wolves a good look at their core, as Towns, Edwards, Russell and Beasley combined to play just 13 minutes together in three games.
The trio of Towns, Edwards and Russell were actually quite good, registering a net rating of plus-4.9 in 327 minutes together. Still, the Minnesota Big Three have shared the floor in just 24 of 72 games, so there are still plenty of unknowns and strengths around the squad.
Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons would be a perfect fit, as he could fill the role of defensive forward and playmaker alongside Towns. If Wolves can get Simmons for a Beasley and Jarrett Culver-based package, they definitely should.
The talent is already in place to make a big jump in the standings, with only experience and good health to stand in the way.
4 out of 5
Brandon Dill / Associated Press
Record / ranking 2020-21: 38-34, 8th in the West
Key returning players: PG Ja Morant, PF Jaren Jackson Jr., SG Dillon Brooks, C Jonas Valanciunas, F Kyle Anderson, G / F Desmond Bane, PF Brandon Clarke
Can a team make a breakthrough if they’ve already reached the playoffs?
If we’re talking about the 2021-22 Memphis Grizzlies, then yes.
Memphis finished four games above .500 despite missing their second-best player for most of the year and half the roster consisted of rookies or sophomores.
Giving that rotation a full year of a healthy Jackson, who suffered from knee problems, should score a few wins and help improve Morant’s game. The 2019-20 Rookie of the Year actually took a step back with his shooting efficiency and assist percentage, although the raw numbers were still good. Morant is set for a big breakthrough in year three with what plans to be the best team around him yet.
While Memphis may be lacking a third “star,” Brooks certainly looked like one in the playoffs. He averaged 25.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 51.5% overall and 40.0% against three against the Jazz. If he can continue to score big and shoot at a high pace from the depths, Memphis will have one of the best backcats in the NBA.
Bane, Clarke and Xavier Tillman have contributed from day one and are only expected to improve over time, and Valanciunas is the vet for the team (at 29) who appears to be in their prime. Able to muscle the best great men in the NBA, he brings tenacity to this young team, is one of the best rebounders in the league and can space the field for Morant and Co.
Don’t be surprised to see Memphis scoring 50 or more wins next season thanks to an All-Star campaign from Morant, and Jackson establishing himself as one of the best young players in the NBA.
5 out of 5
Rusty Costanza / Associated press
Record / ranking 2020-21: 31-41, 11th place in the West
Key returning players: PF Zion Williamson, SF Brandon Ingram, PG Lonzo Ball (RFA), SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, C Steven Adams, G Eric Bledsoe
The New Orleans Pelicans could face the greatest pressure of any team to make a breakthrough, with head coach Stan Van Gundy already out after a season and executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin now probably feeling the heat.
New Orleans can stand ready and count on internal development from Williamson, Ingram, Ball, Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr. and Jaxson Hayes or use some of their impressive collection of draft picks to pitch for a star. .
Damian Lillard would be the dream commercial target, with players like Myles Turner, CJ McCollum and Bradley Beal all looking perfectly suited to help this team advance to the playoffs. The Pelicans own the 10th pick and have four second-round picks in 2021, owe four future first-round picks from the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks with the right to trade three other first-round players.
Looks like pelicans will do Something this offseason to ensure they reach the playoffs, especially given the Athletic report that Williamson’s family members “have expressed their displeasure with the organization.”
With Williamson becoming eligible for the expansion the next offseason, expect the Pelicans to start turning those future picks into a winning assist now.
Advanced statistics via NBA.com and Basketball reference unless otherwise stated.