The NBA season ended a few weeks ago, and we could not have more trade rumors just like that. However, for today I will put those to the side. Today I will be ranking all NBA teams 1-30 based on how good I think they will be next season.
#1 Los Angeles Lakers
The LA Lakers are coming off of an epic title run and will do everything they can before and during the season to repeat. The Lakers have Lebron and AD, and won’t need a good supporting cast to take them to the finals again. However, good support or not, the Lakers will be back to contention whether we like it or not.
#2 Milwaukee Bucks
The team will have the common goal of a title for this season, and that’s to ensure that Giannis resigns. Everyone will be motivated to win in the regular season but will face trouble doing so in the playoffs. This will lead to Giannis leaving in 2021, but a title win could help them keep their star.
#3 Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are in a similar boat to the Lakers. They have their stars, but it’s a question of how to surround them. However, after the second-round exit, there are trade rumors for both Clippers stars. The Clippers could make a move, which will push them to a place where they can contend behind Kawhi, but not PG.
#4 Brooklyn Nets
This ranking’s only variable is KDs return from injury, but I expect it to go well. As long as the Nets make a trade to improve the fit around their stars, Brooklyn should be one of the teams with the highest odds to come home with a Larry O’Brian Trophy.
#5 Golden State Warriors
This also depends on injury recovery, but with successful recoveries and proper use of the #2 overall pick, the Warriors could come back blazing and title contending. However, I am not confident the Warriors will use the pick correctly and lose lots of value, and consequentially, their title.
#6 Dallas Mavricks
With a full season of a healthy Luka Doncic, the Mavs might as well be one of the best teams in the league. The one thing stopping them is the health of their other European star Kristaps Porsignas. With KP healthy, the Mavs could do crazy things, and even mess around and knock off a higher seed come playoff time.
#7 Boston Celtics
The Celtics made it all the way to the conference finals, and I expect them to come close this year. Jayson Tatum is a budding star, and the team has three first-round picks where they should be able to find at least one quality prospect. They won’t win the title next year, but the Celtics should be one of the best teams in the league.
#8 Denver Nuggets
After a crazy bubble from Jamal Murry, we should see the effects of this in his playstyle next season. He will use that bubble as a learning experience on how to improve his game and will surge into all NBA contention. A new and better Jamal Murry and Nikola Jokic should be a top duo out west, and will be a top team come playoff time.
#9 Miami Heat
The Heat will have another season where they don’t finish at the top in the regular season, but come out guns blazing come playoff time. They have the talent to make the deep playoff run that they want too, and keep enough space open to land the Greek Freak in free agency.
#10 Houston Rockets
The Rockets will be the polar opposite of the Heat. They will have a good regular season, but due to their lack of big man on the roster, they will be upset in the first round by an up and coming team. However I doubt this lead ownership to make a blockbuster deal this offseason if it is not for another star.
#11 Portland Trail Blazers
Damien Lillard’s legacy relies heavily on his performance this year. This leads me to expect an MVP caliber season, carrying the Blazers deep into the playoffs. Lillard also solidifies himself as the second-best PG in the NBA behind Curry, and one of the best PGs of all time.
#12 Utah Jazz
After a horrible loss to the Nuggets in 7 games in the bubble, the Jazz will use this season as a revenge tour. Mitchell and Gobert will each have all-star type seasons and hopefully will push the Jazz into the second round.
#13 Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are able to figure things out on the floor, but before it is too late. This will give them a slight record drop from what they could have, but will nonetheless be an issue for teams come playoff time.
#14 Washington Wizards
People don’t expect it, but with a fully healthy team, the Wizards can be a 50 win team in a lucky year. Yes that is lucky, but that is still 50 wins.Beal, Wall and the #9 pick will take this team to the playoffs, and further than most expect.
#15 Toronto Raptors
The Raptors begin their downfall. A year without any star talent will be covered up as a bridge year, but this will make it impossible for the Raptors to sign big-name free agents, therefore wasting a year. They will have to trade their stars and rebuild from scratch.
#16 Memphis Grizzlies
I expect Ja Morant to keep up this level of play, and emerge into a star that teams will hate to go up against. The Grizzlies already have a good young team around their budding star which will help them win games, but not get into the playoffs.
#17 Indiana Pacers
Offseason trades are bound to come of Indiana with all the rumors surrounding Victor Oladio and Myles Turner, but one this is certain. The Pacers won’t be trying to contend next season, and it will show by their inconstancy throughout the year.
#18 New Orleans Pelicans
The Pels have their young core set with Zion, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball, but won’t be able to win as many games due to the team still developing. The small-market Pels won’t look to make any trades and will yet again miss the playoffs.
#19 Phoenix Suns
The Suns could be the most entertaining team to watch in basketball next season with the emergence of Devin Booker and a top 10 pick to work with. However, they will fail to make the playoffs due to the lack of backcourt defense, assuming they do not address it in the draft.
#20 OKC Thunder
The Thunder will likely trade Chris Paul, but nonetheless, they will not be as good as the year prior. A new head coach will not have the same chemistry with the players leading the Thunder to make trades to improve the value of their pick come draft time.
#21 San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs will start their retool this season, as they miss the playoffs for the second time in about 25 years. The Spurs have the talent to succeed on a nightly basis, but not enough talent to succeed consistently, leading them into another offseason where they can try (and fail) to make a splash.
#22 Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks will have to wait another season before they contend. The team as of now does not have a backcourt defender next to Trae young if they don’t get one with the 6th pick in the draft, which will lead them to a losing record in the 2020-2021 season.
#23 Chicago Bulls
With new head coach Billy Donovan running things in the windy city, more wins are going to come in than in previous years. However he does not have what he had in Oklahoma City, and Chicago will miss the playoffs yet again.
#24 Cleveland Cavaliers
With Drummond back, the Cavs should be able to make a playoff run. However, Kevin Love will have regressed to the point where he is not as good but will play minutes he does not deserve, leading him to be traded to a team that can maximize his abilities.
#25 Minnesota Timberwolves
The T-Wolves will have a good team, but the majority of the players will be still developing their defensive games. The Timberwolves might be fun to watch, but the win total will not be pretty.
#26 Orlando Magic
I expect Nikola Vuccavic to have a large down-year, and with the absence of Jonathan Issac and the trade rumors around Aaron Gordon, the Magic are cooking up a recipe for disaster.
#27 New York Knicks
The Knicks will be awful next season but will win games due to the home crowd propelling the team to victory. The Knicks young talent however could surprise and land the Knicks a shot with some top FAs coming 2021.
#28 Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets will have the third overall pick, but they sadly will not be able to contribute right away to a Hornets team that looks like this.. Trades will have to be made for the Hornets to even think about a playoff spot, but the Hornets will end up in the lottery regardless.
#29 Sacramento Kings
The Kings will be lead to the top of the lottery by DeAaron Fox this season, and Marvin Bagley III, who is only known for going before Luka. The Kings will get another chance at a star in the draft, but without clarity in the front office, the pick could easily get botched.
#30 Detroit Pistons
The Pistons are in a state of deep pain. They are plagued by Blake Griffin’s bad contract and have no talent other than the 7th overall pick to build around. The small market Pistons will need some luck in their future if they want playoff basketball in Michigan over the next few years.