NBA: Teams that Progressed, Regressed, and stayed the same post-2018 offseason

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NBA: Teams that Progressed, Regressed, and stayed the same post-2018 offseason

David Guard, Writer / Editor

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This is an unbiased list, based only off of acquisitions, losses, and re-signings of the 2018 NBA off season. Taken into account was contracts, talents, wasted space, and depths of the teams.

 

Progressed: Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks,  Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards

The Los Angeles Lakers made the biggest splash in free agency, adding the King LeBron James to a 4 year deal, along with going out to get 5 free agents to help bolster the talent around James. However, being number one on the progressed list doesn’t mean they’ll be taking control of the West. Expect to see them in the 5-10th seed. The undeniably great Golden State Warriors also made a splash, signing possibly the best Center in the league over the past five years in Demarcus Cousins. Although coming off of a season-ending left Achilles injury, the gain of a center that can control the paint on both ends has been the only thing holding back Golden State in the past. The ceiling has risen for a team considered by many a dynasty. My sleeper pick out East is Indiana, who replaced Lance Stephenson, Glenn Robinson and Al Jefferson with Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott and Kyle O’quinn, essentially upgrading in three positions around star Victor Oladipo who is only going to get better.

Regressed: Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets (Still #2 out West), Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors

Chicago would be in the progressed list, if they didn’t dish out huge contracts to Zach Lavine and Jabari Parker while not having an established star or leader. The talent is undeniable, drafting Wendell Carter Jr. was fantastic, and young Lauri Markkanen will only improve. But the power forward spot is overcrowded, and there’s only 48 minutes in a game. Parker can be slid down to Small Forward, but will be beat out by smaller, faster competition. The season will be interesting in Chi-town. Meanwhile, out west, Houston didn’t make any splashes in free agency, and although their talent is also undeniable, the still regressed. Losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute takes away defense from an already weak defensive team. The Rockets now rely wholly on their offense. That’s not too bad with Chris Paul amd James Harden at the helm. Still, I predict they sit between 2-5 in the Western conference once the playoffs start. The most polarizing and biggest trade in the off season, San Antonio Spurs dealing an unhappy Kawhi Leonard and veteran Danny Green to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a protected 2019 first round pick. The Spurs also drafted Lonnie Walker IV, while Toronto signed Greg Monroe. The winner of the trade seems to be Toronto, who will easily be a top 3 team in the east if Leonard is back to his old form. Yet, San Antonio got a good young guy in the draft, and a future first rounder. Also, they got All-NBA talent DeRozan to team with LaMarcus Aldridge, who will lead them to the 4-8th seed in the West. Only time will tell who really won this trade.

Same: Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies (Close to progress), Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns

The Memphis Grizzlies added Jaren Jackson Jr., possibly the best player in this draft class, and they added some smart veterans. But, with Marc Gasol going into his contract year, and both he and Mike Conley coming back from injury, the road back to the playoffs seem nearly impossible in the stacked Western conference. The Miami Heat signed no one, lost no one, and re-signed four players, the only notable one being Dwyane Wade. They go into the season with the same roster that only won one game in an early first-round exit. Their only hope is that time, development and good halth will affect change in their locker room, and on the court.