Honourable mention: Golden State Warriors
“What!? Honourable mention only!?” I hear you saying.
Yes, I have decided not to dedicate three of four stanzas to the Golden State Warriors, simply because it would be insulting to your intelligence.
This team could very well be the greatest of all time. Anything could happen really. But I highly doubt there has ever been a more interesting team in NBA history.
While their lineup has not gone through as many changes as some of the teams listed below, the Atlanta Hawks may have just built a solid NBA contender behind everyone’s backs.
Their biggest addition of the off-season was quite clearly Dwight Howard form the Houston Rockets. Whether or not you think Howard or last season’s starter Al Horford is the better centre, what can be agreed on is that they are drastically different, and change the complex of the team completely.
Another poignant addition Atlanta made, this time through subtraction, was the trade that sent Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers, freeing up Dennis Schroder to start at point guard.
Schroder averaged good numbers in 20 minutes per game last year, and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to an expanded role, no less next to one of the NBA’s best pick and roll players in Dwight Howard.
Chicago Bulls fans would still be wondering what just happened in regards to their off-season.
It seemed as if they were committed to a “renovation”, parting ways with former MVP Derrick Rose, but opportunism got the best of them and they quickly added veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade next to Jimmy Butler.
The dynamics on the perimeter in Chicago will certainly be interesting. “Streaky” would be generous in describing the shooting traits of this trio, and who exactly will control the majority of the ball is anyone’s guess.
Well done to general manager Gar Forman for daring to be terribly bad in order to be good. It is this kind of resourcefulness that breeds success in professional sports.
It seems everyone has a different take on what a super team really is. Golden State has undoubtedly built one. D Rose seems to think his New York Knicks have. But I think the Minnesota Timberwolves have done so also.
No, not everyone in this Minnesota lineup is an NBA superstar (yet). Karl-Anthony Towns is quite clearly leader of the wolf pack. But with Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and others, this is as close to a “super team” that a GM would be looking to assemble in free agency of 2021.
Keeping this team together later down the track will be another matter entirely. For now, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride that the Timberwolves have (very slowly) assembled.
The time for endless years of tanking is over. With Tom Thibodeau on board, it looks like this team is finally ready to actually compete.
New York Knicks
I mentioned earlier that Derrick Rose thought his new team, New York, had assembled the next great NBA super team. A very bullish statement, considering what was put together at the Warriors this off-season.
Between all the laughter of mooted 82 win seasons by the former MVP, you’d still be hard pressed to find an NBA fan who isn’t at least mildly intrigued to see how this squad pans out.
Carmelo Anthony is playing with what is arguably his best team since he partnered Allen Iverson at the Denver Nuggets all those years ago. Alongside Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, he will hopefully get the required assistance on both ends of the floor.
Interesting also will be how Jeff Hornacek deals with this collection of talent. Phil Jackson seems to remain committed to running the triangle offence, but does he have the pieces to do so? As GM, he seems to have created more questions than answered this off-season.
No list previewing the 2016-17 NBA season would be complete without at least discussing the Philadelphia 76ers. They have finally added a transcendent NBA talent in Ben Simmons, and coupled with the impending debut of Joel Embiid, you’ve got a very watchable product in Philadelphia.
Last year’s dominant big men Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor almost take a back seat this season, but fitting them into the lineup (or perhaps trading one) will be vital to further push this team towards competitiveness.
Where will Simmons play? If he even gets on the court, how good will Embiid actually be? Will Dario Saric’s Olympic form translate to the NBA?
I can’t wait to find out.