The league is full of teams that could win, and a few more are only one move away. Here are three West teams that are having trouble with the big picture as the deadline draws near. The league is full of teams that could win, and a few more are only one move away.
Here are three West teams that are having trouble with the big picture as the deadline draws near. There is a lot of time to win the title. Since the 3-point line was added, the Denver Nuggets will try to become only the 10th team to win back-to-back titles. But they’ll have to go through a lot to get there. The Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics, and the Los Angeles Clippers are some other playoff-tested teams that are waiting to join them.
The teams behind them would have to trade to be in the running. To improve their chances, the Clippers have already made a move for James Harden. Soon, other teams will also strike. The Philadelphia 76ers might be planning a move. The picks and other things the Miami Heat didn’t trade for Damian Lillard are still theirs. The Minnesota Timberwolves are a good story, but they need to improve their shooting and add another player who can make plays. As you can see, teams from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Phoenix Suns will likely be active before the deadline because they think they have a good chance to win the title.
But there might not be many buyers in a seller’s market. The Toronto Raptors just sent OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks in a move that was mostly about the player and not about getting picks. There might not be many needle-moving players available if everyone buys. Some teams might be forced to sell high, though, if there are a lot of buyers. Teams that want to add players need to know more than just “who’s out there.” This tells them how long they have to make a case.
No one could have predicted that the Golden State Warriors would get Kevin Durant years ago, which would make them one of the best teams of all time. Now, though, it’s easy to see how the Nuggets could become unbeatable once their young players get better. And then there are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are the best example of how quickly things change in the NBA. They could be the next team that can’t be beaten.
With super-contenders on the horizon, teams should feel even more compelled to make the most of the moment. Let’s look at three interesting Western teams and the big questions they have to answer as the NBA trade season starts. Should the Oklahoma City Thunder cash in?
Minneapolis has the best record in the West, Denver is the defending winner, and Boston has the best record overall. Oklahoma City has already beaten all three of these teams. This is true even though the Thunder have the second-youngest team in the league, just behind the Spurs. A lot of the time, young teams aren’t this good this early. However, in a short amount of time, the Thunder have beaten other young teams that were on the rise last season, such as the Grizzlies, Kings, and Pelicans. They have also passed older teams like the Lakers and Warriors.
In other words, the thunder are real. Chet Holmgren should be on the All-Star team, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be the MVP, and Jalen Williams seems like the right third star because he can play both offense and defense. Besides their “big three,” they have a great defender in Lu Dort, a great shot in Isaiah Joe, and an All-Rookie guard in Cason Wallace who plays like an old pro. Mark Daigneault, one of the best coaches in the NBA, also works with the team.
This reminds me of the early 2010s OKC teams that included Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. The difference is that these guys have a better fit and a stronger bench, plus they can get better still. The team has 15 future first-round picks and 22 future second-round picks, which could help their core even more in the future.
Chet Holmgren’s historic start, a fake Pascal Siakam trade, and more in Kram Session. Eight NBA players who are leveling up this season. Will the OG Anunoby trade help the New York Knicks?
They can deal for the next star player if they want to get him. OKC is ahead, and Sam Presti has already shown that he’s not afraid to get a player out of the blue, like when he put Paul George and Westbrook together.
Do you need to move around the edges? Easy. Presti has a lot of money, so he can pay too much for a guy who isn’t exactly talked about in rumors.
The Thunder can do almost anything they want now and in the future. In the short term, it makes a lot of sense to let this team finish the season and see what it can do in the playoffs with this group. There’s no need to rush because this group is feeling great right now. But things will always change at some point. The Thunder can’t pay everyone, and the guys waiting in the wings will want more shots at some point.