A few days ago I posted an article on who will be the five worst teams next season, well now we will discuss who will be the five best teams for next season. This past offseason was an excellent one for a few Western Conference powerhouses, but can some teams in the Eastern Conference even out the playing field among the two conferences, We will discuss, who we think will be the five best teams next season.
San Antonio Spurs: The addition of LaMarcus Aldridge made the San Antonio Spurs the winners of free agency, as well as an early season title favorite. For the last 10-15 years, San Antonio has been able to be counted on to make the playoffs and be one of the toughest outs you could ever face. Along with that they have had a great core, lead by Tim Duncan, which had the mindset that brought the franchise multiple championships. This era of players is leaning towards the end, but with the addition of Aldridge, the retention of Danny Green, and the continuous rising talent, Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio can begin a new dynasty formed from the new and old. San Antonio possess all the talent, coaching, and physiological attributes needed to host yet another championship banner in the AT&T Center.
Cleveland Cavaliers: When you have LeBron James on your team you will always be looked at as one of the best teams in the league. Cleveland has done an excellent job of retaining their squad from last year that was able to make it the finals despite a number a numerous injuries to their key starters. Although J.R. Smith is still a free agent, Cleveland was able to bring in Mo Williams, who like Smith can generate a lot of offense in a very short amount of time. Heading into the season, most people have the Eastern Conference as the Cavalier’s to lose. Although Chicago has the talent needed to compete with Cleveland, as they have shown over the years they can not beat LeBron yet, and so most people have them being second tier to them. This upcoming season, with now established chemistry and defined roles, Cleveland should have one of the top offenses in the league, and with a wide range of skilled role players, Cleveland is deep, and ready to make yet another run at trying to snap the city of Cleveland’s curse, and bring the city its first championship.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Oklahoma City is going to be a great team to watch this upcoming season. The return of a determined, angry Durant, set out to prove he is the best player in basketball, coupled with Russell Westbrook, the electrifying side-kick, who has all the ability to lead, but allows for his teammate to take the leadership role. A healthy Serge Ibaka defending the low-post, inspiring fear among opposing players trying to drive to the hoop, Enes Kanter was brought back to give the Thunder more low-post scoring, and a even deeper frontcourt. A healthy bench, without the cancerous Reggie Jackson, has Oklahoma City ready to contend for their first championship in the city. Oklahoma is a very deep team, blended perfectly with youth and veterans, who have the ability to be one of the top offenses in the league, as well as one of the top defenses in the league. With the possibility Kevin Durant walks in free agency, it is of uttermost importance, Oklahoma makes it to the finals, preferably wins, to show Durant why he should stay in Oklahoma City, instead of bolting for the likes of Los Angeles (Clippers) or Washington.
Golden State Warriors: Golden State won the championship this past year, and people are already beginning to sleep on them for this next season. Golden State was able to keep the majority of their team, David Lee was traded to Boston, but Gerald Wallace, who was acquired in the trade was able to help them land Jason Thompson, who should be able to do the same work of rebounding and scoring off the bench, such as David Lee was asked to do. Golden State will yet have one of the top offenses in the league lead by the splash brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, and Thompson will keep up their stifling defensive style of play, yet again making Golden State a top defensive team. Golden State was often overlooked for not having the championship experience, but with the recent winning of the championship, Golden State has all the talent, coaching, and now championship mentality to yet again compete for a top spot in the Western Conference, and make it to the finals again.
Los Angeles Clippers: Los Angeles had a great offseason. They were able to retain DeAnde Jordan, even though it did start a lot of drama with Dallas, sign Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson, Paul Pierce, and then trade for Lance Stephenson, for basically scraps off their roster. This past postseason, although ended in compete disaster will be crucial for their hopes of making a championship run. Los Angeles now knows the flaw of letting off the gas, they know the pain of losing, these things are what will be fuel for Chris Paul when he motivates his team this next season. The front office knew this roster was not going to be able to take on the likes of San Antonio, Golden State, or Oklahoma City, so they went out in made improvements to almost all of their holes. Josh Smith brings a unique skill set, and as demonstrated in Houston, if coming off the bench, and with limited shots can be a very destructive player for opposing teams to plan for. Wesley Johnson has never lived up to his lofty expectations, but his freakish athleticism, and ability to stretch the floor expands the versatility of Los Angeles’s bench. Paul Pierce is the tough, driven veteran leader Los Angeles has been searching for, and as showcased this past postseason, Pierce still has the ability to hit the clutch shots needed to win games. Lance Stephenson is a wild card for Los Angeles. If he can return to his playing ability of Indiana, Los Angeles might be the best team in basketball, but if his Charlotte playing days were any indication of his new play style, Los Angeles will regret ever trading for him. The one main area that could cost Los Angeles their shot at a title is their lack of frontcourt depth. Jamal Crawford has been rumored to be available, and with Chicago needing another scorer, and having the ability to trade Taj Gibson, a deal could be struck between these teams, improving both of their chances of winning a title.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17
Edited by: Hamed Qashmar, @HamedQashmar