ESPN's number one Bobcat hater John Hollinger along with a colleague posted an article on their website a few weeks ago about which teams had the best futures in the NBA. Though Hollinger recognized that Charlotte was a good team in the playoffs this year, he still listed them as the team with the worst future in the NBA. His way of ranking the teams came from an overall perspective of the franchise. Everything from marketing, to the team, to salary cap flexibility, to the draft and front office came into play in his formula.Well, I've chosen to give the readers a list of what the worst teams will be based on the product on the court right now and their room to make moves for next year to improve their team. In no particular order, here are the top 5 teams that I predict will be league bottom feeders for another year or two at the least.
The 76'ers are a team mixed of young talent and old
talent that find themselves on the outskirts of the playoffs this year. At the time of this article, they were 23-43. Andre Igoudala is a phenomenal second tier talent that hasn't been able to restore the glory the had back in the day with AlIen Iverson. Speaking of A.I., who's glad now that we didn't sign him this year? I was actually pushing for the Bobcats to sign him, but once again, Larry's good judgment prevailed in the end. His return to the city really did nothing for the team, or the fans. Meanwhile, there won't be much room for help coming this year via free agency. Their only real hope is to do well in the draft, as they already have over 65 million committed in salary cap for next year. Samuel Dalembert will be in the last year of his deal and could be a trade piece, but Elton Brand and his albatross of a contract will hold the Sixers down for a few more seasons. They have some good, young role players to surround Iggy with in Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young, and Jrue Holiday, however, they need to cut the fat and get a true number 1 player on the team.
The Pacers have never really been able to rebound from the whole Palace brawl incident. They had a VERY dangerous core on the team with Stephen Jackson, Ron Artest, and a young, dominant Jermaine Oneal, but the good ol' folks at Indiana, mainly Larry Bird, refused to put up with the madness and quickly disbanded the team. Now, they're made up of overpriced vets who have failed to capitalize on having the amazing talent known as Danny Granger as a teammate. They already have over 64 million committed next year, with Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy, Jamal Tinsley, and T.J. Ford being the primary responsible parties. They are off the hook for all of those contracts after next year, so I'm highly doubting Larry is going to move any of them in exchange for a long term star player. He's probably better off taking his chances the year after. They can always look to the draft for next year. Currently, the Pacers sit at 21-45.
Joe Dumars was once held as probably the best general manager in the game. Now....................?????? His moves ever since the infamous drafting of Darko Milicic have been mediocre at best. I get that he traded Chauncey Billups to Denver not to acquire Iverson, but his contract. But you use all of that space that you just gained to sign Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to long term contracts? Why? You've already been desperately trying to get rid of one overpaid SG (Richard Hamilton), and now all you do is sign another who isn't even good enough to start for you? Shame shame shame Joe. They only have 51 million committed for next season, however, no free agent out there is going to sign for that. Well, not at least one that's going to be able to help these guys. They are also 23-43, and far removed from the playoff picture.
The worst thing for the Hornets is they aren't in the Eastern Conference. (Why isn't Memphis an Eastern Conference team?) If they were, they're record would be good enough to have them in playoff contention. Unfortunately, they are in the West where the semi-respectful record of 32-35 that they possess already has them far removed from the race. I've never rooted against them. Even though I was bitter as hell when they left, I still cheered for Baron Davis, Jamal Mashburn, and David Wesley whenever I seen them on t.v. Over the years, it's like any association I had with the Hornets had never existed. They're a completely different team, and it feels good to let go. They have a hall of fame caliber talent in Chris Paul, and a perennial all-star in David West, but the biggest thing hindering their organization came gift wrapped with a big orange bow right out of Charlotte. It's name. Emeka Okafor. Don't get me wrong, I like Okafor. He's a class act and a solid player. However, signing him to that huge contract was a panic move by the Bobcats that I'm glad we are out of. The team has a whopping total of 73 million already committed towards next season, and probably will pass on signing any free agents at all. They've been trying for months to get away from the luxury tax. Competition isn't a priority in New Orleans. Although, I do think they've got another very valuable piece on the team named Darren Collison.
Sometimes it's best to let go of good things while they're good. Like a girl you've been in love with and dating for years. And you thought about breaking up with her, but the relationship is going good, so why mess up a bad thing? Turns out, that one night at a party, she got drunk and slept with 4 guys. Lol. Didn't mean to go too far off track, but that's what is going to happen to Toronto this year. The team got on a little winning streak, had themselves positioned as a sure favorite to lock up the 5 seed in the East, and went through the deadline without trading the predator reincarnated, Chris Bosh. By not moving him, the Raptors essentially took an already high risk by not getting a good return for him. With the team going through a slump, those risks get even higher. The best option floating out there is a sign and trade for David Lee of the Knicks. But the Raptors are in trouble as a team beyond that. They have Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, Jose Calderon, and Andrea Bargnani locked down for a good while, but that just has mediocrity written all over it.
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