The NBA has changed a lot in the past few weeks, as free agency took the NBA, shook it up like a snow globe, and set it back down ready to go for the 2020 season. Many teams have shot up projection lists, and many teams have shot down. In this article, I will be giving my personal projections for what the win/loss record of every NBA team will be.
The Hawks were very busy in this offseason, as they went out and decided to speed up their rebuild a bit and acquire the 4th overall pick, as well as keep their 10th overall pick. They also picked up an expiring contract in Chandler Parsons to free up cap space in a year for next year’s class. Seeing how this team is still very young, but very good, they will still be a lottery team, but not a very high one.
Boston lost Kyrie this offseason, but they were able to sign Kemba to a 4-year deal. This means that their star point guard is consistently healthy and will be playing at least most games. Plus, they got a younger center in Enes Kanter. Gordon Hayward is also worth mentioning as he now has a full offseason to improve his game instead of rehabbing an injury. I believe he comes back stronger and looks more like his old self next year.
Brooklyn had one of the best offseasons of any team, as they acquired Durant, Kyrie, and DeAndre Jordan. But, this team will be playing with KD until the playoffs at the earliest, as he will be rehabbing a ruptured Achilles tendon. They still have Kyrie and Jordan, but they will need their 3rd star to get over the hump from good team to championship potential.
Charlotte is in a really tough spot this year, as they just lost their two most promising players in Kemba and Jeremy Lamb in free agency. They have no star players, and they are paying Terry Rozier $60 million overall for his contract. They finally decided to go into rebuild mode, and I hope Michael Jordan can rebuild a team well enough for them to contend in the future.
The Bulls are another team with a really good young core that is only going to progress well from here. Lavine is looking like a future all star, and Markkanen is looking to be a nice starting power forward for a contending team. Yes, they lost Bobby Portis, but they drafted Coby White, and they needed a good point guard desperately. This team will be good… in about 3 years. But, they will start to show progress towards that playoff contention time.
The Cavs had one of the best drafts of any team that is not named the Pelicans or the Hawks. They got Darius Garland, Dylan Windler, and Kevin Porter Jr. during the draft. They now have 3 young rookies, and a solid point guard in his sophomore season (Collin Sexton). They are starting to become pretty well poised for the future, but they still have large contracts in players like Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. They are still going to be a lottery team, but will be a little bit better than their 19-63 season last year.
The Mavericks are another team that is in a great place right now, but they are more immediately set than other teams that I have said are in a “good place” right now. They have the reigning Rookie of the Year in Luka Doncic, and they also were able to sign Kristaps Porzingis to a 4 year contract. They are an amazing duo together and will be very good, but just not yet. Give Porzingis time to get fully healthy, and give them a year to gel together. They will be a formidable duo in the future.
The Nuggets were the biggest surprise coming out of the 2018-2019 season, as they were the second seed in the playoffs, and were actually looking like they could be the top seed in the West for a large part of the season. They were already really good, and they’re running it back with the same team, except rookie additions and Jerami Grant. Bol Bol has something to prove after going in the mid-second round, and Michael Porter Jr. is coming into the league this year and is a favorite to win the Rookie of the Year along with Zion and RJ. They will be very good this year, and are a dark horse for the championship this year.
The Pistons experiment with their two stars being big men has not really worked out all too well. They are consistently either one of the lowest seeds in the playoffs, or they miss the playoffs altogether. They added Derrick Rose and Markeiff Morris to their roster, though, which gives them depth at the guard spot as well as a starting quality wing player. Last season they were at .500 exactly with their record at 41-41, and I think that they can improve on that this year if they remain healthy.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are a very different team going into this season than they were last year. In 2018, they were running out 5 all-stars and were run-away favorites to win the title in 2019. As we know now, this didn’t happen. Then they lost Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins to free agency, but were able to get D’Angelo Russell back in a sign and trade with the Nets for KD. This brings about a potentially interesting experiment when Klay comes back if they choose to keep Russell. With Draymond Green starting to regress and the Warriors lack of depth, I think they regress this year and are only about the 6th seed going into the playoffs.
The Houston Rockets were finally able to dump Chris Paul’s terrible contract, and were able to get back a former MVP in Russell Westbrook, who is right in the middle of his prime. I believe that Russ and Harden are going to be the third best duo in the entire NBA behind LeBron/AD and PG13/Kawhi, and that this chemistry will show in their record, and their playoff run. They kept all of their team together and were also able to add Tyson Chandler who adds some center depth to this team. The Rockets have only gotten better, and they are my favorite team to win the NBA Finals this year. But, they will not enter the playoffs as the first seed.
The Pacers lost Bogdanovic to free agency, but they were able to gain a solid replacement in Jeremy Lamb, and were also able to gain Malcolm Brogdon as a solid point guard. When Victor Oladipo comes back healthy, they are going to be a scary team. They were a 48-34 team last year even after Oladipo got hurt and they were on pace to be around a 55 win team before then. With their new additions and Oladipo back, they definitely have the ability to reach that position this year.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers had one of the best offseasons of any team in the entire NBA. They were able to add Kawhi and Paul George to the team while only giving up Shai and Gallinari, and were able to re-sign the free agents they had going into the offseason. They were a good team with no superstars, and I think they’re going to be an elite team with two superstars.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers were another team that had a great offseason. They went from a team with 3 players and $32 million to fill that cap space. They ended up turning that into quality role players, veterans to help guide the team, and a star player in DeMarcus Cousins. If Boogie can stay healthy, LeBron can be LeBron, and AD can remain an MVP candidate, they have a real shot at winning it all this year.
The Grizzlies were a team that came into every year with the identity of “great defense, but you can’t beat somebody when you only have 80 points”. That was true until this Summer when they parted ways with Gasol and Conley and acquired players like Crowder, Valanciunas, and others respectively. They were also able to part with Chandler Parson’s contract, and drafted Ja Morant 2nd overall. They will still be very bad, as they are young, but they are finally starting to look like they have a future.
The Heat went into this offseason with the intent to make some moves, and boy did they. They were able to acquire Jimmy Butler from the Sixers in a sign and trade, and gave up Jason Richardson to do it. They also added players like Myers Leonard, were able to trade away Hassan Whiteside, kept players like Bam Adebayo, and drafter Tyler Herro. That is a pretty solid offseason if I do say so myself. They will be a pretty good team, but there are teams that are a lot better in the East and they won’t go deep into the playoffs.
The Bucks were the best team in the entire NBA last season, and were the only team to crack 60 wins. They lost Brogdon to free agency, yes, but they still have a solid backup point guard in George Hill, and they have the assets to trade for another one if they so desire. They also added depth at the center position by adding Robin Lopez, who will give good rebounding numbers off the bench. The Bucks are hungrier than ever now after making the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and they will want to go all the way this year and win it all.
The Timberwolves were probably one of the most disappointing teams last year, as they had Derrick Rose, Karl Anthony-Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Taj Gibson, yet they were still a lottery team. They went 36-46 in the regular season and they were riddled with injury issues the entire season. Let’s hope that Jarrett Culver can be the potential star player that he was projected to be and can help get the Timberwolves to the playoffs in the next few years.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans had by far the best offseason of any team in the NBA. They got the number one overall pick, took in a haul for Anthony Davis, and are looking very poised for the future with arguably the best young core in the entire NBA. They are running out a potential starting 5 of Ball, Holiday, Ingram, Zion, and Hayes, and all of those players with the exception of Holiday are in their 3rd season or earlier. This team will be formidable in the near future, but for now they will just have to settle with being pretty good, but not there yet. Their young core needs a couple of years to develop, and then they’ll be the dominant team everybody believes they will be.
New York Knicks
The Knicks had a disappointing offseason compared to what their expectations coming into this offseason were. They were aiming to sign KD and Kyrie Irving, and instead got about 9 power forwards. They have no real star potential on their team except for Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, and they won’t be in a title picture anytime soon.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder decided that this was the season to blow their team up and commit to a full rebuild. Ever since 2016 when they were up 3-1 on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, the team has not made it out of the first round. They got 3 good players and about 11 picks or pick swaps in return for George and Westbrook, and they might not be done yet. I will make my prediction based on the idea that Chris Paul will not be traded this offseason and will be playing a full season in OKC. The Thunder still have Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams, and they don’t look like a team that should be titled as rebuilding, but I believe their record will prove to everyone that they indeed are.
The Magic are historically not a very good franchise. They barely scraped into the playoffs for the first time in a few seasons, and they were only able to steal one away from the Raptors in the first round before losing in 5. They have a talented roster with Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic, and they were also able to add Al-Farouq Aminu. But, other than those three and Evan Fournier, your team really isn’t that good. I believe they have the ability to make the playoffs again, but don’t expect more than 5 or 6 games for them in the 2020 playoffs.
The Sixers went into last season with probably the highest expectations a team that young has ever had. Then, things only got worse when they added Jimmy Butler to the mix. Anything short of the Eastern Conference Finals would have been considered a failure. But then, the shot by Kawhi happened, and the Sixers were going home in the second round for the second year straight. This year though they will be a lot better, though. They were able to keep Tobias Harris who has always been a good glue guy, and they were able to add Al Horford who was really the only guy that gave Joel Embiid problems in the playoffs. They also added Josh Richardson to the team as their starting shooting guard. This team is going to be very exciting again this year, and should be considered threats to make the Finals in this very weak Eastern Conference.
The Suns had probably one of the worst offseasons of any team in the entire NBA. They traded away TJ Warren for literally nothing, got Dario Saric and the 11th pick in exchange for the 6th pick, and drafted terribly with that 11th pick. They were one of the worst teams in the entire NBA this past season and they are well on track to do even worse than they did last year.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers were a massive surprise in last year’s playoffs as they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last year. They were able to add a much better center for the period that Jusuf Nurkic is out, and they still have their dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The Blazers need some wing depth, though, as all of their wings are either young, or aren’t very good. If they add depth to their wings, they can make some serious noise in the playoffs this coming year.
The Kings barely missed the playoffs last season, as they were in the playoff hunt until the 3rd to last week of the season and were the 9th seed. With more veterans and rookie Kyle Guy, they made improvements to their roster that were vital. I think they could definitely make a playoff spot this year as long as everything goes right.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs made no real changes to their team other than adding DeMarre Carroll. They were the 7th seed in the West and got knocked out of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets. They do get Dejounte Murray back from injury this year, though, which should help with their current point guard situation. If they want to as well, they could package Brynn Forbes and either Derrick White or Patty Mills to try and get a better shooting guard to start with them. If they do that, they should be in good shape overall. But you have to go with what you got for right now, and the Spurs aren’t looking too hot. I’m almost certain they’ll make a run at a playoff spot just because of Popovich alone, but they won’t be nearly as great as in the past.
The Raptors dealt a huge blow when they lost Kawhi to free agency this Summer. They also turned down a huge deal that would have given them a big 3 of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. The reason they turned down that deal was so they could keep Pascal Siakam on their roster. They didn’t make any improvements at all and are very thin at the small forward position now. They obviously stand no chance of repeating as champions and will probably be planning to rebuild after this year.
The Jazz were another team that had a really good offseason, as they were able to get Mike Conley as an upgrade from Ricky Rubio at the point guard spot. They still have Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, who were both defensive machines, and they were able to add Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis as well. The Jazz are looking like a dark horse pick for the NBA title this year, and that prediction seems to be getting less and less ridiculous every day.
The Wizards were able to get Isaiah Thomas in free agency for a steal of an amount, even if it is only for one year. They were also able to add Davis Bertans, Isaac Bonga, CJ Miles, and also were able to keep Bradley Beal through many trade rumors. They aren’t a great team by any means, but they do have the potential to be a good team. But, there is a difference between potential and actuality, so in all actuality, they will probably not be in playoff contention this year.
So, for those of you who aren’t counting, here is what the playoffs would look like if I were to get every prediction correct:
- Bucks: 57-25
- Sixers: 54-28
- Nets: 50-32
- Pacers: 47-35
- Celtics: 46-36
- Heat: 44-38
- Pistons: 42-30
- Magic: 41-41
- Raptors: 38-44
- Hawks: 36-46
- Wizards: 30-52
- Bulls: 29-53
- Cavs: 24-58
- Hornets: 21-61
- Knicks: 20-62
- Clippers: 61-21
- Lakers: 57-25
- Rockets: 55-27
- Nuggets: 56-26
- Jazz: 53-29
- Blazers: 49-33
- Spurs: 47-35
- Warriors: 46-36
- Pelicans: 45-37
- Kings: 39- 43
- Mavericks: 38-44
- Thunder: 36-46
- Timberwolves: 35-47
- Grizzlies: 24-58
- Suns: 18-64
There’s some pretty controversial predictions in here, as the Pelicans and Raptors are not making the playoffs. Again, though, these are only predictions based off of today. Anything can happen in the NBA, and trades or injuries will certainly change the landscape for the league as a whole and will probably have my predictions looking a lot different come the halfway point of the season.