Highlighting the NBA’s Biggest Question Marks
The NBA is one of the most diverse leagues in terms of turning the standings upside down on a year to year basis. For a recent example look at how the Miami Heat went from three straight NBA Finals appearances to missing the playoffs. Cleveland conversely went from being a 30 win team all the way to being a couple wins away from a championship. Of course a player named LeBron James swapped rosters and that made a difference, but there are plenty of examples elsewhere. So with NBA teams flipping up and down the standings we thought it’d be worth looking at a few of the NBA’s biggest question marks entering next season. Let’s start with…
Bruce Levenson bought the Hawks in 2002 and by 2007 he had them competing for a playoff seed every single season. Last year was his triumph as Atlanta broke a 50 year drought to make it into the Eastern Conference Finals before getting bounced by Cleveland. The Hawks have added veteran depth in the form of Tim Hardaway Jr and Tiago Splitter and they’ve gotten another year to grow together. Still, repeating 60 win seasons will be tough for Atlanta in a Southeast Division that got MUCH stronger this past season.
The Bulls were mysteriously trounced by a Cleveland team that was barely able to walk due to injuries. The loss was particularly stinging as Chicago was fully healthy and had a Most Improved Player in Jimmy Butler anchoring the rotation. Though D-Rose hit a game winner, the Bulls folded and ended up firing Coach Thibs. Now Chicago is another year older with the same roster only now Jimmy Butler is getting paid max money and offense first coach Fred Hoiberg is in charge. The Bulls won 50 games last year with Cleveland ailing all season. If Rose is healthy we think Chicago can repeat that number, if not improve to around 55 total wins.
the Dallas Mavericks have had one of the most entertaining off seasons but it has been due to failure that we will remember it. Dallas lost out on big man DeAndre Jordan in a much publicized fiasco but they hit when they acquired Deron Williams and Zaza Pachulia for virtually nothing. Dallas also added shooting guard Wesley Matthews to their roster for a big paycheck. Matthews aw his season come to a premature end thanks to an injury but he still averaged a career high 16 points, 2 assists, and 4 boards per game as a sharpshooter with defensive ability. Dallas was barely in the playoffs last year but we think they will be much improved when this season rolls around even if people doubt them.