The Portland Trail Blazers made tremendous strides this past in becoming one of the better teams in the Western Conference. LaMarcus Aldridge had a career year and Damian Lillard is quickly becoming one of the best young point guards in the NBA. While the Blazers bench was slightly improved from a year ago, the team still relied heavily upon on their starting five. That’s why Portland will still be searching to improve their bench play this off-season in hopes of taking another step forward in 2014-15. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
In acquiring James Harden and Dwight Howard the past two summers, the Houston Rockets have proven to be one of the more aggressive teams during the NBA off-season. Led by the Harden/Howard duo, Houston became a high-octane offensive squad but still couldn’t get out of the first round of the playoffs. As a result, expect the usually not gun shy general manager Daryl Morey to once again look to make a major splash this off-season. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
Michigan star Nik Stauskas went from totally obscure to Big Ten Player of the Year and lottery lock in just one year. It looks like the former Wolverines star with the scorching hot girlfriend that the internet is creepily obsessed with (but hey, we have a couple gratuitous pics of Taylor Anderson here for you in this post….you knew we would) could end up in the top ten on NBA Draft night.Follow paulmbanks
Despite finishing with their best record in 22 years, the Golden State Warriors fired third year head coach Mark Jackson and quickly replaced him with Steve Kerr. Led by Stephen Curry, the Warriors have the pieces in place to be a contender in the Western Conference. Management doesn’t seem content though and there have been rampant rumors about the franchise making a run at Kevin Love or trying to shop sharpshooter Klay Thompson. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
The Toronto Raptors finished with their best record in franchise history but still didn’t advance past the first round of the playoffs. Even after the early-season trade of Rudy Gay, the Raps exceeded expectations by finishing with the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The team relied on a balanced attack but the improved play of point guard Kyle Lowry was really the driving force behind the team’s rise up the standings. Lowry is a free agent though and his future with the team will the topic of conversation north of the border. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
Another year without Derrick Rose; another season in which the Chicago Bulls held their own in the Eastern Conference, even after trading Luol Deng. Rose’s health is the driving force behind any success the Bulls may see moving forward but there are several other x-factors this off-season that could help the franchise make strides.
Potential free agent Carmelo Anthony’s name is already being tied to the Bulls as is a possible trade for Kevin Love. The status of power forwards Carlos Boozer and former first round pick Nikola Mirotic should also make this a wild off-season in Chicago. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
After acquiring Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce last off-season, the Brooklyn Nets were expected to compete for the NBA Championship this past season. Instead, they barely kept their heads above water and were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Brook Lopez’s season-ending injury certainly factored into that disappointing finish but so did the continuing decline of aging veterans, Garnett and Pierce.
Brooklyn has spent a ton of money the past couple of years to try and build a title contender but just haven’t gotten the job done. What will their next step be this off-season? [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
Led by one of the top defenses in the league, the Memphis Grizzlies followed up their trip to the Western Conference Finals with another solid season. The playoff magic fell short though as the Griz nearly pulled off the opening round upset of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs but fell short in a seven game series. Their off-season focus centers around leading scorer Zach Randolph who could become a free agent but will more than likely re-sign with the team. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
After five straight abysmal seasons, the Washington Wizards finally turned the corner thanks in part to the development of their talented, young backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wiz won their first playoff series in nearly a decade and brought life back to the franchise. With a good amount of cap space this off-season, Washington could make a couple of big moves that would help propel the team higher up the Eastern Conference standings. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
A year after missing the postseason for the first time in 12 years, the Dallas Mavericks squeezed into the Western Conference playoffs finishing just one game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. The team primarily used a core of veterans to accomplish that goal but could lose several key role players this summer not to mention their long-time superstar, Dirk Nowitzki. What happens with Dirk will shape the Mavs’ off-season plan and attempt to move up among the top teams in the NBA. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks
Charlotte Bobcats Charlotte Hornets made a huge jump this past season, exceeding their win total from the past two seasons combined and making the playoffs for just the second time in the past ten years. Last summer’s signing of Al Jefferson played a major factor in that improvement and in being well under the salary cap and having a pair of first round picks, the Bobcats should be able to add some more pieces to help their rise in the Eastern Conference. [Read more...]
I’m not going to lie, I thought the Phoenix Suns were going to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this past season. Instead, the Suns made a 23-game improvement finishing 14-games over five hundred. Unfortunately, that type of turnaround still wasn’t enough to get Phoenix into the Western Conference playoffs which really stings since they would have been tied for the third best record had they been an Eastern Conference team.
Did they overachieve or are second year general manager Ryan McDonough and head Jeff Hornacek rebuilding this franchise much quicker than expected? Making some wise moves this off-season could be the boost the Suns need to get into the top eight in the West and that all starts with the status of restricted free agent, Eric Bledsoe. [Read more...]Follow paulmbanks