Tha Sports Junkies 101

Six Teams Below .500 Who Will Improve Due to A Successful Offseason!

NBA Offseason Jumpy News/ via


Offseason Improvements!

13 out of the NBA’s 30 teams finished last season with more losses than wins. Not all of them are doomed to repeat their mediocrity this season. Surprisingly enough, seven of those 13 teams are in the Western Conference, while the other six are in the weaker Eastern Conference. After an offseason of surprising trades and new acquisitions, all 13 teams are ready to turn it around this season. These are the teams that did enough this offseason to show that they’re ready to be relevant.

Philadelphia 76ers (28-54 last season; 19-33 in the East)

The 76ers are the ultimate conundrum of the NBA. Their roster last season wasn’t half bad, they’ve just been peppered with injuries the last few seasons. With a healthy Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons partnering with a few new acquisitions, expect Philly to be in the playoffs This season!. Who are those new offseason acquisitions? Only number one overall pick Markelle Fultz, Turkish shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz, 3-point marksman JJ Redick, and veteran center Amir Johnson. Yeah, not too shabby.

With a plethora of young talent and a few vets sprinkled in, this 76ers roster has the potential to be deadly. Expect JJ Redick to start at shooting guard, along with Fultz (PG), Ben Simmons (SF), Dario Saric (PF) and Joel Embiid (C). Four of those five players are younger than 24. Look. Out. NBA. I see Philly finishing just above .500 after working through the process (pun intended) of establishing team chemistry among a group that has never played together. Philadelphia makes the playoffs this season, you heard it here first.

New Orleans Pelicans (34-48 last season; 20-32 in the West)

The fact that the Pelicans finished below .500 last season was only a product of the fact that they didn’t get DeMarcus Cousins until February 20th. After that lopsided trade with Sacramento, New Orleans didn’t do anything spectacular, but spirits in The Big Easy were as high as they’ve been in years. Adding talented guards Rajon Rondo, Ian Clark and Frank Jackson to play with Jrue Holiday gives the Pelicans one of the deepest backcourts in basketball. The upside of acquiring Cousins halfway through last season is that there won’t be any feeling out period needed this season. Cousins and Davis are accustomed to playing together already, and the rest of the NBA should take notice.

New Orleans trusts coach Alvin Gentry immensely. This year could, and should be the second year since they became the Pelicans in 2013 that NOLA makes the playoffs. That year they lost to eventual NBA champions Golden State 4-0 in round one. After being 7 games out of the playoffs last season, expect this talented team to make a splash this season.

Detroit Pistons (37-45 last season; 21-31 in the East)

The Pistons have seemingly been missing “that one thing” ever since the big 3 led by Chauncey Billups and Ben Wallace disbanded. Newly acquired Luke Kennard, Avery Bradley and others could be the key. While they still lack someone who can truly take over a game, they have a lot of key pieces. Andre Drummond is a monster around the basket. Reggie Jackson is a consistently reliable yet underrated floor general. Tobias Harris can score at will…..sometimes. Defensive specialist Avery Bradley and pure shooter Luke Kennard were welcomed additions to the middle-of-the-road Pistons this offseason. Many fans in Detroit likely miss the bad boy days, and they should. The Pistons were really good and made headlines. Today’s Pistons don’t make that much noise, but they’re slowly learning how to play together, and more importantly, how to win.

I can’t guarantee Detroit will make the playoffs this year. I’m fairly certain they will surpass last season’s win total, however. They aren’t going to win any championships anytime soon, but a few years down the road they could be back in the mix.

Los Angeles Lakers (26-56 last season; 16-36 in the West)

Say what you want about the Lakers, but looking at their lineup, it’s impressive. LA has high hopes for Lonzo Ball at point guard, Brandon Ingram at small forward and Julius Randle at power forward. Veterans Brook Lopez and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope fill out the rest of the starting lineup. Other new acquisitions this offseason include rookie Josh Hart, who was a steal at 30th in this year’s draft (traded from Utah), Briante Weber (who was underrated last season in Charlotte) and Kyle Kuzma. Luke Walton has his most talented team as Lakers coach. Los Angeles fans haven’t been this hopeful since their hero #24 retired after the 2015-2016 season.

The Lakers might not get to .500 this season. With all the new acquisitions and young talent, it will take some time to develop the necessary chemistry. Once Los Angeles figures it out the Lake Show will be back in the City of Angels. I expect the Lakers to be back in the playoffs as early as next season but who knows, maybe they’ll surprise us.

Dallas Mavericks (33-49 last season; 19-33 in the West)

The last team on this list has arguably the best combination of young talent and veteran leadership. Up and coming stars Seth Curry, Yogi Ferrell, and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. make for a crowded, albeit talented backcourt in Dallas. Alongside veterans Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews and Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs are looking up. I think Dallas should be able to sneak into the playoffs at least one more time before the future hall-of-famer Dirk calls it quits. Dennis Smith Jr., arguably the best all-around talent in this years draft, gives them the potential superstar they haven’t had since Dirk was in his prime. Mark Cuban might finally be able to put his money where his mouth is if his team can make it out of the first round for the first time since they won it all in 2011.

Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51 last season; 18-34 in the West)

Last but not least, the newly loaded Timberwolves. This all-around new look Minnesota team is officially a threat to the current balance of power in the NBA. Newly acquired Jeff Teague, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson figure to start alongside the returning Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. After moving on from Spanish star Ricky Rubio this offseason, Minnesota boasts a scary big three that doesn’t have one true star. If Tom Thibodeau can harness the talent of his combined stars and create the chemistry, the Timberwolves will be dangerous this season.

The sky is the limit for Minnesota now. Top five seed. Western Conference Finals. Dare I say NBA Finals? Maybe not this season (or anytime soon while Kevin Durant is still in a Warriors uniform), but this Timberwolves team is the future. Minnesota will blow through .500 this season, and boy will it be fun to watch.

Think I left a team out? Leave a comment down below.

Follow TSJ Sports on Twitter @TSJ_Sports and @TSJ_NBA. You can follow me @mholzapfel3.