The 2013 NBA Draft is in the books, and with free agency beginning next month, something is becoming increasingly clear: More than a couple teams appear to be gutting their rosters for one of two things: A) A run at Dwight Howard, B) The worst record in the league and a great shot at basketball’s next superstar, Andrew Wiggins. And guess what? If you gut your roster in hopes of signing Dwight Howard, and don’t get him – oh well, you’re lottery bound in a good draft. Here’s a look at teams that are full-scale rebuilding:
[Before you dive into this: A 2014 Mock Draft!]
Philadelphia. Traded away their best player for a broken center in the draft. And remember, they just went through a brutal year with a broken center they traded for! Completely rebuilding. Teardown project that could be on the DIY network. Starting lineup? Michael Carter-Williams (R), Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes. They’ll have cap room in the near future, but that’s always a crapshoot (see Elton Brand in 2008). Man, things looked so promising in May 2012 when they beat the Rose-less Bulls in the 1st round, then pushed Boston to seven games in round two. This is a 25-win team in 2013-2014, at best.
Boston. Called this breakup an hour after Rajon Rondo was lost for the season with an ACL injury in January. With Rondo and Bradley and Green, they’ll be competitive, and given how depressed the East will be next year (after Miami, Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn and New York, it’s dreadful), the Celtics could still compete for a playoff spot. They might in the postseason if rookie Kelly Olynyk is a 14-8 revelation.
Milwaukee. Goodbye Monta Ellis and JJ Redick, hello … Giannis Antetokounmpo? An 18-year old from Greece who won’t sniff the league for at least two years? They traded for Nate Wolters, whom I like, in the 2nd round. Also, the Bucks could lose point guard Brandon Jennings. Smells like 30 wins, tops.
Atlanta. Probably losing Josh Smith to free agency (along with three other contributors). It is unlikely they’ll get Dwight Howard, though Danny Ferry will make a run at him. Spent three picks on international players, none of whom are NBA-ready. Jeff Teague, Al Horford and …. crickets. Twenty-five wins? Dirty south, indeed.
Dallas. I’m pessimistic about their chances of landing Howard. Have oodles and oodles of cap room. Will back up the brinks for Howard and if he passes … well, they aren’t getting Chris Paul and that leaves … whom? I sort of feel bad for Dirk Nowitzki, who won a title two years ago, then lost in the first round in 2012 and didn’t make the playoffs in 2013. Barring some miracle work in the front office, looks like it’ll be Dirk and a bunch of spare parts next year, en route to another non-playoff season. Want to really tank? Trade Dirk to a contender.
Other teams that could be added to this list in July:
* Portland, if it trades LaMarcus Aldridge
* Minnesota, if it trades Kevin Love