With a lot of teams either trying to win a championship or win the Wiggins sweepstakes the mentalities of teams are changing, either trying to get the pieces needed to win now or tank the whole season respectively. I felt like categorising the mentality I think each of the 30 NBA are taking into this season.
I've decided to use 5 categories:
Championship Contention - These teams are teams that are obviously in a position to get to the finals or there are at least signs that they're trying to make a run to the finals.
eg: I may not think Brooklyn have a chance to win a championship, but their spending and offseason moves say otherwise. OKC have the players in place to make the finals, they'll be here as well.
Young and Developing - These teams have heaps of young talent that can contest for a championship in a few years. They'll be giving their youngsters playing time and would be aiming for the playoffs.
eg: Wizards with guys like Wall, Beal and Porter would be a prime example.
Reminiscence - Teams that really should enter the rebuilding process for one reason or another but are avoiding doing so by signing decent quality fee agents that could maybe allow them to sneak into the playoffs.
eg: The Lakers can't rebuild because Kobe doesn't want to and most likely the management doesn't either, so they'll be stuck in this sort-of limbo for this season.
Playoff Push - These guys don't fall into any of the above categories but will be trying to get into the playoffs with varying success. Perhaps trying to impress next off seasons free agents enough to sign with them.
eg: Atlanta would be a good example I think.
Tanking - Wiggins should troll these guys and return to Kansas for his sophomore campaign.
eg: Any team that's roster looked it took a tank bullet goes here. In seriousness a team like the 76ers are a prime example, taking on a lot of projects and don't look to be winning anything anytime soon.
Before I start you may notice quite a few on the "Championship Contention" list you disagree with. However, I think all of these teams at the moment, in the preseason, are trying to build towards a championship. Inevitably teams will shave off this list when the season starts. This also goes for "Playoff Push". Some of those teams will probably end up early lottery but at the moment they look to be eyeing a playoff berth.
Brooklyn - The trade with the Celtics signalled their intentions, will all of these talents mesh though?
Chicago - Derrick Rose is back and has a good bunch of players surrounding him. Rose will have to step right back up there as an NBA superstar if they have a chance of winning.
Golden State - The surprise package of the 2013 playoffs signed Iggy over the summer, they'll just keep getting better.
Houston - They got Howard. He may or may no be the final piece of their puzzle but the Rockets will sure as hell try to make the most of it.
Indiana - Paul George has proven himself to be a legit NBA superstar, but will the team as a whole be able to carry their form over to this season?
LA Clippers - Rivers is the championship coach the Clips needed. They retained all their major talent and added sharpshooters Redick and Dudley to their team. They improved over the summer and now will be out to prove they're contenders.
Miami - Oooooo, this is a real shocker isn't it. Sorry, I'm feeling sarcastic today.
New York - They may not have improved much over the summer, but they still have Anthony so they'll be up their with the rest of them.
OKC - Westbrook and Durant. Enough said.
San Antonio - After last seasons run it'd be a sin to write off the Spurs before the season even started.
Young and Developing
Cleveland - Irving, Waiters, Bennett and Thompson are a great nucleus going forward.
Detriot - The bigman duo of Drummomd and Monroe are both going to be special. For the Pistons sake let's hope they'll be special in Detroit.
New Orleans - Nice moves by the front office put the Hornets in playoff contention. With 6 players born in the 1990's including Anthony Davis I thought it was right to put them in this category
Orlando - Olapido's looking great in the summer league. This only adds to their promising frontcourt of Harkless, Nicholson, Harris AND Vucevic. A promising future is in store for the Magic.
Sacramento - Cousins and McLemore are both promising guys that can hopefully turn the Kings around.
Utah - When your team's starting 5 could future guys exclusively on rookie contracts you certainly have young part down.
Washington - I believe I mentioned Wall, Beal and Porter earlier. These guys are the Wizards future.
Dallas - With Nowitzki hopefully taking a paycut they could enter rebuilding next season. A decent free agency gives them an outside shot at the playoffs.
LA Lakers - I mentioned the Lakers predicament earlier, it'll be interesting see if they can wriggle out it somehow.
Atlanta - The Hawks will be weaker without Smith and may not have the talent to get into the playoffs. That doesn't they won't try though.
Charlotte - With Big Al as Charlotte's main guy it didn't seem right to put them in the "young and developing" as their inevitable 1st option isn't young nor developing.
Denver - Gallo's injury is a huge blow but Denver could still push for playoff spot with nice all-round talent.
Memphis - Hollins was a huge part in Memphis' run. Not holding onto him was a mistake but the Grizz shouldn't be counted out.
Milwaukee - Until Jennings fate is decided a lot is up in the air for the Bucks.
Minnesota - Minnesota could contend as soon as 2014/15, I won't be putting any money on anything though, not until I see a healthy season from their stars.
Portland - I think they have the pieces that'll allow to be above average. I wouldn't blame them if they blew up their squad though because this isn't the longterm framework for a championship team.
Toronto - As good as they've been since Bosh left. They'll try and turn that into a playoff berth.
Boston - If the Pierce and Garnett trade wasn't a statement I don't know what is.
Philadelphia - They look to be loading up with young pieces, Holiday is a budding star and tanking for me is the only logical option.
Phoenix - The trade for Bledsoe was a great move on the Suns part but that isn't going to get even thinking about the playoffs. I think the Suns will try to tank but even if they don't they won't be going far.
It'll be interesting the accuracy (or lack of) my list is, but this' just how I think the teams mentalities are shaping up at the moment.
I agree with all your placements, and I do feel this is the mentalities each team takes these days.
"Wiggins should troll these guys and return to Kansas for his sophomore campaign." That would be funny to see happen.
Totally accurate post.
If they do hold on to Rondo, the Celtics won't be SO bad.
Exactly, I don't understand all the "Celtics Tanking" talk that's been thrown around. Sure, they're not going to be the powerhouse that they were with KG and The Gang, but they are by no means a bottom feeder. The team still courts Rondo (Top 10 pg), Bradley (All-Defensive team), Green (Quality starter), Sully (Good rotation big), Bass, Wallace, and Humphries, who even though is disliked by everyone, still put up 14-11 less than two years ago. There are at least 7 players on this Celtic roster who are NBA mainstays, and there's not a doubt in my mind that they won't finishes outside of the top 5 worst in the league. Not saying that it's a good thing to be fighting for a mid lottery pick, but I wouldn't exactly consider that all-out tanking like the Jazz or Sixers.
wow, great read and analysis, but i will say i think the grizz and the knicks should be in the same category, one or the other. I really hate this tanking idea, especially since the new generation of talent over the last 3 drafts is mainly filled with role players who are rated mainly for their potential vs actual basketball talent.
Wish you had wrote this earlier in the day it would have caused some great debate for all the people on here in between watching summer league.
Great write up man!
I dont think they are tanking. I think tje are q step past the we need to blow up this team stage. Now if they trade rondi. Put them in the tanking car.
Excellent write up.