When we think of all-time great NBA Franchise’s a few teams come to mind.
The Boston Celtics…17 World Championships.
The Los Angeles Lakers…16 World Championships.
The Chicago Bulls…6 World Championships
The San Antonio Spurs…5 World Championships.
So now that I have acknowledged those legendary teams, it is time to move forward. In the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. says, “Show me the money!” Basically, he was telling his agent (played by Tom Cruise) to not worry about the past or the future, worry about the here and now and get him paid. This is what I am doing with my latest NBA article. I am focusing on the last few seasons. Below you will find my top 5 NBA Franchises.
5) Boston Celtics: Danny Ainge has done a masterful job of putting this team together. Brad Stevens has proven to be a top tier coach and the young Celtics have a record of 39-22. They are 2nd in the Eastern Conference. The core of this team is relatively young. PG, Isaiah Thomas is 28, SG, Marcus Smart is 22, SM, Jae Crowder is 26 and SG, Avery Bradley is 26. Boston has the right to swap draft picks this season with the Brooklyn Nets. Based on their record (10-49) the Nets should get a top 3 pick and that will go to the Celtics. They also have the rights to the Nets 2018 Pick. If you live in Boston, this team will be elite for the next 5 years.
4) Oklahoma City Thunder: On the surface, this pick of mine may shock a lot of NBA junkies. But let me break it down for you. OKC is 35-26 in the Western Conference. They lost arguably the 2nd or 3rd best player in the NBA when Kevin Durant decided to go play with the Golden State Warriors. Russell Westbrook is having a season for the history books. He is leading his team in almost every category. He is averaging 31.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 10.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Like the Celtics, the Thunder’s roster is filled with young, versatile talented players. PG, Westbrook ( 28 years old), Center, Steven Adams (23 years old), PF, Enes Kanter (24 years old), PF, Domantas Sabonis (28 years old). OKC picked up Victor Oladipo (24 years old) in the off-season, and they just acquired sharpshooter Doug McDermott (25 years old) and veteran forward Taj Gibson. Billy Donovan is a very good coach and this team will get better as the season goes on. They will be a very tough out in the post-season.
3) Golden State Warriors: In 2015, the Warriors won the NBA Championship. Last year, they became the first team in NBA history to blow a commanding 3-1 lead and the Cleveland Cavaliers won the title. To the Warriors credit, they didn’t stand by idly, they went out and acquired Kevin Durant. The former Oklahoma City Thunder star was diagnosed with an MCL sprain and a bone bruise on Wednesday, and he will be out a minimum of 4 weeks. No one knows when or if he will even return this season. With KD the Warriors are just not deep enough to win a championship. Stephen Curry is now 4-31 from downtown in his last few games. By acquiring KD the warriors lost, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa. Durant was averaging 25 points, 8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game before his injury. You don’t replace that with role players.
2) San Antonio Spurs: The team that plays its home games AT&T Center has a record of 46-13. They are the New England Patriots of the NBA. Every year they get a new cast of role players who thrive under head coach Gregg Popovich’s system. Kawhi Leonard is having an MVP-like season. He is averaging almost 26 points and 2 steals per game. Patty Mills, David Lee, Jonathon Simmons, and Dewayne Dedmon have been spectacular off the bench. Leonard’s team is 9-1 in games where they play back to back. If KD doesn’t come back fully healthy with the Warriors, I like the Spurs chances of getting to the NBA Finals.
1) Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs are first in the Eastern Conference with a record of 41-18. They have done this despite losing two starters for most the season. J.R. Smith is expected to come back from injury later this month and Kevin Love should be back in May. The Cavs became the first team in the history of the NBA to be trailing 3 games to 1 in the Finals and go on to win the Championship. But, to their credit, they have not rested on their laurels. They have the deepest shooting team in the league. They are 2nd in the NBA in three-pointers made. ESPN’s Jalen Rose said it best, “The Cavs are like Noah’s Ark… They have two of everything. 20 times this season the Cavs have made a least 15 three point shots. Their second unit of Deron Williams, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver, Channing Frye/ Derrick Williams and Andrew Bogut would win 40 plus games in the Eastern Conference. The only problem Tyronn Lue has is finding playing time for everyone. I had the Cavs winning the Championship last season in pre-season and even when they were down 3-1. They have improved their depth and shooting from last year and I expect LeBron James to get to his 7th straight finals.
Follow The Sports Whisperer on Twitter: Montetjwitter11 and look for the Full Monte Podcast coming soon.