After bringing home the NBA championship to the city of Toronto for the first time in 2019, the Raptors are no longer a so-called "pretender" among the elite teams in the league. The golden hands of Masai Ujiri, their president of basketball operations, have been the driving force of their sustainable success since 2013.
After a surprisingly great year that saw them come just one win short of making it to the playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies have been fairly quiet this offseason. That does not come as a surprise, considering that running it back with their Ja Morant-led young core makes perfect sense.
The Phoenix Suns are riding their most significant offseason in recent years. With the acquisition of a 10-time All-Star in Chris Paul, the Suns have launched themselves into serious contention for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference.
The Bulls will be entering the draft armed with the fourth overall pick, but there's the possibility that they would try moving up. Jonathan Givony of ESPN mentioned that Chicago is interested in trading up to take either one of the top two spots in the draft.
Speculations have been going back and forth on whether the Golden State Warriors will keep their 2nd overall pick in the draft or trade it for a proven quality player. But if the Warriors keep their pick and make a selection, I expect them to draft for need, rather than get the best talent available.
The Atlanta Hawks will be one of the most intriguing teams to watch next season. Trae Young will look to solidify his case as a top 5 point guard in the league, and a full season with a healthy Clint Capela could catapult the Hawks to playoff contention.
Things are finally looking up at Minnesota.
The Washington Wizards will enter the 2020 NBA Draft armed with the 9th selection. It's not a glamorous pick, but it's not like there is a large gap between the Top 5 and the lottery prospects this year.
But assuming that the Knicks will keep their 8th pick, here's a couple of names that the team should target, particularly in providing steady reinforcement to their shaky backcourt.
During a recent episode of The Lowe Podcast, Bill Simmons joined pod host Zach Lowe to speculate about potential game-changing trade deals for next season. Simmons suggested that the Golden State Warriors could make a deal for Blake Griffin and the 7th pick in this year's draft, then send Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and their 2nd overall draft pick to the Detroit Pistons.
Behind one of their best games the whole year, the Los Angeles Lakers clobbered the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Finals, bringing back the Larry O'Brien trophy to Los Angeles. LeBron James bagged his fourth Finals MVP award, and Anthony Davis took home his first NBA championship.
The 2019-20 Heat squad will go down as one of the best storylines of their storied franchise. Erik Spoelstra has made the most out of a bunch of "misfits," and turned them into a relentless group of tough, gritty personalities on and off the court.
As Jimmy Butler leaned over the barricade to get some quick ten seconds of rest before he gets to the free throw line again, we immediately realized that the Miami Heat star just emptied the tank. He logged in 47 minutes of play, put up a triple-double, and guarded the best player of the other team.
Now facing a glaring 1-3 hole against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat has to pull out every trick in their bag to extend the series. The Lakers made the biggest adjustment in Game 4, putting the hulking but mobile Anthony Davis as the primary defender on Jimmy Butler.
After losing Game 3 to the "Butlerball" Miami Heat, it's now the Lakers' turn to regroup and adjust. It doesn't mean that they have to hit the panic button and retool their overall strategy, especially considering the fact that the Lakers even had the lead early in the fourth quarter of that Game 3 loss.