By RantSports Staff on June 16, 2014
The 2014 NBA Finals aren’t over, but neither of the teams playing are likely to change much before next season. For the rest of the league, we’ll see some major changes before October, which means the teams that will be must-see TV this fall will be different. After all the trades, free agency signings and draft picks are made, these 10 NBA teams will reshape the league's landscape in 2014.
Late in the regular season, it looked as if Houston would contend for a title. Now, after a first-round exit, the Rockets have holes to fill, which they will do by signing free agents Darren Collison and Pau Gasol this offseason. Both players would fill voice in Houston’s lineup and the Rockets’ brass will make sure that happens.
How can the team that finished with the league’s worst record be on this list? The Bucks will land the most hyped player in the 2014 NBA Draft with the second overall pick and Andrew Wiggins will make them must-see TV this fall. They probably won’t make the playoffs or even be competitive, but you won’t want to miss seeing Wiggins in an NBA uniform as a rookie.
Two big changes will make the Warriors even more exciting to watch: Steve Kerr as their new head coach and Kevin Love on their roster after a blockbuster trade. Golden State lacked a reliable post presence in the playoffs this year and the Warriors’ brass will make sure that doesn’t happen again by sending Andrew Bogut as part of a package deal for Love. The All-Star forward in Oakland will be must-see TV.
The Lakers have only three players under contract, tons of money to throw at a huge free agent class and a future polarizing star in Marcus Smart, who they’ll select with the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft. Luol Deng will undoubtedly be wearing purple and gold next season and the Lakers will overpay at least one restricted free agent: Kyle Lowry. In addition, Deron Williams wants to be traded and rumor has it L.A. is his preference.
This one will hit everyone by surprise: The Thunder will trade Russell Westbrook to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo and change. With a true point guard, Oklahoma City will become a dominant and consistent team instead of dominant and streaky. Seeing Rondo alongside Kevin Durant and Reggie Jackson will be fun to watch live.
After landing the first overall pick in the NBA Draft for the third time in four years, the Cavaliers will select Joel Embiid, who will finally give them the post presence they thought they were getting in Anthony Bennett. With Embiid down low and Kyrie Irvin up top, the Cavaliers will be a playoff team again in the Eastern Conference.
This absolutely horrible team will have two new stars in 2014: Jabari Parker and Nerlens Noel. The former will come via the third overall pick in this year’s draft while the latter will finally make his NBA debut. These two young stars will breathe life into this lethargic franchise and make the 76ers fun to watch once again.
The Mavericks’ first-round playoff loss to the Spurs showed us they are capable of contending with the best in the West. With Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki as their core, the Mavs will add Lance Stephenson, Greg Monroe and/or Marcin Gortat this offseason to give Dallas a chance at another title before Dirk retires. With Nowitzki re-signing for less money to help the team, the Mavs will be a thrilling team to watch this fall.
Derrick Rose’s return alone would be enough to put the Bulls near the top of this list, but add Carmelo Anthony to the mix and you’ve got a team that will see almost as many primetime games as the Heat in 2014. A stellar defensive team will see some incredible offense next year with Melo by Rose’s side and you won’t want to miss seeing Chicago play live.
Contrary to popular belief, the Heat’s Big Three aren’t going anywhere. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be back and Miami will likely advance to a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance. With a few role players likely to get swapped out, the Heat will be the most exciting team to watch yet again in 2014.
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