Blogtable: Summer’s most intriguing team

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: The price of Love | New most intriguing team | Sleeper rookie



VIDEO: Glen Rice Jr. impressed for the Wizards at Summer League

> You’ve seen the Draft. You’ve seen some Summer League. Outside of the Cavs, what team most intrigues you now? Why’s that?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.comI’m intrigued by Charlotte, with its addition of Lance Stephenson, along with pick-up Marvin Williams. There’s talent there, especially if Cody Zeller and Noah Vonleh can rev up their frontline contributions, and it’s possible the Hornets push for a top-4 spot in the East playoffs. Steve Clifford should be able to prevent them from becoming The Lance Show (in the event Stephenson decides to start playing for his next contract right away). And let’s face it, if an NBA team can’t find a way to move on from the loss of Josh McRoberts, well, then Charlotte becomes watchable in an odd, case-study sort of way.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: In the East, and thank the basketball gods for this, there’s actually several teams of intrigue. Toronto kept its momentum going by re-signing so many of its own starting with Kyle Lowry. Washington is on the come and adding a big-brother figure in Paul Pierce should be great for John Wall and Bradley Beal. And, of course, Chicago with Pau Gasol in the mix and Derrick Rose coming back should be great fun to watch (yes, and post-LeBron Miami). In the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder are my choice. They missed out on Gasol, who would have been an absolute game-changer for that squad, and instead only came away with Sebastian Telfair, an end-of-bench addition, and Anthony Morrow, a 3-point specialist who could fit in quite well. I’m really curious to see how Russell Westbrook‘s game continues to evolve after his powerful postseason, how Kevin Durant comes off his first MVP season (but a bit of an individually disappointing postseason) and if Scott Brooks can add some new wrinkles to one of the most efficient (yet also most criticized) offenses over the last several years. If healthy the last two postseasons, this conversation could be totally different.

Sekou Smith, NBA.comThe Washington Wizards, mostly because they have put together a quality offseason and have a clear path up the Eastern Conference food chain now that the entire field has been thinned out by LeBron’s departure for Cleveland. The Wizards will have an ideal blend of youthful energy and athleticism to go along with a seasoned supporting cast capable of pushing this team over the top a year after making that surprise run to the Eastern Conference semifinals. For whatever was lost in free agency (Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker), the Wizards more than made up for it by keeping Marcin Gortat and adding Paul Pierce, Kris Humphries and DeJaun Blair. Toss in a ready-to-go Otto Porter Jr. and the Samsung Summer League MVP Glen Rice Jr., and the Wizards have every reason to believe that John Wall and Bradley Beal have a legitimate shot to lead this crew to the top of the Southeast Division and perhaps beyond.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: The Wizards have a chance to be one of the top two or three teams in the East. John Wall and Bradley Beal are getting better every season and could be the clear No. 1 backcourt in the conference by the start of 2015. Marcin Gortat has great pick-and-roll chemistry with Wall, Paul Pierce brings another element to the offense, and they have a ton of depth on their frontline. The only question is if they can maintain a top-10 defense with Pierce (who’s a better defender at the four than the three) replacing Trevor Ariza.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Washington. They kept Gortat, they did not overpay for Ariza, and then they managed to add Paul Pierce to that mix. Plus, after watching them in Summer League, it seemed clear that Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr (who was terrific in Vegas) are ready to add perimeter depth off the bench and give them the athleticism that Pierce lacks. Is Randy Wittman the right guy to take them to the next level? To me that’s the bigger question. But after a second-round run last season, all the pieces are in place for the Wiz to continue to grow what they’ve already started.

60 Comments

  1. jayr says:

    i agree that there are too many surprising teams this season…but u’ve gotta agree and admit to me and to Skip Bayless that the team to beat is always the San Antonio Spurs..people and nba dont talk too much about them but they’ve proven over and over again how dangerous they are..im sorry to mention them but what I say is true..as for the surprising team to me top 5 its gonna be: East: Chicago (if they’re all healthy), Washington, Cavs, Toronto and Indiana…. While in the West: Mavs, Portland, OKC, Phoenix and Clippers (if the team would still be intact along with their coach)… Note: you dont have to say bad comments about other persons opinion coz like i said its just our opinion..learn to respect guys…just saying…

  2. Rolly says:

    You can make predictions all you want, talk about how a player/s is a great addition to a team but in the end, when reality sets in, the last team standing will be the San Antonio Spurs!

  3. 2bhonest says:

    Bulls
    Raps
    Cavs
    Pacers
    Wizards
    Hornets
    Knicks
    Heat

  4. Marc says:

    1. Cavs
    2. Bulls
    3. Hornets
    4. Pacers
    5. Nets
    6. Heat
    7. Wizards
    8. Nets

  5. LAL says:

    East:
    1. Pacers
    2. Wizards
    3. Raptors
    4. Cavaliers
    5. Bulls
    6. Heat
    7. Knicks
    8. Nets

    West:
    1. Thunder
    2. Clippers
    3. Spurs
    4. Warriors
    5. Mavericks
    6. Trailblazers
    7. Rockets
    8. Lakers

  6. snoopy says:

    EAST

    1. Bulls
    2. Pacers
    3. Wizards
    4. Raptors
    5. Heat
    6. Cavs
    7. Hornets
    8. Nets

    WEST

    1. Thunder
    2. Spurs
    3. Clippers
    4. Mavs
    5. Blazers
    6. Warriors
    7. Rockets
    8. Suns

  7. KaashMoneyy94 says:

    East Predictions:

    1 Seed) Bulls
    2 Seed) Cavaliers
    3 Seed) Pacers
    4 Seed) Heat
    5 Seed) Wizards
    6 Seed) Hornets
    7 Seed) Raptors
    8 Seed) Hawks
    ————————————–
    West Predictions:

    1 Seed) Spurs
    2 Seed) Thunder
    3 Seed) Clippers
    4 Seed) Warriors
    5 Seed) Blazers
    6 Seed) Rockets
    7 Seed) Mavericks
    8 Seed) Grizzlies

    • omgomgomg says:

      CAN PEOPLE STOP SEEDING TEAMS INCORRECTLY! A division winner is guaranteed a Top 4 seed. Here…let me correct your East list:

      1 Seed) Bulls CENTRAL
      2 Seed) Cavaliers
      3 Seed) Heat SOUTHEAST
      4 Seed) Raptors ATLANTIC
      5 Seed) Pacers
      6 Seed) Wizards
      7 Seed) Hornets
      8 Seed) Hawks

  8. tom says:

    my predictions!

    1.pistons
    2.hornets
    3.celtics
    4.sixers
    5.bobcats
    6.kings
    7.magics
    8.new york knicks

  9. okay so this is how the east is going down
    1. chicago
    2. cleveland
    3. toronto
    4. washington
    5. atlanta
    6. charolette
    7. indiana
    8. new york detroit miami [most likely miami]
    also watch out for the sixers
    i love nerlenes and mcw

  10. Andrew says:

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Washington
    4. Miami
    5. Toronto
    6. Charlotte
    7. Indiana
    8. Detroit

    I don’t see it any other way to be honest. Indiana lost Stephenson and probably will lose another critical key player. The top five in the east will most likely be a pretty close race in the wins column. Detroit stands a chance of getting it done under Gundy. But Cleveland will not be number one, Indiana probably won’t be in the top four, and New York, Brooklyn, and Atlanta are not making it.

  11. Ateezy says:

    I dont know why u guys got indiana at 3 or even 4? they struggled with stevenson now what will happen without him?
    Miami will not be the same either. This is a new era a new EAST. Here are some real rankings based off the 2014 offseason

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Toronto
    4. Washington
    5. Atlanta
    6. Indiana
    7. Miami
    8. Charlotte

  12. Ateezy says:

    I dont know why u guys got indiana at 3 or even 4? they struggled with stevenson now what will happen without him?
    Miami will not be the same either. This is a new era a new EAST. Here are some real rankings based off the 2014 offseason

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Toronto
    4. Washington
    5. Atlanta
    6. Indiana
    7. Miami
    8. Charlotte
    8.

  13. Jaleel smith says:

    East:

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Toronto
    4. Indiana
    5. Washington
    6. Charlotte
    7. New York
    8. Miami or Brooklyn

    West:

    1. Clippers
    2. Oklahoma City
    3. San Antonio
    4. Golden State
    5. Portland
    6. Houston
    7. Phoenix
    8. Memphis or Dallas

    This is just my prediction and how I would like to see the playoffs pan out. I was gonna put Washington at the three spot in the conference but I feel that would be way overrated they have a good young core and lots of talent & I believe they could easily sneak into the top 4 in the conference. It was a toss up between OKC and LAC for the top spot in the west either team could easily come away with it and i believe their records will be almost identical at the end of the season. I also wanted to place Phoenix as the 4 seed but were not sure if they’ll be getting Bledsoe back but Goran drag if will for sure be an all-star next year he has a supreme talent. I can’t wait for the 2014-2015 season to start it is going to be one hectic one.

    • harrythehawk says:

      Dude wake up. The Flippers #1? Where have you been? That teams about to be dismantled, thanks to Sterling. Doc Rivers is quitting and Cliff Paul and Flake Griffin will follow suit.

  14. Karlo Garcia says:

    The team that intrigues me is the Charlotte Hornets. With the Lance Stephenson scenario I will be on the other end to speculate whether he was the right player for the right situation.

  15. MH says:

    1.Cleveland
    2.Toronto
    3.Indiana
    4.Washington
    5.Chicago
    6.Miami
    7.Charlotte
    8.Atlanta or Detroit

  16. DFresh says:

    ok so its the wizards hands down. but I’m looking at the teams that you guys have going to the playoffs and I kinda upset with all the hate the hawks are getting, not even the hate but the disrespect.

    as far as playoff appearances go, the hawks are number 2 behind the mighty spurs for consecutive playoff appearances. thats 7 straight years of playoffs for atlanta. and they just got a lockdown defender in sefolosha, getting back a healthy horford and jeff teague gets better every year.

    they will make the playoffs and then get stomped, just like they do every year. #consistency

    oh yeah the spurs have been to the playoffs 17 years in a row, hawks 7 years in a row and then miami and chicago with 6 and so on. these are active streaks by the way

    warriors fan here, the t’wolves want too much for love. lee, barnes and thompson is way too much to give up for him. and from the cavs they want bennett wiggins more players and picks, id tell them to eat a @#$%. at this point id be happy to see him sit in minnesota for the whole season and then leave them with nothing

  17. Unkaned says:

    The Thunder could have managed to capture Gasol, but didn’t make the offer. Miami could have but stupidly signed Josh McRoberts — an up-and-coming player– for $6M, while Gasol went to Chicago for $5.5. If they had copped Gasol, I’m betting Lebron would have stayed to win more rings. (IF Cleveland hadn’t had the 1st pick in the draft for THREE of the LAST FOUR YEARS to you honestly think Lebron would have jumped from Miami? Don’t be naive just because he has good, lying PR.l As signing Kobe shows, the League is SO competitive now, that a SINGLE management mistake can take you out of contention for years, maybe a decade. If Miami had singed Gasol immediately, letting Bosh play his natural position as a great stretch three, they would be unbeatable even LeBron ( Deng is an excellent player but not remotely Lebron.) So now Miami is a second-round out and worse as Wade ages. But both these teams froze, and now they’re bridesmaids.

    Meanwhile Cleveland can’t afford Love — they’ll have three layers making $20M or more, and no money for anyone else. Bulls may be able to afford him. But so far teams are given them too much. Wolves were IDIOTS to turn down David Lee, Harrison Barnes and a 1 round draft pick — quite a starting point or rebuilding that’s the best offer they’re gong to get. Keven would be smart to play for Minnesota this year, than go to the team of his choice next year who won’t have to lose a third of their team’s best players in return (Plus he can probably sign a two-year contract, plus “his world” (Hes not Carlos Boozer), and in 2017 the cap will go up and whatever team he’s on can probably afford to get another good player. Too much happening in the next 11 months to know what the possibilities are, But if he doesn’t get traded, he can pick the team to be on that will almost automatically win 5 championships if he can stay in Minnesota — but I doubt this will happen, although he’ll at least get traded to a contender the way things look.

    Frankly, the team that did BEST this Summer was the Clippers: signing Hakes and Farmar as backups. (Jamal Crawford was getting long in the tooth. If they could upgrade a shooting guard — and they’re not bad now — they would be a contender for San Antonio and I much tougher under under the basket with DeAndre and Haws compared to injury-prone Bogut who had no offensive game. the Splash brothers are not going to take 80 percent of Golden State’s shots, and it they give away have their team for Lebron, they’ll go out in the second round.

  18. Brian says:

    1. Chicago (CEN) 50+ wins
    2. Raptors (ATL) – 50+ wins
    3. Cavs (SE) – 50 wins
    4. Wizards 47-50 wins
    5. Pacers 40-45 wins
    6. Brooklyn
    7. New York
    8. Atlanta

    Mark my words this is exactly what will happen… Bulls defense is good they added a scorer and we’ll see if Rose is Rose… Raptors rank top 10 in Defense and Offense you fools don’t realize how good that is.

  19. alfonso WILDCATS says:

    dont under estimate the heart of a champion team MIAMI HEAT.

  20. TURSETTE says:

    lakers are gonna be boring! JORDAN HILL??? i LOL’d

  21. Lime says:

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Washington
    4. Miami
    5. New York
    6. Charlotte
    7. Indiana
    8. Detroit

    Period! Dumb are the dudes who believe that Atlanta and Brooklyn still has a chance in making the playoffs

    • Akinbobola says:

      No Toronto…. Hold on no Atlantic team in the top 4? You sir should never post on a blog again.

  22. Cole says:

    I say the East will look like this:

    1. Cleveland
    2. Washington
    3. Chicago
    4. Toronto
    5. Charlotte
    6. Miami
    7. Indiana
    8. New York

    • Patrick Johnson says:

      You are insane for putting Washington over Chicago. All they needed was elite scoring. Now, they have exactly that. This is how it’s gonna look

      1.Chicago
      2. Cleveland
      3. Indiana
      4. Miami
      5. Washington
      6. Toronto
      7. New York
      8. Charlotte

    • Kevin says:

      1.Wizards
      2. Indiana
      3. Toronto
      4. Charlotte
      5. Cleveland
      6. New York
      7. Chicago
      8. ATL

  23. Patrick Cummings says:

    Re: Love fest Gibson, Mirotic,and McDermott for Love is too much. Should get involved in 3-way trade, giving Gibson to Minnesota and taking Wiiggins from Cleveland. Gives Minnesota a little better here-and-now success rather than long-term. PJC

  24. authordas says:

    I have to say I disliked Miami, but they look good this year as well. Question is will they have just as good of chemstry without James. Bulls look good too if Rose can stay healhy and play like the MVP he once was.

  25. NewYorkNative says:

    1) Chicago (D-Rose and Pau)
    2) Cleveland (Will take time to gel)
    3) Toronto (Easier division)
    4) Washington (Playing in a tougher division)
    5) Charlotte (Again, tougher division now)
    6) Indiana (Not improvements this off season)
    7) Miami (Successful rebuilt)
    8) Atlanta (Injured players are coming back)

    • KingJames says:

      Seems pretty good to me. Top 4 teams have legitimate chance of winning 50-60 games.

    • Wilbur says:

      Washington playing in a tougher division? Yes, Charlotte is dangerous, but inexperienced. The Magic blow, Miami is not only getting another year older, but will have to learn to gel just like the Cavs, now with lesser talent, and Atlanta is very hot and cold. You never know, year in and year out, which Atlanta team you’ll get on any given night (obviously having Al back is huge for them, but I digress).

      1. Chicago is banking on a healthy D-Rose to not only be healthy, but to be the old D-Rose after 2 life, let a lone game, altering knee surgeries.

      2. Agreed. They’ll take time to gel and once they do will be absolutely deadly, no matter what way they go with the Kevin Love charade.

      3. I like them, they’re underrated, but the Wizards have too much depth and athleticism, and now experience added to all of that, to be held down by the Raptors.

      1. Cavs
      2. Wizards
      3. Chicago
      4. Toronto
      5. Charlotte
      6. Indiana
      7. Miami
      8. Atlanta/New York/Detroit/Boston

      • NewYorkNative says:

        I meant tp say Washington is in a tougher team than Toronto. My apologies

      • LeBronCavs23or6 says:

        Raptors took the series 3-1 last year. Raptors wins were by 8, 10 and 11 points in games that were never close. The Wizards only win came in a triple OT thriller.

        Adding a declining Paul Pierce to go against a rising Terrence Ross won’t change the fact that the Raptors are a better team. Wizards are good, don’t get me wrong, but to immediately say that are better than Toronto is close minded.

        Let Washington prove that on the court, because Toronto proved that they were the better team last year.

  26. LeBronCavs23or6 says:

    Most intriguing team is Toronto for sure.

    Until New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia or Boston make more substantial moves this offseason, the Toronto Raptors are guaranteed a top 4 seed as division winners. They’re is still alot of uncertainty with the Raptors. They went 42-22 after they traded Gay. They are looking at a 54-28 record and possibly the #2 seed if they play at that same exact pace for an entire season.

    Can they match that pace this year? Can they take advantage of the other teams lack of continuity and chemistry? It’ll be interesting to see.

    • JSmoove says:

      Washington by far is the better team. Those losses to the Raptors happened to be without key players (Nene and Beal) and they were in the lead for most of the game in those losses. The Wiz chemistry is amazing with Wall and Gortat as one of the best pick and roll duos, beal a clutch shooter and now with the presence of The Truth helping to guide this team, improving their Bball IQ. Top 4 team hands down and better than Toronto by far. Just look at the matchups.

      • NewYorkNative says:

        I meant to say Raptors have an easier path to a division crown. Raptors are good, but their record will be better than good because they will be playing teams like the Sixers and the Celtics

  27. stony says:

    Lang Whitaker, why you mad at andy Whitman? The Wiz are a tight unit with its head on straight, plays hard, overachieved last year. Whats the problem? Back it uo before u start undermining a good coach.

  28. eatern says:

    i think Toronto will be the team to watch ////they have better chemistry then Washington and most of them are coming back from last season unlike some of the other teams they are young squad that have experience

  29. rookie98 says:

    Yes, my friend that mentioned it before , they do have the right of youth an d experience to make a good great run in the East, The big question is are they all going to stay healthy most or all of the season ? If they do then they will be good or better as last year . Boston , Atlanta Cleavland all have improve also. Miami is a different with out LaBron, is
    that a good thing or bad ? Let got to center court and toss it up and play some B-ball!

    Competitive DOG-EAT-DOG season coming up!

  30. KW says:

    Consider Uncle Drew, Gus and Lebron together… just add Maya Moore, and this could be a multi year Champ…

  31. KW says:

    If Love leaves the Wolves, the team he lands on will win the whole thing…

  32. bulls fan says:

    I agree that Washington has a strong squad but that will only show up during the playoffs. NeNe, Wall, and Pierce will be dangerous but only when they are healthy. These guys are either old or very injury prone, they will miss a good number of regular season games (especially Nene and Pierce), and the regular season record will show that like last year. I was a fan of Ariza, and having Pierce to replace Ariza looks like a downgrade to me, especially for the regular season. I know they have Webster as backup but losing Ariza and adding Pierce looks like a lose to me. Therefore, I don’t think Washington will have 1st, 2nd, or 3rd seed for regular season, but in term of playoff strength in East they should be in top 3.

    • Wilbur says:

      You’re a Bulls’ fan … talking about being injury prone …

      I think you’ve got the wrong NBA star, former Kentucky point guard here …

  33. The Truth says:

    I’m interested to see what Milwaukee does this season. The addition of Jabari Parker should make them interesting to watch. I’m predicting the next San Antonio forming in Milwaukee. I know. It’s a stretch. Call me crazy. But you got a guy who wants to be there in Parker and I bet he’s going to work hard. Seems like a high-character guy. The only thing that’s missing is like ten other pieces, including a great coach…

  34. Charles says:

    1. Chicago
    2. Cleveland
    3. Indiana
    4. Washington
    5. Brooklyn
    6. Toronto
    7. Miami
    8. New York

    • batts says:

      Eastern conf playoff teams (no order): cleveland, washington, chicago, toronto, nyk, charlotte, detroit, indiana.
      Teams on the outskirts: miami, atl, brooklyn,

      • henry says:

        Watch out for the post-James heat. They will be as tough an out as any eastern team that doesn’t have the afforementioned player on their squad.

  35. Scisca says:

    I love Washington, but the team that excites me the most in Philly. No, not this season. But in 2 years? This will be a monster of a team.

  36. NBA Fan says:

    The East should be interesting this year. I’m predicting a top 3 of Washington, Cleveland, and Chicago in no particular order with Indiana, Toronto, and Charlotte competing for the 4th seed. Washington has depth, experience, and scorers. Cleveland has Lebron. Chicago will be a strong defensive team that should see much improvement with the addition of Gasol in Boozer’s place. I can’t wait to see how it shakes out.

  37. BLessED says:

    Most intriguing team is Toronto for sure.

    Until New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia or Boston make more substantial moves this offseason, the Toronto Raptors are guaranteed a top 4 seed. They’re is still alot of uncertainty with the Raptors. They went 42-22 after they traded Gay. They are looking at a 54-28 record and possibly the #2 seed if they play at that same exact pace for an entire season.

    Can they match that pace this year? Can they take advantage of the other teams lack of continuity and chemistry? It’ll be interesting to see.

    • KC says:

      While they may be guaranteed a top 4 seed, if they aren’t at the 3 there are gonna be some problems in the first round, especially with Indy, who are battle tested and tough as nails. I’d love to see my hometown Raps pull the upset there though. The good thing is they still have the key bench guys along with a spark plug in Lou Williams, only problem with him is the size so hopefully everyone else can help out on the rotation. If DeRozan and Lowry continue their All-Star level of play, and JV continues to add more to his post repertoire, this team is gonna be a handful for everyone around the league, and hopefully be on their way to the franchise’s first 50 win season. This is a year where the east is gonna be hard to predict and the central division is going to have heated rivalries for first, provided everyone stays healthy. Washington is a team to keep a close eye on though as they now have 2 solid shooters, a slashing and speedy PG with John Wall, and a solid front line. They should be kings of the southeast, but I wouldn’t count out Charlotte or Miami for too long. Raps are gonna have to get off to a quick start, because it’s gonna be hard to play catch up in the east this year.

    • Netsarereal says:

      Nets will make play-offs easily as long as they stay relatively healthy during the season. Brook Lopez will be an all star, Plumlee and D-will have great season, Joe Johnson and AK 47 have solid contributions.

      If Healthy:

      Nets
      Bulls
      Cavs
      Indiana
      Wizards
      Knicks
      Heat
      Hornets/Raptors/Pistons

      Coach Hollins will have us top 10 in defense and top 15 in offense. KG is not done just yet, can’t wait for the season to start.