As many know, this past offseason was one of the most active in recent memories. We saw plenty of superstars on the move and the NBA’s landscape has changed drastically. The NBA is considered wide open at this point, with teams from the East and West showing they could be potential title contenders all next season. These teams all have one thing in common, they made gigantic moves that rebranded their team. They signed/acquired (via trade) a superstar/superstars that have propelled them to the top of the favorites list. With these moves, come tremendous pressure.
4. Philadelphia 76er’s– Mild Pressure
The Philadelphia 76er’s were a very active team during this past offseason. This team was able to snag Al Horford from the Boston Celtics. Horford was a key piece to the Celtics success because of his defense and his ability to do a little bit of everything on the offensive end. He should be able to contribute to this team immediately, and also assist Embiid down low. They were able to resign Tobias Harris and Mike Scott. Also signing Trey Burke to serve as their back up point guard. With such a successful offseason, why the pressure? Well these big moves have shed some light on the Sixers roster. A glaring problem that could really hinder their overall potential. Their lack of shooters will be a huge problem. The NBA is a league ran by shooters. The Sixers were able to keep Tobias, who is a good shooter, and also add Horford, a decent shooting big man, but losing J.J. Reddick will be tough. If they are able to get over this hurdle, they should be a for sure title contender alongside the Milwaukee Bucks.
3. Los Angeles Clippers– Mild Pressure now, Major Pressure Later
The Los Angeles Clippers made some of the biggest moves this offseason. They were able to land Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. I am not sure which move was more shocking. Kawhi was coming off a championship season with the Toronto Raptors, and the Clippers still landed him. Then moments after, they made the gigantic trade to get Paul George. In this trade, they sent over four unprotected first round picks, and one protected, along with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari. The pressure will come from their very tiny window to win a championship. By trading so many picks, that have screwed themselves over by not having a solid back up plan to what if this doesn’t work out. Knock on wood, but if an injury bug hits this squad and for some reason they don’t make the playoffs, they don’t have a contingency plan. They have this season, maybe the next and that’s it. I applaud the Clippers for nabbing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but the Warriors falling really put some teams into high gear to win the championship this season.
2. Houston Rockets– High Pressure
The Houston Rockets were another team that traded for a superstar, but this trade reunited two teammates. The Rockets acquired Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul, two future first round picks and two future pick swaps. It was a huge gamble for the Rockets because of the questions that have come since the trade. Westbrook and James Harden are two of the best players in the league. Westbrook is an explosive athlete that piles up stats, and Harden is a scoring machine that racks up stats like a mad man. This in theory should work right? Former teammates that won together in Oklahoma City should work because of the chemistry that has already been built. The problem that arises is there is only one ball for two very ball dominant players. This is also not taking into account that Westbrook doesn’t always make the winning play, he makes the play that will solidify him the stat. I really hope that does change, but Westbrook is an eleven year NBA veteran, change is going to be less and less likely. The Rockets are also a team that relies heavily on jump shots and getting to the line. Those are unfortunately, two things that are not Westbrook’s specialty. The pressure comes from making this giant move, and it could be like the Chris Paul experiment. Get an aging superstar, pair him with Harden and never make an appearance in the NBA Finals.
1. Los Angeles Lakers– Tremendous Pressure
The Los Angeles Lakers started off the offseason with a Mike Breen “BANG” by trading for Anthony Davis. This had been long rumored and it was a rumor that pretty much plagued the Lakers all season. These rumors swirled over the heads of each young player last season and their moral dropped. Eventually the season would end with the lakers not making the playoffs and the trade was made. Now this pressure doesn’t necessarily link to the Lakers offseason move, but it will link to last season and how they missed the playoffs. This is tremendous pressure on the shoulders of LeBron James. LeBron had made the playoffs 14 years in a row, this past season was the first he was on the outside, looking in. The Lakers are under pressure to make, and win the Finals this year. By trading away their youth, they fully expect to win it all, in a very tough Western conference, they will have their work cut out for them. The pressure is on.
Categories: NBA News Blog