This is a chart that should be in all of our minds next season.
The riggin' for Wiggins has begun and yes, our own Utah Jazz have thrown the hat into the metaphorical ring. Wiggins is far from the only prize and there will be stiff competition. Who are the other contenders and do we have what it takes?
The Non-Contenders (otherwise known as Playoff Teams)
Miami, OKC, SAS, GWS, Houston, LAC, Indiana, Brooklyn, NYK, Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta. These 12 teams are just about locks to make the playoffs. Atlanta is the biggest question mark but the east is so weak, you don't even have to be an average team to make it in. Playoffs means no lottery ipso facto, dicto simpliciter they are out.
The Middling Mediocrities (this was us this year)
Los Angeles Lakers: Why they might be worse than the Jazz: No Dwight, Kobe is injured and there is not a lot of talent past him on this team. Why they might be better than the Jazz: Kobe doesn't want to miss any time and might come back much sooner than expected. Also I am expecting a bounce back year from Pau Gasol who really has not suffered a precipitous decline in athletic ability. The Verdict: No Tank, though they might miss the playoffs.
Portland Trailblazers: Why they might be worse than the Jazz: If they trade LaMarcus Aldridge and CJ McCollum doesn't turn out like 'Blazer fans hope he will, then they might just miss the playoffs and if injuries happen to say Batum and Lillard there really isn't anyone to replace them. Why they might be better than the Jazz: The Jazz are basically the 'Blazers lite, rookie pg and no bench depth plus they aren't looking to trade LMA. The Verdict: No Tank, these guys probably make the playoffs.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Why they might be worse than the Jazz: Love and Rubio are injury prone, also I don't like D-Will2 or Shabazz much, they are loosing AK and they have one of the lousiest FO's in the league (at least according to their fans. Why they might be better than the Jazz: They have a talented play making pg who makes a defensive impact, plus if they keep Pekovic they have a bruising front court, I don't think they have much more talent than we do but they are certainly deeper. The Verdict: No tank, not much of a playoff chance either but they will compete for 9th place and all the joy that brings.
Denver Nuggets: Why they might be worse: They traded Kosta Koufus away in order to give the keys of the team to Javale McGee. They are loosing Iguodala, and fired Coach Karl. Also Gallinari is coming back from an ACL injury. They really might be bad. Why they might be better: Along with the Jazz the Nuggets enjoy a very impressive homecourt advantage, catching teams in the middle of long road trips will pad the win total. Obviously the Jazz also have this advantage but the Nuggets' style is more likely to take advantage of this. Again they have a depth advantage. The Verdict: No Tank, these guys probably make the playoffs too.
Milwaukee Bucks: Why they might be worse: Rumpelstiltskin could spin straw into gold, the Bucks FO manages to spin promising young players into future 2nd round picks. Also Jennings is probably back and he is a chucker mc-chuckerson and while that works against the Jazz it doesn't work nearly often enough. Why they might be better: First they are in the east. Second they made the playoffs last year with a 38-44 record, those are kinda the same reason so I'll give you a third. LARRY SANDERS!!!! The Verdict: LARRY SANDERS!!!!!!!! that's a no tank btw, just sayin'.
Washington Wizards: Why they might be worse: If John Wall goes down this is a bad team. Why they might be better: Even with Wall out this is a good defensive club, with Wall in it becomes a decent offensive club too they also have decent young talent in Beal and Porter they could be a suprise team in the east. The Verdict: No tank, I think they make the playoffs and give either the 2 or 3 seed a little bit of a scare.
Charlotte Hornets: Why they might be worse: Now that the Maloofs are banished to whatever corner of hell greedy douchbags are relegated to in this life the Hornets are the worst run team in the league, imo. Also this team is like 3 players deep, Kemba, Big Al and MKG. Also they have historically been awful. Why they might be better: Not so much better as have a better record, the Jazz are a better team than the Hornets just they will play a much harder schedule and have more good teams to keep us out of the playoffs. The Verdict: They should have tanked, bringing on Jefferson was a mistake from my view as it is they probably finish with 30-34 wins.
Toronto Raptors: Why they might be worse: Gay and DeRozan have spacing issues as neither of them are great shooters. Lowry is erractic and again this is a team that does not have a track record of success. Why they might be better: I don't see them being worse than last year. They have gotten rid of Bargs and I like Valanciunas. Last year they went 34-48 and they probably do that again. The Verdict: No tank.
New Orleans Pelicans: Why they might be worse: Tyreke Evans has gotten worse every single year in the league. Eric Gordon is a near constant trade demand distraction. Jrue Holliday is only an average pg in the west. Also they have the worst nickname in the league, just sayin'. Why they might be better: They gave up their 2014 pick so they seem committed to being psuedo competitive. Also they have a decent nucleus of talent. The Verdict: no pick, therefor no tank.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Why they might be worse: This team did just have this years #1 pick, you don't get that by being good. For all of Kyrie Irving's offensive genius he is a sieve on defense. Varajao and Irving are both injury risks. Also this team plays CJ Miles who has secretly been working for the Jazz to sabotage our rivals. Double agent FTW. Why they might be better: Irving, Waiters and this year's no.1 (whatever his name was) are very talented. Also remember how CJ is a double agent? He is totally going to pull them into the playoffs kicking and screaming. Double agent FTW! The Verdict: No tank, CJ saves the Jazz.
The Lotto Locks (this is us this year)
Dallas Mavericks: Why they might be worse: There are really not a lot of players worth signing anymore and if they go in with their current roster they actually have less depth and overall talent than we do. They are also very old, and because of this more injury prone than normal. Also they may have a dwightmare hangover, constantly stuck wondering what could have been. Why they might be better: Rick Carlisle is a great coach, and if Cuban does not give the order to tank, he will win some games that he shouldn't. Also FA is not over, Mavs could still add AK or Josh Smith or bring Marion back. That isn't enough for playoff contention but that isn't chopped liver neither. The Verdict: No tank. I think Cuban rides out the Dirk twilight before committing to a rebuild.
Sacramento Kings: Why they might be worse: This is a team built around DeMarcus Cousins. Personally Cousins is must see for me but that has more to do with his bizarre body language than his game (though his game isn't bad). Also the Kings are just 2 months removed from being the most toxic environment for NBA success, it could take a while to recover. Also not remarkably talented, imo. Why they might be better: I like their pick up of Greivis Vasquez, I also like their draft of McLemore. Despite the constant circus surrounding the fate of the Kings franchise they won 28 games, if they can do a little better I think they pass us. The Verdict: Tank. Our first tank! What I read about Vivek Ranadive is that he'd want to have a winner and that he is unorthodox. I don't think anyone wants to build their team around DMC and if I am Ranadive (and full disclosure: I'm not) I would view the 2014 draft as a great opportunity to get a different player to build around so as not to be held hostage by a 270 lb center with the emotional development of a three year old.
Detroit Pistons: Why they might be worse: As the rosters stand they are worse. They may yet sign Josh Smith or manage a trade for Rudy Gay but unless that happens they are not a team with much talent. Looking back at the 2011 draft Knight was a bullet we dodged, I don't think he is a starting caliber point guard, at least not for a good team. Kentavious-Caldwell Pope has a fantastic name and good upside but he will face a tough transition. Also Monroe and Drummond do not get put on the floor at the same time much bc of spacing issues. Why they might be better: Andre Drummond was a big surprise last year, following in the path of Blake Griffin and Amare Stoudemire as an athletic aggressive big man. Also they are trying to spend their cap room and that usually gets some free agents eventually. The Verdict: No tank, they are trying too hard to bring in talent.
The odds on favorites to be awful:
Boston: Why they might be worse: Rajon Rondo, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace. One of these things is not like the others... Boston completely tore down their crumbling empire and now they do not have much left. Rondo might not even be in Beantown when the season starts. Why they might be better: First of all Rondo missed most of last season and they still made the playoffs last season. Pierce and Garnett will be missed but theoretically there is enough talent to be somewhat good. Also Stevens, the new Celtics Coach via Butler, will want as many W's as he can his first year in the league, it is too easy to get written off otherwise and this is his big chance to prove he belongs. The Verdict: I think no tank, Rondo is a good player who can impact a game in a lot of ways and the cupboards aren't bare they just have a bunch of overpaid role players. I don't know, I can see them going either way, much depends on Rondo's health or trade partners.
Orlando: Why they might be worse: They are toying around with the idea of Oladipo at PG, Oladipo had more turnovers than assists at Indiana, pg in the NBA is not something that I would throw him into. Last year they had the worst record in the NBA, I don't see them growing out of it that much. Why they might be better: We have Kanter and Favors both threaten 20/20's in March, also in March Vucevic and Tobias Harris threatened 30/20's in the same game Harris falling short by 1 rebound. The Verdict: Tank, their 30/20's not withstanding I like Kanter and Favors better than their young bigs and we have more talent across the board too.
Suns: Why they might be worse: Is Eric Bledsoe their best player? Is Dragic? It has to be one of those two and both would be an underwhelming best player on an NBA team. Hornacek was Corbin's 3r assistant therefor Corbin>Hornacek. Alex Len never really played with a lot of heart in college, I would not bank on him being a franchise center, motor matters too much. Why they might be better: Maybe the C4 all get injured? I'm not jinxing it, just saying that I think that is what would have to happen. The Verdict: Tank. Horny is going to face a daunting rebuild as there is not a lot of talent on this team.
Philadelphia: Why they might be worse: Nerlens Noels is their best player and he will miss a good portion of the season (from what I hear at least, he thinks he'll be back sooner). MCW will have a lot of growing to do and frankly I think it will be overwhelming. Thadeus Young is a decent player but he is their only other player of consequence. This team won't contend with worst team of all time but they will be very bad and that was by design. Why they might be better: Nope, not happening. The Verdict: Tank.
Final Tank standings:
On starter talent alone I think we are 11th in the west this year maybe 10th but the only players on our bench that have shown capacity for rotation minute are Marvin Williams and Burks. Gobert is a couple of years from making a positive impact, Biedrins isn't an NBA quality player as of this moment. If our c5 were able to 100% avoid injuries I think they would be a 34 win team but there is very little depth to sustain injuries. Any games that Burke or Favors or Kanter miss could be very hard to win.
Am I being too harsh? Let me know.