Washington Wizards: Off Season Preview

          The Wizards are looking at a quiet offseason. After finishing one of their best seasons in a while, the Wizards have no draft picks in the first round, and it is not likely they will sing anyone in free agency. The action for the Wizards offseason will come internally.

          Both Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat have expiring contracts. The Wizards will try to retain both, unless the duo becomes too expensive. The Wizards are afraid that this might be the case, and if it came down to it, they would resign Gortat over Ariza. Another guy that has an expired contract is guard Andre Miller. It is reported that Miller will more than likely be resigned by the Wizards.

          The Wizards have as bright a future as anyone in the east. They have two spectacular guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal. The guard duo averaged 36 points and 12 assist a game last season. These two will be the key to their success down the road. Nene and Gortat will always be reliable big men, averaging 27 points and 15 rebounds a game together last season. One thing that could send Washington to the next level is the development of Otto Porter. Porter came in with high expectations this past year, but only played in 37 games this past season. If he reaches his potential, the Wizards will have a young trio that will keep Washington a playoff team for years to come.

Utah Jazz: Off Season Preview

          The Utah Jazz are sitting at a pretty good place right now. They have a young roster filled with talent, including Gordon Heyward, Derrick Favors, Trey Burke and Alec Burks. This offseason they will have even more of a chance to improve their roster.

          The biggest priority this offseason for the Jazz is resigning Gordon Heyward. They don’t need to go out and get someone in free agency; they just need to focus on picking the right player in the draft. Utah isn’t going to attract any major players, so the draft is where the Jazz have to build.

        Utah has the 5th and 23rd players in the draft. With the latest news on Joel Embiid, it is hard to tell who they will pick, considering they were projected to get Noah Vonleh who now is projected go to Orlando. Regardless of who is available, they need to pick the best player available. If they pick a big man, Enes Kanter is an attractive trade asset that plenty of teams would be interested in. It wouldn’t make sense to keep three high level big men on the team, so trading Kanter for another position of need would be smart. At pick number 23, some mock drafts have Utah picking Kyle Anderson out of UCLA. Anderson is a long wing player who can score at will. He lacks elite athleticism, but his scoring will have him contributing big minutes for Utah.

          Utah could very well be on the brink of being a playoff team. They have the young talent and once you add who they get in this draft, they will have the pieces to develop into a very good team.

Toronto Raptors: Off Season Preview

          The Toronto Raptors had a very successful 2013-2014 campaign, and they are looking to build off that momentum. They have a solid young core of Demar DeRozan, Terrance Ross, Patrick Patterson and Kyle Lowry. Those four averaged 60 of the teams average of 96 points a game this past season.        

         The Raptors biggest priority this offseason will be keeping Kyle Lowry. It looks like Lowry is leaning towards staying in Toronto at this point. The team that is talked about the most in taking Lowry from Toronto is the Miami Heat. Miami needs a good point guard and they can afford Lowry.

         The Raptors do not have much cap room to work with, at least not enough to sign a big time player. One player that has been mentioned in free agent talk is Vince Carter. Carter is one the best players in Raptors history, so bringing him in would be sort of a homecoming for Carter.

          Toronto will look to further improve their team in the draft. The Raptors hold the number 20 pick in the draft, and some current mock drafts have Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis falling to the Raptors at 20. He would serve as a very good back up to Lowry. In the unlikely case that Lowry leaves, he would be an average starting point guard with the potential to be a good one.

          The Raptors future is as bright as any. They have a young core that will only get better and a bench to go along with it. The Raptors front office has done a good job in building this team and will continue to make them a contender through the draft.

San Antonio Spurs: Off Season Preview

San Antonio Spurs: Offseason Preview

 

          The defending champion San Antonio Spurs have not built this team off of offseason acquisitions, and they don’t plan on starting now. The Spurs aren’t targeting anyone in free agency, and will more than likely just add a draft pick that will end up being a big time contributor down the road.

 

          The only potential loss to the Spurs this offseason will be Patty Mills. There have been talks of him heading to the New York Knicks. Aside from him, everyone is expected to stay with the Spurs. Also, at this point it does not look like Tim Duncan or Gregg Popavich will retire. This is obviously huge for the Spurs, being that Duncan and Pop have been with the Spurs for all give of their championships.

 

          The Spurs also have the 30th pick in the draft. It is projected that they will pick Cleanthony Early from Wichita State with their pick. This would be a great value pick for them. He would provide scoring and defense off the bench and could very well turn into one of your typical low round draft picks that turn into a good player for the Spurs.

 

          The Spurs are probably in the best spot in the league going forward. They have a young star in Kawhi Leonard that will simply take the torch when Duncan Ginobili and Parker retire. They still have the best bench in the game that provides good rest for the old trio of Duncan Ginobili and Parker. I don’t see the Spurs dynasty slowing down anytime soon.

 

Sacramento Kings: Off Season Preview

          The Sacramento Kings have been in the process of building a young, talented roster around Demarcus Cousins. Cousins is the centerpiece of the Kings franchise, and they have done a very good job of putting a young cast around him. This offseason Sacramento will look to complete the building of their roster.

          The main priority for the Kings this offseason will be retaining Rudy Gay. Gay, along with Isaiah Thomas and Demarcus Cousins, scored 63 percent of the team’s points per game. Keeping those three together will ensure success for the franchise. The problem with Sacramento is that they might have too much youth. The Kings only have two players over 30 years old, and those two players put together only averaged roughly 16 minutes per game. Their top seven scorers this past season were all under 27 years old. This would be considered good for most teams, but it is possible that the Kings have too much youth.

          The goal for this offseason needs to be adding some good, veteran players. The Kings hold the eighth pick in the draft, which could be dealt along with a younger player to add an experienced star to the team. If they decide not to trade that pick, their options are far and wide on whom to use the eighth pick on. Most mock drafts have the Kings drafting a power forward, which would mean they will either pick Julius Randle out of Kentucky or Aaron Gordon out of Arizona. The difference between the two is that Gordon might be a little more athletic, but Randle is more developed on the offensive end. Both have fantastic upside, so the Kings really can’t go wrong with either.

          The future is very bright for the Kings. They have a young roster and a star center in Demarcus Cousins to go along with it. If they resign Rudy Gay and get a good player in the draft, the Kings will be competitive in the west for years to come.

Portland Trail Blazers: Off Season Preview

          Portland has a really young, really good team that will keep improving every year. They have a great core with Lillard, Batum and Aldridge. All these three will do is keep improving and become even more of a threat in the west. However, it will be a very uneventful offseason in Portland.

          There isn’t much the Blazers can do to improve this offseason except develop their players further. They have no first round draft picks, no cap space, and no valuable trade assets. The only thing they can do is hope some of their younger players take a big step in the right direction and become trade assets. The players they are hoping make a big jump are C.J. McCollum, Meyers Leonard and Will Barton. If these three have a better season next year they will be valuable in the trade market and Portland will be able to make some moves.

          Portland is a year or two away from being a legit championship contender, but they will get their. They have done a great job of building a young roster with star power. These players will continue to develop, as will the team, putting Portland up there with San Antonio and Oklahoma City in the west.

         

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