The NBA offseason is around the corner with the draft and free agency quickly approaching, and in sports, if you aren’t first, you’re last. Continually trying to patch up roster holes doesn’t do the trick anymore, as an overabundance of top-end talent is the only way to win in the NBA. You aren’t going to find a Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 15 overall or Nikola Jokic in the second round every year. The highest success rate is with picks high in the draft, and the only way to do that is to sell the farm, reset, and stink.
Here are three teams that should set their sights on a rebuild.
- Washington Wizards
Have the Wizards ever been relevant? Besides a few years of John Wall and Bradley Beal being fun to watch, the Wizards are a joke. It doesn’t make sense that the Wizards are in the nation’s capital yet continually operate like a small-market team. Trying to win with Beal is direct evidence of that. He will never be “him” on a championship team, and the Wizards have proven to be inept at building a functional roster around Beal.
The Wizards just ushered in a new front office led by President Michael Winger and GM Will Dawkins. Each spent time under Sam Presti with the Thunder, who has mastered the art of acquiring assets and is considered one of basketball’s best executives. Ownership must entrust Winger and Dawkins to blow it up and get a king’s ransom for Beal. After that, Kyle Kuzma needs to walk. Washington needs to see what it has with its young prospects. A team with a ball-hogging forward like Kuzma won’t provide anything.
- Chicago Bulls
What are the Bulls doing? Even if Chicago could be better next year, the first round of the playoffs is its ceiling. Zach Lavine and DeMar DeRozan are not good enough to compete with the best in the league, and while both hold value, the best move would be to dump them.
This is the Chicago Bulls. Basketball is better when the Bulls are competitive. Continually trotting out mediocre teams won’t magically turn into a 50-win season. A few years of bottoming out and getting high draft picks would give the Bulls a chance to land some difference-makers. Then, they could leverage the brand to land some high-caliber free agents and make a serious run at a title.
- Portland Trail Blazers
I’m getting sick of Damian Lillard. C’mon, pick something. He continually says how loyal and dedicated he is to winning in Portland but goes on podcasts and drops hints of potential destinations to stir the pot. A superstar isn’t walking through Portland’s door to play with him. If he cares about Portland winning a title, it won’t be with him on the team.
Hearing Lillard say he’d like to play with Mikal Bridges in Brooklyn or Bam Adebayo in Miami makes no sense. They’d be the package needed to acquire him! I understand the reports that the Portland brass will let him choose his next destination, but it’s time to part ways. The third pick is a golden asset that could land Portland a building block, so instead of selling off young talents like Shaedon Sharpe or Anfernee Simons for a borderline all-star, put it together and think about the long game. With a few excellent picks, that core could take the Blazers farther than Dame ever could.