If The Season Gets Canceled, Where Will The Contenders Look? WEST EDITION
Updated: May 5, 2020
The times are dark as ever in the sports world. As a worst-case scenario for fans of title contenders in the NBA, what could’ve happened in the 2019-20 season may become an inevitable what-if should the NBA season be canceled.
(League executives will have plenty of issues pending on whatever rules the league implants due to the complexity of the cancellation. The main issue would obviously be contracts and expiring deals. Ideally, it appears that 2019-20 contracts will expire on time. No extra time was added to any contract during any of the NBA lockouts, and as different a situation as that was, it gives somewhat of a blueprint for what could come.)
Contenders will have their work cut out for them trying to rework the magic of their 2019-20 campaigns. Coincidentally, all the better teams have great front offices and just about every contending team has the majority of their key players locked down for another few years.
There’s plenty to address though, so let’s dive into what all the Western Conference contenders will need to eventually re enter the Finals group chat.
Los Angeles Lakers
Lakers’ window: 1-3 years
We’ll start with the obvious: The Lakers need to make sure to re-sign Anthony Davis.
The chemistry LeBrow developed was a huge reason why LA looked like inevitable Western conference champs. And with such a great team all around and the vast majority returning, no other off-season agenda item comes close to as essential as re-signing Davis.
Dwight Howard proved his usefulness all season and will likely warrant another veteran minimum deal. In the draft, the team’s later first round pick will most likely be dealt for a shooting wing to give this team another serious threat from outside.
Los Angeles Clippers
Clippers’ window: 1-4 years
The Clippers are in a great spot for a team with basically no drafting future. Los Angeles will need to re-solidify their bench starting with pending RFA forward Montrezl Harrell.
Harrell has been a key part of the Clips success providing solid inside scoring and board collecting averaging 18.6 and 7.1 this season. The team could get another steal if guard Reggie Jackson is retained for another low ball contract. Jackson had no issue becoming another great piece in a bench unit that needed no additional help scoring, stretching the deepest team in the league even deeper.
Nuggets’ window: 2-6 years
While Denver has taken care of its stars in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic for the next three + years, there are some major holes that’ll need to be addressed to keep title hopes alive in the Mile High City.
First off, Paul Millsap’s expiring deal could be a blessing in disguise. At 35-years-old, Millsap is productive but clearly a shell of his old self. The veteran forward adjusted his game becoming a more consistent three-point shooter since joining Denver, but it may be time for the Nuggets to look elsewhere for their third scoring option.
Michael Porter Jr. looks to be the clear answer for the job should he stay healthy. The team has an abundance of 3&D athletes, to the benefit of passing centers Jokic and Mason Plumlee. The team should continue to add depth to their 3&D guys, re-sign 30-year-old Plumlee and 29-year-old Torrey Craig who both look to have a solid career left to go.
Golden State Warriors
Warriors’ window: 1-4 years
The Dubs took some hard hits this year losing or dealing just about every key player from their title runs. But the entire NBA world knows this team probably won’t miss a beat once they come back 100%.
Although it appeared the team acquisition of Andrew Wiggins was just the the second coming of Harrison Barnes, in reality Wiggins proved solid and looked effective on offense while even registering bumps in steals and blocks.
With some new added depth that got all the playing time this season, along with the Bay’s Big 3, the team could absolutely run the West…again. A team with this many 30+ year old stars would normally get overlooked, but the talent, chemistry and coaching of this team that has changed the game of basketball doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
You’ve probably seen enough Golden State highlights