Wouldn’t it be great if you could just reboot your franchise and start it all over with your favorite players? At least it would save you a lot of headaches and rants about how awful their playing and continue to rack numbers in the L column.
Today, we’re going to get the chance to play god and just restart the National Basketball Association, so you all Golden State Warriors haters and bandwagoners are going to find some other team to hate on or follow, as their dominance is about to come to an end.
What we’re going to do is quite simple: Based on the team’s records from last season, we’re going to let them choose one of the best 30 players in the world, so they have the chance to build their franchise around them for the future.
Are you ready? Are you hyped? Well, you should be. It’s time to pretend we’re GMs and we’re about to chance basketball history for good.
1. Brooklyn Nets: LeBron James
Thanks to a sensationally bad season, it seems like the Brooklyn Nets are finally going to get better, as they get to steal LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers to help their young star D’Angelo Russell thrive and become the elite scorer everybody thinks he can be.
Russell enjoys playing off the ball and with a playmaker like LeBron in the team and his ability to collapse the lane while attacking the rim, the former Buckeye would get a lot of open looks. Besides, LeBron and Carroll would provide a defensive nightmare for opposing wings and he already knows what it’s like to play with Mozgov.
2. Phoenix Suns: Kevin Durant
The Phoenix Suns just got incredibly scary now that they landed Kevin Durant, and you know, a snake in the desert just feels natural (JK). Durant would provide them with a much needed rim protector now that Tyson Chandler’s really slow, and they’d be deadly in all shooters lineups.
Besides, Durant would be the perfect mentor for a Devin Booker that has all the tools required to become the league’s leading scorer, and paired with Josh Jackson and TJ Warren, Phoenix may actually improve their historically bad defense by a lot.
3. Los Angeles Lakers: Stephen Curry
Oh boy, it seems like Showtime’s back in Los Angeles, with the best shooter in the history of the league dressed in purple and gold. Curry would play off the ball as the shooting guard with Lonzo Ball running the offense, while Brandon Ingram would try to improve his shooting thanks to the help of a master of release like Curry.
The Lakers won’t be close to contention for an extra couple of years, but considering Luke Walton already knows how to make the most of Steph’s ability in the court and the kind of young players they’ve got right now, they might as well win Curry’s third ring at the end of the 18-19 campaign.
4. Philadelphia 76ers: Kawhi Leonard
If you weren’t already ready to trust the process, this is your chance to get on the bus. Boy, Kawhi Leonard to the Sixers is a huge deal, and be ready to hand them the Eastern Conference Champions banner right away with the Klaw in town.
Philadelphia already has an incredibly talented young core in Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid, and you’re just going to pair them with the best two way player on the planet? C’mon man, that’s just unfair. With Leonard in the squad, they’re a lock to make it to the NBA Finals.
5. Orlando Magic: James Harden
The Orlando Magic are really balling right now, and they’re going to be even better when James Harden arrives in town. We can already see all the kids lining up in Disney World with their fake beards to meet the city’s new idol and the guy that can definitely take them to a whole new dimension alongside Aaron Gordon.
Gordon’s shooting has vastly improved and Jonathan Isaac seems like he’s going to be a very good defender, so pairing them with the best shooting guard of the game is definitely something to look up to. The defense will be an issue, but Elfrid Payton and Bismack Biyombo could really help ease their flaws if shifted back to the starting lineup.
6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Timberwolves just lost Karl-Anthony Towns in this Draft but they can’t be unhappy as they’re getting the best young player in the world right now in Giannis Antetokounmpo, a future MVP and the guy that might as well could take them back to the playoffs after a very long drought.
Giannis can play all five spots and he’d be a very good fit alongside Andrew Wiggins due to their length and athleticism, although spacing will continue to be a huge concern for Tom Thibodeau’s team. Still, with Taj Gibson and Gorgui Dieng alongside the Greek Freak, we could be seeing one of the best defensive teams in recent history.
7. New York Knicks: Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook in the New York Knicks seems to be natural, considering how much the reigning MVP loves fashion and flashy lights. Here, Westbrook could average a triple-double for life, as he wouldn’t be getting much help from his teammates.
See, with Porzingis out of town and Russ being their lone choice there, New York wouldn’t have much choice but to continue their tanking and even see if they find some suitors willing to acquire his contract. Sorry, New York fans, but you’re not getting any better.
8. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Davis
The Sacramento Kings would become contenders a couple of years from now with Anthony Davis addition, considering they already have standout prospects in De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere in the team.
Sadly for Davis, this move would mean that he’d have to wait even longer to try and win an NBA Championship, but Sac Town could go back to their golden ages from the early 2000s when their young ballers start to figure things out.
9. Dallas Mavericks: Kyrie Irving
The Dallas Mavericks wouldn’t be tanking if Kyrie Irving were in town, you can take my word for that. See, their squad isn’t really scary right now, but Irving playing off the ball alongside Dennis Smith Jr would be a very good experiment, while giving Dirk a last shot at another Championship before retiring.
Kyrie has the best handles in the game and a starting lineup featuring Smith, Irving, Matthews, Barnes and Dirk may actually make some noise, If Curry winds up coming back healthy and they give Nerlens Noel a long leash in the second unit, they could fight for a playoff seed for sure in the West.
10. New Orleans Pelicans: DeMarcus Cousins
Sadly, the New Orleans Pelicans just got a lot worse, if that was even possible. See, they manage to hold on to DeMarcus Cousins, but they’ve lost Anthony Davis in the process, and you know this team wasn’t going anywhere when the two of us were playing beside one another, so you can’t expect things to get better now.
Boogie is a hell of a player, but he hasn’t shown much chemistry with Jrue Holiday, and the Pelicans just don’t have the kind of personnel to make a run in the Western Conference. Besides, you know how he gets when he gets tired of losing.
11. Charlotte Hornets: Kristaps Porzingis
The Charlotte Hornets lost Kemba Walker in this move but they can definitely be pleased by landing one of the best young ballers in the world right now and paired alongside Dwight Howard, you got a hell of twin towers there.
Porzingis is going to be the Hornets’ new franchise player and with Malik Monk and Frank Kaminsky also developing into very good ballers, the future is bright for Michael Jordan’s franchise, finally.
12. Detroit Pistons: Karl-Anthony Towns
The Detroit Pistons are already looking quite good and they’ve shut down the Reggie Jackson trade talk, so with Karl-Anthony Towns playing at the four besides Andre Drummond, they’re already looking quite scary in the Eastern Conference.
With this move, Tobias Harris would most likely shift to a substitute role, but considering his ability to fill up the stat sheet, it wouldn’t hurt his value. Besides, the Pistons could finally bench Drummond down the stretch to prevent opposing teams from intentionally foul him.
13. Denver Nuggets: John Wall
Finally, the Denver Nuggets have a top-tier point guard, perhaps the one thing they were missing to go back to their old self, although they’d definitely miss Nikola Jokic. Still, the best pure point guard in the Eastern Conference will definitely improve their chances.
Denver already has a lot of depth in their ranks and Jamal Murray would likely shift back to the bench to run the team’s second unit, while Plumlee and Faried would get his minutes up by a lot. Furthermore, the Nuggets could go with Millsap at the five as their small-ball lineup to push up-tempo.
14. Miami Heat: Chris Paul
One of the biggest winners of this Draft has to be Erik Spoelstra, as he may have finally found the missing piece he needed to go back to contending in the Eastern Conference. With CP3 in town, Dragic would handle the shooting guard duties while Josh Richardson would become their leader in the second unit.
Miami would gain a lot of depth with this move, as their second unit would feature Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo, and Chris Paul could finally make it to the NBA Conference Finals.
15. Chicago Bulls: Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard moving to the Chicago Bulls wouldn’t instantly make them contenders, but it would definitely be a step in the right direction, as they could try and deal Kris Dunn or even let him run the offense while Lillard plays off the ball.
Of course, the young Bulls would still need a lot of time to get it together, and the starting point guard spot is just one of their many mistakes right now. Still, on Fred Hoiberg’s run and gun offense, he’d be an instant fit.
16. Portland Trail Blazers: Jimmy Butler
Damian Lillard’s departure would make CJ McCollum handle the playmaker duties, while Jimmy Butler would go back to his natural shooting guard spot. As a matter of fact and as crazy as this may seem, the Blazers would be significantly better with this move.
The Lillard – CJ backcourt is one of the most explosive in the league and they can all score in bunches, but Butler would provide a lot of more balance and a much needed stopper. With Butler, Aminu and Nurkic, the Blazers could make the best scorers in the league go nuts and who knows? Even make a title run.
17. Indiana Pacers: Paul George
Well, this is awkward, but here we are. It seems like Paul George just can’t get away from Indiana, and considering how good the Pacers look ahead for the future, this would make a lot of sense for everybody involved.
The Pacers currently feature Darren Collison, a reinforced Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, so bringing back PG-13 would take them instantly back to contention in the Eastern Conference, putting an end to the OK3 experiment.
18. Milwaukee Bucks: Gordon Hayward
The Milwaukee Bucks lost Giannis Antetokounmpo but will replace him with Gordon Hayward, a blossoming two-way player that has All-Star caliber talent and that keeps getting better on a yearly basis, although his ceiling is nowhere near Giannis’.
Nevertheless, the new look Bucks with Bledsoe running the point and the return of Jabari Parker alongside Hayward would also make them a very difficult team to beat on a nightly basis, but they’re still pretty likely to fall short come crunch time.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin just got screwed with this move, but the Atlanta Hawks have to be thrilled right now. With Griffin on board, they’d finally have some All-Star talent besides Dennis Schroder, while Collins’ surge would mean a very dynamic frontcourt duo for years to come.
Still, the smartest thing to do for the Atlanta Hawks would be to go along with their tanking to land another top-tier talent and be relevant in the future, something that could frustrate an aging Blake Griffin right away.
20. Memphis Grizzlies: Rudy Gobert
The Memphis Grizzlies just got way younger and far more athletic, but the losses of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are definitely going to take a huge toll in their win totals. Still, they’ve just landed the best rim protector in the Association and a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Gobert would instantly fit their grit and grind hard-nosed defensive style of play, but the Grizzlies would also immediately enter rebuild mode to try and put some scorers alongside their defensive anchor.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Love
Sam Presti and the whole Oklahoma City Thunder organization have to be wanting to kill themselves right now after dealing away their prospects and then just losing them all in exchange of Kevin Love.
Love is an outstanding player but he doesn’t have what it takes to single-handedly lead this team to the Playoffs, as he showed during his Minnesota stint. Oklahoma’s rotation would take a major bump and a starting five featuring Raymond Felton, Andre Roberson, Kyle Singler, Kevin Love and Steven Adams isn’t encouraging at all.
22. Washington Wizards: Carmelo Anthony
This move would actually make some sense for Carmelo Anthony considering his ties with Baltimore, but it wouldn’t make the Wizards better by a single bit. See, Carmelo’s a hell of a player and he could fit their starting lineup at the 4 while Morris goes to the bench, but who would run the team’s offense?
Washington just lost John Wall and doesn’t have anyone that could step up and take his job, with Tim Frazier and Tomas Satoransky backing him up, and even though Beal’s a decent playmaker, Wall’s departure would likely send the Wizards near the bottom of the standings.
23. Toronto Raptors: LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge would be a very nice fit for a Toronto Raptors team that’s desperately trying to get rid of Jonas Valanciunas and his contract, and Serge Ibaka would make up for his flaws in the defensive end of the floor.
Besides, LaMarcus could take some of the slack left by DeMar DeRozan’s departure with his ability to shoot from the elbow, while Kyle Lowry and CJ Miles would definitely have to step up big time as well.
24. Los Angeles Clippers: Draymond Green
I actually dig a lot this move because Draymond Green’s a very good passer at the four, even better than Griffin, and a much better defender. Of course, he’s not nearly as talented in the offensive end of the floor, but a starting lineup featuring him, DeAndre Jordan and Patrick Beverley would be impossible to score against.
The Clippers would need a fierce scorer, but gladly they’ve got Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari in their ranks, and if Sam Dekker winds up being half as good as a shooter as we all thought he’d be, they would be just fine.
25. Utah Jazz: Isaiah Thomas
With Isaiah Thomas in town, the Utah Jazz would finally have that much needed firepower they’ve been lacking for so long, while Derrick Favors would go back to being the team’s starter center due to Rudy Gobert’s departure.
Utah’s style of play would completely change without Gobert, while Thomas would play off the ball with Ricky Rubio taking the reins of the offense. Sadly for them, this would be a major step backward after how much they’ve improved.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: DeMar DeRozan
The Cleveland Cavaliers just lost Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love and most importantly: LeBron James, but at least they’re getting DeMar DeRozan in return. Thus, that wouldn’t be enough to take them back to the top of the East, so they would wind up where they’ve been for most of their history: at the trash can.
DeRozan is one of the game’s best scorers but a starting lineup of Derrick Rose, JR Smith, DeMar DeRozan, Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson is just a disaster waiting to happen, while the bench isn’t looking much better either.
27. Boston Celtics: Marc Gasol
The Boston Celtics have reportedly been behind Marc Gasol for a very long time now and even though they’ve lost Kyrie Irving, they got a terrific defender, scorer and even playmaker in Gasol to play in a very versatile frontcourt with Al Horford.
Kyrie’s departure would most likely shift Marcus Smart to the starting five alongside Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gasol and Horford, and considering how deep their bench is, the C’s could be in for a treat with the Spaniard’s arrival.
28. Houston Rockets: Klay Thompson
Without CP3 or Harden in town, Klay Thompson would instantly become the Houston Rockets’ go-to-guy on offense, and he’s one of the best shooters in the game while also being an outstanding backcourt defender, a significant improvement over Harden in that regard.
With Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson in the team, they would still be a deadly squad from beyond the arc. Nonetheless, this team is left alone without a top-tier point guard, with Bobby Brown and Demetrius Jackson fighting for the starting gig.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Mike Conley
It was a relief for the San Antonio Spurs to get rid of LaMarcus Aldridge, but they’ve also lost Kawhi Leonard and are going to really miss him. Still, they got extremely better at the point guard position with Mike Conley replacing an aging Tony Parker that’s on his way out of the league.
With Leonard’s departure, Rudy Gay would shift to the starting lineup, and Gregg Popovich would have to show his vast basketball knowledge once again to take this team back to Championship contention.
30. Golden State Warriors: Nikola Jokic
And the last pick of this Draft would be the best passing big man in the league: Nikola Jokic. The Joker isn’t much of a defender but he can run a team’s offense with great ease, score from everywhere on the floor and lock down the glass.
Sadly, after the Warriors lost Curry, Durant, Klay and Dray, he’s not going to get much going, so they’re likely to go back to their old days of sucking. Just to have an idea, their starting five would be something like Shaun Livingston, Nick Young, Andre Iguodala, David West and Nikola Jokic. Yikes.