NBA teams are often doing a lot of things in order to improve their rosters and become way more competitive, constantly trading away players as if they were chips to make room for other players they believe may fit their roster better or can be more handy for the franchises' future.
So, as we barrel towards the upcoming NBA Draft with a lot of hype surrounding intriguing talents such as Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson, we can definitely expect some interesting draft day trades.
Sadly, even if those 5 players wind up being the superstar's everybody expects them to be, it’s very unlikely that they play for the very same franchise through their entire career, as they could get waived, traded or their contracts could just run out.
But now, we’re going to let our imagination flow and rank the 30 NBA teams and how would they fare nowadays if every team kept all the active players they’ve drafted, so let’s take a look at how could things be.
30. Dallas Mavericks
Starters: Justin Anderson, Jordan Hamilton, Mike Muscala, Tyler Zeller, Kelly Olynyk
Well, the Mavs haven’t fared all that great either, but their current starting five featuring Seth Curry, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and Nerlens Noel is way better than this mess. Could you just imagine how they would get completely destroyed in the paint with Muscala, Zeller and Olynyk protecting the rim? Not even Carlisle could fix this disaster, and they would finish with a 10-72 record.
29. Brooklyn Nets
Starters: Jordan Crawford, Kyle Korver, Derrick Favors, Ryan Anderson, Brook Lopez
How sad is the fact that this roster looks actually way better than the current one they have? I mean, nobody would stop or defend anybody, but at least they would get much-needed firepower and a sharpshooting duo in Anderson and Korver, while Crawford is a crafty scorer, and Favors plus Lopez would be a nightmare on defense but actually a very prolific combination on the offensive end. 15-67 record.
28. Miami Heat
Starters: Josh Richardson, Dwyane Wade, Bojan Bogdanovic, Michael Beasley, Jason Smith
Well, this one looks pretty much like Miami’s roster anyways, and they could actually be onto something if it wasn’t for their lack of a true center, with Jason Smith lacking rim protection and being more of an oversized power forward. Wade would thrive once again in the AAA under Spoelstra’s command, but he would be pretty much alone for most nights unless Michael Beasley finally settles down and decides to work for the team and take things seriously for once in his life. 18-64 record.
27. Phoenix Suns
Starters: Rajon Rondo, Devin Booker, Luol Deng, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat
If we took all those players in their primes, this one would be a killer roster, with a Rondo-Booker backcourt being a complete beauty due to the spacing the SG could provide while Rondo attacks the paint and compensates for his lousy defense. Deng providing his craftiness on both ends of the court, while Gortat locks down the paint in the Pick and Roll. Sadly, if we consider the fact that Deng barely sees playing time and Rondo’s a washed up spoiled brat, this would be a huge mess in today’s NBA. 20-62 record.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves
Starters: Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine, Corey Brewer, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Pekovic
This one would also be quite an interesting project, bringing Pekovic out of the doghouse if he actually manages to be healthy for once in his career, but having a lot of chemistry in the PnR with Ricky Rubio. Nevertheless, the lack of three-point shooting would be a huge offensive problem for Thibodeau’s squad, although they would completely thrive on the defensive end with Brewer in his prime locking down opposing wings. 24-58 record.
25. Los Angeles Lakers
Starters: D'Angelo Russell, Patrick Beverly, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Marc Gasol
The Lakers wouldn’t be much better nowadays if this was their starting five, although they could be onto something in the future featuring 4 youngsters alongside a proven veteran like Marc Gasol, the odd man out here with absolutely no chance at contention. Still, they could really develop into a nice dynasty given time and patience, with Beverly running the offense while providing great backcourt defense and freeing Russell to play off the ball where he thrives the most. 25-67 record.
24. Houston Rockets
Starters: Aaron Brooks, Nicolas Batum, Richard Jefferson, Rudy Gay, Marcus Morris
Oh boy, the Rockets have to be quite happy to have a much better roster than this one, with Aaron Brooks being a worse defender than James Harden. Still, having Batum, Jefferson and Gay would be nice on the defensive end, although I don’t see these guys pulling together a playoff run in the crowded West, lacking talent and explosiveness on both ends of the hardwood. 26-66 record.
23. Detroit Pistons
Starters: Brandon Knight, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Khris Middleton, Amir Johnson, Andre Drummond
Just like the Nets, the Pistons actually have a much better roster in this projected version, featuring 4 talented youngsters that could actually develop a lot of chemistry and be a very good team in the foreseeable future. Knight and Middleton would provide scoring in bunches, while KCP keeps developing as a two-way player, while Johnson and Drummond lock down the paint with their dominant physique. 30-52 record.
22. Portland Trail Blazers
Starters: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Will Barton, Zach Randolph, Meyers Leonard
The Blazers would be a very strange team if they actually kept all these guys, with their already proven backcourt of Lillard and C.J. while “Will the Thrill” makes the headlines with his athleticism and explosiveness. In the meantime, Randolph would be their LaMarcus Aldridge, but actually guarding opposing players, Meyers Leonard being their only liability in both ends of the floor, a guy that hasn’t improved a single beat since setting foot in the NBA. Still, I don’t see many checks in the W column here. 31-51 record.
21. Charlotte Hornets
Starters: Kemba Walker, Raymond Felton, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Tobias Harris, Cody Zeller
Charlotte would have a completely off-balance squad here, with a tweener and inconsistent PG in Raymond Felton playing off the ball to let Kemba Walker run the offense. Still, Tobias Harris and MKG could be a very nice defensive duo, although the long range shooting would definitely be a huge concern for this squad. On top of that, Zeller’s +/- numbers keep improving, and even if he’s not as talented or flashy as most centers in the NBA, he’s actually developing into a very productive role player. 33-49 record.
20. Washington Wizards
Starters: John Wall, Jordan Clarkson, Bradley Beal, Nemanja Bjelica, JaVale McGee
Thank God the Wizards made some moves, otherwise they would actually look like this. I mean, Wall has grown to be the best point guard in the East, while we all know what Bradley Beal can put on the table when healthy. But, even if Bjelica has proven to be a very smart player, he’s just not a starter in today’s NBA, and his lack of strength, athleticism and speed would be a huge liability. Besides, Clarkson hasn’t been quite the same playing without the rock in his hands, while McGee can’t be trusted with starting minutes. 35-47 record.
19. San Antonio Spurs
Starters: Tony Parker, Goran Dragic, Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Tiago Splitter
The only reason why the Spurs are at 19 with this roster instead of 25 or worse, it’s because somehow Gregg Popovich would find a way to make this awful roster win a lot of games they aren’t supposed to. The Spurs would need to play with 3 balls if they actually put Parker, Dragic and Ginobili together at the same time, while Scola and Splitter in the paint would be mediocre at best, even if they were in their primes. 38-44 record.
18. Toronto Raptors
Starters: DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, PJ Tucker, Luca Nogueira, Jonas Valanciunas
Well, if Bebe Nogueira winds up being as good as expected, he could be a huge menace alongside Jonas Valanciunas and provide a lot of power in the paint for the Canadian squad. Besides, having DeRozan play as a primary playmaker would only feel natural for the talented shooting guard, while P.J. Tucker would provide a much-needed wing stopper and Terrence Ross giving them a sharpshooter on the wings. 39-43 record.
17. Philadelphia 76ers
Starters: Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic, Joel Embiid
Now we’re talking and trusting the process. This starting 5 would actually be quite interesting, although moving either Vucevic or Williams would definitely be a move in the right direction. Still, Iguodala’s defense and Embiid’s rim protection would certainly compensate for the defensive woes of the aforementioned, while Jrue Holiday has always been a very productive player when able to be on the court. 40-42 record and a playoff push in the East.
16. Orlando Magic
Starters: Victor Oladipo, J.J. Redick, Dario Saric, Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard
Wow, this squad would definitely be onto something. Oladipo’s never going to be as great as we all expected him to be, but he’s still an above-average ball handler, an okay defender, and a versatile offensive player, while Redick is as good as it gets from beyond the arc. Dario Saric showed a lot of interesting things during his rookie campaign and looks poised for NBA stardom, while Gordon is one of the most talented youngsters in the league even if he hasn’t shown anything great just yet. If you add a physical specimen like DH12 into the mix, you definitely have a very nice roster. 41-41 record.
15. Memphis Grizzlies
Starters: Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry, DeMarre Carroll, Matt Barnes, Kevin Love
With this kind of roster, the Grindhouse would still have a lot of grind, as these guys actually fit their strong hard-nosed physical basketball playing style. Conley has developed into an elite point guard, while Lowry is a crafty scorer that can definitely play off the ball. Carroll and Barnes would be their primary stoppers, while Kevin Love would most likely be their go-to-guy on offense as he was during his Minnesota days. Interesting and balanced squad. 42-40 record.
14. Boston Celtics
Starters: Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jaylen Brown, Joe Johnson, Al Jefferson
Brad Stevens would have a very interesting and balanced roster with these guys playing alongside each other, owning arguably the best defensive backcourt in the association with Marcus Smart and Bradley side by side, while Brown provides a lot of offensive versatility, and Joe Johnson becoming their primary scorer with his consistent and reliable jump shooting. On the other side, Big Al would definitely improve their woes in the paint, completely owning the glass while shaking off defenders with his outstanding footwork. 44-38 record.
13. Los Angeles Clippers
Starters: Shaun Livingston, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler
The Clippers would be one of the most physical and dominant teams in the paint with those twin towers in DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler, promising a block party on a nightly basis. Still, Griffin would have to significantly improve his long-range scoring, as they would only count on Eric Gordon to stretch the floor with this squad, while Livingston pulls the string of the offense with his great basketball IQ and outstanding defense. 46-36 record.
12. New York Knicks
Starters: Tim Hardaway Jr, Iman Shumpert, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Kristaps Porzingis
The Knicks would most likely struggle a lot with Hardaway running the point, but they would definitely compensate in pretty much every single spot. Shumpert is an elite backcourt defender, while Chandler, Gallinari and Porzingis can put up way more than 20 points per night even playing side by side with each other. This young, fresh squad would definitely bring joy to the MSG after a long time, and they would only be a point guard away from actual title contention. 48-34 record.
11. Atlanta Hawks
Starters: Jeff Teague, Dennis Schroeder, Marvin Williams, Pau Gasol, Al Horford
The Hawks have to be regretting all those moves they made that stopped them from ever having all these guys together on an NBA Court, as a Teague/Schroeder backcourt would be a defensive beauty while also being capable of sharing the rock to run the offense, while Gasol and Horford would completely dominate the paint on the offensive end. There would be some struggles protecting the rim, but this team would definitely thrive in the weak Eastern Conference. 49-33 record.
10. Utah Jazz
Starters: Deron Williams, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Enes Kanter
Deron was probably the best point guard in the world during his Utah Jazz stint, so pairing him in his prime with a fierce scorer like Rodney Hood in the backcourt would be completely lethal to pretty much every opposition. If you add a couple of smart and talented two-way players like Millsap and Hayward, you have a lot of balance to make up for the absurd lack of defense Kanter provides, although he’s still a nightly double-double that can provide 17+ points per game to Utah’s winning cause. 53-29 record.
9. Denver Nuggets
Starters: Emmanuel Mudiay, Evan Fournier, Carmelo Anthony, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert
Well, Mudiay has been sent to the doghouse after an awful season, but even if he’s still quite rough and needs to make a lot of adjustments, his strength and speed make him a very intriguing NBA prospect. Besides, who needs a point guard when you have Nikola Jokic on your team, as he’s proven to be one of the best passers in the Association. If you add Melo and Fournier to spread the floor and put up a lot of points on the scoreboard, the only missing piece is a defensive anchor like the best defensive center in the NBA: Rudy Gobert. 54-28 record.
8. Milwaukee Bucks
Starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Andrew Bogut
Oh my god, could you just imagine that? Brogdon came out of nowhere to be a Rookie of the Year candidate, while Giannis is a lock to win the MVP award anytime soon, and Jabari Parker has proven to be a very productive two-way player straight out of college even with all the injuries. Besides, Dirk would finally give them that stretch four they’ve been looking for, and he would thrive alongside Giannis providing him the room he needs to attack the basket, while Bogut could be their defensive anchor in the middle of the paint. 55-27 record.
7. Sacramento Kings
Starters: Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside
A Whiteside-Cousins frontcourt could mean one of two things (or perhaps both): a combined 50 points and 25 rebounds per contest, or a combined 4 technical fouls per 36 minutes. Still, considering how dominant and talented they are, they would only need Thomas and his crafty moves and sharp shooting to form a very scary big three, while Evans and McLemore spread the floor to provide a lot of balance to a franchise that let most of these guys walk away in exchange for nothing. 57-25 record.
6. Indiana Pacers
Starters: Jerryd Bayless, Lance Stephenson, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Myles Turner
With these guys on board, the Pacers would arguably have the most balanced squad in the Association and would be a lock to chase the title on a yearly basis, with Bayless being their only liability although he’s proven to be a decent scorer. Stephenson's craftiness and versatility, and Leonard’s and George’s ability to play lockdown defense and put up over 25 points per game on top of defensive standout and shot blocking specialist Myles Turner protecting the rim, and the Pacers would be on their way to a 58-18 season.
5. New Orleans Pelicans
Starters: Chris Paul, J.R. Smith, Buddy Hield, Anthony Davis, Nerlens Noel
Oh boy, if Chris Paul doesn’t win a ring with this roster, he never will. These guys would be a huge menace with their outstanding ability to play team defense, while Hield could flourish into one of the best scorers in the Association. Besides, having both Davis and Noel in the paint would be just terrifying, swatting a combined 7 shots per game between the two while benefiting from the passes of the best point guard in the Association. 62-20 record.
4. Chicago Bulls
Starters: Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Metta World Peace, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jusuf Nurkic
Well, even if Rose doesn’t get back to his MVP form, he wouldn’t have to do so much work on offense here with both Aldridge and Jimmy Buckets on board, while Metta and Nurkic make up for the lack of defense LaMarcus gives on the court. Still, they would need more than just Metta when it comes to 3-point shooting, but the athleticism and defense this squad has would make them win a lot of games in today’s NBA. 64-18 Record.
3. Golden State Warriors
Starters: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Vince Carter, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green
One of the most impressive things about the Golden State Warriors is the fact that they've actually built their championship team out of the draft instead of free agency, and this squad would be very close to that famous “death lineup” they featured during their breakout season, with Vince Carter playing in place for Andre Iguodala. The Splash Brothers would continue to thrive, while Draymond Green locks down every opposing player with his amazing defense on their way to a 65-17 season.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Starters: Kyrie Irving, Jamal Crawford, Andrew Wiggins, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson
The Cavs are currently a top 2 team in the NBA and that doesn’t change in this mock, with the additions of two-way young standout Andrew Wiggins and one of the greatest 6th men in league history with Jamal Crawford. The fact that these guys could actually improve an already impressive roster make the Cavs a lock to fight for an NBA championship for as long as they keep healthy, nothing much different from reality. With Wiggins and Jamal, the Cavs would tie the Golden State Warriors record at 73-9.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
Starters: Russell Westbrook, Eric Bledsoe, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka
And without any single kind of doubt, the team to beat in the NBA would be the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that fell short of glory against the Heat in the Finals in what could’ve been the first of many rings together. With Harden flourishing into a regular MVP candidate, Westbrook proving to be arguably the most dominant player in the league, Durant improving on a nightly basis and Ibaka locking down the paint, we could’ve been witnesses to the greatest team in NBA history, and if they were still together, they would most likely be on track for a record-breaking season with a 77-5 record and an NBA championship.