As usual, the NBA has more than delivered in the 2020/21 season for fans. With some great regular season action and an exciting bout of play-off games, basketball followers have been well catered for until now. Of course, a thrilling NBA Finals game is set to be contested by the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks imminently for fans of the sport to enjoy.
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Apart from the Suns and the Bucks, the current season is finished for all the other sides. This now sees them head to the offseason and start to think about how they could improve for next year. For some who did not have a great season just gone, that could mean looking at a total rebuild to challenge more effectively next year.
But which teams are we talking about here?
This might surprise some basketball followers as the Pacers were not absolutely terrible in the season just gone. They finished 9th in the Eastern Conference overall and did not post horrendous stats regarding net efficiency or points scored. However, the problem is that they are just bang average and might well slide backward next season if they do not overhaul their roster in the offseason.
But how can the side from Indiana start to kick on from multiple first-round playoff exits in recent years? This is not as easy as it sounds, unfortunately! Indiana itself just does not have the same pull as LA or New York, while the amount of eight-figure player salaries already in place is also an issue for recruitment.
For many, therefore, it is about bringing in new, young players to improve the side. It is, after all, obvious that players like Goga Bitadze and Aaron Holiday need some help for the Pacers. Many fans also believe that new blood must come into the frontcourt, where the current Domantas Sabonis/Myles Turner combo is floundering. An excellent option to help with a total overhaul could be to offload/trade a few big-money players and focus on upcoming prospects to turn their fortunes around. If they can also keep TJ Warren fit in 2021/22 as well, you could see a totally different side in the new season.
We go from a side who some might be surprised to hear needs a rebuild to one that is no shock! The Pistons were terrible in 2020/21 – really bad! This saw them finish rock bottom of the Eastern Conference with 52 losses and just 20 wins. That is clear proof a serious overhaul is needed.
The good news for the Detroit side is not all is lost. They have a great place to build from, in the form of promising talent like Killian Hayes and Jerami Grant. However, it is vital to focus on adding extra quality in a few areas to make them a force next season. For many fans, it will be using their four picks in the NBA Draft, which proves most crucial. If they add the right players in the right areas, this could be the influx of new energy the side needs to compete.
The backcourt looks like it needs a lot of attention, as the sheer number of players the side tried there in 2020/21 shows. If Cade Cunningham and or Jalen Green were picked up in the draft, you could see them combining with Hayes. Bringing in more cover and depth in the forward positions could also help them move ahead. Although Saddiq Bey should have another good year, Detroit needs better quality cover in these areas.
Oklahoma City Thunder
If the Pistons stank out the Eastern Conference last season, the Thunder were not much better in the Western one. They finished second from bottom and only had a paltry 22 wins to their name. This sees the rebuilding process (which had already been kicked off in the 2020 offseason) needing to step up a notch. If not, they can only look forward to a poor campaign in 2021/22.
But where do their problems lie? There is undoubtedly a need for more depth at shooting guard and small forward. Luckily, their horrendous 2020/21 season has seen them end up with six picks in the draft to improve in these areas. If they add more elite-level talent to the promising young players already on their books (such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander), the team for next year could have a whole different feel.
Using the draft and free agency well should also enable the side to bring in players who fit their playing style under coach Mark Daigneault. A roster containing more suited players for his fast-paced and flexible strategy can only help them move ahead.
NBA off-season ideal time to rebuild
While looking at which NBA sides could become superteams, next season is fun. It is also worth looking at teams that did not do so well last time. The above teams are just a small selection of those that will be looking at a total rebuild in the 2021 offseason. Each has a real need to revamp their playing staff to avoid having a terrible campaign next season or risk sliding into obscurity.