Detroit Pistons: Which bad team will be good first?
The Pacers are rebuilding on the fly, hoping to go young but still compete, while the Thunder are watching years of tanking finally culminate into a deep but extremely young roster.
Of these five teams, the Pacers might be in the best position to win the most games next season, as they have a few established players around their young guards Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin.
The Pacers lost Malcom Brogdon, which will hurt in the short term, but still have veterans Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and second-year wing Chris Duarte, who is already like 45-years-old.
The Pacers look a lot like they always have, a team full of solid players that probably lacks a superstar. It might be enough to get them out of the cellar, but will they actually be good?
I am not so sure. I think the Pacers are shaping up to be a perennial 8th seed unless they got lucky in the draft with Mathurin or Haliburton has another level we haven’t seen.
The Thunder probably have more young talent than any team in the NBA, but how does it all fit together?
They have so many young guys that someone is going to end up in the G-League after they added Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams (that’s not confusing at all).
But the Thunder also brought back veterans Lu Dort and Kenrich Williams, so I do think this is a team that is finally trying to win.
And why not? If Holmgren really is the second coming of Kevin Durant as he looked in Summer League, this team could compete for the play-in next season in the Western Conference, which is wide open outside of the top few teams.
Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Holmgren is a pretty darn good trio to build around, but it all depends if the Thunder will actually try to win or go into tank mode again. You never know with Sam Presti, but OKC could be one of the surprise teams next season and I wouldn’t be shocked if they won the most games of any of the five bad teams.
But the Thunder are still VERY young, and young teams don’t generally win in the NBA. They are well on their way to being good though and I think there is a solid argument that they will be the first team out of this group to actually be a playoff contender.