In Five Years: Predicting the Makeup of the NBA—The Best Players and Teams

Cyrus I.Correspondent IAugust 11, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 26: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls drives past Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 26, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Celtics 121-118 in double overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agreees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Do you ever wonder what the NBA will be like in five years?

Widely recognized names such as Shaq, Kidd, Iverson, Garnett, and Duncan will be legends, if they aren't already. I mean, these are the players I grew up watching, hellthe players you grew up watching. 

These celebrated athletes fascinated thousands, or perhaps even millions of individuals belonging to my generation, either on the television set or in live action.

Just imagine...Kobe Bryant will be 36 years old. 

By that time, we could actually debate whether his career résumé tops Michael Jordan's, currently known as the "Greatest of All Time," in case you forgot.

Besides, the Los Angeles Lakers aren't going anywhere.

All their best players, Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest are in the midst of their prime, maybe just entering it. They are the cream of the crop and a couple of more titles may be headed their way.

As dominant as they've been this decade, the Spurs are running out of time and their front office definitely acknowledges that; they traded to nab a proven 20 points-per-game scorer in Richard Jefferson this offseason.

In five years, they'll most likely be rebuilding and dwelling in the cellar of the league, but Tony Parker will hopefully still be tearing it up.

The Boston Celtics have probably one more great year with the roster they have right now, although they're behind Orlando and Cleveland, in my book.

All of their best players are into their 30s, and Rajon Rondo might not even stick around based on what I've been hearing this summer.

In five years, the Beantown faithful will be greatly and forever appreciative of their championship season a year ago.

Now, estimating where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be in the standings in five years is not an easy task because everything they do or say as an organization to the press is dictated by LeBron James' actions.

Nobody is sure whether LeBron will stay or go, but the fact that he hasn't signed a contract extension makes it pretty clear that he wants to at least test the market next summer.

But, if he does indeed leave, it's safe to say the Cavs will revert to their days of incompetence.

But these five teams that are right now building for tomorrow and have proven they can win with their young cores are the teams to look forward to in 2014 (it feels weird just saying that, like this is a movie or something).

Portland Trail Blazers

  • This is not a crazy pick as Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and, hopefully, Greg Oden will attempt to reach a couple of NBA Finals by 2014.
  • Portland is already an elite team, but the basketball savvy and intellect of general manager Kevin Pritchard are the ingredients that could construct a dynasty.

Orlando Magic

  • Orlando still has Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard to count on, and, believe you me, Howard will be the NBA's premier big man for many years to come.
  • Based on all the transactions he's made this summer, general manager Otis Smith definitely knows which direction he's going to take this franchise inthe Magic are in good hands.

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, and promising rookie James Harden lay the blueprint for success for the newly renamed franchise.
  • Durant is already one of the most feared shooting guards in the game today. Imagine how much he'll improve in five years, mainly on his defensive game.

Chicago Bulls

  • The Bulls have already wasted chances on becoming a top five team these past couple years, but with Derrick Rose at the helm, it's a new ball game.
  • Aside from Rose, the Bulls have some other nice players in Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, and Luol Deng, and maybe they can attract Dwyane Wade's attention next summer.

Miami Heat

  • Speaking of Wade, his team might go back to where it was a couple years ago if they can just add some veteran talent around him next summer.
  • Michael Beasley is a future All-Star and Mario Chalmers is a diamond in the rough, proving that he is capable of playing the starting point guard position.

Top 10 Players in 2014

  1. LeBron James
  2. Dwight Howard
  3. Kevin Durant
  4. Derrick Rose
  5. Chris Paul
  6. Danny Granger
  7. Brandon Roy
  8. Carmelo Anthony
  9. Chris Bosh
  10. Deron Williams


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