NBA Power Rankings: The Best to Worst Rebuilding Franchises in the NBA
Rebuilding a franchise from scratch is never an attractive option for any general manager.
It is initially met with reluctance and confidence in one’s current squad, before one finally admits that changes must be made.
It is never a fun time. Usually it amounts to three to four years for a team to completely retool and become a force in the league.
There are a few teams that are attempting to revamp their squads into a playoff threat that will not go away quietly. Here is a list from those that are doing the best to worst job at it.
1. Golden State Warriors
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No offense to Nelly, undoubtedly one of the best offensive minds to coach in the league, but parting ways with him this past offseason was absolutely the right move for this squad. Keith Smart has this team clicking early, notching a 7-4 record thus far.
Obviously a lot of the Warriors early success has to be due to the Ellis-Curry backcourt remaining an offensive juggernaut.
The Warriors have done a great job rebuilding thus far, evidenced by their offseason acquisition of David Lee, a great rebounding force to pair alongside a now healthy Andris Biedrins.
Throw in the quiet, perfect signing of Dorell Wright and the Warriors look to be a definite playoff contender this coming year.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
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The re-signing of Darko aside, the Wolves appear to be on the right track. When rumors started to surface about the team possibly looking into trading Kevin Love, I did not know what to think of this team.
Now, after putting up an unprecedented 30-30 game, it is safe to say Love is not going anywhere.
Despite having a young and inexperienced backcourt for the most part, the Wolves have done a great job finding a couple of guys who will be stalwarts for their future squad.
In addition to Love, Michael Beasley has come back to life. Away from the sunny skies of Miami, playing amongst the cold fronts of Minnesota has somehow worked wonders for Beasley.
He has become a go-to scorer for this squad, and the best part is that he is only 21 years old.
How the Wolves got this guy for two second-round draft picks is nothing short of stunning.
If the Wolves can get Ricky Rubio to come over sometime in the near future, they will be set. Granted, this will be difficult to do.
3. New York Knicks
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Donnie Walsh has not gotten enough credit for what he is doing in New York.
No, they have not gotten off to an ideal start (4-8) and they have shown to be a work in progress, but the Knicks are looking so much better from where they were a few years ago.
They did not get LeBron James, but Walsh knew that he had to get something, and Amar’e Stoudemire is never a bad alternative.
They still need to find a lethal outside scorer (Danilo Gallinari has been showing growing pains) to help Amar’e out on the scoring front, but for the most part the Knicks have done a good job retooling their squad.
They might not make the playoffs this year or be a threat for a couple years, but they are making moves that will definitely help their team out in the future.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
While one could argue that the Cavs have not even started the “rebuilding” process when you consider that they have not made many moves outside of LeBron James leaving, mentally I have not seen a stronger team this year.
When you consider that arguably their best player, Mo Williams, has missed a couple games already, it is simply amazing that they are even at .500.
Kudos to Byron Scott for doing a sensational job thus far with this team, despite possessing no star power whatsoever. The city of Cleveland is still firmly behind the Cavaliers.
The team might falter and become a less-than-stellar Eastern Conference team due to the lack of a star player.
This team has showed a lot of hustle and heart thus far, and one can only hope it continues this impressive start.
However, no one will be surprised if the Cavs are forced to rebuild this team through the draft at some point in time.
With the smarts they have shown with handling the LeBron James departure, one has to assume they will continue to make wise decisions in order to build the team up to what it once was.
5. New Jersey Nets
Hiring Avery Johnson was an excellent decision (how he got fired from the Dallas Mavericks in the first place is still a mystery to me).
New owner Mikhail Prokhorov has certainly made his mark on the team early, hiring a new coach, drafting wisely with the third-overall pick and making some shrewd offseason acquisitions (Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw).
The Nets are a very young team that will probably take some time to get accustomed to Johnson’s strictness. However, the team has an outstanding young nucleus of Devin Harris, Terrence Williams, Brook Lopez and, now, Derrick Favors.
Like most rebuilding teams, they will take some time and possibly have to make another few acquisitions in order to become a valid threat out East.
Hiring Johnson, keeping Harris, and continuing to develop Favors and Lopez will hopefully prove dividends shortly.
6. Los Angeles Clippers
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Blake Griffin has proven to be a burst of energy to a still-struggling Clippers franchise.
Add in Eric Gordon, and the Clippers have two players that will be with the team for hopefully a very long time.
The thing is, they still have Baron Davis, who apparently has not done his best to stay in shape despite being awarded an enormous contract only a couple years ago.
Vinny Del Negro won a lot of support amongst his players when he coached the Bulls before his job was terminated and one hopes the same thing will happen in Los Angeles.
If Clippers fans know one thing, it is being patient with their team.
One thing is for certain: with all the hardships this franchise had undergone, they have made a few moves recently that indicate that their seemingly interminable suffering might actually reach its end in a couple years or so.
7. Toronto Raptors
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Although you could make a case for the Raptors falling into the “our star ditched us!” category, the difference between the Cavs and the Raptors is that everybody in Toronto knew Bosh’s departure was imminent.
Despite a loyal fan base and beautiful city (it really is), Bosh skipped town to form the super team in Miami this past off-season.
The least the Raptors could have done with this inevitability was trade Bosh and get some value in return, but they remained steadfast in their belief that Bosh was, indeed, coming back.
That is why they are low on this list. With that said, Andrea Bargnani has looked spectacular at times this season so far, looking at times like a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki (yeah, I said it).
If Sonny Weems can continue to improve and general manager Bryan Colangelo can draft well from now on, this team can recover, but it will probably take longer when compared to the rest of the teams on this list.
8. Philadelphia 76ers
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To me, the Sixers did all the right things during this offseason.
They hired one of the smartest brains in basketball in Doug Collins, they drafted an excellent shooting guard with the No. 2 pick in Evan Turner, and they showed their loyalty to Elton Brand by letting him concentrate on getting back in shape.
So far, all of this has amounted to a 2-10 start.
What the Sixers unfortunately need to consider now more than ever is trading their star Andre Iguodala, who is as perfect a No. 2 guy as you will get in the league, but he is not the go-to scorer they want/need him to be.
It is a shame, too, because Elton Brand has come back strong, Turner has shown signs and Holiday will one day be a premier point guard in the league.
However, the Sixers have no shot-blocking in the post (they said goodbye to that once they dealt Samuel Dalembert), and as young, athletic, and impressive as they are in spurts, this team needs to trade its best player now in order to attain potential cap relief. It should hope to construct a team around a Turner and Holiday backcourt.
9. Detroit Pistons
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I want to root for the Pistons. Believe me, I really do.
The city of Detroit needs a sports team outside of the Tigers to really get behind right now.
The Pistons continue to remain stuck in limbo between rebuilding and holding on to the final pieces of what was once a great team.
Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton need to be traded if this team has any hope of accepting the fact that it is not what it once was. A total rebuilding process is the only way to go.
John Kuester is a smart coach, but clashing with Prince recently only elevates the reasoning behind the fact that the Pistons have to let go of these guys that were important to their title runs back in the mid-2000s.
Sure, it sucks, but it is a necessary step.
Sadly, this team remains to be confused as to what its overall direction is as of right now.