With Lebron choosing to go to the Los Angeles Lakers, it got me thinking about which players could instantly turn non-playoff teams into winning teams. We’ll go through each team that didn’t make the playoffs last season and add one superstar that could help them get to the playoffs in the 2018-19 season. Since Lebron and Lakers already linked up, we’ll leave them out. But all you other crappy teams, get ready to live out your fantasy.
The Atlanta Hawks are going to be the worst team in the NBA next season. They may get some competition from the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, and Orlando Magic. But don’t worry, they’ll be the terrible-est.
But they don’t need a superstar, they traded for Carmelo Anthony... HA! The highest paid player on their team won’t play for them this season, or ever. So who could in theory fix this terrible team? Well first, let’s dive into their style of play.
The Hawks are looking to start from scratch, and that starts with a new head coach in Lloyd Pierce. Pierce was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers for the last 5 seasons, pretty much the entire existence of The Process. He helped build a playoff team through the use of analytics, developing three-and-D players, and (most importantly) patience.
It is going to take a lot of patience with this young squad, but youth could actually be a positive when paired with the right superstar. Besides Vince Carter, the most experienced player on the team next season will be Jeremy Lin who is heading into his 9th season.
I’m a Lin supporter, but he’s not exactly the veteran guy to build a team around. And for a team that was dead-last in attendance last season, he won't exactly move the needle.
With the last three draft picks of Taurean Prince, John Collins, and Trae Young, it’s obvious that the team is trying to build a corps of athletic wings and guards who can space the floor. This youth will lead to some very fast-paced play. And with the anchor on the defensive end in Kent Bazemore, they will need a big time scorer who can control the court on the offensive end.
With a squad full of young and underdeveloped players, the only thing that could help this team is one of the top two players in the world. And with Lebron out of the question, Steph Curry is the only answer. The Eastern Conference doesn’t have any of the top 5 players in the world, so the addition of Steph would instantly make them one of the 3 best teams in the East.
Only 6 other teams shot more three-pointers than the Hawks last season. With the addition of Steph and Trae Young, this number would only increase. They also played at a pace of play that was fast enough for 9th in the league.
Three-point shooting and speed is what made this team last year, and in order to make them successful they would have to continue to do the same things. Just at a much higher level of efficiency.
Its obvious to say that you can add Steph Curry to any team and they will be good enough to be a playoff team. But this team is bad, like real bad. On paper and in real life. But it’s the winning culture that he would bring that would be the driving factor in pushing this team to the top.
The two-time MVP and three-time NBA Finals Champion instantly raises the level of play for the entire organization. If Trusting The Process is something you believe in, this would be the complete opposite of that. This would be like a cheat code in a video game.
The Warriors are an incredible team even without Steph... but are they really? His On/Off numbers are staggering considering the teammates he has on the floor when he's off the court. The Offensive Rating is the stat that jumps off the page, as the Warriors were 122.8 with Steph on the floor compared to 107.9 with him off.
The Hawks as a team were 25th in the league last season in Offensive Rating, and only The Baby Faced Assassin could do anything to fix that. Trae Young showed his range in college and in the NBA Summer League. If you could pair that up with a guy who can make half-court shots routinely in Steph Curry, they could fix the Atlanta Hawks.
Steph Curry once dropped 30 in a half in the NCAA tournament...
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.