The NBA season is now over. The Golden State Warriors were favorites all year, and ultimately cruised to the title with 67 wins in the regular season and a spectacular 16-1 run through the playoffs. Now fans wonder how long this dominance will last, given how great they’ve been over the past three seasons and the state of their roster.
It could be a while...or not. I tend to assume things will change faster than they probably will, but life comes at you fast. Things happen. Still, it’s hard to imagine them not being title favorites over the next couple of seasons. I believe they opened at 1-2 odds to win the 2018 championship, which is truly remarkable.
The other finalist is more interesting. It’s hard to see how the Cavs can possibly get better. They are capped out for the next couple of years, and don’t have young players likely to improve. They will be, once again, the favorites in the East, but how long will that continue, or suffice?
Which brings us to LeBron James, who showed during these playoffs that he remains the best player in the league. He’ll also turn 33 years old this December, and has over 50,000 minutes between the regular season and playoffs. He’s been incredibly durable, but he’s also played into June for seven straight years. That takes its toll. I expect him to maintain his level next season, but the season after that? And the season after that?
Anyway, we can now turn our attention fully to the draft, which is eight days away. I have no idea what the Wolves are thinking. This is just...how it’s gonna be with this front office.
Apparently everyone’s favorite, Jonathan Isaac, is not working out for any team outside of the top four, which makes sense. Frankly, I’d be surprised at this point if he drops to the Wolves. My guess is that Fultz, Ball, Fox, Jackson, and Isaac all go before the Wolves pick, and that two of Tatum, Smith, and Monk are still available. It’s not exactly ideal, but those guys all have their positives. Of course, the Wolves could be thinking something completely different, and have another guy in mind, or have a trade ready to go.
Meanwhile, a report of unclear provenance emerged that the Wolves will “pursue” free agent point guards Jrue Holiday, George Hill, and Jeff Teague this summer. The obvious subtext is that Rubio would be traded, which, here we are again. I probably should have written a separate article about this, but frankly I’m a bit worn out with the point guard stuff.
In truth, I like both Holiday and Hill quite a bit. You could argue that either would be an actual upgrade on Rubio, though you could argue not as well. The issue is that they are both going to cost an extra $10M a year or so over what Rubio makes. Hill especially makes me nervous, as he has missed extended time in two of his last three seasons, and is 31 years old. Do you really want to pay big money over four seasons to that guy? I don’t. And of course that’s assuming you can convince any of them to sign with the Wolves, a questionable prospect.
I don’t see the benefit in using a finite resource (cap space) this way, when there are plenty of more pressing needs.
That said, I have no real reason to believe this report. It’s been a constant drum beat since Thibs took over, and while I do think Rubio is squarely on the block, at this point I’m just awaiting events.
What else you got?