Which Rebuilding Team Is The Closest To Contention?

They’re faster, more talented and more cohesive than just about any other team in the NBA and that is why 9 lucky teams chose the perfect season to blow it all up and restart.

The Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks (DARN YOU ACL TEARS) have all chosen to enter the 2018 race for the #1 pick in one of the most loaded drafts in recent memory.

Granted, some of these teams didn’t choose to be here *cough* New York and Memphis *cough* but hey, we might as well enjoy the ride while we’re here.

Now which one of these teams seems closest to returning to the promised land of the postseason? This question has two different interpretations.

One is literally how soon until one of these teams makes it back into the playoffs even as an 8 seed with no chance to contend. A team like Memphis or New York is probably closest as they already have bonafide stars but seem like they are multiple missing pieces away from a title.

The better question is which one is closest to being a perennial contender? I’m here to argue that the Atlanta Hawks are setting the best foundation for what could be years of contention.

First, we have a coach who has shown an ability to win games with just a scheme and minimal talent. 60 wins in 2014-15, 48 in 15-16 and another 43 in 16-17 prove that Coach Bud could probably take a bucket of bolts to the playoffs. With elite-level talent, he might be able to do much more.

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The Memphis Grizzlies, Knicks and Suns don’t have a coach to lead them into their new eras and therefore are a step behind the Hawks.

Secondly, we have fresh-faced General Manager Travis Schlenk. Although a questionable trade deadline dimmed the mood, former assistant GM to the Golden State Warriors and current GM of the Hawks has shown his ability to sign smart contracts like Dewayne Dedmon and make stellar draft picks in John Collins and Tyler Dorsey.

Sacramento might have a coach they like (keyword might) but has a front office that has shown an utter lack of competence in their recent draft and deadline moves.

Third and probably most important, Atlanta has assets and a TON of youth to work with. With our own first-round draft pick along with Houston’s top 3-protected and Minnesota’s lottery-protected first-round picks, Atlanta has the chamber loaded to draft three franchise-changing talents and get the team back to playing in April.

Teams like Brooklyn and Orlando don’t have the assets to really compete with the Hawks. Brooklyn is still reeling from the trade with Boston that robbed them of three of their first-round picks, the last of which is coming this year. Orlando has been through multiple years of rebuilding and has only come away with 2 promising pieces: Aaron Gordon (who might leave this offseason) and Jonathan Isaac (who has been injured much of this year).

The only other teams that might be going step-for-step pace with the Hawks are the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls. The Bulls don’t seem like they have a direction at the moment, but Lauri Markkanen looks like a sweet-shooting, seven-foot-tall building block. Same goes for the Mavericks, as Dennis Smith Jr. has shown elite athleticism on a nightly basis, but Dallas still has players like Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes holding them back from a complete youth movement.

>Next: Atlanta Hawks Youth Movement Part 1: The Rookies

The Atlanta Hawks are in a great position for future postseason glory as long as the tandem of Budenholzer and Schlenk make the right decisions to lead us there.

Source : https://soaringdownsouth.com/2018/02/12/which-rebuilding-team-is-the-closest-to-contention/

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