Warriors (Steph), Lakers (location), Celtics (Ainge) among five NBA teams that have the most to be thankful for

It’s Thanksgiving time, and there are quite a lot of teams in the NBA that have lots to be thankful for (the Nets are usually not one in every of them, which is saying lots for a workforce that has Kevin Durant). But we’re going to cut up some hairs right here. Every workforce that has a celebrity is thankful for that celebrity, however I’ve tried to slim it down to the five teams that have the most to be thankful for, and what, precisely, they’re thankful for. Here it goes.

When five teams handed on Curry in the 2009 draft, together with the Timberwolves twice, the Warriors had no concept what they had been getting. Curry has reworked Golden State’s franchise in methods that would have been unimaginable even a decade in the past when Curry first grew to become an All-Star. Four championships. Six Finals appearances. An NBA report 73-win season. Literally billions in franchise worth. None of it occurs with out Curry, whose mixture of means and humility comes alongside perhaps as soon as in a technology as the face of a franchise, if that.

I’d argue there is not a single different participant in the world, for varied causes, who would’ve led final 12 months’s Warriors to a title, and but once more this season, Curry is the cause an getting older and flawed Warriors workforce continues to be thought-about a reputable contender. If you have Curry, you have an opportunity, and the Warriors are awfully thankful they have him.

If the Lakers had been, say, nonetheless in Minneapolis, or Memphis, or Salt Lake City, or just about wherever apart from LA, with the approach they’re working issues at the second, they’d be a laughingstock. You may argue they’re anyway. But as a result of they occupy prime NBA actual property, their margin for error is so nice that they will primarily mess every part up and nonetheless have a reasonably direct path out of the darkness and into the mild of title rivalry.

You may say the Lakers are most thankful that they have LeBron James, however the solely cause they have LeBron in the first place is that they’re in LA The solely cause they have Anthony Davis is that they have LeBron. And the solely cause they have a title inside the final decade is that they have each of these guys.

Since that title (bubble title, I ought to say), this franchise has achieved mainly nothing to make itself enticing to gamers with choices. Other than location and that iconic title throughout their chest, they have made one disastrous choice after one other — empowering Rob Pelinka to run round in a So-Cal sandbox with, seemingly, little concept of ​​what he is doing. Pelinka is sort of a trust-fund child. He can screw up time and again, in methods that would bury nearly every other GM, and nonetheless be inside just a few primary strikes of competence of popping out forward.

Every group in the league with a celebrity participant is thankful for that participant. Damian Lillard has been a godsend in Portland for a decade. Nikola Jokic in Denver, Jayson Tatum in Boston, Ja Morant in Memphis, Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, Donovan Mitchell in Cleveland, Devin Booker in Phoenix, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Oklahoma City, Jimmy Butler in Miami, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George with the Clippers; Brooklyn would be a dumpster hearth if not for Kevin Durant.

But none of these guys have introduced a championship to their present franchise. Other than Tatum, none of them have delivered even a Finals look. Antetokounmpo, on the different hand, has lifted Milwaukee to the prime of the basketball world. He may’ve left in the summer season of 2021, proper after profitable the championship for the Bucks, the approach Leonard did with the Raptors, however Giannis signed a five-year extension in the center of a season.

Giannis may’ve no less than listened to what different teams had to say in the summer season. Done the dance. Been wooed. But his ego did not want that form of celebration. He did not need to grow to be a distraction for a Bucks workforce making an attempt to win a title, which they did somewhat greater than six months after he prolonged comparatively quietly. Other than Stephen Curry, there’s not a participant in the league that means extra to their franchise than Antetokounmpo does to the Bucks.

Ainge is doing his factor in Utah now, however the Celtics are going to be indebted to him for a very long time; he’s the No. 1 cause they’re ready to compete for championships for the subsequent decade. The trades that Ainge executed with the Nets, which landed the Celtics Jaylen Brown, and the Sixers, which landed them Jayson Tatum, have supplied Boston with arguably the finest duo in the league, and they’re simply now beginning to enter their prime.

There was strain on Ainge to commerce Brown particularly for years. He by no means did. He allowed that duo to develop collectively, all the whereas drafting Robert Williams and Grant Williams to go along with them. Ainge drafted Marcus Smart. He introduced in Al Horford. He employed Brad Stevens, who was an excellent coach and is proving to be an excellent GM. He employed Joe Mazzulla, who seems to be like he may be the coach for the subsequent decade.

Everything that has the Celtics arrange for this long term of rivalry is owed to Ainge. He put all of it collectively. He wasn’t at all times in style with Celtics followers who wished extra aggressive strikes, however his cussed methods and refusal to concede in any shortsighted commerce is the cause Boston is on this place now. Ainge constructed this workforce to final. Boston ought to be very thankful.

It won’t ever not be astonishing that a workforce may commerce Trae Young AND a second lottery decide and nonetheless someway come out on the proper aspect of the deal, however that’s precisely what the Mavericks pulled off in buying and selling for the draft rights to Luka Doncic, who , barring a career-changing damage, is already a lock to go down as one in every of the biggest gamers ever.

I do not know what quantity you need to placed on it — prime 20, prime 10, no matter — however he is happening as an all-timer. This man has legit GOAT dialog potential, and he is simply 23 years outdated! I’d argue, if there was an open draft for each participant in the league proper now, Doncic would go first. I do not assume it will even be shut.

To have a man this nice, at this age, is the stuff that makes you get down in your knees and thank the basketball gods each night time earlier than you go to mattress. A participant like Doncic all however ensures rivalry for the subsequent 10-15 years for those who do your half and encompass him with correct items. Dallas may need to begin excited about doing that.

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