One Question for Each NBA Team: Western Conference Edition

The Famous Chicago Bean
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After an action filled All-Star weekend in the Windy City, the NBA playoffs and off-season are on the horizon. Here’s one question that each Western Conference team should think about for the rest of the season or in the offseason.

Dallas (33-22): “Is Luka’s ankle a problem?”

Luka Doncic is unquestionably one of the NBA’s next stars for the foreseeable future. Since the Mavericks obviously won’t be able to win the title after Dwight Powell’s season ending injury, should Mark Cuban and the Mavericks start to load manage Luka? As frustrating as it is for the fans, it would be the smartest thing to do for many reasons. Porzingis will continue to recover from his injury, the Mavericks could get a better draft pick to add cheap talent, and the Mavs won’t risk injuring their franchise player. Getting a good player this year in the draft is essential due to their limited cap space and Dallas’ firsts starting to go to New York.

Denver (38-17): “Can they win in the playoffs?”

Denver is starting to seem like the 2015-2018 Raptors where they are regular season warriors but can’t get it done in the playoffs. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. were slumping early in the season, but the pair are starting to come into their own. Nikola Jokic went on a tear while three out of the Nuggets’ starting five was out injured. Against two of the best defensive centers in the league, Jokic put up a 30-21-10 triple-double vs. Rudy Gobert and a 39-10-11 triple-double against Andre Drummond. Could he do the same thing in the playoffs and carry Denver to the conference finals?

Golden State (12-43): “What do you do with your assets?”

The Warriors blatant tanking should be punished by the NBA as their players are milking their injuries, primarily Steph Curry. That being sad, the Warriors now have some good assets on their hands that they could do to revamp their roster. Having a top 4 pick all but locked up for this year’s draft, do they select it, or do they use it to restart the Warriors dynasty? If I’m the Golden State GM, I’m drafting James Wiseman and if he’s not there, I’m trading that pick and Andrew Wiggins for Bradley Beal. I cannot see Wiggins fitting in well with Klay, Curry, and Draymond due to his high amount of shot attempts, and low field goal percentage. I hate the Warriors and I know you all hate the Warriors, but the dynasty isn’t over, similarly to the Patriots, they won’t go away as long as the Splash Brothers are on the roster (and healthy obviously).

Houston (34-20): “Will the Rockets finally do it?”

The Rockets are starting to become notorious chokers when it comes to the playoffs, and D’Antoni is firmly on the hot seat. Harden is starting to really cool off and now that Houston went all in by trading away their centers for Robert Covington, they have to win this year, but it won’t happen. I don’t know why the Rockets decided to go full-on small ball as they were a CP3 hamstring away from beating the Warriors two seasons ago, and a Harden eye-poke away last year. Unfortunately for D’Antoni and the Rockets, I don’t know if the Harden-Hero ball will ever get it done. The Westbrook trade is seeming to be worse and worse as CP3 is an All-Star in OKC and West“brick” is back as he can’t make a three to save his life this year.

Los Angeles Clippers (37-18): “Will Playoff P come again?

Kawhi is as dominant as ever, but Paul George either really on or really off. Similarly to the Rockets, George turns into “Playoff P” where he plays horrendously and disappears on the floor. The Clippers are 6-1 when Kawhi and PG both score 20+ points. The Clippers check every box of a title winner, and since Kawhi was able to do it last year with a worse team around him, there’s no reason they couldn’t do it this year. Adding Marcus Morris was an incredible acquisition and could be enough to put them over the top.

Los Angeles Lakers (41-12): “Supporting cast enough?”

As long as you have LeBron James on your team, you’re a threat in the league. LeBron has his best ever teammate currently in Prime Anthony Davis, but is that enough? While thinking about who’s the best team in LA, most agree that the Lakers’ dynamic duo is better than the Clippers, but the Clippers’ bench is far better than the Lakers bench. Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Kyle Kuzma, and Dwight Howard might not be enough to win the title this year with the Juggernauts of the Clippers and Bucks.

Memphis (28-26): “Is there a championship window coming up?”

The Memphis Grizzlies won the 2019 NBA Draft. Ja Morant is a STUD and the league is starting to take notice. Morant, along with Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and recent acquisition Justice Winslow all combine to form a great young core. All of these players are making less than $10 million a season and with contracts like Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones, and Kyle Anderson, Memphis can use those players to match salary for a veteran to bolster their team. I would say that Memphis should wait till the 2021 summer where they will have around $30-35 million in cap space to sign a free agent as that young core, but primarily Ja Morant, will make Memphis a free agency destination, and then, their championship window will open.

Minnesota (16-37): “How can they get to the next level?”

The Timberwolves won this year’s trade deadline (tied with the Clippers) by acquiring D’Angelo Russell. D-Lo might have finally found a home and Karl-Anthony Towns finally found a co-star. Evan Turner’s $18.6 million and Allen Crabbe’s $18.5 million coming of the books this summer and James Johnson’s $16 million expiring contract are going to give Minnesota some wiggle room to add a third piece to their roster. Omari Spellman, Malik Beasley, Josh Okogie, and Jarrett Culver are all on very cheap and team friendly contracts, so Minnesota has to act fast to bring in another star. Devin Booker speculation will probably dominate the summer as KAT and D-Lo are great friends with Booker, but I would suggest DeMar DeRozan as a third star. Bringing in DeRozan would bring some much-needed experience to this young team.

New Orleans (23-32): “How do you build this team?”

The Pelicans won the Anthony Davis trade, wait what? Yes, I think that if you’re able to get some real assets back while getting rid of a franchise player, you did well. Lonzo Ball is a knockdown shooter now, Brandon Ingram is a franchise player, Josh Hart is a great role player, and Zion! Zion is a bull in the post as he just bullies people seemingly getting every rebound. Jrue Holiday is also on the roster but does he fit the timeline? Do you pay Ingram? Do you build around Zion? Personally, I’d pay Ingram, and trade Holiday. While he’s an elite defender, I feel that he’s overrated a tad and the Pelicans could add to their youth and pick arsenal by capitalizing on his value. 

Oklahoma City (33-22): “Do you have a contender?”

How is OKC doing this? They were supposed to be at the top of the lottery this year but due to CP3 turning the clock back and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander becoming a borderline All-Star, the Thunder find themselves firmly in the playoffs. OKC has a great blend of youth and veterans that could be a piece away from a legit contender. Dennis Schroder’s $15.5 million contract is a great trade piece. I would absolutely LOVE to see the Thunder use some of their seemingly hundreds of draft picks and Schroder to get Bradley Beal to OKC. A lineup of CP3, SGA, Beal, Gallinari, and Adams could work, and would be very interesting to watch.

Phoenix (22-33): “What is going on?”

It took me a long time to even come up with a question for the Suns because I have no idea what’s going on here. The Suns should be good with their current roster but similarly to the Lions, I find myself going “well it’s the Suns.” They have some good young pieces, a star in Devin Booker, and finally some competent coaching and management, so what’s going on? Obviously, I don’t know the answer, but I think that they need another star. The role players on the Suns are among the league’s best but they need more than Booker. Chris Paul, Jrue Holiday, or Julius Randle would all be great fits in Phoenix.

Portland (25-31): “Time to trade McCollum?”

What the heck is going on in Portland? Lillard went thermo-nuclear before the All-Star Break scoring at will, yet the Blazers are still below .500. At 25-31, the Blazers are underperforming and need a change this summer as they honestly might not make the playoffs. As Lillard is clearly the man in Portland, McCollum will have to make way. Flipping McCollum to Philadelphia along with Nurkic for Embiid could be a crazy play, but one that might make Lillard and the Blazers take the next step and get back to the Western Conference Finals. Again, Bradley Beal’s name will come up in this article as a pick or young player along with C.J. should be enough for Washington to send Beal out West, no matter who it is, the Blazers have to do something.

Sacramento (21-33): “Buddy or Bogdan?”

Recent 3pt Contest Champion Buddy Hield has made it pretty clear he’s not happy with his current role as the sixth man for the Kings. After getting a contract extension this summer, Buddy seemed to be the answer to the question, Buddy or Bogdan? Bogdan Bogdanovic has been playing pretty well this season, but he will be a restricted free agent this summer. One of the two will be off the roster next year and I have to guess it would be Bogdanovic. The Kings are tied with the Cavs for the most dysfunctional franchise as they are still fighting about taking Marvin Bagley over Luka Doncic. I don’t really know what’s going to happen in Sacramento but if you ruin De’Aaron Fox I will be quite unhappy with you.

San Antonio (23-31): “Is it time to finally rebuild?”

The end of the Spurs dynasty is finally here. Coming from a Red Wings fan, trust me Spurs fans, this is a good thing as mortgaging your future to keep a stupid streak alive has left the Wings screwed for the foreseeable future. I feel like the Spurs wanted to keep the streak going by not trading DeRozan at the deadline. They have some nice pieces, but they have to move on as DeRozan and Aldridge aren’t going to get it done. Having a competent front office and coaching staff, something increasingly rare in this league, should lead to a quick and effective re-build in San Antonio. With the Spurs’ 25-year streak ending, the Pittsburgh Penguins now hold the longest streak in professional sports with 13 seasons in a row.

Utah (36-18): “Can Conley find form?”

The Jazz are a very complete team who I think are the third best team in the West after the Los Angeles teams. One problem is the poor form of Mike Conley. The Jazz are still cruising thanks to the unexpected breakout season from Jordan Clarkson as their sixth man. Clarkson has averaged 16.2 points a game since his move and his scoring was much needed. If Conley can get back to his Memphis form and All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Golbert keep up their great seasons, the Jazz could find themselves in the Conference Finals. 

Mamba Mentality

Just before 10 am, on Sunday January 26, Kobe Bryant was among 9 passengers that tragically died in a helicopter crash. Included in the 9 passengers was Gianni “Gigi” Bryant, Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter. Kobe Bryant was one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, also adding 5 NBA championship rings. Kobe Bryant was scheduled to be inducted into the hall of fame this summer along with other NBA legends including Tim Duncan and company. 

The Crash

Sunday morning for Bryant started out as your normal foggy Sunday, but quickly turned for the unfortunate worse. Bryant was accompanied by his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with 7 others. Flying to basketball practice, the helicopter was granted Special Visual Flight Rules clearance, which means that the helicopter could proceed with its route despite the fog. The helicopter later crashed in low fog hillsides in Calabasas. The pilot was fully trained and had his commercial pilot’s license since 2007, but witnesses described the fog as extremely difficult to see in, truly an unfortunate accident. 

Legacy

In 1996, Kobe Bryant was drafted into the NBA straight out of high school and would accomplish even more than his 5 championships. Bryant was selected 18 out of 20 seasons as an NBA all star and was known around the league as the Black Mamba, for his unbelievable drive to win. One of Bryant’s greatest accomplishments occurred in 2006 where he dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors. Bryant went off that night notching himself second all time, only behind Wilt Chamberlain at 100 points, in points scored in a single game. But Bryant’s legacy went beyond the NBA. In 2008 and 2012, the United States won the basketball gold medals in the Olympics with the help of Bryant and company. Bryant ended his career on a legendary performance, in his final game Kobe Bryant turned back the clocks and dropped 60 points on the Utah Jazz and led a late 4th quarter comeback to cement his legacy for good. Bryant will be missed by the basketball community forever.

The night before Bryant’s fatal accident, Lebron James, who plays for Bryant’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, passed Bryant, 33,644 points scored, and moved into 3rd all time in scoring, at 33,655 points. Hours before Bryant’s flight, Kobe and Lebron spoke over the phone and Bryant congratulated James on passing him 3rdall-time in scoring. James was seen crying at LAX after returning to Los Angeles (url below). https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/lebron-james-kobe-bryant-death-helicopter-crash-video-lakers-team-lax-a9304691.html 

All around the NBA Bryant’s legacy is being honored, for example, ESPN played Bryant’s legendary final game in honor of his impact on the game of basketball. In addition, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, who wears the number 11 on his jersey, began his game on Sunday in a Hawks jersey that the number 8 on it to honor one of Bryant’s two unforgettable jerseys. Multiple teams across the NBA took 24 second shot clock violations and 8 second backcourt violations in honor of his two jersey numbers. Fans across the NBA united in honor of an icon in sports, a leader, a father, a mentor, and the hardest worker to ever pick up a basketball. Kobe Bryant did not know what a day was, he was working everyday on his game, he worked so hard in practice and practice paid off big time for him. Bryant is considered as a ‘one of a kind’ player in the NBA and his legacy will never be forgotten.

Michael Kneuer

One Question for Each NBA Team: Eastern Conference Edition

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After an action filled All-Star weekend in the Windy City, the NBA playoffs and off-season are on the horizon. Here’s one question that each Eastern Conference team should think about for the rest of the season or in the offseason.

Atlanta (15-41): “Trust the Process?” 

The Hawks aren’t taking the step forward that many NBA analysts expected them to take, but that could be expected from such a young team. Similarly to the 76ers a few years ago, time will help the Hawks who look to have the actual next Curry on their team with Trae Young. Atlanta has to have faith in their youth and start to prepare for their upcoming championship window.

Boston (38-16): “Is it Enough?” 

The Celtics are a much more complete team with Kemba running the point in place of Kyrie, but something seems off with them as I really don’t see them as a true contender. In a league dominated by stars and “dynamic duos” the Celtics have three 20ppg scorers in Walker, Brown, and Tatum, and a bench full of gamechangers, but is it enough? After their double overtime shootout win over the Clippers, I’m starting to believe that it might actually be enough. 

Brooklyn (25-28): “Will Durant be the same?” 

The Nets are trying to figure things out in time for the arrival of the league’s best player Kevin Durant next season. The Nets are under preforming due to injuries to Kyrie Irving, but the rest of the roster is continuing to develop, especially Spencer Dinwiddie who was playing at a border-line all-Star level in the absence of Irving. The Nets aren’t a true contender this year but if KD comes back the same player he was, the Nets instantly become title favorites in 2021.

Charlotte (18-36): “Are they on to something?”

The Hornets are not last in the east due to the emergence of three young players, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, and P.J. Washington. This trio has made the Hornets have some success this season and the league took notice naming all three Hornets to the Rising stars team. That begs the question, are they on to something? With this young core could the Hornets a trade away from becoming a true threat in the East?

Chicago (19-33) “What’s the direction?”

The Bulls have found themselves in a tricky spot after Sacramento forced them to max out Zach LaVine. Outside of Zach, this year’s Bulls are pretty meh, and when Thaddeus Young is your marquee free agent signing that not a great thing. The Bulls really have to find a direction as they are currently in the worst NBA spot, a ceiling of a first-round sweep and a floor of the bottom of the lottery. The front office is a complete mess and the entire league’s focus being on Chicago didn’t help the Bulls at all.

Cleveland (14-40): “Will you win the lottery?”

The Cavs are a group of thugs, I mean slugs, who are truly really bad. As a University of Michigan fan, it pains me to see John Beilein collapse in the NBA, but everyone saw this coming with the roster they had, so why is he being punished? Trading for another center in Drummond has left the NBA scratching their heads. Even LeBron couldn’t save Cleveland this time, one can only hope they win the lottery and whoever they select is an All-Star.

Detroit (19-38): “Can Stefanski win the offseason?”

As I’ve said before, Detroit is stuck in NBA mediocrity, the same spot the Bulls are in. The Pistons are in full tank mode due to trading Drummond and injuries to Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin. Ed Stefanski will have around 40-50$ million in cap space to play with this season and most likely a top 5 draft pick. This is an incredibly important off-season, could the Pistons draft a future all-Star? Could they sign Fred VanVleet or Brandon Ingram? Can Stefanski win the off-season?

Indiana (32-23): “Can Oladipo lead this team?”

The Pacers are one of those teams where it doesn’t matter who’s on their roster, they’re going to be a good team. Brogdon and Sabonis are a sneaky good duo, and now that Oladipo is returning from injury, the Pacers are going to be a force in the East. The question is can Oladipo lead this team to the Conference Finals? The Pacers, like so many teams in the East were stopped by LeBron, now that he’s gone, can they capitalize?

Miami (35-19): “Can they do it?” 

The Heat and Pat Riley shoved their chips into the middle and went all-in at the trade deadline. Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder are great additions for the small price of Justice Winslow and James Johnson. Now the Heat have a nice blend of championship experience and youth to go with their unexpected start to the season. The Heat now are left wondering if they have enough to get past Giannis and the LA teams to bring a title to South Beach. 

Milwaukee (46-8) “Is Giannis ready?”

The Bucks have the best player on the planet, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who now is the best player in the galaxy as he can shoot three-pointers. In addition to Giannis’ three-point shooting, he’s a year older and so is the team, making them that much better. With no LeBron or Kawhi to stand in their way, this could be the Bucks’ year, is Giannis ready to take the league by the horns?

New York (17-38) “Can they land a marquee free-agent?”

The Knicks are still reeling from their historic failure of an offseason. New York is sneakily creating a stockpile of draft picks and could use them to cash in on a big-name player to pair with a potential marquee free agent signing this summer. AD will not leave so Brandon Ingram is my predicted signing for the Knicks, although I think they should wait for the loaded 2021 class.

Orlando (24-31): “Time to make a change?” 

The Magic have one of the most interesting rosters in the league. The Magic were balling this year but unfortunately, Johnathan Isaac and Nikola Vucevic both got injured. The revival of Markelle Fultz has been the work of magic, but even with a fully healthy team the Magic aren’t there yet. Maybe a move for DeRozan, CP3, or Holiday could help? Or should the Magic look to move on from veterans like Fournier, Vucevic, and Ross? The Magic are at the tipping point, do they go all in, or do they fold?

Philadelphia (34-21) “Simmons or Embiid?”

Simmons and Embiid are two of the biggest divas in the NBA. Simmons and Embiid together visibly and analytically don’t work together so the Sixers are going to have to do something this season after an expected loss in the playoffs. Personally, I’d trade Simmons but due to how injury prone Embiid is, that will be a very hard decision to make.

Toronto (40-15) “No Kawhi no problem?”

Toronto isn’t missing Kawhi yet, but they will. VanVleet and Siakam are still progressing and paired with Ibaka, Gasol, and Lowry, the Raptors are still a threat in the East. Similarly, to the Celtics, there’s just something about Toronto where I can’t see them winning the title. Siakam could take over in the playoffs but there’s no way he can carry them the way Kawhi did. I see this Toronto team like those before Kawhi, regular season warriors who fold in the playoffs.

Washington (20-33) “Can you keep Beal?”

The Wizards are being carried by Bradley Beal this year and he’s sick of it. If I’m the Wizards, either trade Beal now or pray that John Wall is the same player when he comes back from yet another injury. Outside of Beal, this team is hot garbage, the questionable Hachimura pick is starting to be questioned, and one wonders how long you can keep Beal. If Washington does nothing, then Beal will probably walk.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown)

Yesterday (2/18/2020), the Detroit Pistons bought out their veteran point guard Reggie Jackson. As a Detroit fan, I have mixed feelings.

First, let me get one thing straight; I’m ecstatic that Reggie Jackson is no longer a Piston. Here are some reasons why:

  1. His entire Pistons tenure is defined by his time spent off the court, rather than on.
  2. His playmaking was rendered obsolete upon the arrival of Blake Griffin.
  3. His playmaking was rendered obsolete upon the arrival of Derrick Rose.
  4. He lacked the outside shooting capability to help the team after the ball was taken out of his hands.
  5. His inconsistency made it impossible for the front office, coaches, and fans to know what they were dealing with.

That last one is the kicker. Upon his arrival, Jackson was viewed as a core member of an up and coming team. His playmaking combined with Andre Drummond’s rim running spelled potential danger for opposing teams. As time progressed however, it became apparent that Stan Van Gundy’s plan for the team had a much lower trajectory than intended. Noting that his job was in danger, Van Gundy made many desperate attempts to save himself (see Reason No.2), and instead pushed the hope of contention much further away from Detroit than can be deemed measurable.

At the start of the 2019-2020 season, the Detroit Pistons, as an organization, set a goal to make the playoffs. This not only underlined a colossal sense of delusion regarding the team’s ability to make the playoffs, but also exposed the teams reluctance to embrace the magic word: tank.

Now with the departure of Reggie Jackson, the Pistons have seemingly, finally, changed course. This brings forth our 6th and 7th reasons for being happy Reggie has left:

  1. The Detroit Pistons can finally be as bad as they were meant to be.
  2. Our young players can take on more significant roles.

In classic Pistons fashion, however, this long overdue shift in attention comes with multiple drawbacks. Here are a few:

  1. The Pistons waited far too long to get rid of Reggie Jackson
  2. The Pistons received nothing for Reggie Jackson

These reasons go hand in hand. Vacating Jackson’s $17 million/year contract does not directly benefit the team at all. Seeing as the team will not be ready to contend for many years, the additional cap space for this summer only leaves room for the Pistons to make another mistake, and sign a player that has already seen the best of his playing days. Additionally, Detroit is not an attractive market for free agents, or so I’ve been told, so the odds of signing anyone actually worth $17 million would be low anyways. Actually, let me correct that, the odds don’t exist, it won’t happen. Reggie Jackson’s expiring contract could have been traded away to a bigger market team with young players and draft picks to spare (hello, Knicks?), or to playoff teams in need of playmaking. Or anyone… literally anyone. 

In all honesty, I would’ve been happy with anything we could have received for Jackson in a trade. In fact, I’m still happy about the package we received for Andre. That’s the entire premise of trading away an expiring contract: no matter what you receive, it will be more than you would have been left with had that player walked away in free agency. For the same reason, I’m pissed Langston Galloway wasn’t traded before the deadline either.

So now, with Blake Griffin on the books until 2022, the Pistons have a deadline for themselves to be ready to spend on free agents. In the meantime, the future of the team will largely be determined by the draft. While the benefits of Jackson’s departure far outweigh the costs, the Pistons have made it no easier on themselves to build a team worthy of landing a big free agent in 2022. Honestly, it would have been better if Jackson walked in free agency, at least then the Western Conference Finals would be more interesting.

The anarchist in me still has some hope that Reggie will tear apart the Clippers from the inside. Nevertheless, RIP Bobby. You will not be missed.

State of the Union: Detroit Sports Edition

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Last calendar year Detroit professional teams combined for 226 lost games, the most of any city in history. What exactly has gone wrong? How can the once mighty Detroit things around? Here’s the State of the Union, Detroit sports edition.

Arguably the team with the brightest future has to be the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons, a win-now team with a record of 19-38 and is currently three games out of the playoffs. Although a large majority of the losses and struggles are due to the injuries to Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard. The reason that the Pistons might have the brightest future is due to the emergence of rookie Sekou Doumbouya, and the shrewd moves made by Piston’s GM Ed Stefanski. Sekou Doumbouya wasn’t supposed to be making this much of an impact at this stage of his career but injuries to members of the Pistons frontcourt resulted in him getting minutes. Sekou’s first game he started was against the Los Angeles Clippers where he was tasked with guarding Kawhi Leonard. Here Pistons fans saw the defensive hustle and energy that reminded us of players like Tayshaun Prince and Dennis Rodman. Sekou’s monster dunk over Tristan Thompson and his 24-point game against the Celtics put the rest of the NBA on alert. With a young core of Bruce Brown, Sekou Doumbouya, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Christian Wood, and Luke Kennard, the Pistons could tank the rest of this season and retool around Blake Griffin and our top lottery pick.

“With the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions select Tua Tagovailoa, Quarterback, Alabama.” The things I would do to hear those words. I understand that when you think of the Lions, you think Matthew Stafford and the entire franchise has been molded around him, but you can’t pass up on a generational talent such as Tua.  But who has faith in Bob Quinn and the “Same Old Lions?” Not me for sure. Obviously, the Lions will not take Tua Tagovailoa as that would be the smartest thing to do. The other option that would be acceptable to me would be to trade the third pick for multiple picks to whoever wants Tua at pick No. 3. The most likely outcome would be for the Lions to draft Jeffery Okudah, CB from OSU, a solid player but someone the Lions shouldn’t draft at the top of the draft. If the Lions were to draft Tua, he could fully recover for a season behind Stafford allowing him to come in next season prepared and fully healthy. Hopefully then Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr., and the other offensive weapons on the. If Matt Patricia can get the defense to match Stafford’s MVP level play earlier in the season, maybe then the Lions could get to the playoffs, and maybe even a playoff win, for the first time since 1991.

The third of the four teams based on future success is the Red Wings. The once mighty Red Wings who went a quarter century straight of playoff hockey, made Detroit known worldwide as “Hockeytown”, and holds the third most Stanley Cups of all time, has now been re-named the “Dead Wings.” At the all-Star break, the Red Wings are in last place in the NHL, 13 points behind the Los Angeles Kings, they have a -96 goal differential, and have only won 14 games out of the 58 that they have played in. After falling in the lottery last season and not being able to draft Jack Hughes, Steve Yzerman agreed to become the next GM of the Wings. Yzerman has a tough task due to Ken Holland sacrificing the future of the franchise to keep up the 25-year playoff streak. After turning around Tampa Bay, Yzerman’s hire was the highlight of last year’s season, which is pretty pathetic. Yzerman has started off his tenure in Detroit’s front office well as he’s off to a great start by drafting Moritz Seider, and trading for Robby Fabbri. Seider has been playing incredibly well as he has two goals and thirteen assists in 36 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins. It surprised many when the Wings drafted Seider as he was projected to go in the 10-19th pick range, but he’s seemingly checking many boxes. Once a first-round pick, Robby Fabbri was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in November in exchange for Jacob de la Rose. Fabbri was struggling in St. Louis but has started to become the player that he supposed to be scoring ten times and assisting thirteen times so far this season, eight goals and six assists of his career highs in each category. Fabbri adds to a young core that paired with Yzerman’s front office skills, could result in a new Red Wings dynasty.

Finally, there is the Tigers, a team with no hope for the seeable future. The Tigers are coming off one of the worst seasons in the history of baseball with a record of 47-114. The Tigers also had a run differential of -333, one of the worst in history as well. For all the MLB fanatics out there, you know how hard it is to break records, but the 2019 Tigers broke two records. Those records were most home losses, 59, tying the 1939 St. Louis Browns, having a run differential of -221 at home breaking the record of -215 set in 1883 by the Philadelphia Phillies. The worst part of the Tigers though is all of the former players winning World Series’ with other teams, this year of course being Anibal Sanchez, Fernando Rodney, and Max Scherzer with the Washington Nationals. The death of beloved owner Mike Illich has led to the slow-down of the Tigers’ successes and a slashing of one of the league’s highest payrolls. However with prospects like Casey Mize, Riley Greene, Tarik Skubal, who are among the MLB’s top 100 prospects, the Tigers could possibly turn it all around in the near future.