Blogtable: Which team most needs a shake-up?
Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
From NBA.com Staff
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The Bulls fired coach Fred Hoiberg on Monday. What other team might be due for a shake-up? And what would that shake-up look like?
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Steve Aschburner: New Orleans. By now, Washington’s woes are old news. Houston and Utah falling farther short of expectations than any other teams to this point suggests shake-ups there, yet their issues might best be solved internally. The Pelicans, meanwhile, have swooned of late, are playing through significant defensive issues and, as always, are burdened by the Anthony Davis clock. The vultures will be circling as the summer of 2020 approaches — that’s when the all-NBA big man can opt out of his contract — if New Orleans cannot generate real momentum toward championship contention. And with Jimmy Butler showing us how ugly things can get when a player still is a year away from free agency, New Orleans needs to tighten up defensively and seek outside help to demonstrate to Davis he can reach his goals right there.
Shaun Powell: Let’s just say the Washington Wizards can’t afford another month like November, for the sake of coach Scott Brooks … and a few rotational players … and, perhaps, GM Ernie Grunfeld. There’s too much talent on this team and too little depth in the Eastern Conference for the Wizards to collect Ls at the rate they’ve gotten them. Bradley Beal is always mentioned as trade bait, but I’d ship John Wall and his contract on the first plane out of Reagan National Airport if there’s a taker. A revamped Wizards team would keep losing and compete for a top pick in the 2019 draft.
John Schuhmann: Houston, Miami and Washington would be the usual suspects, though the Rockets’ desperation is more about adding to what they have than shaking things up. But, after a third loss by more than 30 points in the last week, it’s time to wonder how the Spurs transition into whatever’s next. They’ve never ranked worse than 11th defensively in the last 21 years (and have ranked in the top five in 17 of those 21), but they’ve been the league’s second worst defensive team this season. Their offense is built around two guys that take the most inefficient shots on the floor, they have one of the league’s oldest rosters, and it’s very likely that their 21-year playoff streak is coming to an end.
Sekou Smith: I hate that his name has to be included in the ongoing coaching rumor mill, but Scott Brooks will see his name remain in that mix until the Washington Wizards rise above the playoff chase cutoff line in the Eastern Conference. The situation in Washington will have to be addressed if things continue the way have so far. And unfortunately for Brooks, and coaches in sticky situations anywhere else, the coach is usually the first one to go (ask Tyronn Lue or Hoiberg). These shake-ups usually mean an assistant already on staff is elevated to the top spot, more often than not on an interim basis.