Blogtable Archive

Blogtable: Which team will have biggest turnaround in 2019-20?

Occasionally, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.

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Which team do you predict will have the biggest turnaround in 2019-20?

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Steve Aschburner: There might be as many definitions of “turnaround” in a sports context as there are for “valuable” (such as assessing Most Valuable). But I’ll keep it simple and go with the most additional victories in 2019-20 compared to last season. For me, then, the choice is easy: the Lakers. They are going to clean up multiple messes — no finishing below .500 this time, no missing the postseason — and add 20 victories while shaving 20 losses from their 37-45 record. LeBron James will have had a long offseason — basketball-wise, at least — and quite possibly be primed for a monstrous individual performance in the year he turns 35. There will be a bounce in that building, too, thanks to Anthony Davis’ arrival and the aura of the LA Clippers, those ambitious housemates from down the hall.

Shaun Powell: Well, obviously the Lakers, assuming good health to their two franchise players, should win 15-plus more games in the regular season. And simply by making the playoffs, that would be a great step up from a disappointing 2018-19. That’s an easy call. As for a more purer improvement, let’s try the Pelicans because David Griffin mixed together a great gumbo of youth and vets.

John Schuhmann: The Clippers and Lakers are the obvious picks to make the biggest jumps in the win column. In the non-obvious division, the Pelicans and Heat have opportunities to win 8-10 more games than they did last season. New Orleans lost Anthony Davis, but has a lot more perimeter talent than it did last season, when it was also pretty awful on defense (where Lonzo Ball and Derrick Favors will help). Miami is in the East, added Jimmy Butler, and may have undergone some addition by subtraction with the departure of Hassan Whiteside paving the way for a Bam Adebayo breakout season.

Sekou Smith: The Los Angeles Lakers are poised to take a huge leap forward from the 37 wins they finished with last season. James and Davis together (and healthy) demands at least 50 wins, even in this era of load management. There is absolutely no way anything less than 50 wins should be acceptable this season for the Lakers, who have legitimate championship aspirations for the first time in a decade. There is no other team that added the firepower to suggest they’d increase their win total by more than what the Lakers should be able to amass after paring up two of the NBA’s top players.