It is always interesting to look into the future because no one is ever sure what the future holds. It is especially fun to look ahead if you are a fan of a young team that is currently in the rebuilding process. I know as a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers, I would love to fast forward to 2020 because the future looks bright just as it does for many other young teams.
Not only are young teams going to be near the top of this list, but so are proven teams that will still be going strong in 2020. The year 2020 may seem really far from now, but it's only four years away. A lot of things can happen in four years, however. Four years ago, LeBron was still with the Heat, Dwight Howard was with the Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers were 24-58. Oh and the Bobcats were still a team. How will your team fare in 2020? Find out on this list. Hopefully better than they are doing today. If not, enjoy the wins while they last, because believe me, they don't last forever.
In this article I will be predicting and listing the top 15 NBA teams in the year 2020.
15 Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons have elected to build their team through drafting and development rather than looking for the quick fix in free agency. The Pistons have been slowly making the climb back up the Eastern Conference and with more experience, they will continue to improve under Stan Van Gundy. The Pistons made it to the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons this past year, but were swept by LeBron's Cavs in the first round.
The Pistons should be able to return to the postseason next year in a weaker Eastern Conference. They may not quite be the Bad Boys teams that we saw all those years ago, but by 2020, Detroit will be in the middle ground of the league.
14 Orlando Magic
The Magic might have just given away their best young talent in Victor Oladipo. Sure, they got Serge Ibaka in return, but that's not what this team needs right now. Oladipo was a versatile player who played on both ends of the floor while Ibaka is primarily a defender with a limited offensive game. He has added a three-point shot to his repertoire but seems to have forgotten how to do anything else. Ibaka has turned into a defensive-minded stretch 4 that has already reached his full potential. Not a wise trade by the Magic, nonetheless, they still have young talent that is waiting to burst through the floorboards.
The main scorer for the 2020 Magic will be most likely be Mario Hezonja. He didn't have a great rookie season, but he has tons of room for improvement. Elfrid Payton will be running the point and Serge Ibaka and Nik Vucevic will be solid at the forward positions. Aaron Gordon will be playing somewhere but his position on the court has always been the question.
13 Utah Jazz
The Jazz have some tantalizing prospects. Rudy Gobert looks like a skyscraper on the court and Gordon Hayward is a very reliable night in and night out player. Dante Exum and Trey Burke look to dominate the backcourt for years to come. The Jazz are a team on the rise but can't seem to find a player that will break them through to the next level. They have been hovering around the 8 seed for a while now. They are stuck in mediocrity which can be extremely tough to shake in the NBA. Look for that to change however by 2020.
Many teams like the Jazz will either go into to tanking mode or overpay for an average free agent. I don't think the Jazz will take the rebuilding step because they have a young team, but I could see them signing someone to a max deal that doesn't deserve it. If the Jazz keep on track and don't cut any corners, they will be in the top half of the league in 2020.
12 Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have just recently moved on from Derrick Rose who had been their franchise player since he was drafted 1st overall in 2008. Jimmy Butler takes the reigns and barring any trade this offseason, Butler will likely bud into an NBA superstar for the Bulls. The Bulls also have ample young talent in players like Doug McDermott, Nikola Mirotic, and Bobby Portis. If the Bulls stay the course, they will have a quick overhaul and not have to suffer any huge rebuild and become good again by 2020. It's unlikely Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo will still be in Chicago by 2020, so take them out of the equation.
The Bulls clearly don't need to tank into a full-blown rebuild. They will be able to build through free agency rather than the draft which should speed things up exponentially. By 2020 the Bulls look for Doug McDermott to be one of their top scorers. He grew a lot since his rookie season and if he can continue to grow, there is no doubt he will become a versatile scorer.
11 Indiana Pacers
The Pacers will always be a good team as long as they have Paul George. Myles Turner proved himself to be a good draft pick. The Pacers just recently acquired Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young, both good players, but who knows if they will still be on the Pacers in 2020. The two players that I think are in for the long haul are Myles Turner and Paul George. The Pacers are set up for success now and possibly later on as well. Solid job, Larry Bird.
Their success will ultimately be dictated by how long their current core can stick together and how well they play together as a team. Their roster looks good right now on paper and they could still be close to their prime in 2020 but so did the 2012-13 Lakers with Dwight Howard, and we all know how that turned out. The Pacers don't have the same hype that the Lakers had because they don't have the big names like the Lakers did but they are slowly building a winner in Indiana.
10 Washington Wizards
The Wizards have John Wall. In a league dominated by point guards, it is essential to have one like Wall. He can do it all, score, assist, and defend. He really is irreplaceable when it comes to the Wizards. Any team would love to have him. The rest of the team is a little bit less talented, but at least Wall has Bradley Beal to grow with, and the Wizards also have Otto Porter who is a very good defender.
If Wall can propel himself to the next tier of NBA guards and have similar success to Russell Westbrook, the Wizards will have a real chance to be an NBA contender. He has the athleticism to be one of the best points guards in the league he just needs to put it all together. He already thinks he is a top three point guard which is questionable, but what isn't questionable is his desire to be great. He has the physical tools and the right attitude. He will determine how high the Wizards fly.
9 Boston Celtics
The Celtics have a great supporting cast without a superstar. Although they had the third pick in this past draft, I'm not sure they found their star. There are many questions about Jaylen Brown and the pick was a bit risky. In my opinion, the better move would have been trading for Jahlil Okafor. He could have been the franchise centerpiece they desperately need. The Celtics are already a playoff team but who knows if the mighty Isaiah Thomas can keep it up.
The Celtics are also a big free agency team. They need to be more active this year and in future years, because they are a city with a rich basketball tradition. They shouldn't have any trouble reeling in the big fish because they have such a great history. If they can't land a big free agent, they still have Brooklyn's draft pick for the next few years, which will likely convey into the lottery considering how bad the Nets' situation is right now.
8 Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers just recently overhauled their roster this past offseason but they still found ways to win. They lost key players in LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews but new players up like C.J. McCollum stepped up and took on new roles. McCollum flourished with his bigger role. He became the NBA's most improved player this season. The Trail Blazers have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming years. They seem to have two perennial all stars.
Allen Crabbe is another young guy who was given a chance to shine last season and took full advantage of it. He is currently a restricted free agent and many teams are looking to pick him up as a potential star. The Blazers weren't expecting to be good this soon but they have found many diamonds in the rough. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise that their core left this past offseason. They don't seem to be fazed in the least.
7 Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have a strong foundation that they will be building upon in the upcoming years. They have a young point guard in Michael Carter-Williams, two long wiry players in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thon Maker, a proven big man like Greg Monroe, and a 3 and D player like Khris Middleton. The Bucks have all of the supporting pieces, now they just need to go out and get themselves a star. They hope that the star can be found in Jabari Parker, the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
The Bucks will be a good team by 2020. They have great a great defense, and their offense is improving. I would be very surprised if they don't make deep runs into the playoffs very soon and shake up the league. The Bucks along with many other franchises must be sick of watching the same few teams run the association. Here is a good chance to break up the power in the league.
6 San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have found a winning formula and there is no reason to abandon it. True, the Spurs won't have their legendary big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, but they will have their newest star, Kawhi Leonard, the two time defensive player of the year and the 2014 finals MVP, and their veteran LaMarcus Aldridge. Sure they may not have much other than that, but since when has that stopped the Gregg Popovich. Pop will plug in anyone and they will play smart and efficiently.
I could also see the Spurs drawing in a high-caliber free agent within the next few offseasons. The Spurs front office will be trying to replace guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with young promising players. Or they might just continue to build through the draft considering how well they develop players. Who knows if Kawhi Leonard would be an All-Star today if he never played under Pop.
5 Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles will never be bad for a long period of time. They are such an attractive destination for free agents and with young players like D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, and Julius Randle, even if they haven't had much success lately. The Lakers will soon be out of the lottery and into the playoffs. It might not be next year, or two years from now, but by 2020 look out for the Lakers, they will look to establish a bona fide post-Kobe Bryant era.
The Lakers have just recently signed Timofey Mozgov which falls in line with their reputation of signing centers in free agency. Mozgov isn't a big name like Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O'Neal or Dwight Howard, but he has huge shoes to fill. As if following the big men who preceded him isn't enough pressure, his deal is huge, probably a deal he can't live up to. I don't think the Lakers are done this year in free agency and they will definitely be active for years to come. As long as the Lakers are in the league, they will be near the top.
4 New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have their franchise centerpiece in Anthony Davis. They just need to surround him with better players. The Pelicans realize what they have to do and started with Buddy Hield. Hield is a great scorer and could complement Davis extremely well. With a perimeter threat like Hield, any double team that the defense throws Davis' way, he can kick it out to Hield for an open 3-ball. Davis' health is the main concern for the Pelicans. He always seems to have some sort of ailment. He needs to stay healthy for the sake of the franchise.
Jrue Holiday is another injury prone guy to go along with Davis. He was a strong player with the Sixers a few years ago, but hasn't been the same since. Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans are solid but not much to write home about. Evans hasn't panned out to be the player he was supposed to be, and Anderson is solely 3-point shooter without much of an inside game. The Pelicans need to keep their players healthy and give Davis some help.
3 Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors will still be good in 2020. Steph Curry will be near the end of his prime, so will Klay Thompson, but they will still have Draymond Green in the best part of his career. The team will most likely stay intact and the 3-point mentality can last much longer than a physical style of play can. The one question is about Curry's ankles, and the Warriors' longevity will be decided by them. Will his surgeries catch up to him or will he stay healthy and continue his dominance?
Harrison Barnes is a free agent and it seems unlikely that he will re-sign. He is looking for a max deal and the Warriors probably won't be giving it to him. Andre Iguodala most likely won't be the defensive stopper that he is now, but he still should contribute. Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa may still be with the team in 2020. You know the old saying, "you live by the three, you live by the three," who knows, by 2020, the Warriors may have fizzled out...but I doubt it.
2 Philadelphia 76ers
Don't look now, but the Sixers are putting something together that could be special. They have found what they have been looking for, their star. Ben Simmons has come and it couldn't have been at a better time. Not only do the Sixers have Ben Simmons debuting this season, but they also have Joel Embiid, and Dario Šarić. Not to mention the $55 million in cap space they can use to lure in veteran free agents. The key to the Sixers success will be held in their durability. Will Joel Embiid play and will he stay healthy? If he does, watch out league.
The fans and and coaches, especially Brett Brown, will be rewarded for all of the losing that has occurred over that past few years and hopefully it will all be worth it. If Brett Brown is the coach, that is. Brown could definitely be a great coach, he just needs the right players. It would really be unfair for Brown if the Sixers dump him after they get good. One thing is for sure, Brett Brown hasn't been the cause of all of the losing.
1 Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are clearly heading the right direction. With studs like Andrew Wiggins, Karl Anthony-Towns, and the recently acquired Kris Dunn, they look to be a team that will be going deep into the playoffs. They have all of the pieces, they just need to develop their players and barring any injuries or blockbuster trades, they seem like a sure thing. The Wolves have put themselves in prime position to succeed and they should be proud. The pain is over Timberwolves fans.
I predict that Kris Dunn will be an All-Star by 2020 and so will KAT and Wiggins. They have a big three that has potential to be good for a long time. They are all young and they have so much potential. It's all up to the T-Wolves development staff and coaching to ensure that they get the max potential out of these three studs. It's finally a great time to be a Wolves fan.