With the NBA season underway it is time to start focusing on what teams have legitimate chances at winning the Larry O'Brien Trophy, and what teams are planning for the future. There are plenty of new duos that formed over the off season that we would love to see how they pan out, and then we have our newly formed "Super Teams" who were built to try and ruin the Golden State Warrior's chances of winning a third title in four years.
Every team's starting lineup is a key part to a team's success. Their starting lineup starts the game, and the majority of the times it is the same five players that will finish the game as well. Every team likes to have a group of five players who play well together consistently to be the guys who start and finish the game. Sometimes there are other scenarios where players play better when they come off the bench, so they start off the bench, but then finish the game. Each team has a different approach on what their starting lineup looks like, but every team has one and if they can be effective it shows how good that team can be.
With every team having their own starting lineup they also have their own style of play as well. Some teams play different tempos as one another, while other teams play different schemes as well. All the different styles in the world when it comes to playing basketball makes this league as interesting as it is. With that being said here is every NBA team's starting lineup from worst to best.
30 30. Atlanta Hawks
Starting lineup: Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince, Ersan Ilyasova, and Dewayne Dedmon.
The Hawks have a talented starting back court, but it is their front court that is causing some serious concerns. With a trio of Taurean Prince, Ersan Ilyasova, and Dewayne Dedmon as your starting back court that is causing some concerns for any team. You could have the best starting back court in the league, but you will still not produce like most of the other NBA teams will.
Atlanta looks like they are going through a rebuilding process, but they have shown no signs of improvement. They have Dennis Schroder who is explosive with the ball in his hands at time. To go along with Kent Bazemore who when hot is a solid knock down jump shooter. Then Ersan Ilyasova who is a stretch four journey man around the league is not a bad option to have. Dewayne Dedmon and Taurean Prince have never held a starting role yet in the NBA, and will struggle like Atlanta will in 2017-2018 through all of their changes.
29 29. Chicago Bulls
Starting lineup: Kris Dunn, Justin Holiday, Zach LaVine, Bobby Portis, and Robin Lopez
This young starting lineup has not shown what they can do as a unit yet. It is interesting to see LaVine play the small forward position when he is mainly a point guard/shooting guard type of player. The Bulls are entering a phase that they have not been in for a while and that is the rebuilding phase.
Chicago is looking like they will be as bad as they were from 1998-2004. The Bulls have no face of the franchise at the moment but it looks like they will be looking to build around Zach LaVine. We know what we can get out of Zach LaVine and Bobby Portis and Robin Lopez, but now we need to see what their starting back court of Kris Dunn and Justin Holiday can do together.
28 28. Orlando Magic
Starting lineup: Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Vucevic
The Magic are one team in the NBA that you always have no idea what in the world they are going to do in a season. They always have a weird team, and you never know what they can and can't do till the season starts. Orlando has not been the same team since they traded away Dwight Howard, and have not had much luck in the draft so far.
Elfrid Payton is quality point guard, but not a reliable one to score the ball. Aaron Gordon is slowly improving his game, but still is entering the prime of his career so they have that to look forward to. They have two guys that can score in Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross to go along with their rebounding monster in Nikola Vucevic. This team has potential, but they need some key pieces to be able to make some noise.
27 27. New York Knicks
Starting lineup: Frank Ntilikina, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, and Willy Hernangomez
Now that Carmelo is officially out of New York, the Knicks are finally Kristaps Porznigis's team and it is time to see what the Knick franchise will do to build a team around him. With rookie Frank Ntilikina starting at point guard is an interesting play especially since he didn't play in college he played overseas. He hasn't really shown much so far and it looks like the Knicks are building for the future.
One bright spot for the Knicks that isn't Porzingis is center Willy Hernangomez. He is poised for a big sophomore season, and I strongly believe that he is going to have a monster breakout season. He has shown potential of being a double/double machine so let's see what he brings in 2017-2018. The Knicks aren't going to be good this year, but they can be good potentially in the future if there talent develops the right way.
26 26. Indiana Pacers
Starting lineup: Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, and Myles Turner
The Pacers are going in a different direction from a season ago, as they lost their face of the franchise in Paul George and look no where near a playoff team. The only thing going for Indiana at the moment is that they have some veterans on this team that could help contribute to some of the younger talent on this team.
Guys like Sabonis, Robinson III, and Leaf could learn what it takes to win in this league from some of these veterans. Now with the Eastern Conference being as weak as it is there is some potential that if Indiana gets hot that they could make the playoffs. Now we have to see how Myles Turner does as the face of the franchise and how their starting five gel together.
25 25. Sacramento Kings
Starting lineup: George Hill, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Zach Randolph, and Kosta Koufos
The Kings have some young talent that I really like in De'Aaron Fox, Frank Mason, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Skal Labissiere that can learn a few things from the veterans that Sacramento signed this off season. Giles and Labissiere can learn from Zach Randolph, while Justin Jackson learns from Vince Carter, and De'Aaron Fox and Frank Mason can learn from George Hill.
Those three veterans helping out those five rookies/sophomore would be very beneficial for the future of Sacramento. With no face of the franchise at the moment, the Kings are looking to develop young talent. If these veterans can do what the Kings hope they can do then they will have their new face of the franchise sooner rather than later.
24 24. Utah Jazz
Starting lineup: Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert
The Jazz did lose Gordon Hayward this off season which is a huge loss for them. So is that enough for their starting five to drop a good amount, well they do have a talented pass first point guard now in Ricky Rubio and finally look like they are going all in on Rodney Hood.
Utah looks like they will take a step back in 2017-18, and with the team presumably being built around Rodney Hood and Rudy Gobert shows that the Jazz have some work to do. Look for the Jazz to not be as good and talented as they were a season ago, as they look to see if Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood are the players that they want to build around for the future.
23 23. Brooklyn Nets
Starting lineup: Jeremy Lin, D'Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Demarre Carroll, and Timofey Mozgov
Brooklyn made a big move this off season by finally dumping Brook Lopez and his outrageous salary to the Lakers for D'Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. The Nets are a year away from controlling what they do with their own draft pick as 2018 is the last season that they don't have their first overall pick.
With the Eastern Conference being as weak as it is there is some potential that Brooklyn could find their way into the postseason. Their back court duo of Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell is an interesting one because of their styles of play. Russell is definitely going to shine as a shooting guard, and Brooklyn really got him at a good price. Look to hear positive things out of Brooklyn this season and for the next few seasons as well.
22 22. Memphis Grizzlies
Starting lineup: Mike Conley, Wayne Selden, James Ennis, JaMychal Green, and Marc Gasol
This is not your usual Memphis team as they don't seem like they are going to be as competitive as usual in the Western Conference. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol look like they are going to be the faces of a team rebuilding, and that stinks for the wonderful, dedicated Memphis fans.
One thing going for Memphis is that they have veterans like Tyreke Evans and Chandler Parsons coming off the bench, but they have to stay healthy in order to be considered a threat. If Memphis wants to make the playoffs they have to make sure that their key players are healthy, and better hope for some luck along the way.
21 21. Dallas Mavericks
Starting lineup: Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Josh McRoberts, and Dirk Nowitzki
Now one thing that could change for Dallas is Dirk going back to the power forward and have them start Nerlens Noel as their center. With Dirk getting older it is harder for him to cover some of the stretch fours in today's game so that is why he is at center. The Mavericks have a good solid young core in Dennis Smith Jr., Harrison Barnes, and Wesley Matthews.
Now it is not a core that is going to contend in the Western Conference this season, but they have some serious potential going down the road. With Smith Jr. looking like he will replace Dirk Nowitzki as the face of the franchise once Dirk retires, shows how much potential that they have. Look to hear more from the Mavericks as the 2017-2018 season progresses.
20 20. Philadelphia 76ers
Starting lineup: Jerryd Bayless, J.J. Redick, Robert Covington, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid
Now it is surprising to not see a number one overall pick in the starting lineup, but with Markelle Fultz working on his jumpshot it is easy to see why Philadelphia is going with some experience at point guard to start the season off. Sooner rather than later Fultz will find his way into the starting lineup, and mixing him with Simmons, Embiid, and Redick will be a sight to see for all Philadelphia fans.
The 76ers look like they can be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference, and look like they can give some teams in the Western Conference a run for their money as well. Look out for the 76ers because trusting the process is how they got their team the way it is today.
19 19. Miami Heat
Starting lineup: Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Rodney McGruder, James Johnson, and Hassan Whiteside
The Miami Heat look like they are looking to head back to the Eastern Conference playoffs in 2017-18. Miami went on a hot streak towards the end of the season that was led by shooting guard Dion Waiters who got paid this offseason. The Heat still have Whiteside and Dragic, but they really missed out on signing marquee free agents this summer.
Miami got better as a team with the role players that they signed and re-signed, but they really don't have a big time star on their roster. Now Whiteside is a solid player, but he is not one of the premier talents in the league today. Look for Miami to make noise, but not enough for the mainstream sports channels to talk about them.
18 18. Los Angeles Lakers
Starting lineup: Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, and Brook Lopez
The Lakers have some potential of being good especially with all the hype on their number two overall selection in Lonzo Ball. Los Angeles also has a plethora of young talent that is looking to show the president of basketball operations Magic Johnson how good they can be for the Lakers' faithful fans.
The Lakers are looking for a new player to put fans in the seats and that looks like Lonzo Ball will be that player. Lonzo is drawing attention to the Lakers that they did not have last season without Kobe Bryant on their team. No way that the head of the Big Baller Brand is going to be as good as Kobe Bryant, but he is a name that people will pay to see play which the Lakers did not have last season.
17 17. Charlotte Hornets
Starting lineup: Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, and Dwight Howard
The Hornets are missing Batum till at least late November/early December which is a huge blow for them. Charlotte got a big time addition when they traded for Dwight Howard this offseason. Howard has averaged a double-double for his entire career and can really help the Hornets in rebounding.
Charlotte struggled in 2016-17 in rebounding, and they got one of the better rebounders in the game today. One thing that the Hornets have is point guard Kemba Walker who is the spark plug for them. If he gets hot at any point in the game he is not only a tough player to guard, but he makes everyone else around him better. Look out for Charlotte when healthy can potentially be a top team in the Eastern Conference.
16 16. Los Angeles Clippers
Starting lineup: Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan
The Clippers did lose Chris Paul, but they at least got a good package in return for him. Then they went out and signed a solid starting small forward which they have been looking for over the past five plus seasons. Los Angeles is looking like they will be a playoff team again in 2017-2018, even without Chris Paul.
This Clippers' team will rely heavily on newly signed Danilo Gallinari and Blake Griffin. The Clippers can be a playoff team, but they need their role players to step up in certain situations. Look for Blake Griffin to help lead the Clippers to new heights as the new look Clippers will become a threat to teams around the NBA.
15 15. Phoenix Suns
Starting lineup is Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, and Tyson Chandler
The Suns have a rookie that has a very high ceiling in Josh Jackson, and could very well be the starting small forward for the Suns sooner rather than later. Phoenix does have a good dynamic backcourt in Bledsoe and Booker, but the rumors swirling of Bledsoe wanting out in Phoenix could lead to a potential trade that could shake things up for the Suns.
Phoenix is slowly becoming Devin Booker's team as the former Kentucky Wildcat is looking to be the new face of the Suns' franchise. He is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2018-19 season. He does have a club option for 2018 which the Suns will obviously exercise. If they are planning on building around Booker you have to lock him up long term and then decide what you want to do with Bledsoe. Phoenix has a good starting lineup, but with the way that their franchise is they could very well shake things up before the end of the 2017-18 season.
14 14. Denver Nuggets
Starting lineup is Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic
I believe that Jamal Murray will take over the starting point guard spot over Mudiay sooner rather than later, but the Nuggets improved over the off season. The signing of Paul Millsap helps add to their deep front court, and puts Denver as a favorite to be one of the eight playoff teams in the Western Conference this season.
Denver looks like they can be a threat in the Western Conference when healthy. One thing that Denver has not had since Carmelo Anthony left was that they did not have a face of the franchise. Now with Paul Millsap they have that face of the franchise that can help bring Denver back to the post season for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Look for Denver to show the world what they are all about.
13 13. Portland Trail Blazers
Starting lineup: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Jusuf Nurkic
The Blazers have a solid backcourt which is one of the best backcourt duos in the league today. Portland has a solid core that they have built around in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but they are going to need help in order to build a better foundation for the future of the franchise.
Since Damian Lillard has come into the league he has been a bonafide leader and has produced a lot on the floor as well. If their front court can be a s good as they would like they could contend with anybody in the league. One thing that hurts Portland is the majority of their scoring comes from Lillard and McCollum, so if they can get some more out of their other guys watch out everybody else in the NBA.
12 12. Detroit Pistons
Starting lineup: Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, and Andre Drummond
The Pistons are entering a "prove it" type of year which means that they are going to see if this group of guys proves that they have what it takes to compete in the NBA today. One key for the Pistons will be their back court, and led by their back court duo of Jackson and Bradley.
We all know Drummond will be a rebounding machine for the Pistons, to add along with Tobias Harris who is their big time scorer and Stanley Johnson has shown a lot of improvement over the off season to look forward to what he can do this year. Detroit's starting five is a solid starting five, but if they can play consistently well together is the big question that is on the minds of the Detroit fans.
11 11. New Orleans Pelicans
Starting lineup: Jrue Holiday, E'Twaun Moore, Dante Cunningham, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pelicans have two of the best front court players in the league on one team, and it has worked out in their favor just not on the scoreboard. New Orleans has not won a lot of games because Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are the only one scoring the basketball.
The Pelicans are going to need other guys to step up their game, especially a guy like Jrue Holiday who got paid the max contract, but has yet to show he is worth it in New Orleans. Holiday, Davis, and Cousins could be a solid three man tandem, but they are going to need Holiday to be consistent if the Pelicans want to go anywhere this season.
10 10. San Antonio Spurs
Starting lineup is Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Paul Gasol
Now this is a veteran heavy starting five that has been around the league for a while, but as a unit this is only their second season together. It is safe to say that this team will go as far as Kawhi takes them, but he will need some help from his right hand man LaMarcus Aldridge if the Spurs want to go back to the NBA Finals.
Aldridge was irrelevant in the Western Conference Finals and Kawhi Leonard was hurt the whole Western Conference Finals didn't help either. San Antonio is going to need some big time play out of these two if they want to do anything in the stacked Western Conference in 2017-18.
9 9. Washington Wizards
Starting lineup: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat
The Wizards are an interesting team, because they can contend and give anybody in the league trouble at any given moment. Being led by the explosive John Wall helps the Wizards out tremendously. Washington gets so many open shots, because of how quick Wall is and his ability to get to the basket easy.
The Wizards got a good thing going for them and look like they have the core that they want to build around. Porter Jr., Beal, and Wall is a solid trio to build around, and they have shown flashes of potential greatness while together so far. Watch out for the Wizards as they going to be fun to watch, and they have one of the best starting lineups in the league today.
8 8. Toronto Raptors
Starting lineup: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, and Jonas Valanciunas
The Raptors have shown some good signs of being really good over the past few seasons, but they have yet to live up to the expectations. Toronto made the Eastern Conference Finals once, but they did not win as they lost to LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
With a strong front court of Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas to go along with a strong back court of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan shows how talented this Raptors' starting lineup actually is. Look for the Raptors to be another good team in the Eastern Conference that is going to fall in the shadow, because they won't be able to beat Cleveland in the post season. This team can compete with the best of them, but has to be able to consistently play that way.
7 7. Milwaukee Bucks
Starting lineup: Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Thon Maker
The Bucks have a good solid core, but they are missing Jabari Parker. When they have Jabari Parker healthy to play the four to go along with Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Thon Maker would make the Bucks a complete team. They have a plethora of young talent, but they need to be healthy in order to succeed in the NBA.
Milwaukee could be a very-well oiled machine when healthy, because they can be a good and dangerous team. Giannis is going to be the best player in the league in the next couple of seasons, due to his height and the way he plays. He is improving year after year and will be a multiple time MVP before his career is over.
6 6. Minnesota Timberwolves
Starting lineup: Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Karl-Anthony Towns
The Timberwolves have upgraded a lot this summer and now it is time to take it to the test on how well they will/can work together. Minnesota traded for Jimmy Butler on the night of the NBA Draft and is the type of player that would not only fit their system, but would strive in their system as well.
We already know what Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins can do together, now adding Jimmy Butler to the fold makes it a whole lot more interesting to see how it plays out. Minnesota has a young team that can compete in the Western Conference and should be on the lookout to watch in 2017-2018.
5 5. Boston Celtics
Starting lineup: Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford
Unfortunately for the Celtics they lost Gordon Hayward for the year which is very sad that we didn't get to see Kyrie and Hayward play together. The gruesome injury is only going to make this Celtics team stronger and rely more on their younger talents to produce. Guys like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum all of a sudden are going to get more minutes, and have a bigger role with the team.
Jaylen Brown is the one to watch out of the two, as the second year player out of the University of California. "He is coming" and is ready to take the Celtics to the playoffs while taking the league by storm as well.
4 4. Oklahoma City Thunder
Starting lineup: Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Steven Adams
The Thunder upgraded big time this offseason adding two superstars to come play with Russell Westbrook. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have been traded to form a big three which has not been done since the Boston Celtics did it back when they traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
Russell Westbrook was on a different level last season, and it seems like he will take a lesser role to help the cause of the big three. If the Big Three in OKC can learn to play together they will be one of the toughest tests that the Golden State Warriors will have to play against in their time at the top of the NBA. Watch out for the Thunder as they will compete in the Western Conference.
3 3. Houston Rockets
Starting lineup: Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, and Clint Capela
The Rockets made the big move for Chris Paul in the off season thinking that they were going to get another superstar to play alongside James Harden and Chris Paul. That plan backfired as they did not have the assests to acquire another superstar, and therefore has left the Rockets with the starting lineup that they have today.
James Harden is a two-time runner-up for MVP, and has shown flashes of greatness since being traded to Houston. The Rockets are a completely different team with Harden on the floor and he helps his teammates out in every way. Harden was used second most in the NBA last season behind Russell Westbrook of course. The Rockets could be a threat in the Western Conference, but only if Chris Paul and James Harden can figure out how to co-exist together.
2 2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Starting lineup: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade (or J.R. Smith), LeBron James, Jae Crowder, and Kevin Love
The Cavaliers got a whole lot better this off season, after losing to the Warriors in five games in the 2017 NBA Finals. They moved Kyrie Irving to Boston and got back Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas from the Celtics. Now Thomas is out until at least December, and could be out even longer.
When Thomas is healthy he will most likely enter the starting lineup replacing Derrick Rose. Plus with the chemistry between LeBron James and Kevin Love already getting better and better, than add the chemistry that LeBron has with his best friend Dwyane Wade shows how tough Cleveland's starting five really is. Of course, with J.R. Smith's pouting, it seems Wade and Smith will be trading spots on the bench all season. Look out for the Cavaliers as they are looking to do what they can to make sure that LeBron doesn't want to leave Cleveland.
1 1. Golden State Warriors
Starting lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Zaza Pachulia
The Warriors did not change anybody in their starting lineup, and still have two of the best players in the world in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Golden State is looking to repeat as the NBA Champions, and to win their third title in four seasons. Adding the great jumpshot of Klay Thompson to go along with the great defensive skills of Draymond Green makes the Warriors' starting five the best in the league.
The Warriors have the best back court duo in the NBA in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who are better known as the "Splash Bros" which helps the Warriors as a team. This team plays unselfish with the basketball and always finds the wide open man. Look for the Warriors to go back to the NBA Finals again, but they will have a little more competition this season unlike they have seen before.
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