2021 NBA Trade Deadline Tracker

The 2021 NBA trade deadline is tracker is here! The deadline is on March 25, 2021, at 3 PM ET.

Updated routinely


March 24, 2021

  • Detroit Pistons are trading guard Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings for guard Cory Joseph and two second-round picks
  • Denver Nuggets trade center Cleveland center JaVale McGee for Isaiah Hartenstein and two future protected second-round picks
  • Orlando Magic are trade Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls for Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr., and two first-round picks
  • Denver Nuggets trade Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a first-round pick to the Magic for Aaron Gordon
  • Orlando Magic Magic trade Evan Fournier to the Boston Celtics and will receive Jeff Teague and two second-round picks
  • Philadelphia acquires OKC’s George Hill for Tony Bradley, Terrance Fergusson, and two future second-round picks
  • Toronto has traded Norm Powell to Portland for Gary Trent and Rodney Hood
  • Sacramento Kings trade Nemanja Bjelica to the Miami Heat
  • Philadelphia 76ers acquires OKC’s George Hill for Tony Bradley, Terrance Fergusson, and two future second-round picks. Austin Rivers goes to OKC as part of a three-way deal
  • Dallas Mavericks trade James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, and a second-round pick to New Orleans to acquire JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli from the New Orleans Pelicans
  • Los Angeles Clippers finalized a deal to acquire Rajon Rondo from Atlanta for Lou Williams, two second-round picks, and cash
  • Houston Rockets trade Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a draft pick
  • Golden State has traded Marqueese Chriss to the Spurs for cash considerations

March 17, 2021

  • Houston is trading PJ Tucker, Rodions Kurucs, and Bucks’ 2022 first-round pick back to Milwaukee for DJ Augustin, DJ Wilson, and 2023 unprotected first-round pick. Houston also gets right to swap its 2021 second-round pick for Milwaukee’s first-round pick unless it falls 1-9
  • Oklahoma City Thunder have completed a trade sending forward Trevor Ariza to the Miami Heat for forward Meyers Leonard and a 2027 second-round pick

Follow us:

Go beyond the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline Tracker – More NBA coverage from Baseline Times


Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!

The NBA Top Shot guide for the clueless

Update – March 19, 2021 – First “rare” moment grab!

In my first successful pack drop, I was able to get a Limited Edition “Seeing Stars” Rudy Gobert moment. I was a bit impatient to let it sit around and rise. Finally, I lowered the price on it and sold it for $250. Now I had a significant amount of money left in my Dapper account.

Later the night of selling the Gobert moment, NBA Top Shot announced an All-Star pack drop that would include a “rare” moment from the 2021 NBA All-Star game.

I waited in the line and the most unbelievable thing happened once the queue opened up at 12:00 PM EST. The blue lightning line zipped through and took me to a pack! I suppose I became one of the lucky “VIP” entries. My rare pull? A Julius Randle dunk.

Update – March 5, 2021 – snagged my first pack!

After carefully following all the notifications and assistance from fellow NBA Top Shot fans I have arrived at securing my first few moments. I attempted two drops.

Overall, the experience was seamless and I was able to use my iPhone to log in and “wait in line” for the drop I was successful on. The queue runs quickly now.

From joining the line at 7:45 PM EST I spent an hour waiting, checking out, and securing my 3 moments below. There is an option to enter in your email for notifications. There is the disclaimer to be aware emails could be delayed, go to spam/junk, or not come at all so don’t blame NBA Top Shot folks. However, my email notifications are actually what drew me back right into my opening the pack moment!

Drop 1 – March 5, 2021 at 12 PM EST (9AM PST). Seeing Stars common pack drop. I was placed in line at around 117,000 while the available packs were about 61,000.

Result: Unsuccessful

Drop 2 – March 5, 2021 at 8 PM EST (5 PM PST). Seeing Stars common pack drop. I was placed in line at around 17,000 while the available packs were about 61,000.

Result: Successful

Original article

I’ll admit, I gave NBA Top Shot two minutes of my time, some quarantine time last year mid-summer? Facebook advertisements were on point. I thought it was some cool tangible product I can add to my newly minted work from home office.

%ALT_TXT%%

However, when I couldn’t understand too much of what was being marketed to me. Like an old person, I dipped out. Sadly, I ended up purchasing some fan gear that could be shipped to me instead.

Lesson learned, don’t be old and ignore possible virtual investments! Even if the website still refers to this platform in its BETA stage.

Here is a quick guide to help you understand what it is and how it can be a source of investment income!

What is NBA Top Shot?

Now you can visit the official website and get an explanation but you’ll be bombarded with a really cool-looking front page. A clean front page and the flashing advertisements to jump out at you don’t explain much. You can tell its associated with the NBA and NBA Players.

In simple terms, NBA Top Shot is a virtual format of highlights (or “moments”) sold in a virtual format. So basically, NBA Top Shot is a form of selling digital highlights that only you and a certain amount of people have access to on the NBA Top Shot platform.

You’re kidding me? Virtual highlights?

No, I’m not kidding. If you’re my age or older you probably have heard of Pokemon cards and Beanie Babies right? Stuffed animals and paper printed with holographic material made it big right?

The “moment” is broken down to about a 10-second clip similar to if you follow the NBA on Instagram or Twitter and watch the short clips there. You get a breakdown of the date, player name, and “pack” that the highlight is a part of. A final distinction is a serial number linked to your moment in which helps solidify you’re one of the random people who own this limited “product”.

NBA Top Shot is a first-of-its-kind collectible game that allows people to collect, trade, and sell their favorite NBA highlights as digital tokens. These highlights can be collected to complete timed challenges, arranged into showcases, and eventually carried over into the forthcoming game experience!


How can I buy some NBA Top Shot at this time?

The best way to secure a moment is by securing a “pack drop”. Likewise physical trading card NBA Top Shot offers releases of moments in a pack. A pack can vary between 3-7 moments and include rare or limited edition moments. One day I attempted a pre-order pack. However, the preorder page currently has notified us, “Time’s up! You can’t join this queue at this time.”

One option is to stay up-to-date within the social media channels for NBA Top Shot. Pack drops can randomly be announced by the platform and you’ll need an account to even get your place in line. I advise it is best to get the account created as soon as possible. It is common for new sign-ups to be placed on hold often and what seems only available during the downtime in low traffic hours. With the increase of attention multiple Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms have been created by fans to inform others. However, NBA Top Shot’s own social media accounts are fully transparent on drop dates and times.

What if I can’t get a pack?

Well, technically there is another way to purchase and become an official NBA Top Shot owner. The Marketplace! Visiting the Marketplace allows for you to purchase moments that you actually want to own versus having to accept what you get once you open a pack.

Want a LeBron James dunk? That’s gonna cost you around $250,000 USD. Let me write that one more time. The current asking price is $250,000 USD. Although, this may have been a more premium piece and the original buying price could have been from a more expensive pack. Therefore not only because it is LeBron James but the buying price from the jump may have been a little more money than a $9 pre-order.

Now if you’re like me and a Magic fan there is some good news. I can purchase a Markelle Fultz jump shot for $23 USD. If you know a thing or two about the stock market this is a similar concept. A rare and popular NBA Superstar is valued more than the current injured Markelle Fultz who doesn’t hold the same market value

I bought or planning to buy a moment. Now, what do I do with a moment?

Once you own a moment you have an opportunity to hold on to it as an official NBA Top Shot owner or resale the moment in the NBA Top Shot Marketplace.

The Marketplace will show you the lowest and highest asking price range plus the most recent sales of the moments that you’re looking to buy or sell. Your moment will come with a serial number. Having a lower serial number of a moment usually means a good thing. I will explain next.

Let’s say there are 10,000 moments and you’re one of the 10,000 lucky owners of that same moment. An example is, you may have moment number 2,500 out of 10,000. Typically, the lower the serial number you have the higher value that moment will be vs the same moment at serial number 8,000.

This is where the profiting comes in. The idea is like the stock market. Resell a moment at a higher price than what you bought the single moment or pack. An example of this is let’s say I just spent $14 on the Seeing Stars pack. I have a lower number serial number of the Rudy Gobert dunk that is currently on the market for about $500. This is my opportunity to profit after spending $14 on the Seeing Stars pack I was lucky to get!

How is the value of a moment determined?

The value of a moment is determined by a few things:

  • Serial number – higher the serial number the lower it may be worth. The lower the serial number the higher it may be worth
  • Player – of course, the best players usually are more sought after versus having a bench players moment
  • Rare editions – NBA Top Shot is dropping packs continuously and advising how some moments are one-of-a-kind. If a certain moment only has 2,000 produced on the platform this means it is obviously a limited edition that is hard to get a hold of, thus the value can increase
  • Market influencers – NBA Players, Mark Cuban, and social media can cause an influx of panic to either sell moments or buy moments (remember this might work like the stock market!)


I’m interested so how I sign-up?

  1. Create an account via NBATopShot.com
  2. Set-up your profile and even pick your favorite team!
  3. Add payment information since you intend on buying/selling (cryptocurrency accepted!)
  4. Purchase a pack (if available) or buy a moment on the Marketplace
  5. Once you purchase a pack or single moment enjoy ownership!
  6. Watch the value rise and list it on the Marketplace for sale
  7. Profit for a higher resale than what you bought your pack/moment for!
My homepage upon first signing up for an account

A sustainable market?

For a platform in its BETA stage, you have to wonder what else they can fine-tune besides creating more of an opportunity to allow more people to buy their moments. Some people have waited hours in a “virtual queue” in order to receive a pack.

This new concept is acknowledged up by NBA Players who also shared their thoughts about NBA Top Shot. Mark Cuban is on record saying there is a “real market” for the virtual highlight trading platform.

NBA Top Shot is a legitimate online trading forum. Towards the bottom right of the website, it reflects the NBA logo and NBPA logo. Both links to the respective websites of the NBA and NBPA. NBA Top Shot also proudly advertises that they are licensed by each party.

For now, Dapper Labs seems committed to their creation as updates happen around the clock. They are still listing the platform in a BETA stage and have yet to announce an official “hard launch”. More pack drops are happening and more people are signing up to get their hands on moments. I would assume long-term sustainability is still in question. For the short game, we’re here trading moments and people are making money.

NBA Players like Josh Hart and Tyrese Haliburton are also two players who are appearing in support of NBA Top Shot on Twitch live streams or other media channels. This is positive to help guide the platform more in its BETA stage.

Final thoughts

The platform is controlled to where there is a community, marketplace, and opportunity to purchase directly from the seller in one place. There are warnings not to conduct business outside of the platform as you risk losing your investment.

The visual delivery of the content is exciting, flashy, and modern. The website is easy to navigate and friendly with cryptocurrency so perhaps if you’re already investing down that avenue you can redirect some of that to NBA Top Shot.

The website runs without issues and even last week I attempted to sign up. I received a message telling me that new sign-ups were currently paused due to high demand. However, the front page and other sections of the website had no changes. I still could navigate the website to feel out what this NBA Top Shot thing is. Loved that! The next day I was able to finally create my account. I’m ready to purchase a moment or wait for another pack drop!

Hopefully, now you’re ready to trade some NBA Top Shot! If you’re like me and like tangible products you can always visit our partners at FOCO.com for some unique licensed sports gear!

Want to hear more? A podcast you can enjoy being educated about NBA Top Shot. Listen to Friends With Boredom with NBA Top Shot expert Adam Papageorgiou.

Follow me on Twitter @BaselineChevy

Follow us:


Check out The Baseline Bet for daily expert picks to make the right bet today!

Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast. Your go-to NBA podcast for all entertaining and knowledgable news, opinions, and sometimes strange hot takes heard nowhere else!


More coverage from Baseline Times on the NBA

NBA PLAYER RANKINGS: Best & Worst of the NBA Season So Far

Congratulations NBA fans, we have made it through the first quarter of the 2020-21 NBA season WITHOUT IT GETTING SHUT DOWN!

Well, I guess we shouldn’t jump ahead of ourselves. Players are in and out of the line-ups daily. Games are getting postponed left and right. Fantasy basketball teams have gone up in flames (in case you’re wondering why you haven’t seen much of Gabe Lloyd’s FAVES and FADES picks for basketball). Nonetheless, we have seen some players rise above and SHINE, and others fall apart. Without further ado, here are my best and worst of the NBA Player Rankings in the 2020-21 NBA season so far!

Stay up-to-date with the latest 2020-21 NBA Regular Season Standings here!

BEST – Collin Sexton

There is a new phenomenon taking over the state the Ohio. They are missing their King no more.

Cleveland has now been renamed SEXLAND (and it is not because Pornhub moved their HQ out there).

It is largely in part because of one man – Collin Sexton. Now look, I’ll be honest, I’ve watched a grand total of one Cavaliers game this season, but that was enough for me. This man single-handedly decapitated the three-headed monster from Brooklyn AND the referees in an incredible performance last week.

Sexton has done something LeBron James never got to accomplish in Cleveland – score 20 points in each of his first 10 games this season. This guy is bound to be an All-Star, bound to be on some All-NBA teams, and if the Cleveland Cavaliers can build around him, dare I say leading this team during the PLAYOFFS?! Yeah, I said it. And if I am a Cavs fan, I am relishing in some delayed gratification because it appears that they have won the Kyrie trade too.

WORST – Russell Westbrook

We’ve all heard about the new Commander-in-Chief at the White House, but did you hear about the new Tank Commander leading the Washington Wizards?

Allow me to introduce you to the man meant to sell the idea of the Wizards being a playoff team. A man who alongside Bradley Beal would make a lethal scoring back-court duo and not force Scott Brooks to come up with line-ups or set plays (because that is not what he signed up for, apparently). Russell EASTbrook should be reveling in a renaissance just like Bubble Melo did last season. He had me fooled. Admit it, he fooled you too.

Unfortunately, the Russell EASTbrook campaign has served as nothing more than just another cautionary tale in the NBA. We are sitting courtside and bearing witness to what happens when a player relies on his athleticism, explosiveness, AND NOTHING ELSE. But, what happens when FATHER TIME and injuries come knocking and you have not developed anything else in your game? Russ cannot shoot, handle the ball, drive to the basket, or even beat his man nowadays. The Washington Wizards may as well hit up the league offices, offer to forfeit games, let their new tanking commander do his thing, and FADE FOR CADE!

P.S. – Bradley Beal if you are reading, GET OUT OF WASHINGTON ASAP!

For the full breakdown of our NBA Player Rankings, check out the STUDS & DUDS segment on the Shoot or Pass podcast – NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!



Follow us:


NBA Fantasy Basketball Rankings – 2020-2021 Season Preview

Feels like we just left the NBA season a minute ago only to return in time to cash in on the Christmas day games. Throughout the season I would like to provide some daily fantasy advice where the NBA has four or more games scheduled. Below you will find my fantasy basketball rankings!

This way the options are plentiful whereas a two-game slate doesn’t provide anything in the way differentiating your line up. However, in this article, I will focus on guys you should draft in your season-long leagues. I would also like to point out that drafting players who are known to rest several games at a time aren’t ideal so beware.

POINT GODS

In my experience point gods give you the best chance to dominate leagues. That should be obvious due to the amount of time they possess the ball and the litany of ways they can rack up fantasy points. It’s best to draft pass-first point guards as opposed to shooting point guards to keep field goal percentages at a respectable level.

  1. LUKA DONIC – He should be the top draft choice overall if not the top 3. He is multidimensional and can rack up points in a hurry. The Mavericks were the 2nd highest-scoring team in the league last season due to Doncic’s court vision. The man is a walking triple-double and an MVP candidate.
  2. SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER – He will be taking over the point guard position now that both CP3 and Shroder have checked out. SGA is the definition of a looter in a riot as the team rebuilds around him as a result you can expect his assist totals to go up. My only concern with him is the turnovers at which is he averages 1.8 on his career. Always look for players on poor teams with less ball-handling options that will have more opportunities to provide higher counting stats.
  3. BEN SIMMONS – This selection is a no-brainer as he is the definition of a pass-first, shoot never point guard. He collects stats in every category and you know his field goal percentage will be pristine.

Honorable Mentions: Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook & Chris Paul.

SHOOTING GUARDS

Shooting guards in my opinion is the worst position you can draft. If you can somehow find a duo guard who also shells out assists that would be perfect. I normally pass on shooting guards due to their volatile field goal percentage.

  1. JAMES HARDEN – He is the obvious choice for this category due to his on-ball usage and propensity to rack up a triple-double at any time. However, adding Wall to the mix could see those assists numbers decline. He is still the highest producing shooting guard to date and clear top choice at the position.

  2. DEVIN BOOKER – The addition of Chris Paul is likely going to cut down on his assists totals. However, like Harden he commands his usage rate on the ball makes up for him being a top selection at the position.

  3. BRADLEY BEAL – Westbrook should make shooting a breeze for Beal for the upcoming season. I expect his turnovers to go down and field percentage to go up as Westbrook being the primary ball-handler. I can see Beal shooting more off-screen passes from RW with less pressure to make plays.

Honorable Mentions: Fred Van-Vleet, Khris Middleton & Buddy Hield.

SMALL FORWARDS

Small forwards are evolving into point forwards which is fantastic for fantasy. However, most seasons i’d treat them like Shooting guards. So if you can’t draft the options below search for forwards who rebound well and can block shots.

  1. GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO – Giannis like Luka should be in the top three when drafting this season and for many to come. He provides stats across the four major categories with regularity. There isn’t a lot to say in this department other than draft him and let the good times roll.

  2. LEBRON JAMES – He is your prototypical point forward and has been the best at this size since Oscar Roberson and Magic Johnson. His numbers have declined slightly over the years but he is still a premium fantasy producer.

  3. KAWHI LEONARD – Great hands, solid field goal percentage, and can rack up steals. Leonard is still getting it done at a high level. My only concerns are the amount days he rests which can damper your season leagues at critical junctures.

Honorable Mentions: Brandon Ingram, Jimmy Butler & Paul George.

POWER FORWARDS

When drafting Power Forwards I look for guys who can consistently shoot the mid-range and can rebound.

  1. ANTHONY DAVIS – This former point guard won’t provide you with many assists but replaces that with blocks. He was relatively healthy last season and can expect to be tops at the position.

  2. KEVIN DURANT – This season KD will be the Nets starting Power Forward. He will still provide you with a solid field goal percentage, rebounds, and blocked shots. Grab him when he’s available.

  3. JULIUS RANDLE – He is a product of Thibodeau syndrome. He will be on the floor a ton which means more opportunities to rack up double-doubles. Thibbs is known to play his guys crazy minutes every season including the preseason. The Knicks are usually a laughing stock but for fantasy under Thibbs could be gold.

Honorable Mentions: Domantas Sabonis, Jayson Tatum & Pascal Siakam.

Center

It’s all about rebounds, blocks and FG percentage when drafting centers. Free throw percentage is the only negative obstacle you face when drafting them. Draft Point gods with a healthy free throw percentage to offset that.

  1. NIKOLA JOKIC – Hands down the best POINT CENTER ever! Top five selection who does it all across all categories including 3 point shooting.

  2. JOEL EMBIID – Injury concerns are always there but when he’s on there is no one in the league that can stop him from producing.

  3. ANDRE DRUMMOND – KAT could easily be here from a fantasy standpoint but Drummond appears to be more consistent and less injury-prone. We look for double-doubles and FG percentage when drafting bigs. He fits the bill.

Honorable Mentions: Karl Anthony-Towns, Bam Adebayo & Nikola Vucevic.


See our latest NBA Power Rankings

Listen to the latest episode of the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 47: NBA 2020-21 Awards Predictions & Season Opening Week

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times

Follow us:


Early NBA 2020-2021 Season Awards Predictions

The calmest time of the NBA has arrived but the countdown to a season restart is almost aligned with the countdown to Christmas 2020! Never too early to start some NBA 2020-2021 season Awards predictions right?

Update: Our full staff predictions of the NBA 2020-2021 season awards predictions are now live. Click here to view them!

More NBA from Baseline Times

Don’t miss out on the action as we track the standings for you all season long always up-to-date

The Shoot or Pass Podcast from Baseline Times is your go-to NBA podcast for all updated coverage, news, entertainment, and podcast beyond the usual weird hot takes from major media. Make sure you subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and more! Welcome to our overseas listeners from India streaming on the Gaana and Jiosaavn app as well!

%ALT_TXT%%

Executive of the Year

Rob Pelinka
Let’s see here, shall we? Assembling a Championship team in 2019-2020 and then in the short off-season, you sign the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in Montrezl Harrell. Shameless plug, I’ve ranted and raved about the Lakers already winning the 2020 off-season so far. This is a no brainer pick as the Lakers roster is better on paper after winning a championship. Regardless of the Lakers repeating this season or not, Pelkina did what all defending Championship ballclubs should do.

Runner-Up:
Pat Riley
While Bam Adebayo was offered a max deal he would still need to complete a few tasks to get the max money. I mean, like winning MVP to tap into the full amount. Also, Pat didn’t overspend or make crazy moves to stay in contention. He patiently signed Avery Bradley and Mo Harkless to supplement the loss of Jae Crowder. Bradley’s contract is valued at around $12 with a team option the second year. Harkless signed a one-year, $3.5 M deal. Important to keep this in mind, we might give him this award next season should he sign an All-Star next off-season.

Coach of the Year

Rick Carlisle
Hear me out. This is one of those years we see the Mavericks take a leap into the high rankings of the West. Most of it would fall on Luka Doncic leading the way but also can garner for Carlise to win the Coach of the Year award.

Carlise won the award in 2002 while coaching the Detroit Pistons but in that short stint, he couldn’t get that team over the hump to a championship. Also that year Ben Wallace won the Defensive Player of the Year and Corliss Williamson won the Sixth Man of the Year. Can Carlise repeat a Coach of the Year with one of his own players winning an award too?

Runner-Up:
Steve Kerr
Most recently winning the award in 2016, Kerr can capture another Coach of the Year if the Warriors overachieve. Well, what is overachieving to the Warriors? Finishing with a top 3 record in the NBA with a roster featuring a rookie in James Wiseman and without Klay Thompson helps. Obviously, winning is needed to win this award and certainly, it can be done with Kerr and Curry.

Rookie of the Year

James Wiseman
With Klay Thompson most likely not returning for the 2020-2021 season Wiseman’s opportunity to provide meaningful minutes looks promising. Sure, playing next to Stephen Curry and Draymond Green helps. Can Wiseman be a significant enough of a role to see Rookie of the Year consideration?

While Wiseman only played in three games prior to his suspension from the NCAA, we know what he brings to the table. The Warriors currently have no other skilled Centers on their roster. While he’s a rookie, the benefits of playing with a current championship contender helps.

Runner-Up:
LaMelo Ball
The room to freely fly like a butterfly is in Charlotte where the chance to shine is all for this Ball. Sure Big Baller Brand exists but welcome to the world of Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand affiliates. Ball has shown signs of being more than just a shooter but also a playmaker.

Sixth Man of the Year

Montrezl Harrell
This award seems to rarely be passed around lately as Harrell’s former teammate Lou Williams won this award repeatedly. Do they change teams often when doing so? The last time someone besides Lou Williams or Harrell won this award was in 2017 when Eric Gordon was awarded the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. Gordon was employed by the Houston Rockets in 2017 and still his current team. The same is to be said about Williams who has won the back-to-back award while with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Harrell joins the defending champions, Los Angeles Lakers and his prime role will be to support a second unit while LeBron James gets some rest. I mean how can we not say that Harrell is primed to win this award yet again for a different team this year?

Runner-Up:
Dennis Schroder
Can Los Angeles stop taking over this category? Last season Harrell and Williams were two of the favorites to win this award with the Clippers. This season Harrell is the clear favorite to repeat meanwhile last year’s potential runner-up is yet again Harrell’s teammate.

No Rajon Rondo and the Lakers lacking a true point guard on their roster means Schroder can come off the bench with Harrell and be in competition with his own teammate. Fancy that huh?

Most Improved Player

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
I’ve seen Jamal Murray recommended as an ideal candidate for this award in 2021. However, The expectations for Murray should already be ready to come into the 2020-2021 season playing at a high level. Especially, if he’s showcased himself with a great playoff run.

SGA has the next up in Oklahoma City as Chris Paul is gone. Sam Presti traded for Ricky Rubio and Kelly Oubre Jr. only to turn around and trade both of them away. Danilo Gallinari signed with the Hawks. The Thunder are now stuck with finding a new identity.

Last season, Brandon Ingram won this award despite the Pelicans struggling to make the playoffs in the NBA Bubble. Although, I thought Luka Doncic should have won last season it appears the voters will side with the players who weren’t expected to have a season as Ingram did. This is why I’m going with SGA this year.

Runner-Up:
Michael Porter Jr.
I almost wanted to put Porter Jr. up as the winner but the opportunity for him maybe a little uncertain as his health is a concern. He definitely had a promising bubble appearance and also with Denver’s loss of Jerami Grant, this is a good thing for MPJ. If he has to “load manage” throughout the season this can cost him a shot at the Most Improved Player award.

Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis
A huge part of the Lakers success last season was how impactful Davis was on the defensive end. It almost seemed at times Davis is primed to take over for the Lakers instead of LeBron James. However, James would run away with his fourth Finals MVP despite the run Davis had.

Because the Bucks and Giannis Antetekounmpo had such a successful season defensively Davis was slightly overshadowed. The Bucks also had the best defensive rating at 102.5, in the NBA. However, Davis trailed Giannis in defensive win shares by a mere .6 last season.

Runner-Up:
Giannis Antetokounmpo
This is another award that may not be fair to the field unless AD or Giannis has an injury or disappointing season. Barring injuries the duo here are the best defensive players the league has. Sure Bam Adebayo and Rudy Gobert are still around but the overall impact these two play for their teams is much more important.

The interchangeable one and two between AD and Giannis is undisputed until teams like Miami or Utah also fare at the top of the league in defensive ratings. Last season, the Lakers finished third and Bucks finished first in the NBA Defensive Team ratings. The impact is much greater when these two are on the floor for their respective teams.

Most Valuable Player

Luka Doncic
The future “GOAT” has been primed for the MVP this year. The Mavericks enter a slightly reshaped Western Conference. Luka can lead the Mavericks to a successful season and put the Mavericks at the fourth seed at best in a stacked Western Conference.

We saw without Kristaps Porzingas he led Dallas into the playoffs. Enter the NBA Bubble and Doncic was still the prime reason for Dallas’ success. Porzingas couldn’t finish the first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers due to a knee injury. Luka’s Game 4 game-winner helped push the series to six games. Look for the Mavericks to take the next step towards contenders this season under Luka’s leadership and play.

Runner-Up:
Stephen Curry
Finding a guy who will matter more to his team more than anything start to drift away beyond Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry. With the return of a partially healthy Warriors roster and James Wiseman the newest addition the Warriors will be in battles night in and night out.

Curry, arguably the best shooter of all-time, has his work cut out this season to push the Warriors back to contenders. Can he average around 28-30 points per game? Can he knock down 3-5 three-point field goals a game? Why am I questioning this? I’m not he’s going to do this! A revenge season for Curry and attempting to return the Warriors back atop of the West will ride on his play.


Staff Picks

Chevall Kanhai

Cody Guinn

Gabe Lloyd

Rhoby Sala

Most Valuable Player

Luka Doncic

LeBron James

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Rookie of the Year

James Wiseman

Obi Toppin

LaMelo Ball

James Wiseman

Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis

G. Antetokounmpo

G. Antetokounmpo

Anthony Davis

Most Improved Player of the Year

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Sixth Man of the Year

Montrezl Harrell

Tyler Herro

Spencer Dinwiddie

Montrezl Harrell

Coach of the Year

Rick Carlisle

Taylor Jenkins

Erik Spoelstra

Erik Spoelstra




Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!

Follow us:

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times

2020-21 NBA Season Preview: Western Conference Tiers

We’re getting close NBA fans! On the latest episode of the Shoot or Pass podcast (OUT NOW), Chevy, Gabe, and I continue our 2020-21 NBA Season Preview. All eyes on the Western Conference, and for more reasons than just James Harden and his escapades to Vegas and the ATL. So, it’s only right we name all of the teams out West to some very original, fun tiers – don’t you think?

Check out Chevy’s NBA Western Conference – Early 2020-2021 Preseason Power Rankings here!

Here are the five NBA Eastern Conference Tiers and the teams I am nominating to each one!

THE BOTTOM FEEDERS

Irrelevant teams no one cares about

Oklahoma City Thunder – An obvious choice for this 2020-21 NBA Season Preview. This team went from overachieving and having a foundation to build on to getting it gutted by a draft pick hoarder (Sup Sam Presti!). To add, only TWO of the Thunder’s 8 starters/key reserves averaged double-digits points last year – (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 ppg & Al Horford with 11.9 ppg). Y I K E S

Minnesota Timberwolves – A.K.A. The Bottom Bitch Out West. Their draft/off-season moves were head-scratchers. The bar is low for this team. Though I must say, I am curious to see how the chemistry flows between D’ Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns, and rookie Anthony Edwards. Either way, it may be time for KAT to get the hell up out of there.

THE DUMPSTER FIRES

Teams making headlines for all of the WRONG reasons

Houston Rockets – Everyone is talking about James Harden, but there is another disgruntled player on the Houston Rockets. This player took a discount for the team to bring in Chris Paul, ship him off for Russell Westbrook, and has yet to be compensated as he feels he should be. His name? P.J. Tucker. Can he expect a pay day anytime soon? Not with Tilman Fertitta as the team’s owner, that’s for sure.

Sacramento Kings – This team is more of a bridge between a bottom feeder and a dumpster fire. Things should be calmer now that Bogi is gone and Buddy Hield is starting again. However, he is still out here liking tweets implying that he wants out of Sacramento. Friendly reminder – Buddy Hield has a history of butting heads with Luke Walton and while winning typically cures everything, this team is not set up to that. I mean they brought in Hassan Whiteside for goodness sake. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO WIN WITH HASSAN WHITESIDE!

WILDCARDS

Teams that can surprise us for good..or bad reasons

Golden State Warriors – Everyone is already writing this team off saying they are missing the playoffs. I’m not ready to do that yet, not as long as Steph, Dray, and Steve Kerr are there. However, I also am not going to go all-in and call them contenders. Can they compete for a playoff spot? Absolutely, though it’s a much more crowded playoff race this season.

San Antonio Spurs – Another team I am not ready to write off just yet. Sure, it’s becoming increasingly clear that is not the San Antonio Spurs of old. They couldn’t do much during free agency and won’t be able to until DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are off the books.Yet, it’s hard to overlook the potential this young core has and under the tutelage of the legend Gregg Popovich, anything is possible. They could tank. Or shock us all and beat the higher seed twice in the play-in tournament and miraculously take the 8th seed. This team truly embodies the world “WILDCARD”

Memphis Grizzlies – I don’t really know about his team. They overachieved this past season thanks to an incredible rookie campaign by Ja Morant. I do not expect him to experience the dreaded “sophomore slump”. He’ll have a bigger workload this season as it was recently revealed that Jaren Jackson Jr. will be out for the start of the season after tearing his left meniscus in the bubble. There is currently no timetable for his return. That’s a good amount of scoring and rim protection to make up for.

Phoenix Suns – ARE THE BUBBLE SUNS FOR REAL, FOR REAL? Perhaps, as their off-season moves made waves. That Chris Paul/Devin Booker backcourt is going to be soooo much fun to watch. Not to mention, I am still in mourning over the loss of Jae “BAE” Crowder, who brings some three-point shooting, defense, and physicality on the wing. It all comes down to how these pieces all fit together and how the younger guys on the team continue to develop. Will Devin Booker take a leap this year into superstardom? Will DeAndre Ayton move toward being that worthy pick-and-roll option and post guy? How will the Cams and Mikal Bridges capitalize on the achievements they made last season?

Dallas Mavericks – The success of this team rides on the back of one man. No, it’s not Luka. We know he will ball out. The man is actually Kristaps Porzingis. How will he look coming back from yet another injury and durable he will be beyond it? The speculation is that a January return is a possibility. They brought in some defense with Josh Richardson and James Johnson, something they desperately needed to account for the colossal amount of points/leads they were giving up last season. In my opinion, this team can very well be a contender, but Luka needs a reliable #2 option. I hope The Unicorn proves me wrong because I am starting to think he is more of a liability than an asset for the Mavericks.

THE PRETENDERS

Teams whose bullshit I see right through

New Orleans Pelicans – To start, I love Stan Van Gundy. I believe he was a great hire and will do some good for this team and its young core, but I’m not buying into the Pelicans being a playoff team just yet. A shortened off-season and significant changes to their roster really does not help a team who is trying to be more COHESIVE. Van Gundy is not only tasked with the X’s and O’s of coaching, he has to build team culture and team chemistry. I expect Zion and Brandon Ingram to make strides this season with him as their head coach, but, achieving the aforementioned AND making the playoffs in one season is a BIG ASK.

Los Angeles Clippers – Let’s be real. The Ty Lue hiring was UNDERWHELMING to say the least. “Oh, but he’s a respected voice in the locker room!” Well, if he really was that respected voice in the locker room, then why the Clippers have so many locker room issues last seaon? They lost Montrezl Harrell and brought in Serge Ibaka, who in many ways will be an upgrade, but they still don’t have that other play-making point guard they need. To add, Zubac is the only true low-post option. That’s not enough to beat the Lakers, which is what this team was built for. Expectations remain high for this team. Anything short of an NBA Finals bid and we are in for another meltdown for the other team in L.A..

THE CONTENDERS

Not sure if they cook or clean, but let me tell you how they’ll get this RING

Los Angeles Lakers – What else is there to say for our 2020-21 NBA Season Preview of the Los Angeles Lakers? It’s them…and then every other damn NBA team. Rob Pelinka worked his magic again and the Lakers are seemingly widening the gap between themselves and the rest of the league with some impressive free agency acquisitions.

Portland Trail Blazers – I need more DAME TIME in the playoffs and I think I may be getting my wishes this year. The Blazers should’ve been a top-4 seed last season but kept getting hampered by injuries. That’s not happening this season. Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Rodney Hood are all healthy. The renaissance of Carmelo Anthony appears to be back in full swing, as it appears he has added cornrows to his look again. On the whole, the Blazers quietly had a great off-season, poising themselves for a deep playoff run.

Denver Nuggets – The more I think about it, the more I become concerned about this team’s title chances. They lost their three best defenders (including Jerami Grant) and I am hoping this doesn’t come back to bite them in the ass. Nonetheless, if Mike Malone is good at any two things, it’s praying his team to series victories on the bench AND experimenting with rotations. Could this be the season we finally get BOL BOL? The success of this team will come down to how they deal with those defensive losses and the leaps Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. take. Can Jamal Murray elevate himself into All-Star status? Can MPJ become that third star?

Utah Jazz – I’m getting a lot of shit for naming the Jazz as contenders. Perhaps it’s warranted. They didn’t do much if anything at all to address their defensive and depth issues. Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson will remain with the team. Derrick Favors is back to bail the team out when Rudy Gobert goes to the bench. Equally important, Bojan Bogdanovic is healthy. TECHNICALLY SPEAKING, if we were to call this “running it back” then the Jazz are going to the playoffs and have a chance to win the title, albeit a very slim one. Here’s the deal, I NEED ANOTHER JAMAL MURRAY/DONOVAN MITCHELL SHOWDOWN. Make it happen, Utah!


Want to win a $50 VISA GIFT CARD this holiday season? Enter our SECRET SANTA GIVEAWAY!


For a full 2020-21 NBA Season Preview, news, headlines, and more content – check out the Shoot or Pass podcast!


Follow us:

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times

NBA Western Conference – Early 2020-2021 Preseason Power Rankings

All rankings below reflect rosters as of December 4, 2020. Free agency, draft picks, and re-signings are considered. I present the NBA Western Conference Early 2020-2021 Preseason Power Rankings!

In case you missed any of the reported signings, trades, and player movement you can track that here with our 2020 Off-Season Tracker!

Check out the Shoot or Pass Crew: 2020 NBA Free Agency Winner & Losers

NBA preseason starts on December 11, 2020. Check out the full schedule here.


  1. Los Angeles Lakers
    The defending champs are obviously going to fill this spot. Signing Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, and Marc Gasol can be looked at as upgrades. Retaining Markieff Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rounds out the defending champs moves early and a roster poised to repeat as champions in 2021.

  2. Los Angeles Clippers
    Does the battle of LA matter this year again? Montrezl Harrell surprisingly switching locker rooms made the Clippers look a little shaky. However, rebounding by signing Serge Ibaka on a 2-year deal, reportedly $19 million is a nice piece to add. Now the next part is determining with Tyronn Lue as head coach can they turn into a more serious contender? The roster looked great last year on paper but then again losing to the Denver Nuggets in the West Semifinals is concerning.

  3. Denver Nuggets
    Denver gets Paul Millsap to return on a one-year deal and JaMychal Green returns on a two-year deal. Did the Nuggets need to drastically improve their roster? Probably not. Losing Jerami Grant to Detroit is probably for the better as Grant seemed to want to expand his offensive role. You’re now asking for guys like Gary Harris, Bol Bol, and Will Barton to fill the gaps of Grant’s loss of production. I’ll take the Clippers in a rematch series at this rate.

  4. Golden State Warriors
    The wounded Warriors head back into the season with a man down. That is Klay Thompson this time again with a knee injury. While they still have two All-Stars in Draymond Green and Steph Curry, this should be good enough to compete for a top-four spot in the West this upcoming season. Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman are two players to look forward to the Warriors relying on this season. The signing of Kelly Oubre is also a nice pick-up to fill in a knock-down shooter.


  5. Dallas Mavericks
    Let’s start this by mentioning Luka Doncic is on track to become the best NBA player and only entering year three. The concern here is can the Mavericks take the next step to become a contender in the West in 2021? The West seems to be in a bit of a “reset” looking at seeds four through eight. The Mavericks finished 7th in a year that allowed Kristaps Porzingas to show off what he can do with Luka. Dallas came on strong at the end of the 2020 restart in the bubble and now all signs should point to them moving up in the West.

  6. Portland Trailblazers
    Losing to the eventual NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers in the first round shouldn’t be as disappointing. The Blazers secured Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood for another go around. Signing Derrick Jones Jr. and adding Enes Kanter are the quiet additions for Portland. Last season, without Jusuf Nurkić pre-NBA bubble the Blazers struggled to compete. At the end of the bubble, a healthy Blazer team looks more promising than sitting at the bottom of the West. This could be the West’s sneakiest team to rise above to a top-three spot in the final Western Conference standings.

  7. Phoenix Suns
    Alright, we have to give them some sort of credit for their undefeated 8-0 seeding games in the NBA bubble. Unfortunately, the numbers favored Portland and the Suns went home after an amazing run in the bubble. Today, the Suns roster currently showcases Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Jae Crowder, and DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix secured Dario Saric again. Cue in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. If CP3 can take last year’s Thunder team to 44 wins and a 5th seed spot out West, this team is primed to possibly overachieve.

  8. Houston Rockets
    Welcome to a Kentucky reunion with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. The two newest faces of the Rockets join James Harden. Who wins this trade? Some say Houston being able to get the draft but for a win-now purpose? John Wall hasn’t played a game since 2018 and Cousins 2019. You’re not sure what you’re getting to pair next to Harden. As of recent James Harden supposedly is suggested he’d like to be traded and to Philadelphia, Milwaukee, or another contender. While Harden hasn’t publicly commented on the trade rumors, if true, Houston we have a problem. The season starts in less than two weeks. For now, the Rockets rank as a probable best 8th seed out West.

  9. Utah Jazz
    This is where the Western Conference becomes a little tough to navigate. Utah has shown they can stay relevant in the playoff talk out West. Kind of hard to put them in the middle of the pack since their acquisitions are retaining Jordan Clarkson, signing Derrick Favors, and giving Donovan Mitchell a max deal. I’d predict that Utah is going to spend a lot of their season attempting to stay afloat for the 7th or 8th seed.

  10. Memphis Grizzlies
    I want to provide positive energy to Ja Morant. Let’s forgo “sophomore slumps” and have an even better season! Losing Jaren Jackson Jr to a knee injury in the bubble made this team look depressed. They lost the 8th seed and making matters even worse they had to win two games to even regain the 8th seed during a play-in tournament. Obviously, that didn’t happen. With a little more experienced teams ahead of the Grizzlies this is going to be a tough year to lock in the 8th seed.
  11. New Orleans Pelicans
    Welcome back, Stan Van Gundy! Here is Zion Williamson and now make some magic! The Pelicans had a nice outing last week. Their roster now includes Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, and they re-signed Brandon Ingram to a max deal. Adding a few more veteran pieces that shouldn’t impact Zion’s play is a good deal here for Van Gundy and co. Being optimistic that this team also can compete for the West’s last playoff spot and if not, a play-in tournament would be their only option come May for the playoffs.

  12. San Antonio Spurs
    Greg Popovich is still running the show and this roster still includes DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. The most they can do is overachieve and position themselves as that under the radar team we love to see. However, any slow start to the season could have the Spurs finding themselves in a hole too deep to recover and make the playoffs.

  13. Minnesota Timberwolves
    The team that had the number one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft now has a concern. The T-Wolves number one is on the record before the draft stating that football is his number one love. The words are quoted as saying that perhaps basketball is just good enough as a job. Yikes! Well, there still is Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Acquiring Russell during a trade in the middle of last season only means we got to see the duo perform for 12 games together. Good enough to compete in a stacked Western Conference? To be determined…


  14. Sacramento Kings
    The good news is that De’Aron Fox has inked a max deal to stay in Sacramento long-term. The bad news? Bogdan Bogdanović apparently did not want to go to Milwaukee in a foiled deal. The Hawks swooped in quickly and signed him to an offer sheet in which the Kings agreed not to match. Kent Bazemore and Harry Giles also are out in Sacramento. A 31-win team in 2019-2020 and no significant additions. The plus side is drafting the highly-regarded Tyrese Haliburton 12th overall.


  15. Oklahoma City Thunder
    One of the most retooled rosters in a short amount of time is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Let’s tally up these losses, shall we? Chris Paul, Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Nerlens Noel all have signed, traded, or agreed to contracts with other teams. George Hill is the replacement for Chris Paul and perhaps is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander now considered the best player for OKC? Yikes. It’s been a fun run Thunder fans but welcome to the bottom again.

See the Eastern Conference Rankings here!


Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!

Follow us:

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times

NBA 2020-2021 Preseason schedule

The champagne is hardly dried in the locker rooms at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. Just slightly over two months ago, the NBA crowned the Los Angeles Lakers Champions of the 2019-2020 Season on October 11, 2020.

Without delay to retain a normal schedule again the NBA has released the 2020-2021 Preseason schedule.

Per the NBA:

  • Each NBA team will play a minimum of two and a maximum of four games as part of the league’s 49-game preseason schedule. 
  • Every team will play at least one home game and one road game in the preseason

Friday – December 11, 2020 Schedule

  • Orlando Magic @ Atlanta Hawks – 7:00 PM EST – TV: League Pass
  • New York Knicks @ Detroit Pistons – 7:00 PM EST – TV: League Pass
  • Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls – 8:00 PM EST – TV: NBA TV
  • LA Clippers @ LA Lakers – 10:00 PM EST – TV: League Pass
  • Sacramento Kings @ Portland Trailblazers – 10:30 PM EST – TV: ESPN

View full schedule: NBA 2020-2021 Preseason schedule

December 11, 2020, kicks off with five games. Two games are Nationally televised games. The Portland Trailblazers will host the Sacramento Kings on ESPN. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 PM EST. The Houston Rockets will be in Chicago for an 8 PM EST tip-off on NBATV.

TNT will resume coverage on December 15th, 2020 showcasing two games. The Boston Celtics will travel to Philadelphia and play the 76ers in a 7:30 PM EST tip-off. The later game will feature the Warriors visiting Sacramento in a 10:00. PM EST tip-off against the Kings.

The Los Angeles Lakers have four preseason games while the Miami HEAT will only play two games. The HEAT will not leave the state of Florida until New Year’s day when they visit the Dallas Mavericks.

Miami will play their two preseason games in Miami and Tampa (where they will visit the Raptors). Miami opens their season in Orlando and will host the Pelicans, and Bucks twice before 2020 ends.

Finally, Preseason will conclude on Saturday, December 19th, 2020 as the NBA prepares to start the 2020-2021 Season on December 22, 2020.


More NBA coverage from Baseline Times


Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!

Follow us:

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times

NBA Eastern Conference – Early 2020-2021 Preseason Power Rankings

Here is your early 2020-2021 NBA Eastern Conference Preseason Power Rankings.

In case you missed any of the reported signings, trades, and player movement you can track that here with our 2020 Off-Season Tracker!

Check out the Shoot or Pass Crew: 2020 NBA Free Agency Winner & Losers


  1. Miami Heat
    Signing Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless to short-term deals and still maintaining a favorable Eastern Conference team to win the conference again. The defending Eastern Conference Champions may have lost a solid defender and shooter in Jae Crowder to the Phoenix Suns but have no fear. Well, other teams in the East should fear them as the undisputed leaders in the East. According to Zach Lowe of ESPN however, “people” have advised Miami’s run in the bubble is only a fluke due to circumstances. We’ll see if that’s any fluke this season.

  2. Brooklyn Nets
    No further rumors about James Harden coming to the Nets are alive at this time. Should the Nets stay put with a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this should be the team to beat out East. Preferably if they can keep the talents of Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot without making any significant moves for another All-Star. This team can still be heavily favored as a championship contender. Re-signing Joe Harris of a four-year deal is a key sign the Nets understand their needs without creating havoc to an already questionable leadership from Irving.

  3. Milwaukee Bucks
    The biggest question coming into the short off-season is how much better can the Bucks get? Insert Jrue Holiday instead of Eric Bledsoe and I call that an upgrade. Also, the Bucks bolstered up their bench by signing veterans D.J. Augustin and Bobby Portis. However, in my opinion, we’re still going to question can this team get the job done in the playoffs? For many unknown reasons, restricted free-agent Bogdan Bogdanović refused to show up to Milwaukee. Did the Bucks miss out potentially but too late to make reparations as Bogdanović has signed in Atlanta.

  4. Boston Celtics
    If you’re a Boston Celtic fan and feeling like the current roster is better then, I need to find out how?! Alright, I agree to let Gordon Hayward opt-out saves some cap space in the near future. Signing Tristian Thompson and Jeff Teague isn’t going to put you over the hump in an Eastern Conference where teams contending are getting better (on paper at least). Everything on the Celtics front has been quiet. The easy assumption is that hopefully Boston staying put means Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart are all ready for their game to take an extreme improvement into the 2020-021 season.

  5. Toronto Raptors
    Signing Fred VanVleet to a decent deal and not committing to a multi-year deal with Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol give you a little bit more flexibility next off-season as well. The VanVleet deal does have a bit of a regression in year two which enables the Raptors to have a bit more cap space flexibility next-offseason as well. Oh, do we still refer to this team as the Toronto Raptors for the first half of the season? They will be forced to play in Tampa, Florida for the first half of the 2020-2021 season. Their graphic team had no issues accommodating this as their training camp backdrop features a palm tree.

  6. Philadelphia 76ers
    I know, you’re probably asking where is the Indiana Pacers at this point. Well quite frankly, I’m investing a bit of faith back into the 76ers. Bad idea right? I’ll take the risk this early in the off-season versus later. I like the signings of more shooters in Seth Curry and Danny Green you got to like the upgrades there. Curry can be a playmaker and the 76ers were in dire need of a legit point guard. Curry’s stock went up after his performance in the first round of last year’s Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers series. This surely is an upgrade at the point guard position as some of you might not remember who stepped in for Ben Simmons. (Hint: Shake Milton?)

  7. Indiana Pacers
    Here we are! The Pacers stayed pretty quiet during the free agency period at this point. Besides re-signing Justin Holiday the roster stays put. See Pacer fans, this is why the 76ers have that slight bump this early. Will the Pacers make some trades soon? Time will tell but for now but a new coach and the same roster amongst others improving see the Pacers at 7th in the East at best for now.

  8. Atlanta Hawks
    Let’s review this free agency for the Hawks. They locked in Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanović, and convinced Rajon Rondo to come to mentor Trae Young. Let’s not forget the roster includes John Collins and Clint Capela. Defensively, can this keep up? I’m not sure yet hence the highest ceiling for Atlanta is going to be battling for the bottom of the East last couple of playoff spots. If anything they’ve had the biggest turnaround in the East so far off of free agency alone.

  9. Washington Wizards
    Just when you thought the Wizards were probably doomed with John Wall and his uncertainty of play they saved themselves. What I consider a big upgrade in Russell Westbrook now Washington fans can be optimistic about the playoffs. Still, a lot of variables to be determined but the Wizards are a better team with this trade now. Rui Hachimura is emerging as a rookie averaging 13.5 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, shooting 47-percent from the field on 30 minutes of play last season. For now, they’ll still compete with the bottom half of the East’s top 8 but that isn’t a bad thing.

  10. Orlando Magic
    The East’s team that finishes 8th last season has a decent enough team to be considered as a team that can either decide to tank with young talent or competes for at best the 8th seed in the East. For now, a healthy young roster that could overachieve under Head Coach Steve Clifford is the direction this team’s highest ceiling. The obvious move is allowing part-time starting point guard, D.J. Augustin to sign with Milwaukee. Orlando re-signs Michael Carter-Williams and hopefully, this points to Markelle Fultz’s increase of playing time and responsibility for this team. Their first-round pick in the 2020 draft Cole Anthony also will be competing for playing time at the guard spot next to Fultz, Carter-Williams, and Evan Fournier.

  11. Charlotte Hornets
    Technically, the Hornets finished ahead of the Wizards last season. Here is the catch, the Wizards were invited to the seeding games in the bubble but the Hornets were not. Adding LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward is quite an interesting combo, right? For what it’s worth they do have some nice NBA City Edition jerseys this year. The last time the Hornets made the playoffs was in 2016. The window to steal the 8th spot is a little bit better with the uncertainty of Orlando but a bigger challenge with Washington. Let’s see if they finally push over the hill this season.

  12. Chicago Bulls
    Insert Billy Donovan and a team that also is similar to Indiana. A new coach with new hope. The biggest free agency singing? Garrett Temple? Well, the Bulls could be in tank mode and pending the rumors, it seems their biggest trade piece of Zack LaVine. If Chicago makes moves to tank further it would be trading for draft picks one could assume.

  13. Cleveland Cavaliers
    A few young bright pieces and a solid lottery pick can keep Cavs fans a little optimistic this season. Collin Sexton returns and the hope is for his game taking the next step. Drafting Isaac Okoro was also a nice grab for the Cavs in the lottery round. This current team may be a bit of a lackluster in an already disappointing bottom of the East.

  14. Detroit Pistons
    The Pistons come in with a few moves in free agency. Signing Jahlil Okafor, Jerami Grant, and Mason Plumlee to bolster up their frontcourt. Zhaire Smith and Wayne Ellington join the party in Detroit who finished with a miserable 20-wins last season. Can they get back Blake Griffin for a whole season? The best case available for Detroit is to overachieve and hopefully make the chase for the 8th seed competitive. The latest signing is LiAngelo Ball who makes it a perfect 3-for-3 on Lavar Ball’s sons now currently on an NBA roster. Lavar could make the Pistons more relevant than the team they place on the floor this season.

  15. New York Knicks
    Yes, we are here at the bottom with the New York Knicks. I have to say this is probably one of the most recent off-seasons they have accomplished not screwing up. Guys like Montrezl Harrell, Serge Ibaka, and Austin Rivers weren’t paid max contract to diminish in New York. A lot of one-year deals no more than $5-6 million to Elfrid Payton, Alex Burks, and Nerlens Noel. I mean this is a clear sign of tanking plus maybe waiting for another off-season with cap space. However, the Knicks have struck out in the free agency game as Kevin Durant is across the city, and does Giannis surprise us and go to the Knicks? Stay tuned!


Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!

Follow us:

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times

NBA Western Conference – Early 2020-2021 Off-Season Power Rankings

It’s time to be cliche as the NBA is set to start in less than a month. All rankings below reflect rosters as of December 4, 2020. Free agency, draft picks, and re-signings are considered. All hail the first power ranking of the NBA Western Conference of the 2020-2021 Season.

In case you missed any of the reported signings, trades, and player movement you can track that here with our 2020 Off-Season Tracker!

Check out the Shoot or Pass Crew: 2020 NBA Free Agency Winner & Losers


  1. Los Angeles Lakers
    The defending champs are obviously going to fill this spot. Signing Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, and Marc Gasol can be looked at as upgrades. Retaining Markieff Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope rounds out the defending champs moves early and a roster poised to repeat as champions in 2021.

  2. Los Angeles Clippers
    Does the battle of LA matter this year again? Montrezl Harrell surprisingly switching locker rooms made the Clippers look a little shaky. However, rebounding by signing Serge Ibaka on a 2-year deal, reportedly $19 million is a nice piece to add. Now the next part is determining with Tyronn Lue as head coach can they turn into a more serious contender? The roster looked great last year on paper but then again losing to the Denver Nuggets in the West Semifinals is concerning.

  3. Denver Nuggets
    Denver gets Paul Millsap to return on a one-year deal and JaMychal Green returns on a two-year deal. Did the Nuggets need to drastically improve their roster? Probably not. Losing Jerami Grant to Detroit is probably for the better as Grant seemed to want to expand his offensive role. You’re now asking for guys like Gary Harris, Bol Bol, and Will Barton to fill the gaps of Grant’s loss of production. I’ll take the Clippers in a rematch series at this rate.

  4. Golden State Warriors
    The wounded Warriors head back into the season with a man down. That is Klay Thompson this time again with a knee injury. While they still have two All-Stars in Draymond Green and Steph Curry, this should be good enough to compete for a top-four spot in the West this upcoming season. Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman are two players to look forward to the Warriors relying on this season. The signing of Kelly Oubre is also a nice pick-up to fill in a knock-down shooter.


  5. Dallas Mavericks
    Let’s start this by mentioning Luka Doncic is on track to become the best NBA player and only entering year three. The concern here is can the Mavericks take the next step to become a contender in the West in 2021? The West seems to be in a bit of a “reset” looking at seeds four through eight. The Mavericks finished 7th in a year that allowed Kristaps Porzingas to show off what he can do with Luka. Dallas came on strong at the end of the 2020 restart in the bubble and now all signs should point to them moving up in the West.

  6. Portland Trailblazers
    Losing to the eventual NBA Champions Los Angeles Lakers in the first round shouldn’t be as disappointing. The Blazers secured Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood for another go around. Signing Derrick Jones Jr. and adding Enes Kanter are the quiet additions for Portland. Last season, without Jusuf Nurkić pre-NBA bubble the Blazers struggled to compete. At the end of the bubble, a healthy Blazer team looks more promising than sitting at the bottom of the West.

  7. Phoenix Suns
    Alright, we have to give them some sort of credit for their undefeated 8-0 seeding games in the NBA bubble. Unfortunately, the numbers favored Portland and the Suns went home after an amazing run in the bubble. Today, the Suns roster currently showcases Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Jae Crowder, and DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix secured Dario Saric again. Cue in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. If CP3 can take last year’s Thunder team to 44 wins and a 5th seed spot out West, this team is primed to possibly overachieve.

  8. Houston Rockets
    Welcome to a Kentucky reunion with John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins. The two newest faces of the Rockets join James Harden. Who wins this trade? Some say Houston being able to get the draft but for a win-now purpose? John Wall hasn’t played a game since 2018 and Cousins 2019. You’re not sure what you’re getting to pair next to Harden. However, on paper, this team serves at best a bubble team for the 8th seed in a stacked Western Conference

  9. Utah Jazz
    This is where the Western Conference becomes a little tough to navigate. Utah has shown they can stay relevant in the playoff talk out West. Kind of hard to put them in the middle of the pack since their acquisitions are retaining Jordan Clarkson, signing Derrick Favors, and giving Donovan Mitchell a max deal. I’d predict that Utah is going to spend a lot of their season attempting to stay afloat for the 7th or 8th seed.

  10. Memphis Grizzlies
    I want to provide positive energy to Ja Morant. Let’s forgo “sophomore slumps” and have an even better season! Losing Jaren Jackson Jr to a knee injury in the bubble made this team look depressed. They lost the 8th seed and making matters even worse they had to win two games to even regain the 8th seed during a play-in tournament. Obviously, that didn’t happen. With a little more experienced teams ahead of the Grizzlies this is going to be a tough year to lock in the 8th seed.
  11. New Orleans Pelicans
    Welcome back, Stan Van Gundy! Here is Zion Williamson and now make some magic! The Pelicans had a nice outing last week. Their roster now includes Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, and they re-signed Brandon Ingram to a max deal. Adding a few more veteran pieces that shouldn’t impact Zion’s play is a good deal here for Van Gundy and co. Being optimistic that this team also can compete for the West’s last playoff spot and if not, a play-in tournament would be their only option come May for the playoffs.

  12. San Antonio Spurs
    Greg Popovich is still running the show and this roster still includes DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. The most they can do is overachieve and position themselves as that under the radar team we love to see. However, any slow start to the season could have the Spurs finding themselves in a hole too deep to recover and make the playoffs.

  13. Minnesota Timberwolves
    The team that had the number one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft now has a concern. The T-Wolves number one is on the record before the draft stating that football is his number one love. The words are quoted as saying that perhaps basketball is just good enough as a job. Yikes! Well, there still is Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Acquiring Russell during a trade in the middle of last season only means we got to see the duo perform for 12 games together. Good enough to compete in a stacked Western Conference? To be determined…


  14. Sacramento Kings
    The good news is that De’Aron Fox has inked a max deal to stay in Sacramento long-term. The bad news? Bogdan Bogdanović apparently did not want to go to Milwaukee in a foiled deal. The Hawks swooped in quickly and signed him to an offer sheet in which the Kings agreed not to match. Kent Bazemore and Harry Giles also are out in Sacramento. A 31-win team in 2019-2020 and no significant additions. The plus side is drafting the highly-regarded Tyrese Haliburton 12th overall.


  15. Oklahoma City Thunder
    One of the most retooled rosters in a short amount of time is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Let’s tally up these losses, shall we? Chris Paul, Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Dennis Schroder, and Nerlens Noel all have signed, traded, or agreed to contracts with other teams. George Hill is the replacement for Chris Paul and perhaps is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander now considered the best player for OKC? Yikes. It’s been a fun run Thunder fans but welcome to the bottom again.

See the Eastern Conference Rankings here!


Listen to the Shoot or Pass Podcast – Baseline Times NBA dedicated podcast for all of your latest NBA news, predictions, and coverage!

Follow us:

More NBA Coverage from Baseline Times