Six NBA Teams of the Future 

By Aiden Ryland

1.Utah Jazz

The Jazz have a low-key squad. With young guys like Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert leading the way, they have a pretty damn good starting lineup and arguably the best bench in the league. The key for this team is it’s potential, as the whole starting lineup, as well as the bench are filled with young guys with extreme talent. The Jazz are a team I could definitely see making a jump up to 50 wins next season.

2. Milwaukee Bucks

In my opinion, this team has the brightest future of all. I mean, they’re slogan is #OwnTheFuture but the question is are they ready to #OwnThePresent? After watching them snap the Warriors winning streak to start the season, then end their own season with a lottery pick, I’d have to say Milwaukee is probably the most unpredictable team in the league. With future superstars like the “Great Freak,” Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton and Thon Maker already on board, this team has enough pieces to win now, the only thing stopping them from being dominant…is time.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons already looks like he has the skills to be a future hall of famer. The Sixers kind of got a little twin towers action going with Noel and Jahlil. The X factor with this team is Joel Embid. Just how good can he be? If Embid pans out, the Sixers could trade him or Okafor for a guard and they would be just a bench away from being a playoff team.

4. Denver Nuggets

This team is full of excellent guards. Emmanuel Mudiay is showing the potential to be the best PG in the NBA. Don’t forget about Nikola  Jokic, either. The 6’10” Center, averaged 10 points and seven rebounds, in just 21.7 minutes on the court for the Nuggets. With all this raw talent, Denver just needs to be more consistent and boom they’re a playoff team.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Don’t worry, the fan favorite Timberwolves are here. Karl Anthony Towns is showing the potential to be the best center in the league someday. Andrew Wiggins looks like a possible future all-star. The big X factor for this team is Kris Dunn if he excels the Wolves will definitely be good. Honestly, I’m not a Zach LaVine fan, I don’t think he’s a good option for the Wolves in the long run but that’s just me. All they need is a good 3, a solid 2 that shoot and a solid 4 to compliment KAT and they’re golden. This team has always had trouble landing free agents though. Maybe the talent on this young squad can change that.

6. Los Angles Lakers

D’Angelo Russell is showing flashes he could definitely be an all- star. If Jordan Clarkson can continue to improve, the two of them could be a solid pair for this young squad to build around. You definitely can’t forget Brandon Ingram either, he’s got potential to be the next Tayshuan Prince or Kevin Durant. have him hit the weight room this off-season and he can be something special in this league. Don’t forget the Lakers are the Lakers, I mean who doesn’t want to play in L.A., they always find a way to be good.

Honorable mentions: Detroit Pistons, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic and the Phoenix Suns

Thon Maker: International Man of Mystery, Lands in Milwaukee with 10th Overall Selection 

The Bucks love young, tall, versatile, athletic players, with ridiculous wingspans. They get just that with the Sudanese born world traveler.

The biggest question critics are asking  about Maker, is whether or not the 7-foot-1, 216 pounder, who measures 7,3″ from fingertip to fingertip, is big and strong enough to compete with NBA sized post players?

 After watching him consistently drain shots from behind the arc, spin past hapless opponents, slice to the basket, thread passes between defenders legs, and finish with explosive dunks, it seems, what they should be asking,  is whether or not their is anyone in the league who is athletic enough to keep up with him.  

He’s raw, and somewhat untested, but he has no lack of world experience. He escaped a war torn country as a child and used determination and witt to hop around the globe on his way to Milwaukee.

The Bucks have built a team of players without a true position, who use their remarkable skills to define themselves. They were looking for a post player who could add to that, and now they have him.

“He can stretch the floor right now. Give him a little time to gain some strength and we think he has the chance to be a special player.” Bucks General Manager, John Hammond, said about Maker. “He’s got some steps to go through, but if you watch him he’s really multidimensional. His experience is limited but he has a great feel of the game.”

With all the talent the Bucks currently have on their roster, it’s easy for fans to get caught up in a win now mentality. The  team has promised to “Own the Future” and it looks like that is what they continue to plan to do.

When asked what position Maker will play, Hammond answered, “We’re going to figure it out. We have a vision.”

It hard to know exactly what the Bucks have up their sleeve for this tremendously talented player, but that will just add to the excitement as the mystery continues to unfold.

Nobody Wants to See These Young Bucks in the Playoffs…

They me be inconsistent, and even downright awful at times, but if the Bucks have proven anything in this roller coaster ride of a season, it’s that when they are focused, they can hang with anybody.

It seems a long way out, and maybe even improbable, but I know the Golden State Warriors don’t want to be locked up with them in a 7 game series. 

When Greg Monroe came to town this fan base was in a frenzy. To listen to fans in Wisconsin talk after free agency, you would have thought this team was headed for an undefeated season, and a championship.

Then reality struck. Turnovers, poor communication and bricks rained down on Milwaukee like cats and dogs.
All of a sudden, the conversation turned from trophies, to tanking, lottery picks, and trading away stars.

But then, like what happens with most young franchises that are built on a solid foundation, one player started to find his groove, then another, and then the team started to look like a young squad should in the second year of rebuilding. 

They began to gel and play defense and now this team who individually looked like world beaters but together seemed like a circus, has started to find chemistry.

Khris Middleton has rediscovered his shot and his place as the leader of this team, the one that everyone else can use to help define their game and build around.

“We’re getting back to our principles,” Middleton said. “We’re starting to figure out these rotations and how we need to play defense and getting back to stuff we were doing last year. It’s been great these last couple games.”

Greg Monroe is finding his place as the stabilizer. Realizing the team is better when he just relaxes and let’s the game happen, instead of trying to carry everyone.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the wild card on this team. Just like any forward who has the moves and agility of a guard, he presents a matchup problem for opponents. The problem is, no one, including the “Greek Freak” knows just how good he can be or exactly where he fits on this team.  

Michael Carter-Williams is the one caught in the middle of this inexperienced team. How is a facilitator supposed to figure out his role when the rest of the team is still defining theirs? 

That is why he can look so on point some nights and so discombobulated on others. He has shown the talent to be a great leader but will need the most patience to find his niche.  
Jabari Parker has very high exactions to live up to after being a high draft pick but is also the least experienced of this young crew due to missing a major portion of his rookie season with an injury. Because of this, he may take some time to reach his full potential but with the flashes he’s shown I’m sure it will be well worth the wait.

“I know what skills I have,” Parker said. “I’m just playing my role. It’s there. It’s always been there.”

John Henson is another player that could turn out to be a star in this league, but Milwaukee has been ultra “patient” with him. However, it looks like he is starting to come into his own as a defensive monster and when he does they will have no choice but to find minutes for him. 

The major negative I see for the Bucks at this moment is that they are too versatile and unorthodox. 

They have tall guards and very athletic forwards, which makes it sometimes hard to define positions and duties.

 If they are ever able to find were everyone fits and learn to gel these talents,they will create unthinkable match ups and these problems will quickly become positives. 

The front office is dedicated to bringing Milwaukee not only a good team, but one that is built to last for years to come.

That takes patience, not only with the players, but from fans.

This young team has already shown talent and maturity beyond their years, and I can guarantee one thing. Even though this team is built for the future, if they continue to progress at this rate… 

Nobody will want to meet these young Bucks in the playoffs this year!

Milwaukee Bucks: Finding the Future

After seeing vast improvement, and making the playoffs last season, the Bucks ended the year with a few question marks, but very high expectations. The offseason is still young and they’ve already had great news at all five positions this season.

  • The number 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, power forward Jabari Parker, is making a steady recovering from last year’s season ending ACL injury. After somewhat of a slow start to last season, the young forward started to find his grove and was really proving his value to the team. The general consensus was that the 12.3 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game he was averaging, would make him the easy choice for Rookie of the Year.  He is an integral part of this young, athletic team the Bucks are putting together, and his ability to become a leader in the locker room could be a major driving force.
  • With Jason Kidd as their Head Coach, point guard is a very important position on this team. That may explain why they were wiling to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for the 6’6 Greivis Vasquez, who most consider to be a back up on this team. The veteran from Venezuela who has averaged 9.2 ppg and 4.9 apg over his career, seems to be a great fit for the Bucks. He led the league in 2012-2013 with 9 apg, and his 3.79 3 point percentage from last year fills an immediate need for the young Bucks  who struggled with shooting last year. He can also play the two, and adds immediate depth and veteran leadership to this team who seems poised to make another playoff run.
  • The Bucks may have gotten the steal of this year’s draft, by selecting shooting guard Rashad Vaughn with the 17th overall pick. At just 18 years old he is somewhat raw and projects to be the second youngest player in the league next year. According to experts he is not a project player but could improve his shot selection, passing and defense. Fortunately for him those are all areas where Jason Kidd’s players succeeded last year. The area where this kid doesn’t lack at all is as a scorer and shooter. As a freshman he averaged over 22 ppg game which is something only 29 other players have done in the last 15 years, and shot 38.4 % from beyond the arc. This makes him a wonderful fit for the Bucks who seem to want groom him as a sharp shooter off the bench. Vaugh is used to being one of the top players in his age class, and if he can bring a bit of that swagger to the big leagues, he could be a vital cog in this team moving forward.
  • There seemed to be no certainty that the Bucks would resign Khris Middleton, their best player as the season ended last year. However, the young small forward agreed to a 5 year $70 million deal on the opening day of free agency. With that deal, Milwaukee locked up the rising star who started to find his grove after  Jabari Parker went down with his injury, and led the team into the playoffs when Brandon Knight was traded at the deadline. Middleton averaged 13.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.4 apg and  1.5 steals per game, but those numbers don’t come close to explaining the impact he had as he took the team on his shoulders at the end of the year. “Money” Middleton has become the guy the team trusts to take the big shot, and should be the cornerstone this young team is built upon.
  • Center was the biggest position of need for the Bucks last year. The fans spent the last part of the season fantasizing about what big name would be signed, and management seemed eager to fill the spot with any of the big men available. As things turned out, Greg Monroe seems to be a better fit than anyone could have hoped for as he agreed to terms with Milwaukee on the second day of free agency. Not only does he give the Bucks a huge presence in the post, but he seems to tie together all the loose pieces. He struggles at defense, which is one of the team’s strengths, but brings rebounding and post scoring, which has been a glaring need. He truly could be the missing piece this team needs to be a serious contender.

There is no doubt this team is coming into their own under Jason Kidd. Not only is he extremely adept at teaching the players his schemes, but he has also improved their defense, passing, and overall knowledge of the game, and is displaying genius in building a team around player chemistry and talent. The players he chooses aren’t always pulled from the top of the list, but they are players best suited to his team. 

Without seeing this team in live action on the court, it may be too early to get overly excited. However, it’s hard not to be hopeful at the way this is all coming together. My best guess for Milawaukee, after watching the hard work the front office has put in, is that the future is now.