Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers among teams with intriguing positional blocks ahead of training camp | NBA.com France
In the period following the chaos of summer but before the teams gather for training camp in the fall, much of the NBA takes a moment to breathe. Respite is crucial in preparing for the routine of an 82-game season, but it can also be the clarity teams need to identify imbalances in their rosters.
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Whether it’s because a team signed a free agent at an already deep position, drafted a rookie that’s buried on the depths board, or traded a star for too many coins, these rotation blocks exist all over the league. .
Heading into the 2021-22 NBA season, six teams in particular stand out with position blocks on their respective rosters. From the Toronto Raptors to the Los Angeles Lakers, take a closer look …
Utah Jazz: Forward
Utah only honed their 52-win roster this summer, but they added a few names to an already deep forward rotation.
Rudy Gay’s signing for the $ 6 million mid-level taxpayer exception was one of the best value moves a team has made this offseason. Gay has quietly become a great shooter in the second half of his career and will be a nice compliment to what was already a very good bench unit.
While Eric Paschall struggled quite a bit in his second season, trading a second-round pick in 2026 for an under-one-year-old retired from a first-team all-star selection – who find to be one of Donovan Mitchell’s best friends – is a safe leaflet.
With Gay and Paschall joining Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale, this is one of the most advanced units in the league. Each brings different complementary skills, but too many resources are spent here while other areas of the rotation are still lacking.
There is almost no proven experience behind Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson. Ingles may be Conley’s de facto replacement but, given the rumors of the start of the offseason, he seems to be the most likely to be traded if the Jazz take a step.
Hassan Whiteside filled the gap at the save center, but they’re still missing a real five-hitch option. Gay could be engaged in this role, but it poses real defensive questions for a team that still struggles to defend with Rudy Gobert on the bench.
It is without a doubt a list of talent. He’s the one who could very well win the most games in the league for a second straight regular season, but he doesn’t seem balanced enough to meet this franchise’s broader goals in the playoffs.
Orlando Magic: Backcourt
The rotation of the Orlando Guards has changed a lot in the three years since Shelvin Mack’s tweet .
Jalen Suggs became the face of the Magic’s long rebuilding as they took him fifth overall, but he joins a very crowded backcourt. Cole Anthony is looking to build a strong rookie campaign, RJ Hampton has only scratched his potential and 23-year-old Markelle Fultz in rehab now has, incredibly, almost twice as much NBA experience as the other three point guard combined. .
Orlando’s priority has to be deciding how they’re going to prioritize these four players. They may already have an internal hierarchy, but those decisions will dictate a lot the direction of this team over the next two seasons.
The aggravating factors in these assessments, however, are Gary Harris and Terence Ross. The two Orlando Guards are at decidedly different times in their careers than the point guard. Harris and Ross are valuable players in the right situation, but the likelihood of either playing a role in Magic’s next contender is slim. After all, this list is, hopefully, a few years away from being a few years away.
Given the priority given to development, tackling the three-guard alignments is not a bad way forward. This gives pointers an NBA experience and preserves the value of Harris and Ross for potential deadline moves. Orlando will eventually have to deal with this traffic jam, but they are blessed with less urgency than some other franchises.
Los Angeles Lakers: Perimeter Players
A major priority for the 2019-20 Lakers was to find a fifth starter. At the end of the season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope parted ways with the full-back and became that answer. Now, with an almost entirely new roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Frank Vogel will have to answer the same question again.
The priority for this place is clear: finding the right person next to LeBron, Davis and Russell Westbrook. This is an incredibly talented roster, but pulling the strings together to find the right ground spacer to play at this location is key to reaching that dizzying potential.
Given these criteria, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, and Talen Horton-Tucker seem the best candidates to start with. Behind them, however, Kendrick Nunn, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza and, of course, Carmelo Anthony will also be considered in the rotation.
Ellington seems to be the better solution when it comes to spacing and utilization rate, but Monk can come up with a higher cap. Bazemore is the safest 3-and-D option, but Horton-Tucker’s recent extension indicates the Lakers believe he’s ready for a bigger role.
This squad has just four leftovers from that 2020 title squad – a championship they won just ten months ago. Evaluating the chemistry of a brand new rotation is hard work and will take time, so there are no easy answers.
There are too many wings vying for too few minutes. The Lakers will find lineups that, but it will inevitably push some of these players out of the rotation.
Toronto Raptors: Frontcourt
Kyle Lowry’s trade unquestionably marked the culmination of an era for this Raptors franchise. The young half of the core remains intact, but retooling done – both by choice and not – over the past three years has pushed this team into a new phase.
As a result, this list is not as balanced as it should be. Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic and Gary Trent Jr. are a playoff-level backcourt, but there’s very little proven depth behind them. Instead, most of the resources were invested in an already deep front zone rotation.
OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch, Chris Boucher and Yuta Watanabe. These are seven rotation-level players, each of whom have the potential or past production to be priorities this season.
Within this group, Anunoby, Barnes and Achiuwa should be seen as foundations while Birch, Boucher and Watanabe are beautiful pieces but do not have the same potential. Siakam is the notable omission there. He’s the only All-Star Raptor left on this list, but he’s also the piece that makes the most sense to move to complete the reset.
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He doesn’t hold the value he had a few years ago, but if the right team call, Siakam could still bring back a star’s comeback. It wouldn’t be easy for the franchise to do. Nor is it who the team or Siakam have publicly indicated they want; but the list needs to be rebalanced and the rumors have been so widespread that it’s hard to ignore the smoke.
Siakam is not old. It’s no exaggeration to believe that the 27-year-old could be the basis for the next Raptor contender, but this front office has never shied away from moving just because it’s tough.
San Antonio Spurs: Wings
DeMar DeRozan is no longer a Spur, but San Antonio’s wing rotation has become even more crowded over the summer.
Lonnie Walker, Devin Vassell, Luka Samanic and Keldon Johnson all have legitimate potential and appear to be foundational pieces for the future. The Spurs also gave Doug McDermott an important contract and acquired important Thaddeus Young this summer, two veterans who could come and help this team win right away.
It’s a full rotation before even taking into account Chandler Hutchison and Al-Farouq Aminu.
This situation is quite simple. Spurs have too many good, but not great wings, each of which need minutes and are paid entry-level money or soon will be. Marginalizing one of the young players on the bench will hamper their development, but playing them at the expense of McDermott or Young will instantly make them negative contracts.
If a team needs to consolidate its assets, it’s the Spurs. This list calls for a three-for-one upgrade swap, but, for a team that doesn’t make mid-season moves, time is running out.
Washington Wizards: Frontcourt
The Wizards find themselves in a very difficult situation for the Spurs. Like DeRozan, Westbrook’s departure left Washington with too many solid players and not enough minutes to split between them.
Despite a few big names in this group, Rui Hachimura is the cornerstone of the Wizards frontcourt. Considering his potential and playing for much of last season, he’s the only member of this forward zone to guarantee playing more than 30 minutes a night. The remaining minutes are up for grabs.
Davis Bertans, Dani Avdija, Kyle Kuzma, Thomas Bryant, Montrezl Harrell and Daniel Gafford will all be in contention for this period. These are all legitimate NBA players that the Wizards have invested considerable money, trade, or capital in. Each has played well enough in their careers – or been drafted enough – to be justified in believing they deserve big minutes for a team whose primary goal is to advance to the playoffs.
With everything the Wizards invested in their backcourt as well – and the success they had playing small last season – there won’t be enough frontcourt minutes for everyone. Like the previous teams on this list, it will take time to find the right roster combinations to be successful, but it will be a tough needle to thread for first-year coach Wes Unseld Jr.
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