Ranking NBA teams by League Pass worthiness
Ranking NBA teams by League Pass worthiness
NBA League Pass only lets you choose five teams to watch per season. After all that's happened this summer, your must-see squads could be totally different from last year. Here's a list of all 30 NBA teams, ranked from least to most "watchable." For our purposes, "watchability" factors in projected wins, talented players, big personalities and dramatic changes. Anything that makes fans tune in, good or bad. Check it out.
30. Brooklyn Nets
Reasons to watch: New coach Kenny Atkinson (players look thrilled at his introductory press conference) and Jeremy Lin's return to New York City. That's it. That's all I got.
29. Denver Nuggets
Reasons to watch: Denver added four rookies in the 2016 draft after grabbing Emmanuel Mudiay last year. None of this equals more than 30 wins for the Nuggets.
28. Utah Jazz
Reasons to watch: The Jazz missed the playoffs last year, so they signed Joe Johnson and traded their first-round draft pick to the Hawks. At least Gordon Hayward has good hair.
27. Phoenix Suns
Reasons to watch: Devin Booker was really fun last year, and he continued to be in Summer League. Phoenix also drafted a 7-foot-1 Croatian teenager named Dragan Bender about whom everyone was excited at the time.
26. Sacramento Kings
Reasons to watch: The Kings have a horribly misshapen roster that includes five centers (three drafted in the past two years), but at least one of them is DeMarcus Cousins. He's a triple-double machine liable to throw a temper tantrum at any moment. And now he'll have to deal with Matt Barnes as a teammate. Come for the drama, don't stay for the basketball.
25. Houston Rockets
Reasons to watch: Dwight Howard is gone, presumably after James Harden broke into his house, boxed up all of his stuff and shipped it to Atlanta. Behind Harden and Howard, Houston's next leading scorer in points per game is Michael Beasley. Godspeed, Mike D'Antoni.
24. Orlando Magic
Reasons to watch: Aaron Gordon dunks like this in games. That's the only good reason to tune in. Orlando also added two Congolese big men in Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo, but lost Victor Oladipo in the process. Not sure this squad improves on its scorching 35-47 record last year.
23. Charlotte Hornets
Reasons to watch: This one's tough because Charlotte isn't a bad team, per se. They made the playoffs last year! But aside from re-signing Nic Batum, they added no starting caliber players this offseason.
22. Los Angeles Lakers
Reasons to watch: The Lakers handed the coaching reins to Luke Walton, drafted an exciting prospect in Brandon Ingram and reeled in big (meaning tall) fish Timofey Mozgov. But make no mistake: D'Angelo Russell's snapchat will be way more interesting than Staples Center basketball.
21. Miami Heat
Reasons to watch: What will the Heat look like, be like, without Dwyane Wade? This is a team to watch if only because we've never seen it before. Miami absolutely had to re-sign Hassan Whiteside, which it did. But with no 2016 draft picks and potentially no Chris Bosh, it seems like winter is coming to South Beach.
20. Detroit Pistons
Reasons to watch: Andre Drummond swears he's improved his free throw shooting. Hallelujah! No one wants to endure that mess for five more years, the length of his contract extension with Detroit.
19. Washington Wizards
Reasons to watch: The Warriors made a splash grabbing Kevin Durant. Meanwhile, Wizards fans are hearing crickets. Washington re-signed Bradley Beal, but their biggest roster acquisition was Ian Mahinmi. Now it's up to new coach Scott Brooks to be exciting.
18. New Orleans Pelicans
Reasons to watch: Anthony Davis! Buddy Hield! Love those guys. And one of them is already really, really good.
17, Indiana Pacers
Reasons to watch: Paul George is a legit star. The Pacers gave him more help on offense by trading for Jeff Teague, but not much happened that qualifies as thrilling (unless you count Miles Turner's hair).
16. Toronto Raptors
Reasons to watch: The Raptors made the Eastern Conference Finals last year. They re-signed DeMar DeRozan to preserve their DeRozan-Kyle Lowry backcourt. But let's be honest -- you're watching for Drake.
15. Memphis Grizzlies
Reasons to watch: Memphis hired a new head coach, re-signed Mike Conley to a $153 million contract, added Chandler Parsons and grabbed four players in the draft. There are quite a few things to watch in 2016.
14. Los Angeles Clippers
Reasons to watch: The Clippers return mostly the same roster from last year. The Chris Paul-Blake Griffin-DeAndre Jordan trifecta is always entertaining. And if they're healthy, they could contend for the second seed in the West.
13. Dallas Mavericks
Reasons to watch: Dallas was the team that forked over max money for Harrison Barnes. All eyes will be on him this season. Except for in October and November, when they'll be on owner Mark Cuban yelling about the election.
12. Atlanta Hawks
Reasons to watch: Dwight Howard went home. So did Jeff Teague, back to Indiana. Then Al Horford left. Hmm... are the Hawks now Howard's team? This could get good.
11. San Antonio Spurs
Reasons to watch: The Spurs will be good. They still have Kawhi Leonard, LeMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker. Throw Pau Gasol into the mix and they'll hum along just fine minus Tim Duncan. But the most interesting storyline will be Gregg Popovich's first full season without him.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder
Reasons to watch: Do not underestimate this man. For all the years we've watched Russell Westbrook, he's been second fiddle to Kevin Durant. Perhaps even kept in check. That's all about to be over -- for better or worse. Bonus: Hi Steven Adams!
9. Philadelphia 76ers
Reasons to watch: No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons lit up Summer League until the 76ers decided to sit him. If he's as good as billed, he could resurrect Philadelphia from the NBA graveyard to a team worth following. That alone would be one of the biggest stories of 2016.
8. Portland Trail Blazers
Reasons to watch: Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are coming for the Western Conference powers. If newly signed Festus Ezeli blossoms in a larger role with Portland, this team will be a show.
7. New York Knicks
Reasons to watch: Kristaps Porzingis + Carmelo Anthony + Derrick Rose (??) + Joakim Noah + Courtney Lee could not possibly be a more entertaining experiment in time travel. Can't. Wait.
6. Chicago Bulls
Reasons to watch: Derrick Rose is kaput. The Bulls shed one Chicago native, only to add another in Dwyane Wade, who is old but in this case new. Other compelling items include All-Star Jimmy Butler, the arrival of mercurial weirdo Rajon Rondo and the development of younsters Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine, who tore up the Summer League circuit. There's so much going on, you almost have to watch.
5. Boston Celtics
Reasons to watch: Besides Kevin Durant, the biggest free agent prize was Al Horford. Boston got him. Now, the Celtics have All-Stars at point guard and center to go with a roster of capable role players and three first-round draft picks. You've been warned.
4. Milwaukee Bucks
Reasons to watch: Is it just me, or does it seem like Milwaukee's roster is nothing but physical freaks under the age of 25? Ok fine, Greg Monroe is 26. But seriously. On any given night, the Bucks can trot out Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton and now hoops mixtape Hall of Famer Thon Maker. Dude is 7-foot-1 and drains jumpers like Kevin Durant. I don't care how old he is.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
Reasons to watch: The only roster with more exciting young talent than Milwaukee is Minnesota. Karl Anthony-Towns is well on his way to superstardom at the ripe old age of 20. Elder statesmen Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine are still incredibly raw, but they're only 21. And 2016 draft pick Kris Dunn dropped jaws at Summer League in his brief appearance before being concussed. Will the Timberwolves be good? No idea. But I'm going to tune in to see.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Reasons to watch: LeBron James' Finals performance was one of the all-time great feats of basketball. Let's see if he can do it again.
1. Golden State Warriors
Reasons to watch: Go ahead, hate-watch this team. Watch their unfair lineup of four max-talent players in one starting five. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green along with rotating Andre Igoudala/Anderson Varejao/Zaza Pachulia. So much talent may never be concentrated on one team again. It probably shouldn't be, if you ask the 29 other teams and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. But how does a basketball fan look away?