Every year there are teams that surprise the nation by exceeding all expectations.
This year, the Miami Heat are one of those teams that missed the playoffs and are currently the #4 seed in the East. They lost Dwayne Wade to retirement but replaced him with all-star Jimmy Butler.
Butler and his young teammates Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro have all been an amazing team that brought themselves up from mediocrity.
Other teams such as the Clippers also boosted up from the #8 seed to the #2 seed, however, we all saw that coming since Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are a solid duo to have.
For the upcoming year, there are going to be several teams that could indeed surprise America as the Heat did. Here are the top three teams that could do it:
1. The Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks may have been the Eastern Conference’s most disappointing team. Despite having Trae Young and John Collins to make one of the best duos in the East, they ended up going 20-47, which is worse than teams like the Pistons and the Knicks.
This surprised a lot of people because Young had finished second in Rookie of the Year voting last season and led the Hawks to a slightly better record in 2019.
Even though they were disappointing this year, next year is going to be very different. At the trade deadline, the Hawks traded for Clint Capela in the most boring four-team trade ever. They also traded for Dewayne Dedmon so they are now stacked at the Center position.
They also are likely to have a top-five pick as their fourth in the lottery. That means they could draft a highly talented Shooting Guard such as Isaac Okoro, Anthony Edwards, or Tyrese Haliburton.
They’re going to have two impressive new pieces that are going to put them over the edge. The Atlanta Hawks (barring injury) are as close to a sure thing as you can get to make the playoffs, and could definitely be a force in the Eastern Conference.
2. Golden State Warriors
Is this really a surprise? The Golden State Warriors are so much better than they showed this season. Whether it was Thompson’s ACL tear, Curry’s hand injury, or Durant’s departure, the Warriors were a complete mess this year.
That won’t be the case next year.
Thompson will return next season and Curry will as well. They also have Draymond Green still there and new recruit Andrew Wiggins to make a dangerous four.
Because of their horrible record, they are guaranteed a top-five pick and are likely to get a top three. Players like Deni Avidja, James Wiseman, or Obi Toppin would all be great fits for this team.
Since they’re in need of a Center, Wiseman or possibly Toppin would likely be the best choices but whoever they use their pick on, it’s going to help their team massively.
3. The Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves also have a shot at making a real difference in the Western Conference.
At the trade deadline, they traded for all-star Point Guard D’Angelo Russell. The duo of Towns and Russell makes for one of the most exciting duos in the NBA.
The two of them both want to make the playoffs and go far and they’ll be a great 1/5 pairing, excellent for pick-and-rolls.
Like the Warriors, they too will likely have a top-five pick that they could use on Deni Avdija, Isaac Okoro, or Obi Toppin. Outside of their one and five, they could use an upgrade at any position.