Roundtable: Believe in Magic?
Some of these teams have different agendas. The Clippers are built to win now, and the Grizzlies may lack the resources and commitment to exploit the cap space and flexibility they've amassed. The Warriors seem to rebuild anew with young players every three or four years, so their track record isn't promising even if Monta Ellis recovers from his ankle injury.
The Timberwolves, Kings and Thunder all have a few intriguing pieces to build around, but how do you convert young teams playing as badly as they are into winning organizations? It's going to come down to making some shrewd trades and surrounding young talents like Durant, Minnesota's Al Jefferson and Sacramento's Spencer Hawes with players who can help them turn the corner sooner than later. Those revamps are impossible to predict: Did anybody forecast the Celtics' summer of 2007? They looked like a hopeless team with a star player in Paul Pierce who had little faith. Based on the Celtics' model, then, these losing teams are going to need owners who are willing to pay the price of a talented team, and general managers who are wise and bold.
In short, I don't have a clue which of these teams is going to make it, because if any of them ever does turn into a winner, it will be with an overhauled roster that looks nothing like what we're seeing today.
But don't read too much into the outcome. I remember in the 1980s, when the Celtics and Lakers met three times during the Finals, their regular-season games provided no advantage to either side.