Of these teams with new coaches and green rosters — Phoenix, Boston, Philadelphia, Sacramento — which holds the most short-term hope? Long-term?
Sacramento is always entertaining and can definitely grow into a good team - especially if they can figure out a trade to get them Rajon Rondo. With new ownership, I can feel them moving into a good direction. Long term, I'll say Philadelphia, if they can actually get that No. 1 pick in next year's draft.
I'm between the Kings and the Sixers. The Kings kept their core, despite the fact that they lost some important pieces of the puzzle. Isiah Thomas plays aggressively and can fill Tyreke Evans' shoes to some extent, alongside with Salmons, Thompson and Thorton. DeMarcous Cousins is turning into the most skilled (offensively) big guy in the league, but hasn't provem himself yet as an elite player. If he plays 100 percent every night he has the potential to carry the team to the next level. The same goes with the promising Sixers' front-line (Turner, Young, Hawes). On the other hand the Celtics have a bra(n)d new coach (Brad Stevens) and an All-Star in Return Mode. They will need some time to adjust. I am a great fan of coach Stevens and his work in Butler, so I'm sure he will find the way to make the team better and that's why I pick Boston as the long term hope-holder.
Short-term – Sacramento. They have an owner who seems to be making the right moves and if Mike Malone can connect with DeMarcus Cousins, they could at least hope to contend for the seventh or eighth spot in the West. Long-term – Boston. We all know that with the passing of the Big 3 era, the Celtics are going to take time to rebuild even if Rajon Rondo is still around. But with GM Danny Ainge firmly in control and the draw of the Celtics as the NBA’s premier franchise (in terms of titles won), Boston should be OK in the long haul.
I’ll go with the Kings short term and Celtics long-term here. Unlike the other teams, Sacramento is not at stage 1 of its rebuilding plan. They just changed their coach and lost a player via sign-and-trade (Tyreke Evans), but added Greivis Vasquez, the second best assist man in the league last year, to a young, talented group. If DeMarcus Cousins finally grows up, they can continue develop into a playoff team. I pick Boston for long-term because it's the Celtics we're talking about. It's a transition year for them, but I'm pretty sure Danny Ainge has a great plan to bring the C’s historic franchise back where it belongs.
Boston will have a leg up on the other teams, both in the short and long term goals -- and Rajon Rondo is the main reason. Rondo is still relatively young and has a couple of prime years left in the tank, and with Jeff Green and Avery Bradley as his new main running mates they have a Playoff-level worthy talent, at worst, if they stay healthy. If Kelly Olynyk develops into a dependable two-way center they will be perennial Playoff contenders.