In sports, we look for which teams are on their way to becoming the next champions. These teams have tanked for numerous seasons en route to becoming the next champion of their respective league. However, this process can be difficult to gauge because of a couple factors. One reason is the unexpected nature of injuries. Whether it's an ACL injury or a devastating hip injury, an injury can lead to a potential superstar becoming a bust. That's another reason why teams usually don't end up becoming champions: the art of the bust. Teams don't know if they're getting the next Peyton Manning or the next Ryan Leaf. The prospect has the potential to become a star, but cannot put it together due to the aforementioned injuries or not living up to their expectations. Anyways, here are the teams I have picked to become the chosen champions in the future (note that these do not include playoff teams from the previous season. Therefore, teams such as the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia 76ers are not on this list).
MLB: San Diego Padres: With numerous prospects in tow, including Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mackenzie Gore, the Padres have a youth movement on the way. In fact, the Padres have 10% of the current Top 100 Prospect list on MLB.com. It isn't just the farm system that has been a boon; the Padres have also made moves in the free agent market. They have signed Eric Hosmer to a sizable contract and are in pursuit of stars such as Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel. You can also make the case for the Chicago White Sox considering their farm system is just as good as San Diego's and they're going after free agents such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. You can also make the case for the Cincinnati Reds for the same reasons. However, the Padres should be able to take on the Dodgers in an NL West division that should take a step back in the future. Also Watch For: Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds
NHL: Buffalo Sabres: It seems the Buffalo Sabres have arrived already, sitting pretty at 45 points through 34 games (second in the Atlantic behind the Tampa Bay Lightning). The star for the Buffalo Sabres is Jack Eichel, who has been named as a counterpart to Edmonton's Connor McDavid. The Sabres also have Rasmus Dahlin, a defenseman who has been compared to Nicklas Lidstrom for his ability to keep the puck away from the opposition. Buffalo has also gotten a solid pickup in Jeff Skinner, who already has 24 goals this season. Also Watch For: Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers
NFL: San Francisco 49ers: This was supposed to be the year the 49ers took that next step. However, Jimmy Garappolo suffered a devastating knee injury in Week Three against the Kansas City Chiefs. Still, the 49ers have a solid tight end in George Kittle and a devastating edge rusher in DeForest Buckner (60 combined tackles, 11 sacks). Richard Sherman is the veteran leader this team needs and can help expedite the 49ers' ascent to the top in his time there. Don't forget that the Niners have a high draft pick in next year's NFL Draft. Also Watch For: New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (?)
NBA: Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas Mavericks are the NBA equivalent of the Oakland Athletics: they don't make the splashy moves in the NBA free market or the draft. Instead, they make moves based on a sabremetrical/analytical standpoint. So far, it looks like the Mavericks are headed in the right direction. Luka Doncic looks great for the Mavericks and looks like he can take over a game by himself, DeAndre Jordan is a nice veteran to have on this team, and Dennis Smith Jr. has gotten rave reviews from NBA critics and experts. The NBA has evolved into a three-pointer and shot analytics game now. Next offseason's free agency will also play a key factor in determining who will become a champion in the future. But it looks like Mark Cuban is up to something in the Big D and it looks to be as big as Texas. Also Watch For: Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers
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