The Hawks are a team that has a lot of promise. That being said, promise doesn’t equal wins. The team traded probably their best player in Dennis Schröder this summer to the Thunder, which brought them Atlanta Hawks legend Carmelo Anthony (whom they waived). Trae Young is going to have a lot of eyes on him this year. The core of Young, Prince, and John Collins is pretty promising. Also, somehow Vince Carter signed with the Hawks? That’s cool I guess.
Much like the Hawks, the Kings have somewhat of a solid core. Drafting Marvin Bagley Jr. over Luka Donic will haunt the Kings. Bagley was less than impressive during his brief appearence in Summer League. Year two of De’Aaron Fox should be exciting. I’m interested in how Harry Giles will play. There’s a lot of things to be excited for in the future with the Kings, but right now they’re not a good team.
Length? Length. Length! These are the words that were reiterated over and over again in the Orlando war room the past two drafts. Joking aside, the Magic could be a lot of fun to watch this season. Another year under Jonathan Isaac’s belt could be really interesting to see. Not to mention dark horse ROY contender Mo Bamba, who people are sleeping on. The issue is the Magic have no guards. Evan Fournier is all they got (also what’s up with his hair?). The Magic will be a fun League Pass team, but that’s about it.
There’s going to be a theme here with these bottom 5 teams, and that theme is youth. The Knicks are no exception after drafting Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson in this past NBA Draft. The Knicks have a chance this year to be the most entertaining they’ve been in a while. With Kristaps Porzingis likely being out the whole season, new head coach David Fizdale will be able to experience with a lot of weird lineups. Keep an eye out for guards Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay. Ntilikina’s second year should be an improvement from his decent rookie season, where this could be Mudiay’s last year in the NBA if things don’t go well.
BROOOKLYN BASSSKETBALL!!! I’m really excited to watch the Nets this year. Year two Jarret Allen already looks amazing, and I’m excited to see another year of D’Angelo Russell. Dzanan Musa was also an excellent draft pick, and I’m excited to see Joe Harris again (one of the most underrated players in the League).
Blake Griffin wanted a poster
Jarrett Allen had other plans
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) October 8, 2018
Does anyone know what’s going on in Phoenix? The team fired their GM Ryan McDonough a week before the season started. I mean, yeah he’s been a terrible GM and has botched almost every draft pick, but firing him a week before the season? Something seems weird about that. But regarding the Suns’ team, Booker and Ayton will be exciting to watch. I’m extremely excited to watch Élie Okobo, who Phoenix took with the first pick of the second round in the 2018 draft.
The Bulls had such a weird offseason. Every signing they had was absolutely horrendous. Yet, they somehow killed their draft night? It’s a really weird mix of talented young players like Dunn, Markkanen, and Carter Jr. and veterans like Parker and LaVine. I was hoping Bamba would fall to Chicago in the draft because a Markkanen/Bamba front court would be heaven. That said, I’m excited to see how Markkanen and Carter Jr. work together. It could be a fun, but weird season for the Bulls.
Talk about a team I’m super excited to watch this season (I’m serious). How can I not be hyped for CEDI OSMAN WATCH 2018? Here is a picture of the 4 best SF’s in the NBA:
In all actuality I’m really excited for the Cavs. Old-school Kevin Love will be a lot of fun. Lineups that include rookie Colin Sexton, NBA star Cedi Osman, and Kevin Love already have my attention. Cleveland can make the playoffs this year.
This is going to sound harsh, because it is. If someone told me to name the team that I’d least like to be the GM of, it’d be Charlotte. The team is in basketball purgatory. They’ve been meh for a while now, and this season will be no different. Yeah, Kemba Walker keeps saying he wants to stay in Charlotte. But should he? The only smart thing the Hornets did this summer to get better was drafting Miles Bridges. The Tony Parker signing was weird, and look for another season of mediocrity from the Hornets.
Well, Stan the Man is gone. I guess that’s a good thing? Dwayne Casey was a solid get. There’s just nothing exciting to me about Detroit. The Griffin trade looks like an absolute catastrophe at this point. Drummond looked good in pre-season. I don’t really know what the Pistons are doing. They’re neither good, not bad.
Here’s where the real fun begins. The Mavs are a really weird melting pot of veterans and young players. 19 year old Luka Doncic and 40 year old Dirk Nowitzki are going to be a joy to watch together. I’d predict that the starting lineup will be: Smith Jr., Doncic, Barnes, Nowitzki, and Jordan. If all things go well in Dallas then they *could* make the playoffs. I think Golden State, Houston, Utah, Denver, OKC, and the Lakers locks to make the playoffs but besides that, there’s about 5 teams that could get the final 2 spots, with Dallas being one of them.
Are the Clippers better than they were last season? I really have no idea. The team lost starting center DeAndre Jordan to the Dallas Mavericks this summer. They get back Danilo Gallinari, who was hurt for a large part of last season (what’s new). It’s just a weird mix of talent in LA. The team has guys like Patrick Beverly and Tobias Harris, who are good players and would improve any team they’re on. They also have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson, both of which were selected in this year’s draft. The Clippers are a weird mix of talent, and if everything goes right, they *might* be able to snag a playoff spot in the west.
At this point I’m just waiting for Woj to tweet that Jimmy Butler is being locked in a basement near the premises of Tom Thibodeau’s house. Butler going to Miami would be a huge get, but until that happens, the team is pretty much exactly where they were last season. Waiters looks out of shape. Guys like Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo continue to impress me, along with some vets like Dwayne Wade and James Johnson. The Heat are a good team, a team that will make the plaoffs in the east as currently constructed. If there’s a change, and Pat Reily is able to go get another star *cough cough Jimmy Butler* then Miami could join the likes of Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Is the talent there? Yes. Is the experience there? Yes. Will the team stay healthy long enough for either of those questions to matter come playoff time? No idea. This has been the issue in Memphis. Connely and Gasol, while still extremely skilled players, are on the decline. Jaren Jackson Jr. looked good in Summer League, but likely won’t start. Kyle Anderson could be fun, but what else is there? That bench really is bad. My gut tells me to put Dallas ahead of Memphis, but having Gasol and Conelly is just too much.
Losing starting point guard Dejounte Murray for a long period of time with a torn ACL is a terrible way to start the season. This being said, it feels like the Spurs are always playing with one of their best players down. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar Derozan may lead the league in free-throw line jumpers this season. I have no idea what to expect from the Spurs, and I have no idea if they’ll make the playoffs this year.
Could this be it? Could this be the final year of the Wall-Beal backcourt for the Wizards? Probably not. What’s more likely to happen is head coach Scott Brook’s departure before the team moves on from either of their two stars. I like the signing of ol’ Dwight Howard for the Wizards. Having Austin Rivers at backup guard is a nice addition as well. The Wizards could be sneaky good this year if the team stays healthy.
I’m going to ask the same question I asked for the previous team: is this the final season of the Lillard-McCollum backcourt? I tend to think yes. I think the team, if they start off slow, could make a lot of moves. I think an Aaron Gordon for C.J. McCollum trade is something that should be explored (seen this on twitter a lot). Jusuf Nurkic could be on the move as well. Zach Collins NEEDS more playing time, and Nurkic in the way of that. Portland made the playoffs last season with virtually no injuries and were only 3 games from the 9th seed. Will they have the same luck this season? History would tell us no. And because of that, things might go south real quick for Portland.
What the hell is going on in Minnesota? This team is only ranked this high because they have Jimmy Butler. Lose him, and I’d move the Timberwolves to right below the Grizzlies. I have no idea how this Butler situation is going to turn out, but if he actually plays for the Wolves this season they could be good. That’s all I have to say on this subject.
UPDATE: Things got even weirder:
All-Star Jimmy Butler participated in Minnesota's practice, a session that included him verbally challenging teammates, coaches and front office, league sources told ESPN. Butler was vociferous and emotional at times, targeting Thibodeau/Layden/Towns/Wiggins. Story soon on ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
At one point in a scrimmage, sources said, Butler turned to GM Scott Layden and screamed, "You (bleeping) need me. You can't win without me." Butler left teammates and coaches largely speechless. He dominated the gym in every way. Jimmy's back.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 10, 2018
Oh boy am I excited for some Milwauklee Bucks basketball. Firing Jason Kidd and replacing him with Mike Budenholzer might be the biggest glow up in coaching history. Like seriously, Kidd was horrendous. Between adding a competent head coach in Budenholzer and another year of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks could be scary. It’ll be interesting to see if Eric Bledsoe could have a bounce-back year, after he was really unimpressive for the Bucks last season. Losing Jabari Parker honestly won’t do much, and I think Giannis’ probably improvement will make up for the loss of Parker totally.
The Pelicans shocked us all when the SWEPT, I repeat SWEPT the Portland Trailblazers last year in the playoffs. The played the Warriors pretty well even. Two things happened since then: DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Warriors, and Rajon Rondo signed with the Lakers. Replacing Rondo with Elfrid Payton was a definite downgrade for New Orleans. Replacing Cousins with Julius Randle could be an improvement (just based off of fit). The jury is still out on how good the Pelicans can be, but I think they have a good shot to make the post-season.
No one expected the Pacers to be as good as they were last season. Victor Oladipo is here to stay. The Pacers made some solid moves in the offseason, most notable of which was signing Tyreke Evans. Aaron Holiday was a solid draft pick, and I think the Pacers just had a really good summer in general. One player I’m going to keep my eye on in Indiana this season is Myles Turner. If Myles turner has another jump in him, this team could be up there with the Celtics and 76ers as the best cores in the Eastern Conference.
Interesting question: take LeBron off this team. Where would you rank them? I think It’d put them 15th. With LeBron? 9th is pretty fair. This team is unproven and no one knows what they’re going to be like in the regular season. Their preseason wasn’t bad, but the jury is still out on the Lakers.
I think the Nuggets are better than the Thunder right now, but the Thunder have proven they can actually get to the playoffs. Denver is going to be elite on offense this season. I think we all expect Jamal Murray to have a great season. If the players are as good as they’re supposed to be, Denver can be upwards of a 4 seed in the west. A real question: how much better can Nikola Jokic get? Hopefully we’ll see. Getting back an injured Isaiah Thomas will be something to see. Team chemistry should be good, but who knows. *Note* if Michael Porter Jr. plays at all this season, Denver could go from good to great. I think next year the Nuggets can be a legitimate title contender. This year we’ll see if they have what it takes to play “nuggets ball” for a full season.
This year we’ll (hopefully) be able to see how important a healthy Andre Roberson is to this team. The Thunder were really good with Roberson on the court. They definitely could have used him in the playoffs last year., especially in regards to Donovan Mitchell. Besides Roberson, the Thunder pretty much bring back the same crew. I think this team can be really good, but I think something is holding it back.
Will a healthy Markell Fultz be able to replace the production of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova? If he can, then Philly should be as good, if not better as they were last season. Improvements from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid should be expected. I think the 76ers are not in the same tier as the Raptors and Celtics at the top of the conference. Even with this, they have 2 of the 5 best players in the whole Eastern Conference. I think this season may start off a little slow, but Philly will be fine. Also, if you want a great Philly fan/writer to follow this season check out my buddy Kevin Rice.
The Jazz shouldn’t be this good. Rubio, Mitchell, Ingles, Favors, and Gobert is one of the best lineups in basketball. I really like the selection of Grayson Allen in the draft too. I think Donovan Mitchell isn’t going to take the leap a lot of people expect he will. The Jazz are going to be a great team because they have a great coach and a great system. I think the overall team will be even better than they were last year, but people shouldn’t expect Mitchell to have an all-star type year.
This team has a chance to be the greatest Raptors team of all time. Adding Kawhi Leonard to this team gives them serious clout. I LOVE a lineup of Lowry, Green, Leonard, Anunoby, and Siakam as the second best death-lineup in the league. If Leonard finds that he liked the city of Toronto, the Raptors will be no laughing matter.
— Overtime (@overtime) September 24, 2018
I don’t think the Rockets are as good as they were last year. Does this mean that they’re not the second best team in the Western Conference? No. All it means is that the separation between the Rockets and the Nuggets/Jazz/Thunder isn’t as close as it used to be. Losing Ariza and replacing him with Carmelo Anthony was a definite downgrade. The Rockets are the second best team in the west, but unlike last year, I don’t see them as an actual threat to the Warriors as currently constructed.
Talk about a loaded team. The Celtics were one game away from being in the NBA Finals last year without their two best players in Kyrie Irving and Daniel Theis. Kidding, obviously. The addition of Gordon Hayward to an already stacked Celtics team cannot go understated. Hayward ads another big, switchable guard to the Celtics’ roster in a league where big, switchable guards are the most valuable thing (and has 3 great ones). Let’s just hope Robert Williams makes it to what, like 70% of the practices?
The biggest change between last year’s Warriors and this year’s Warriors? One Answer: BEARDED KLAY THOMPSON.
Lmao but also, who the hell let the Warriors sign DeMarcus Cousins? Oh. 29 other teams that didn’t sign him. Right. Well, the Warriors were going to win a championship without DeMarcus, and they’re going to win one with him. This is one of the most impressive 5-year runs in sports history, and it could be the final year of the Warriors’ dynasty (most likely not). Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will both hit the free agent market. Klay will probably stay, but I’d say it’s 60-40% of KD stays. Regardless of the future, the Warriors are dominant. I think the only team that could give them a puncher’s shot is a fully healthy Celtics. Bravo, Bob Myers.
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