NBA Projected Wins

First of all, I’d like to apologize.  This has taken so much longer than I anticipated.

But anyway bro-migos, it’s almost time.  Well, depends on how you look at it.  Many arguments to be made for and against this, but the eager beavers of the world would quickly be ready to jump on me if I said, “Preseason doesn’t count”. Well (even though I don’t think it does), BASKETBALL IS BACK BAY-BAY! Bad Dick Vitale impression. Probably didn’t come across that way. Oh well. Not to go into the glut of preseason analysis, where injured players are jacking up shots trying to get back in rhythm, rookies are trying to prove they deserve their contract, most vets are barely playing, and coaches are just throwing lineups out seeing what may or may not work. To me, it’s like watching preseason NFL. Therefore, I shall be doing an in-depth analysis of (arguably) the best part about professional sports: gambling. As some of y’all may know, Vegas released the odds for the projected wins of every team.  Shockingly, some are easy to take.  Not normally the case for a place who’s motto is, “The House Always Wins.” Fortunately for you guys, all I do is watch basketball.  Like a lot of basketball.  Probably need to get another hobby. Anywho, let’s jump right into my guide for you guys willing to test your luck…

Minnesota Timberwolves Open – 44.5, Current – 41, 2017 Win Total – 47, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

Come get your takes while they are hot and spicy boys and girls, had to come out the gate with a hard one. This is a reluctant pick.  Like very reluctant.  But, gotta be real guys: the Timber-Bulls are a dumpster fire.  Thibs is a head coach-GM that is stuck in his ways that are harmful as hell to player health.  The owner has no idea on how to run a team (tune in later for this).  They have no idea what to do when a star gets mad and doesn’t wish to be there.  They have a divided locker room.  They have young players that get called a word worse than ‘sissy’.  They only have 3 guys that seem to be capable of playing defense. Too many red flags.  This is gonna end in a self-implosion.  Take the under, don’t get screwed y’all.

Golden State Warriors Open – 62.5, Current – 62.5, 2017 Win Total – 58, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

Pretty easy one here.  They didn’t add any healthy players.  They lost some reliable guys on their bench.  Their bench is ALSO pretty depressing to look at after the 8th man (goes Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and Kevon Looney).  Pat McCaw just turned down their (lowball) offer.  Rumors are already coming out that they are going to strategically rest everyone this year.  Like hardcore rest.  They want everyone come playoff time.  They don’t care about the regular season.  Take the under.

Boston Celtics Open – 57.5, Current – 59, 2017 Win Total – 55, Buck’s Best Bet – Over 

Easy Peasy.  They had 55 last season, and are gaining 2 All-Stars to that team.  Their young players are another year older; their old players are ageless wonders.  On top of it, there are only 3 teams in the East that have any shot of beating them, and all but 1 more than likely will.  Take the over.

Houston Rockets Open – 54.5, Current – 56.5, 2017 Win Total – 59, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

Feel bad for Houston.  Truly, I really do.  They just lost all but one of their great defenders, which is arguably the only reason that they even took it to 7 against the Warriors.  And who did they replace all that valuable defense with?  That’s right: Carmelo Anthony.  God save them.  Think about their closing five right now going into the season: Paul, Harden, Gordon, Anthony, and Capela.  Who are they stopping?  Take the under.

Toronto Raptors Open – 54.5, Current – 55.5, 2017 Win Total – 59, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

God save the NBA.  If Khalil Mack is any proof of how good a player can be on a “Fuck my former team” tour, then think about what Kawhi is going to do to that weak East.  He’s the only one that can shut down Giannis, LeBron, Ben Simmons, KD, etc.  He’s got shooters, and other defensive-minded players around him.  This will be fun to watch, especially when they go over.

Philadelphia 76ers Open – 54.5, Current – 53.5, 2017 Win Total – 52, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

This was a tough one.  Like very tough.  I went back and forth for days over this.  But Wilson Chandler going down kind of made me realize:  they did nothing in the FA.  Like at all.  They didn’t score any of the A-Listers like Bron or PG.  They didn’t trade for Kawhi.  The best things they’ve done is flip Mikal Bridges and be a salary dump for the Nuggets.  And even though Markelle Fultz made a jump shot, I’m not sold.  He won’t close over JJ Redick.  I’m not buying them right now; I’ll take the under.

Utah Jazz Open – 48.5, Current – 50, 2017 Win Total – 48, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I actually put a lot of money on this.  Like, all $5 to my name (lol send me money).  This is an easy one.  The Spida will take another step, and Gobert is the best defender.  They have an amazing team defense, and Joe Ingles is getting SO MUCH better as he ages (literally the Ageless Aussie).  I feel like the Jazz are going to finish really high…but my predictions will come later.  Over baby.

Milwaukee Bucks Open – 46.5, Current – 48.5, 2017 Win Total – 44, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I said over on the open, and I will still say it now.  Giannis (barring injury) is going to win the MVP.  He’s in a weak East.  He’s got a great (regular season) coach.  The supporting cast around him got better.  The Bucks are poised to claim the 3 seed in the East, and that’s just meeting expectations.  Expect good things from this team this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder Open – 50.5, Current – 48.5, 2017 Win Total – 47, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

This one was tough for me.  When it first opened, I took the under.  Like very quickly.  Now?  I begrudgingly have to say over.  I think the Thunder, when healthy, will be like the Rockets last year: a defensive juggernaut with capable offensive All-Stars slicing up opposing teams.  The trouble I am having is whether or not they will be in the top half of the playoff bracket.  LABron, the Dubs, the Jazz, and the Rockets are all still capable.  I think Melo leaving will help the team more than harm, and it will for sure help their defensive woes when he was on the court.

Indiana Pacers Open – 47.5, Current – 48, 2017 Win Total – 48, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

Again, another tough one.  When the odds came out, I said over.  Easy pick.  Now?  If you don’t take the push, I would take the over.  Even though they missed out on the David Nwaba sweepstakes, they still won the Tyreke Evans lottery.  Miles Turner has reports coming out that he is a sharpshooter in the making (God save the East if a center is a sharpshooter), and Thad Young is still the same dude that was able to do the second best job guarding LeBron last year in the playoffs.  My 4th best team in the East shall do great, and Vic Dipo is on a path to bring a championship to the state of Indiana (something he couldn’t do at IU).

Denver Nuggets Open – 47.5, Current – 47.5, 2017 Win Total – 46, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

The Nuggets suck.  Don’t get me wrong, I think they are one of the better teams in the West.  They have the most electric offense in the NBA, and Jokic is a stellar, bonafide face of a franchise. But they still suck. They had one of the worst defenses in the NBA.  In an effort to clear cap space, they traded away a lot of valuable defensive players (yes, shocker that Wilson Chandler is “valuable”, right?).  And who did they add to help their defense?  Wait, no one?  Oh, my bad, they added to their guard depth by signing Isaiah Thomas…wow, very reassuring.  I don’t know if the mantra of “Just out-score them!” will reap what they intend it to.  Look at the boat the Rockets are in. Oh well, at least Michael Porter, Jr. will be able to play…in the 2019-2020 season.

Los Angeles Lakers Open – 48.5, Current – 47.5, 2017 Win Total – 35, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

Sweet Jesus take this.  Like this is so easy.  Even with Lonzo out, the Lakers have shown TREMENDOUS growth and FA success so far in the preseason.  That’s saying a lot from the team that had about $40 mil invested in Luol Deng and Mozgov.  Making strides.  Of course, they also grabbed LeBron.  He pretty much took the Merry Band of Misfit Toys to the Finals…again.  Pretty easy one since the Rockets down-shifted as a defensive team.

New Orleans Pelicans Open – 45.5, Current – 45.5, 2017 Win Total – 48, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

This is a tough one.  Julius Randle, Mirotic, and AD are a tantalizing frontcourt.  Coupled with the fact Jrue Holiday is an amazing player?  Sounds dynamic.  Whats the problem?  They lost Rondo, and added Elfrid Peyton.  Not an upgrade.  At all.  Tie in the fact that you are pretty bare on your bench as well?  Yikes.  But this is a contract year for AD.  He wants to get paid, regardless of it he plays for the Pels come next season or not.  Expect an MVP-caliber year from him.

San Antonio Spurs Open – 43.5, Current – 45.5, 2017 Win Total – 47, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I was over before, and I am over again.  I can’t see a Popovich team not finish around the 50 win mark.  They still are a deep team, and they will miss some key defensive players like Green, Leonard, and Anderson.  However, they are still the Spurs.  They will win against the bad teams in the league, and Pop will coach to win every game.  DeRozan is going to be on a Khalil Mack-ish type of season (aka “Fuck My Former Team”).  They will still be good.  They are the Spurs.

Washington Wizards Open – 44.5, Current – 45, 2017 Win Total – 43, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

If you listen to another writer for Soft 7, he will lead you to believe that the Wizards are destined to be as high as the 2 seed in the East.  But sorry Parm, I got to cut the hype train short.  Wall, while a great player, has a lot of people calling him out for poor play and not improving his 3 point clip.  Beal and Morris are good, but just role player wise.  Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre are interchangeable by how mediocre they are.  And Scotty Brooks is an idiot. Now, for the real reason why they will go under.  Dwight Howard is a locker room nightmare.  He is a walking cancer that only cares about his stats.  Think about it:  he’s a walking double-double, and no one wants him.  The man couldn’t play with Kobe, and has pretty much run himself out of everywhere he has been.  They are going to implode this season, and maybe the Wizards will finally grasp the fact that they need to start a rebuild around Brad Beal, Tomas Satoransky, and Oubre.  Everyone else needs to go.

Miami Heat Open – 41.5, Current – 43.5, 2017 Win Total – 44, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

This is an intriguing one.  Right now, the Heat are in a bidding war for Jimmy Butler with the Los Angeles Clippers.  The price is a high one, so I took this into account.  It didn’t change the fact I still believe you should take the over now, and post-trade (were it to happen).  The Heat are poised in the precarious spot of being anywhere between the 5 seed to out of the playoffs.  Sad part is, I believe 38 wins can get you a spot in the 8 seed in the East.  They still have guys that can get buckets, and they have some great young pieces.  If they get Jimmy Butler, then it only solidifies them exceeding expectations.

Portland Trail Blazers Open – 41.5, Current – 41.5, 2017 Win Total – 49, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I think we are looking at another over here.  This one is pretty brief in the sense that they just have too much talent.  They will for sure lose more games this year since they didn’t address the 3 spot on their roster, but that only matters for the playoffs.  In the regular season, they have enough firepower.

Detroit Pistons Open – 37.5, Current – 38.5, 2017 Win Total – 39, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

The Pistons are a dumpster fire.  Like a magnificent one.  Like a splendid one.  They traded for Blake Griffin, a guy that pretty much plays in the same space/position as Andre Drummond.  They don’t have any guards that wow you, and all their wings suck.  Expect the rebuild to begin at some point during the course of this year.

Los Angeles Clippers Open – 35.5, Current – 37.5, 2017 Win Total – 42, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I was surprised to see this be this low.  But I get it.  They have so much talent.  They have guys that would start on other teams at their 10-12 spots.  They are also in the glorious spot of being so talent-loaded that they are the front-runners for any Jimmy Butler trade (which they should pursue aggressively).  Take the over, and be ready to get pleasantly surprised this year by Lou Will and squad.

Charlotte Hornets Open – 35.5, Current – 35.5, 2017 Win Total – 36, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

This team is going to be a magical dumpster fire.  I just cannot see a positive.  Kemba wants to leave, MKG hasn’t progressed, they lost one of their best players to a team in conference (Dwight Howard), and they drafted an under-sized wing that is best at the 4 when he has almost the same measurables as Malik Monk.  Don’t forget to tie in the facts Monk can’t remember to put on his jersey, Monk hasn’t gone a week without getting hurt, and that Jordan (the 2nd worst owner in the league) believes they are still a contender.  I feel bad for Hornets fans, they deserve better.

Dallas Mavericks Open – 34.5, Current – 35, 2017 Win Total – 24, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I had not kept it a well-known secret that Luka Doncic was the best player in the draft.  Bring this hand-in-hand with the key signing of DeAndre Jordan (the best defensive big in the FA this year) and with Dennis Smith’s growth as a player, and you got the makings of a great team.  If it wasn’t for the Mavericks purposefully trying to lose games, they would have won a lot more than they did.  While I don’t have a lot of faith in them making the playoffs, I do believe they can finish as one of the bottom 5 teams in the West since they don’t have to prove anything or attract any big ticket free agents.

Memphis Grizzlies Open – 34.5, Current – 33.5, 2017 Win Total – 22, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

Also another team in the West that tanked spectacularly last year.  They were tanking so hard they were benching Marc Gasol for entire quarters just to lose.  And this year?  Don’t expect that.  At all.  IF (if if if if IF) Mike Conley stays healthy, this team will make the playoffs.  They have a very good starting 5 defensively (Conley, Temple/Seldon, Anderson, Green/Jackson Jr., and Gasol), but their bench will be a tad weak.  That’s to be expected though, since they are in the weird gray area of “Should we tank?” or “Should we compete because our really good vets are getting old?”  I hope they make the right choice, since they are devoid of cap space since Conley and Gasol take up about $60 mil of the team’s already limited cap space.

Brooklyn Nets Open – 32.5, Current – 32, 2017 Win Total – 28, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

The Brooklyn Nets may be the Cleveland Browns of the NBA.  Never winning, horrible GMs, and constantly having bad players.  So does this mean with the Browns ascension, you may be asking, that the Nets will be experiencing one as well? Unfortunately, no.  The Nets, while having some intriguing and potentially great building blocks of a team of the future, still only possess building blocks.  The perceived ‘best player’ on the team, my boy from OSU D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell), is a slow, ball-dominate PG.  He’d be better at SG, and while that would normally work, the Nets have so many guards it’s tough to make that transition.  They are slated to have their books almost clear at the end of this season, and they possess their own pick and potentially a second first rounder if the Nuggets fall outside of the 12th pick (which they are slotted to on my preseason ranking board).  Expect another tank, but with a great future in mind.

Cleveland Cavaliers Open – 30.5, Current – 31, 2017 Win Total – 50, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

While this may seem like a homer pick since I myself am a Cavs fan, it really isn’t.  I want the Cavs to lose.  It is in their best interest to tank.  The problem is, there is no reason to.  They just paid K Love.  Their vets all want to prove they can win without LeBron (which we all know they can’t).  Collin Sexton is a young PG, and their other young pieces (Rodney, Cedi, Clarkson, and Nance) are all trying to prove they belong on the future Cavs team.  Let’s not forget the newly hired head coach of the Cavs Ty Lue (promoted from LeBron’s clipboard holder to head coach) is now given the reigns, and no one knows what he is/seems to be as a coach.  I just have way to many question marks on this team, but I know one thing: they want to win.  And in a weak East, I could see them making it in the playoffs at that 8 spot…unfortunately.

Orlando Magic Open – 31.5, Current – 31, 2017 Win Total – 25, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

Also another team that needs to lose.  Fortunately, they will.  Even with Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba looking like they can effectively block any shot within 10 feet of the rim, the Magic are going to play it smart and develop them the old fashion way: limited reps, lots of film, and praying they don’t get hurt.  Aaron Gordon is also a giant question mark as usual, and there doesn’t seem to be a capable PG on their roster.  Their best bet is Gordon can play a point forward role, which he hasn’t showcased that he can do.  Too many questions from a team where their stars are still developing and young.

Chicago Bulls Open – 27.5, Current – 30, 2017 Win Total – 27, Buck’s Best Bet – Over

I was surprised to see this open so low.  It didn’t stay that way, but it’s still low enough for me to take the over.  While they may be a young team, I see a ton of potential from them.  Wendell Carter looks to be better than Marvin Bagley, and Dunn is definitely still the defensive PG they need to compensate for Lavine being incapable of making a defensive stop.  However, I don’t know about the health and depth of the team.  Lavine and the newly-signed Jabari Parker are both injury prone, and Dunn is also coming off of one as well.  Add in the fact their back-up PG is Cameron Payne, their back-up center is Robin Lopez, and they have no true 3 on their roster.  Yikes.  Awful lot to bank on for them being good.  However, if they remain healthy, they may be able to beat up on teams purely by the fact the young tandem of Carter and Lauri can carry them.

Phoenix Suns Open – 28.5, Current – 29, 2017 Win Total – 21, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

Simple reasoning for this: young stars, young big man, front office turmoil, new head coach, no PGs that have played anywhere besides in college and the G League, and an abundance of depth in the wrong places.  No one really knows what is going to happen, and while I can be optimistic, I can’t be stupid.  Way too many red flags coming from the organization with the worst owner in the league, and this is from the same conference as the Timber-Bulls.  Yikes.

New York Knicks Open – 29.5, Current – 28, 2017 Win Total – 29, Buck’s Best Bet – Under

To all the Knicks fans that stuck it out to this point: I’m sorry.  I’m sorry because with Porzin-God going down, you lost your only chance of going over.  I do believe that Know and Robinson are going to be absolutely amazing this year since they will have a lot of reps.  But I don’t see a lot of positives on the roster, especially since Kanter can’t play defense.  Maybe Fizdale isn’t the phony that Marc Gasol claims he is.  I don’t know though.  I don’t think the Big Apple is going to see a good Knicks team this year, especially with no stellar PGs and Courtney  Lee already out with a neck/back injury.

Sacramento Kings Open – 25.5, Current – 26, 2017 Win Total – 27, Buck’s Best Bet – Over(?)

This one was super hard.  But I have no faith in this one.  I can go super in-depth on why I don’t believe in the kings, but to me it’s pretty simple: they are a young, non-playoff team in a conference that is stacked with veteran, playoff teams.  Expect a long and rough season if you are a Kings fan, because it will not be pretty.

Atlanta Hawks Open – 23.5, Current – 22.5, 2017 Win Total – 24, Buck’s Best Bet – Flip a Coin LOL

Buck’s Correct Predictions For 2019 NBA Season

I already published an article on my thoughts about season awards and such.  If I could go back I would say the Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder wins Coach of the Year instead of Brad Stevens.  But my picks are locked.  So here go my predictions… WESTJUST MISSING BY SOME SMALL MARGIN/TIEBREAKER

  1. Spurs
  2. Thunder
  3. Timber-Bulls

Playoff Seeding

  1. Jazz
  2. Warriors
  3. Lakers
  4. Pelicans
  5. Blazers
  6. Rockets
  7. Grizzlies
  8. Nuggets

Conference Semis: Warriors vs. Lakers; Jazz vs. Pelicans Conference Finals: Lakers vs. Jazz Western Conference Champion: JAZZWHY?I hate to say it, but I think the 4-11 teams in the West (even with the Spurs and Thunder already dying to the injury bug) are going to have a similar thing happen like last year, where the 4-10 teams (last year) were separated by 2 games in the standings.  I think the Spurs, Thunder, and Timber-Bulls are the most injury/locker-room-disaster prone in the West this year, so expect them to be on the outside looking in. Jazz will be the best team in the West this year in the regular season.  Resting for the playoffs drops the Warriors from 1 to 2.  Bron and the Lake-Show take awhile to start gelling, but will cruise past after the All-Star break.  Pels will run a high pick-and-roll/pop with AD and Jrue until teams start quadruple-teaming them.  Blazers will play their hearts out in the season for Paul Allen.  Rockets’ defense will be so bad that they will drop off the face of the Earth.  Grizzlies will be a surprise to everyone, and I think their starting lineup of Conley, Temple/Seldon, Anderson, Jackson, and Gasol can be one of the best starting 5 in the West.  The Nuggets have sold out for the “we will just outscore them” mentality, and will be the best regular season offense. Jazz defense will shut down the Nuggets offense.  Warriors “Lineup of Death” will force Gasol off the court, and will be the demise of them.  The Lakers will gash the already hole-filled defense of the Rockets.  AD will give any Blazers player in or the near the paint nightmares. LeBron is in full revenge-mode, and wants to destroy the Warriors before they even get to the finals.  He went into THEIR conference after all, and I fully expect the Warriors to get caught off-guard and rest on their laurels too much.  I also fully expect Draymond and/or Boogie to get ejected after getting in a stupid fight with someone from the ‘Meme Team’.  While I think AD will be the best player in the Jazz-Pels series, the Jazz are just too deep and versatile.  They are pretty much the Celtics of the West with how crazy deep and defense-oriented their team is. Jazz will be able to beat the Lakers solely for the fact that they are/will be the best defensive team in the NBA.  They have 3-4 guys that can actually guard LeBron (historically that is), and they have a center who’s name isn’t Javale.  I haven’t mentioned much about Donovan being a key factor, but I believe that’s because teams will key in on him up until this series.  I fully believe he will be the best player in this series if his teammate Rudy Gobert doesn’t show it. EASTJUST MISSING BY SOME SMALL MARGIN/TIEBREAKER

  1. Nets
  2. Hornets

Playoff Seeding

  1. Celtics
  2. Raptors
  3. Bucks
  4. 76ers
  5. Pacers
  6. Wizards
  7. Heat
  8. Cavaliers

Conference Semis: Celtics vs. Pacers; Raptors vs. Bucks Conference Finals: Celtics vs. Bucks Eastern Conference Champion: CELTICSWHY?So the Hornets and Nets are on two opposite ends of the spectrum.  One good, one bad.  The Hornets slide from mediocrity to abysmal will hit full stride after the All-Star break.  Fully expect them to gut the team and trade, but Jordan is ‘too smart’ to do that.  He wants to compete, and it will handicap this team tremendously.  The Nets are the reverse.  They have a young core, and will make strides.  I fully expect them to barely get left out, and they will be able to secure a better team through the FA and the draft (since they actually have their pick for now). Celtics are the 2nd best team in the NBA behind the Warriors.  Raptors may finish the year behind MVP Robo-Kawhi and their amazing defense.  Giannis will be what LeBron was in Cleveland during the 2015-16 season, and lead an above average team with a good coach.  The 76ers are going to destroy teams with Simmons and Embiid being the ‘Unguardable Duo’.  The Pacers will either have the 2nd best or 3rd best defense in the East, and Dipo is going to try and prove they shouldn’t be overlooked.  The Wizards (based on their talent) should be one of the best teams in the NBA…BUT they will implode and be lucky to even be the 6th seed.  The Heat and Cavs will limp into the playoffs, and that is solely because of the fact that they have All-Stars on their teams, while the rest in the East do not. The Celtics beating the Cavs and Raptors beating the Heat will almost be unwatchable by how big these blowouts will be.  The Bucks will also destroy the Wizards, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a ‘Player’s Only Meeting’ held by the Wizards during (lol).  The 76ers and Pacers will be a great series, and I only have the 6ers falling solely because the 76ers don’t have an answer for Dipo and their defense. Celtics will easily push past a tired Pacers, and will bludgeon them down with their depth.  The Raptors and Bucks will b

e matchup of (in my mind) the #1 and #2 vote-getters in the MVP race.  The only reason I have the Bucks edging past the Raptors is because Giannis shows that his lessons with Kobe paid off.  I fully expect the Greek Freak to decimate them, and the Raptors to have no answer. The Celtics will be able to contain Giannis’ supporting cast, and pretty much play amazing defense throughout the series.  I also expect that every aspect about their team (depth, offense, defense, etc.) overwhelms the Bucks. FINALS (Jazz vs. Celtics)Winner = Celtics (in 7)Finals MVP = Marcus Smart WHY?So this scenario was a little easier to stick to.  Let’s dissect the easiest part first: the MVP.  The last couple winners of Finals MVP have been people that can guard the best player on the court or the best player on the court.  By that logic, Smart easier gets the MVP award.  I also expect him to capitalize on the offensive end as well. The Celtics and the Jazz will be the refresher that is well-needed in this era of Western Warrior dominance.  Both teams have the depth that is needed to get there at every position, have young stars capable of handling the spotlight, and will have outstanding defensive/offensive ratings.  Even though the Warriors will be the most talented team in the NBA, these will be the best OVERALL teams in the NBA.  It is going to be a long, drawn-out, exciting series.  I believe that this will break numerous viewing/streaming records. In terms of the players, I can’t think of any players that will have a bad series off the top of my head.  Every player will have a minimum of 10 quarters where they play out of their minds, and that’s not factoring in any games going into OT (which I expect more than a couple of these to go to) and any players maintaining a game-long hot streak. Do I think this will happen? Yes.  What percentage am I giving this championship in occurring? Less than 20%, closer to 15% in actuality.  Why am I so certain?  Simple really. I think the Warriors cockiness, Boogie’s polarizing attitude/play, and a ‘hunger’ in the West to dethrone them will make it happen.  You may notice I am only describing the West aspect in this, since I am willing to take/make bets on whether or not the Celts will get to the ‘Ship. Enjoy this hot take hotcake boys and girls.

Happy Tip Day.

Beginning of Season NBA Awards

It’s almost time ladies and gents.

As the preseason begins to slow down, and teams switch from training camp focus to season focus, it is time for my favorite sport to begin to get underway. With the season starting to pick up pace, this means every writer (myself included) gets to put on our “Smarterest Preddictor” hats, and act like we know the future. So, without further ado, here we go…

Awards (in descending order)

Coach of the Year – Brad Stevens, HC of Boston Celtics

Not exactly the hottest of takes coming right out the gate. In reality, it is a pretty easy assumption, since they are the reigning #2 team in the East following the Cavs getting divorced by the player/owner/GM/coach that was LeBron. However, there are a lot more than just winning the East that earns Brad this award. He’ll get it by managing the egos and playing times of numerous head cases on the team, and by getting Kyrie and Gordon back up to speed. He has to keep the Celts in the top 5 in both offense and defense, while maintaining the potential trade value of all players (because Danny Ainge is still the GM here). The spotlight of the East is shining the brightest in Boston going into this season.

Defensive Player of the Year – Joel Embiid, C Philadelphia 76ers

I struggled with this choice since I am personally a huge fan of both Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert. I also think DeAndre Jordan (deciding to finally sign a deal in Dallas) will have a better year than he did last year. But the West is strong. Very strong. So strong, that I believe that it will be super difficult for these spectacular centers in the West to really have consistent play throughout the year. This is why Joel will take the crown. With the best center in the East after him being an argument between Al Horford and Dwight Howard (since Joel proved Hassan Whiteside can’t measure up to him in the slightest), it should be easy to get a big distance between himself and the other competitors for this award.

Most Improved Player – Brandon Ingram, F Los Angeles Lakers

I was going to pick Dejounte Murray for this, but alas, Murray will more than likely not play a single minute this year. So, I will pick the guy that, while I was not high on him a couple years ago, looks to be a sure-fire candidate for the Showtime Lakers to make a comeback. His FG% had nearly a 12% increase from his 2nd season to his 3rd, and when Lonzo went down he turned into a Point-Forward, taking the ball up the court and being responsible for their Full/Half Court offenses. If he can finish the year healthy, then he is my candidate (I also think he is the key for the Lakers success this season, but that’s a side point).

6th Man of the YearLou Williams, G Los Angeles Clippers

This may have been harder than any pick I have had to do this year. With how the 76ers are planning to roll out a weird lineup that could have JJ Redick or Dario Saric being the 6th man, I couldn’t do that. With how the Pacers may do a 3 guard lineup of Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, and Tyreke Evans (or even have Vic be the 1 and Evans be the 2), I stayed away from Tyreke. That just left me with Lou Will and (Scary) Terry Rozier. I think the plethora of talent in Boston will hurt Terry, and the lack of star power on the Clippers allows Lou Will to not only claim that role, but be the sole provider of buckets for this team. He’s an offensive god, and his playmaking is off the charts. On a team that has sold out defense for offense this year, expect their primary ball handler (lol) to be lights out on that end, especially with the fact his defensive limitations will keep him from starting.

Rookie of the Year – Luka Dončić, G Dallas Mavericks

I mean, it only seems right to say that Donovan Mitchell should win it based on what occurred last year, but life sucks…unless your name is Luka. Dončić is going to be a phenom this year. His only competition is a combination of Jaren Jackson, Wendall Carter, Collin Sexton, and Kevin Knox. Ayton and Young are too raw/bad for me to give them serious consideration. Jaren and Carter are both big men, and expecting rookies (let alone rookies that defenses revolve around) to lock NBA offenses up is nearly impossible. Knox can put up the numbers, but his team won’t win. Sexton is the only one that I can see contest Luka for the crown, but his team (even though it resides in the dumpster fire of the East) is bad.

Luka (even though his team resides in the pinnacle of good TV basketball that is the West) has a supporting cast Sexton is dreaming of. Luka has a former DPoY at center, an electric PG that scream Russell Westbrook comparisons, 2 solid defensive role players rounding out the rest of the starting lineup, and a man that has a fadeaway named after him. The reason why Simmons and D Mitch did so well was because they had a supporting cast that could take the spotlight off of them and allow them to mature at their own pace while still getting the touches they needed. Expect to see that from Luka, especially since he showed in the preseason he had the capability to guard the 1-4 position (something very unexpected).

Top 4 Losing Vote-Getters for MVP (in no particular order)

  • LeBron James, F Los Angeles Lakers
  • Russell Westbrook, G Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Anthony Davis, C New Orleans Pelicans
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, F Milwaukee Bucks

Most Valuable Player – Kawhi Leonard, F Toronto Raptors

I was THIS close to picking Giannis. It took me making a complete pro/con list between the two (and trust me, it is VERY thorough). The simple reason comes down to one fact: the Raptors have a better defensive team…on paper. I think the Bucks are a great team, and I think Giannis will be an absolute monster in a conference where only a handful of people have the chance to guard him. Unfortunately, the best one happens to be Kawhi.

Expect Kawhi to absolutely tear up a division and put 2k-esque numbers up. The best defense in the league won’t be a team from the West or the Celtics, the team from the North will take that crown. The switch ability of this team is outstanding, and almost every player 1 through 10 on this team has the potential to guard minimum of 2 positions. Kawhi will lead this team through the East and will be top-dog if not 2nd in the East come playoff time. Why am I saying this about a guy that didn’t play at all in the 2017? Simple really: 2016 Kawhi was easily one of (if not, the best) player in the league. Expect his “F*ck the Spurs” tour this year to be something beautiful to behold.

NBA News as of 10/15/18

Before we go any further, rest in peace Paul Allen. Paul was the owner for the Portland Trailblazers, and he died from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. My dad had the same diagnosis, and I know what Paul’s family expected to have happen. You won’t be forgotten, and I hope you are now at peace. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family.

As tough as it is to move on, my job dictates that I must.

So, we have 2 notable extensions coming out these last few days. Both Larry Nance and Miles Turner got that bag. Nance secured a 4 year/$45mil, while Turner got the more lucrative 4 year/$80 mil extension. Congrats young cats (even though we are the same age lol).

In other financial news, Gordon Hayward has signed a lucrative new shoe deal with Anta. Expect to see me copping a pair of his signature shoes when they debut in 2019.

Pelicans are also in the news, but for great/smart reasons. First off, Gentry came out and said AD is ‘untouchable’. Props, we will see what happens at the end of the year, but it does set the line in the sand early. Secondly, they trade center Alexis Ajinca (more than likely their 3rd center this year) for forward Wes Johnson from the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams got what they needed (Clippers got a backup center not named Montrezl Harrell; Pelicans get a true small forward that isn’t one of the quad that is Solomon Hill, Julius Randle, Nikola Mirotic, or Etwuan Moore). I let me be the first to say that I am impressed at the Pels right now, they are trying to win.

Jordan Crawford, aka the Craw-sover, has signed with the Phoenix Suns. While this definitely helps the Phoenix PG rotation, it does hurt two things: Okobo’s playing time and the defense. I don’t see a rotation of Crawford, Booker, Ariza, Jackson, and Ayton being able to really stop people from scoring…like at all haha. Might as well kiss that defensive rating goodbye.

That is all the highlights for now.

Vegvisir Paul Allen.

Jimmy Butler First And Last Practice With Timberbulls

Oh. My. God. The Great and Almighty Woj (aka Adrian Wojnarowski) has dropped the bomb of all bombs today: what happened at Jimmy Butler’s first practice with the Timber-Bulls. Woj reports that Jimmy did practice today, despite some reports that he wouldn’t (even though Woj said he would).  The best part isn’t that Jimmy showed that he was true professional and came to work.  No, the best part is what occurred at said practice. So apparently Jimmy, during the course of the practice, verbally berated coaches, players, and the front office during the course of the practice.  Most was directed towards Thibs, Towns, Wiggins, and the GM.  On top of is, he also screamed towards the GM, “You f***ing need me.  You can’t win without me.” You know what makes this even better?  That in a scrimmage, Jimmy and the third string players went up against the starters.  According to Woj, not only did Jimmy and his band of misfits win, but Jimmy also ‘dominated in every single way’. I absolutely LOVE this Jimmy Butler right now.  I honestly hope he gets traded (which this should speed along the process if anything) to a team in the West now so he can absolutely destroy the Timber-Bulls more than twice this year.