Yeah another season is upon us, while it seems appropiate to channel one's inner Romanelli as it really doesnt look like its going to be that competitive a season, at least in the west, its always fun to make predictions and who knows, maybe the Knicks will stun everybody this yea...this yea
1. Golden State (The basketball gods are having a laugher, having Couisins join an already seemingly unbeatable team for the NBA equivilant of chump change has to be some sort of cosmic joke. Hell even if he's a bust there still seems to be little chance the rest of the team will suffer that much. Barring a cavalcade of injuries a three-peat seems inevitable.)
2. Houston (Did their window of opportunity close? If Chris Paul didn't get injured they probably would be defending their championship this year, but they lost a couple of key role players and Golden State certainly didn't get any worse. They still have argubaly the best backcourt in the league and no dirth of scoring options, but preventing points on the other side may be a bigger problem this year especially against ahem a certain team by the bay)
3. Oklahoma City (the Westbrook-George partnership should mesh more smoothly this year, but they're still lacking the right links between them and their solid center depth. Defense beyond George and the 5 could be an issue. They'll be better this year, but I still see a streaky squad that the savvier coaches will be able to pick apart)
4. LA Lakers (Lebron James will undeniably make them a more potent, competitive and smarter team, but the roster still needs some fine-tuning. They are still likely a golden free agency away from being the favorite team to hate again)
5. Utah (Still remain a nicely old-fashioned team, with a classic ball-handling wizars, post-dominant big and a young, scrappy beast of a scorer, surrounded by all the right role-players. i dont know if that's good enough to make them contenders, but they could be in for another first-round upset at thevery least.
6. Portland (Still a lot.of.talent but they haven't been able.to solve their defensive issues. If they can find a way to maximize all their offensive abilities and Lillard regains his playoff mojo I think they can at least be competitive doen the stretch but until they get a more balanced roster they arent quite good enough to give the league's best a genuine reason for worry)
7. New Orleans (I really think they should've gone all in and put more star talent around Davis.for one last playoff run, as I see almost no scenarios for him returning after being eligible fir free agency next year. Which is too bad because I see a brutal 2010-Cavaliers style rebuild when he leaves. This year the best they can hope for without a trade-deadline acquisition is another first round upset, anything else would be a sad end to their most recent era.
8. San Antonio (Pop will find some way to make this roster work and stay competitive even in a brutal western conference, though those early guard injuries are concerning).
9. Denver (Obv theyre hoping for Porter to heal up perhaps more so than being really competitive this year, though if Millsap stays healthy they have a good chance for a lower seed since that Jokic-Murray-Harris young core is poised for even more improvement this year)
10. Minnesotta (You dont expect MN to have the league's most lurid roster soap opera, but here you go. Even if Butler stays for the whole year I see them taking a step back in such a competitive conference).
11. Memphis (... and here we have a standings drop-off. While Memphis should be better than last year's disaster if they stay semi-healthy, they really got to break up their aging core and rebuild, as their last chance at being contenders seemed to end about three years ago.)
12. Dallas (Doncic will be very good even if he only hits his minimum, but he needs another year to get used to the league, and the roster still seems a bit thin. Would be nice to see Nowitiizki go out with a final playoff run, if not for the Mavs organization as a whole.)
13. LA Clippers (Goodbye Lob city, hello long rebuild)
14. Sacramento (they're no longer basketball's greatest trainwreck, and finally have a young, talented and semi coherent roster forming, but it's still going to take a couple years to mature before they're a legitimate playoff team).
15. Phoenix (As much raw young talent this side of the 76ers, but nobody to put it together. Until they can find anybody to handle the point, they're still in for another long, basement-dwelling season).
1 Boston (What can you say: great coaching, savvy management and perhaps the best starting five this side of the Warriors. They may need another role-player pickup during buyout season, but they are favorites in the east and may even make the finals semi-interesting).
2. Toronto (And the one team that may be the Celt's best roadblock. All depends on how motivated Kawhi is and not just looking towards next July, either they have their next star or will just trade Lowry in the offseason and go all in on another youth movement)
3. Philedalphia (All eyes on how much Ben Simmons improves this year, not only on how much he can live up to that Genera tional Player tag but if 76ers are legitimate contenders. Simmons and Fultz finding their shooting stroke will be key).
4. Indiana (Were impressive against Lebron in the playoffs last year, and made some low-key but mightily effective roster improvements. Unless Oladipo regresses, they could be i n for a nice, lingering playoff ru n)
5. Milwaulkee (They finally have surrounded Giannis with some good scorers and more NBA ready youngsters, but still need a true wingman for their superstar. Theyll be better this year but time is really running out to put a true c ontender around the Greek Freak).
6. Washington (I like the Wall-Beal-Porter core and Dwight Howard, despite his sad fade-out, can still be effective if the Wizards know how to use him. Depth, as always, is a concern. Strong at th e top but are another strong forward and real bench-burner away from making a deep playoff run).
7 Miami (They really got to stop being content with being Good Enough. They could swing for Jimmy Butler, or wait for free agency, but I still dont envision anything more than a first -round exit this year for a roster that epitomizes NBA median)
8. Detroit (8th seed this year will be by default, could see a 35-win team making it to the playoffs. While Detroit's depth is an issue, Drummond and Griffin have a chance to be an effective Big-Man combo, and if their backcourt stays healthy they should be able to sneak into the postseason).
9 Chicago (A team I could see be a surprising playoff contender, or flaming out miserably. All depends on how much their young roster gels and improves. Defense could be a major concern, then again who plays defense anymore?).
10. Charlotte (Same seed, different season. Doesnt seem to change and with their bad contracts, probably wont anytime soon. Too talented to tank, too many holes in their roster to really be a consistient-enough winner. Maybe time to just blow it all up... again).
11 Cleveland (They're in better shape than the last time Lebron left and were wise to keep Love to avoid pushing their young players too fast as the faces of the franchise, but you can never replace Lebron and their climb back to at least being a playoff team is still going to take awhile)
12 Orlando (It may be at a snail's pace, but they are improving. Bamba should be a big help ra, at least on defense, but I still se e only modest improvement in the win total).
13 New York (They're the Knicks).
14 Brooklyn (Oh that five-year-old deal may be over, but its going to haunt them for a long time. They've made some commendably bold choices in their weakened draft position, but desperating lacking in a constientent go to guy. Groveling in free agency may be their only option, but either way this year is going to be brutal).
15 Atlanta (Going all in on the youth movement already is producing mixed results. They still have a chance to be really good in a few years, but avoiding 60 losses this season will be a success).
And the championship will be... Golden State over Boston in six.
Well at l east the dunk contest may be unpredictable. _________________ В подписи Сурши форум следит за вами!
Oh yeah I wanna do predictions. Will see how often I'll actually be able to watch games, depends on how fucked up my sleeping patterns will be.
Should be an interesting race for the playoffs, I see at least 12 teams with a decent chance. It's ridiculous how much stronger as a whole the west is.
1-Warriors. Depends on injuries or how much they'll give a fuck in regular season. Might be sth like last year.
2-Rockets. I don't think they'll be as close to the Warriors as they were last year, but their backcourt probably has at least one or two years left on this level.
Close between these three. Lakers might need a proper center and more outside shooting, but I don't want to bet against Lebron. Thunder are probably as good as last year, and I like the addition of Schröder. Jazz are the team I'll root for. But I kinda feel how even one player from the main three (Gobert/Rubio/Mitchell) getting injured or not being in form could derail them similarly to how losing Lebron or Westbrook would do to the other two teams here.
6-Nuggets. Surely they'll take another step forward?
7-Trail Blazers. Probably about as good as last year? But that seems to be their ceiling and if the other teams are healthy, I don't see them getting the #3 seed again.
8-Spurs I think losing Murray to injury hurts them quite a bit. Still, adding Derozan should do something for their playoff chances.
The next four all have some chances of playoffs IMO:
9-Pelicans. Ok they've got AD and Jrue and Mirotić which should be enough for over 50% wins. But losing Rondo will hurt, no?
10-Mavs. I'll be rooting for Dončić, who should contribute at a decent level this year already. DSJ looks good, Jordan was also an excellent addition. I think they might have an outside chance of playoffs. Realistically not more than 40 wins tho.
11-Clippers. No big stars anymore, but lots of depth I think.
12-Timberwolves. The Butler saga is hilarious and I think they might completely implode, despite the talent they obviously have.
13-Grizzlies. Maybe it's because I only recently started to watch NBA and I missed the Gasol/Conley prime? Maybe they deserve more.
14-Suns. Ayton looks brilliant, and they have Booker, and I like their new coach. But they need a PG and another year or two to get to PO.
15-Kings. Not as bad as they might seem. Lots of quality young talent (Fox, Giles(!), Bagley), a quality shooter with Hield, an underrated Bogdanović, nice bench addition with Bjelica.. But they'll need at least one of the young guys to develop into a star, and it might take a few years.
To me it looks like 9 teams competing for playoff spots, then a huge dropoff to the rest.
Top 4 are also a bit ahead and I could see any of them reaching the finals:
1-Celtics. I wanna see them fully healthy. And hope that Tatum and Brown keep improving. East favourites for sure.
2-Raptors. I'm actually not a fan of the Kawhi trade, but they might at least make ECF this time around.
3-Bucks. I'm a Giannis fan. Good additions with Ilyasova and Lopez. Also, new coach.
4-Sixers. I think Ilyasova and Marco were important parts of their late season success last year, so I don't think they will make a significant step forward, although Simmons-Embiid is an excellent core that can take them far. They might depend on Fultz progress for more.
5-Wizards. Enough talent over here, but yeah, maybe not enough depth?
6-Pacers. About the same as last year I guess.
7-Heat. Likely to compete for a playoff spot with Hornets and Pistons, but if Whiteside is back to his best self, Dragić is a bit more consistent than last year, and Richardson/Winslow/Bam take another step forward, they could be better than this. In a way I don't think they should trade their young players for Butler - they're not getting to ECF either way, let them develop and aim for free agents in a year or two.
9-Pistons. Too centered on Griffin?
Then a huge gap to...
And the rest may be worse than Kings. Let's just guess the order:
Lots of those teams have interesting young players (curious to see how Orlando's Bamba/Isaac core will develop, or how Trae Young will do over the season), but I just don't see any of them competing for a playoff spot.
As for playoffs, it's impossible to predict even how the rosters will look like then, but let's just say it'll be a shock to me if Warriors don't win again. Celtics most likely to win the East, but they're probably still a year away to get more than a game or two in the Finals.
As a 76ers fan, for once I'm excited and paying attention at the start of the season. The bench is a little banged up so we may get off to a rocky start, but I think we'll get it together and have another strong season.
And yes, I'm also pumped for tonight's opener in another Tilly's team vs. StreetSpirit's team match-up, haha. I have our fight song stuck in my head.
And since we're a music site, I'm gonna share our fight song:
1. Golden State
2. Houston (one of the hardest picks because I think their defense mightve taken too big of a hit)
3. New Orleans (Anthony Davis will win MVP)
6. LA Lakers (will have bumps and bruises but will acquire another star by trade deadline and will be one of the best teams over 2nd half of the season)
(Note: Minnesota gets in instead of Portland if Butler stays)
Golden State over Portland/Minnesota
Houston over Spurs
LA Lakers over New Orleans
OKC over Utah
Golden State over OKC
LA Lakers over Houston
Golden State over LA Lakers
Boston over Charlotte
Toronto over Miami
Philadelphia over Indiana
Washington over Milwaukie
Boston over Washington
Toronto over Philadelphia
Boston over Toronto
Golden State over Boston in 6
(May change playoff picks if my selections are off)
So damn, the west looks to be even more brutal than expected - it turns out I had underrated Grizzlies, Kings already made a huge step forward on account of Fox' rapid development, Clippers' depth is rewarding them nicely, and Mavs' starting to gel after a poor start. Even Minnesota looks great after trading Butler.
So, who do you think gets to the playoffs? It might actually turn out to be difficult for some teams that were thought to be safe, like Rockets and Jazz. I wonder if they can turn it around.
Out on the east, I think Celtics will eventually get it together and I think they have to still be considered favourites, and I'm not surprised by Raptors, Bucks, and Sixers looking as good as they have. Even though I don't think Butler was what Sixers needed (esp. when trading away two guys who could shoot a 3), they're probably better as a whole. Pacers are surprisingly good, despite Oladipo missing games.
Disappointing are Wizards and Heat I guess, though at least Heat had problems with injuries and should get better from here on out
detroit has been super inconsistent but im happy with the polish and effort here
I thought maybe you were bashing the Polish players on their team until I realized your flag is Poland and you must therefore be an actual fan... _________________ May we all get to heaven
'Fore the devil knows we're dead...
Rough trade deadline for Lakers & Celtics fans... Celtics are still deep and deangerous, and Lakers will load up in the offseason, but they both came up with squat after all the fuss at the deadline.
Bucks, Raps & Sixers all loaded up. Only one of them can make the finals... but Golden State is not as assured as they may have been.
That's right, here come the Sixers! Very risky trades, but I like that my team is going for a title. As we stood before the trades, we were not a championship-level team. Great starting 5 led by Embiid, Butler, and Simmons, but terrible bench. Before the trades, I don't think the 76ers would have made it passed the second round. And we still might not, because the East is loaded at the top. But I def like our chances more now. Starting 5 and bench are improved...but for the price of many draft picks and two free agents who could leave after the season. High risk, but high potential reward. It'll be exciting.
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