10 Bold Predictions for the 2017/2018 NBA Season

THE NBA IS BACK BABY! It’s finally here. After the most amazing offseason the NBA has ever seen, the hype on this season is through the roof. While the end result will probably be Warriors v. Cavs part four, the regular season will still be incredibly fun to follow. And with opening night set to tip off in roughly seven hours, here are my 10 bold predictions for the upcoming season!


1. Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors in Western Conference Final

I feel as if every bold predictions column has to include someone beating the Warriors. The Rockets are also a good choice for this, but I feel like the defensive upside the Thunder has gives them the edge to reach the Conference Finals. Also, other than LeBron James, who wants to defeat the Warriors the most? Russell Westbrook. It would be amazing to see Westbrook’s reaction in the final moments of a game 7 win over KD and crew.

2. Boston Celtics beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in Eastern Conference Final

Similar idea to the first one, the Cavaliers are the overwhelming favourite in the East, therefore I have to be bold by saying they too won’t make a return to the Finals. If I knew Jabari Parker’s health issues wouldn’t be a factor at the end of the year, I might consider them over Boston, but as of now Boston is the only clear choice. Also similar to the Thunder over the Warriors, the storylines of Kyrie Irving ending LeBron’s season would be utterly fantastic.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo wins the MVP Award

Curry and Durant steal votes from eachother, same with Paul and Harden. Westbrook can’t possibly have the same season as last year, John Wall’s Wizards just won’t have a good enough record and Kawhi Leonard’s Spurs appear like they’ll finally take a step back. If Giannis can improve his outside shooting and bring the Bucks to a top-4 seed in the East, then the Greek Freak will take the award.

4. Utah Jazz 13th pick Donovan Mitchell wins Rookie of the Year

Lonzo Ball, Ben Simmons and Dennis Smith Jr. are the frontrunners for this award, but if the Jazz are going to make a run at a Playoff spot they’ll need scoring and that’s what Mitchell does best. While he won’t be starting for the Jazz, there’s a good chance he’ll be playing in crunch time. I’d put him as the third best scorer on the team, behind Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors, so if he can average somewhere around 18 points-per-game, then he has a shot at Rookie of the Year.

5. Joel Embiid starts in the All Star game

This might not be that bold. Joel Embiid is incredibly popular amongst NBA fans and when healthy he’s incredible on both ends of the floor. The boldest part of this might be assuming that Embiid will be healthy at All Star Weekend.

6. The Lakers push for the 8th seed

I can’t believe that people actually see this happening. I’m all aboard the hype train for Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, but even if they were in the East they probably wouldn’t make the Playoffs. Brandon Ingram hasn’t shown anything, and there’s a real chance that they made a mistake by dealing away Russell instead of him. Brook Lopez is good, same with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but all this team needs to do this year is show enough promise to coerce stars like Paul George and maybe even LeBron James to join next year.

7. DeMarcus Cousins AND Anthony Davis are traded, whispers around Pelicans moving to Seattle

I’m actually talking myself into this. I don’t think the Pelicans have a chance at the Playoffs, even with arguably the two best big men in the league. The rest of their roster is a joke; they have no outside shooting and no real scoring besides those two whatsoever. Cousins getting traded by the mid-way point has a more than 50% chance of happening, and at that point the team has to really consider cashing in on Davis. Boston would throw the war chest at New Orleans for Davis in a heartbeat, but that would cause New Orleans to be really bad for years to come. Introduce the Pelicans to Seattle theory. New Orleans having a team over places like Seattle and Vancouver is already a joke, and if the team becomes embarrassingly bad (think the 2012 Charlotte Bobcats, who went 7-59 in a lockout shortened season) then the NBA will have to really think about stepping in and moving the team to a more profitable location.

8. The Timberwolves miss the Playoffs

Last year every NBA fan and media person was ready for the Timberwolves to make the jump, but they finished with 31 wins and the 13th seed. This year, with Jimmy Butler on board, everyone (including myself) is vaulting them into Playoff contention; some as high as the 4th seed. I don’t see them actually missing the Playoffs, but if Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins can’t step it up on the defensive end, there could be problems.

9. 2018 Nets pick finished outside of the top-5

At the beginning of the offseason, this would’ve seemed crazy, however now with the roster upgrades that have occurred in Brooklyn I realistically see this pick being in the 7-8 range. The Nets have no reason to lose and their roster isn’t actually that bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulls, Hawks, Pacers, Knicks and Magic all end with worse records than the Nets.

10. Conference re-configuration is announced for the 2018/2019 season

Had to finish on this topic. While potential teams like the Clippers, Jazz, Trailblazers, Pelicans and Grizzlies could all be fighting for the final two spots in the West with plus-.500 records, a team like the Pistons could waltz into the final spot in the East with 35 wins. While my solution remains as expanding the league with two teams in Seattle and Vancouver, and sending a team like Oklahoma City or New Orleans to the East, major changes like that just won’t happen by next year. However, realigning the Playoff seeding just makes sense. With private charters and a better understanding of health and recovery, it’s not tough to move these players from one side of the country to the other. The season already starts two weeks earlier to allow for more time between games, so why not add two weeks onto the end of the schedule to allow for more potential travel? The NBA has already become a year-long sport with the fascination of the offseason, so adding two extra weeks onto the schedule wouldn’t impact the fans at all.


2017/2018 NBA Awards and Season Outcome Predictions

With my standings predictions complete, it’s time to turn my attention to who I think will win each major award; along with who I see facing off, and winning the NBA Finals. For certain awards I will rank my top three to five candidates.


NBA Executive of the Year

1. Sam Presti, Oklahoma City Thunder

2. Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves

3.Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets


Last season saw Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors walk away with this award with absolutely zero competition after signing Kevin Durant. This year however, after a stellar offseason, there are a couple good options to win the award. Out of all the major moves, I think Sam Presti of the Thunder has to get the nod. Fleecing the Pacers in the Paul George trade was probably enough to win in itself, but then acquiring Carmelo Anthony puts the cherry on top. The other two biggest moves of the offseason, Jimmy Butler to Minnesota and Chris Paul to the Rockets make Thibodeau and Morey viable options for the award, but Presti’s acquisition of two stars puts him over the top.


NBA Coach of the Year

1. Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

2. Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors

3. Gregg Poppovich, San Antonio Spurs


The Celtics are returning only four players this season from last year’s roster, and yet I think they’ll be even better. While their defence will slip due to the loss of Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder, their offence will only go up; therefore I think this is the year that Brad Stevens wins his first (of many) Coach of the Year award(s). Steve Kerr of the Warriors and Gregg Poppovich of the Spurs round out my top three votes, but coaches of potentially surprise teams could sneak into the conversation; Brett Brown in Philadelphia and Kenny Atkinson in Brooklyn come to mind. The Warriors could beat their own single season win record of 73 wins this year, and Poppovich is one of the best coaches all time, in any sport, period.


NBA Most Improved Player

1. D’Angelo Russell, PG – Brooklyn Nets

2. Rodney Hood, SF – Utah Jazz

3. Dwight Howard, C – Charlotte Hornets


The Nets might actually be fun to watch this season, and that’s not something you could have said in years past. D’Angelo Russell will lead the way for a newly exciting Nets team, and being the number one option will allow him to show his true worth. Rodney Hood will also have an expanded role this season after Gordon Hayward’s departure, it will all depend on whether or not he is capable of a higher scoring output. Dwight Howard is my dark-horse for this award, playing in Charlotte’s system should fit Howard’s pick-and-roll game perfectly, and if the Hornets can play into a top-5 position in the East, he will get garner some attention.


NBA 6th Man of the Year

1. Eric Gordon, SG – Houston Rockets

2. Dario Saric, PF – Philadelphia 76ers

3. J.R. Smith, SG – Cleveland Cavaliers


I wanted to choose Saric for this award, but with this award it’s best to just keep it simple; Eric Gordon is the new Jamal Crawford in terms of being considered the frontrunner for this award for multiple seasons. The Rockets offence is going to be even scarier this year with the addition of Chris Paul, and Gordon should see even more wide open three point attempts. Saric will be a great bench option for the 76ers, but just won’t produce at the level of Gordon. J.R. Smith is, in a way, a sneaky and not so sneaky option in Cleveland now that Dwyane Wade is starting. Smith won this award back in 2013, and now will be a top offensive option of the bench for Cleveland.


NBA All Rookie 1st Team

Lonzo Ball, PG – Los Angeles Lakers

Dennis Smith Jr., PG – Dallas Mavericks

Malik Monk, SG – Charlotte Hornets

Ben Simmons, PF – Philadelphia 76ers

Jordan Bell, C – Golden State Warriors


This year’s crop of rookies appears to be one of the strongest in recent memory, and it was tough to narrow down the field two just two teams, even bumping guys down to the second team (Kuzma and Jackson fit this bill). But I just see these five guys as having the largest roles and making the biggest impact on their individual teams. Lonzo Ball is running the show in L.A. and will get all the opportunity to succeed. The same can be said for Dennis Smith Jr. in Dallas and Ben Simmons in Philadelphia, even though Markelle Fultz is their point guard by definition. Malik Monk might end up starting for the Hornets after Nicolas Batum’s injury will sideline him for the start of the season. Jordan Bell may not get major minutes to start the year, but I believe he can beat out JaVale McGee for the backup role by the midway point, and he can provide a lot of diversity for the best team in basketball.


NBA All Rookie 2nd Team

DeAaron Fox, PG – Sacramento Kings

Donovan Mitchell, SG – Utah Jazz

Jayson Tatum, SF – Boston Celtics

Josh Jackson, SF – Phoenix Suns

Kyle Kuzma, PF – Los Angeles Lakers


DeAaron Fox would have made my first team if it weren’t for the fact that he will be backing up George Hill, causing him to play under 20 minutes a night. Donovan Mitchell very well could end up being the second-best scorer on the Jazz, even as a bench player. Jayson Tatum will get a lot of opportunity in Boston, and he appears to be NBA-ready. It appears that Josh Jackson will be the starting small forward in Phoenix, a bad team that’s only goal is to give their young players all of the shots. And finally, we have Kyle Kuzma, the consensus steal of the draft as of this point. Kuzma appears to be better than Brandon Ingram, and I can already envision trade rumours surrounding Julius Randle so that Kuzma can start.


NBA All-Defensive 1st Team

Chris Paul, PG – Houston Rockets

Andre Roberson, SG – Oklahoma City Thunder

Kawhi Leonard, SF – San Antonio Spurs

Dryamond Green, PF- Golden State Warriors

Rudy Gobert, C – Utah Jazz


There are three players that are basically written in stone for the All-Defensive 1st Team: Leonard, Green and Gobert. The guard positions are up for debate, potentially Patrick Beverley over Paul, Marcus Smart or Avery Bradley over Roberson. However I think these two, Paul and Roberson, will be so crucial to the defensive success of their individual teams that they’ll gain the edge.


NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team

Patrick Beverley, PG – Los Angeles Clippers

Marcus Smart, PG – Boston Celtics

Avery Bradley, SG – Detroit Pistons

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF – Milwaukee Bucks

Anthony Davis, PF – New Orleans Pelicans


Piggybacking off of my 1st team, Beverly, Smart and Bradley fall to the 2nd team distinction. Other guards that I considered include Tony Snell of Milwaukee, Ricky Rubio of Utah, Jaylen Brown of Boston, Tony Allen of New Orleans and Klay Thompson of Golden State. Moving onto the forwards/centers I have Antetokounmpo and Davis rounding out the team. Both of their lengths are terrifying for opposing offences and that’s what caused them to leap their competition. Others considered include Robert Covington of Philadelphia, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson of Brooklyn, Jae Crowder of Cleveland, Myles Turner of Indiana and Willie Cauley-Stein of Sacramento.


NBA Rookie of the Year

1. Ben Simmons, PF – Philadelphia 76ers

2. Lonzo Ball, PG – Los Angeles Lakers

3. Dennis Smith Jr., PG – Dallas Mavericks


The popular pick for this award is Lonzo Ball, and it’s pretty clear to see why. He’ll run the offence, he’s flashy and he’ll have a lot of highlights shared across social media platforms. However, I don’t see his average stats reaching that high. He rebounds well for a guard, but exceeding five boards per game is a stretch. The same for his point totals, as a player who is clearly pass-first, he may struggle to reach 10 points per game, especially with better offensive options like Brook Lopez and Brandon Ingram around him. His assist totals should be high, but on a pretty poor Lakers team he’ll be relying on his teammates to actual finish plays to earn those assists. Therefore, my pick is Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. Technically in his second season in the NBA, Simmons has yet to play a regular season game and is eligible for the award. Even with Fultz as the point guard by definition, Simmons will be handling the ball a majority of the time and his passing prowess will be on full display. He has an NBA-ready body and the “red shirt” year will have helped his development, especially behind the scenes. Dennis Smith Jr. rounds out my top-3 vote, for a similar reason as Ball. Smith Jr. will handle a majority of the point guard rotation minutes in Dallas, and playing in Coach Carlisle’s system will only aid in his development.


NBA Defensive Player of the Year

1. Rudy Gobert, C – Utah Jazz

2. Kawhi Leonard, SF – San Antonio Spurs

3. Draymond Green, PF – Golden State Warriors


And here we have the three locks that I mentioned earlier for the 1st team. I thought about this for a while, and I just don’t think there will be any other players that break into this top-3 conversation. Roberson was the only option in my mind, but he just isn’t at the level of these three. Leonard and Green have won this award, and that was one of the factors that made me pick Gobert. The league is trending towards small ball, so picking a wing player for this award makes sense, but if Gobert can prove that his immense impact on the defensive end allows him to play in all crunch time moments, then this has to be his award.


All-NBA 1st Team

Russell Westbrook, PG – Oklahoma City Thunder

James Harden, SG – Houston Rockets

Kevin Durant, SF – Golden State Warriors

LeBron James, SF – Cleveland Cavaliers

Anthony Davis, C – New Orleans Pelicans


All-NBA 2nd Team

Stephen Curry, PG – Golden State Warriors

Chris Paul, PG – Houston Rockets

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF – Milwaukee Bucks

Kawhi Leonard, SF – San Antonio Spurs

Karl-Anthony Towns, C – Minnesota Timberwolves


All-NBA 3rd Team

Damian Lillard, PG – Portland Trailblazers

Kyrie Irving, PG – Boston Celtics

John Wall, PG – Washington Wizards

Jimmy Butler, SF – Minnesota Timberwolves

Joel Embiid, C – Philadelpia 76ers


When it comes to the 1st and 2nd All-NBA Team’s, I’m not sure there’s much to debate besides the 2nd team center and where each player ends up falling. For the guards, it’s pretty safe to say that Westbrook, Harden, Curry and Paul will fill those slots in some order. The same can be said for the forwards, James, Durant, Leonard and Antetokounmpo. The big man slot is a bit tougher, but Anthony Davis should be the frontrunner for the 1st team spot. After that, I have Karl-Anthony Towns on the 2nd team because of the belief I have in the Timberwolves breakout. Now the 3rd team is a veritable free-for-all, and I chose to break the rules by putting three point guards on the team. Why did I do that? Because leaving one of Irving, Lillard and Wall off felt blasphemous to me. Jimmy Butler was an easy choice in the forward slot, but after that I felt as if any of the possibilities were not at the same level as any of those guards. The most glaring omission would be Draymond Green, but if Portland can snag a Playoff spot in the West, which I think they will, then he deserves recognition for that. Rounding out my third team is Joel Embiid, who fully healthy was one of the best big men in the league last season. Other omissions include: guards Isaiah Thomas (injury), Klay Thompson, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, forwards Gordon Hayward, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, Paul George, and centers Nikola Jokic, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gobert.


NBA Most Valuable Player

1. LeBron James

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo

3. Russell Westbrook


MVP is a tough award to predict this season with all of the movement that took place this summer. Russell Westbrook can’t possibly produce at the same amount with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in tow, James Harden’s time on the ball will go down with the arrival of Chris Paul, and the Warriors will be stealing votes from one another. I considered John Wall as a possibility, Karl-Anthony Towns or Jimmy Butler (but the same problem with the Warriors guys could potentially occur in Minnesota), and even Nikola Jokic if Denver’s season is out of this world. But eventually, I ended up at the age old question: who is the best basketball player in the world? And the answer is the same it’s been since the decline of Kobe Bryant; LeBron James. LeBron has lost his sidekick Kyrie Irving, and with Isaiah Thomas due to miss a large chunk of the season, there inevitably will be more on James’ plate. It can be said that the Cavaliers probably don’t care about the regular season, and James doesn’t care about his offensive output during that time as well, but he’s still a basketball savant that will put up big numbers. Giannis Antetokounmpo is my second choice for this due to his rise in production every year since he entered the league. This could be the season that we see a spike in triple-doubles from the Greek Freak. My third vote still goes to Westbrook, even though the acquisitions of George and Anthony will (slightly) reduce his time on the ball, Westbrook is still Westbrook. Expect the assist totals to stay the same, or potentially even rise incrementally, the rebounds to take a bit of a dip and the scoring average to drop a few points. Guess what, that still makes for a pretty amazing stat line.


NBA Finals Matchup, Winner, and Finals MVP

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Champions: Warriors in 6

Finals MVP: Kevin Durant


The West is going to be insane, and so incredibly fun to follow during the regular season. Most media members still think the Warriors will somewhat easily earn another Finals berth, but I really believe that playing two of the Thunder, Rockets and Spurs is a massive challenge, and has the potential for upset. However, if I were to bet with my head instead of my heart, I would pick the Warriors to once again meet up with the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals (sigh). While this would be be somewhat annoying for the more hardcore fan, it would have some interesting implications going into the following year. If the Warriors win again, could we see an even crazier offseason then this one? Will LeBron leave Cleveland again if he fails to earn another ring? I predict the Warriors will win their third championship in four years, which could cause a chain of events in the months following that will affect the league for years to come.




2017/2018 NBA Standings Predictions – Western Conference

Part two of the end-of-season predictions, and we move onto the bloodbath that is the Western Conference. The West is absolutely insane; one of my bold predictions last season was that at least 4 teams would miss the Playoffs with a .500 record, and even though it didn’t happen, it really could this year. It’s pretty obvious which team will sit atop the Conference, but who sneaks into the final Playoff spots is up for debate; and who better to tackle that debate than me?*


*All predictions are being considered with 100% health





  1. Phoenix Suns

Projected starters: Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, Marquese Chriss, Tyson Chandler

Key bench players: Tyler Ulis, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender


This spot is a toss up between the Suns and the Kings, but I think the Suns youth will cause them to lose a couple more games down the stretch. Devin Booker is an absolute stud, but he’s a sieve on the defensive end. Eric Bledsoe is underrated at this point due to him not being able to stay on the floor, and Tyson Chandler is so far over the hill that he is miles from it. T.J. Warren and Marquese Chriss are really nice young players, but they can’t provide much in the win department quite yet. The same can be said for Tyler Ulis and number four pick Josh Jackson, the latter having a lot of upside, but how much he’ll provide this year is to be seen. I can’t stand Alex Len, going back to when he was originally drafted. There were murmurs of him being a potential top pick, albeit in a horrible draft, but I would have lost my mind if he went number one overall. He’s a true seven-footer, yet he can’t grab more than six rebounds a game, and his defensive ability is sub-par. Dragan Bender didn’t get a chance last season, but if I were running the team I’d try playing Bender and Chriss together to see what I have. This Suns team will be hoping to get another good pick next year to team up with Booker and Jackson.


  1. Sacramento Kings

Projected starters: George Hill, Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein

Key bench players: De’Aaron Fox, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph


The Sacramento Kings, a franchise I have had nothing good to say about for years, actually appear like they’re turning the ship around. Embracing a rebuild has given them a lot of good young assets; draft picks De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, and Harry Giles, along with Buddy Hield. I’ve written about my thoughts on bringing in George Hill to play over Fox, but Hill will provide veteran leadership and a few extra wins along the way. Fox is one of my favourite rookies from this class, and hopefully he can learn how to shoot while not being expected to lead the team. Buddy Hield will never be good defensively, but if he can study J.J. Reddick film and learn to run off screens he can become a solid starting guard. Labissiere showed a lot of promise at the end of last season, and his partnership with Cauley-Stein appears to be the frontcourt of the future. Vince Carter’s career is coming to an end, and it’s a bit odd for him to spend a year in Sacramento, but he’s still good for a couple turn-back-the-clock highlights throughout the season. Zach Randolph is also a bit of an odd signing, but he must be ok with coming off the bench. The Kings are nowhere near Playoff contention, but their team might be just good enough to pick outside of the top five.


  1. Los Angeles Lakers

Projected starters: Lonzo Ball, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Brook Lopez

Key bench players: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Kuzma


Sorry LaVar Ball, but your son won’t be able to lead the Lakers into the postseason in his rookie year. Look, I love Lonzo, but rookies just don’t come into the league and lead their new team into the Playoffs; unless they’re named LeBron James or Magic Johnson. Lonzo has the potential to be the Rookie of the Year, especially considering his Summer League performance. He’ll get the minutes, and will handle the ball for a majority of the minutes in the Lakers system, but he just doesn’t have enough talent to even push for the eighth spot. The signing of KCP is nice for both this season, and next, due to him having the same agent as free-agent-to-be LeBron James. He’s a great fit next to Ball due to his shooting touch, and defensive talents. Brandon Ingram with another year of growth should improve, and people are starting to sleep on Julius Randle. Brook Lopez is working on his outside shooting, but his inside scoring will be the main help for this Lakers offence. Jordan Clarkson will probably be in trade rumors all season because of the Lakers clear plans to sign two max players, and that’s unfortunate because he is a great talent off the bench. Larry Nance Jr. has been called the team’s “secret weapon” by Magic Johnson, but I’m still not too sure what he does other than throw down massive dunks (the best dunk of last season was Nance Jr. hammering it on new teammate Lopez, I wish I could know what the first thing they said to each other was at the first practice). Kyle Kuzma also showed out at Summer League, I doubt he’ll get a lot of opportunity, but he’s a nice piece going forward. LaVar will make his opinion heard all year, and it’ll be interesting to see how his mood changes as the losses start to pile up.


  1. Dallas Mavericks

Projected starters: Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel

Key bench players: Seth Curry, Yogi Ferrel, Dorian Finney-Smith


Just like the 14th and 15th spot, the Lakers could usurp the Mavs for this spot come the end of the season, but I’m betting on the Mavs to win more close games than the Lakers. It looks like Dennis Smith Jr. is going to make teams like the Bulls and Knicks regret passing on him, and coming into a system coached by Rick Carlisle will help him in his first season. Wesley Matthews wasn’t the same guy after his ACL injury, but he’s still capable on the wing. Harrison Barnes isn’t a top option, but he did show that he deserved more touches after leaving the Warriors. Dirk Nowitzki is a swinging door defensively, and he can’t rebound, but his spacing is still invaluable. Nerlens Noel’s offseason contract saga means that he has a lot to prove this year after signing only a one-year deal, he’ll still be seeking a max-offer next year from whoever is willing to offer it. Seth Curry proved that he serves a spot in the rotation, and the same can be said for the relatively unknown Yogi Ferrel. After that, the depth gets a bit questionable, but players like Dorian Finney-Smith and Salah Mejri will be asked to contribute in their bench minutes. Dallas fans, enjoy the twilight of Dirk’s career, and look forward to the future with the high-flying Dennis Smith Jr.


  1. New Orleans Pelicans

Projected starters: Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, Ian Clark, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins

Key bench players: Tony Allen, E’Twaun Moore, Alexis Ajinca (Perry Jones III)


Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are amazing players, but the surrounding talent just isn’t good enough to put this team in Playoff contention in my eyes. Jrue Holiday is a good point guard, but the signing of Rondo forces him to play off-ball, a role that doesn’t utilize his skills. The biggest issue with this team is the small forward position; with Solomon Hill’s injury the team doesn’t have a true wing on the roster. The recent acquisition of Tony Allen will help fill the gap for now, but long-term the team will need an answer. Ian Clark is my guess for the starting position just for a bit more spacing instead of Allen, but he’s not exactly a top-tier option. Alexis Ajinca is one of the most awkward players on the court, but he is a better option than Omer Asik; which isn’t saying much. The team is basically a bunch of point guards, big men, and non-spacing wings, not exactly how you want to construct a winning team. Cousins, and even Davis, could be in trade rumors throughout the year if things start going really poorly. (I added Perry Jones III to key bench players even though he might not even make the roster. They picked him up for training camp, and I really hope, especially with the lack of talent on the wing, that he makes the squad. Jones III is someone I’m still incredibly high on, even though he hasn’t shown much in his short NBA career. His length, shooting touch, and defensive potential makes him a good gamble for most teams, and I’ve wondered why nobody has taken a chance on him, so this chance makes me happy for him.)


  1. Memphis Grizzlies

Projected starters: Mike Conley, Tyreke Evans, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol

Key bench players: Ben McLemore, James Ennis, Brandan Wright


The grit and grind Grizzlies have been a playoff lock for years, but I think this is the year where they just miss out. The Grindfather, Tony Allen, is gone, along with Zach Randolph, and the gritty style seems to be a thing of the past. The Grizzlies problem has always been outside shooting, and the only newcomer who might be able to aid in that department is Ben McLemore, a less-than-average 2-guard. Tyreke Evans will probably slot into the starting lineup, and shooting has never been strength of his. Chandler Parsons knees may never fully recover, and it appears as if he is more focused on becoming a model than a successful ball player. James Ennis is interesting as a wing option, and Brandan Wright was intriguing just a short while ago. It’s tough to count out Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, but the only way they could get this team into the postseason is if they were in the East.


  1. Los Angeles Clippers

Projected starters: Patrick Beverly, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan

Key bench players: Milos Teodosic, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker


Lob City is no more after the trade of Chris Paul to Houston, but at least the Clippers got valuable pieces from that trade. Patrick Beverly is one of the best defensive options at the point, Lou Williams seemingly can catch fire at any time, and young guys Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell showed a lot of promise in their time as Rockets. I haven’t seen much of Milos Teodosic besides a couple of YouTube highlights, but word around the league is that he could supplant Beverly as the starting guard with his unreal passing skills. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a fan of Austin Rivers, but he has proved that he deserves a place in the league, even without his father as his coach. Gallinari will apparently be ready to go for training camp after punching an opponent during EuroBasket, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fares come the start of the season. Blake Griffin was an MVP-candidate just a few seasons ago, but it’s unclear whether he has the talent to lead a team on his own. DeAndre Jordan is one of the best defensive centers in the game, but he won’t be chipping in to replace Chris Paul’s production on the offensive end. A lot of prediction posts that I’ve seen have the Clippers firmly in Playoff contention, but in my mind, they might struggle to put points on the board, leading to them narrowly missing the postseason.


  1. Utah Jazz

Projected starters: Ricky Rubio, Rodney Hood, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert

Key bench players: Dante Exum, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Johnson


The Utah Jazz lost their best player in the offseason, but their talent is enough to still squeak into the Playoffs. Rodney Hood will be asked to up his production in lieu of Hayward, with a lot of help from Summer League standout Donovan Mitchell. Offense won’t be the reason this team wins games; wins will come for the Jazz on the defensive end. Last year’s blocks leader Rudy Gobert heads what should be a top-5 defense once again. Ricky Rubio is a step down from George Hill, but it’s not a steep drop. Dante Exum is still the point guard of the future, and this year fans will be hoping for a breakout season from him. Joe Ingles looks like the least athletic player on the court at any time, but the Australian got paid after shooting 44% from downtown. Derrick Favors has yet to play a full 82-game season, and last year he took a step back after his injury; if he can’t bounce back I see a possibility of his name ending up in trade rumours. Iso-Joe Johnson is 36 years old, and if he can average 10 points-per-game I would be surprised. Congratulations Utah fans, your team should end up in the 8th spot, also known as the honour to be swept by the Warriors.


  1. Portland Trail Blazers

Projected starters: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jusuf Nurkic

Key bench players: Evan Turner, Noah Vonleh, Meyers Leonard


It looked like Portland had a real shot at landing Carmelo Anthony, but unfortunately the recruiting efforts of Lillard and McCollum was for naught. Nonetheless, the Trail Blazers backcourt, along with Nurkic, is more than enough to will this team to a Playoff seed. Aminu is a great stretch-4 to pair alongside Nurkic, and his ability to switch out on pick-and-rolls is crucial with such a poor defensive backcourt. Moe Harkless will get an increased role following the trade of Allen Crabbe, but on this lineup he won’t be asked for too much on the offensive end. Evan Turner took a step back last year after a solid year in Boston, but with a lack of depth at small forward the Blazers will lean on him often. Meyers Leonard also needs to live up to the promise he showed a few short years ago, especially with rookies Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan coming into the fold. Noah Vonleh should get more minutes early in the season, but I could see Collins usurping him as the first or second big off the bench. Here’s a question, what has the higher potential of becoming true; Portland makes the NBA Finals, or Damian “Dame D.O.L.L.A.” Lillard records an album that goes platinum? Depending on the odds, I might go for the latter.


  1. Denver Nuggets

Projected starters: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic

Key bench players: Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Kenneth Faried


This year’s Nuggets team is a must-watch for NBA fans. Their offence is going to be electric, after finishing 3rd in points per game last season they added Paul Millsap to create one of the best floor-spacing lineups in the game. Adding Millsap helps balance the loss of points from Gallinari, along with the presumed uptake of production from Murray and Harris. Emmanuel Mudiay has yet to live up to the hype, but if he becomes a decent backup to Murray then all wouldn’t be lost. Wilson Chandler should have been traded from this team in the last five years, but now that the team should be playing postseason ball he’s a great fit. Will Barton may end up on the trade block to open up time for Malik Beasley, but if not he’s a solid bench contributor. Kenneth Faried is still an animal on the boards, and as a bench big his energy can tear up most team’s benches. This is the year that Jokic fully passes Marc Gasol as the best passing big man, and if he were in the East he’d be a favourite to make the All Star Team. The Nuggets won’t make much noise come Playoff time, but look out for them in a couple of years to make their way up the standings board.


  1. Minnesota Timberwolves

Projected starters: Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Karl-Anthony Towns

Key bench players: Tyus Jones, Jamal Crawford, Gorgui Dieng


I really thought Minnesota was going to make the jump last year, but with the acquisition of Jimmy Butler it’s a certainty this season. The Bulls reunion of Butler-Gibson-Thibs joining Towns and Wiggins is going to be really special. The person who should be the happiest about bringing in Butler is Andrew Wiggins. He now gets to cede the pressure to Butler, and can focus on growing his game. Wiggins made a jump last season in his offensive production, but his defensive potential has yet to be reached. Butler handling more of the offensive and defensive duties will allow Wiggins to learn underneath him without carrying the burden of the franchise. Now, having said all that, I think Karl-Anthony Towns should be the man on this team. Jimmy Butler is a vet, knows Coach Thibs style, but in my mind this is the year that Towns could break into the top-10 players conversation. Jeff Teague was a bit of an odd signing for this team, it was clear that they were pursuing Kyle Lowry and then settled for Teague. He’s an odd fit because he’s not a great defender, and lacks the outside scoring punch this team desperately needs. He’s a step up from Rubio in terms of shooting ability, but Rubio’s underrated defensive ability will be missed; George Hill would have been an amazing signing here. Tyus Jones should get a bulk of the minutes at backup point guard, but Thibs did just sign one of his old favourites, Aaron Brooks. Jamal Crawford is an interesting piece for them off the bench, along with Gorgui Dieng. I would be surprised if this team pushed the Spurs in the first round, but not completely shocked.


  1. San Antonio Spurs

Projected starters: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol

Key bench players: Dejounte Murray, Manu Ginobli, Rudy Gay


Is putting the Spurs at the four-spot “counting them out”? People, including myself, have thought the Spurs would inevitably take a step back for years, and the Spurs have proved us all wrong. Coach Popovich remains the best coach in the league, and will go down on the Mount Rushmore of coaches in any sport. Kawhi Leonard is a top-3 player, probably the best perimeter defender you could find, and yet with all this I still think they’re only the fourth best team in the West. Why do I think that? Well, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, 35 and 40 years old respectively, just aren’t what they once were. A front-line of LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol is an absolute turnstile on defense. Joffrey Lauvergne and Davis Bertans are the only backup options, options that aren’t striking fear into many, if any, teams in the league. Danny Green is still a good 3-and-D option, and Dejounte Murray is their future at the point, but right now they aren’t making an incredible difference on the floor. The big signing of the summer for San Antonio came in the form of Rudy Gay, a small forward who’s coming back after tearing his Achilles tendon. Rudy Gay gives the Spurs options to play small with him and Leonard manning the forward spots, but he isn’t exactly known for his ability to stretch the floor. Gay is one of my more interesting players to watch this year, to see how he fits into one of the best systems the league has ever seen. It might sound crazy, but come Playoff time I don’t think I’d pick the Spurs over any of the three teams I have currently ranked ahead of them.


  1. Houston Rockets

Projected starters: Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Clint Capela

Key bench players: Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, Nene


After the trade, much like most in the media, I questioned the fit between Paul and Harden. But after seeing countless videos of them putting in work together over the summer, I don’t think it’ll be tough for the two to mesh together. The Rockets lost quite a bit of their depth in acquiring Paul, however they quickly bolstered their bench with the signings of P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. You’d think that losing Beverly would hurt them defensively, but Paul isn’t exactly a slouch on that end. This team is going to be terrifying in transition, especially when playing small with Ariza at the 4-spot; Paul or Harden bringing the ball up with Eric Gordon and Ariza running the wings, and Clint Capela thundering up the middle. Mike D’Antoni’s system will lead to them to being one of the most exciting teams to watch all year. Ryan Anderson is slow and lumbering, but in what should be fewer minutes this season his floor spacing will still be a massive help. Don’t forget about Nene either, he finished more games last season than Capela, and his veteran savvy will be leaned on once again this year. Houston was my pick as the 2nd seed right after the Paul deal, but after the deals made by another Western contender, I had to slide them down a spot.


  1. Oklahoma City Thunder

Projected starters: Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Steven Adams

Key bench players: Alex Abrines, Jerami Grant, Patrick Patterson


That Western contender is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sam Presti’s business cards should say, “Sam Presti – General Manager of the Thunder, and Full-Time Magician”. Presti somehow turned Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott and Domantas Sabonis into Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this summer. Yes, he turned four rotation players into a superstar in Paul George and a star in Carmelo Anthony to form one of the most formidable big-3’s in the NBA. Skeptics could say that while the Thunder may have won the offseason, they did so at the cost of team depth. However, I see a solid 9-man rotation in Oklahoma City, something you can’t say for more teams. Their starting five is menacing, and when staggering the three stars there should never be a relatively poor lineup on the floor. Andre Roberson, known for being a defensive savant, will be asked for even less on the offensive end, which is a good thing for Thunder fans. Also, with George in the fold, Roberson won’t have to guard the other team’s best player every single night, allowing him to have more energy on the other end running the baseline for alley-oop dunks. Steven Adams appears to be the forgotten man in all Thunder discussions, and the argument could be made that the Thunder has a big-4 including the Kiwi. Adams has improved greatly each season, and offensively he’ll only be asked to set picks and roll to the rim. Alex Abrines still needs to put on size to be somewhat dependable defensively, but his outside shooting is key to the Thunder’s bench success. Jerami Grant might be playing some minutes at center, which should be interesting to see, and Patrick Patterson was a great fit to start next to Adams before the Anthony deal, but him coming off the bench just improves the Thunder’s potential that much more. Look out for my 10 bold predictions post, I have a feeling the Thunder will be mentioned in some form.


  1. Golden State Warriors

Projected starters: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia

Key bench players: Shaun Livingston, Nick Young, Andre Igoudala


There’s no debate on this one, the Warriors are just too good. My biggest question for them is could they potentially win 75 games? It sounds insane, but so does 73 wins, and they did that two season ago…WITHOUT KEVIN DURANT! I don’t even know what needs to be said, Stephen Curry is incredible, Klay Thompson has one of the nicest shooting strokes I’ve ever seen, and KD is a cupcake (just kidding Warriors fans…not really). It appears that Draymond Green has stopped kicking players in the nuts and focused on being a defensive anchor. Shaun Livingston is probably still the best backup point guard in the league and Andre Igoudala will be in the 6th Man of the Year discussions. I’m still mad that the Bulls were dumb enough to just sell Jordan Bell to the Warriors, it was clear after his March Madness performance that he will have a role in the NBA for years to come, yet another awful move by the Bulls and a great move for Golden State. But the best part of this year’s iteration of the Warriors? Reuniting Nick Young and JaVale McGee!!! These two put out one of the best NBA videos with their cinnamon challenge video back in the day, I hope they get back to putting up online content. Warriors fans, enjoy another incredible season. Meanwhile for the rest of us, let’s just hope the bloodbath that is the Western Conference can slow them down just enough to make the Playoffs interesting.

2017/2018 NBA Standings Predictions – Eastern Conference

End-of-season predictions time, and I’ll start with the frankly less interesting Eastern Conference. The West is absolutely loaded, but the East still saw a few shakeups coming into the season. Star players have headed West; Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Paul Millsap, and the consensus top-two teams traded point guards in Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. Playoff teams from last year are headed for the lottery, whereas past lottery teams are set to make the jump into the postseason. Here are my thoughts on how the Eastern Conference will shake out come the end of the season*.

* All predictions are being considered with 100% health


15. Atlanta Hawks

Projected starters: Dennis Schroder, Marco Belinelli, Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova, Dewayne Dedmon

Key bench players: Taurean Prince, John Collins, Mike Muscala

Its insane to think that just a few years ago the Hawks were the top seed with 60 wins, and four of their five starters made the Eastern All-Star team; Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford, with DeMarre Carroll being the lone absentee. Fast forward to now, and none of those players are on this roster. Horford and Millsap leaving for nothing definitely hurt the franchise, but the lack of significant moves is why I have this team as the worst in the East. Currently on the roster, the best player is probably Kent Bazemore, which is an absolutely laughable thing to say, with Schroder not developing into much as of yet. Taurean Prince has shown flashes on the wing as a defensive stopper, and rookie John Collins wowed at Summer League with some very impressive slams, but neither of them will be able to add wins this year. Atlanta has the ugliest jerseys in the league, and their games this season will be just as bad.

14. Chicago Bulls

Projected starters: Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Dwyane Wade, Lauri Markkanen, Robin Lopez

Key bench players: Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis

Bulls fans, you better hope Zach LaVine returns well from his ACL injury and shows potential as a number one option on the offensive end, or else the Jimmy Butler trade could be one of the worst trades in recent history. Kris Dunn still has defensive upside, but showed absolutely nothing in his first year with Minnesota; he was actually one of the worst guards in the entire NBA. Lauri Markkanen is intriguing, but he won’t be stopping anyone on the defensive end of the floor. Dwyane Wade, as many have reported, will probably be bought out before the halfway point of the season, which will make this squad one of the youngest in the league. I like Bobby Portis a lot, him and Markkanen could be a fun front-court duo down the road if he can improve his rim-protection skills. The biggest story surrounding this team the whole year won’t be focused on the court, instead on the GoFundMe page Bulls fans set up to protest against front office executives Gar Forman and Bill Paxson; not a good sign for this team going into the season.

13. New York Knicks

Projected starters: Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez

Key bench players: Ramon Sessions, Courtney Lee, Michael Beasley

It will be interesting to see how the Knickerbockers rebound in the post-Phil Jackson era, but with their current talent and makeup I don’t see a big turnaround quite yet. The signing of Tim Hardaway Jr. was the worst of the summer, and he’ll be the scapegoat for the team’s woes if he can’t find his scoring touch early on. Kristaps Porzingis will have another wasted year unfortunately, if only he had been picked over Jahlil Okafor by the 76ers. Willy Hernangomez is a really nice young big man, and that front-court duo with Porzingis is promising for their future. Carmelo Anthony should be bought out, but who knows if that will actually happen. Other offseason signings, Ramon Sessions and Michael Beasley, don’t install a lot of hope for Knicks fans. Enjoy Porzingis now New York, because if this ship doesn’t turn around soon he’s as good as gone.

12. Orlando Magic

Projected starters: Elfrid Payton, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic

Key bench players: Jonathan Simmons, Mario Hezonja, Jonathan Isaac

It shows how poor the East is when Orlando, who I’m incredibly low on, is my 12th seed. I’ll start by talking about the things I like for the franchise; good coaching with Frank Vogel, love the rookie Jonathan Isaac (even though I hate the fit next to Aaron Gordon, more to come in a bit), and Jonathan Simmons is a stud. Ok, now that’s over, onto the negatives. Elfrid Payton, a player I was way too high on as a rookie, is looking like he’ll never acquire a jumpshot. Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier on the wing just isn’t enough to scare any teams, and what is Aaron Gordon? Tons of people around the league seem to be super high on him, but I’m just not sure. I see Shawn Marion, a player who was incredible for the early 2000’s Suns, but that team was led by playmaker extraordinaire Steve Nash, a slight (super sarcastic if you can’t tell) step up from Payton. Gordon can’t shoot, is an awkward size, and even though the NBA is going in the direction of position-less basketball, he’s an awkward fit for this team. Vucevic is a good low-post scorer, but can’t rebound to save his life, and playing Gordon next to him doesn’t provide a solid counterpart for Vucevic’s weaknesses. Drafting Jonathan Isaac was a great move, he will make a fantastic stretch-4 with rim protecting abilities, however that forces Gordon to play the 3, a position he can defend well, but offensively he becomes a spacing nightmare. Mario Hezonja is in a make-or-break year, and it appears the chances are low of him making a major impact. Unfortunately for the Magic, they might be just good enough to pick outside of the top-5 once again.

11. Brooklyn Nets

Projected starters: Jeremy Lin, D’Angelo Russell, Allen Crabbe, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov

Key bench players: Caris LeVert, DeMarre Carroll, Trevor Booker

This may sound crazy, but I really do think the Nets are only the 5th-worst team in the East, and here’s why. Reason number one, the Nets don’t have their own draft pick, therefore they have no reason to tank. Throw in the fact that the LeBron-led Cavaliers hold said pick, they would have incentive to make that pick as bad as possible by performing at their best. Reason number two, D’Angelo Russell has everything to prove. Being a 2nd overall pick that gets traded early in their career, along with the Snapchat fiasco surrounding him and Nick Young, everyone seems to be sleeping on him as a player. In Brooklyn, he will have the keys to the car, and all the shots he wants. Reason number three, Kenny Atkinson is a really good coach, and was part of the Linsanity run in New York. Teaming back up with Jeremy Lin, and having a good passing guard in Russell, this offence should have decent ball movement. Acquiring Allen Crabbe was a good flier-move, while attaining DeMarre Carroll was mainly for the future 1st and 2nd picks. Caris LeVert I’ve liked ever since his days at Michigan, and this year should provide solid rotation minutes for him.

10. Indiana Pacers

Projected starters: Darren Collison, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner

Key bench players: Cory Joseph, Lance Stephenson, Domantas Sabonis

The Pacers got significantly worse following the Paul George trade, but they still possess enough talent to not be a bottom-dweller in the East. Oladipo and Sabonis is a weak package for the superstar George, but they will still provide decent production for this Pacers team. Myles Turner is one of the premier young big men in the league, and is already one of the best rim protectors around. Cory Joseph is a fantastic backup floor general, and getting him for basically nothing is an added bonus. Thaddeus Young is forever underrated, but like the rest of this team is a middling-type of player. And being in the middle in sports is one of the worst places you can be.

9. Detroit Pistons

Projected starters: Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

Key bench players: Ish Smith, Luke Kennard, Jon Leuer

The Pistons should easily be a Playoff team in an extremely weak Eastern Conference, but the past couple years don’t completely make me a believer. Reggie Jackson is a good scorer, yet the team seems to be much better when Ish Smith is running the show. Avery Bradley is a step up form Caldwell-Pope, and I’m still a huge fan of Stanley Johnson; maybe too much so. Andre Drummond can’t shoot free throws, and it appears like that skill may never emerge, but he is only 24 years old. Stan Van Gundy is one of my favourite coaches in the league, I still believe his brother Jeff needs to get back into the coaching ranks, but as we saw with Doc Rivers in L.A., it’s tough to be both a coach, and President of Basketball Operations. Rookie Luke Kennard from Duke has two paths to take in my eye; either he becomes a J.J. Reddick-type of player with a solid role as a shooter, or Doug McDermott, a player who has yet to carve out his own role. The Pistons very well may end up higher in the standings than this, but I see more potential with other teams right around the same win-range.

8. Philadelphia 76ers

Projected starters: Markelle Fultz, J.J. Reddick, Robert Covington, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

Key bench players: Justin Anderson, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor

One such team with a higher potential in my mind than the Pistons are the 76ers. Now, I know what you’re thinking, no chance Philadelphia is ready to make the jump. They’re too young, full of injury concerns, and it’s too challenging to make such a significant leap in one year. Hear me out though, this 76ers team has all the current, and future talent that they need, there’s no more reason to play for the bottom. Fultz, Simmons, and Embiid, barring injury, have the potential to all be franchise-type players. Throw in Saric and the criminally underrated Covington, and you have the makings of an incredible franchise. Trading Nerlens Noel was a necessary move, and getting Justin Anderson, along with future picks, was a decent return. Justin Anderson is rangy off the bench, with favourable defensive upside. Jahlil Okafor’s trade value is incredibly low, so hopefully he’ll show enough this season for another team to take a gamble on him. He doesn’t provide a lot of value for this Philly team with Richaun Holmes on the center depth chart. Nik Stauskas has to get bigger, and T.J. McConnell is actually really good. If the 76er’s Big-3 can play close to 200 games combined, this team can sneak into the Playoffs.

7. Charlotte Hornets

Projected starters: Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Dwight Howard

Key bench players: Michael Carter-Williams, Malik Monk, Cody Zeller

Charlotte finished a disappointing 5 games below-.500 last season, but this should be a bounce-back year for Buzz City. Newcomers Michael Carter-Williams and Dwight Howard will have a lot to prove, especially the artist formerly known as Superman. Howard should be slated into the starting lineup on opening day, but Cody Zeller will contend for that spot all year long. Kemba Walker is an All-Star calibre guard with fantastic pick-and-roll skills, and if Dwight can show even a sliver of his old-self, they will form a great partnership. Malik Monk is currently plagued with an ankle injury, but once he returns he should make an immediate impact off the bench. Nic Batum is still a solid two-way player, Kidd-Gilchrist’s shot form makes me want to vomit, but his defensive ability is impressive, and William’s is a good stretch-4 for this team that does really lack outside shooting.

6. Miami Heat

Projected starters: Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, Justice Winslow, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside

Key bench players: Josh Richardson, James Johnson, Bam Adebayo

Miami started last season 10-31, but turned it around at the halfway by going 31-10, narrowly missing the postseason. The Heat were one of the hottest teams by the end of the year, and with only additions to the squad, they should come out of the gates hotter this time around. The returning core of Dragic, fresh off a EuroBasket MVP, Waiters and Whiteside is one of the best trios in the Eastern Conference. Justice Winslow will need to show more this year, Danny Ainge and the Celtics offered multiple picks for the chance to pick him, and he has yet to fully show his potential. Slimmer James Johnson is an absolute beast, and Josh Richardson might end up starting over Winslow at some point. The two major additions the Heat made were signing Kelly Olynyk to a 4-year, 50 million dollar deal, and drafting Edrice “Bam” Adebayo. I’ve already written about how happy I am for Kelly, but from the teams perspective it was a really good move. Kelly provides valuable floor spacing, along with playmaking skills; as he was a point guard back in high school. Bam has the opportunity to instantly become a rotation player on a Playoff-bound team, and he gets to hone his skills under Whiteside, a center with a similar style to Bam’s. Waiters Island, coined by Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons, is becoming increasingly popular and rent prices are incredibly high, but I will never sell my beachside condo.

5. Washington Wizards

Projected starters: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat

Key bench players: Jodie Meeks, Kelly Oubre, Ian Mahinmi

The Wizards are tough for me; on one hand I see John Wall as the best point guard in the Conference, teaming up with sharpshooting Bradley Beal to create one of the best backcourts in the league, they should easily be a top-4 seed in an underwhelming Eastern Conference. But, on the other hand, I look at this roster, and see nothing more than two fantastic guards, a pretty good wing, and not much else. This team could end up being the 3rd seed, it could also be the 7th seed, the only thing I feel confident about is that Washington will be playing basketball in the postseason. They’ll be hoping for a breakthrough year for Kelly Oubre, but leaning on a center duo of Gortat and Mahinmi is a tough pill to swallow. Jodie Meeks hasn’t been heard from in a long time, Tim Frazier is average at best, and Markieff Morris took a step back once he was traded from Phoenix. The Wizards will be okay, they’ll be in the Playoff pack, but finishing higher in the standings may take a bit of Wizard-ing magic.

4. Milwaukee Bucks

Projected starters: Malcolm Brogdon, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Thon Maker

Key bench players: Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell, Greg Monroe

Even with Jabari Parker missing the first bit of the season, I see big things for the Bucks. Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon has firmly supplanted himself in the starting lineup, Khris Middleton is one of the best 3-and-D players the league has to offer, and Thon Maker, however old he is, appears to be a foundational piece in the middle for Milwaukee. Oh, and they also have this guy who’s well known as the Greek Freak, you’ve probably heard of him. Giannis very well could contend for MVP this season, and I can’t wait to see how he’s expanded his game during the offseason. The Bucks are constructed very well for the future; they’re young, long and can switch at every position on the defensive end. Dellavedova is a solid backup guard, Tony Snell is almost a Khris Middleton-lite, and Greg Monroe appears to have accepted his role as a backup post big. Rashad Vaughn is an interesting piece, he may not see a lot of floor time, but he’s shown flashes in the past. John Henson is a player that I always thought deserved more of a chance, but at this point he might be a player to dump halfway through the year. This is the year that the Bucks should win their first-round Playoff matchup.

3. Toronto Raptors

Projected starters: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, C.J. Miles, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

Key bench players: Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam

The Raptors lost Cory Joseph and DeMarre Carroll in the summer, but quickly replaced them with an in-house option, and a piece by trade. Cory Joseph is one of the best backup point guards in the league, but losing him gives Delon Wright the ability to step up and show what he can do. Carroll had to be dumped due to his horrendous contract, and bringing in C.J. Miles is a huge improvement. Miles will surely slot into the starting small forward spot due to his outside shooting and defensive capabilities, but look for Norman Powell to usurp him by the end of the season. Powell is one of the young guys in the league that I am crazy high on, and he’ll get plenty of opportunities this season to prove me right. Bringing back Lowry and Ibaka keeps them a contender in the East, while DeRozan is going to come into the year angry after being ranked the league’s 36th best player by Sports Illustrated. I’m still not a fan of Valanciunas, and he really needs to prove himself this year with Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira waiting in the wings. Bruno Caboclo is still two years away from being two years away, but draft pick OG Anunoby, once back from injury, should slot in for rotation minutes right away.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

Projected starters: Isaiah Thomas, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson

Key bench players: Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green

The LeBron’s are always a media circus, and this year will be no different. Is Isaiah Thomas going to be able to play this season? How will Derrick Rose fare if he has to play starter minutes? Can Jeff Green finally make his mark on a team? These are fair questions, but are a distraction to a team that is vying for a championship. On paper, and without Thomas’s injury, this team is better than it was last year. Isaiah and Kyrie are similar enough, Derrick Rose is a huge upgrade to the abysmal Deron Williams, while Jae Crowder and Jeff Green add significant wing depth. But will it work? There are a lot of personalities on this team, and I’m still weary on how good of a coach Ty Lue is. Kevin Love will have to show more of his old Minnesota-self, especially if Thomas misses a lot of time. Jae Crowder is a phenomenal piece in a potential Finals rematch with the Warriors, but this year might be the Cavs toughest road back there.

1. Boston Celtics

Projected starters: Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Al Horford

Key bench players: Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes

The Celtics only have four returning players, and generally one would think that they would take a step back. But this organization, built by Danny Ainge and coached by Brad Stevens, is so strong that I think they’ll be better than last years squad. They aren’t nearly as deep as previous years, but their top-heavy talent is strong enough to push for 60 wins. Gordon Hayward is thought of as a great small forward, but he’s still underrated at his position, and teaming him up with Irving and Horford creates one of the most formidable three-man units in the association. Jaylen Brown, another of my favourite young guys, is due for a breakout year, and Jayson Tatum will be vying for Rookie of the Year. Marcus Smart has apparently lost weight, and his bulldog mentality on defence makes him one of the premier guard defenders out there. Aron Baynes is a dependable backup big man, but this team will be looking to play small-ball a majority of the time. Marcus Morris is one of the best LeBron-defenders in the league, and will allow Hayward to guard the other team’s lesser threat. Look out Cleveland, Boston could very well make the Finals this year.

My thoughts on every major* move in the 2017 NBA Offseason

What. A. Freaking. Offseason. With the breaking news of Kyrie Irving being traded to Boston, the final domino (minus the odd small-scale signing here and there) has fallen, meaning I can finally give my takes on all of the important moves that took place in the past few months.

*I put an asterisk on the word major because some of the moves that I will talk about wouldn’t conventionally be considered major, but I’m still going to talk about them because it’s my blog and I do what I want.

This will be the first in a series of my offseason posts, with the following being more predictive orientated. The end of the summer is an exciting time for only one reason; the NBA season is fast approaching and I am once again very pumped to share my thoughts and opinions on the upcoming year with you.

Note: These moves are in no way ranked, and are in no particular order.


Kyrie Irving traded to Boston / Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn 2018 1st unprotected to Cleveland

The most recent transaction is a huge shakeup in an otherwise boring Eastern Conference. The storylines are endless with this blockbuster trade, starting with the opening night matchup against LeBron and co. in Kyrie’s old stomping ground. Cavs/Celtics was already a great game to start the season off, but now with the two swapping star point guards it will be an absolute treat. Isaiah being moved from Boston is tough, other than David Ortiz he was the most loved athlete in Boston in recent memory; playing through injury in the Playoffs, along with playing just days after the tragic death of his sister, he was beloved in Beantown. Unfortunately, basketball is a business, and the upgrade to Irving is worth moving a fan-favourite. Irving is younger, less injury-prone, and a (very slight) defensive upgrade. Jae Crowder is a solid defensive player, and gives the Cavs another wing option to throw against the main competition; the Golden State Warriors. Ante Zizic might become something down the road, and the 2018 Brooklyn pick, which might not be as high a pick as it seemed only a few years ago, is a good trade piece for them if they decide to move it. Overall, I’d say this was a fair trade for both sides.

Chris Paul sign-and-trade to Houston / Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrel to L.A. Clippers

Lob City finally comes to an end. It’s crazy to think that the Chris Paul-iteration of the Clippers never made the Conference Finals, (thanks to a tough call during the 2014 Thunder series, and an amazing Josh Smith/Corey Brewer lead comeback in 2015 against the Rockets) but here we are. Chris Paul is going to Houston to team up with James Harden, creating one of the best backcourts in the league. My first thought on this move was that there’s only one basketball, and both of these guys love to hold it. However, Harden and Paul have been playing together a lot this summer, and putting team U.S.A. guys together is never a bad idea. Mike D’Antoni’s offence just got scarier, and the passing ability in this backcourt is phenomenal. Meanwhile for the Clippers, they got a pretty good package for the 32-year old Paul. Patrick Beverly is a bulldog on defence, Lou Williams, while undersized, is a scoring machine, and a perennial 6th-Man of the Year candidate. Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrel are the young, future pieces, and both are rotation-ready players with a lot of athleticism. Overall, if I were the Rockets I would have loved to hold onto either Dekker or Harrel, but teaming up Paul with Harden makes them a real contender, and the Clippers had to change it up after years of Conference Semi-Final losses.

Danilo Galinari traded to L.A. Clippers / Jamal Crawford to Atlanta / Picks to Denver

Continuing on with the Clippers, the other big move they made this summer was bringing in Danilo Galinari from the Nuggets. Galo had a rough summer, breaking his hand during EuroBasket when he punched an opponent. That makes back-to-back years of top Clippers players breaking their hands while punching someone, (Blake Griffin punching the Raptors equipment manager) which I find absolutely hilarious. Back to the deal itself though, Jamal Crawford is still a solid scorer off the bench, but he is getting up their in age, so dealing him along with a couple picks for a proven small forward was a good idea The small forward position has been the bane of the Clippers organization during the GM-Doc era, and the addition of Galo creates a really good forward trio; Galo, Griffin, and Jordan. For Denver, they are a younger team that had to get rid of Galinari eventually, and receiving more future picks that will fit their timeline was a smart move. For Atlanta, receiving Crawford is a non-factor, clearly evident by them waiving him almost instantly. Overall, the Clippers gaining Galo keeps them in the Playoff race out West, the Nuggets move up further in the total asset standings, and the Hawks are going to be really bad for a while.

Jimmy Butler traded to Minnesota / Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Lauri Markkanen to Chicago (Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson sign with Minnesota)

I’m still shocked that Gar Pax and the Bulls organization dealt their star player to the head coach that they fired just a few years ago. But, this trade did happen, and the T-Wolves came out as clear winners. Jimmy Butler reuniting with Thibs is great for the entire franchise, not just because of his talent, but his ability to be a coach on the floor for his younger teammates; primarily Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. This Wolves team was supposed to make the jump last season, but now with Butler showing his new teammates the way, they are almost a sure-lock to make the Playoffs. On the flip side, a team that is poised to be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls. Trading a star is hard, generally you don’t get a fair return on said star player, and that’s exactly what happened in this trade for the Bulls. Zach LaVine is an exciting player with a good amount of potential, but he will be coming off an ACL injury which tends to alter the explosiveness of a player. For LaVine, this could be challenging to return from, as he is one of the most explosive guards in the league. Looking at the other returns, Kris Dunn came into the NBA with many expecting big things, however in his rookie year he didn’t show any promise whatsoever. Lauri Markkanen is an intriguing prospect, garnering comparisons to a young Dirk Nowitzki (very lofty goals, but the easiest connection when comparing a tall, European big man who can shoot is to the German Nowitzki). Fortunately for Chicago fans, Markkanen has been killing it at EuroBasket this year, but his lack of rim protection as a 7-footer makes him a tough play at the center position. Overall, Minnesota wins this deal. Zach LaVine will garner a hefty pay increase come extension time, a tough thing to do with a young player coming off a major injury. Kris Dunn, as of now, has to be considered a miss of a pick, especially with notable players being selected after him; Jamal Murray, Thon Maker, and even 2nd-round stud Malcolm Brogdon. He still has a lot of defensive upside, but this year could be make-or-break for Dunn. Lauri Markkanen could be something, but in the end this isn’t impressive enough of a package for Jimmy Butler.

(While talking about Minnesota, they further upgraded their starting lineup with the signings of Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. Teague is an above-average point guard, and Gibson brings another Thibs defensive-disciple to the organization. Spacing-wise this new starting lineup has some question marks, but the defensive versatility and ability can be near the top of the league.)

Paul George traded to Oklahoma City / Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis to Indiana

I was shocked about the Jimmy Butler trade, but the Paul George-to-OKC trade has me shook. George being traded wasn’t surprising, but Sam Presti and the Thunder coming out of the woodwork to absolutely fleece the Pacers was, and still is, insane. Paul George is a top-10 player, and even though his value was low due to his contract being up in one year, partnered with his presumed desire to become a Laker, getting him for pennies on the dollar is wild. Pennies on the dollar sounds like I’m downplaying Oladipo and Sabonis, and it sounds like that because that’s exactly what I’m doing. Oladipo is a decent player, but he’s one of those players with a body and game style that doesn’t fit a certain position. Even though the league is trending/has trended towards position-less basketball, he’s still an awkward fit. He can’t shoot well enough, isn’t big enough to guard the Klay Thompson’s/Jimmy Butler’s of the world, and isn’t a good enough playmaker to play the point. He’s athletic, has amazing bounce, but as the focal point of a trade to land a superstar? No chance. Onto Sabonis, I actually quite like him. He can’t play defence to save his life, but he is only going into his second season. His outside shooting to start last season off showed a lot of promise, until Russell Westbrook started chasing triple-doubles and Sabonis was clearly afraid to shoot, struck with the fear of missing and incurring Beast-brook’s wrath. Overall, the Thunder got away with highway robbery in this trade. If David Stern was still running the league, this would’ve been a Chris Paul-Lakers-veto type of situation. Good luck to Sabonis and Oladipo, hopefully the latter going to Indiana University will make it easier for the fans to accept their new second option, behind Miles Turner.

Gordon Hayward signs with Boston

First Thibs and Butler, now Stevens and Hayward; it’s the season of reunions. Gordon Hayward going to Boston before the Kyrie trade made them arguably the best regular season team in the East in my opinion. Now with a big three of Irving, Hayward, and Horford, I think they’ve solidified their #1 spot going into the Playoffs. Hayward is somewhere in the top 5-7 wings in the league, and he’s a safe bet to make the Eastern All-Star team. Losing Crowder and Bradley hurts Boston’s defence, but I can’t wait to see a lineup with Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Hayward, and Horford; Brad Steven’s offence will be beautiful to watch. Overall, A+ signing for Danny Ainge, finally inking a star player to a contract to wear Celtics green.

Paul Millsap signs with Denver

Hawks fans, this is going to be a tough year for you. Last offseason Horford walked for nothing, and this season Millsap did the exact same thing. Paul Millsap joining the young Denver Nuggets is a fantastic move for both sides. The Nuggets were horrible defensively, spearheaded by their terrific passing big man, Nikola Jokic, and pairing up the young stud with the switchy and stretchy Millsap makes sense on all fronts. Millsap doesn’t fit their timeline, but his mentorship to guys like Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Emmanuel Mudiay will be crucial in their future success; long past the 3-year contract Millsap signed. Overall, A+ signing for the Nuggets, this team could be a top-5 League Pass team this season.

Dwight Howard signs with Charlotte

Oh Dwight, what happened. If you told me back in 2009 that Dwight Howard, at the time an MVP-calibre player on a fantastic Magic team, would have played on the Lakers, Rockets, Hawks, and now Hornets, by 2017 I would have called you ridiculous. But, here we are, and the artist formerly known as Superman is teaming up with Kemba Walker in Charlotte. The best part is that the Hawks traded the 31st pick, along with Howard, for Marco Belinelli, the worst Plumlee, and the 41st pick. Yes, the Hawks moved down in the draft, and basically just got Belinelli to get rid of Dwight. This move is very meh to me, I think Charlotte would’ve had a bounce back season this year with or without Howard, and he doesn’t make a huge impact on their potential success. I actually think that Cody Zeller will close more games at center than Dwight will, and how do you think that’ll make him feel? Howard’s biggest flaw is that he still thinks he’s fantastic, which is just not true unfortunately. Overall, this move is a negative for Charlotte. They have to pay Dwight and his constantly injured back 23.5 million for the next two years. Ouch.

D’Angelo Russell, Timofey Mozgov traded to Brooklyn / Brook Lopez to L.A. Lakers

This is the best possible thing to happen to D’Angelo Russell. After the Nick Young-Snapchat fiasco, Russell was a pariah in the Lakers locker room, and playing for the Lakers in general puts a massive spotlight on you as a player, nevertheless as a 2nd overall pick. Going to a Nets team that has no expectations allow Russell to just go out and ball, something that he will do. Russell is my early choice as Most Improved next season, and as the number 1 option on a bad Nets team he’ll get as many shots as he likes. Meanwhile, for the Lakers, this was a fantastic move. Giving up on a young guy with potential in Russell is tough, but they knew that Lonzo Ball was their guy, and now he has nobody in his was of the starting job at point. Also, dumping Timofey Mozgov’s horrendous contract aids in their pursuit of two max-level players next year. Oh, and they acquired Brook Lopez, along with the rights to 27th pick Kyle Kuzma, a solid center who has been increasing his shooting range, and a young wing player who showed tremendous upside at Summer League alongside his “light skinned brother” Lonzo Ball. Overall, great move for both teams. The Nets acquire a young building block, and potential franchise-guy in Russell, and take on Mozgov’s salary to reach the salary floor; while the Lakers get a starting-calibre center in Lopez, open up starter minutes for their new 2nd-overall pick point guard, and potentially get the steal of the draft in Kuzma.

Avery Bradley traded to Detroit / Marcus Morris to Boston

In a league with a salary cap, eventually teams with too many good assets have to trade away key pieces because they can’t afford to pay them. This is exactly what happened in Boston, where they traded All-Defensive level shooting guard (outrageously not voted to the team last year even though it was well deserved) Avery Bradley to Detroit in exchange for Marcus Morris. This move was only made because of the cap situation, Avery Bradley is a great starting guard, however his stellar play priced him out of the Celtics equation. In contrast, Marcus Morris, a sneaky good defensive option against top wing players, is slated to only make 10 million over the next two years; allowing them to eventually sign Gordon Hayward. Overall, this trade helps both sides, albeit in different ways. Boston managed to acquire a premier talent in Hayward, while decreasing their cap expenditure; whereas Detroit made the decision to go with Avery Bradley as their future at the 2-guard position instead of retaining Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signs with L.A. Lakers

Speaking of KCP, his signing with the Lakers speaks more about the Lakers future plans than himself. KCP is a great young guard with two-way abilities, and instead of signing a longer term deal at a potentially lower price per year, he signed a 1-year deal worth 18 million. As I stated above, this speaks more to the Lakers plans for next offseason, rather than how they view him as a player. Signing him for just one year gives them the flexibility to pursue two max-level players next summer, something that would’ve been discussed in his meeting with his agent, Rich Paul. That name is well known in basketball circles and to fans because he is also the agent , and best friend, of LeBron James, a player whom the Lakers have a keen desire to go after next summer. KCP could be cashing in on a slightly larger than expected pay-check this season so that he could ideally, in the Lakers eyes, take a pay-cut to bring in LeBron and one other star player next season. Overall, this is a great signing for the Lakers, and for KCP. He is still young, at just 24 years of age, and becoming a UFA at 25 he could garner large offers in other situations if he doesn’t decide the pay-cut to stay in the purple and yellow next season is worth it for him. The Lakers maintain flexibility, and add a solid shooter to pair up with the pass-first Lonzo Ball.

J.J. Reddick signs with Philadelphia

Speaking of players signing lucrative 1-year deals, J.J. Reddick did exactly that when he signed with the “Trust the Process” 76ers for 23 million dollars. Similarly to the KCP situation, this is a fantastic move for both sides. J.J. Reddick has never made large money in his eleven year career, totalling a net salary of 55 million over that time. For the 76ers, he gives them flexibility for next season when rookie extension time comes for players like Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, along with veteran leadership for an extremely young team. J.J. Reddick is one of the best shooters in the league, and will provide amazing spacing for the driving-style of Markelle Fultz, his new backcourt mate. The 76ers, as a young team, don’t have a lot of large contracts on their books, and this move allows them to hit the salary floor. Overall, congratulation to Reddick for making nearly half of his career earnings in one year, and great move for the 76ers, the ability for Reddick to teach Embiid, Simmons, Saric, and Fultz the pitfalls of the NBA will be crucial to their future success.

Rudy Gay signs with San Antonio

This move puzzled me at the time it happened, and it still puzzles me today. The Spurs are a rigid organization, and Rudy Gay just doesn’t seem like a Spurs-ian type of player. The overall fit of Gay on this roster is also pretty odd, his outside shooting is average at best, and it’ll be interesting to see how happy he is coming off of the bench. The Spurs, like all other teams in the league, are looking up at the Warriors, and this move does give them another good-sized wing player to attempt to matchup with Steph, KD, and company. If I was running the Spurs, I would personally rather have Jonathan Simmon at 6 million a year than Gay at 8.5 million, but I digress. Coach Pop is amazing, the Spurs are a machine of consistency, and this could end up being the best year of Gay’s career, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Kelly Olynyk signs with Miami

I watched Kelly Olynyk play for South Kamloops High at my local high school’s Western’s basketball tournament, saw him drop over 150 points during the span of three games, and now he’s signed a 4-year, 50 million dollar deal down in Miami. A 7-foot white Canadian guy living in Miami, he’s going to stand out just a bit. Congratulations Kelly, I never would have thought you’d become the player you are today, but now you’re the starting forward for a solid Eastern Conference Playoff squad. Now, to talk about the move itself for Miami, I really like it. Hassan Whiteside is one of the top rim-protectors in the game, and he’ll have to rotate over often to assist Kelly on the defensive end, but Olynyk’s outside shooting ability will add valuable spacing to a team lacking pure shooters. Olynyk can also play as a “small”-ball (he’s 7 feet, not super small but his 3-point shooting fits the small-ball definition) center in certain lineups. Overall, great deal for Olynyk and the Heat, and a huge win for Canada basketball.

George Hill, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter sign with Sacramento

I have mixed feelings about these signings for Sacramento. The Kings have been a dumpster fire for a while, I’ve shared my thoughts about them a multitude of times over the past couple years, but it looks like they are slowly turning the ship around. Once Cousins was traded, it was clear that the Kings were going young with Buddy Hield, and 4 first-round picks in the 2017 Draft, where they selected stud point guard De’Aaron Fox, junior wing Justin Jackson, former top recruit Harry Giles, and senior point guard Frank Mason III. Besides Giles who is still recovering from an ACL tear, the other 3 rookies would probably have played significant minutes this season, but that all changed in the free agency period. Bringing in veterans to a young team, especially an organization like the Kings who have been a nightmare for a while, is a fantastic thing. However, I’m an advocate to throwing young players into the fire when the opportunity is available. At times, this can be problematic, such as when players don’t live up to expectations and crumble. On this idea, I’m of the thought that a player’s confidence is crucial, but if they crumble and can’t fight to show they still contain potential, then bringing them along slowly wouldn’t have changed this outcome. In the Kings case, drafting Fox was one of the best draft-fits from the entire draft. At the time, the Kings had no real direction,  no clear option at the point, and Fox was clearly taken to be the future at point for Sacramento. Bringing in a veteran guard to show Fox the way behind the scenes in practice is ideal, but a player like George Hill will push Fox to the bench and restrict his minutes early on in his career. The Kings, in my eyes, should be playing for more draft picks, and for the future. Players like Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter will add wins to their total, pushing their potential draft picks further back. The Hinkie-76ers process was tough for Philly fans, but now they have multiple top-3 picks on their roster, and have a bright future to look forward to. The Kings signing players of such an ilk brings them closer to the middle, arguably the worst place to be in sports. The veteran leadership is solid, the draft picks were awesome, but instead of garnering a top-3 pick, that pick could end up being more in the 5-7 range, which is a huge change. Overall, A grade for bringing in quality vets and players, but an F for thinking about the future.

Tim Hardaway Jr. signs with New York

After signing Hardaway Jr. to the most universally panned contract of the offseason, the Knicks might be the new Kings in the dumpster fire rankings. 4-years, 71 million for a player whose best NBA career moment was a shootout with Dion Waiters in the Rookie-Sophomore game during All Star Weekend is absolutely outrageous. The best tweet after this signing came from Bobby Marks, @BobbyMarks42, who tweeted, “Tim Hardaway Jr. was traded for Jerian Grant who was traded for Derrick Rose who was renounced so NYK could sign Hardaway Jr. for $71M.”. Yes, the Knicks traded Hardaway Jr. for two players who are no longer on the roster, just to then sign Hardaway Jr. to a ludicrous contract. Even Hardaway Jr. himself was reportedly surprised about the contract offer, I can only imagine the Hawks management laughing and falling off their chairs when that offer came in. Hardaway Jr. did average a career high in points last season at a whopping 14.5 points per game, but who’s going to pass him the ball in New York? Rookie Frank NTIlikina? Ramon Sessions? Ron Baker? (I actually love Ron Baker, but you understand what I’m getting at.) Carmelo Anthony and his hoodie will be bought out at some point, Joakim Noah will spend another year injured, smoking a ton of weed (no chance he doesn’t, I see you Joakim), and Porzingis probably has a board at home where he’s counting down the days until he can leave. Overall, Hardaway Jr. is a decent player, massively overpaid, and the Knicks media are going to have a great year putting forward depressing storylines.




Weekly Dimes (Apr. 6 – 12)

The season has come to a conclusion, and with that comes the end of the 2016/2017 Weekly Dimes. This season has been incredible, filled with amazing storylines and historic moments, and those should continue on into the Playoffs. Now to the Dimes; this week determined who made the final Playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, provided further MVP-fodder for the Westbrook MVP case, and saw an athlete from another sport suit up for an NBA team. I want to say that I enjoyed writing this weekly post throughout the season, it gave me more reason to follow the season closely, and it did not disappoint. Stay tuned for Playoff matchup previews, and other post/offseason articles, along with the 2017/2018 Weekly Dimes next October!


1) Russell Westbrook gets 42nd triple double, surpasses Oscar Robertson

MVP. That is all I have to say.

…Alright, that isn’t all I have to say. Russell Westbrook’s incredible season was capped off with the 42nd triple double, and even better it came in a clutch come-from-behind victory over the Denver Nuggets; capped off with a game-winning deep three from Russ, eliminating Denver from postseason contention in the process. It’s been said my many media members; Russ won this regular season, and that game-winner will be a focal point of any 2016-2017 regular season highlight reel for decades to come.

2) Nets  Celtics secure top lottery odds

The Brooklyn Nets cemented themselves as the worst team this season, therefore giving themselves a 25% chance of winning the top spot in the NBA Draft lottery. This means the Nets will be able to draft their franchise cornerstone player…wait, the Nets traded what for Pierce and Garnett? Oh, well this Nets season was a waste. Boston fans rejoice, the Celtics (thanks to a horrible deal) have a 1 in 4 chance of landing the #1 pick in the draft! Yes, a team that has a viable chance of making the NBA Finals this year could draft first overall. The Celtics are in an enviable spot, however with the consensus top-two prospects being point guards, they’ll have to make a decision this offseason regarding Isaiah Thomas’s future within the organization. How the team fares in the Playoff’s will help to make this decision; if they make a deep run while being lead by Thomas, there’s no way they move on from him. However, if they were to be bounced early, I could see them trading Isaiah and moving forward with Smart as the starting guard, with either Fultz or Ball being the future starting guard. The Celtics are the most intriguing team to follow this summer in my opinion, it’s rare in sports to see a team this good have as many options as they have.

3) Bulls and Pacers secure last Playoff spots in East

The 7th and 8th seeds out East came down to the final day, with the Bulls, Pacers, and Heat vying for the final two spots. The Bulls and Pacers held their own fate, both just needing to win to continue with their season. Meanwhile Miami needed to win, and have at least one of the other two teams lose. Unfortunately for Miami, the story of the second half of the season, the Bulls and Pacers both finished the season with a W. The Heat have to be incredibly happy with how their season turned around; they started out 11-30, and finished 30-11 in the second half. Coming into this season if you had asked me if the Heat would be in the mix for a Playoff seed on the final day of the season, I would have laughed in your face. But with Goran Dragic having a comeback season of sorts, Hassan Whiteside continuing to grow, and the average value of a property on Dion Waiters island going through the roof, they have a pretty bright future ahead.

4) Waiting until the NBA Awards Show to learn who the MVP is

While learning about who wins all the awards is interesting, none is better than the MVP, especially this season. This would be a topic of discussion no matter what, because the awards won’t have the same appeal being announced after the Playoffs have come to a conclusion. But on top of that, the top two candidates are facing off against each other in the first round. Wouldn’t it be much more fun to watch Westbrook and Harden go at it knowing which one was deemed the MVP of the league, especially if that MVP is Harden? Russell Westbrook, who goes balls-to-the-wall every single time he steps on the court, would somehow crank it up another notch and play with an incredible intensity. Instead, the topic of who the MVP is will continue for another couple of months, somewhat overshadowing the Playoffs themselves.

5) Jerry West doesn’t want to be featured as the logo anymore

Jerry West isn’t scared to speak his mind, and he made headlines when he came onto ESPN’s The Jump, and said that he didn’t want his likeness to be featured on the NBA logo anymore. It’s an interesting discussion, no other league logos have a clear resemblance to a past player. Personally, I think that being chosen as the logo that represents the league would be an incredible honour, however West stated that he does not like having attention drawn to him. Adam Silver and the league office have a dilemma to deal with, and if they were to find a new player to model the logo after it would be intriguing to see who they consider.

6) Cavaliers blow back to back double-digit 4th quarter leads

Coming down the stretch, teams hopefully have their rotations sorted out, and are feeling good coming into the postseason. This is not the case for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs ended their season with four straight losses, including two straight overtime losses to Atlanta and Miami; both games in which they had double digit leads coming into the fourth quarter. Betting against LeBron is a fools errand, the guy has made six straight NBA Finals, and even with this recent losing stretch, they are still the favourites to make it out of the Eastern Conference. However, it will be interesting to see how LeBron and company show up in the first round against Indiana, Paul George is a tough matchup to deal with.

7) Brook Lopez becomes Nets all-time leading scorer

If the Nets hadn’t traded every pick they own for the next century to Boston, getting 25% of the ping pong balls would be the best part of their season. But, they did make that trade, therefore Brook Lopez, perennial trade rumour bait, becoming the franchises all-time leading scorer is the success of their season. Sorry Nets fans, must’ve been a tough year. At least Caris LeVert looks good?

8) Tony Romo suits up for Dallas Mavericks

If it hadn’t been for Adam Silver not honouring Romo’s contract, there’s a good chance that he would’ve played in the Mavericks final game. Tony Romo did a lot for Dallas in his time as the Cowboys starting QB, and now with his move to broadcasting Mark Cuban and the Mavs decided to honour Romo. When I first read this I thought it was the dumbest PR move ever, however upon further reading I learned that Romo was actually a fantastic high school basketball player, and he had offers to play Div. 1 basketball. Commissioner Silver clearly saw this as a farce, therefore not honouring the contract, and that probably was the best option; can’t set a precedent for other teams to honour people who don’t belong on a professional basketball court.

9) Timberwolves rebranded logo

Minnesota’s season ended a few weeks back once they were eliminated from Playoff contention, but this past week they announced plans to rebrand the team, and released the new logo. The only problem is, the new logo isn’t all that different from their old logo. It appears like the same colour scheme as the Seattle Seahawks, and I’m not a big fan of the lime green on an NBA jersey. The Twitter-verse ripped the logo apart, quite appropriately, and besides the great hype video that came with the announcement, it does not add much excitement to their great future.

10) Cavaliers cut Larry Sanders, sign Edy “Walter” Tavares for Playoffs

You’re on a team with a very good shot at reaching the NBA Finals, and on the last day of the season the team cuts you. Is there anything worse than that as an NBA player? Apparently the decision was made when Sanders missed the team bus the day before, which is fair for a player who was clearly going to be on a short leash. It’s a sad story for Sanders, a player who just a few years ago appeared to have a bright future ahead. Hopefully for him this isn’t the end of his story, and another team takes a swing on him in the offseason, but it doesn’t seem highly likely.

Weekly Dimes (Mar. 30 – Apr. 5)

In our second-last Weekly Dimes post of the season, we see high scoring games, the return of a key player out East, and another laughable Sacramento Kings story. The eight seeds in both conferences are still up for grabs, and by next weeks post we’ll officially know the Playoff matchups. Next week will be the last regular post of the season, however there will be lots of stuff to write about come the postseason, along with the offseason and draft. Stay tuned for more!


1) Russell Westbrook gets 41st triple-double of season, ties Oscar Robertson’s record

Four games left, two against Denver, and one each against Phoenix and Minnesota. Four chances to beat what seemed to be an unbreakable record, set back in the 1962 season by Oscar Robertson. Seven times this season Russell came either one rebound, or one assist short of a triple-double, and if he had capitalized on half of those he would’ve made history about a week and a half ago. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to find a basketball fan who doesn’t want Russell to succeed and break this record.

2) Orlando Magic’s whiteboard goes viral

NBA organizations start thinking about offseason plans way before the season ends, and big boards with such plans probably exist for most teams. What does not happen for any other teams, however, is a photo of such a board being tweeted out accidentally. This is exactly what happened in Orlando, when an international player who had just signed for the Magic, had his photo taken in front of a whiteboard covered in different names. The whiteboard included players the Magic could trade for, or sign in the offseason, along with a breakdown of hybrid and big targets. The Magic’s season has been abysmal, and this won’t give their fanbase any hope for a competent product in the near future.

3) Tracy McGrady elected to NBA Hall of Fame

13 points in 33 seconds, that’s what I instantly think of when I see the name Tracy McGrady. But that doesn’t tell his whole story. Two time scoring champion, seven time All Star, seven time All NBA, and the 2001 Most Improved Player award. T-Mac had an incredible career, and I do wish we could’ve seen him and Vince Carter take the Raptors to new heights at the time.

4) Derrick Rose tears meniscus

Fourth knee surgery since 2012. Yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds. Unrestricted free agency will be interesting this season, for many reasons, but one of them being who offers Rose a contract, and for how much. It’s hard to see the 2011 MVP starting for many teams in the league today, and this draft is introducing at least four quality starting point guards. I hope this isn’t all she wrote for D-Rose, but next season will probably be make-or-break.

5) Patrick Ewing accepts head coaching job at Georgetown

Ewing as a potential NBA head coach has been talked about profusely over the past couple of years, and no teams gave him a call. Now his alma mater is giving him a shot, and it’ll be interesting to see how they do under his tutelage. Ex-NBA players-turned coaches are generally point guards, but he is spoken about highly around NBA circles. Congratulations to the “Hoya Destroya”, hopefully some of that can rub off on your players.

6) Lance Stephenson’s late-game antics

Indiana-Lance is back to his old ways. Late in a blow-out versus the Raptors, Lance decided to take a lay-up with time winding down, breaking the unwritten rule of dribbling out the clock. This did not impress the Raptors players as they let him hear it as he walked back to the bench, but in typical Lance fashion, he calmly walked between them and didn’t seem to give a crap. Got to give him props somewhat for that.

7) Kyle Lowry returns

Raptor fans rejoice! Even though the Raptors have been playing better lately with Cory Joseph starting than before, having Lowry at the helm gives them a shot to go deep in the postseason. Now Lowry will have about 5 games to get back into game shape, and as long as there are no setbacks, the Raptors will be full-strength come Playoff time.

8) Four 40 point games on Sunday

Russell Westbrook: 40 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists

LeBron James: 41 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists

Paul George: 43 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists

Stephen Curry: 42 points, 8 assists, 9/13 3PTM

Sunday night basketball did not disappoint this week; Stephen Curry got his rhythm back, Westbrook added to his triple-double tally, and the battle of LeBron/George was incredible. Remember when 40 point games were outrageous? Welcome to 2017.

9) Chicago Bulls have won 20 straight home games when featured on TNT

This is the craziest stat I have ever heard, I’m dead serious. The Bulls are not good, they are fighting for the final Playoff spot, and yet they dominate games that are televised on TNT. In the TNT games this season, the Bulls have victories against Boston (twice), San Antonio, Golden State, and Cleveland. Yeah, they beat arguable the top four teams in the league. Maybe this is a 2007 Warriors/Mavs situation, but instead the Cavs will be upset by the Bulls.

10) Vivek Ranadive tried to reach out to Cousins two weeks after trade

Vivek, once again you’re showing the world why you are a terrible owner, and professional. He told the media, along with Cousins, that he was not being traded just days before trading him, all without telling him! Cousins found out during a post-game interview, and now Vivek thinks he can reach out and talk to him? Even if this was one of the nicer players in the league, there’s a good chance that player doesn’t pick up the phone. Get a clue Vivek, or else nobody will want to come play for you.