Tag Archives: Spurs

MoNeYBaLL 50 NBA Podcast: What Defines An NBA Organization

By Opinionated MJ

Warriors Still Not Finished

… Warriors Still Not Finished

By Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)

I’m still high on the Warriors thanks to last season. They’ve gotta add key pieces to seal it. They’ve got shooters, a big now, Steph & Dray healthy, Wiggins who’s overlooked in this current situation.

Maybe they fold, but I think something anew unfolds. The Spurs suffered similar fate. Injury to Robinson. Later, injury to their core 3. They were able to plug in pieces and adjust roles.

I just don’t like the negativity and everybody already calling it a wrap. Now if Steph went down, that’s different. Even then, Dray, Wiggins, Wiseman still sounds interesting to me.

Steph, Klay, Wiggins, Wiseman…
EP off the bench…
Bowman, Chriss, Lee, and the shooting squad.
They drafted shooters as well.

They need to plug in players that have pieces of Klay’s game.

Steph MUST elevate them the same way Tim Duncan did his teammates. Late in the careers of the Spurs run of greatness, it became, Mills, Danny Green, Kawhi, etc. Even Tiago Splitter was elevated by Duncan, Pop, the culture, the system.

This era of fans of the league is so… Super team, LeBron-KD, Lakers-Boston, and whatever, that they forget the Detroit’s, the Dallas’, the San Antonio’s… Actual culture, system, and organization is slept on.

Warriors in a good space. Deal with it emotionally, and let’s get ready. Everyone else is putting teams together for 4 year runs. Some just for 2. Rockets just literally did 1. Warriors been putting this together since what… 09? Organic. You don’t run from that.

Wiseman & Wiggins are VERY key. Could change everything.

They say the league caught up? Cool. Change and succeed another way, like the Spurs. Dynasty/Legacy in play.

Get well soon Klay.

MoNeYBaLL Episode 14 (August 10, 2018)

Featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ

We Cover LeBron and the Lakers, Kawhi and the Raptors, Jaylen Brown’s statement, iPromise, Wade, Shut Up and Dribble, and even provide the NBA with some ideas for the All Star game inspired by Team USA drills.

Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/user-85278876/moneyball14-081018-omjnc

MoNeYBaLL Podcast, Ep 11: Playoff Preview/LeBron Standard Pt. 2

Featuring NilClassic & Opinionated MJ

Playoff Pod

Covering our opinions on they playoffs, the LeBron NBA Standard, and more!

Kobe Probably Hopes LeBron Loses in 4 

Kobe Is Somewhere Hoping LeBron Gets Swept… It cements him as the 2nd Best Behind Jordan in this 3 headed debated.

By: Opinionated MJ


We’re currently sitting on a 3-0 Warriors lead in these playoffs. LeBron has played very well but he just doesn’t have enough done to have anything in the win column. Is it his fault now? That’s to be determined and deciphered. There is 1 thing that would be made plain and simple if the Warriors sweep the Cavaliers tomorrow night, the Jordan AND Kobe conversation ends. It’ll just disappear like smoke in the wind.

We’ve spent most of the last 2-3 seasons asking if LeBron is the GOAT. With that comes a direct comparison to Michael Jordan. To be the best, you must beat the best. It’s easy to see that LeBron has been topping Jordan in a lot of records. Blame can be put on what age they came into the league and the fact Jordan retired DURING his prime. Other fingers point to the heavy Eastern Conference Jordan had to deal with. He had so many rivals, especially in comparison to LeBron. Even LeBron tried to mimic the fact that Jordan had to go through the Detroit Pistons to become a champion. That led to him being swept out of the finals. After that happened, his only true rival had been formed in the form of the Big 3 Boston Celtics with KG, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. Rajon Rondo was on his was to greatness as well.

James finally had to face-off a few times with the Celtics before deciding that he’d be better off fighting this monster by joining forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Mind you, Kobe Bryant is still apart of the terror that resides in the Western Conference. Kobe then fought with the Celtics twice and becomes a repeat champion after 3 finals visits. Fast forward to the Mavericks team that finally beat Kobe and became the NBA Champion against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. LeBron then becomes an NBA champion a year later versus Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder setting up a dream rematch that we wouldn’t see for 5 years. LeBron then repeats against the San Antonio Spurs, giving him revenge and solidifying him as a champion. He then falls to the Spurs and goes back home to Cleveland. There, he takes them straight to the NBA Finals and loses to the Golden State Warriors. The next season, he posts an epic 1-3 comeback versus these same Golden State Warriors. Now to bring it full circle, we are looking at LeBron down 0-3 to the Warriors again.

Now, should LeBron lose to these Warriors in a sweep, there’s one thing that would be cemented: He CANNOT be determined as the Greatest of All Time. Ever. He can’t even be placed as the second best, in my opinion, behind Michael Jordan. He will be etched behind Michael AND Kobe Bryant as the 3rd best between those 3 players. We’ve been overlooking Kobe for a long time and his legacy can be cemented with him simply sitting at home, retired. I’m sure he’s somewhere right now hoping that LeBron falls to the Warriors 4-0 in this NBA Finals matchup. It does nothing but put Kobe back into the conversation where he never truly existed AT ALL in the minds of many LeBron James fans. Rather it was because he was a facilitator that Kobe never was, rather he was “considered” the one who elevated his teammates, he was ALWAYS put over Kobe. We can debate rather Kobe made his teammates better or not, I thought he made them better players, taught them preparation, kept them all reeled in and uncomfortable with losing, and ultimately, made them step their game up to catch their last 2 championships. He didn’t have Shaq for the last 2. He had Pau Gasol who was considered SOFT and Andrew Bynum who was considered aloof and was often injured. Kobe gave his teammates toughness. Kobe was never swept out of the Finals. Kobe often played through injuries throughout most of his career and still played at an elite level most of his career before the Achilles injury. LeBron is standing on a floor of eggs shells right now and looking at the door that Michael Jordan entered. There’s two ways this can go, the likely scenario is that he will either fall through and drop a level, under Kobe, who he is eye to eye with, or he will post the greatest comeback and walk through that door. I’m sure Kobe is watching, waiting, hoping for his legacy to be cemented as 2nd best behind the mysterious ghost that is Michael Jordan.

I’ll leave you with this, could Jordan win at least 1 game against this Warriors team? Could Kobe? 

This Is All On Kevin Durant

 

 

By: Opinionated MJ

 

Hey Kevin, it’s your time to put up or shut up!

The Warriors are currently seeing a growing lead in the first quarter against the Spurs, game 4. Klay Thompson is the only player who is experiencing some inconsistency but maybe the incoming rest will help him adjust to the physical nature and intensity that the Cavaliers will bring once they stop messing around with the Celtics. Adam Silver must’ve told them to chill and let the Celts get a game. Steph Curry has been taking the ball to the hole and he’s been having good looks from midrange than usual. He’s moving his feet well on the defensive end as well, although, he still endured some shaky foul calls in Game 3. Reminded me of the 2016 NBA Finals. I won’t forget Iman Shumpert running into him and the refs calling a foul on Steph who was already stationary in his position on the floor. Bets must have been placed, eh?

 

Steve Kerr is out and everyone is concerned about the progression of his health. He’s been traveling with the team and I’m sure that behind the scenes he’s doing what he must to keep this team rolling so they can win another championship. I didn’t mention that Draymond Green is looking like the greatest glue guy every assembled and placed on an NBA roster. Potential Defensive Player of the Year. He has my vote with Kawhi as a close second if I incorporate the playoffs into my vote. If I didn’t, then he’d be a distant second. I currently think highly of Kawhi right now. He’s not here to put a stop to any of this madness. LeBron is up next, so this leads me to what I really want to touch on. The finals will be about two men: LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

 

Can Durant elevate his game to another level? Will he be able to attain the eye of the tiger? I’m sure LeBron will matchup with Kevin, and this is where he will be depended upon to still perform and put up his usual stats and more. I have very high expectations of him if the Warriors want to have any chance to beat the Cavs. That’s the reason he came on board, right? To be able to get back at LeBron. What better way to win your first championship than to do it over LeBron? His own fans call him the Greatest of All Time. There’s no better way to win a ring than to add a win over LeBron onto your resume. Regardless of who you’re teamed with. They said LeBron would be better than Jordan if he beat this jump shooting Warriors team. Let’s not mention the league caters to an up-tempo game with much less physical play and he’s 6’9 250-260. Football! Elevate your game Kevin!

 

LeBron is bringing his well-oiled Cleveland Cavs machine to the war and he’s looking to repeat. Can you stop him on his way to creating a dynasty? Can you etch your name above those who should’ve won a championship but they seen the great Michael Jordan? Can you get that elusive ring that Barkley, Miller, Malone & Stockton, Payton & Kemp, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, and many others don’t have? Should we add Carmelo Anthony to that bunch right now? Can you be the difference maker in this series? Can you take over the game when you need to and not be a spectator to the Steph Curry show? Will you be what this team was missing last year when they gave up a 3-1 lead? Ironically, the same lead you forfeited to the same team you now are a part of. Are you here just to get Golden State to the promised land and shockingly sabotage their plans and laugh in their faces when you go back to Russell Westbrook and OKC with all their plays, knowledge, and execution plans as you disappear in the Finals on purpose? That’s a conspiracy but I wouldn’t put it past you until you prove me wrong. This year it’s all about you, Kevin Durant. It’s time to put up or shut up. Period. Barring injuries or deficiency in team health, you have no excuses. Deliver!

NBA Playoffs 2017, “In Transition” Podcast #5 : Episode 1


“In Transition” Podcast #5 : Episode 1

Featuring S Dot Legend, Crispy Chris, and Opinionated MJ

We took a different approach with this one. Finding more ways to do things different than what the big companies present and how they go about it. We’re all at work and just needed to get this out.

Recorded May 10, 2017.

“3 In the Key” Podcast Episode 4: SemiFinals and a Look Around the League


By: S Dot Legend, NilClassic, and Opinionated MJ
Episode 4: SemiFinals & More


#3ItK

Subscribe by email and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Links below! Email link on the sidebar! 

The LeBron Standard: “3 In the Key” Podcast: Episode 2

“The LeBron Standard” – Featuring Opinionated MJ & Sean Legend

Episode 2

Twin Towers!?!?!! DeMarcus Cousins & Anthony Davis

By: Opinionated MJ
Cousins and Anthony Davis Will Make Big Men Relevant Again


The return of the big man is on the horizon. The respect for Big Men will return along with it. Once DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis hit the floor together, we’ll begin to see what a twin tower tandem can do together. The first true big man duo since David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Unless you want to count Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol or Zach Randolph & Marc Gasol. There will be huge differences, including the fact they both are averaging 20 plus points a game and 10 plus rebounds a game individually. They can also both stretch the floor from mid range and from 3. I can imagine that if Alvin Gentry can adjust his playbook to benefit having both players on the floor at the same time, we’ll begin to see immediate results.

We know they need more roster moves, of course. I am one who believes they’ll be ready out of the gate, from the interior at least. How much more were the players the Pelicans traded away doing that DeMarcus Cousins can’t do? Nothing! Who do you prefer? Grinding always resulted in success, as recently as the finals, we’ve seen that. LeBron and the Cleveland Cavs worked inside out and dismantled the Warriors that way. So maybe there’s another kryptonite being constructed to take on the “invincible” (not) Warriors. They can be defeated. The Pelicans greatest strength is their greatest weakness, having two bigs that can get it done and definitely needing the supporting cast to play their roles to perfection. It’s the Spurs that they need to worry about. They don’t have an answer for Kawhi Leonard. That’s a fact.

I know you all probably think I’m getting ahead of myself in excitement, hell, they could lose all of the rest of their games and I’ll still be a newly minted bandwagon fan. I’m here for the long haul as long as this duo is together. I’m sick of the Warriors and Cavs, and the finals match-up everyone predicts between the two. I’m ready for someone to disrupt them both. Put them on notice. I think this will be the greatest threat to the entire Western Conference and to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the future. Funny how there’s no other east teams mentioned. Even the Rockets just got stronger. It’s time that another potentially strong team came up from the ashes in the entire NBA.

Bash this move while you can but the New Orleans Pelicans were not in any better shape going forward if they stood pat. They’ve been struggling for years and made the playoffs two years ago only to be ousted by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. They’ve had no success other than that, not since Chris Paul. It’s been even worse that they’ve lost a key player in nearly every season since Davis became a Pelican.

Cut them some slack. Give them a chance and congratulate the New Orleans  Pelicans as an organization. Give DeMarcus Cousins a chance to grow fit those who don’t see the progress he’s already made in the maturation process. Kudos to the front office! No other GM’s decided to go in another direction entirely. A few deals at this deadline were made but the majority all opted to play it safe. I’ll even give the Kings organization credit for finally letting him go and allowing both the organization and Cousins to find other ways to succeed instead of accepting being stuck. Playing it safe though is fine, it’s job stability. For those who desire to win? It’s win or go home.

​Real Quick: Russell Westbrook for MVP


By: Opinionated MJ



Why not? The man has been on a tear lately and does not look to let up anytime soon. Of course everyone forgot he was trying to get a triple double record last season. I expected 2006-07 Kobe from him but he’s doing even better than that with overall game. He’s getting his teammates involved. He’s also kept his team in the top 5 of the west and is flirting with being a top 3 seed, if he and the Thunder continue to win games.

Let’s give him some acknowledgement for surpassing, tying, and constantly trading triple double leads with LeBron James. Let’s understand that the west is a bit weaker than last year and the year before due to the strengthening of strong teams like the Spurs and Warriors. The Mavericks also picked up a couple Warriors along the way. Only real exit that didn’t really impact the conference was Dwight Howard going back east. So let’s give him proper credit for elevating his team. I’m certain he’s on track to have the highest usage rate. All while still keeping a winning record.

The only thing I see wrong is his volume of shots but I’m sure they’re required, sort of how Kobe did with the Lakers, in order to make the offense work. Why wouldn’t the offense run through him? He’s got the teammates around him to help him at least get to the second round of the playoffs and should they hit a hot streak they very well could be a dark horse candidate to flirt with the conference finals. I wouldn’t bet against it. He’s staying ahead of Lillard’s Blazers and he’s jousting with the Harden’s Rockets at the current time. Should the Clippers face another losing streak, things could get interesting at the 3 & 4 seed.

I want to close by saying that we should consider Russell Westbrook a great player. I know he hasn’t done anything alone but he has the opportunity to do so now. He’s matured and he has the tools to carry this team. They should improve next off-season with the cap set to rise again. As it currently stands though, don’t be surprised if he wins MVP and maybe even lands the scoring and assists titles on the year and maybe the next couple.

He’s my early pick for MVP.

Thru Their First ​Five Games… Which Team Do You Think Is Better?  Is There a Better?


By: Opinionated Reezy



At the time of this writing,we are five games into the NBA and so far the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are picking up where they left off.  They both are number 1 in their respective conferences and they are winning games pretty decisively.  That being said there are elements to take note of when trying to determine which team is doing better.

So let’s first look at the overall numbers

Cleveland Cavaliers

Total Pts: 572

Effective FG% 54%

Total Turnovers 61

PPG 114.4 2nd in NBA

OPPG 104.0 15th in NBA
Golden State Warriors

Total Pts: 577

Effective FG% 55%

Total Turnovers 78

PPG 115.4 1st in NBA

OPPG 108.6 22nd in NBA

Source: http://www.basketball-reference.com



Note: The effective field goal statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3pt field goal is worth one more point than a 2pt field goal

Despite how you may feel about the roster and who has the edge, the math tells you that both teams are closer to equal than you may think.  Now there are many who will say that Golden State still has the edge because they are in the west and the one loss may suggest that as being accurate, but let’s look at the numbers again to justify that.  Remember that we are five games in so all teams are 95 – 98% healthy, there is only one basketball, and all records are set to 0 – 0 at the beginning of the season.

Cavaliers Opponents Record PPG Effective FG%

NY Knicks 1 – 3 96.8 48%

TOR Raptors 3 – 1 104.5 50%

ORL Magic 2 – 3 96.4 46%

HOU Rockets 3 – 2 110.2 55%

BOS Celtics 3 – 2 110.8 56%




Warriors Opponents Record PPG Effective FG%

SA Spurs 4 – 1 105.2 50%

NO Pelicans 0 – 5 98.2 45%

PHX Suns 1 – 4 104.0 46%

POR Trailblazers 2 – 3 110.6 51%

OKC Thunder 4 – 1 102.0 46%

Source: http://www.basketball-reference.com



Again with minor differences on both sides, the opponents have been fairly similar in their respective output.  I cannot in good conscious place an edge on any team without being biased so for the purpose of this article let us place emotion aside and say we are looking at two teams who are literally two sides of the same coin.  This means when they meet up, we have to consider the strengths and weaknesses.   Here are some observations on where both teams lie.

Golden State Warriors

Strength – 

Offensive Power house:  Golden State has the ability to shoot from anywhere, with a starting lining capable of holding that effort from anywhere.  They are fast break nightmares because they can stop and pull up on you from virtually anywhere.

Kevin Durant: With an effective FG% of 64%, Kevin Durant will shoot the lights out on you.  He is balling without regard for anything and that makes him dangerous.

The Splash Brothers:  They are still there and they are angry.  Not good for teams in their path.  Kevin Durant creates the perfect smoke screen for them too.  They don’t need to be the scoring leaders, just provide the mental haymakers to teams who think they are going on a run.

Weakness – 

Defense:  The Cavaliers aren’t fairing that much better in Opponents Points per game, but where the points can be scored makes all the difference in the game of momentum.  Slashers have the ability to have a field day with Golden State as their defense stoppers aren’t as effective in keeping guys out of the middle.  A key component in the warrior’s loss was the lack of Andrew Bogut in games 6 and 7.  The loss to the Spurs came in part because Kawhi Leonard had a field day from inside.  Momentum…

Ball Movement:  Surprised, don’t be.   Golden State is top heavy from the points perspective.  It is their main strength, but when the ball doesn’t move, defenses can disrupt things.  This is becoming evident with Golden State.  Currently Draymond Green is the leader in assists with 7.2 per game, but the funny thing with assists is that it represents two things, a pass to the open player and that player successfully executing on that play.  Despite how easy Golden State makes the three ball, it is still a low percentage attempt (generally speaking) and if they get sloppy, those can become easy 2’s on the other end.

The Bench: Doesn’t mean anything now, but can and will mean a whole lot as the season progresses.  Golden State lost and as a result they depleted their scoring power on the Bench to a degree.  Now, they have to rework them into the rotation.  Running a team to the brink has its pros and cons and if the bench can’t fill the void when needed it can pose to be an issue.  We have seen great teams fall due to lack of a bench.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Strength –

Lebron James:  At the moment, Lebron is averaging a near triple double and solidified his role as being the facilitator with 22 10 and 9.  That is scary because he is forcing the cavaliers to be a cutting team and to always be ready for the ball.  He is also trying to reduce the number of minutes he is on the floor to prepare for the off season.  Lebron is ultimately playing a Magic Johnson type game right now, which is what he should been doing for a while.

Defense:  When looking at the activity around the basket there are three players dominating the rebounds, Lebron James (9), Kevin Love (8), Tristan Thompson (10). Rebounds lead to second chance attempts or potential fast breaks, and represents that the lane is clogged.  Now, this means very little if you shoot from 15 ft and out like Golden State prefers to do, but you at least cut off options to score in General and you increase the chances against softer interior teams of recovering the ball.

No Pressure:  The Cavaliers brought a title to the city of Cleveland and made millions happy.  Lebron did what he set out to do 13 years ago.  Now the team can truly have fun.  Their goal, not matter how they get there is to get back into the playoff race and secure home court for as many rounds as possible.

Weakness – 

Lebron James:  How is this possible you ask?  Currently, the Cavaliers go as Lebron goes.  Now, it may be appropriate to say that the weakness is Kyrie, but not true.  Lebron moves the ball and is the better facilitator.  If something happens to him the Cavaliers have a greater chance at nose diving than Golden State would if something happens to Kevin Durant or any of their starting five.  If the CAV’s can find another facilitator then things are ok, but if not… watch out.

Bench:  Better than Golden State, but not necessarily good for the duration.  There are glimmers of hope in Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert, but you will need more for the long haul.  With minor exception, the bench is relatively the same so it should make for easier inclusion into the system, but they cannot slouch.

Ball Movement:  Yup, equal opportunity here.  The Cavaliers are unstoppable when the ball is moving because they will make the defense work, but when the ball stops, they go from being Hulk to Bruce Banner almost instantly.  Golden State can flirt with the hero ball because of who they have on the roster, but not the Cavaliers.  If they want to win, they need to learn to keep that ball moving and keep defenses on a swivel.

At the end of the day, emotions will place you in any bucket in terms of you believe has the edge; however, I suggest we all buckle up for an exciting NBA Season because the numbers say that the unstoppable force is gearing up to meet the immovable object.

King of the Ring: LeBron, the Cavs, and a Look Around the League

 

By: Opinionated MJ
Congratulations to LeBron and the Cavaliers! Cleveland, embrace this moment! You’ve been waiting for this. To finally see one of the best players ever, fulfill his promise to bring Cleveland a ring has got to be a breath of fresh air. I remember the feeling of living through a championship with my Pistons in 2004. The Red Wings were also prosperous. The Tigers were doing well as well if I’m not mistaken, I think we may have made the World Series that year. We had the Super Bowl here as well and I think a WrestleMania or something like that. Final Four NCAA basketball around this time as well. Great Year! Enjoy it!

 

LeBron has been preparing for season’s opening since Kevin Durant decided to become a part of the Golden State Warriors. They seem to be the only team that stands in the way of a repeat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. I’d like to add that, if I were Carmelo Anthony seeing this ring ceremony tonight, I’d probably cringe and play with nothing but anger and hunger in my heart. Knowing I had the chance to be a part of the Miami team that won a ring and to be able to finally experience that level of success. It must be fulfilling for LeBron for sure. He has one ring by himself now as well. Kyrie pitched in BIG! I even thought Kyrie would win finals MVP after closing out Steph Curry and the Warriors in crunch time of those last few games.

 

I’m not big on picking another team except the current reigning Champions as the favorites to win it all. I’m going with the Cavs but I will admit I want my Pistons to win and if they can’t then I would love to see the Warriors win one for KD while he’s on a LeBron-esque mission to obtain a ring and put that on his resume. That would solidify him with other future Hall of Famers. I’d also like to see if they Bulls could somehow someway pull a rabbit out of a hat. Although, I think Chris Bosh is the only way they could achieve such success. I would also like to see the Spurs acquire DeMarcus Cousins for LaMarcus Aldridge. You heard it first. Chris Bosh to the Bulls, Cousins to the Spurs.

 

LeBron wants to win the MVP this year and that is making waves throughout the league. I think Paul George may have mentioned MVP first but he’s driven to do so as well, Damian Lillard wants to, and I’m very certain that Russell Westbrook wants to as well without saying it. Westbrook was chasing Magic Johnson’s triple-double record last year and didn’t admit it until someone asked him. I think LeBron should relax and let Kyrie and Kevin prove themselves and let them man the battleship until it absolutely requires LeBron to come in and take over. I know things used to fall apart fast when he exited the game last season and they would struggle to extend their lead over other teams at times. Let’s not forget their struggles en route to their triumph. Up and down season with LeBron thinking of his Banana Boat squad being teammates one day, social media jabs at some of his teammates, and a few other things. Maybe he also took a few pointers from Kobe about challenging your teammates. You do have to PUSH others to get something done more times than not. He successfully pulled that off and led his team to a Championship after being down 3-1. Congrats again to the Cavaliers! Good luck to the Cleveland Indians!

Landscape of the NBA: Last Day of Summer 16 (Part 3)

By: Opinionated MJ

Last day of the summer! Welcome to the third and final installment of the Summer 16: Landscape of the NBA series. Let’s jump right in.

 

Knicks

I cannot wait to see the Knicks this season. I have even higher expectations hanging over them for the season. I expect a few boosts in different forms. I think Derrick Rose will perform like Kobe did when he was coming into the season in a similar situation. I think the time Melo spent with Team USA and also him getting the team together early now will serve the team well. I see Porzingis getting even better and more consistent this year and not hitting somewhat of a wall like he did in year one. Couple that with a new coach and bench depth and the Knicks should be a playoff team. I see them winning at least 41 games. Hold it against me.

 

Bulls

Butler, Wade, Rondo. I expect them to win 20 games off perimeter defense alone. I would say 30 since they’re in the Eastern Conference. That’s where the game is most played from in this era. Everybody wants to shoot and dribble, perimeter oriented. Everyone attacks from that point and they have someone to defend every perimeter star. They don’t have an answer for DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond, and other big men, but that doesn’t mean they won’t acquire someone who can nor does it mean they can’t succeed without one.

 

Wolves

This will probably be one of the top 5 most watched teams in the NBA this year. I’ve seen pictures from NBA2k17 that shows them drunk off of the potential of the Wolves. Wiggins, Towns, Dunn, LaVine, coach Thibs! Oohwee! This team will be young, tough, gritty, and poised to make noise this coming season. With all the shake ups taking place, I expect them to compete for a playoff spot. Should they make the playoffs, they would be my dark horse candidate to upset many teams. They’re very versatile. I expect them to be .500 as well. 41 wins at least, potentially off of Thibs always squeezing a whole gallon of lemonade out of one lemon.

 

Lakers

They’re expected to be the worst team this year. I’d say maybe the third worst team. Look for the Lakers to make strides once they learn the offense. We see what happened with the Warriors when they were given freedom. Analytics also favor many of the Lakers players since Kobe won’t be there to jack up half of the shots. I can see them being a player in acquiring Okafor from the Sixers. Ingram for ROTY if he gets acclimated to the game fast.

 

Sixers

They have young pieces. They have better management. They could probably use better coaching and an installment of veteran players to guide the young players. Trade Okafor for a veteran scorer (Maybe Rudy Gay?) and they’ll be fine. Especially if Ben Simmons is as advertised and will impact his teammates in a LeBron like fashion. He could facilitate this team to a top 5 watched spot with the Wolves and lock up ROTY if he can be the glue missing for this franchise. Go Philly!

 

Durant

I expect something huge to happen in Golden State. Kevin Durant will takeover this team and it will become his OR he’ll play 1B to Steph Curry. One of them will be LeBron, one will be Wade in this situation. Looks like Steph will be a very trigger happy Wade. Klay will be a young version of Ray Allen, Draymond will be the engine and the bench will fit in as needed led by Iggy and Livingston. I can agree with Vegas, 66 wins. Actually, let’s say 63.

 

OKC Thunder

This team now belongs to Russell Westbrook and they will be successful under his watch. They’ve had success with Durant before and that was adjustment on the fly. This time they’ll have the luxury of a training camp and full health from the start. Victor Oladipo will make them interesting on the defensive end along with Roberson. I think the loss of Ibaka will show early on unless Adams and Kanter both start together. Russell will be the second coming of 2006 Kobe and will receive the MVP award if the Thunder can land a top 5 seed.

 

Quick Observations

I expect strides to be made by the Jazz, Suns, and Pelicans out west. The return of Exum to the Jazz, Bledsoe returning to the Suns who also have a sleeper star in Devin Booker, and Anthony Davis to the Pelicans, this will make the west very interesting going forward. Currently though, it’s still a two headed race for who will make the finals from the west.

Be on the lookout for upcoming articles. We’ll be entering training camp next week! I’m so excited! Been waiting for the season to begin! Basketball lovers, unite!