Philadelphia 76ers Team Preview

Ben Simmons is good at basketball

Last Seasons Record – 52-30

This Seasons Record 55-27

Ben

Here they come. The new kids on the block no more. The phrase “Trust the process” could not ring truer in the case of the 76ers. It took a while, it took many draft picks and a whole lot of tanking. But here we are, the 76ers are finally emerging as a top-tier in the East. Ben Simmons already looks like he’s reached new levels in his game, and Embiid is finally healthy and looking to wreak havoc on the entire league. All of a sudden the Atlantic Division is going to be an all slug-fest.

Key Additions and Subtractions

Well, they missed out on the LeBron James sweepstakes, but everyone knew we was Hollywood bound. But since they did miss out on LeBron you would figure they would have a backup plan. Nope. The 76ers really didn’t accomplish much in the offseason. Instead, they added veteran Wilson Chandler and rookie out of Texas Tech Zhaire Smith. Not much if you ask me, some people have high expectations for Smith and hope he can contribute in key moments. This is the year of Markelle Fultz, last year was not ideal, so by not adding any new important key pieces, they are putting so much trust and faith into Fultz.

Year Long Question – Can Philly get 75 games out of Embiid? 

We all know his past. We all know that it took Embiid such a long time to finally get going but two years ago when he got going, he really put the NBA on notice. His only problem is, the man has a minute restriction and has a seriously bad history of injuries. Now all these things can change, and Embiid finally appears to be the healthiest he’s ever been. In order for this team to truly be successful, they need Embiid to at least play 75 games this season. They are going against the Celtics and the Raptors, in their own division. Embiid wants to dominate the NBA like he dominates Twitter, but there’s just no history of him playing a full season. I want more than anything for him to do so because he is one of the most entertaining players to watch in the entire league.

Fan Mindset

Okay, so I couldn’t find the Little Giants scene that has the kid walking around in foam. I’m crushed, but this will do. You get the point. Fans will be on pins and needles all year about Embiid and they will try to take every precaution possible to make sure he stays on the court this season. If fans could, after games they would take Embiid and wrap him in the most protection they could and keep an eye on him where ever he goes. I would feel the same way if I were a die-hard 76ers fan, but I’m not. Even when he plays over his minute’s restriction fans could get a little weary. Some fans might go a little bald this year.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – Fultz is in the running for MIP

So last year was honest to god the year from Hell. First the shoulder injury, then he forgot how to shoot a basketball. Then the entire world watched him try to learn how to shoot again. That’s tough for a kid, and I honestly felt bad for the guy. You’re young, you’re the first overall pick and everyone is calling you a bust and the worst pick ever after one season. I believe that Fultz has so many more tools and can really turn it around. Ben Simmons and Embiid want him to play well and will help him elevate his game. We all want great things for Fultz and if you don’t think that way, you have a serious problem. This Philly team is going to be so much fun to watch for the next decade.

 

Orlando Magic Team Preview

Still a ways to go Magic fans.

Last Seasons Record – 25-57

This Seasons Record – 27-55

The only way to go is up right? Seems like the Magic have been trying to go up ever since their finals appearance a decade ago. Really doesn’t seem like that long ago, but ever since that finals appearance, not many things have gone right for the Orlando Magic. In fact, almost everything that has come after it has been a complete disaster. Hopefully things can finally turn around.

Key Additions and Subtractions

Players tend to come and go with this franchise, because a lot of guys want to win and there hasn’t been a whole lot of winning going on in Orlando in the last few years. They lost some players, who I think needed a culture change and a serious change of scenery. Elfrid Payton, Bismack Biyombo and Mario Henzonja all parted ways with the team. I don’t think people will even notice that Mario is gone, boy was that a terrible draft pick. For the last few seasons Orlando has struggled to find its identity and to have the right mix of players. They drafted Mo Bamba and signed Timothy Mozgov and that’s all they really added. Obviously this team has high hopes for Bamba, but it appears it could be another long season for players and fans.

Year Long Question – Who is the guy?In order for a team and a franchise to grow, it needs to figure out the direction in which they want to go. Recently drafted Mo Bamba could be a key piece in that process. We all know Aaron Gordon took a nice step last season and looks to build on that this year. Are the Magic going ahead and giving him the keys to the kingdom? Do they want the franchise to centre around Gordon? Do they want it to centre around Bamba? I think it’s best to let Gordon to progress this year and hope he takes an even bigger leap. Maybe a bigger leap that is expected. He came out the gate so hot last year and he could have been in the running for MIP. I’m just curious to know where this team wants to go and how they plan on going about it. They need to tank one more year and get a top three pick for next years draft, if I’m being honest.

Fan Mindset

https://youtu.be/1qT-rOXB6N

I’m kind of going dark here, but yes I’m comparing the Magic to Garbage Island. The place where everyone’s trash floats out too. A magical and mysterious place that can only be fixed with the right amount of man power. Players come and go, they don’t stay very long, and sometimes it feels like everyone else’s trash somehow manages to drift away…..to Orlando. It’s a big problem the world faces let’s be serious for a second, but all problems can go away. We just need to stop neglecting their needs and find the proper solution. I don’t think the Magic have had a concrete game plan set since Dwight Howard left. That was a massive hole and void to fill, but you can live in the past. You can’t dwell on the good times you used to have, you need to move forward and address the problem in front of you. The Magic need to figure out just what kind of team they really want to be and they need to find out the best way to go about doing so is. Hopefully drafting Mo Bamba is the first step in the right direction, not another step backwards.

Bold Predictions, Sponsored By Nate -Aaron Gordon becomes an All-Star

That’s right! The Magic are going to have an All-Star this season. I believe that Aaron Gordon is going to have a fantastic year and despite not having a great overall record, coaches will vote him in. If he stays healthy and plays like I know he can, there’s no way he won’t represent the Magic at All-Star Weekend. It would be nice for them to have someone in the game, because it’s been a while since they have had one. I hope it does happen because it could be the only bright spot for this team this season. Well that, and draft lottery night!

Oklahoma City Thunder Team Preview

Bad boys for life.

Last Seasons Record – 48-34

This Seasons Record – 45-37

Tough go last night Thunder fans. I’m upset I couldn’t get all my team previews done before the season started, but here we are. OKC Thunder, you really did it. You somehow managed to get Paul George to stick around, kudos to your organization and to you guys, the fans. Because at the start of last season, it was a forgone conclusion that George was heading to Hollywood and wanted to join the Lakers. Funny how much can changed in a year. I’m exacted for this team, but I don’t expect you guys to win as many games as last year, but when it comes to the playoffs. I predict a little more success.

Key Additions and Subtractions

The Thunder got rid of that nasty itch they had all last season, and by that I mean Carmelo Anthony. Yes a fan of Syracuse myself, it has been a real shame to watch the derail of Melo and even worse is the fact he can’t let himself go. He’s got the ego of a maniac and for someone who is a great scorer and well that’s really all he will be remembered for. Getting him off your team is the best thing to ever happen to this franchise. They are going to try and replace his value with Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel. Two guys I like and once Russ comes back from injury, Schroder coming off the bench could serve to be pretty lethal. Again it might take awhile for this team to find its footing especially with Westbrook out for the start of the season. But I think they will be a better team overall in the long run then they were last year. Don’t be surprised if this team also makes a trade at some point.

Year Long Question – What is their ceiling?

A first round playoff exit last year was not ideal for the Thunder players and their fans. When you consider the playoff experience that came with them and the fact they had three all-stars on their roster. But that was last year and they need to put it behind them very quickly. If this team can click and dig deep and find an identity, I think playoff success can occur. Westbrook, it might be time to finally change how you play and become less obsessed with the triple-double and become a little more efficient. If you want to be a winner and actually gain the respect of those around you, and the media, you need to become an effective and efficient basketball player. If he does that, I think the ceiling for this team is potentially the Western Conference Finals. And if you get their, anything can happen. Like always, this Thunder season so be entertaining.

Fan Mindset.

https://youtu.be/FI1ylg4GKv8

Can you picture Westbrook shouting this at every home game? Because I can. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? The Thunders home arena is reminiscent of the gladiator coliseum. Warriors do battle in there every night, the Western Conference is stacked. All sorts of foes and enemies try to come and conquer the home team. But it’s hard, the Thunder always have one of the best home records and certainly one of the best home crowds. So I really thought this was appropriate, and I even think the fans think this way. They hate any and all other opponents who step foot into their arena. They want their men to win and no one else.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – Patrick Patterson has a killer year.

I’m not going extremely bold for my prediction with the Thunder. But I love PatPat. He’s my boy for life and I miss him on the Raptors. Ever since he became a member of the Thunder, he hasn’t really fit in and found his footing. Injuries have slowed him down, but I just don’t think he’s really found his role. With Melo gone, he might be playing a lot more this year and I think in order for them to truly be successful, they need to be able to rely on Patterson for some good minutes this year. I hope it happens, he’s a great guy and I want him to be the player he was for the Raptors. Gotta knock down those corner 3’s big guy.

New York Knicks Team Preview

Joakim Noah scored 12 points last season. He made 17 million dollars doing so..

Last Seasons Record – 29-53

This Seasons Record 24-58

Knicks.jpg

That’s right, he is the only one smiling when it comes to New York Knicks basketball. Rightfully so, last season was the definition of highway robbery. But that’s the Knicks in a nutshell. Remember that “Superteam” they built not so long ago. Well now its a complete and utter dumpster fire, and there are few signs of life. New York City is the mecca of basketball and the NBA needs them to be good. The NBA is just a better league when the Knicks are good, but it’s been a long long time since they have not only been good, but relevant.

Key Additions and Subtractions

We all know that the heart and the rest of their vital organs belong to Kristaps Porzingis and will for the foreseeable future. That being said, Kevin Knox the Kentucky standout who turned a ton of heads in Summer-league. These are the two building blocks going forward for the Knicks and Knox could end up being a great side kick for Porzingis. Not a whole lot was lost, but anytime you lose Michael Beasley it’s a big deal. Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hermangomez and Doug McDermott all jumped off this sinking ship. But they did add the ever shocking he’s still in the league guy – Mario Hezonja, and I can’t believe he’s still in the league guy – Noah Vonleh. With Porzingis out for god knows how long. This is going to get ugly and fast.

Year Long Question – Just how bad will it get?

Everyone knows the Knicks do have a unicorn on their roster. Porzingis is a special player. But he’s not playing for a long time, coming off that knee injury. So what are they going to do? I say they go all in and try and snag RJ Barrett at next years draft. But by doing so just how bad will it get for Knicks fans? They want a good team, they’ve been waiting since the start of this century for a good Knicks team, but it just hasn’t happened. They will get uneasy but if Knox can provide a little sparkle maybe it will distract them long enough before they realize this team could win 20 games this year.

Fan Mindset

https://youtu.be/jrnHPvuzpH4

Room for one more! From about 1 minute onward in the video. It’s every Knicks fan trying to lure a non suspecting idiot to join their team. Every fan in NYC just wants their teams to succeed. But with James Dolan, the worst owner in the NBA behind the scenes, it has been really difficult to lure free agents. Well now they are telling everyone and anyone to “join us.” Eventually someone will cave in and I believe that it’s a real possibility that after this year KD could be NYC bound. He has won his MVP, he’s won his rings and now I think he wants to make another mark on his legacy and rule NY. He can come be the king of the East like LeBron was for so many years and take a team that is so desperate to be good. So desperate to win a title that if he goes to the Knicks and wins a title, he will forever be a basketball god.

Bold Predictions, Sponsored By Nate – Frozen envelope part 2 will happen.

Remember the Ewing theory? That the NBA rigged the 1985 draft lottery so the New York Knicks would win it and gain the most prized possession in Patrick Ewing. The NBA wants the Knicks to be good, it’s good for business and it’s good for the fans. This year similar to 1985, there’s a stud waiting in the wings. His name is RJ Barrett and I can see the Knicks regardless of how bad they are, will end up with the first overall pick. The Knicks could end up with the first overall pick and a guy named Kevin Durant before the 2019 season tips off. Wouldn’t that be something else.

New Orleans Pelicans Team Preview

Last Seasons Record 48-34

This Seasons Record 40-42

Pels.jpeg

This is it, don’t get scared now. Actually, you should all be terrified. Anthony Davis is more than likely out the door in New Orleans, and you can’t really blame him. Last year I think they really had something special going, until the devastating injury to DeMarcus Cousins. Having the sweep in the first round of the Trailblazers certainly helped, and Davis was probably the best player in the NBA at the end of the year. With all that being said, he can’t rot in the New Orleans and waste all of his prime years. He wants to win, and he needs to move on if he wants to do that. It’s not personal, it’s just business.

Key Additions and Subtractions

So this team actually went through a decent amount of changes this offseason, but they certainly did not fill the void that is DeMarcus Cousins. That’s right, Boogie Cousins is now on the Warriors, but they got some players back. Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, and Jahil Okafor were all added to this roster. These are three perfect examples of guys who needed a change of scenery. All lottery picks, all guys that maybe got drafted to the wrong team. Randle wants to prove that the Lakers should not have moved on from him and no one wants to prove the haters wrong more than Payton and Okafor. Maybe the Pels can feed off some of this new energy and it can take them back to the playoffs.

Year Long Question – What do the Pelicans do about Anthony Davis?

This is, without doubt, the biggest season in the history of the franchise. Not because they could make some noise in the playoffs, but their cornerstone player could be gone by the end of it. I personally do not think he will resign with the Pels as I believe he wants to be part of a bigger market franchise. So what does this mean? Do they trade him away? To get a little something in return, but no team will want to trade for him unless they are certain he will resign with him. Boston is really the only logical destination because they have both assets and draft picks. Anthony Davis going to the Celtics is something so scary that I don’t want to think about it.

Fan Mindset 

AD is pretty much a superhero. Call him Mr. Incredible, because he really can do it all. Now each one of those little black balls? Those are fans trying to stop AD from leaving the great city of New Orleans. It will take a serious team effort to do so, but collectively they could break him down and maybe, just maybe force him to stay. But like most superheroes, they are too strong, too powerful for a simple trick like this. Sure you might subdue him for a short period of time, but the hero always wins. No matter how overpowering the fans can be, I just don’t think it will be enough to stop AD from leaving them. It’s going to be one sad goodbye, but don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – AD gets traded to the Celtics

So we all know that AD is a free agent coming up, and he is more than likely leaving. The Celtics seem like the perfect fit, but they want to win now. Getting AD will be an X-factor, and if they want him, they will have to get rid of a few of their pieces. Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and perhaps a first-round draft pick (Sacramento) is enough to land the Brow. He will sign with them in the summer and everything will go from there. But he can’t sign in the summer and expect all those guys to remain on the roster. So trading for him is almost their best bet.

Minnesota Timberwolves Team Preview

YOU NEED ME. I’M A WINNER!!!!!!

Last Seasons Record – 47-35

This Seasons Record – 44-38

wolves.jpg

I think the warm-up song for this Wolves team this season should be “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige. One because it’s a great song and secondly we haven’t even begun the season yet and everyone is already tired of this team and their bullshit. Jimmy Butler, I love ya, but man, be a little more professional and suck it up. Thibs, be a better coach and get your team under control. Wiggins and Towns, time to grow up, put your big boy pants on and take this team to the next level.

Key Additions and Subtractions 

Not much changed for the Wolves this offseason. Whether that is a good or a bad thing remains unclear. What is clear however is the fact that Jimmy “Buckets” Butler is the biggest alpha dog/ beta dog I’ve ever seen. Jimmy has been hanging around with Mark Wahlberg a lot, and I don’t know if that has anything to do with how he is acting, but boy he needs a kick in the pants. So they lost Jamal Crawford, the ageless wonder. But other than a few draft picks, Keita Bates-Diop and Josh Okogie not much was done to improve this roster. Don’t get me wrong when their big three played together last year, they were something else, but now they all hate one another.

Year Long Question – Can Wiggins finally show us something? 

First things first. I’m Canadian so I probably like Andrew Wiggins more than the average NBA fan. It hurts that he hasn’t reached his full potential, well at least the potential I set him up for. He was the number one overall pick, and people really thought he had all the tools to become a star. He hasn’t really figured it all out yet, but there is still plenty of time. I thought no matter what, he would be a lockdown defender, reminiscent of Tony Allen, but he hasn’t even developed into a great defensive player. I’m not saying he is a poor defender but I think he could be better, and I think it comes from lack of effort. Apparently, he doesn’t value winning or think it’s a big deal. Maybe he wants the money and is fine coasting through seasons, but Jimmy has lit a fire under his ass, and if this doesn’t motivate him to become the player we all think he can be, well maybe it’s time to move on from the Wiggins experiment.

Fan Mindset

That’s right, I went with Fight Club. Maybe that’s what needs to happen in this situation. Either Wiggins or Towns needs to tell Butler ” I want you to hit me as hard as you can.” They need to take their anger out on one another before the season begins because if not things might go south real quick. See what happens when you punch your best friend? You grab a few beers and forget about all your problems. Violence doesn’t solve problems, but sometimes it does. I’m clearly joking here, but even the fans might be getting on each others cases this year. Do they trade Jimmy? Do they trade someone else? I think there will be a ton of different opinions going around, and it will be hard to decide which route to take. Just don’t go burning each other’s hands…

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – This is all going to blow over.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I honestly think this whole Jimmy thing is going to blow over real quick once the season starts. These guys are grown ass men, and they are all healthy. Once they start playing games and they start winning, well we all know that winning solves everything. If they get off to a slow start maybe it’s a different story. But maybe this is exactly what this team needed. Thibs has one foot out the door already, this hasn’t worked in Minnesota. So he needs them to get along and play some good basketball. Don’t be shocked if Butler and Thibs are both gone at some point during this season.

‘First Man’ Review

Damien Chazelle’s 3rd outing proves he is one of Hollywoods great young directors. First Man is a stupendous technical achievement, but at times can feel sluggish and monotoned.

first man.jpg

A look at the life of the astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.


Have you ever really thought about it? The Moon landing? It’s something that happened almost 50 years ago, actually, next July will be the 50th anniversary of one of the most important and significant events in the history of mankind. While I sat in the theatre and looked up at that massive IMAX screen, it hit me. I actually didn’t know anything about Neil Armstrong and his fascinating life story, even less about the insane journey that NASA went on to finally put a man on the Moon. Maybe that’s because the Moon landing although a massive achievement is celebrated by Americans. Over a billion people watched their TVs on July 20th, 1969. I walked away from this movie, not thinking about the film itself, but rather the sympathy and pain I felt for the heroic man that pretty much sacrificed everything so he could accomplish something very few men have ever done.

I had high expectations for First Man. Coming off Whiplash and La La Land, Damien Chazelle is held in pretty high regards when it comes to directors with me. I don’t like comparing movies, but I felt this was his weakest film to date, but not by much. As the film opens up, the first 5 minutes is almost utter silence. The sounds of intense wind, and heavy breathing, but there is zero dialogue. That’s how I described this film, it’s very quiet. There are several moments of long pauses, and immense quiet, which can be successful in certain scenes but can make the overall film feel long and drawn out. If you had to choose one word to describe Ryan Gosling, for me, the word that always comes to mind is stoic. He’s a quiet actor to begin with. Actually, he does some of his best work when he isn’t saying anything at all. Drive, Blade Runner 2049, all these great performances are done not with words, but rather his face and his body. Well, First Man is no different. Neil Armstrong was a private person, especially after the death of his infant daughter. He becomes recluse and doesn’t know even how to treat his other two children. Death can change a person, and it was pretty clear that the death of his daughter took an immense toll on him, even if he didn’t let it show through. Gosling is as usual, fantastic, and I’m certain he will nab an Oscar nomination.

But he has two roles here. Neil Armstrong the family man, and Neil Armstrong the astronaut. For me, this is where the movie falters. The space exploration and the Moon landing is movie making at its finest, and what the movie will be remembered for. But it all feels so detached from everything else that is going on. That is the films biggest downfall. But for me, that is just a tiny nitpick, because the movie does flow really well, and it’s such an incredible story, that small details like that shouldn’t matter. Ryan Gosling isn’t the only one giving a terrific performance. Claire Foy plays his wife Janet Armstrong who has to deal with a lot herself on this journey. She doesn’t work and has to take care of the kids, but at times has to listen to the mission control room through a tiny little radio, while her husband is literally fighting for his life. Talk about tension and talk about nerves. She’s really great here, and you can feel the discomfort and the disconnect that her and Neil share after the death of their daughter Karen. Corey Stoll, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Ciaran Hinds, this really is a jammed packed cast, with everyone contributing in their own way. It’s an “oh that guy” kind of cast, but it’s super effective.

The filmmaking aspect is really a special achievement. From the get-go, it felt different. The screen almost looked fuzzy, like we were watching some old footage. I found like I was actually traveling back in time. But when the space exploration takes place, you really are blown away. I’m not sure how they pulled it off, but Chazelle deserves a ton of credit. He’s now 3-for-3 with this feature films and after a disappointing weekend at the box-office, it will be interesting to see how this fairs come awards season. It’s a slow burn, and I think audiences going in thought this might be a little more like Gravity, and a bit more intense. The claustrophobic space stuff does get intense and it makes you tighten your grip on the armrest, but when you know history and you know how this story ends, that tension and intensity can feel a little fake.

Overall, I rather enjoyed First Man despite its flaws. Was it everything I wanted it to be? No. But that doesn’t take away from the overall achievement of the film-making here. It’s not going to transcend the film industry or even the space genre, but rather it should be considered a technological achievement. Damien Chazelle is going to be in our lives for a long time, and I can’t wait to see what he pumps out next. I just wanted a little bit more, but learning about Neil’s life and his journey was worth it for me. The most emotional beat in the whole movie is something that I feel uneasy about. I have tried to research it, and it’s hard to talk about without spoiling the ending. I’m sure they talked to Neil’s family, but this moment was something that they were building throughout the whole film. If this was just added for theatrical effect, I’m not going to lie, I’m going to be a tad upset. But if this moment really did take place on the Moon, boy, it makes it all more special and emotional. This movie won’t be for everyone, but for cinephiles like myself, I certainly loved the ride.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – First Man = 86/100

Memphis Grizzlies Team Preview

Time to blow it up.

Last Seasons Record – 22-60

This Seasons Record – 25-57

Grizz.jpg

The once so dominant “grit & grind” is kind of dead. A thing of the past really. Those were so great days in Memphis. Remember when they were up 2-1 on the Warriors? Grizzlies fans definitely do, but you have to let the past die. Those three guys above might play a total of 82 games COMBINED, this upcoming season. It’s sad when certain eras come to an end, but all things do. I’m not really sure where this team goes from here, it feels a little old-fashioned. I think if the three guys pictured above actually stay healthy, it might be time to unload them and get some young assets and draft picks back in return. I have no idea where this Memphis team falls, other than the bottom of the league. Sorry.

Key Additions and Subtractions

I guess the heart of this team is still intact. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are the lifeblood of this franchise and have been for a very long time. They lost a few of their limbs with the departures of Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore. Evans played so well for this team last season, I was surprised he didn’t win the 6th Man of The Year award. They bring in Kyle Anderson and drafted Jaren Jackson Jr. who is going to be an absolute stud. The franchise could be in this mans hands in the very near future. They also drafted Yuta Watanabe so we will see what he can add to this rotation. Dillion Brooks remains a key building block, but it will be another long year for the Grizz.

Year Long Question – What do they do with Conley and Gasol?

The NBA is always changing. The landscape and the way we play is always evolving. Gasol and Conley are incredible pros and great players. But if the Grizz want to change the nature and the culture of their franchise, I don’t believe these two guys can be the building blocks of the team. That’s nothing against these two men, who have had terrific careers, but the future isn’t with these two. They still have a ton of trade value, especially if they are healthy. So the Grizzlies need to decide what kind of team they want to be, and who they want to be a part of that future.

Fan Mindset

Like I said, the days of that grit and grind are over. Go home. It’s time to move on and embrace change within the Grizzlies organization. I’m not even sure what true die-hard fans of this team want going into this year. There are two gems awaiting two NBA teams next draft, and if the Grizz don’t want to be in rebuild for years on end, maybe this is the year they sell off their pieces and really make a push for it.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – The Grizz finish with the worst record in the West

I’m sorry. This whole thing has been me telling you that the Grizz will not be good this year and that you should abandon all hope for any chance of a playoff birth. Well, now I’m telling you that it’s probably going to be worse than you expect. There’s not much to say. I just can’t see this team staying healthy all year like they have Chandler Parsons, and once things go off the rails, they will want to go all in on the tank job.

Milwaukee Bucks Team Preview

The Bucks are finally going to win 50 games!

Last Seasons Record – 44-38

This Seasons Record – 52-30

Bucks.jpg

Is this the season Giannis finally reveals that he is, in fact, an Alien from another planet. People might ask, why this year? Well one thing, Giannis is another year older. He’s been spending all his free time inside the gym. But for me, the biggest addition to this team is their new head coach. Mike Budenholzer steps in and will be a massive upgrade from any coach Giannis has ever had. Bud’s won 60, I repeat 60 games with the Atlanta Hawks not so long ago. He is an above average coach and he wants to play fast. He wants to unleash the true potential of The Freak on the league. With that comes the endless possibilities, and maybe he can finally unleash the freak.

Key Additions and Subtractions 

The Bucks want to make a splash this year in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James is gone and it has people thinking that Giannis could potentially be the best player in the East. If that’s the case, the Bucks will be looking to make a deep playoff run. Jabari Parker is no longer around, and they also lost Jason Terry. Maybe he doesn’t do a lot on the court, but off the court, that’s a big locker room presence gone. They added Villanova standout Donte DiVincenzo, and big men Brook Lopez and Ersan Ilyasova. Ersan is on his second tour with the Bucks, and he has proven to be a credible bench player. Obviously, the success of this team will depend on the success of Giannis. If he takes another step and goes to another level this team can make some noise. If he stays stranded and he doesn’t improve, the Bucks will ride the end of the East playoff picture and probably make a first round exit.

Year Long Question – Who will help Giannis?

Giannis has a ton of side pieces, but which ones will prove to be worthy? If the Bucks want to be successful, and I mean truly successful, it isn’t fair for all of that burden to fall on his shoulders. Kris Middleton (contract year) has been a great side-kick for Giannis. Coming off playing all 82 games last year was huge for his development. Thon Maker needs to grow into a more serious role and Malcolm Brogden will need to decide just what kind of player he wants to be. If these guys can all come together and click, it will be interesting to see where this Bucks team falls come playoff time.

Fan Mindset

Okay, this scene makes the Bucks look really bad, but that’s not the point. The whole “We gained a yard!” thing represents them finally getting to 50 wins. It’s been a long journey and quite the process for this to happen, but the time has finally arrived. Once the Little Giants gain that one yard, we all know what happens. They go on for the best comeback in sports movie history. So once the Bucks get over that 50 win hump, maybe it will open all sorts of doors for them to make a serious playoff run. If the Bucks don’t reach that 50 win total this year, well, this whole season could just be a complete blunder.

Bold Predictions, Sponsored By Nate – Giannis wins MVP

He’s the next guy up in the NBA. We are all waiting for him to take “the leap.” Last year the Bucks did not play fast, they want to up the pace this season. If Giannis can get to around 30, 13 and 6 this upcoming season, that could spell an MVP season for The Freak. This obviously comes with a ton of pressure, and he could be a year away from really making any giant strides. But James Harden got his MVP, Westbrook got his. LeBron could make some MVP noise, and there are only a few other candidates left. There’s a track for this to be his MVP season, and I think everyone would be on board for this to happen. We all want Giannis to blossom into the superstar that we all know he can be. This is a massive season for Bucks fans and the Bucks organization.

Miami Heat Team Preview

Same team, same result

Last Seasons Record – 44-38

This Seasons Record – 44-38

heat.jpg

Take a good look at that photo Heat fans. This is Dwyane Wade’s final year, his farewell tour is upon us, and it could be quite the emotional journey. I can’t believe that this is his final year in the league, it makes me feel old. Honestly, it feels like just yesterday I was watching him go to the final four with Marquette. Will this get in the way of the season, or does this give the other players something to play for? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, us NBA fans will miss you, Mr. Wade.

 Key Additions and Subtractions 

So the Heat did absolutely nothing this offseason? They are bringing the same band back, and that necessarily isn’t a bad thing. They still have the same core of Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and Justise Winslow. Mix that in with Dwyane Wade and Kelly Olynyk, this team was pretty solid last season. They are well coached, and if they band together and want to make Wade’s last year a memorable one, I don’t see why this team can’t make the playoffs.

Year Long Question – Does Justise Winslow make the leap? 

When the Heat drafted Winslow with the 10th overall pick, they really thought they got the steal of the draft. He had a fantastic rookie campaign but hasn’t really improved on that season since. In order for this team to get better and improve on their record from last year, it will fall on the shoulders of this young man. He needs to improve his job shot and become an overall better offensive player. He’s great on the defensive end, but that’s just not enough for this team. If he isn’t playing up to par halfway through the season, I can see them unloading him to another team. It’s time to crap or get off the pot, and Miami doesn’t really want to be a middle-tier team forever. So the pressure is on Justise.

Fan Mindset

We used to call him The Flash, now he isn’t so speedy. All jokes aside, can’t you see Wade saying this all year long? Not even in terms of playing basketball, but Wade is old, he’s married, and I think he wants to start the next phase of his life. Whatever that may be, probably a TV guy, but not only is Wade going to be saying this, but fans as well. Some fans might be getting too old for this shit. Wade’s body is the reason why he is hanging it up for good, he played hard, and he played fast and there’s no denying that he is an all-time great, and a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. But I’m very curious to know if Wade is going to go all in for this season and give it everything he’s got. Or he’s just going to sit back, relax and enjoy the farewell tour. I think he wants to go out with a bang, and I believe he’s going to give it his all, and he wants this team to make a deep playoff run if that’s possible. Hope to see some vintage Wade this upcoming year.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate –  The Heat make the ECF

Call me crazy or call me bold. But this segment is called bold prediction for a reason. When you have something or someone to play for, crazy, insane things can happen. So if this team clicks and comes together, anything can happen. LeBron is out of the East, and I think every team now thinks they can win the Eastern Conference. So if the Heat stay healthy, they will have the highest of confidence going into the playoffs. Let’s give Wade a great last season.