Toronto Raptors Team Preview

Going to be a fun ride. Don’t even think about next year. Enjoy Kawhi Leonard.

Last Seasons Record – 59-23

This Seasons Record – 65-17

Kawhi.jpg

Kawhi Leonard is worth six more wins, right? He has to be. Yes, this is a little late, but writing over 20,000 words for the NBA season takes time. The Raptors are flying out of the gate. They are off to the best start in franchise history with a 6-0 record. Not only does this team have a new life, but everyone is playing what appears to be on another level. Lowry, JV, and Siakim have all improved in the offseason yet again. Lowry is leading the league in assists per game or was after their last contest. Kyle Lowry, leading the league in that category, are you kidding me? When the trade happened everyone was head over heels about Kawhi coming to Toronto and rightfully so. But the guy who has figured out time travel, and one of the biggest key factors in their success is Danny Green. He is playing at such a high level right now, and his basketball IQ, which is through the roof is making things really easy on the offensive end for our guys. This team is truly going to have a special season, and we all need not worry about what next year holds, but just enjoy this fabulous ride this team is going to provide us for the next 7 months.

Key Additions and Subtractions 

Imagine being in a relationship with someone who was so good to you, who improved yearly and then you wake up one day and it’s over. What happened with DeMar DeRozan in the summer was a bummer. But sports is a business and the organization saw an opportunity and went for it. You have to do these things in sports, you must make difficult decisions. Trading away DeMar and getting Kawhi Leonard in return is a once in a lifetime thing. Jakob Poeltl went to San Antonio with DeMar and Danny Green came alongside Kawhi. So far the trade has worked out well for both teams and I couldn’t be happier. DeMar is killing it with the Spurs right now, and yet again has improved in the offseason and is out for blood this year. It just makes me happy seeing him be successful, but that was a no-brainer. He went to one of the best franchises in all of the sports and is learning day in and day out from Greg Popovich. Other than that, the Raptors didn’t make any moves. They resigned Fred VanVleet and they know that they are chalked full of young talent and are primed to make a move in the East with LeBron James now out West.

Year Long Question – How good can Pascal Siakim become?

When it’s the offseason in the NBA, every player heads to Los Angeles. Or at least it seems like that. Siakim was one of those guys. He was seen playing pick-up ball with some of the best players in the world this summer. I have insanely high expectations for him this year. The NBA is kind of built for him now, he can be the perfect stretch 4 or even the stretch 5. He has been working on his shooting since he came into the league and thrives off those corner threes. But his ball handling is getting better and he is able to get to the rim at a really efficient rate. I think that in order for the Raptors to truly reach the goals they want to reach, a lot of that is going to fall on the shoulders of Pascal. If he continues to develop and improve this season, not only will it be great for the Raps, but I think he could be in the running for the Most Improved Player Award.

Fan Mindset

This is just not the city of Toronto celebrating, but the entire country. Yes, no one actually died, but after 15 years LeBron James has finally moved to the Western Conference. The ultimate Raptors killer. The man responsible for us being eliminated year after year in the playoffs. So when we all heard the news that he was taking his talents to LA and was going to be playing for the Lakers, well Raptor fans everywhere rejoiced in song and dance. He’s gone, baby! We can finally rest easy at night knowing that we don’t have to run into him come playoff time. This team should fear no one in the Eastern Conference, and it really is theirs for the taking. I know when LeBron signed with the Lakers, my mind immediately went to the thought that the Raptors are now primed to make the NBA Finals.

Bold Predictions, Sponsored By Nate – The Raptors win the most games in the league this season.

Maybe it’s because I’m a week late in doing this, but the Raptors are one of the two last remaining undefeated teams in the NBA. Actually, the other team is the Bucks who they play Monday night. They are playing such terrific basketball right now and doing it in a fun and meaningful way. Everyone is getting their shots, and when we need a bucket, someone is stepping up. We have won games with a depleted bench, and we are scoring more than 110 points per game. This team will thrive on defence as the season continues I believe, but right now we are simply outscoring teams. I think the Raptors will win 65 games and finish with the best record in the NBA. That could bode well if they make it to the finals for home court. I’m already so excited like Jessie Spano excited.

Utah Jazz Team Preview

Last Seasons Record 48-34

Thus Seasons Record 48-34

Jazz

How about this guy? Perhaps the real rookie of the year, but that is beside the point. When you lose your franchise player only to stumble onto something and someone truly special, it really feels like a miracle. Last year was kind of a rollercoaster for the Jazz. They came out the gate staggering but really found their true form around the midway of the year. They even won a playoff series against the Thunder. A team with two top 20 NBA players. Donovan Mitchell took the NBA by storm last season, and the Jazz and their fans are hoping he is in fact, the real deal.

Key Additions and Subtractions 

The Jazz didn’t get a serious makeover this offseason, why would they? They went to the playoffs and drafted a potential superstar in the making. However, they did draft Grayson Allen, the Duke standout. He wants to make an impact on the league. He doesn’t want to become another bust. He has some of the right tools to really help a team but will need to become stronger and a better defender. I’m excited to see what kind of player he can become. Will he be JJ Redick or will become the next Jimmer Fredette? Only time will tell, but it should be an enjoyable ride. Dante Exum will next to take a leap this season and Joe Ingles if this team wants to build off last years success. If those two guys can step up, this team could make some serious noise. They should be one of the better defensive teams in the NBA.

Year Long Question –  How good can they be defensively? 

Rudy Gobert is coming off the defensive player of the year award and he wants another. This Jazz team prides itself on defensive and that is due to their head coach. They are chalked full of great defensive players and will need that all year round if they want to be a top tier team in the West. If they can try to hold teams to around 97-102 points per game, this team could do great things. They have enough firepower offensively that they can play with the best of them.

Fan Mindset

I know that last year Donovan Mitchell set the NBA world on fire last season, but in my opinon, he isn’t the most important player on the Jazz. That honour belongs to the Spanish Samauri Ricky Rubio. That’s right, ever since he has come over to the Jazz he has really turned it around. Ricky is a fantastic defender and distributes the ball better than almost anyone in the NBA. This team struggled last year when Ricky wasn’t in the lineup. He’s super important to getting everyone else involved and like I mentioned he isn’t a defensive liability on the court. He’s matured so much the last few seasons and has really figured out his identity in this league. If he goes down, expect fans to react the same way Cuba Gooding JR did in this iconic scene. I hope you don’t have to go through that painful experience.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – Quinn Snyder wins Coach of The Year

He was on the brink of winning this award last season. He is a great young minded coach in this league. The Jazz are on the rise and if they keep improving and winning games, I don’t see why this award isn’t his for the taking this season. Now they would have to win more games this year than last and potentially get into that 3rd seed. That could be tough work, Denver looks like they are on a new level this year, and you can’t count out the Spurs. But it’s called bold prediction for a reason. This should be another fun season for Jazz fans, and I’m curious to see the development of Mitchell.

San Antonio Spurs Team Preview

Dark horse MVP?

Last Seasons Record – 47-35

This Seasons Record – 52 -30

What a whirlwind the off-season was for these Spurs. In fact, the last few years have been not rough, but, emotional. For two decades we watched Tim Duncan dominate the NBA, be the face of this franchise and become one of the best 10 players of all time. We thought he was passing the torch to Kawhi Leonard. The finals MVP, we all thought this was a for sure thing. Kawhi was the prototypical Spur. Well a lot can happen in a single season. The Spurs that we knew are no more, and they traded Kawhi away for a pretty damn good basketball player. This is going to be so weird for fans.

Key Additions and Subtractions.

Unless you were living under a rock, you know, as I just mentioned that Kawhi Leonard is now a Toronto Raptor. Danny Green is also a Raptor and Tony Parker decided to take his talents to Charlotte. Manu Ginobili decided that he was done with basketball all together and retired. That is an INSANE offseason. That is so much lost, so much leadership and culture gone from this franchise. They got back DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl, both grey players, but I don’t know if it’s enough to fill that empty void. Not because they aren’t good enough, but unless they got LeBron, no other player is capable of making up for this much loss. So this is going to be a whole new ball game with the Spurs, but if there’s one man for the job it’s coach Pop.

Year Long Question – Can DeRozan reinvent himself?

Being a life long Raptors fan, I will miss DeRozan, but we got Kawhi for him. So I can’t be that upset. That being said, he is a terrific ball player. He has gotten better every single season he has played. This year will be no different. With a new coach and a new system I’ve curious to see how he does. I think he will become more pass happy and really thrive off cutting to the basket. Coach Pop won’t always rely on him and lean on him for late game buckets. That showed the other night in LA. So if he can reinvent his game a bit, become more efficient, there’s no telling how much he can accomplish this year. If the Spurs have a magical season and perhaps get a top 3 seed, DeMar could be in the running for MVP. At least that’s what I think.

Fan Mindset.

https://youtu.be/EJz2FXkZb7g

Like I mentioned, the house was cleared this offseason, but they brought in a stud with DeRozan. Coach Pop knows the way of the force, he knows how to be a winner and he knows how to mould and shape a player. So he’s Yoda, and DeMar is a young Luke. He knows he has these powers, but he’s never had the proper teacher. This could be a great marriage and fans want that to be the case. This team had won 50 games for almost 20 straight years, all they know is winning. They aren’t ready to give this all up, and how can you blame them? They have been NBA royalty for so many years and every franchise wants what they have. Yes they have 5 rings, but it’s the consistency that is so damn impressive. So don’t think Pop is going to sit back and just let this team die. He’s got to much pride and he’s to damn smart. When Luke figured out how to use to the force, he became the most powerful Jedi in the galaxy. Can the same be said for DeRozan? Can’t wait to find out.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – Spurs are a top 4 seed.

I know above I only have them winning 52 games. But this is the bold prediction section so it’s different. Look this is the Spurs. They won 47 games last year and Kawhi played in 9 of them. I repeat he played in 9 games and he wasn’t even fully healthy. They are good no matter what. They have unreal systems and schemes and DeRozan led Toronto to a lot of wins. If no one else gets hurt, this Spurs team can easily sneak into that 4th seed.

Sacramento Kings Team Preview

At least Fox is looking good!

Last Seasons Record – 27-55

This Seasons Record – 32-50

Good old Sacramento. The place we’re dreams and careers usually go to die. I’m kidding Kings fans, but it feels like 50 years since this team has been relevant. The biggest what if franchise, arguably should have won 2 titles, at least one for sure. But that’s all in the past and this team is looking to build a strong and bright future. De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley are great pieces to work off of, the only question is. Can they keep these two guys happy enough to make them stick around. Winning and a sense of direction need to occur in order for that to become a reality. De’Aaron Fox who I dubbed “Lefty Westy” is off to a great start. He really could be a special player and he is the reason why I am tuning in to Kings games. He needs to become a player, because he’s the reason the Kings passed on Doncic in the draft.

Key Additions and Subtractions.

Much like every single season, the Kings went through some roster changes in the offseason. It’s the MO, it’s what they do best. Guys don’t really want to stay there. I’m sorry but most players these days want to be around a winning culture. Vince Carter parted ways just after one season. They added rookie stand out Marvin Bagley, Yogi Ferrell and Ben McLemore is back to where it all began. A younger team with some serious upside. They just need certain guys like Skal and Buddy Hield to take that next step.

Year Long Question – Can Harry Giles figure it out?

The kid went to Duke. He was a first round draft pick. All the pieces were in place for him to become a productive NBA player. That really hasn’t happened yet, but that was due to injuries and lack of play. Things could be turning around for Giles and if that happens, all sorts of doors could open up for the Sacramento Kings. They need this, they need this guy to become a stud. They need to almost start getting lucky. They won’t be signing any big name free agents, because like I said. Big time free agents want to go to a culture of winning and with the prospect of winning a ring. That won’t be the case in Sacramento for a long time. But building through the draft and hitting on picks is the first step in the right direction.

Fan Mindset.

https://youtu.be/MROilVRwQAI

You’re watching old memories. Memories you don’t think anyone has lived. How could someone have lived them. Most people only know the Kings to be, well the Kings. So when you find out that someone has in fact lived these memories…..GODDAMMIT!

So here’s the thing. The Kings might have one of the worst records in the league. But guess what? They don’t get a first round draft pick this year. If it’s the first overall pick it goes to Philly. Anything after that, it goes to Boston. The rich get richer and well Sacramento is just shit out of luck. I don’t want that to happen, I want the Kings to get around the 6th pick this year. It would be awful to see the Celtics get the 2nd overall pick and end up with Zion on their team. But that must be frustrating. That’s why I picked this scene. Kings fans probably go home and watch old YouTube clips of the good old days. Mike Bibby, Chris Weber, times when the NBA used to fear them. So this is their reaction, when they find out this horrible god awful news.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – They will win more games than last year

For a team like the Kings, it’s really difficult to go bold. What do I go bold about? They are just a below average franchise who are lacking any kind of star power, for now. So my prediction is, the Kings won’t be as bad as they were last season. In fact, they will won more games. Please, for the love of god, win more games. Do we really need the Celtics getting better? Everyone hates them already, that’s the last thing we need. So Kings, it’s time, time to restore a little faith in your fans. Win some games!

Portland Trailblazers Team Preview

Evan Turner is the Instagram MVP

Last Seasons Record 49-33

This Seasons Record 48-34

The quiet team in the NBA. Portland, who no one really pays attention too. They might as well be Canadian. They go about their business, no one ever thinks they’re a threat, but low and behold they end up in the playoffs every single year. Yes last year they got their butt kicks and eventually swept, but hey, making it is more than 15 other teams can say. They still have one of the best backcourt dips in the entire league and want to continue to build on that. But I think there’s a trade looming in the future. One of those players could be heading to Hollywood…

Key Additions and Subtractions

The Blazers really wanted Carmelo Anthony to come to Portland, but ultimately that didn’t happen. Instead they had to settle for Nik Stauskas and Seth Curry! All jokes aside, both are great outside shooters and the way the league is going, if you don’t have outside shooting you really don’t stand a chance. So they should help, and Stauskas actually torched the Lakers and was a big spark for them off the the bench. They lost their big man Ed Davis, who really found a home in Portland and turned his career around. That will be a big loss, but other than that, not much else happened with this team. They are built on the backs of their guards and will continue to do so until they can either sign a free agent or make a trade. This team will be competitive for years to come, so building in the draft can prove to be difficult.

Year Long Question – Can Nurkic continue to grow?

Everyone knows just how good Denver’s big man is. Jokic is ripping up the NBA. It was only a few short seasons ago that I was getting these two players mixed up. Well one has vastly surpassed the other, but that doesn’t mean Nurkic can’t improve his game. If Portland wants to take another leap and finish as the 3 seed again, they will need to develop into a strong and reliable NBA big man. Work on his passing abilities and become the player Portland wants him to be. There are so many similarities between his game and Jokers so it makes sense to compare the two. Denver is off to a hot start because of their big man and he’s helping them make a name for themselves early in the season. If Nurkic can have that fuel him, then it could be a great thing for this franchise.

Fan Mindset.

https://youtu.be/YcbZKza_zUg

Sometimes they just feel invisible, like a ghost. Portland just wants to be loved. They just want to be respected. And most of all, they just want to be recognized. They were the 3rd seed in the Western Conference last season. They won 49 games. Yet, it appears that everyone has already written them off completely and that they probably will struggle to make the post season. This is all fine and dandy, the West did get better. LeBron James came over, but one thing this franchise does well is consistency. Lillard and CJ are capable of taking this team to the playoffs again. They are both remarkable players. This team and their fans just want the NBA to give them some credit, and maybe talk about them, just a little bit.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – Dame get traded to the Lakers

Everything might be going swell in Portland, but it might not be going according to plan over in La La Land. That being said, Magic Johnson and LeBron won’t be having any of that. So with that being said, they might eye Dame for a blockbuster move. How would you feel to have Lonzo Ball be apart of this roster? I think he will be the first one off the chopping block. It would be so weird to see them do this, that would be 3 of their lottery picks gone. But Dame could be the side kick that LeBron needs in LA.

Phoenix Suns Team Preview

Last Seasons Record – 21-61

This Seasons Record – 27- 55

Remember Charles Barkley’s epic and hilarious rant about the Phoenix Suns? Go YouTube it if you don’t know what I’m talking about. A former member of the Suns he’s just upset about where the franchise has gone. And considers you fans the best in the world. But a lot has changed since then and these Phoenix Suns are slowly but surely on the rise.

Key Additions and Subtractions.

Everyone knows that the Suns got the prize possession in the draft. DeAndre Ayton, the new Shaq has officially had his coming out party. He’s going to be really special and it will help this organization reach the playoffs once again, just not right now. Trevor Ariza, Jamal Crawford and Ryan Anderson all joined the Suns in the off-season. Some via trade while Crawford decided to sign with them right before the season began. In that trade they lost the human body bag that was Brandon Knight and lottery pick from just a few years ago Marquese Chriss. They are built a little differently and Ariza could bring some much needed defensive help and together with Crawford should provide some much needed veteran leadership. Things won’t get much better this season, but you gotta start somewhere and they have fantastic young pieces to build around.

Year Long Question – Can Josh Jackson stay consistent?

The 4th overall pick just a year ago had an up and down rookie season. I guess that happens for most NBA rookies, but he had a particular hard time being consistent. He showed great flashes and that’s exactly why the Suns drafted him where they did. In order for this team to continue growing and continue achieving new heights he will need to figure out where he belongs. Devin Booker and now Ayton will be the cornerstones of this franchise, but we all know you need more than 2 stars to win in this league. Josh Jackson can be that guy, he just needs to put in the work. Overall he needs to up his rebounding numbers and be able to pour in about 15-17 points a night. Can he do it? The Suns are notorious for sending lottery picks away, I wouldn’t be shocked if he plays bad this season if it could be his last in a Suns uniform.

Fan Mindset

https://youtu.be/RMINSD7MmT4

That’s right. I picked one of the most famous quotes of all time. It’s true. This past year and getting Ayton is just one small step for this organization. Keeping him around and building around Ayton and Booker will be one giant leap for this franchise and it’s fans. Phoenix wants nothing more than to cheer for a good team, hell a competitive team. It’s been a while since that has happened, we all miss the days of Steve Nash running up and down the court and shooting within 7 seconds or less. But those days are long gone. Devin Booker and Ayton can be a formidable duo in this league and Booker has already proven he is one of the best scorers in the league. He dropped 70 points last season and he could have gotten more. Ayton is already turning heads. Now let’s hope it’s not fake, some people think the Moon Landing was fake. Don’t fake out your fans, don’t get their hopes up only to crush and demolish their dreams. They deserve better than that.

Bold Prediction, Sponsored By Nate – Devin Booker goes for 60 plus.

What a heat check guy he is. He can get hot and when he does, look out. 70 seemed like it was nothing for this kid and I think he wants to try and reach it again. February 2nd against Atlanta. I’m calling it now. Booker will go for 67 points. If this actually happens, much like you readers, I’ll be scared too.

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.