Basketball is my favourite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court.
What? Just because I write about movies, I can’t crossover into sports. Some of the best things in life are crossovers. There is literally a basketball move called the crossover, so back off! I know what people think, the NBA is way to “top heavy”, that we should really only watch the final few minutes of a basketball game. Well I just don’t think that is true. The NBA has more talent than ever before, there are more good players playing right now then the NBA has ever seen. It’s just the best teams are really good. The NBA probably has the most young talent out of the 4 major North American pro sports right now. I love the NBA so much, I think it’s the greatest sport and league in the world. It really never stops, the NBA has managed to stay relevant pretty much all year round. Something the NFL, MLB and NHL can certainly not say about themselves. There were people making jokes that this NBA off-season was better than the actual regular season. So much has changed in the last few months, the landscape of the NBA is vastly different and I think this up coming season is going to be for the record books. I think that’s why I decided to write this piece, because I can’t wait for the season to start, I think it’s going to end up being something truly special. So if you love basketball as much as I do, enjoy! Looking forward to October 17th and yelling BAAAAAALLLL NIGHT at my television.
THE WESTERN CONFERENCE
This conference is STACKED, and I don’t see any team really being that truly awful. Last year the fewest wins was 24 and I think it will be even higher this up coming year. There is going to be a great game on every night with all these teams battling it out. I can’t wait for it, the West = the best.
Phoenix Suns: 2017: 24- 58 Prediction: 28-54
The Suns are coming off a season where they finished last in the Western conference, something that hasn’t happened since 2013 and find themselves with some of the best young talent in the NBA. Boasting one of the youngest rosters in the entire league, they have a really good young core, and at the centre of that core is none other than Devin Booker himself. Dropping 70 points last season in a single game, was one of the highlights of the regular season and adding Kansas’ Josh Jackson, one would think this team will improve in their win total from last season. I have them winning four more games, just because their team is one year older, and I feel like they will compete every night. Don’t be surprised if you hear about the Suns being in about 500 trade rumours throughout the season, they have a ton of pieces they could get rid of, especially if the wheels fall off the wagon early in the season.
Los Angeles Lakers: 2017: 26-56 Prediction: 32-50
Sorry Lavar, but the Lakers aren’t winning anything this season. Boy that guy is going to be a side show this season, but hey it’s LA and maybe this will be a new breed of a sport. WWE meets the NBA, don’t be shocked in Lavar runs onto the court at least once this season. From one Ball to another, let’s talk about the important one; Lonzo. I’m impressed with this kid. He has a little bit of a Jason Kidd in him, mixed with a little bit of a Kevin Martin, because of his hideous shot. Again this is another young team loaded with talent. They have a great coach in Luke Walton who is so well respected, all these kids buy into what he is selling. Everyone is talking about next year already for LA with potential free agents in LeBron and PG13, but lets focus on getting these young guns better, and lets pray that Brandon Ingram ate a few cheeseburgers this summer, because my god that boy needs to put on some pounds, before he can unlock his true potential.
Minnesota Timberwolves: 2017: 31-51 Prediction: 52-30
THIBS!!!! He must be so excited to be reunited with Jimmy Buckets. I get a real Lethal Weapon vibe from them, Jimmy being Murtaugh and Thibs being Riggs. Have you seen Thibs back in the day, with his awesome almost Mel Gibson like mullet. That’s besides the point, Minnesota is one of the teams that underwent one of the biggest makeovers this offseason. They added a lot of pieces, and look to be taken seriously in the tough Western conference this season. I thought it was going to be last season they took “the leap” but they got off to a flat start and just never recovered. Honestly one of the biggest concerns for me was Andrew Wiggins and his defence. Coming into the league he really didn’t have all the tools quite yet, but one thing you thought he could do no problem at the next level would be defend. That hasn’t be the case so far and I hope with adding Jimmy, Wiggins could feed off his passion for defence, because if he does that will help the team in the long run. Towns is only going to get better and with Jamal Crawford coming off the bench, the Timberwolves have potential to maybe make some noise in the West. This team has boom or bust written all over it.
Sacramento Kings: 2017: 32-50 Prediction: 34-48
Lefty Westy is about to be unleashed on the NBA. That’s what I’m dubbing De’Aaron Fox, who I believe will win rookie of the year this season. The Kings added a ton of veterans this off-season, and I want to believe guys like Z-Bo, VC and George Hill could maybe bring a culture change to the Kings. But the Kings will always remain the Kings, so I think this will be a write off season for most of these guys. Maybe I could be wrong, but until I am proven otherwise, this franchise is just kind of in the toilet at the moment. Now I think that all changes with Fox, this kid is going to be a stud, he has all the makings in being a super star in this league. But until a solid foundation is built for him, and that includes having a coach and GM stick around long term, I just think his talents might go to waste, and that’s something that keeps me up at night. It’s like having an A-list actor tied down by being in a crappy movie franchise, sometimes you need to set them free, so they can spread their wings. Let Lefty West fly Kings, please, for all of our sakes.
Dallas Mavericks: 2017: 33-49 Prediction: 26-56
Dirk, one of the all time greats, I love him to death. What’s there not to love about him? He’s loyal, he takes pay cuts, he’s a competitor, and I just feel bad for the guy. He’s stuck, he is so loyal that in fact, I think it almost a bad thing. I wish I could see Dirk go somewhere else and compete. The Mavs will be the worst team in the West this year, and it’s time for them to finally start thinking about their future. Don’t get me wrong, they found a stud in Dennis Smith Jr. in the draft this year. He will be a great building block for the future, and shows great signs of being a fantastic pro. He’s the type of player that wants to prove he shouldn’t have been the 9th pick in the draft this season. But other than that, they really aren’t working with much.Getting Noel from Philly for pretty much nothing last season helps, because he is a solid basketball player. He was lost in a rotation in Philly, and now he can be unleashed and used to his full potential here, so keep an eye out for a breakout season from Nerlens Noel. Harrison Barnes was a product of being in an incredible system in Golden State and he’s not a “franchise” guy. Dallas will recover they have one of the best owners and coaches in the NBA, but it’s time to move on from Dirk. The NBA will miss him dearly and I don’t think this season will be his last, but there comes a time in life when you simply need to move on and that time is now for the Dallas Mavericks.
New Orleans Pelicans: 2017: 34-48 Prediction: 37-45
Boogie and AD, AD and Boogie. They go together like lamb and tuna fish. Does anyone really know how this season is going to go? Could Boogie get so fed up with AD, he decides to shave the brow off? Now toss is Rajon Rondo into the mix. This has potential to be a catastrophic disaster. I just don’t think it can work, two bigs on the same team. That don’t really work well off the ball. Both of these guys need the ball in their hands to be most effective, and they can’t really space the floor, because neither of them are great shooters. Boogie can knock down so open jump shots, but that’s not who he is. He’s one of the most dominate players in the NBA, and he likes the ball in the post, so does AD. This is a really hard win/loss prediction to make, because I just don’t see this working out. And when things aren’t going well for Boogie, we all know how it ends up. I want to be wrong, I want Boogie to go to the playoffs, I just want him to finally be in a great situation in the NBA. I just don’t think New Orleans is that situation.
Denver Nuggets: 2017: 40-42 Prediction: 47-35
First things first, Josh Childress and his incredible hair have come back to the NBA!!!! Happy for him to be back in the NBA, he was so awesome to watch back in the day on Atlanta. Moving on. I really like this Nuggets team, they seem to fit in the not quite ready to make the jump, but not so bad they tank category. They have an all-around nice roster, with adding Paul Millsap and Trey Lyles this off-season, they are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012 (Lock-out year). Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jamal Murray are great young guards, and I think the Nuggets success will really fall on their shoulders this season. Murray had a rough start to his rookie campaign in 2016, but I expect him to bounce back in a big way this year. Same with Mudiay, I just don’t think it’s really clicked yet for him, but he’s a strong physical guard and I like his skill set, this could be the year that things finally turn around for him. Look for Jokic the Joker to have an incredible year, without doubt the most unique big man in the game today, and really is a treat to watch.
Portland Trailblazers: 2017: 41:41 Prediction: 40-42
Sorry Blazer fans, but I think they are one game worse this season than last. Obviously yes, Lillard and McCollum is phenomenal guard play, but the rest of their roster isn’t that great. They didn’t sign any free agents. I know last year the team turned around once they acquired big man Nurkic from Denver, but I just don’t think that will be enough for them to stay above .500 at the end of the season. Too much is riding on Dame and CJ, and they really have to bring it night in and night out for Portland, and doing that over an 82 game stretch can be difficult. I see maybe one of those guys going down to an injury and the season may be lost. Too many other teams in the West got better this off-season and Portland just frankly did not, so I can’t have them winning more games this season, just doesn’t make sense.
Memphis Grizzlies: 2017: 43-39 Prediction: 43-39
Good old Memphis, they are like the old reliable NBA franchise. You kind of know what you’re always getting with them. Grittiness, defence and discipline. That’s their three keys to success. Now I have them with the exact same record, because I think they are somewhat cursed by the injury bug. Now they added Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans, so that helps a bit. But with losing Z-Bo, who was kind of the heart and soul of this franchise for so long, I think that will have a bigger impact on the team and their culture than they want to let on. If Parsons, Panda Bear Marc Gasol and Mike Conley can all stay healthy and play roughly 75 games each, then we are talking about a 50 win team here, if not, well it will not be pretty. I’m also excited to see Canadian Dillion Brooks hoop it up for them this season. The kid was a stud at Oregon and could be some much needed fire power off the bench, something that Memphis has been lacking in recent years.
Oklahoma City Thunder: 2017 47-35 Prediction: 55-27
They added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, I think that qualifies for at least a 8 better win total than last season. Yes, I know their bench is horrible, but the roster they have now, will not be their roster at the end of the year. Can we all just take a minute, and give Sam Presti, their GM some much needed love. In one summer he managed to trade for George and Melo and sign my dude Westbrook to an extension, like simply amazing stuff. I think if this works and they find the right system, look out. You’re naive to think this is going to work game one, you’re naive to think this is going to click by game 30. This is going to take time, and that’s okay. These guys are pros and I think they all have one common goal. DESTROY THE WARRIORS. If Melo can buy into being the third option and taking a more “Olympic Melo” kind of role, this could be scary. I think Paul George wants to prove, he shouldn’t be forgotten about, and well Westbrook is going to do his thing, and I can see him changing his tone up a bit. He won MVP last year, he average a triple double, I think now he wants that ring. I can’t wait to see this unfold, honestly I love Westbrook so much, he’s my favourite player and I’m excited to see what happens with this team.
Utah Jazz: 2017: 51-31 Prediction: 41-41
Video of the summer belongs to the guy filming himself burning his Hayward jersey and proclaiming “good luck being LeBron’s little B-word (that’s what he actually said)”. So the Jazz took a huge hit this off-season and lost their son Gordon Hayward. One the bright side, Donovan Mitchell the rookie they drafted was eating guys alive in summer league so they might have something there. Their roster stays the same really, and I think they might go a little bigger and play slower this up-coming year with Gobert and Favours. What the Jazz really need is Dante Exum to start acting like the third pick in the draft and stay healthy. I just think Hayward was such a big part of this franchise and they might have a little bit of a hangover from his departure. The Jazz are an incredible organization and have shown resilience in the past. They don’t really have down years, so look for them to shake things up roster wise if they get off to a slow start.
Los Angeles Clippers: 2017: 51-31 Prediction: 50-32
The Clippers finally parted ways with Chris Paul, and guess what? I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I always tell people, I think CP3 is kind of overrated, and well he never wins anything. I honestly think he’s one of the most overrated players since the turn of this century. So that’s why I have the Clippers winning only one less game. They added some nice new pieces with Gallinari, Beverley and Lou Williams. All solid players and if Gallinari can finally stay healthy that’s such a bonus for this team. I’m looking forward to all the “ANOTHER ASSIST FOR MILOS!!!” memes this season, for the 30 year old Serbian rookie. I’m just not too sure what to make of this team just yet, I think them losing Paul isn’t the end of the world. Staying healthy will be the key to their success, because Blake Griffin a few years ago was playing like one of the best 5 players in the entire NBA, and I saw last nights first preseason game and he was hitting 3s! He shoots threes now people, if he can knock that down consistently, look out!
Houston Rockets: 2017: 55-27 Prediction: 61-21
Speaking of CP3, he’s now on the Rockets, who plan on using two basketballs this season. Bold move cotton, I hope it works out for them. I don’t get it, the point guard whisperer Mike D’Antoni turned James Harden into a new player last year, by making him the point guard. It worked so well, he became a completely new player and a new threat to the league. He was already a bonafide stud, but him playing point worked really well. Now enters CP3 who is a pure point guard, making Harden return to the wing. I believe Harden works best when he has the ball in his hands, not without it. Houston had such a good season last year, but it ended in a weird way, in a game where it almost looked like James Harden gave up or showed up high to the game. He needs a bounce back season and deep playoff run in order to shed that memory. So he brought in the guy with some of the worst playoff success the NBA has ever seen! Boy this could be a disaster. It also could work out in spectacular fashion, that’s why I have them with 61 wins. PJ Tucker was another great pickup for them, the Toronto Raptors will miss him dearly, and he is a lockdown defender and can hit the corner three. Adding to a roster who already makes a boat load of three-pointers. This should be an interesting dynamic in Houston, can’t wait to see how it pans out.
San Antonio Spurs: 2017 61-21 Prediction: 59-23
The Spurs winning 50 games might be lock of the century in any season. They are without a doubt the most successful franchise since the 90’s Bulls run. They are the definition of success, and what most pro sports franchises want to be. Kawhi Leonard is a freak of nature, he is so good at basketball it’s uncanny, and the Spurs will remain in the contender category until he says otherwise. Like what can I say about the Spurs really, they will be there at the end, wether things click for them or not in the playoffs is another story. I think this could be a really fantastic season for Rudy Gay, I feel like he could be a perfect Popovich player, and really fit into their system. Or much like Richard Jefferson a few years back, will ultimately hate his life and want nothing more than to get the hell out of dodge. He could help Manu with some bench firepower, and I’ve always been a Rudy Gay guy, I just feel like he’s another example of never really being in the perfect situation. The guy I would look out for this season on the Spurs is DeJounte Murray, that kid can play and I think he makes some noise this year and becomes a little bit of a household name.
Golden State Warriors: 2017: 67-15 Prediction 69-13
WARRIORS, COME OUT TO PLAY!!!!! It was really nice this summer to hear that KD is just like me. That made me feel good about myself and gave me a much need confidence boost. Swaggy P is good for 2 more wins, and I think it could honestly be more. I can’t wait to watch him drop buckets in big moments in the playoffs come 2018. It’s going to be glorious to watch. It’s great because I think deep down, Swaggy probably thinks he is a better shooter than both Klay and Steph and hell even KD. That’s what I love about that guy, all time heat check guy. There’s nothing new here, expect the fact that it’s a year later and these guys are gelled even more together. They could be unstoppable and I would be okay with it. They are really fun to watch and honestly are one of the greatest teams of all time. So don’t hate on greatness, because it doesn’t come around often. I will be shocked if they aren’t in the finals yet again, but that’s the beauty thing about sports, I want to see them play 7 games against the Spurs, Rockets and Thunder. The West playoffs are going to be so much fun, and I hope one of those three teams take down the Warriors.
So there you have it, the Western conference. I’ll be doing the Eastern conference soon, along with award predictions and final thoughts!
Check ya later.