NBA rapid fire. 30 teams, quick predictions. Let’s gooo!
Atlanta Hawks-if they can get the Howard of old, Hawks could be a dangerous team in the east. Bench play will be crucial throughout the season.
Boston Celtics-the combination of Thomas and Horford will work out great for the Celtics. Look out for rookie Jaylen Brown, who could have a great first season in Boston.
Brooklyn Nets-Brook Lopez will (finally) get traded at some point during the season. Even with Jeremy Lin in Brooklyn, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be the team’s best player this season.
Charlotte Hornets-have one of the better backcourts in the east, but inexperienced/unproven big men. I cannot see them making playoffs. Kidd-Gilchrist will become one of the better defenders in the league at the SF position.
Chicago Bulls-a new, veteran backcourt could be pivotal for the Bulls making the playoffs. They have a log jam of big men, which could lead to some faces getting traded during the season.
Cleveland Cavaliers-the band is back together, minus Dellavedova. My buddy, Alan likes Kay Felder so look out for him (look out for Kay, not my buddy Alan. Just so there is no confusion).
Dallas Mavericks-Harrison Barnes will be re-born down in Dallas (prediction-he will make the all-star team). Expect Dirk’s numbers to decline, as the Mavs will miss the playoffs.
Denver Nuggets-could potentially score a lot of points, but also allow a ton. Will struggle at the PG position with only Mudiay and Nelson there right now.
Detroit Pistons-if they can stay around .500 or better until Jackson comes back then they have a serious shot at the playoffs. Ellenson will be the starting PF by the end of the season.
Golden State Warriors-could take some time for this team to gel with the additions of several new players. Bold prediction–Klay Thompson gets traded at some point during the season.
Houston Rockets-four of the five projected starters love shooting the three, so do not be surprised if this team averages close to 110 points per game. I think Harden will do just fine as the new full-time PG. A rejuvenated Gordon may well help this team.
Indiana Pacers-love the acquisitions that the Pacers added this off-season with Young, Jefferson and Teague. If Turner can continue to blossom, the Pacers will be a hard team to beat come late April.
Los Angeles Clippers-anything short of Western Conference Finals will be a huge disappointment for a team that has underperformed in the playoffs for the last four or five years. Could struggle at the SF position with an aging Pierce.
Los Angeles Lakers–Bryant will need to carry this Laker team once again, just to be competitive in the west. There is plenty to be excited about if you are a Lakers fan. Randle had a solid first full season, Russell should take major strides this year and Ingram should be one of the best rookies in the league. Also, more shots for everyone because Bryant has retired.
Memphis Grizzlies-Randolph is no longer a starter, but expect him to be one of the main candidates for 6th Man of the Year. If both Gasol and Parsons can stay healthy, Grizzlies could potentially squeak into the playoffs.
Miami Heat-it is pretty much Whiteside and a bunch of players trying to prove themselves. The threesome of Winslow, Richardson and T. Johnson showed that they are worthy of more playing time and they will get it this season.
Milwaukee Bucks-I am not a fan of using Antetokounmpo as a PG. Instead I would try and trade Monroe for a starting PG, or use Dellavedova there. Bucks should be able to make a playoff push even without Middleton.
Minnesota Timberwolves-a great blend of veterans and youngsters gets the T-Wolves into the playoffs. Towns and Wiggins continue to take strides in their growth, while Dunn pushes Rubio for the starting PG spot.
New Orleans Pelicans-I love the addition of Solomon Hill-a player who can play both ends of the court well. Davis will need to stay healthy, something he has had trouble doing, while rookie, Hield will need to step in and be a factor right away. No pressure, kid.
New York Knicks-Anthony got some much needed help this off-season with the likes of Lopez, Lee, Rose and Noah being added to the roster. Jennings is a great player to have backing up Rose, but the rest of the bench is a big question mark.
Oklahoma City Thunder-I cannot wait for Westbrook’s revenge tour! When KD left, a lot of people thought that OKC would be a bottom feeder, instead they acquired Oladipo and drafted Gonzaga big man, Sabonis who should get the starting nod over Ilyasova at PF.
Orlando Magic-I do not know what to think of this Magic squad. They traded Oladipo, but kept Payton, a player who has real problems shooting the ball. They acquired Ibaka in the Oladipo trade, but then signed Biyombo in free agency. Very puzzling moves.
Philadelphia 76ers-lost Noel and Simmons to injuries, but hey, they have Embiid and Saric to look forward to. I like the addition of a veteran PG such as Rodriguez to a very young squad. Sixers fans, continue to #TrustTheProcess.
Phoenix Suns-this is supposed to be Booker’s coming out party after a pretty good rookie season last year. The scary thing about the Suns is that their bench could potentially be as good as their starting five. Not many teams can say that.
Portland Trail Blazers-last season they were the surprise of the NBA, this season they will look to duplicate that success. Leonard is back healthy and the Blazers have added Turner, a player who can do a bit of everything on the court. Blazers should make playoffs with minimal problems once again.
Sacramento Kings-keep Boogie, trade Gay and McLemore, get picks in return and start re-building once again. It has basically become a cycle.
San Antonio Spurs-Leonard is the man now. Plenty of pressure on the 25-year-old now that Duncan has retired. The bench could be a possible weakness for the Spurs, add the trade rumours around Aldridge and this team has some distractions.
Toronto Raptors-Sullinger is out for approximately three months, which leaves the Raptors with Patterson as the only natural PF on the roster. Look for Toronto to play Carroll at the four at times and go small until Sullinger returns.
Utah Jazz-they have a serious team for the first time on a long time. Hayward and Favors will be out for some time, but the Jazz have a deep enough team to stay afloat until their two star players return.
Washington Wizards-If Beal can stay healthy and produce as he did two years ago, Wizards could surprise some in the east. The big question is if they can get help from Porter and Oubre as their SFs.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.