An NBA Season Preview in Blurbs 2015-2016

An NBA Season Preview in Blurbs 2015-2016

Individual Award Predictions MVP- James Harden- Ty Lawson will be the best thing that ever happened to him. Defensive Player of the Year- DeAndre Jordan.  Each year, he gets a little smarter.  When awareness meets athleticism and ability. Rookie of the Year- Emmaunel Mudiay.  Hard working athletic kid with his stuff together between the ears with an opportunity and just enough around him to develop well. 6th Man of the Year- Isaiah Thomas.  He excels in the role on a team where they desperately need him to excel in the role.  The only 6th man in the league who’s the best player on his team. Most Improved Player-  Reggie Jackson.  Playing in a system that will accentuate his strengths with a coach who believes in him in every way.  Has just enough pieces around him to thrive. Coach of the Year- Jason Kidd.  A top notch defense and a group of young athletes with oodles of upside.  This team is the practical execution of his organizational vision. All NBA First Team- Lebron James Kevin Durant Anthony Davis Stephen Curry James Harden Second Team- Blake Griffin Kawhi Leonard Dwight Howard Russell Westbrook Klay Thompson Third Team-  LaMarcus Aldridge Paul George Marc Gasol Chris Paul Jimmy Butler Eastern Conference Playoff Seeds Cleveland Toronto Atlanta Milwaukee Miami Chicago Washington Detroit If there was another clear cut contender, it would be difficult to put the Cavs as the one seed with all of their injuries.  Toronto has a tough early schedule but they addressed weaknesses.  Miami is good but too old to be healthy enough.  Chicago is going to be a poor defensive...
HoopsCritic Over / Under Panel 2015-16

HoopsCritic Over / Under Panel 2015-16

One more day, just one more day until the 2015-16 NBA season is upon us. With the dawn of the new season we lay to rest the off-season ‘what-if’s’, the arbitrary rankings, and the 10,000 interviews claiming they’ve never seen, “insert a player of your choosing here” in better shape stories. It would appear this our last chance to speculate without criticism, to forecast without fact, and to share without cynicism. What we have here is the perfect opportunity to lay out a few pre-season predictions. Vegas has released their win lines for the following season; the title odds, and more importantly their over/under win totals are available here. With that said, I’ve scoured the Twittisphere to assemble a hoop-head panel willing to give you their takes on the 15-16 franchise win totals. I’ve broken the voters choices into two columns, the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. So, without further adieu:   The Eastern Conference:   The Atlanta Hawks: Losing DeMarre Carroll hurts, in-fact it hurts more than the Atlanta faithful want to admit. Fluke is an ugly word, but nevertheless, fluke does come to mind when I look back at the Hawks 60 win season. Aside from losing their best perimeter defender, I do wonder about Atlanta’s, specifically Al Horford’s health this season. The big man missed the majority of the 2013-14 season playing in only 29 games, two years previously in 2011-12 he only got out on the court for a depressing 11 contests. The Hawks won’t sniff 50 wins if the two year plague once again holds Horford out of the line-up for an extended period of...
Season Preview: Phoenix Suns 2015-16

Season Preview: Phoenix Suns 2015-16

Last season the Suns saw their 5th season in a row without a playoff appearance. In Jeff Hornacek’s second season as head coach, the Suns made some interesting moves at the trade deadline trading both Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic. In total, they received the youngest and highest upside player in Brandon Knight but they appear to have given up a lot and angered some players along the way. The Suns are definitely in a rebuilding/retooling phase with the current front office and coaching staffs. What troubled me for the Suns was they went 1-10 in the last eleven games of the season. They only won 10 games since the All Star break. Additions: Tyson Chandler, Mirza Teletovic, Devin Booker Subtractions: Marcus Morris This is going to be a telling season for the Suns. It will let us know if the direction the front office is taking is going to work. They went out and got a rim protector in Tyson Chandler to help solidify the defensive problems, however Tyson is on the wrong side of his prime. They also broke up the twins which angered the more talented Markieff. We will need to keep an eye on that situation because he is not happy with the Suns front office for breaking their promise. Jeff Hornacek will have his hands full trying to get Bledsoe and Knight working as a tandem and keeping disgruntled players happy. Knowing the front office tree Ryan McDonough is from tells me they will be active at this trade deadline as well. Tyson Chandler A career 9pts-9reb veteran is exactly what this young roster...
Season Previews: Indiana Pacers 2015-16

Season Previews: Indiana Pacers 2015-16

The season was lost from the start with Paul George breaking his leg at US Basketball Camp. Take any team’s best player for an entire season (well 76 games) and they will struggle to compete. The Pacers missed the playoffs. The bulk of the offense came from George Hill and CJ Miles. They received down years from Roy Hibbert and David West. It was a season for assessment because the previous Conference Finals Pacers squad had reached their limit. Additions: Monta Ellis, Jordan Hill, Myles Turner, Joseph Young Subtractions: Roy Hibbert, David West, CJ Watson The front office decided to let David West and Roy Hibbert move on to other opportunities and brought in Monta Ellis and Jordan Hill, two guys who can get up and down the court. They also drafted bigman Myles Turner and Joseph Young. The Pacers are in a shift of style of play. Instead of the half court sets, which are all you can really do with Hibbert, they are going to push the pace, pun intended. Monta Ellis The offense with start with Monta Ellis (and Paul George). Last year they relied too heavily on George Hill and CJ Miles, this year they will have Monta Ellis, George, and George Hill. Monta’ ability to push the ball and create his own shot should help the spacing for the George’s. A career 19 points per game scorere, Monta has improved his shooting percentages the past couple of seasons with Dallas. It will take some time to adapt to new teammates but Monta has played for 3 teams in his career including joining his 3rd...
Season Preview: New York Knicks 2015-2016

Season Preview: New York Knicks 2015-2016

The New York Knicks are heading into the 2015-2016 season after what can only be generously called a “rebuilding” 17 win season. It’s hard to blame first-year head coach Derek Fisher as his team was lead in minutes by Shane Larkin (1865) , Jason Smith (1785) and Tim Hardaway (1681). Unfortunately for the Knicks, they didn’t just lose 65 games, but lost those games without the benefit of developing long-term players for the team with potential (like the Timberwolves). Key additions: Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Derrick Williams Key Losses: Sam Dalembert, Jason Smith, Tim HardawayKey additions: Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Derrick Williams Fortunately for the Knicks, the Zen Master is a pretty good basketball mind and proved it once again with one of the better summer of any team in the league. He started off extremely strong taking the biggest “boom/bust” player in the draft with an eye towards the future in Kristaps Porzingis. He was also able to fleece Atlanta by getting rid of Tim Hardaway for the talented pass-first point guard, Jerian Grant. Following the draft, he signed three quality players, (Afflalo, Lopez and O’Quinn) who will all be massive upgrades to their predecessors and help the Knicks get back to being competitive next season. Derrick Williams and Kevin Seraphin haven’t found their way in the NBA yet, but they are both good buy-low candidates and are the type of players a team devoid of talent like the Knicks need to take a chance on. Kyle O’Quinn O’Quinn was one of the premier signings of...
Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks 2015-16

Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks 2015-16

Last season was interesting to say the least for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. On the brink of a title team, they made the infamous trade for Rajon Rondo and everything went downhill from there. Everyone saw the name and the roster of the Mavericks and thought of partying with Bill Russell in June. Unfortunately as we all found out, the style of play didn’t work, especially with head coach Rick Carlisle and guard Rajon Rondo. It is almost seen as a wasted season. This was followed with one of the most interesting offseason stories in recent memory, DeAndre Jordan saga. (http://www.hoopscritic.com/episode-57-will-reeve-drops-in-deandre-jordan-drops-out/) Additions: Wes Matthews, Deron Williams, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee Subtractions: Rajon Rondo, Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis, Al-Farouq Aminu This year we are in with the new! Wes Matthews and Deron Williams are here to save the day! Sorry I got a little over excited there. Can’t forget about Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee are here to chip in too. On paper, it almost feels like it is a toss up with losing Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis. However, now I am leaning towards Wes and Deron, more on them later. Zaza Pachulia will be a nice bench piece, especially on the defensive end. We still have to wait to see who can make up for the loss of Tyson Chandler, although he didn’t have a great season last year. Let’s look at our key players. Deron Williams Will he have a bounce back season or will he revert to Deron Williams of the Nets? Last season Deron put up pedestrian scoring numbers for a point guard...
Season Preview: Denver Nuggets 2015-16

Season Preview: Denver Nuggets 2015-16

Firing a head coach and trading a lottery pick was not how the 2014-15 Denver Nuggets want to be remember but here we are.  Last year, they watched Brian Shaw fail to motive the roster after compiling 20 wins in their first 59 games.  Changes were made shortly after and the season was the first step in rebuilding.  Seeing as they would not be making the playoffs, the Nuggets traded Timofey Mosgov, Arron Afflalo, Alonzo Gee and JaVale Mcgee within 40 days of each other and started to officially overhaul the roster. They missed the playoffs for the second straight year and headed into the offseason looking for a new coach and a new star. Key Offseason Additions:  Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Radicevic, Kostas Papanikolaou Key Offseason Losses: Ty Lawson The Nuggets signed Mike Malone, who was unjustly fired from the Sacramento Kings last season.  They parted ways with Ty Lawson (who got into more off court troubles with the law), let Arron Afflalo walk and drafted a young point guard who has potential to be one of the better players in the league.  I would not be surprised to see the front office move Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler prior to the deadline to help free up cap space and acquire more draft picks as they look to rebuild from scratch. J.J Hickson It may be safe to say that Hickson’s better days are behind him.  He had a good season with Portland when he saw his playing time increase.  In Portland he had the highest ORtg of his career (113) and saw his Drtg go down to 106...
Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets 2015-16

Season Preview: Brooklyn Nets 2015-16

Last season followed a familiar pattern for the Nets since moving to Brooklyn.  Behind underperforming players, they stumbled to a 25-38 start.  They admirably went 13-6 to close the season at 38-44, and squeaked out a playoff berth, before giving the Atlanta Hawks a genuine mini scare over six games. However, after Cleveland dismantled Atlanta to reach the finals, showing an ability to compete with them looks pyrrhic in hindsight. The Nets now face a murky (at best) future without much talent, and without controlled draft picks to add talent.  Still: three primary positives emerged.  Brook Lopez was largely healthy after missing a near full second season with foot problems; the Nets added Thaddeus Young to create a frontline they can rely on going forward; and coach Lionel Hollins provided much needed stability on the bench. Key Offseason Additions: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Shane Larkin, Thomas Robinson, Wayne Ellington Key Offseason Losses: Deron Williams, Alan Anderson, Mirza Teletovic, Mason Plumlee For the first time since before Mikhail Prokhorov took over, the Nets’ plans this summer were about subtraction rather than addition.  Gone is Deron Williams, and with him, a disappointing, overpriced era of Nets basketball made mildly successful by people other than Williams. But as disappointing a punchline as Williams was, the Nets had the net rating differential of a 41 win team when he played, and a 23 win team when he sat last season.  And in letting go Anderson and Teletovic as well (and trading Plumlee, a known entity, for an unknown in Hollis-Jefferson), it is s not as though he is the only notable defection.  Lopez and Young...