Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia 76ers

Offseason Outlook: Philadelphia 76ers

In less than three weeks, the NBA playoffs will begin in earnest.  When they do, the focus, deservingly so, will be on the league’s playoff teams. However, up to five of those teams will be newcomers to the playoff scene who watched from the lottery last season.  And all playoff teams were once lottery teams themselves. So before we reach the playoffs, where do the league’s lottery teams stand, and what may they look to do this offseason to approach the playoff precipice?  Here’s a look at one of those lottery teams: the Sixers. Philadelphia 76ers Players Under Contract: Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Richaun Holmes, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry Free Agents: Robert Covington (Team Option), Jerami Grant (Team Option), Ish Smith, TJ McConnell (Team Option), Hollis Thompson (Team Option), Isaiah Canaan (Restricted), Kendall Marshall (Team Option), Sonny Weems (Team Option), Elton Brand Poised to potentially lose 70 games, the Sixers are not in a position to contend in 2016-2017.  For as important as the NBA Draft is, and as much as we hype high picks, the likelihood of drafting a top tier talent and immediately contending is slim.  Even the Timberwolves, with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in house, are not close to a playoff team. Still, in hiring Jerry Colangelo to, at most, replace Sam Hinkie, or, at a minimum, work in tandem with him, it appears clear that the Sixers have decided to undertake a strategy shift, and be more aggressive in the free agent market this summer.  The Hinkie led regime would not have dumped a young Christian Wood or second round picks for...
Offseason Outlook: New York Knicks

Offseason Outlook: New York Knicks

In less than three weeks, the NBA playoffs will begin in earnest.  When they do, the focus, deservingly so, will be on the league’s playoff teams. However, up to five of those teams will be newcomers to the playoff scene who watched from the lottery last season.  And all playoff teams were once lottery teams themselves. So before we reach the playoffs, where do the league’s lottery teams stand, and what may they look to do this offseason to approach the playoff precipice?  Here’s a look at three of those lottery teams: the Knicks, Sixers, and Nets. New York Knicks Players Under Contract: Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Jerian Grant, Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, Kyle O’Quinn Free Agents: Langston Galloway (Restricted) Arron Afflalo (Player Option), Lance Thomas, Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams (Player Option), Cleanthony Early (Restricted), Louis Amundson, Sasha Vujacic The Knicks face an enormous offseason.  They are currently in a better spot than many feel: a middling team near playoff level, and one that already has a very good lead player, a great young talent, as much as $35 million in cap space depending on player options, and the lure of a fun city to live in.  That is a good place to be, and Phil Jackson, while imperfect does deserve some credit for bringing the Knicks there. Alas, this summer represents a crossroads for the Knicks.  Carmelo will be 32, and Porzingis 21, when next season comes.  Both can form a nice foundation at the moment, but given the age gap, their talents likely will not intersect at a high level for more than 2-3 years.  That means...
A Deeper Look At The Bottom Half Of The Western Conference Playoff Picture

A Deeper Look At The Bottom Half Of The Western Conference Playoff Picture

The Western Conference playoff race is going to be a battle coming down to the wire. We currently have four teams separated by 2.5 games fighting for three playoff spots. The Blazers, Rockets, Mavericks and Jazz are all fighting for a chance to play at the end of April in hopes of upsetting any of the Western Conference powerhouses. Let’s take a look at the remaining schedules for these four teams and figure out who will be missing out a chance to host a couple of home playoff games against the Warriors, Spurs or Thunder. One thing to keep in mind is the Grizzlies are a depleted group but they are 7 games ahead of the Utah Jazz with 15 games left to go.  Not impossible for them to miss the playoffs but I would say it is unlikely.  If they do miss the playoffs we can print this column out and light it on fire. The above chart shows each of the teams future opponents for the remainder of the season.   Under the schedule it tallies how many home and away games as well as their remaining opponents winning percentage.  A couple of things to keep in mind are: The Spurs and Warriors may rest players here or there in April. The Jazz play the Spurs at home on April 5th and the Mavericks play the Spurs at home on April 13th, a game that could mean nothing for San Antonio and everything for Dallas. Pop is notorious for not traveling his stars for rest. Golden State has a home game against the Blazers on April 3rd, this...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 3.15.16

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 3.15.16

We have approximately 17 games left in the regular season. The Spurs need to win out to tie the famous best record for a single season at 72-10. The Warriors need to go 13-4 the rest of the way just to tie it. The seedings in the Western conference are practically set outside of the final few spots and the Thunder/Clippers battle for third. The Eastern Conference number one seed is in a tight two game race and there are 5 games separating the 3rd seed with the 8th seed in the East. Basically, we are down to the final stretch for teams to start making their playoff push. Three Positive Plays The Golden State Warriors I get it, they are in this column every time I get around to publishing one but we are witnessing history. Forget the fact that the Warriors at 18-0 against the top 5 teams in both the Eastern and Western conference. Let’s ignore the ankle sprain that Iguodala had the other night. Let’s forget that they are on pace to have the greatest regular season in NBA history. Let’s look at how the old guard understands the history that is taking place in Oakland. Here is a quote from Iverson on Curry: “It’s a whole different monster, as far as his handle and the way he shoots? Come on. You know you ain’t never seen nothing like this.” His peers within the league currently can not stop gushing from Kobe to Lebron, everyone is just witnessing history, something that has never been seen before. And because of this, they will keep making this...