Seven Thoughts On The 2016-17 NBA Season

Seven Thoughts On The 2016-17 NBA Season

With a new season come new stories. This season will be no different. In fact, it may actually be one of the most storied seasons in NBA history. The best got better and the rest improved. The talent that has come out of the NBA draft the past few seasons has injected new life into the NBA just as the old guard (Kobe, Duncan, Kevin Garnett) moves on. I dive into a few stories, predictions, and other mischief that I believe will take place for the upcoming season. Cleveland vs Golden State: Round Three This will be the first time in NBA history that the same two teams have faced off in the NBA Finals. It’s hard to see anyone beating the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference as they shouldn’t have a real playoff series until the second round. Cleveland’s biggest competition comes from the Raptors or the Celtics, both of which are one all star away from being a contender. Until one of those teams makes a splash with a trade, the Cavaliers will be the clear favorite in the East. The Golden State Warriors will have a harder road but that road became easier with the addition of Kevin Durant. The Spurs and Clippers will compete and an injury could change the landscape of the playoffs. However, as it sits, the Warriors are still the clear favorite. We will see a third round against the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The 76ers will Trade No one outside of the 76ers front office believes they can play an entire season with Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and...
Schedule Analysis For Every NBA Team Up Until December 1st

Schedule Analysis For Every NBA Team Up Until December 1st

How much does the start of the season matter? There are examples like last season, in which the Rockets and Trail Blazers (both 7-11 last December 1st) eventually turn it around and make the Playoffs. Conversely, the Chicago Bulls started out 10-5 before collapsing and missing the playoffs. In general, each team will play 16-20 games from the start of the season up until December 1st with this year’s schedule. I thought it would be interesting to examine the schedule of each team from the start of the season up to December 1st and see how challenging or soft their assorted schedules are. Upon looking at all of these schedules, I came up with a best case and a worst case scenario in terms of record for each team (alphabetically) for when we hit December 1st. As the season progresses, I’ll do this for every quarter of the season. Opening disclaimer: The schedule will revert back near the mean for every team. So the teams with tougher schedules to open the season will see it ease up as the season moves on, and vice versa. However, for teams shuffling new players, the road games, strength of opponents and back-to-backs can certainly can raise the degree of difficulty. For example, Houston plays 7 of 8 to open the season on the road. Chicago has a stretch of 8 of 10 on the road in November. Preseason darlings Utah play 12 road games and 5 back-to-backs up until December 1st. While every team can turn their season around, the pressure is turned up with a slow start. Atlanta Hawks Atlanta has...
Worst 10 Contracts of the 2016 Off Season

Worst 10 Contracts of the 2016 Off Season

  With an unprecedented salary cap spike this past summer, it was absolutely inevitable that some teams signed players to some very bad contracts.  By now, the buyer’s remorse has started to set in.  Here are the 10 worst. 10)  Mike Conley- Memphis Grizzlies,  5 years $152.6 million I can understand the Grizzlies desire to keep their core three players together to attempt to keep this run going, however, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.   The Grizzlies just signed a 29 year old point guard who’s declining health has cost them two potential playoff runs in the la t two years to a record setting contract.  Once they made the decision not to move him at the trade deadline, they were stuck.  The Grizzlies are postponing a very necessary and painful rebuild while any chance they had at a title slips away.  Even if Conley does stay healthy, a contract this size will not be easy to move. 9)  Hassan Whiteside- Miami Heat,  4 years $98.4 million This is one of those contracts that makes one wonder of the great Pat Riley is starting to lose some zip on his fastball.  Whiteside was on a league minimum deal last season and really struggled with showing up to practice on time.  His attitude quite frequently leaves a lit to be desired. He is a very good rim protector and rebounder, but can’t defend the post and has a limited offensive game.  If the Heat were going to have a competitive team, there was a chance Whiteside would walk the straight and narrow.  However, the Heat replaced Dwyane Wade, Joe...
D’Angelo Russell’s Reign In Hollywood Begins Now

D’Angelo Russell’s Reign In Hollywood Begins Now

In a close race with New York City, you won’t find a more pressure-filled city to play professional sports in than Los Angeles. The massive media and never ending spotlight can quickly take a toll on a young rookie and cripple him for the rest of his career. The Los Angeles Lakers have the most historic franchise in the world of professional sports, so there’s even more pressure to take into mind. D’Angelo Russell is currently the starting point guard for the Lakers. Just one season after being drafted with the no. 2 overall selection, the organization’s success rests on his shoulders for both now, and the distant future. Russell didn’t have the rookie season that many expected on or off the court. Former head coach Byron Scott was always very skeptical of the 19-year-old’s maturity and work ethic in the weeks leading up to the regular season debut. Throughout the first month of the season, Russell had his rough patches during games, but what rookie doesn’t? Scott would yank him quickly whenever a mistake was made, so he was constantly looking over his shoulder whenever he made a bad play. When a player has that type of weight on his conscience throughout the course of a game, it can severely impact his confidence and cripple him from unleashing his true potential. If Scott’s constant harsh coaching didn’t apply enough pressure, Kobe Bryant announced that it would be his last season just 16 games in. The young Lakers’ core of Russell, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson then had to partake in the farewell tour for Bryant. Every night, a...
Best 10 Contracts of the 2016 Off Season

Best 10 Contracts of the 2016 Off Season

With a new season on the horizon after a historical NBA summer in terms of the amount of money committed to contracts, it’s time to look at who spent their riches wisely and who squandered a great opportunity. This is part one of a two part series. In this portion, I’ll address the 10 best contracts signed this past summer in classic David Letterman style. 10) Jeff Green- Orlando Magic, 1 year $15 million This is a great example of how teams should be using excess cap space. Is Green worth $15 million a year, even in this marketplace? He’s probably not. However, he can be an asset on a playoff team, which is Orlando’s goal this season. If the Magic see at the trade deadline that they aren’t in the playoff mix and Green is playing decent, this contract is attractive for a playoff team to take a flyer on him. Orlando wouldn’t net major asset for him, but they’d get something of value. This is a smart way to leverage cap space into help for the future, if the “now” plan goes up in smoke. 9) Dwight Howard- Atlanta Hawks, 3 years $70.5 million Howard’s reputation has become so bad, that its almost become a caricature of who he is on the court. After forcing his way out of Orlando, he’s been a a part of locker room and chemistry issues in Los Angeles and Houston. Some of it has been his doing and some of it hasn’t, but his reputation has taken the brunt of it all. None of that changes the fact that he’s still a...
Do You Believe In Magic: Orlando As A 2017 Playoff Team

Do You Believe In Magic: Orlando As A 2017 Playoff Team

Rebuilding in the NBA is exceedingly difficult. Rob Hennigan was in Oklahoma City for four years, a team that had the best possible scenario of any rebuilding team in recent memory. Oklahoma City drafted Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden and put them in place around Kevin Durant as the Thunder appeared to have the start of a Dynasty. While we know how things in Oklahoma City played out and know in retrospect that Oklahoma City’s talent haul was almost once in generation, Hennigan had some excellent training in trying to build a team. Within a year of being named General Manager of the Orlando Magic on June 21st, 2012, Hennigan moved Dwight Howard and JJ Redick and added Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn and Victor Oladipo. He also hired Jacque Vaughn, a former player who came from the Spurs coaching tree. It appeared to be an excellent kick-start to a thorough rebuilding task. At the end of the 2013-2014 season, Hennigan swapped Arron Afflalo for Evan Fournier and then selected Aaron Gordon and Dario Saric. Saric was quickly moved to the 76ers in exchange of Elfrid Payton. Going into the 2014-2015 NBA season, Orlando had a legitimate core and tried to surround some young talent with veteran players. The wins did not follow. Orlando went 23-59, Vaughn was fired and the Magic had to regroup. Orlando had talent in place, but as mentioned on the “NBA Open Court Coaches Edition”, it’s especially hard to coach a young team when there isn’t one player who separates himself as the best player. Tobias Harris wasn’t that...
Will there be a shake-up with the MVP award this season?

Will there be a shake-up with the MVP award this season?

We are in early October and the sports world is in full flux! MLB is beginning their playoff action, NFL is getting into the swing of things heading into week 5, and the NBA preseason is well underway. For some of us, it’s been a long summer, while others (Cavaliers fans) would feel fine if the offseason lasted a few more months so they could bask in their championship glory for just a bit longer. The weeks leading up to the NBA regular season tip-off is always fun. The typical preseason overreactions are well and alive, but it’s also the time of year where folks start giving their predictions for things such as conference champions, award winners, and ultimately, who will take home the Larry O’Brien trophy once June rolls around. For the sake of this article, there is no better debate to spark than who will be the league’s MVP for the upcoming season. It seems like for the past 6-7 years, two names have always been at the top of the predictions list–LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Obviously the past two season, Stephen Curry has won the award back-to-back, so his name has been included in the recent years. But for 2016-17, trying to realistically predict who will win MVP is becoming a bit more of a challenge. So many things in the league have changed over the past two season, the three usual candidates may all not be the favorites simply because of their respective team’s situation. James is coming off arguably the most memorable season of his historical 13-year career after he led his hometown...