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...
Season Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves 2015-16

Season Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves 2015-16

Typically you try to move on and forget about a 16 win season and that is exactly what we are going to do here.  The Timberwolves had a dismal offense (102 Ortg) and an even worse defense (112 Drtg) so you can imagine we just want to talk about the ROOKIES!   Andrew Wiggins was the clear cut winner for rookie of the year and it wasn’t really close.  He had a fantastic rookie season on a really bad team having to do most of the work against the opponent’s best players.  He is absolutely going to be a star in this league.  The only bright spot for this team last year was having Kevin Garnett around and getting Flip Saunders back to try to rekindle the past.  Garnett is staying around for another year to teach the kids how to be a professional basketball player on and off the court, something that gets overlooked by franchises sometimes. Key Offseason Additions:  Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones Key Offseason Losses:     ::crickets:: This season we add in another rookie lottery pick (Karl-Anthony Towns) to the list of young players for Garnett to monitor. Garnett won’t be alone as they will have Kevin Martin (32) and Andre Miller (39) to also help the 8 players who are 24 or younger on the roster.  Minnesota fans see the changing of the roster and the development that is going to take place over the next few seasons.  They won’t be expecting playoffs until Andrew Wiggins is a super star, which is still a season or two away. Shabazz Mohammad Shabazz enjoyed a nice coming out...
Season Preview: Detroit Pistons 2015-16

Season Preview: Detroit Pistons 2015-16

  Detroit has not won more than 40 games in the past 7 seasons.  Since the Flip Saunders and title contending roster, the Pistons have had 8 coaches since 2008-09 season.  Last offseason they went out and gave the Detroit Basketball realm to Stan Van Gundy.  He improved their team defense a few notches and won a couple more games than the past season.   They made a mid-season move to acquire Reggie Jackson, kicked Josh Smith out of the town and lost Brandon Jennings to an injury mid-way through the season.  There was a lot of moving pieces.  This season is truly the one to keep an eye on to see if this roster can become something.  They let Greg Monroe walk in the offseason and gave the keys to the painted area to 21 year old Andre Drummond. Key Offseason Additions: Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Stanley Johnson, Darrun Hilliard Key Offseason Losses: Greg Monroe It stills feels like the Pistons are not done with their roster.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they are involved at the trade deadline.  Outside of Reggie Jackson, Andre Drummond and rookie Stanley Johnson, I feel anyone is available.  This is year two of the Stan Van Gundy era.  Look for him to continue to try to improve the roster by developing his players and being involved in trades if the opportunity presents itself.  Detroit has a good core of young players and will be fun to watch but I wouldn’t expect to see many wins or even the playoffs. Brandon Jennings Last year Brandon was off to one of his best seasons.  Although his minutes...
Season Previews: Sacramento Kings 2015-16

Season Previews: Sacramento Kings 2015-16

Last year we saw the Kings change coaches twice for a total of three different head coaches.  It was a rocky season and an even rockier offseason with the rumors and animosity between the coaching staff, front office and the players.  It was another wasted DeMarcus Cousins year and another trip to the NBA Lottery for the Kings faithful.  The only good news from last season was the fact that they were able to come to an agreement with the city and keep the Kings in Sacramento. Key Offseason Additions: Willie Cauley-Stein, Rajon Rondo, Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli Key Offseason Losses: Derrick Williams, Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson This may be the most talented Kings roster since their playoff hay days with Mike Bibby and Chris Webber.  Talent will not be the issue for this Kings roster.  The question, especially for a roster with guys who have been known to disagree with coaches or styles of play, is how will the team operate?  Will these guys buy into the system by George Karl and will it work?  The Kings are taking a low risk, high reward with Rajon Rondo and pairing him with one of the league’s best big men as well as Rudy Gay, who happens to be a close friend of Rondo. If these three guys can play up to their potential and the system works, then this roster could fight for a final playoff spot in the dreaded Western Conference.  Their success will depend on each other and their ability to get along. Rajon Rondo The season for the Kings starts with Rajon Rondo, who has declined statistically and...
Season Preview: Charlotte Hornets 2015-16

Season Preview: Charlotte Hornets 2015-16

Another year and another lottery appearance for the Michael Jordan owned Charlotte Hornets. Last season this roster won 32 games with a laundry list of injuries (Kemba 20 games), Al Jefferson (17 games), and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (27 games). It wasn’t an exciting season as the team struggled to stay healthy and compete for a playoff seed. The Hornets have been building young talent for the past few years without anyone jumping to that next level, however this year they brought in some veterans as well as a lottery pick to help turn this into a winning team now. Additions: Nicolas Batum, Jeremy Lin, Spencer Hawes, Frank Kaminsky Subtractions: Lance Stephenson, Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh I think Nicolas Batum will bring an element this team hasn’t had since Gerald Wallace, the ability for a wing player to slow down the opposing teams best player; which usually is a wing player. The Hornets learned from their Lance Stephenson mistake and moved his contract as well as traded the longest tenured Hornet (at the time) Gerald Henderson. The addiotns of Jeremy Lin and Spencer Hawes will provide some depth that this team hasn’t seen in a while. Two capable starters a few seasons ago who are now on a reserved role. Kemba Walker Coming into the league as a rookie and his jump to his sophomore year had everyone buzzing about him (pun intended although he was a Bobcat). His next couple of seasons were stagnant from his initial growth. In fact, his shooting percent has slowly declined since his sophomore campaign. The silver lining is his determination and desire to improve...
Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers 2015-16

Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers 2015-16

Is there even a point to discussing the 76er’s 2014-15 season? They played a lot of young kids and lost a whole bunch of games but apparently it’s all part of a master plan (http://www.hoopscritic.com/sam-hinkie-the-smartest-man-in-the-nba/). Currently the plan calls for losing a lot of games, drafting every big man you can and hope Joel Embiid can ever play basketball. Anyways, the lost some veterans this offseason and acquired a top talent in Jahlil Okafor. Let’s jump into the changes. Additions: Jahlil Okafor, Pierre Jackson, Carl Landry, Kendall Marshall, Nik Stauskas, J.P. Tokoto, Scottie Wilbekin Subtractions: Luc Mbah a Moute, Jason Richardson, Glenn Robinson, Henry Sims, Ish Smith The 76ers are loaded with some talent waiting for one of these high lottery draft picks turns into the superstar they have been waiting for. It started with Nerlens Noel, who lost his rookie season to injury. The following season (last year), they selected Joel Embiid with the 3rd overall pick who also lost his rookie season and now his sophomore season. This summer’s draft they selected Jahlil Okafor third overall. With this collection of young talented big men, odds say one of them should turn into an all star caliber player. The front office has a lot of leeway with ownership, especially to withstand these many years being one of the worst teams in the league in a city that is craving a winning hoops team. Philadelphia fans may not be that patient, only time will tell. The city will back these young guys and root for them to develop. Expect another lottery bound season from this 76ers squad but more importantly...