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2016-17 NBA Preview: Guiding You Through Expectations For All 30 Teams

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The NBA season is right around the corner and by that I mean just two days away. After an epic history making end to the Finals last year which capped off a season of historic accomplishments, we can’t wait to see what excitement a new season will bring. Now that basketball is almost upon us fans everywhere can rejoice in the new-look Warriors that seem destined to meet the Cavaliers in the Finals for an unprecedented third-straight year. Although with a new year, comes new hope for every NBA team and their fans. So here is a quick look at all 30 NBA teams going into the season and a realistic level of postseason hope per franchise.   

 

Eastern Conference

cavs

 

Cleveland Cavaliers:

The Cavaliers are the reigning champions and although they didn’t make any major moves in the offseason they are still the overwhelming favorite to repeat as champs because of one man, LeBron James. This is the year we will see Kyrie Irving take charge  in the regular season after elevating his stature with the game-winning three-pointer in the Finals and being an instrumental part of Team USA’s Olympic gold medal over the summer. Irving is an early MVP candidate while LeBron James will be rested by head coach Tyronn Lue.

Additions- Mike Dunleavy, Chris Andersen, Markel Brown, Kay Felder, DeAndre Liggins, Toney Douglas, Cory Jefferson, John Holland, Jonathan Holmes

Subtractions-  Matthew Dellavedova, Timofey Mozgov, Sasha Kaun

Title Hope- 10

 

celtics

 

Boston Celtics:

The Celtics’ biggest move this offseason was signing veteran Center Al Horford. Horford, although not very active in the post, is a big upgrade for Boston as he will greatly improve their defense and is highly capable on offense. He won’t punish teams down low but can help stretch the floor with his ability to hit outside shots. Put him in the pick and roll and he’s money on 15-18 footers. Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Smart will lead the way in the backcourt while Jae Crowder will give them great energy to go along increasing production from the three-point line (33.6%). The Celtics have all the pieces to be a great defensive team and have enough offensive firepower to match against the top teams in the league and may be the team with the best shot at dethroning the Cavaliers in the east.

Additions- Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Gerald Green, Demetrius Jackson, Ben Bentil, Marcus Georges-Hunt, Jalen Jones, Damion Lee

Subtractions-  Jared Sullinger, Evan Turner

Title Hope- 8

 

 

Atlanta Hawks:

The Atlanta Hawks lost major players in their rotation last season and undoubtedly must rediscover their identity to replace that production. They will be transitioning from Al Horford to Dwight Howard in the post who does not have the ability to stretch the floor and will look for touches down low to contribute. However, Howard’s style of play differs greatly from Mike Budenholzer’s up tempo offense which requires a lot of movement and swinging the ball. Atlanta would be wise to work Howard into the offense if they want production out of him, otherwise, the Hawks are putting a lot of stock in Dennis Schroder’s ability to improve as a point guard while also being a threat to score.

Additions-  Dwight Howard, Jarrett Jack, Taurean Prince, DeAndre’ Bembry, Malcolm Delaney, Matt Costello, Will Bynum, Ryan Kelly, Josh Magette

Subtractions- Al Horford, Kirk Hinrich, Lamar Patterson, Jeff Teague

Title Hope-  6

 

knicks

 

New York Knicks: 

Carmelo Anthony and the new-look Knicks added Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to their roster this offseason and although both are injury-riddled veterans not nearly as productive as they once were, both still have enough left in the tank to make help make the Knicks better than they were last season. Kristaps Porzingis is the Knicks’ lone bright spot while they rest of the team seems to be a wait and see projectincluding Anthony who has seen his production and impact on the game decline in the past several seasons. Courtney Lee is another solid veteran they added to the mix and should bring stability to the guard position if Rose is unavailable at times this season. If the team can remain healthy they have a ceiling of about 50 games, but if they are hit with the injury bug they may max out at around 40, an eight-game increase from last year.

Additions- Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, Justin Holiday,Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marshall Plumlee, Maurice Ndour, J.P. Tokoto, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle

SubtractionsLangston Galloway, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Kevin Seraphin,Cleanthony Early, Tony Wroten, Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant

Title Hope-  5

 

raptors

 

Toronto Raptors:

The Toronto Raptors pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers to six games in the eastern conference finals last and remain one of the reigning champs’ biggest threats in the east thanks to the resigning of DeMar DeRozan. However, the team took a blow with the loss of rim protector Bismack Biyombo, who helped Toronto give Cleveland a run for its money in the conference finals with his interior defense. In order for the Raptors to have another good playoff run Kyle Lowry and DeRozan will have to bring their A-game in the postseason. Patrick Peterson and newcomer Jared Sullinger should help spread the floor and give the team some additional offense.

Additions- Jared Sullinger, Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanFleet, Jarrod Uthoff, Drew Crawford, Brady Heslip, Yanick Moreira, E.J. Singler

Subtractions- Bismack Biyombo, Luis Scola, James Johnson, Jason Thompson

Title Hope- 6

 

wizards

 

Washington Wizards:

The Washington Wizards have been plagued with inconsistency for years and with a new head coach this season, the team will be getting used to a new system that will rely heavily on its star guards for stability. The problem with that is the team’s guards are constantly battling injuries and have a hard time staying on the floor together. Bradley Beal, in particular, missed 27 games last year leaving John Wall and the Wizards short an offensive juggernaut. If Beal can remain healthy and play side-by-side with Wall all season, the team will have enough star power and good coaching from Scott Brooks to challenge every team in the east.

AdditionsIan Mahinmi, Trey Burke, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Smith, Danuel House, Sheldon McClellan, Casper Ware

Subtractions- Ramon Sessions, Jared Dudley, Garrett Temple, Nenê, Drew Gooden, J.J.Hickson, Alan Anderson

Title Hope-  4

 

bucks

 

Milwaukee Bucks:

After the All-Star break, Giannis Antetokounmpo took off on the league averaging 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists after being moved to point guard by head coach Jason Kidd. The Greek freak and Jabari Parker are the team’s two bright spots with Antetokounmpo currently as the franchise player. Neither of the young stars can shoot the three, a necessity in today’s league, but after returning from an ACL injury, Parker has developed a more consistent stroke from outside. The Bucks are unlikely to make the playoffs, even in the east, but the Greek freak will make for some must-see basketball.

Additions- Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova, Michael Beasley, Jason Terry, Malcolm Brogdon, Orlando Johnson, Thon Maker, J.J. O’Brien, Jaleel Roberts

Subtractions- O.J. Mayo, Greivis Vasquez, Steve Novak, Jerryd Bayless, Johnny O’Bryant, Damien Inglis

Title Hope- 3

 

heat

Miami Heat:

And then there was one. Pat Riley and the Miami Heat lost Dwyane Wade to the Bulls in the offseason, then lost Chris Bosh to health risks (blood clots) and now Hassan Whiteside will be the team’s biggest star and threat heading into this season. With the big three that once was completely blown up, the Heat would be lucky to generate as many wins as it did last year with Wade still leading the troops. Whiteside is an undeniable force on defense and a monster on the boards but he must continue to improve offensively if he can be a true leader of this team and keep the heat competitive.

Additions- Dion Waiters, Derrick Williams, Wayne Ellington, Willie Reed, James Johnson, Luke Babbitt, Rodney McGruder

Subtractions- Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Gerald Green, Amar’e Stoudemire, Dorell Wright

Title Hope- 3

 

pacers

Indiana Pacers:

Paul George just got a handful of new players to help him propel the Pacers out of the east. The additions of Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson will give Indiana extra offense they can count on every game. However, the Pacers traded some defensive prowess for their offensive gains as Teague and Jefferson both lack the defensive resume of George Hill and Ian Mahinmi who they replaced. P. George is a superstar in the league and in the east he can single-handedly will the Pacers to a .500 recordmuch like last year. It’s still unknown if their additions will produce enough on offense to make up for what they lack on defense but they should be an improved team overall based on added star power.

Additions- Aaron Brooks, Jeremy Evans, Al Jefferson, Georges Niang, Alex Poythress, Kevin Seraphin, Julyan Stone, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, Nick Zeisloft

Subtractions- George Hill, Jordan Hill, Solomon Hill, Ty Lawson, Ian Mahinmi, Shayne Whittington

Title Hope- 7

 

pistons_preview

Detroit Pistons:

The Pistons were swept out of the playoffs last year but was there really anything they could do about it facing LeBron James and the Cavaliers. They have a good head coach and improved as the year went on but unfortunately for Detroit, the offseason didn’t bring any major upgrades to their roster. On the plus side their nucleus is young and talented with plenty of room to grow, however, point guard Reggie Jackson will be out at the start of the season with tendinitis in the knee and Detroit must rely on backup PG Ish Smith.

Additions- Ish Smith, Jon Leuer, Boban Marjanovic, Ray McCallum, Henry Ellenson, Michael Gbinije, Nikola Jovanovich, Trey Freeman

Subtractions- Anthony Tolliver, Spencer Dinwiddie, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks

Title Hope- 5

 

bulls

 

Chicago Bulls:

Two things are true about the Chicago Bulls right now. They made headlines in the offseason acquiring Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo to accompany Jimmy Butler and most people think this grouping will end in disaster. Wade and Rondo are aging vets, despite Wade still being an effective guard in the league and Butler is a young star that has greatly improved over the last couple of seasons. The problem is all three players have a tendency to dribble a lot in isolation causing the ball to stick when it should move. Whether or not the egos and personalities will get along remains to be seen. The last time the three were balling individually they could all hold their own and produce for their team so there is definitely the potential for the experiment to yield results. The Bulls will also have the help of forward Nikola Mirotic who can space the floor, hit open shots and has passing ability that will greatly benefit Chicago.

Additions- Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Robin Lopez, Isaiah Canaan, Denzel Valentine,Jerian Grant, Spencer Dinwiddie, Paul Zipser, J.J. Avila, Thomas Walkup, D. Smith-Rivera

Subtractions- Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Aaron Brooks, E’Twaun Moore, Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday, Jose Calderon, Mike Dunleavy, Cameron Bairstow

Title Hope- 6

 

hornets

 

Charlotte Hornets:

The Hornets re-signed Nicolas Batum to a five-year $120 million deal and retained power forward Marvin Williams with a four-year deal  to help star guard Kemba Walker. However, Charlotte gave up so much to keep them they may actually regress after an improved season last year. They will miss the production veteran guards Jeremy Lin and Courtney Lee gave them as well as the offensive ability of Al Jefferson. Because of their roster losses, even with Williams’ increased productivity, they will be a sub 50-win team.

Additions- Ramon Sessions, Roy Hibbert, Marco Belinelli, Brian Roberts, Christian Wood, Mike Tobey, Rasheed Sulaimon, Andrew Andrews, Treveon Graham, Perry Ellis

Subtractions- Troy Daniels, Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee, Al Jefferson, Tyler Hansbrough, Jorge Gutierrez

Title Hope- 5

 

joel-embiid

 

Philadelphia 76ers:

The 76ers won the lottery, again, but their no. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons will be out for the start of the season due to a foot injury suffered in the preseason. The bright spot for Philadelphia is that Joel Embiid, the 2014 no.3 overall pick is finally healthy and ready to play. So far in preseason Embiid has played well, but he will play limited minutes during the regular season, not enough for him to drastically alter the 76ers season. Simmons will play well once he is healthy already proving to be an elite passer in summer league. Jahlil Okafor is currently there most reliable and productive player but as a big man, he needs better guards to accompany him. The 76ers have a handful of talent, but none that are ready to change the fate of the franchise.

Additions- Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, Timothe Luwawu, Shawn Long, James Webb III, Cat Barber, Elton Brand, Brandon Paul, Ben Simmons

Subtractions- Ish Smith, Isaiah Canaan, Christian Wood

Title Hope-  

 

nets

 

Brooklyn Nets:

The Nets signed Jeremy Lin, and that’s about it. Their other attempts at free agent signings were matched by their respective teams who won the bidding wars. That leaves the Nets as one of the worst teams in the league with the Lakers even being able to nab a couple of veterans in the offseason. The Nets don’t control any of their draft picks until 2019 so what makes matters worse is being bad won’t pay off for them in the Summer. Brooklyn must accept their fate for a long time and unlike the 76ers can’t acquire any young talent to develop in that time.

AdditionsJeremy Lin, Trevor Booker, Luis Scola, Justin Hamilton, Randy Foye, Greivis Vasquez, Caris LeVert, Anthony Bennett, Joe Harris, Chase Budinger, Isaiah Whitehead, Jorge Gutierrez, Beau Beech, Egidijus Mockevicius, Yogi Ferrell

Subtractions- Jarrett Jack, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, Markel Brown, Donald Sloan, Thomas Robinson, Willie Reed, Henry Sims, Thaddeus Young

Title Hope- 

 

magic

 

Orlando Magic:

With the additions of Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo Orlando’s greatest strength will be on the defensive end, especially with new head coach Frank Vogel leading the way. The offensive end is really where they will struggle without many players who can shoot the ball well. Vogel will also have to deal with rotation problems and minute conflicts between players. To accommodate for loaded front court players, young Guys like Aaron Gordon will suffer the most by having to alter their game to a new position. This will be another long year for the Magic, but at least Vogel will make them competitive defensively.

Additions- Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, D.J. Augustin, Jodie Meeks, C.J. Wilcox, Stephen Zimmerman, Branden Dawson, Damjan Rudez, Nick Johnson, Cliff Alexander, Arinze Onuaku, Kevin Murphy

Subtractions- Victor Oladipo, Dewayne Dedmon, Brandon Jennings, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Smith, Devyn Marble, Shabazz Napier, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis

Title Hope- 

 

Western Conference:

warriors

 

Golden State Warriors:

The Warriors made the biggest splash of the offseason signing free agent Kevin Durant to add to their potent death lineup. Although many organizations were hoping there would be chemistry issues with between KD, Steph, Klay and Draymond, so far the group fits seamlessly together and KD appears to be enjoying every minute of it. It’s safe to say the new version of the Warriors won’t have a hard time scoring as they’re already on pace to score 120 points a game. Their only issues this year will come on the defensive end as they gave up a lot of rim protection and depth off their bench to make room for KD. However, if preseason is any indicator of what the regular season will look like, they have a new bench just as capable of building onto leads by bringing back anchors Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston to play alongside Ian Clark and rookie Patrick McCaw.  The Warriors will win as many games as it takes to get the top seed and home-court advantage in the playoffs making them our second overwhelming favorite to win the title.

Additions-  Kevin Durant, Zaza Pachulia, David West, Patrick McCaw, Damian Jones, JaVale McGee, Elliot Williams, Phil Pressey, Cameron Jones

SubtractionsHarrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Brandon Rush

Title Hope- 10

 

spurs

 

San Antonio Spurs:

Never count out old faithful. Although the Spurs lost their anchor on defense to retirement they retain the rest of their nucleus being lead by arguably the best two-way player in the league in Kawhi Leonard. They also added veteran big man Pau Gasol, a nice pickup to replace Tim Duncan. Gasol is a proven champion with a high basketball IQ that can score at an effective rate for his age with great passing ability. LaMarcus Aldridge has been brought up in trade rumors but as of now remains the second pillar to a more than formidable front court. The Spurs will transition just fine post-Duncan. They have a good  balance of veteran leadership and their best player is still in his prime.

Additions-  Pau Gasol, David Lee, Dejounte Murray, Dewayne Dedmon, Joel Anthony, Davis Bertans, Bryn Forbes, Ryan Arcidiacono, Patricio Garino, Nicolas Laprovittola

Subtractions-  Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, David West, Matt Bonner, Kevin Martin, Andre Miller, Boban Marjanovic

Title Hope- 10

 

twolves

 

Minnesota Timberwolves:

The Timberwolves are an exciting young and talented team being led by second-year sensation Karl Anthony-Towns. Andrew Wiggins and newest draftee Kris Dunn are two other reasons the hype is real in Minnesota. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has a real crop of high-potential players that are versatile on offense and defense and in the next year or two should be a true contender. Of course, the Twolves play in the western conference so despite being a team that everyone in the league can see is on the rise, they have a treacherous road ahead of them before making it into the playoffs.

Additions- Kris Dunn, Jordan Hill, Cole Aldrich, Brandon Rush, John Lucas III, Toure’ Murray, Rasual Butler

Subtractions- Tayshaun Prince, Damjan Ruduez, Greg Smith

Title Hope- 6

 

rockets

 

Houston Rockets:

The Rockets re-signed James Harden and retaining the perennial MVP was their biggest move this offseason. The offensive genius also will not be the only one getting buckets in Houston as the Rockets made sure most of their offseason additions can shoot the ball well. That means once again their Achilles heel will be defense as they will struggle to keep their opponents from scoring. With Mike D’Antoni as the head coach, it’s clear the organization’s top priority is to remain one of the best offensive teams in the league perhaps to compete with the likes of Golden State. However, without anyone formidable on D to stop the Warriors from splashing, they too will be watching most of the postseason from home, that is if they can nab the final spot.

Additions- Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Tyler Ennis, Nene, Pablo Prigioni, P.J. Hairston, Bobby Brown, Gary Payton II, Kyle Wiltjer, Isaiah Taylor

Subtractions- Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones, Jason Terry, Andrew Goudelock

Title Hope- 5  

 

trail-blazers

 

Portland Trail Blazers:

The team led by Damian Lillard and the chip on his shoulder will remain competitive with one of the better offenses in the NBA but will still be stifled by an average or potentially below average defense. Portland did well to retain Allan Crabbe and acquire Evan Turner from Boston to get offensive production outside of Lillard and CJ McCollum. Al‑Farouq Aminu is capable on defense but still does not make the team elite on that end of the floor. Unless the Blazers commit to playing better defense as a team, don’t expect Lillard to take Portland much farther than they went last year.

AdditionsEvan Turner, Festus Ezeli, Shabazz Napier, Jake Layman, Greg Stiemsma, Grant Jerrett, Tim Quarterman

Subtractions- Gerald Henderson, Chris Kaman, Brian Roberts

Hope Level- 7

 

NBA: Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

 

Denver Nuggets:  

This team is getting better as is the roster. But the problem the Nuggets will have like most perennial playoff teams is that they play in the crowded western conference where pretty good and getting better just isn’t good enough to earn you a spot in the postseason. Emmanuel Mudiay’s  development may be their best chance at a playoff berth especially if he continues to raise his three-point shooting percentage. However, Barring a most improved player of the year award which would require an epic leap in productivity and influence, Denver is destined to miss the postseason for yet another year.

Additions- Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez, Malik Beasley, Nate Wolters, D.J. Kennedy, Robbie Hummel, Jarnell Stokes

Subtractions- D.J. Augustin, Joffrey Lauvergne

Title Hope- 4

 

suns

 

Phoenix Suns:

The Suns are yet another franchise in rebuilding mode. Their one bright spot, Devin Booker, who put the league on notice after making a great case for rookie of the year in the second half of the season. Suns also have guard Eric Bledsoe to play alongside Booker which makes for an apt backcourt. Outside of their guards, the Suns don’t have much else to build on, but with Booker being only 19 years old with a seemingly unlimited ceiling as of now, they’re better off focusing on his development and future draftees to improve their frontcourt.

Additions-  Jared Dudley, Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, Tyler Ulis, Leandro Barbosa, Derrick Jones

Subtractions- Mirza Teletovic, Ronnie Price, Jon Leuer, Chase Budinger

Title Hope- 

 

grizzlies

 

Memphis Grizzlies:

The Grizzlies kept their guys Mike Connelly and Marc Gasol and have Zach Randolph coming off the bench. No matter who Memphis lost, as long as these three players are the anchors of the team you can be sure they will make it into the playoffs. This year Randolph will be coming off the bench in a sixth man role. Adding Chandler Parsons gives them the added star power to be better than most teams and an improvement over last year, but their rookie head coach remains a big question mark.

Additions-  Chandler Parsons, Wade Baldwin, James Ennis, Troy Daniels, Deyonta Davis, Tony Wroten, D.J. Stephens, Wayne Selden Jr., Troy Williams, Chris Crawford, Vince Hunter

Subtractions- Lance Stephenson, Chris Andersen, Matt Barnes, P.J. Hairston, Jordan Farmar, Bryce Cotton, Xavier Munford

Title Hope- 6

 

thunder

 

Oklahoma City Thunder:

Russell Westbrook is now the undisputed leader of the Thunder and will have no problem leading the way for his team this season. Most people expect Westbrook to explode offensively on a night in and night out basis which will make for a spectacle all year. However, in order for Westbrook to truly be in the MVP conversation Oklahoma City has to win a lot of games. The Thunder’s biggest move this offseason was acquiring Victor Oladipo from the Magic, a talented guard to play alongside Westbrook. As for down low, the Thunder also lost big man Serge Ibaka and will rely heavily on center Steven Adams. Adams has improved every year and is headed for a breakout season as the Thunder will ask him to bring more to the table than just his energy and relentlessness on the boards. He is capable of scoring and at 23 years old heading into his fourth year in the NBA, Adams has the potential to be one of the most dominating centers in the game. The Thunder will be competitive and entertaining and should nab a playoff spot by sheer will of Westbrook, however, they won’t have enough to work with in the postseason to make any real playoff push.

Additions- Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, Ronnie Price, Joffrey Lauvergne, Chris Wright, Kaleb Tarczewski, Alex Caruso, Alex Abrines

Subtractions- Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Dion Waiters, Randy Foye, Nazr Mohammed

Title Hope- 6

 

jazz

 

Utah Jazz:

The Jazz have an undeniable young core with Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert who have gotten better every year to go along with some great veteran pickups in the offseason. Utah is one team that plays both ends of the floor at a slow pace effectively despite the rest of the league pushing an uptempo offense. The Jazz seem to have the perfect mix of a young backcourt, savvy veterans in the frontcourt and capable role players who can stretch the floor and shoot. You can’t call Utah a sleeper team because they are just one individual leap from star to all-star away from making themselves true contenders in the brutal western conference. For now, they are the team that should be ousted in the first round of the playoffs but not without giving their opponents a run for their money.

Additions- George Hill, Joe Johnson, Boris Diaw, Joel Bolomboy, Henry Sims

Subtractions- Trey Burke, Trevor Booker

Hope Level-  6

 

clippers

 

Los Angeles Clippers:

The Clippers have somehow managed to have to most promise and some of the highest expectations at the start of every season just to fall well short of them in the playoffs. Despite an All-NBA roster of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan the Clippers still have not managed to make it out of the second round. This year may be the last of the Clippers as we know it if their playoff performances fall short once again. They still have the star-studded roster that gave the city of L.A. a team to root for during the Lakers’ fall from grace, but with the consistency of the Spurs, the emergence of the Warriors as the western conference’s most elite team, and the competitiveness of team’s like the Blazers, the sky-high ceiling of lob city may have hit a wall.

Additions-  Raymond Felton, Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, Alan Anderson, Xavier Munford, Dorell Wright, Diamond Stone, Brice Johnson

SubtractionsJeff Green, Cole Aldrich, Jeff Ayres, Pablo Prigioni, Branden Dawson, C.J. Wilcox

Title Hope- 7

 

kings

 

Sacramento Kings:

Dave Joerger as a new head coach for the Kings was a good move and a much-needed change for their franchise player DeMarcus Cousins. Joerger will inevitably pair Willie Cauley-Stein with Cousins much like the bigs he had in Memphis even though neither of them can stretch the floor as an outside threat. Rudy Gay can accomplish this but the more minutes he plays, the less Joerger can develop the younger talent on the Kings. As for the team’s additions, Ty Lawson and Jordan Farmar are two solid veteran guards who more than make up for a Rajon Rondo who plays iso ball too much for a point guard. However, neither of them are elite guards in a league being dominated by them right now.

Additions- Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson, Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple, Anthony Tolliver, Malachi Richardson, Geogios Papagiannis, Jordan Farmar, Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Cousins, Lamar Patterson

Subtractions- Marco Belinelli, Rajon Rondo, Caron Butler, Seth Curry, Quincy Acy, Duje Dukan, James Anderson, Eric Moreland

Title Hope- 3

 

lakers

 

Los Angeles Lakers:

After making some questionable calls in the offseason with the acquisitions of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, it’s safe to say the Lakers biggest splash of the offseason was getting Luke Walton to leave his assistant coach job with the Warriors for the head coaching gig in L.A. The Lakers also nabbed their second-straight no. 2 overall pick in Brandon Ingram. Ingram, who the Lakers have been bringing along slowly has the length, a strong defensive reputation, and the shooting ability to be a star in this league. At just 19 years old, however, the kid is far away from making any lasting impact on the team. Currently the Lakers best and most improved player is sophomore point guard D’Angelo Russell who has received high praise from Walton on his offensive prowess. Russell also has a backcourt mate in Jordan Clarkson who has been the Lakers most consistent player over the last three seasons which isn’t saying much. If Russell has a breakout year, and Ingram exceeds expectations the Lakers could make for an interesting watch but not much else.

Additions- Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov, Brandon Ingram, Jose Calderon, Thomas Robinson, Yi Jianlian, Ivica Zubac

Subtractions-  Kobe Bryant, Brandon Bass, Roy Hibbert, Ryan Kelly

Title Hope-

 

mavs

 

Dallas Mavericks:

The Mavericks are a team that had a ton of turnover this offseason. They have a lot of new faces and pieces to put together to find their best-performing rotations. They definitely lost a lot of offensive star power in Chandler Parsons but got back some scoring potential in Seth Curry and Harrison Barnes. Although Barnes was quieted in the Warriors’ playoff run last season he has proven he can hit big shots and the occasional open three. Barnes is also a two-way player who will help the Mavericks mostly with his defense. The most important thing in Dallas is that they still have Dirk Nowitzki and head coach Rick Carlisle to anchor the team. With those two they will play well enough to remain a .500 team but that will not be enough to make them contenders.

Additions- Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Seth Curry, Quincy Acy, Jonathan Gibson, Nicolas Brussino, A.J. Hammons, Dorian Finney-Smith, Kyle Collinsworth, Jameel Warney, Keith Hornsby, C.J. Williams

Subtractions- Chandler Parsons, Zaza Pachulia, Raymond Felton, David Lee, Charlie Villanueva, Jeremy Evans, JaVale McGee

Hope Level-  5

 

pelicans

 

New Orleans Pelicans:

The brow is back! At least the Pelicans sure hope so. Anthony Davis and his health are the difference between the Pelicans moving toward contention and falling into the lottery once again. Much of the Pelicans’ offense was lost with Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson but New Orleans is tried to make up for it by drafting the best scorer in college last year, Buddy Hield. Whether or not Hield’s game can transfer to the NBA remains to be seen although many experts see him as a good spot up shooter but not necessarily the best all-around player. The Pelicans still have Tyreke Evans at guard who has the ability to create his own offense but like most teams that must focus on regaining the offensive power it lost in the offseason, head coach Alvin Gentry’s biggest issue will be slowing down other teams. Even with a healthy AD the Pelicans would be a surprise team if they made it into the playoffs.

Additions- Langston Galloway, E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill, Terrence Jones, Buddy Hield, Lance Stephenson, Robert Sacre, Cheick Diallo, Shawn Dawson

Subtractions- Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Norris Cole, Jordan Hamilton, Kendrick Perkins, James Ennis, Luke Babbitt, Toney Douglas

Hope Level-  2

 

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