Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015-2016 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference Western Conference Predictions


Will Chef Curry and the Warriors Have What It Takes To Repeat As Champions?

So tonight a brand new NBA season begins! The defending champions, the Golden State Warriors kick off their title defense tonight taking on the New Orleans Pelicans lead by Anthony Davis, a man who could actually be the MVP this year if the Pelicans play good enough. Will the Warriors have what it takes to win it all again? There are a lot of other teams that want to make sure the answer to that is no! So with that said, here are the breakdowns of how I believe the season will play out.

Eastern Conference Lottery Teams

The following teams in the Eastern Conference are the teams that I believe will fail to make the playoffs this year...

1. Philadelphia 76ers - They won a lottery pick and took Jahil Okafor but that's about all they will be winning. At least Joel Embiid will have plenty of time to write tweets on Twitter since he won't be playing basketball once again this year!

2. Brooklyn Nets - Where Brooklyn at? The bottom of the Eastern Conference standings that's where they are at. The Russian Billionaire tried to buy a title when he brought the team but instead he got strapped with an over the cap team of aging veterans good enough just to make the playoffs. This year they won't even be good enough to do that. There will truly be No Sleep Till Brooklyn this year because they aren't going ANYWHERE!

3. Orlando Magic - They have a nice young core and several players who will be a part of my fantasy basketball lineups. However, I still think they are a year away from putting it all together. I think they will be better defensively under Scott Skiles. However, they aren't going to the playoffs. Maybe next year.

4. Charlotte Hornets - They had a great preseason but the injury bug has bit already taking out Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for probably the entire season. On a team that needed all hands on deck just to make the playoffs, this pretty much puts them in the lottery this year.

5. Indiana Pacers - The Pacers are a run and gun team now??? This should be interesting.

6. Boston Celtics - I like the additions of David Lee and Amir Johnson to bolster up the front court. Isaiah Thomas could definitely be in contention for 6th man of the year. I think they will be in it until the very end, however, I believe they are going to fall just short of making the playoffs.

7. Detroit Pistons - This team has a great foundation and I like the Marcus Morris signing. However, like the Celtics I think they are just a little bit short of making the playoffs.


Western Conference Lottery Teams

1. Portland Trailblazers - The loss of Lamarcus Aldridge is simply devastating. They just have to tank and hope they can get a good draft pick to rebuild all over again. They stand a snowballs chance in Hell at doing anything in a very stacked Western Conference.

2. Denver Nuggets - Emmanuel Mudiay could be the Rookie of the year, but there's really not much to like about the Mile High's chances at competing this year.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - Rest In Peace to Flip Saunders. That's really sad. The Wolves are a very young team with a lot of young talent but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the Wolves be built into a playoff contender in a day especially competing in the stacked Western Conference

4. Los Angeles Lakers - If we can just see Kobe play a full season that would be enough for me. However even with Kobe there the full year, they simply don't have enough. It will be fun to see what the Russell/Randle combination can do.

5. Dallas Mavericks - It's been a long time since the Mavs have been a losing team. Well that time has come. They struck out big time in the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes after signing him only to have the Clippers steal him back right underneath their nose. They will also strike out on making the playoffs this year.

6. Phoenix Suns - Tyson Chandler will help them get some leadership and shore up the defensive presence. However, Chandler alone isn't enough to get this team back into playoff contention.

7. Sacramento Kings - I like the Kings and I think they are going to be fun to watch this year. I just don't like their chances of making the playoffs although I think they will come close. They should definitely win over 30 games. However in the West, that's not going to get it done.

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams

8. New York Knicks - Yeah I know you are laughing at me, but so what, my Knicks will go to the playoffs this year! Carmelo Anthony is still one of the best players in the NBA and arguably after Kevin Durant the most dominate offensive player in the game. While the Knicks failed to acquire that second star to get them back into title contention, I like the veteran core that they picked up. Lopez makes them much better defensively in the middle. I like the young Grant/Galloway back court coming off the bench. And Porzingis looks like he can play ball. I'm not naive enough to believe we have ANY chance at doing anything in the playoffs. However, I believe we can at least sneak by with an 8th seed.

7. Washington Wizards - Last year I predicted that they would take that next step up and be a legitimate force in the Eastern Conference. Instead that was Atlanta and while they put up a valiant performance in the playoffs they just couldn't get it done. Now with no Paul Pierce they will take a step back in my view. They will still be a playoff team because John Wall is REALLY good, but not much else.

6. Toronto Raptors - The Toronto Raptors look good to win the division once again as I don't think the Knicks, Celtics and Nets have enough to take it from them. The problem is, winning the division doesn't get you a guaranteed 4th seed anymore. It still comes down to your record and I think there are at least five other teams in the Eastern Conference that will have a better record than them.

5. Milwaukee Bucks - The Bucks have a pretty good team! Signing Greg Monroe was HUGE as it showed that a smaller market team can attract free agents and get them to sign for long term. Jabari Parker can absolutely ball. They also have Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Anteokounmpo as well! I don't understand why people don't have this team ranked higher. I definitely see them at least a 5 seed and it honestly wouldn't surprise me to even see them crack the top 4.

4. Atlanta Hawks - This team absolutely shocked me last year. I got to shout out my boy Owen Graham. He told me at the beginning of the season the Hawks were going to be good and I laughed at him. I didn't even have them making the playoffs and they ended up with the #1 seed in the East. The Hawks are still going to be good again this year. However, I think there are three other teams in the East that are better than them this year.

3. Miami Heat - Until Chris Bosh went down for the year, Miami was looking pretty good. There's no way you can tell me with a straight face a team with a starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Dwayne Wade, Loul Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside isn't going to make some serious noise in the East if they all remain healthy. Their bench got better too, with Gerald Green, Amar'e Stoudemire and Justise Winslow. Miami is clearly a top 3 team in the East.

2. Chicago Bulls - Tom Thibodeau is a great coach. However, I personally don't see the Bulls failing without him and they might even be better. I definitely don't see them being better defensively. However, Tibs runs his teams hard and the Bulls had a lot of injuries last year, one of the primary reasons why I believe they didn't go further in the playoffs than they did. Hoiberg is going to have this team running a very aggressive fast pace offense and I believe they definitely have the talent to run it. Injuries are always a concern especially with Derrick Rose but if they can limit the injury bug you can't look at this team as anything less than a force to be reckoned with an a potential championship contender.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - I told you all last year the Cavs will not finish in 1st place in the East and that there was going to be another team that would have a better record that the Cavs. My only mistake was I thought it was going to be the Wizards when in reality it was the Hawks. This year though? Cavs will be the best team in the East. The only question mark that I had about this team was Tristan Thompson holding out and that was addressed. Like him or not, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA BY FAR and he has a SERIOUS squad to work with. Cavs will EASILY win 60 games this year and quite frankly could even make a run at 70 because they are that good. 

Western Conference Playoff Teams

8. Utah Jazz - I like the Jazz to make the playoffs this year. They played some really good basketball the 2nd half of the season. Quite frankly they could even be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. I certainly have Rudy Gobert as my pick for defensive player of the year. They have a ton of young talent that is only going to get better. A full year like the 2nd half of last year equals playoff appearance in my eyes.

7. New Orleans Pelicans - They have arguably the best player in the NBA not named LeBron James and he's only 22. I wasn't thrilled with their decision to fire Monty Williams who I felt did a good job, but I like that they hired Alvin Gentry and I think his fast pace offense will help them. I think they are still short of the talent that they need in the ultra competitive West but they will be good enough to get a 7th seed.

6. Memphis Grizzlies - They are the "old men" of the West but it's hard not to like a team anchored by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. We know what we are going to get with them. I LOVE Mike Conley. This team could probably win the East. The problem though is that they aren't in the East they are in the West and for that reason, they will be what they always have been. A team no one wants to play that will make the playoffs but will take a first or second round exit.

5. Los Angeles Clippers - This pick is going to shock many of you as I know a lot of you are big Clipper fans and have them finishing much higher than 5th. Not me. I personally think the Clippers are a little overrated. They remind me of the Seattle Supersonics back in the day. That classic Western Conference team that would win a bunch of games in the regular season but just couldn't get it done in the playoffs. Only this year I don't even think they are going to win as many games as they did last year because the top 4 teams have gotten better. I'll still be watching though, I'm definitely a fan of watching me some Lob City Clips Lob Lob City Clips highlights on ESPN!

4. Oklahoma City Thunder - Oklahoma City has a lot riding on this season. Kevin Durant's contract expires at the end of the year and if this team can't put together a title run, I suspect that he is out (I'm hoping, praying and fasting that it is going to be to the Knicks lol). However, you absolutely cannot have a team with Kevin Durant and Russell WestBEAST on the same team and NOT have them as one of the top teams in the conference. The talent is just too good. Injuries are always a concern and I personally expect at least one of those guys to miss some time like they always do. However if they are healthy all year, you can make a serious argument that they can finish EVEN in the TOP 2! 

3. Houston Rockets - I think the Rockets could be better than many of us think. While I wouldn't go as far as saying he's the best in the NBA like HE believes, James Harden can BALL and pairing him up with Dwight Howard is a potent one-two punch. They also get a HUGE upgrade adding Ty Lawson in the backcourt. I think a lot of people are sleeping on the Rockets. I'm not though. I have them finishing in the top 3 of the West and would have them even higher if I didn't believe the two teams ahead of them were the best two teams in the NBA right now.

2. Golden State Warriors - The champs are here! The Warriors were clearly the best team in the NBA and they proved it, winning a bunch of games in the regular season, winning a bunch of games in the playoffs and dispatching of LeBron and company in the NBA finals. The main criticism of this team is they were a little lucky. You know what though, that's the nature of sports. Sometimes it just simply comes down to which team has the least amount of injuries or is healthy at the right time and that was the Warriors. 

1. San Antonio Spurs - Talk about the rich get richer! They already have the best coach in the NBA by FAR! They already have Big Fundamental who seems to age like wine. They already have Kawhi Leonard who you can make a legitimate argument that he could be the best two-way player in the NBA. Then they turn around and get LaMarcus Aldridge??? LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Not to mention they got David West too???? This team is just downright scary. Injuries are always an issue when you have a team this old. However, the way they look on paper??? This team could win 75 games!!!!

NBA Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference Finals - Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls
Western Conference Finals - San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals - Cleveland Cavaliers vs San Antonio Spurs

Roosevelt's Prediction For The 2015-2016 NBA Champion

The San Antonio Spurs - Plain and simple unless they suffer a serious injury they are winning. We mind as well just simulate the NBA season this year, I don't see ANYBODY beating them if they don't get hurt. With that said, injuries are a reality so that's why we get to play the games. Cavs would be my pick if something happens to the Spurs followed by the Golden State Warriors repeating.

So what do you think? Agree??? Disagree? Let me know!!!