By John Hooper and Trevor Smyth
Trev: Warriors over Celtics in 5
Hoop: Warriors over Cavs in 5
- Sixth Man:
- Most Improved:
1. Ben Simmons
3. Milos Teodosic
4. John Collins
5. Dennis Smith Jr.
- Sixth Man:
- Most Improved:
5. John Wall
Team Notes/Predictions/Wish List
- This will be Klay's best statistical season. He'll join the 50 / 40 / 90 club with 50.2% / 42.9% / 90.0% shooting and an average slash line of 25.7 / 3.4 / 3.1.
- Start John Collins at center. Win-win as you either see if he's the real deal or execute the righteous tank. Schroder-Bazemore-Prince-Ilyasova-Collins could be surprisingly watchable.
- Short term, it's near impossible for Kyrie to match IT's efficiency last year. Thomas posted a True Shooting Percentage of 62.5% at a 34.0% Usage Rate. Kyrie's career bests are a 58.3% clip for TS and a Usage Rate of 30.8%.
- Boston has done nothing to improve its fourth worst defensive rebounding rate from last year. One player who makes sense as a midseason target for them: Julius Randle.
- Congrats on climbing out of the cellar, my love!
- Play the kids - especially D'Angelo, LeVert, and Dinwiddie - as much as possible.
- Potential trade assets: Sean Kilpatrick, Trevor Booker, and... Jeremy Lin.
- If Dwight can't succeed in Steve Clifford's conservative rebounding and defensive schemes (and especially in the Hornets' locker room), this will be his last job in the NBA.
- Let's just keep it moving.
- The Cavs' best lineup will be Thomas-Smith-Crowder-James-Thompson.
- This is the best move the Cavs can make to make themselves a true championship threat this year. James moves to the 4 full time in this scenario.
- Henry Ellenson is one of my favorite players to watch because his style is so congruent with his body. I think he really believes he's an athletic 6'4" combo guard. Keep an eye on him for some fun highlights.
- Myles Turner, year 1, per 36: 16.3 / 8.7 / 1.1 / 0.7 / 2.3
- Myles Turner, year 2, per 36: 16.6 / 8.3 / 1.5 / 1.0 / 2.4
- Even though things look very similar, one main difference in Turner's two years was a big jump in his attempt rate on three pointers and free throws. If he continues that trend and embraces his larger role, he could be in for a breakout season.
- Short term, Justise Winslow is their kryptonite. Long term, Winslow needs to play to become the impact player he's shown the potential of becoming. Who says no?
- We need to find out if Giannis can play center. If he can, Jabari can fit alongside him long term. If not, should the Bucks pay max or near max money for Parker to be a super sub?
- It's amazing that a team can have such a bad point guard situation when it's such a strong position for the league right now. This year might get even darker than expected.
- Want to maximize Aaron Gordon's value? Play him at center. Sure, the Boogies of the league eat him up in the post, but can Boogie stay in front of Gordon on defense?
- A lineup of Payton-Ross-Fournier-Isaac-Gordon could actually be fun this year.
- Someone with nothing to lose should be rolling the dice on Mario Hezonia. I think this gets it done for Indy.
- Joining in the rest of the league in praying for a healthy Embiid.
- Ben Simmons will average 14 / 7 / 6 and win ROY. Also, he will start shooting with his right hand in year three.
- I love the CJ Miles signing.
- Serge Ibaka needs to be playing more of the 5 nowadays. A lineup of Lowry-Powell-DeRozan-Miles-Ibaka is intriguing.
- I thought OG Anunoby was going to be out because of injury for much longer. The Raptors may have pulled one over on the league, swooping him up at 23 in this last draft.
- Wall seems desperate to be included in the MVP discussion. I think he goes Westbrook on us this year and chases some round numbers. I'm predicting a 25 / 5 / 10 line for him.
- (starting a rookie point guard + Harrison Barnes as your best player) / (Carlisle sorcery) = missing the playoffs. Sorry.
- Treasure all Dirk moments this season as we may not have many more from the Big Mummy.
- I love them as is with their addition of Paul Millsap, but I agree with Zach Lowe that Eric Bledsoe will end up in Denver this season. Bledsoe-Harris-Chandler-Millsap-Jokic is an incredible lineup, both for talent and entertainment purposes.
- Jamal Murray and Will Barton will blitz opposing second units this year.
- Please give Jordan Bell 15+ mpg and Patrick McCaw 20+ mpg this year. That's all I ask.
- If Chris Paul, PJ Tucker, and Luc Mbah a Moute can improve the Rockets team defense, the Rockets may lead into 60 win territory. I don't expect this to happen, however, as they just lost the peskiest PG defender in the league.
- I'm predicting a familiar ending for the Rockets: out in 6 in the Western Conference Semis at the hands of the Thunder.
- The buzz around how will DeAndre Jordan look without someone spoon feeding him buckets needs to stop. Milos Teodosic will be the best passer in the NBA this year and will keep DJ fed.
- This will be a top 3 most fun team to watch in the league this year.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is in for a big year. The upgrade in facilitation from Reggie Jackson to Lonzo is exponential, and he's on a one year, prove-it deal. Look for him to set career highs in 3P% and PPG on the way to an 4 year / $76M deal.
- I'm predicting a line of 12 / 5 / 7 for Lonzo this year.
- I think there'll be a major shakeup on the roster for the Grizzlies this year. As seen in a few of my Trade Machine creations, I predict Marc Gasol will be moved this year.
- For the life of me I can't understand why the T'Wolves signed Jeff Teague instead of George Hill to fit this team. Here's a statistical comparison of their careers for a few relevant categories.
- The Pelicans need guards and wings who can shoot on the cheap. Here are the players they should be targeting: Sean Kilpatrick (BKN), Tyus Jones (MIN), Damyean Dotson (NYK), Mario Hezonia (ORL), Davon Reed (PHX), and Bryn Forbes (SAS).
- Please run 4-5 pick and rolls until the cows come home. Who runs it better this year, the Pelicans or the Clippers?
- Yes, I may have gone on a tirade against Sam Presti in our recent podcast, but I love everything about this team.
- Look for Russ' averages to drop to a still excellent 24 / 6 / 10.
- I'm worried this team and therefore about Earl Watson's job security. I hope Watson gets to see this through until the majority of his roster can legally drink, but I'm worried that the brutal West may push the Suns into the basement.
- I'm way too excited for the Blazers letting Evan Turner handle the ball on offense and letting CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard tie defenses in knots off the ball as Zach Lowe reported a few days ago.
- Speaking of CJ, who says no to this masterpiece?
- I have no feel for this team, what types of lineups they'll play, and what their goal is. I'm rooting for big minutes for the Cauley-Stein and Labissiere pairing.
- I have concerns about their depth, health, and mood, but I'm predicting 50+ wins for them every year until proven otherwise.
- The big question for the Jazz this year is whether or not Rodney Hood can thrive in a featured role. The Utah internet contingent believes so, I'm dubious.
- Also, if Quin Snyder insists on starting Derrick Favors next to Rudy Gobert, this may be a bottom 5 least watchable team.