The NBA season starts today and that means that you can finally pretend like you live interesting and fulfilling lives and dive into full-time basketball watching mode. It’s the magical time of the year where every night we have basketball and self-respecting men pack on about 10-15lbs by January. It’s also a time when anything can happen. So here. We. Go. In no particular order.
The Houston Rockets Will Win The West
Let’s start this off with some controversy. While the East is pretty much a pit of mediocrity littered with other people’s trash, the West is a murder dome where the strongest team survives. I can throw a rock and hit a playoff contender in the West, but the rule goes, you have to pick one (at least until the NBA changes their playoff layout).
The Rockets are as good as anyone and they are set up to succeed. Yes, there are questions about Howard’s health and whether or not Ty Lawson and James Harden in the same backcourt can hit the expected benchmark of “mediocre” defensively, but this team is good. With Lawson, they have a secondary playmaker who can take the pressure of Harden and force opposing guards to defend. When healthy, Howard is a top five center in the league (the other point is that he’s hardly ever healthy). James Harden is an MVP contender. Add all of that up with the fact that they have some of the best role-players built specifically around their superstars and they are as good as anyone in the West.
The Utah Jazz are Taking the 8th Spot in the West
As mentioned above, the West is basically the wasteland from Mad Max and with Dallas and Portland dropping out, two spots are up for grabs. Considering I got a working brain and Durant stays healthy, OKC takes one of the two openings. The other one is up for grabs between Utah, Phoenix and Sacramento.
Sacramento is a team that’s in a perpetual state of somewhere between entirely hilarious and embarrassingly sad. They have the perfect combination for disaster and we’re just waiting for a match. Phoenix doesn’t have enough depth and are paying insane amounts of money to an aging Tyson Chandler. Utah is the team that seemed to have it all figured out as the season drew to a close last year and want to continue that this year. Gordon Hayward is due an All-Star appearance.
Matt Barnes will kill a man
This is pretty much a safe bet. We’re talking about Barnes. The man drove over 80 miles in LA traffic, which is like 2-3 hours, to fight Derek Fisher. At no point during those two hours did he ever pause and think “hey, maybe this really isn’t a reasonable reaction a normal human would have.” No, he stayed ready to throw down. Memphis plays New York on January 16.
Anthony Davis will win DPOY
This is a simple one because pretty much everyone else in the NBA not named LeBron is a mere human. Anthony Davis just happens to be a mix between a human, a cheetah and a possibly some sort of amphibian. No one stands a chance.
You will watch more Magic games than you think
Mario Hezonja once hit a three at the buzzer and dapped up the coach on the opposing team. Scott Skiles is the whitest dude ever with a propensity for not playing rookie players and with a stickler for discipline. They might actually throw hands.
There Will Be A Top 10 Rookie Injured
This is pretty much a pattern from the last two years. I don’t really want to wish ill on these promising guys, but it might just happen. Let’s just talk about this. Kristaps Porzingis is probably about 25lbs with his uniform on going up against NBA 4s who are built like and weight as much as normal human beings. D’Angelo Russell has had some concerns prior and Jahlil Okafor is already nursing an injury Hinkie hasn’t told him about yet. As much as I hate to say this, one of the rooks will miss major time.
There Will Be Head Coach Change Before Christmas
There are a lot of teams that are ripe with expectations and a few coaches on the hot seat. With the new school of Steve Kerrs emerging, it is only natural that the old guard will start to get replaced. Naturally, I’m thinking Dwayne Casey or perhaps even Randy Wittman if Washington stumbles out of the gate. Also a few different coaches in the West, but those two are in the most precarious positions.
Toronto will make a major trade before deadline
I think the expectations are unrealistically high for this team and if they don’t perform right out of the gate there will be changes. This is pretty much this team’s peak form without any major moves. DeMar is on an expiring and Lowry will probably be at his highest value. DeMare is also a nice trade piece if things go south and the team starts to tear it down. Having given JV a new contract, he is the untouchable one on this roster. Let’s see how that goes.
Post play will make a return
We’ve talked a lot about how the NBA is going small, and yes, that is true. We’re taking a high volume of 3s (we’re talking Charlie Sheen cocaine levels) year-to-year. If you’re over 6’5 you’ve probably logged minute at stretch 4 this year, and non-shooting bigs are going out of style. Except guys like Hibbert, Asik get defensive contracts and guys like Lopez, Jahlil, JV and Gortat still hold enough value to teams to offer them the GDP of Gortat’s country. The main thing is that they can play basketball and are crafty in the post. Start watching them play.
There will be rumors of the Knicks trading Melo or Kristaps
This really depends on which way the pendulum swings. Once again, you can field a rec team with Melo and approach 30 wins, which is enough for an Eastern conference team to fool themselves into playoffs. The Knicks will probably look to shop Kristaps to get Melo some support and capitalize on his closing window.
If the Knicks suck throughout the year however, Melo will probably want out to chase the ring and dealing him while he is still on the back end of his prime will probably net the highest value. Which means the Knicks might consider it if they will look to rebuild early.
Durant will sign a one year deal
This really isn’t a season thing, but more of a common sense thing. Durant is approaching the 10 year benchmark where he qualifies for 35% of the salary cap as his max. This also gives him another year with Westbrook or Ibaka before they all bolt for greener pastures.
The Brooklyn Nets will be better than you expect (playoff contention)
Thanks to the Billy King school of GM the Nets have 0 incentive to be bad. They own zero of their own picks and realistically are just waiting out Joe Johnsons contract. The good news, it’s still the East and even if they’re half decent they can make the 8th seed and deny Ainge the satisfaction of another lottery. However, they are rostering Andrea Bargnani. And that’s basically like sailing a ship with women on board.
Mark Cuban will purchase Dirk Nowitzki his own island
Basically as an apology for that giant “pay cut”.
Sacramento hosts upwards of 3 backdoor staff and/or player meetings
I’m pretty sure their logo is right up there as the definition of “dysfunction” in the dictionary. They also have Boogie, who makes tweeting almost a PPV event these days.
More bigs shoot three’s than you expect
I’m taking the over on Boogie 50 3PTAs this season.