Ball Don't Lie

 Who wins the NBA title this season? 14  votes

 GSW 5 votes
35%
 HOU 0 votes
0%
 TOR 8 votes
57%
 BOS 1 votes
7%
 PHI 0 votes
0%
 UTA 0 votes
0%
This poll has been closed.

Southeast Division( SOUTHEAST DIVISION PREVIEW PODCAST - http://stretch4pod.libsyn.com/website/retiring-manu-southeast-division-preview:


Atlanta Hawks-

Projected Depth Chart:

Trae Young, Jeremy Lin,
Kent Bazemore, Tyler Dorsey, Tyler Huerter
Taurean Prince, DeAndre Bembry, Vince Carter
John Collins, Justin Anderson, Thomas Robinson
DeWayne Dedmon, Alex Len, Miles Plumlee

Key Additions- Trae Young, Jeremy Lin, Lloyd Pierce

OUTLOOK: The Hawks are the favorite to be the worst team in the league this year. Their only goals this year should be to see what they have in Prince and Collins, and getting Young as many reps as possible to allow him to adjust as quickly as possible to the NBA game. 

Biggest Question- Will Prince and Collins prove to be players that the Hawks can build around in a tanking season?

PROJECTED SEED:  15th


Orlando Magic-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

 

DJ Augustin, Jerian Grant, Isaiah Briscoe
Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross
Jonathan Simmons, Wes Iwundu
Aaron Gordon, Jonathan Isaac
Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov, Khem Birch

 

Key Additions- Steve Clifford, Mo Bamba

 

OUTLOOK: I almost copy pasted my outlook last season into this years outlook because not a lot has changed in that 'the Magic are stuck on the treadmill of being a bad team without a clear direction'. They have some front court potential now with Gordon, Isaac, and Bamba, but they have no one to get them easy open looks. When you have a front court with really young talented undeveloped players, you should get a point guard that can get them the ball, and run an offence.

 

Biggest Question- Will Aaron Gordon make another jump and become one of the best power forwards in the NBA?

PROJECTED SEED-  14th

 

Miami Heat-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson
Josh Richardson, Dwyane Wade, Dion Waiters
Justise Winslow, Wayne Ellington
Justise Winslow, James Johnson, Derrick Jones Jr
Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk

Key Additions- No one

 

OUTLOOK: The Heat didn't make any key additions as of yet(they've been extremely active in trying to acquire Jimmy Butler) due to them signing most of their mid level players who became free agents last year to long term deals, effectively locking this roster in until 2020+. If they don't end up trading for Butler, they will likely be a lower seed in the playoffs once again, and 1st round fodder for one of the top seeded teams. 

Biggest Question- Will Hassan Whiteside grow up, or will Spoelstra end up benching him for good at some point this season? 

 

PROJECTED SEED-  7th


Charlotte Hornets-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Kemba Walker, Tony Parker
Jeremy Lamb, Malik Monk, DeWayne Bacon
Nicolas Batum Miles Bridges
Marvin Williams, Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, Frank Kaminsky
Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, Willy Hernangomez

 

Key Additions- James Borrego, Miles Bridges, Tony Parker

 

OUTLOOK: Charlotte dumped Dwight Howard, which should increase their odds of making the playoffs this year, since most lineups that included Kemba and Cody Zeller a few seasons ago had a positive net rating, and they hired a new Head Coach from the Spurs who has a very good reputation. The East is also only 7 teams deep, so the 8th seed is up for grabs, and a Jordan owned team continues to have limited goals of just making the playoffs and playing musical chairs with its rotation players rather than gutting this team with its limited talent pool, something that they should have done a long time ago. 

 

Biggest Question- Will they trade Kemba, or will they continue to try to be a team with limited aspirations and keep him until the end of the season?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  9TH

 

Washington Wizards-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

John Wall, Tomas Satoransky
Bradley Beal, Austin Rivers, Jodie Meeks
Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre Jr., Troy Brown
Markieff Morris, Jeff Green,
Dwight Howard, Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith

 

Key Additions- Austin Rivers, Dwight Howard, Jeff Green

 

OUTLOOK: The Wizards brought in 2 new players who aren't exactly known for being a positive locker room presence in Rivers, and especially Howard. They bring back the same core who has had previous issues with getting along, and now they have 2 more players that have had issues in the past of putting themselves over the team. At the same time, they added additional talent to a team that was stuck cap wise, and they didn't give up much to do so. This season will be a testament to either a lesson in chemistry(or lack thereof), or a bunch of maligned players coming together as one to have an improved season. 

Biggest Question- Will Dwight Howard fit out, or fit in?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  6th

 

Central Division (CENTRAL DIVISION PREVIEW PODCAST - http://stretch4pod.libsyn.com/website/central-division-preview):

 

Cleveland Cavaliers-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

George Hill, Colin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson
JR Smith, Rodney Hood, David Nwaba
Cedi Osman, Kyle Korver
Kevin Love, Sam Dekker
Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr, Ante Zizic, Channing Frye

 

Key Additions- Colin Sexton

 

OUTLOOK: The Cavs lost LeBron James, and in the minutes they played without him last season, their lineups were in the bottom 5 in terms of net rating. They could go in one of two directions this season: chase the 8th seed with a veteran team with limited talent around their best player, or try to develop their younger players and look to get some value for their veteran players at the deadline. I believe that they will choose the latter option.

 

Biggest Question- Can Minnesota Kevin Love return and drag this roster to the 8th seed?

 

PROJECTED SEED11th


Chicago Bulls-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

 

Kris Dunn, Antonio Blakeney, Cameron Payne
Zach LaVine,  Justin Holiday
Jabari Parker, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison
Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis
Robin Lopez, Wendell Carter Jr, Cristiano Felicio

 

Key Additions- Jabari Parker, Wendell Carter Jr

 

OUTLOOK: The Bulls added to their very young core by adding Parker on a very reasonable 2 year deal, with the 2nd year as a team option, and Wendell Carter Jr, whose defensive versatility should be a perfect fit with Markkanen. This team got better on paper in terms of their overall talent, but they are still very young, and they have a lot of fit issues especially with Jabari Parkers best position being at the 4, thus its uncertain if the parts will fit, especially with an unproven coach in Hoiberg. Their other glaring issue is on the defensive end with Parker and Lavine being 2 of the worst at their positions, but Hoiberg's plan going into his first year in Chicago was to play with pace, until they railroaded him and gave him a Rondo/Wade/Butler backcourt, so he's going to have a lot to prove this year in showing the rest of the league that he can coach in the NBA. Hopefully he figures out that Markkanen is by far their best player sooner rather than later.

Biggest Question- Can coach Hoiberg make this young team mesh and find an identity? 

PROJECTED SEED-  12th (I originally had them slated as the 11th seed, but now Markkanen will be sidelined for 2 months, thus I've lowered them by a seed)

 

Detroit Pistons-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

 

Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, Jose Calderon
Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway
Stanley Johnson, Glenn Robinson III
Blake Griffin, Jon Leuer, Henry Ellenson
Andre Drummond, Zaza Pachulia

Key Additions- Glenn Robinson III, Dwane Casey

 

OUTLOOK: Detroit fired SVG after he proved yet again that it's nearly impossible for one individual to be the coach and director of basketball operations at the same time. They hired Dwane Casey, who, for all of his playoff failures, is a pretty good regular season Head Coach. As long as Reggie Jackson can stay healthy, this team should be in contention for the 8th seed, which like Charlotte, seems to be this teams goal this year and moving forward. 

Biggest Question- Can Dwane Casey make the Griffin/Drummond combination work in the modern NBA?

PROJECTED SEED-  8TH

 

Milwaukee Bucks-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

 

Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova, 
Tony Snell, Sterling Brown, Donte Divincenzo
Khris Middleton, Pat Connaughton, Shabazz Mohammad, DJ Wilson 
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova
Brook Lopez, Thon Maker, John Henson

Key Additions- Mike Budenholzer, Brook Lopez

OUTLOOK: The Bucks finally hired someone who knows how to coach and NBA team, which is the biggest addition that they could have made this off season. This roster reminds me a lot of the early LeBron Cavs teams with LeBron and a lot of 3 point shooting, and I think the pieces fit around Giannis. If they can somehow make the Bledsoe fit work, this team could be much better than most expect. 

Biggest Question- Will Eric Bledsoe buy in and be the defensive stalwart he was years ago?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  5th

 

Indiana Pacers-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Aaron Holiday
Victor Oladipo, Doug McDermott
Bojan Bogdanovic, Tyreke Evans
Thaddeus Young, Domantas Sabonis, TJ Leaf
Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, Kyle O'Quinn

 

Key Additions- Aaron Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Doug McDermott

OUTLOOK: Indiana and Victor Oladipo had a surprise breakthrough season last year, and this off season they added solid depth on the wings off the bench. This team should only improve this season with the additional depth, and if Tyreke Evans can play nearly as well this year off of the bench as he did last year, they should be able to play some very big multi dimensional lineups with him and Oladipo in the back court. 

Biggest Question- Will Myles Turner make a leap this season and catapult Indiana into becoming a  contender in the East?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  4th


Atlantic Division (ATLANTIC DIVISION PREVIEW PODCAST - http://stretch4pod.libsyn.com/website/jimmy-butler-trade-talk-atlantic-division-preview):

 

Toronto Raptors-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet
Danny Green, Delon Wright, Norman Powell
Kawhi Leonard, CJ Miles
OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam 
Jonas Valanciunas, Serge Ibaka, Greg Monroe

 

Key Additions- Kawhi Leonard, Nick Nurse, Danny Green

 

OUTLOOK: Masai took a big gamble this season by trading for Kawhi Leonard in a make of break move, and now the Raptors have gone all in for at least one last run with a much improved, much more versatile roster. This team may take some time early on in the season to develop their chemistry, but if they do, they should be a well oiled machine come April, capable of playing some of the leagues best defence, and having the capability to play any type of style. 

 

Biggest Question- Will Kawhi Leonard be the same MVP calibre player that he was 2 years ago? 

 

PROJECTED SEED2nd

New York Knicks-

Projected Depth Chart:

Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay
Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Ron Baker
Kevin Knox, Lance Thomas
Mario Hezonja, Noah Vonleh, (Kristaps Porzingis)
Enes Kanter, Mitchell Robinson

 

Key Additions- David Fizdale, Mitchell Robinson, Mario Hezonja, Kevin Knox

 

OUTLOOK: The Knicks will be without Porzingis for at least the first few months of the season, and with them bringing in a respected Head Coach with David Fizdale, it seems that they're finally embracing a full rebuild with the young talent that they've acquired for the past 2 seasons. They have a long way to go, and it wouldn't surprise anyone if they decided to sit Kristaps out a majority, if not all of the 2018-19 season if he's not 100% healthy by the midway point of the season. 

Biggest Question- Will the Knicks actually commit to a full rebuild after 20 years of getting in their own way?

 

PROJECTED SEED13TH

 

Brooklyn Nets-

Projected Depth Chart:

D'Angelo Russell,  Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris Levert, Shabazz Napier
Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, 
DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris, Treveon Graham
Rondae Hollis Jefferson, Kenneth Faried, Jared Dudley, Quincy Acy
Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis

Key Additions- Kenneth Faried, Ed Davis

 

OUTLOOK: The Nets continue what looked to be an impossible rebuild due to the trade debacle with the Celtics just 4 years ago into a situation where they now have their draft picks in tact going forward with a very flexible cap situation, and a lot of interesting young players. The Nets will be a major player in the upcoming off seasons free agency, with potentially 2 max slots, an improving roster, and a smart management team. This year is huge for them in proving to prospective free agents that they have a roster talented and deep enough to build around potential cornerstones by being a competitive team that should fight for the 8th seed in the East this season.  

Biggest Question- Do the Nets have enough talent to compete for the 8th seed in the East? 

PROJECTED SEED10th

 

Boston Celtics

Projected Depth Chart:

 

Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier
Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart
Gordon Hayward, Semi Ojeleye, 
Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele
Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis, Robert Williams


Key Additions- None

 

OUTLOOK: The Celtics are the favorites to win the East this year with a starting lineup that rivals any outside of the Warriors on paper, and an extremely deep bench, even if it's only for this upcoming season. They are one of the leagues best defences, and are essentially adding one of the best offensive wing players in the NBA back into their lineup in Gordon Hayward, though it may take him all of this year(if not longer) to reach his all star level play just 2 seasons ago. 

 

Biggest Question- Can Brad Stevens make everyone happy in their starting 5 this season with his minutes and shot distribution?

 

PROJECTED SEED: 1st

 

Philadelphia 76ers-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Ben Simmons, TJ McConnell, Jeryd Bayless
Markelle Fultz, JJ Redick, Furkan Korkmaz
Robert Covington, Wilson Chandler
Dario Saric, Mike Muscala
Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson, Jonah Bolden

 

Key Additions- Wilson Chandler

 

OUTLOOK: The 76ers lost a lot of shooting and veteran experience off of the bench in losing Belinelli and Ilyasova, but a case can be made that this should improve their long term future prospects by providing more opportunity and minutes to Markelle Fultz. Coach Brown is allowing Fultz to start in the preseason and essentially telling him that it's his spot to lose, and giving him with the confidence that will hopefully propel him into stardom or beyond. 

 

Biggest Question- Will Embiid and Simmons stay healthy for the majority of the season?

 

PROJECTED SEED3rd

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Ball Don't Lie

Northwest Division:


Denver Nuggets-

Projected Depth Chart:

Jamal Murray, Isaiah Thomas
Gary Harris, Malik Beasley
Will Barton, Torey Craig, Juancho Hernangomez
Paul Millsap, Trey Lyles
Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee

Key Additions- Isaiah Thomas

OUTLOOK: The Nuggets had a promising season last year, but their expectations didn't live up to their promise as Paul Millsap went down with an injury early in the season, and despite this they still were 1 game from a playoff berth. This year, they don't have as much of a glut at each position with players expecting to play a specific amount of minutes, as their roles seem more defined and there is more of a hierarchy with their starting 5 and bench unit. I think this is the year we finally see this team find their identity, score a ton of points, and easily make the playoffs, possibly as a top 4 seed. 

Biggest Question- Will Denver be just good enough defensively to vault into a top 4 seed?

PROJECTED SEED:  5th


Minnesota Timberwolves-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

 

Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones
Derrick Rose, Josh Okogie
Andrew Wiggins,Luol Deng, CJ Williams
Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver
Karl Anthony Towns, Gorgei Dieng

 

Key Additions- Josh Okogie

 

OUTLOOK: Until Jimmy Butler is traded, it's very difficult to determine the lower seeds in the playoff picture in the Western Conference, but I think that it's safe to say that no matter who they get back for Butler, they're not going to have anywhere near the impact that he did for this team last season. This season looks like it's only going to end up resulting in one thing: a major overhaul to the TWolves Management, and coach Thibs looking for work again. 

Biggest Question- Can KAT lift this mismanaged team into the playoffs?

PROJECTED SEED-  12th

 

Oklahoma City-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Russell Westbrok, Dennis Schroder, Ray Felton
Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot
Paul George, Terrance Ferguson
Patrick Patterson, Jerami Grant
Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel

 

Key Additions- Dennis Schroder, Nerlens Noel

 

OUTLOOK: OKC had one goal this past off season, which was to sign PG13 to a long term extension, which they accomplished, and they also somehow traded Melo while receiving value in return in Dennis Schroder, who will be playing a role that he was made for in being a change of pace,  high volume point guard off of the bench. They also signed Nerlens Noel, who should fit seamlessly in OKC's uber athletic 2nd unit. They will be an extremely tough out in the playoffs, as they had one of the highest defensive ratings in the NBA when Roberson was on the floor last season.  

Biggest Question- Can they play Schroder in crunch time 5 man units, or will they have to sacrifice spacing for defensive versatility again? 

PROJECTED SEED-  4th


Portland Trail Blazers-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Damien Lillard, Wade Baldwin, Anfernee Simons
CJ McCollum, Seth Curry, Nik Stauskas
Mo Harkless, Evan Turner, Jake Layman
Al Farouq Aminu, Caleb Swanigan
Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Meyers Leonard

 

Key Additions- Seth Curry

 

OUTLOOK: Portland may suffer from what Masai feared if he kept the same roster going into this season, which is a roster has playoff fatigue and feels like they're playing out the season to seemingly lose the same way in the playoffs, rinse, repeat. They didn't address their core weaknesses due to Neil Olshey tying up their cap in bench fodder with Turner and Leonard, and they didn't try to take a risk by trying to sign Boogie, and rather stood pat with Nurkic. I think that this will be the last season that we see the Dame and CJ back court together, which is a shame because they could have been a contending team if they were able to get one more star to play with those two players if they hadn't made awful personnel decisions two years ago. 

 

Biggest Question- Will Portland make a major move at the deadline, or will they wait until the off season to make a major move?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  9th

 

Utah Jazz-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, Raul Neto
Donovan Mitchell, Thabo Sefolosha, Alec Burks, Grayson Allen
Joe Ingles, Royce O'Neale
Derrick Favors, Jae Crowder
Rudy Gobert, Derrick Favors, Ekpe Udoh

 

Key Additions- No one

 

OUTLOOK: Utah didn't make any moves this off season outside of re-signing all of their key free agents in Exum and Favors, and they should be a team that makes a major step in becoming a contender in the West with their internal improvement, superb coaching, and stellar depth. The Jazz has a very good core with their starting 5, and Mitchell and Gobert continuing to lead this team and get better this season. I think that they have a real chance of catapulting into being the 2nd best team in the conference this year. 

Biggest Question- Can Utah be GSW's next big test in the West?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  3rd

 

Pacific Division:

 

Golden State Warriors-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Stephen Curry, Shaun Livington, Quinn Cook
Klay Thompson, (Patrick McCaw), Jacob Evans
Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala
Draymond Green, Jonas Jerebko
Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, (DeMarcus Cousins)

 

Key Additions- DeMarcus Cousins, Jonas Jerebko

 

OUTLOOK: The Warriors added DeMarcus Cousins  to a already historically great starting lineup. Once he returns from injury, they'll have the most talented starting 5 on paper in NBA history. Their only weakness this season may be how well DMC meshes once he returns, and if he can guard at a decent level come playoff time. If he doesn't, and he doesn't play in crunchtime, his patience and character will be tested yet again, and if he doesn't accept his role on this team, GSW may have some decisions to make come playoff time...

Yet after saying all of this, they're still a huge favorite to threepeat this season. 

 

Biggest Question- Which team will provide the biggest test against the Warriors come playoff time?

 

PROJECTED SEED1st


LA Lakers-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso
Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Josh Hart, Svi Mykhailiuk
Brandon Ingram, Lance Stephenson
LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Michael Beasley
Javale Mcgee, Michael Beasley, Moritz Wagner, Ivica Zubac

Key Additions- Rajon Rondo, Javale Mcgee, Lebron James

 

OUTLOOK: The Lakers added the best player in the NBA, and rumors will continue to swirl around their team this season about impending free agents and future trade targets. After they struck out in the PG13 and Kawhi sweepstakes, they decided to sign a bunch of veterans on one years deals and pursue new free agents and potential trade targets next off season. This year, the Lakers will need to determine who they want to keep in their young core, and it would be in their best interests to play their younger players more minutes than the 1 year players,  though it's to be determined if that will be the case if LeBron doesn't trust them as the season progresses.

Biggest Question- Can the Lakers play the full regular season without a big man who can play at least 20 effective minutes per game? 

PROJECTED SEED-  6th

 

LA Clippers-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Patrick Beverley, Shea Gilgeous Alexander, Milos Teodosic
Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Jerome Robinson
Danilo Gallinari, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Sindarius Thornwell, Tyrone Wallace
Tobias Harris, Mike Scott
Marcin Gortat, Montrezl Harrell



Key Additions- Shea Gilgeous Alexander, Jerome Robinson

 

OUTLOOK: The Clippers are in a  transition year with a bunch of players who are expecting to play, but they don't have many players that they can count on to produce month to month due to durability and consistency issues. They built this team with an eye on 2020 free agency, looking to make a big splash in a deep pool of star players, so it's pretty unlikely that they'll make a big move this season unless they can trade for one of their future targets right now for a discounted cost.

Biggest Question- Will the Clippers make a trade for Jimmy Butler? 

 

PROJECTED SEED-  13th

 

Phoenix Suns-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

 

Isaiah Canaan, Shaquille Harrison, DeAnthony Melton, Elie Okobo
Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Troy Daniels
Josh Jackson, TJ Warren
Trevor Ariza, Ryan Anderson, Dragan Bender
DeAndre Ayton, Tyson Chandler, Richaun Holmes



Key Additions- Trevor Ariza, Mikal Bridges, DeAndre Ayton

OUTLOOK: The Suns added to their core of young players by drafting Ayton, and acquiring Bridges in a draft day trade. Due to them not addressing their PG position, and their team having a plethora of wing players, it seems extremely likely that they will experiment with Booker at the 1, which is an experiment worth trying to improve his ball handling and decision making in a year where they're just aiming to developing their young players and tanking for another high lottery pick.

Biggest Question- Can DeAndre Ayton learn the defensive schemes quickly enough to avoid being one of the worst defensive big men/highest foul rate players in the NBA this season? 

 

PROJECTED SEED-  14th

 

Sacramento Kings-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

DeAaron Fox, Frank Jackson
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Yogi Ferrell
Justin Jackson, Ben McLemore
Marvin Bagley III, Nemanja Bjelica, Skal Labissiere
Willie Cauley Stein, Harry Giles, Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos

 

Key Additions- Marvin Bagley, Nemanja Bjelica

OUTLOOK: The Kings need two of Fox, Bagley, and Giles to become high level starters in order to be in playoff contention in 2-3 years. It's been so long since this team made the playoffs and had any direction, and I  truly feel sorry for Kings fans. On the bright side, they have one of the best commentating crews in the NBA. 

Biggest Question- Can Harry Giles be in ROTY contention after being one of the most hyped High School players ever, despite having 2 major knee surgeries in recent years?

 

PROJECTED SEED-  15th


Southwest Division(SOUTHWEST DIVISION PREVIEW PODCAST- http://stretch4pod.libsyn.com/website/southwest-division-preview):

 

Dallas Mavericks-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

Dennis Smith Jr, Devin Harris, Jalen Brunson
Wes Matthews, JJ Barea,
Harrison Barnes, Dorian Finney Smith
Luka Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki, Max Kleber
DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Powell, Salah Mejri

 

Key Additions- Luka Doncic, DeAndre Jordan

 

OUTLOOK: The Mavericks made a calculated gamble by moving up in the draft to acquire Luka Doncic, the 19 year old wonderboy. They also added DeAndre Jordan 4 years later, who should fit seamlessly with a pick and roll heavy offence. This team had major issues closing out games last season, and normally bringing in a rookie decision maker wouldn't improve this major area of concern, but Doncic was the most accomplished young player coming into the NBA at 19 years old, and he has shown wisdom beyond his years. Even if the Mavs don't make the playoffs this season(which I think that they can if they make a move to improve their depth), they will be one of the most interesting league pass teams this season with an extremely bright future. 

 

Biggest Question- Will Doncic win ROTY and help the Mavericks become a playoff team as soon as this season?

 

PROJECTED SEED10th

Houston Rockets-

Projected Depth Chart:

Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, Michael Carter Williams
James Harden, Eric Gordon
James Ennis, Carmelo Anthony Gerald Green
PJ Tucker, Carmelo Anthony
Clint Capela, Nene, Marqueese Chriss

 

Key Additions- James Ennis, Carmelo Anthony

 

OUTLOOK: The Rockets added Carmelo for the vet minimum this off season, and by all indications, it looks like they plan to bring him off of the bench this season. I believe that he will have a bounce back year after a brutal year with OKC in 2017-18, as he will have more rhythm spot up opportunities with Houston, and he will also have numerous opportunities to be the number one scorer against bench units this season. The addition of James Ennis will not be as big of a downgrade as many believe in comparison to Ariza, especially at the expected values of their role given the amount of money each of them will earn this upcoming season. They look to have made the Anderson/Chriss deal with their eye on the trade deadline in adding one more wing player, but they should be a very good regular season team regardless, and an extremely tough out come playoff time again this season. 

Biggest Question- Will the Rockets make a move at the deadline to improve their wing rotation?

 

PROJECTED SEED2nd

 

Memphis Grizzlies

Projected Depth Chart:

Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, Mario Chalmers
Dillon Brooks, Wayne Selden, Marshon Brooks
Kyle Anderson, Chandler Parsons, 
JaMychal Green, Jarren Jackson Jr, Omri Casspi
Marc Gasol, Ivan Rabb

Key Additions- Kyle Anderson

 

OUTLOOK: The Grizzlies continue to delay their inevitable painful rebuild by hanging on to Marc Gasol, and continuing to build around him and Conley despite their limited roster depth and overall talent. If Mike Conley continues to have Achilles issues, this team will undoubtedly have another lottery season, and they will find themselves in a worse situation than they are currently in, with an even older Gasol, and an injury riddled starting PG with no value with his massive contract. If both Conley and Gasol are healthy, this team will be in contention for a playoff seed, but at this point, that seems extremely unlikely given their teams injury history. 

Biggest Question- Will the Grizzlies blow up their roster and trade Gasol, and potentially Conley as well(same question as last year)?

 

PROJECTED SEED11th

 

New Orleans Pelicans

Projected Depth Chart:


Elfrid Payton, Frank Jackson, Jarrett Jack
Jrue Holiday, Ian Clark,
E'Twuan Moore, Darius Miller, Solomon Hill
Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle,
Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Cheick Diallo


Key Additions- Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle

 

OUTLOOK: The Pelicans made significant changes to their rotation by adding Julius Randle, and essentially swapping Rondo for Payton. Payton has a lot to prove this upcoming season, as he will need to play significant meaningful minutes for a potential playoff team for the first time in his career, and although Rondo has his faults, Payton will have big shoes to fill since Rondo had such a positive impact on this team from a leadership standpoint, especially on offence. The Pelicans are still extremely thin on the wing, but their talent and depth in the front court should once again continue to help mask that against most of the non elite teams in the league. 

Biggest Question- Can Anthony Davis once again drag this team on his back to the playoffs in a tough Western Conference? 

 

PROJECTED SEED8th

 

San Antonio Spurs-

 

Projected Depth Chart:

DeJounte Murray, Patty Mills, Derrick White
DeMar Derozan, Marco Belinelli, Bryn Forbes
Rudy Gay, Lonnie Walker
LaMarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans, Dante Cunningham
Pau Gasol, Jakob Poeltl

 

Key Additions- DeMar Derozan, Marco Belinelli, Jakob Poeltl

 

OUTLOOK: The Spurs decided to rebuild on the fly rather than blow up their roster after the Kawhi Leonard situation unfolded, in an attempt to remain a playoff team during Pops remaining years as Head Coach. This will be his toughest test in terms of coaching a roster to a playoff seed in a deep Western Conference in 20+ years, as the Spurs extremely limited spacing in their starting 5 unit especially will likely be a big issue since their best players games seem to overlap. They also got worse defensively, which has been a big part of their identity during their run with Pop, something they may not be able to consistently rely on with slower, smaller, or older players at key positions.

Biggest Question- How will Pop manage to get this mid range happy team into the playoffs yet again?

 

PROJECTED SEED9th

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DanH
2nd? Boo!

Great stuff BDL.
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DocHolliday
^^^I second that, great post BDL!
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JeffB
Great job BDL. And I agree with Boston winning the conference.
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Ball Don't Lie
JeffB_STR82DVD wrote:
Great job BDL. And I agree with Boston winning the conference.


They may win more regular season games, but we're going to the ship baby !
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LX
Not quite 2018-19, but i love this.

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24874286/gif-kobe-bryant-not-flinching-debunked
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JeffB
@TheSteinLine
The Wolves and Heat were making significant progress on a Jimmy Butler trade this week, league sources say, before deal changes proposed by Minnesota led to a breakdown in talks
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JeffB


@wojespn
Miami, Minnesota have been consistently engaged in Jimmy Butler talks for several days, with Heat pushing Timberwolves for an answer today on a revised offer, league sources tell ESPN. Minnesota’s conversations are relatively sparse elsewhere; remain focused on Miami.
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JeffB
🤣🤣😂

@wojespn
Sources: Barring a trade, Tom Thibodeau is still determined to get Butler back with the team for start of season. Butler hasn't made a final decision on when he'll join team and practice, but he doesn't plan to miss regular season games if his wrist is healthy. https://t.co/iQypvZ88ad
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JeffB
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DocHolliday
I quite enjoyed the a$$ whooping the clippers hung on the Wolves last night.  That line of SGA, Beverly, Harris, Gallo, Harrell was a lot of fun to watch.
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JeffB
I was watching the Milwaukee/Chicago game last night for a bit, the Bucks imo might just be the 4th best team in the EC. Everyone keeps saying it's Indiana but that's far from a given. They finally have a good coach and imo Brook Lopez, while flawed will help them imo, especially on offense. Their ball movement was fun to watch. The game got out of hand so I stopped watching and it was vs the lowly Bulls but I think the Bucks have a pretty good shot at home court in the first round.
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JeffB
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7shikamaru7
https://nba.nbcsports.com/2018/09/28/what-nba-officials-will-focus-on-this-season-off-ball-clutching-grabbing-traveling-respect-for-game/

we're gonna be seeing some slowwwwwwww games. I can see them being strict on this rule for the first couple of months just to make the players aware of this rule. I remember the "delay of game" techs when players grab the ball after a made shot...that was brutallllll!
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