Take a moment.
Because we are only ONE WEEK away from the start of the 2015-2016 NBA regular season. The best season in sports. The best one-on-one rivalries in sports, and this year, with some improvements in the East and some serious shape-shifting in the West, we are in a position to have one of the most entertaining seasons in years. Basketball is at a premium.
Brian and I decided to take a conference each, and because he’s a Nuggets fan and I’m a Wizards fan, we found it easiest to stick with our sides.
Before we get into our top eight, we thought it best to name a few of the teams we believe have potential to grab a seven or eight seed, but for purposes of our preview, didn’t quite make the list. Also, it’s a little bit of mercy on our part. I know there are some fans out there who will read every post, expecting to see their team named, if we don’t eliminate them from the get go.
Send me your hate!
Yes, they will have Paul George at the start of the season. Yes, they acquired Monta Ellis in the offseason. Yes, they traded Roy Hibbert to the Lakers. But we’ve seen Monta carry his baggage publicly, and Jordan Hill, while solid, is no better than Roy Hibbert. David West jumped ship to take 10 million LESS with the Spurs. I’m not a huge fan of Vogel, either. The Pacers want to go small, but their star player isn’t interested in playing the four. They will have games where Ellis and George combine for 60+, but that will not be enough to help them win consistently. Especially when playoff teams last year only got better. I for one, despise George Hill as a player, so here’s to hoping Toney Douglas can steal the starting spot from him.
New York Knicks
Listen, listen, listen. Hear me out Knicks fans. I really like what you did this offseason. Robin Lopez, Aron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Jerian Grant, Kyle O’Quinn, and Kevin Seraphin. And Carmelo Anthony is still on your team, who, despite all his faults, is still pretty damn good. The jury is still out on Kristaps Porzingis, though I’m inclined to think he’ll do fine. My only qualm is that Derek Fisher is still your coach, and because of your personnel last year, I have no idea what to make of him. Phil Jackson, the Zen Master, is still your president, and I don’t think he really knows anything about modern basketball. Really, the only thing holding you down is a lack of trust. Nobody trusts you, which is a shame, because RoLo is amazing. Prove me wrong. Please do. Basketball is better when the Knicks are in the playoffs.
You grabbed Batum, drafted one of the Harrison twins, offered Spencer Hawes a shot at redemption, drafted Frank the Tank, picked up Jeremy Lin and paired them with the lovely 1-5 combo of Kemba Walker and Big Al Jefferson. I really like your team, but let’s be honest, guys, you’re still Charlotte. Michael Jordan is involved with your front office. I’m certainly inclined to root for you at times, and MKG’s injury might prove to be a blessing in disguise, but as is the case with all the bubble teams, other playoff teams have only gotten better. There’s some serious elevation that needs to occur, and you’ll be fighting teams like the Knicks to get there.
I bring up the Pistons mostly out of intrigue. My gut says they won’t do very well, but securing Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond for the long haul and adding pieces like Danny Granger and Marcus Morris is certainly interesting. This is a team that will be a pain on anybody’s schedule, but I don’t imagine they’ll make much of a fuss, especially when competing with an improved East. Maybe add one more player. A Luol Deng like player. Or don’t.
Keep an eye out for our Western Conference bubble teams later this evening and come back tomorrow to read about who we think will be the 7th and 8th seeds in the Eastern Conference.