With the 2017/18 NBA season just around the corner (Oct 17th), to add some excitement to the tedious pre-season i’ve decided to rank the 30 starting lineups heading into the new season (note:maybe subject to change as this list is made on 31/8/2017).
30. Sacramento Kings
- George Hill
- Buddy Hield
- Justin Jackson
- Zach Randolph
- Willie Cauley-Stein
The Sacramento Kings don’t have much going for them. They lost a budding superstar in a lopsided trade, the front office made some questionable signings this off season and they haven’t had a winning season in 12 years!!.
Whilst the team is “rebuilding” they signed some pretty questionable veterans to hefty salaries instead of cheaper veterans to guide the youngsters in the right direction.
D’aaron Fox won’t get the keys to the car straight away, but if the earns his stripes could eventually start alongside George Hill or even relegate him to the bench. Buddy Hield is the owner’s favourite player (By making it the known fact he wanted to draft Buddy last season). Justin Jackson is a rookie….. But who else they got!?! also they’ve got nothing to lose. Zach Randolph is a seasoned veteran and will still make an impact from a starting role whilst leading and guiding the youngsters. Willie Cauley-Stein has proved the is a starting centre in this league.
I still see them being a high lottery team.
- Deangelo Russell
- Allen Crabbe/Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- Demarre Carroll
- Trevor Booker
- Timofey Mozgov
I just see this lineup and shake my head……..
This team will “compete” for the first or second draft pick and they don’t even own it.
Deangelo will be the leader of this team. It would’nt be out of the question to see him average 25+ points (because lets face it…. who’ll score on this team?). Allen Crabbe and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will compete for the starting 2 guard which could go to either one of them. Demarre Carroll has no competition for the starting 3; with his solid defensive ability and decent 3 point stroke we should see his numbers go up to maybe something similar to his Atlanta Hawks days. Trevor Booker because who else? And finally Timofey Mozgov will provide consistency and a solid body in the paint.
28. Orlando Magic
- Elfrid Payton
- Terence Ross
- Evan Fournier/ Jonathan Simmons
- Arron Gordon
- Nicola Vucevic/ Bismack Biyombo
The Orlando Magic on paper have some exciting prospects. They just haven’t been able to put it all together so far. With a 29-53 record last season. This coming season doesn’t look any better.
Elfrid Payton is unfortunately poised to start on opening night. While his numbers are consistent with no signs of improvement and his 3 point shot declining (32% to 27% this previous season) he is not right for the modern NBA as a starting point guard. Don’t be surprised if his inconsistencies cost him his starting sport and DJ Augustin takes over.
Terence Ross has averaged 10 more minutes of gameplay since leaving the Raptors and also averaged a whole 2 points more. He’s not the starter Orlando needs, but the one it deserves.
Evan Fournier and Jonathan Simmons will battle it out for the 3 spot. Evan is a great scorer and consistent for the Magic. But why pay Simmons the big bucks to start on the bench am i right?
Aaron Gordon is the looking to be the most promising player on this team. With Blake Griffin-like athleticism but slightly better defence; he has no competition.
Depending on how the Magic want tot play will determine whether Nikola or Bismack start. Do they wanna play more slowed down half court? Or small ball run the ball as fast as possible. Only time will tell.
27. Chicago Bulls
- Cameron Payne/ Kris Dunn
- Dwayne Wade
- Nikola Mirotic
- Bobby Portis
- Robin Lopez
With the losses of superstar Jimmy Butler and starting point guard Rajon Rondo the Chigcago bulls look like a woeful bunch.
Both Cameron Payne and Kris Dunn have no business being starting point guards in the league right now but there’s no one else that could do the job. Nikola has earned his striped and gives the team a great offensive threat. Robin Lopez is Mr Consistent and will get the job done as he always does. You gotta feel for Dwayne Wade, reports being the youngters can’t stand him. he’s almost in a Carmelo Anthony-like situation. Don’t expect him to still be there come All Star Break
26. Indiana Pacers
- Darren Collison
- Victor Oladipo
- Glen Robinson III/ Lance Stephenson
- Thadeus Young
- Myles Turner
The Pacers are in rebuilding mode, with some fresh new pieces added and a disgruntled superstar traded away they are heading in the right direction. That’s not to say they’ll be very successful this year.
Darren Collison is a worthy starter, very consistnent and will get teh job done. Former indiana alumni Victor Oladipo (the newly aqcuired piece) will take on a load of the scoring as well as solid defense. Glen Robinson and Lance Stepenson will battle it out for the starting 3 spot depending on which direnction coach Mcmilan has envisioned. Thatdeus Young is the old veteran now and will be tasked with scoring as well as guiding this young team.
Myles Turner is the future of the Pacers. With a decent jumpshot and interior defense he’s Indiana’s only hope for the future.
25. Dallas Mavericks
- Seth Curry
- Yogi Ferrel
- Harrison Barnes
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Nerlens Noel
The Mavs are beginning to say their goodbyes to the best player in their history; Mr Dirk Nowitzki. Not only did he opt out of his current deal, he resigned with Dallas for cheaper. Not many superstars would give their team a hometown discount without knowing guaranteed that other stars were planning to sign with them.
The young Mavericks drafted Dennis Smith Jr this off season, he will be a piece for the future and if he earns his stripes may see decent game time this coming season. Coach Carlisle doesn’t have much to work with. Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrel with do their best dual point guard tandem. Harrison Barnes will be the best player on this team with 20+ ppg whilst defending the other team’s best player. Dirk will still steadily declining whilst hopefully still giving us some momentous Dirk moments. Nerlens Noel signed for one year hoping this seasons’ tryout will get him something close to a max deal next summer; his defensive ability as well as underrated passing ability are to be respected.
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Lonzo Ball
- Kentavious Caldwell-Poope
- Brandon Ingram
- Julius Randle
- Brook Lopez
I truly hope i’m wrong about this ranking. I believe the Lakers are one of those teams that can surprise the heck out of the league.
Lonzo Ball is the new face of the franchise and will receive the keys to the car from day 1; he has the ability to make his team mates around him play better. KCP is a good addition to the team, adding scoring (a good 3 point stroke) and decent defence. Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle will only continue to get better and Brook Lopez is a decent center that adds another 3 point threat shot to the starting lineup. This team could easily scrape into the 8th spot in the western conference playoffs depending on how their season goes.
23. Phoenix Suns
- Eric Bledsoe
- Devin Booker
- TJ Warren
- Marquese Chriss
- Tyson Chandler
The Phoenix Suns are halfway through a rebuild; and depending on the next few season will determine whether succesful or not. The back court is set. With Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker starting; there is no competition. TJ Warren is looking to rise from a decent 3rd season performance and will be looking to impress teams or even his own team to pay him big bucks soon. Marquese Chriss looks to build upon his second year in the league and seems to be a sure thing for the starting 4. Tyson Chandler is a no brainer for the centre position, his interior toughness and veteran leadership are crucial to this team. Even if his numbers slowly start to decline; that’s not what he’s there for.
22. Philadelphia 76’ers
- Markelle Fultz
- JJ Redick
- Dario Saric
- Ben Simmons
- Joel Embiid
Another exciting young team on the rise. I “trust the process”.
With nothing to lose and all to gain Markelle Fultz will be the starting point guard on opening night, but will have to double down on ball distribution duties with Ben Simmons who looks to play a point-forward type of role (see Lamar Odom). JJ Reddick was a good addition this off-season, the savvy veteran will add a good 3 point stroke as well as veteran leadership on and off the floor. Dario Saric will look to improve in his second season in the league as he impressed doubters during his debut. Joel Embiid I’m sure will be excited to see more minutes on the floor as his limit last year frustrated him and the fan. Won’t be shock to see him in the all-star game this year.
Any record better than the last 5 years will be considered a success for the front office.
21. New York Knicks
- Ramon Sessions
- Tim Hardaway Jr
- Carmelo Anthony
- Kristaps Porzingis
- Joakim Noah
The Knicks starting lineup on paper seems decent. But with the decline of overpaid veterans like Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah this team is going nowhere real fast. Ramon Sessions will win the starter position over newly drafted Frank Ntilikina whilst he acclimates himself to the American game (former pro in France). Tim Hardaway just signed a big deal for no reason with the Knicks (hopefully his numbers go up). Kristaps Porzingis the 7ft Latvian unicorn is the only ray of hope for the team this season. Look for his numbers and usage rate to go up and possibly contend for a spot on the weak Eastern all-star team.
20. Atlanta Hawks
- Dennis Schroder
- Kent Bazemore
- Taurean Prince
- Ersan Illyasova
- Dewayne Dedmon
This team shipped out its starting frontcourt to add youngsters and roster flexibility to the mix. The Hawks began a rebuild this off-season and their overall season grade will be determined at the season’s end. Dennis Schroder is the leader and face of this team now. See his numbers and usage rate go up this season. Kent Bazemore brings consistency and decent defense to the table. Taurean prince looks to make a good second season impression just like he left in his first. Illyasova adds rebounding and a decent 3 point shot. New acquired Dewayne Dedmon is another diamond in the rough discovered by coach Popvich who will come in handy for the hawks this season
19. New Orleans Pelicans
- Jrue Holiday
- Rajon Rondo
- Darius Miller
- Anthony Davis
- Demarcus Cousins
The above picture basically is the starting lineup for the Pels.
Newly acquired Rajon Rondo can still ball, he’ll provide pass-first point guard skills so that Jrue Holiday can play off the ball and focus on scoring. With Solomon Hill likely to see some time on the sidelines Darius Miller looks to be the only logical answer at starting small forward. You already know the frontcourt is set in stone. Depending on how this second season experiment pans out look for “The Brow” and “Boogie” to do some damage this year.
- Ricky Rubio
- Rodney Hood
- Joe Ingles/ Joe Johnson
- Derrick Favours
- Rudy Gobert
The Jazz took a hit this off-season. George Hill left town, Gordon Hayward saw how weak the East was and didn’t look back. So now their entire starting lineup will be reshuffled. Ricky Rubio was traded to the Jazz and will continue to put up similar numbers to his past Timberwolves days. Rodney Hood will fill the 2 guard and look to add more scoring punch to the team. Joe Johnson or Joe Ingles will start at the 3, they might see the floor together at some points to add diversity mixed with scoring and defence. The traditional front court stays intact, the two bigs will be looked up to (literally) to lead the pack and take over games. Rudy Gobert will continue to improve, look to crack the all-star team and probably contend again for defensive player of the year.
17. Memphis Grizzlies
- Mike Conley
- Tony Allen
- Chandler Parsons
- Jamychal Green
- Marc Gasol
Memphis and the grindhouse took a hit this season as the let Zach Randolph go (he wasn’t starting anyway) so their grit and grind is a bit less this year.
Mike Conley has a done a great job so far leading this team, so has Marc Gasol by adding a 3 point stroke and carrying the scoring load. Hopefully this season Chandler Parsons can contribute more and be more like the Parsons of the Houston Rockets/Dallas mavericks days. Jamychal Green is a young up and comer with the potential to improve. Don’t sleep on this team, the grit and grind of play is still alive in the city of Memphis and don’t be surprised if they sneak into a lower seed in the Western Conference playoffs
16. Detroit Pistons
- Reggie Jackson
- Avery Bradley
- Stanley Johnson
- Tobias Harris
- Andre Drummond
The Pistons improved this summer. Adding Avery Bradley to the mix adds playoff experience, defense and scoring to this young Detroit team. Reggie Jackson should distribute the ball more to get the most out of this lineup. Stanely Johnson has been patiently waiting to be called up to the plate. After going toe to toe with Lebron in his first year, he flunked second year. But with Marcus Morris leaving town Johnson can now fill the void left at starting small forward. Tobias Harris will continue to add scoring and long-range shooting to the front court. Andre Drummond hopefully has been working on his free throws this summer (come on man, you getting 23 million a year and you can’t hit free throws!). This team could easily steal a lower spot in the weakened Eastern Conference playoffs.
15. Los Angeles Clippers
- Patrick Beverly
- Austin Rivers
- Danilo Gallinari
- Blake Griffin
- Deandre Jordan
The Los Angeles Clippers took a big fat L this summer, losing Chris Paul (the best point guard in the team’s history) for a few decent assets in return. The bench has been solidified (but this list is about starters). Patrick Beverly and Austin Rivers will most likely run a two point guard tandem from the get-go. Beverly adds defensive toughness and a 3 point stroke whilst Rivers can score the rock.
Danilo Galliniari joins the team as the starting small forward, he adds size and a great shooting touch. Blake Griffin will play a point forward role this year, don’t be surprised if he leads the team in assists either. As an underrated passer Griffin will feed his team mates whilst still scoring at a respectable rate. DeAndre Jordan contributes with defensive toughness and a decent touch around the rim. Watch his knees shake with fear at the free throw line though.
This team has taken a major blow, they still have the opportunity to scrape into the lower Western Playoff seeds with a decent bench and consistent play from their starters.
14. Charlotte Hornets
- Kemba Walker
- Nicolas Batum
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- Marvin Williams
- Dwight Howard
The addition of Dwight Howard only improves this team. A team with great defensive ability added another piece to bring interior defence. Kemba Walker made his all-star debut last season, look for his assist numbers to go up by feeding the big fella in the paint. Nic Batum adds great defence and length whilst averaging 15ppg. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been working on his shot during the off-season, look for his scoring to go up whilst contributing to the defence. Marvin Williams is more of a stretch 4 which complements the lane clogging Dwight Howard perfectly. As long as Dwight accepts his role on the team (interior anchor and finisher around the rim) and continues to defend and rebound this team has the potential to make some noise in the East.
13. Miami Heat
- Goran Dragic
- Dion Waiters
- Justise Winslow
- James Johnson
- Hassan Whiteside
Goran “The Dragon” Dragic looks to lead the Heat into the playoffs this year with this young team full of potential; his scoring, passing and leader ship skills are second to none. Dion Waiters just re-upped with the Heat and looks to improve upon his great season rebirth last year. Justise Winslow is coming into his own and looks to be the starting small forward of the future. Depending which direction coach Spoelsta wants to go will determine the starting front court partner of Hassan Whiteside. Newly acquired Kelly Olynyk adds height and range to the lineup. Another direction could be small ball with gritty defense in James Johnson. Hassan Whiteside will look to crack the weak Eastern All star team this year and earn All defensive team honours as well.
12. Portland Trailblazers
- Damian Lillard
- Cj McCollum
- Al Farouq Aminu
- Maurice Harkless
- Jusuf Nurkic
One of the best back courts in the NBA aimed at recruiting Carmelo Anthony this off season to join them in the hopes he would join them as they try to take down the Golden State Warriors (to no avail). Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are always gonna be a dangerous combination for any opposition. Al Farouq Aminu takes the starting 3 sport as Allen Crabbe has departed. Maurice (Moe) Harkless will start as a stretch 4 that will give Jusuf Nurkic more room to maneuver in the paint and do his thing. Nearly every statistical category improved for Nurkic when he joined the Blazers late last season. Look for that kind of play to carry on in his first full season with the team.
If this team meshes well and get the pieces going together they could make some noise in the West.
11. Denver Nuggets
- Emmanuel Mudiay
- Garry Harris
- Wilson Chandler
- Paul Millsap
- Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets are ready to make some post season noise this year. The new young recruits are coming into their own and they just acquired the perfect complimentary veteran that won’t take away from these youngsters but add to the arsenal. Emmanuel Mudiay isn’t a bust but he kinda seems like one. His numbers havent really impressed anyone since he’s entered the league. If his numbers and game don’t improve he could lose his starter job to a consistent veteran like Jameer Nelson.
Gary Harris is starting to come into his own, each year his numbers continue to rise. Look for this year to be a breakout year. Wilson Chandler will receive more game time since Danillo Gallinari left town. He adds tough defense, athleticism as well as range to the starting lineup.
Newly acquired Paul Millsap will only make the team better. he’s a jack of all trades kind of forward that can even handle the ball. If a consistent ball handler cannot be figured out this season look to Millsap to take up a point forward role. “The Joker” Nikola Jokic must be jumping for joy to see a big man join the team that will finish at the rim, shoot the outside and even set Jokic up for easy buckets this season. Look for his impressive play to continue to improve and Jokic contend for an all-star spot in the West.
10. Washington Wizards
- John Wall
- Bradley Beal
- Otto Porter
- Markieff Morris
- Marcin Gortat
Another contender for top back courts in basketball. John Wall and Bradley Beal have publically expressed the details of their relationship (lets just say it doesn’t go as far as the court). but their stellar on court play is all that matters. Both guards will most likely contend for all-star spots this season and look for a deeper playoff push than they ever have had. Otto Porter signed for max money this summer, lets see if he lives up to the contract and makes this his breakout year. Markieff Morris is a great piece to pair with Marcin Gortat in the front court as he can stretch the floor and make shots at a respectable rate. “The Polish Hammer” plays consistent basketball on both ends of the floor. The Wizards can contend anywhere from 4th to 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.
9. Milwaukee Bucks
- Malcom Brogdon
- Khris Middleton
- Giannis Antetokounpo
- Jabari Parker
- Thon Maker
These “Young Bucks” are coming into their own.
Their starting point guard is last season’s Rookie of the Year. Malcom Brogdon is the perfect point for this team; with his unselfish play (pass first mentality) and ability to get down and dirty with the hustle. Khris Middleton is on the comeback this year. After missing the majority of last season Khris looks to prove a point (that he can ball with the best of them), look for his numbers to go up (especially 3pt attempts and makes) and an all star campaign.
The “Greek Freak” is tearing up at the minute. The leagues “Most improved player” looks to take his young team to the promised land, one of the most tantalising talents since King James Giannis can do it all. He even asked the Black Mamba Kobe Bryant for a personal challenge for this season. Mamba Replied on twitter with “MVP”, that’s not out of the question for this special young man.
Jabari Parker is also on the rebound from an injury. If he can pick up where he left off last season he adds another lethal weapon on this Bucks team.
Second year center Thon Maker will start, after impressing coach Kidd all season Maker adds a 3 point shot, athleticism and solid interior defence to the Bucks.
Look for this team to contend for a top 3 spot in the Eastern Conference and a deep playoff push.
8. Toronto Raptors
- Kyle Lowry
- Demar Derozan
- CJ Miles
- Serge Ibaka
- Jonas Valunciunas
I was on the fence between the Bucks and the Raptors for their rankings. The only thing that the Raptors have over the Bucks is overall experience.
Kyle Lowry came back late in the season from injury and picked up where he left off, sharing the offensive load of the team whilst distributing the ball.
Demar Derozan lived up to his max contract; averaging 27ppg and 5 rebounds (whilst barely attempting a 3). Look for Derozan to add a 3 point shot to his repertoire and lead his team deep into the Eastern Conference finals.
Newly acquired CJ Miles completes the guard of this team with top notch defensive play as well as a 3 point shot (Just don’t ask him to make the last shot of the game in the playoffs lol).
Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valunciunas are the perfect combination of offence and defence in the post. With Ibaka able to guard an opposing team’s best big whilst making long range shots and good help defense; Jonas can focus on his soft touch and making easy buckets around the rim.
This team didn’t really improve this off season, neither did they regress.
7.Oklahoma City Thunder
- Russel Westbrook
- Andre Roberson
- Paul George
- Patrick Patterson
- Steven Adams
The Brodies are back! And with a new and improved team this season.
The Thunder traded an overrated Victor Oladipo, a youth with some potential and Damontas Sabonas and a draft pick for Paul George!!!
Now Westbrook has his sidekick; he can focus on distributing and setting up for team mates with easy looks at the rim whilst not having to carry such a big scoring load. Look for Russ to be more “win focused” as opposed to just stuffing the stat sheet.
Andre Roberson is back, not a cheap price but at least he can defend the opposition’s best player and rebound (i pray he’s been working on his 3’s and free throws!!).
Paul George……… The Thunder only have him for one season before he plans to depart for the Lakers (which isn’t a secret). So they have one year to do something special to convince to stay coming into next free agency. George will guarantee 20 points a game, good wing defense and most (importantly) will defer to Westbrook. Paul George is not a dominating personality and can play off the ball quite well which should help Westbrook a tonne!
The Thunder also signed Patrick Patterson from the seasoned Toronto Raptors. He provides floor spacing (3 point ability) whilst rebounding at a decent rate.
Steven Adams hasn’t made the elite leap most analysts thought he would. Look for him to make some noise and consistently bring toughness to games. his rebounds might go up this year since he won’t have to give them up to Russ.
Look for the Thunder to make some noise in the playoffs and give the Warriors a good fight or potentially upset the Rockets.
- Jeff Teague
- Jimmy Butler
- Andrew Wiggins
- Taj Gibson
- Karl-Anthony Towns
This team is the biggest eyebrow raiser of the offseason.
Trading and injured Zach Lavine and a potential bust Kris Dunn for Jimmy Butler; a top 10 talent in the league who can do it on both ends of the floor.
Signing a decent point guard to complement the other starters whilst being able to hold his own, getting rid of the Ricky Rubio situation, signing another player to bolster the front court with KAT and signing multiple 6th Man of the Year award winner Jamal Crawford!
It’s easy to see why Teague signed with this team, to see the moves they made lots of free agents wanted to join them. Teague averaged 15ppg 7.8assists and 4 rebounds. Look for his numbers to go down this season, but that’s to be expected with such a strong starting lineup.
Jimmy Butler, just wow. Butler joins his old favourite coach Thibodeau, he’ll get to co-lead this team with Towns and most importantly they’ll win games. As Butler claimed before being traded he wasn’t too worried about being “the man”, well he gets what he wished for playing with a top 5 talent in the league.
Andrew Wiggins numbers might slighlty drop. But that is to be expected when you play with another dominant wing player. he’ll at least get easier looks whilst the opposing defenses focus on his team mates. He’ll have his moments this coming season. Wiggins’ biggest challenge will be the post season. Somewhere he has never ventured before.
Another Coach Thibodeau favourite in Taj Gibson joins the team. Gibson adds playoff experience, hard nosed defence and a decent mid range jumper. His presence in the locker room and on the bench is priceless though. For the youngsters that have zero playoff experience and not yet accustomed to coach Thibs; Gibson is an invaluable asset to assisting implement the system Coach his envisioned.
Karl-Anthony Towns is already a top 2 (between him and Demarcus Cousins) center in this league. With all these new pieces around him, we can expect the T-Wolves to make some noise in the Western Conference. Look for his numbers to grow in every damn category and Towns to make the Western All star team.
It’s a very exciting time to be a Timberwolves fan.
5. San Antonio Spurs
- Tony Parker
- Daniel Green
- Kawhi Leonard
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Pau Gasol
The player in the above image is the only player that matters. Kawhi Leonard is a top 5 talent in this league and finished third in MVP voting last season. He will continue to play at the elite level this coming season and carry the old Spurs to a top 3 seed in the West.
Tony Parker is on the wrong side of 30, see him as the starter on the court but most likely not receive starter minutes. The majority of point guard minutes will go to Patty Mills who brings a great energy off the bench. Parker will still have his moments and hopeful help his team out come playoff time if he can stay healthy.
Daniel Green is the perfect 3 and D player which does not draw too much attention from opposing defences whilst being able to guard their best player.
LaMarcus Aldridge was very disappointing when Kawhi went down in the Western Conference finals last season. He seems to perform better in the regular season. With lackluster defence and his only offensive ability being a mid range jumper look for his minutes to go down as coach Pop will most likely want to play smaller and quicker next season with the newly acquired Rudy Gay able to play along side Kawhi. Don’t be surprised to see Aldridge on the trading block either.
Pau Gasol is like a fine wine; he only gets better with age. Pau has accepted his role on the Spurs team and seems to have adapted well to the coaching staff’s strict minutes on the their older players. He can still provide a body in the paint, great passing ability, veteran leadership and a multitude of ways to score.
Never ever count the Spurs out. It doesn;t matter who’s on their team. They’ll still make the playoffs with ease whilst resting their keys players when needed throughout the season and still upset the big dogs in the league with their fundamental style and blank faced MVP candidate (I think he’s got it this year).
4. Houston Rockets
- Chris Paul
- James Harden
- Trevor Ariza
- Ryan Anderson
- Clint Capella
The Rockets stole top 5 point guard Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers this past summer. Chris Paul is serious about winning and was happy to join MVP candidate James Harden to make a deadly duo in the West. Him and James will be tandem point guards this season most likely running plays for each other and making easy passes to team mates for easy finishes.
James Harden got the short end of this stick, he was not completely stripped of his point guard duties, they are now just shared amongst himself and Paul. This could make or break the Rockets. Expect his point average to stay the same but assists to go down.
Trevor Ariza is still a valuable 3 and D wing in this league. He will benefit from having Paul running the ball up the court. That will make for more open 3 point shots.
Ryan Anderson stretches the floor and complements this 5 well. As long as Anderson spaces the floor and keeps making deeps shots, this team can succeed.
Clint Capella will most likely league the lead in field goal percentage this season. Look for his numbers to go up. Y’all remember lob city right? Well Chris Paul is bringing that to Texas.
This Rockets team can make a deep playoff push if they don’t have problems against newly formed teams like the T-Wolves or the Thunder.
3. Boston Celtics
- Kyrie irving
- Jaylen Brown
- Gordon Hayward
- Marcus Morris
- Al Horford
Any team that acquires Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving in the same off season is gonna be dramatically better the next season.
Kyrie got his wish granted.He will be expected to be “The Man” of this team from day 1. At least on this team he’ll have the ball in his hands more. Lebron did most the distribution in Cleveland. Expect Irving’s assists to go up clutch ability to come through late in games. This a great fit for the young point guard with a chip on his shoulder.
Gordon Hayward also go his wish. As mentioned in their introductory press conference. Hayward wanted to play in Cleveland with Kyrie before Lebron jumped on board.
Hayward will be a good piece that can carry a scoring load whilst playing solid defence and showing leadership. He’s a jack of all trades guy that will benefit from playing in the East (watch each of his stats blow up)
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will now be relied upon to take a load on the wings. These two youngsters (ones a second year player and the other a rookie) will have plenty of opportunities to show Coach Stevens what they got. They won’t be expected to do much, as long as they can play decent defense, score easy baskets and not mess up. They’ll have a successful campaign.
Marcus Morris leaves Detroit who struggled to make last season’s playoff to arrive at the former top seed in the East. As long as he spaces the floor, makes his open shots and plays defense he’ll fit in nicely.
Look for Al Horford’s numbers to digress this year as two stars have joined the team. He’s not a big stat guy anyway, he plays nice fundamental basketball and has the ability to spread the floor as a big which makes this team even more dangerous.
Look for the Celtics to give the Cavaliers more of a fight next playoffs with their newly formed team.
- Derrick Rose
- JR Smith
- Lebron James
- Kevin Love/ Jae Crowder
- Tristan Thompson
If you look above. that is the face Lebron made when he found out they traded his starting point guard for an injured one.
Any team with Lebron James on it will be near the top of a rankings list. He’s the best player in basketball.
Isiah Thomas is predicted to be back after the all star break. This leaves Derrick Rose as first in best dressed starting point guard come opening night. He’s not expected to be Derrick Rose of 2009 anyway. He just needs to be a body on the floor that Lebron can pass to or blame if something goes wrong.
JR Smith keeps his starting job since the Cavs didn’t really acquire any better 2 guards this off season. He provides mediocre defense, a good couple of 3 point shots and streaky shooting.
Lebron is Lebron. Even though he’s 33 at the end of the year James will still put up phenomenal numbers. Look for him to bash around in the paint more this season (You guys seen all the core strength training on his instagram?)
He’ll carry this team when necessary (the whole next season) and come up short in the playoffs without the help of his former clutch point guard. Seeing as it is expected Lebron leaves home at the end of this season. Don’t expect too much from “The King” in terms of winning record or even a finals appearance.
Jae Crowder takes pressure of Lebron to defend the best player on the opposing team. He’s good for 15 a game and a decent 3 ball. Kevin Love is a spot up 3 point shooter. Expect his numbers to rise in the absence of his former team mate.
Tristan Thompson is Mr Consistent. Good for 10 points, 10 rebounds a game and solid interior defence as well as help defence. The Cavs face many challenges this season.
- Getting Isiah Thomas instilled into the system and playing well enough before the playoffs
- The Boston Celtics and Kyrie Irving
- Golden State Warriors
1. Golden State Warriors
- Steph Curry
- Klay Thompson
- Kevin Durant
- Draymond Green
- Zaza Pachulia
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Am I right?
The champs did not touch their starting lineup, and why should they?
They have won 2 championships in 3 years and added Kevin Durant last year.
Look for Steph Curry not to defer as much this year as Kevin Durant has now settled and knows his place with the team.
The same goes with Klay Thompson. Look for his scoring numbers to spike as he takes a step forward this season as opposed to a step back last year.
Kevin Durant will continue to be KD and continue to give opposing defences trouble whilst keeping an eye out for Steph and Klay. What impressed me last season was his rebounding and blocking numbers. Look for them to increase or stay consistent.
Draymond Green is coming off a Defensive Player of the Year award. This year he won’t let anyone forget it either. His assists will increase as he will get back some ball handling duties while shutting down opposing players and flexing his biceps.
Zaza Pachulia will be Zaza. That Euro style passing big with a short jumper and pretend toughness. That’s all the Warriors need him for.
This Warriors team is just too dangerous. Some teams will give them trouble. but definiately not the Cavs. That’s a miniscule weight of the champion’s shoulders.