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Friday, October 05, 2018

OT - NBA Thread (2018-19 season kickoff edition)

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none of whom knew the old thread would get closed, thus detracting from what this site is really about: the baseball playoffs, maybe?

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 05, 2018 at 03:43 PM | 2478 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: basketball, nba, off-topic

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   401. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5766754)
Predictions:

East:
1. Toronto
2. Boston
3. Milwaukee
4. Indiana
5. Philadelphia
6. Miami
7. Charlotte
8. Detroit
9. Washington
10. Cleveland
11. Brooklyn
12. Orlando
13. New York
14. Chicago
15. Atlanta

West:
1. Golden State
2. Houston
3. Utah
4. Lakers
5. Denver
6. Portland
7. OKC
8. San Antonio
9. New Orleans
10. Clippers
11. Minnesota
12. Sacramento
13. Dallas
14. Memphis
15. Phoenix


Finals:
Warriors over Raptors 4-3

MVP: Kawhi
ROY: Ayton
COY: Nurse
   402. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5766755)
Winslow: I think it's yet another case of the Heat overpaying to keep one of their own, that there wouldn't be the market for him.
That said -- and I can't back this up with data --
I have a feeling he's going to turn the corner offensively, where a small to medium improvement as a shooter/scorer will make him worth the money (he's 22, he's a versatile and talented defender, solid rebounder and teritary playmaker).


I think Winslow would definitely get much more than 3/39 as a free agent. As you say--he's 22, and a hell of an athlete. It's still easy to dream on him.
   403. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5766758)
knicks: under 28.5
nets: under 32
orlando: under 31
phoenix: under 29
memphis: under 34.5
   404. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5766761)
memphis: under 34.5

I think this is low key the worst situation in the NBA.
   405. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5766764)
has anyone else noticed that in these ESPN basketball documentary promos, when kobe announced he was declaring for the NBA draft out of high school, he said "i'm taking my talent to the NBA"?


despite all of the blathering about and around "the decision", i'd never heard that connection before.
   406. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5766768)
i hadn't either!
   407. Just TFTIO Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5766775)
EAST

Toronto
Boston
Indiana
Milwaukee
Philadelphia
Miami
Charlotte
Detroit

Brooklyn
Washington
Orlando
Atlanta
Chicago
New York
Cleveland

WEST

Golden State
Houston
Utah
Denver
Portland
LAL
NOP
OKC

Clippers
San Antonio
Sacramento
Memphis
Dallas
Minnesota
Phoenix

PLAYOFFS

GSW over Toronto 4-2
   408. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:14 PM (#5766778)
I originally had San Antonio at 10th but then I just can't imagine Pop missing the playoffs so I caved.
   409. Just TFTIO Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:19 PM (#5766783)
I originally had San Antonio at 10th but then I just can't imagine Pop missing the playoffs so I caved.

Without Murray I think they're totally ######.
   410. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5766784)
538's team projections are up. The ones that standout:

- Wiz 4th in the East, 48-34.
- Knicks and Kings (Knings?) tied for worst in the league, 23-59.
- Spurs in 10th, 37-45.
   411. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5766785)
Without Murray I think they're totally ######.

Probably! But I'm just expecting Pop to figure something out, like have DeRozan basically be the point guard. I don't know.
   412. JC in DC Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5766815)
I think the Knicks will be terrible and that KP will sit the season out, aside perhaps for some "hope-inducing" symbolic games towards the year-end, when his left leg will be knocked off by Lance Thomas diving for a loose ball.
   413. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:51 PM (#5766825)
has anyone else noticed that in these ESPN basketball documentary promos, when kobe announced he was declaring for the NBA draft out of high school, he said "i'm taking my talent to the NBA"?


despite all of the blathering about and around "the decision", i'd never heard that connection before.


Yes! I had this exact reaction over the weekend and was too lazy to log on to post it. Glad you brought it up.

Without Murray I think they're totally ######.


More like: without Parker, Ginobili, Murray, Walker, and White, they're totally f'd. Their entire guard/wing rotation is Mills, Derozan, Gay, and Forbes.
   414. Just TFTIO Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5766830)
More like: without Parker, Ginobili, Murray, Walker, and White, they're totally f'd. Their entire guard/wing rotation is Mills, Derozan, Gay, and Forbes.

Well, Derozan is a horse, but he can only play one position at a time.
   415. Booey Posted: October 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5766831)
1 - Warriors: 62-20 (They can reach this record without even trying that hard)
2 - Rockets: 57-25
3 - Jazz: 52-30
4 - Thunder: 50-32
5 - Lakers: 50-32
6 - Nuggets: 48-34
7 - Pelicans: 47-35
8 - Blazers: 44-38
-
Spurs
Wolves
Clippers
Grizzlies
Mavs
Kings
Suns

Warriors over Blazers 4-0
Rockets over Pelicans 4-2
Jazz over Nuggets 4-2
Lakers over Thunder 4-3

Warriors over Lakers 4-2
Rockets over Jazz 4-3

Warriors over Rockets 4-2

1 - Celtics: 59-23
2 - Raptors: 55-27
3 - Sixers: 54-28 (Too much talent to fall much below this, I think)
4 - Bucks: 48-34
5 - Pacers: 46-36
6 - Wizards: 44-38 (They're not good, but only 5 teams in the East are, so...)
7 - Heat: 42-40
8 - Hornets: 40-42
-
Pistons
Nets
Magic
Cavs
Bulls
Knicks
Hawks

Celtics over Hornets 4-1
Raptors over Heat 4-1
Sixers over Wizards 4-2
Bucks over Pacers 4-3

Celtics over Bucks 4-2
Sixers over Raptors 4-2

Celtics over Sixers 4-2

-

Warriors over Celtics 4-2
   416. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5766837)
EAST

Boston
Philadelphia
Milwaukee (I think people are underestimating how bad Kidd was)
Toronto (I will believe Kawhi can play 70+ games when I see it)
-- gap --
Washington (man, I don't know)
Miami
Indiana (to me, last year esp. for Oladipo looks like an anomaly rather than a new level)
-- gap --
Brooklyn
Orlando (Clifford put together a great D with OK defensive talent in Charlotte; now he has athletes)
Charlotte
Detroit (I don't think you can succeed with such a paucity of shooting in the modern NBA)
-- gap --
New York
Atlanta
Chicago
Cleveland

WEST

Golden State
-- gap --
Utah
LAL (We are all witnesses, but their young talent is in a great position to improve)
Houston (I think they will be much worse than last year, losing some key players and Paul being a year older)
-- gap --
New Orleans
Denver
OKC
Dallas (Doncic + other pieces + Carlisle)
San Antonio
Portland
Minnesota (without Butler)
-- gap --
Clippers (I don't think this iteration of LAC ends well)
Phoenix
Memphis
Sacramento

Finals: Golden State over Philadelphia
   417. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5766839)
The Spurs also have Belinelli, who is really good at being secretly terrible, and likely Quincy Pondexter, who - short of finding new knees - is not so secretly terrible.

Seems like an ideal opportunity to use two-way spots to get short term guard help (some of the injured dudes should be back in two months).

---

I have no idea wtf some of the recent more marginal Spurs transactions have been about.
   418. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5766848)
Houston (I think they will be much worse than last year, losing some key players and Paul being a year older)

I also think this but a. I'm a coward and b. I don't see who passes them (I'm a believer in everything about Utah but their health). So I kept them 2nd.
   419. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5766853)
538's team projections are up. The ones that standout:


What do you suppose is the rationale behind Portland going from 49 wins (48 pythag) to 39 wins. The personnel is very similar.
   420. JC in DC Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5766857)
I have no predictions other than this: the Warriors will not win 60 games this year. Focus will be a major problem for them and they will deal with injuries related to the focus issues.
   421. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5766866)
From Schuhmann's preseason rankings:

It's a new day (yes, it is) in Milwaukee, where the Bucks had the preseason's most efficient offense (115 points scored per 100 possessions), somehow managing to outdo the Rockets in the percentage of their preseason shots (82 percent) that came from the restricted area or 3-point range. Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged a ridiculous 34.8 points, 16.9 rebounds and 8.2 assists per 36 minutes, registering a triple-double in less than 26 minutes against Minnesota on Friday. Of course, that leads us to the context that two of the Bucks' four games were against the Wolves' defense. More important is that they were in the middle of the pack in regard to the percentage of their opponents' shots that came from the restricted area.


I'm looking forward to what Giannis can do in that offense.

The Pelicans' 0-5 preseason featured the league's 28th-ranked defense and concluded with a loss to a Toronto team that rested six of its top seven guys. The Pels allowed 65.2 points in the paint per game, 12.8 more than any other team. Part of that comes from playing at the league's fastest pace last season and then seeing its third biggest increase in pace in the preseason.


Curious to see if they keep going at that pace.

As you'd expect with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the team in shots, the Spurs led the league in the percentage of their preseason shots (48 percent) that came from between the restricted area and the 3-point line.


Another reason that perhaps the Spurs won't be so good.

While every other team will have a rest disadvantage (playing the second game of a back-to-back vs. a rested opponent) in one of their first 12 games, the Wizards won't have one until Game 32 (Dec. 19). Before then, they'll play eight games with a rest advantage, starting with their first two games of the season, with the Heat and Raptors playing the second game of a back-to-back on Thursday and Saturday.


Will be important to remember that if the Wizards start strong.

Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin played almost as many minutes together in the Pistons' last three preseason games (46) as they did all of last season (47), but the offense wasn't good and Detroit was outscored by 27 points in those 46 minutes.


I really can't get a feel for the Pistons.

Starting at center will test Carter's ability to be a defensive anchor, and in his regular-season debut on Thursday, he gets to match up with Joel Embiid.


It really looks like Carter is going to be starting right off the bat. He has some real foul trouble in the preseason, so we'll see how that goes for him.
   422. JJ1986 Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:22 PM (#5766868)
10 predictions:

1. Kawhi Leonard wins the MVP award.
2. The Lakers host a first-round series.
3. The 76ers don’t.
4. The Spurs are the worst team in the state of Texas.
5. Everyone is overrating the Nuggets.
6. Everyone is overrating the Magic too (they’re going to be the worst team in the East.)
7. The Lakers will get their second star via trade next summer.
8. Kevin Durant will sign a 5-year deal with the Warriors. Klay will be back too. Draymond ends up being the one who leaves.
9. The Cavaliers are going to finish in the high-20s for wins and behind both the Nets and Hawks.
10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wins Rookie of the Year.
   423. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5766870)
I think the Pistons are going to be terrible.

Thing is, you can be terrible and still finish 11th in the East. So their record might not wind up as bad as Memphis' or Phoenix's, even if they're actually worse than either.
   424. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5766876)
It's a new day (yes, it is)


A wrestling reference!



If anyone is interested, the Butler scuttlebutt over the weekend is that Glen Taylor had one of his patented Face-to-Face Chats with Jimmy late last week and they reached a sort of detente whereby Taylor will take the lead in shopping him (or at least ensuring he is shopped, in good faith) as long as Jimmy doesn't act like a lunatic toward his teammates. We'll see how much time that really buys.
   425. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5766877)
What do you suppose is the rationale behind Portland going from 49 wins (48 pythag) to 39 wins. The personnel is very similar.

I'm curious about this, too, I don't really see it. A lot of it seems to be people predicting some kind of existential crisis about never being able to win in the playoffs.
   426. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5766879)
The East is relatively easy for me to put into tiers (not that I'll be right), as denoted here by parentheses.

EAST: (TOR BOS PHI) (MIL IND WAS MIA) (DET | BKN CHA ORL) (CLE CHI NYK ATL)

I have a nagging feeling that Charlotte could be in trouble (not that anyone thinks they'll be good) - that Kemba was really well used by Clifford and the current Hornets brain trust doesn't seem to judge talent well.

Orlando: 1) As hinted above, I like Clifford. 2) I think Gordon is kind of lousy but teams well with Isaac, who's very interesting if he gets anywhere near his ceiling (unlikely, but...). Bamba appears to be ahead of schedule and, though Vujevic is an iffy player, he's a nice bench hub and can pair with one of their mobile rim protectors whenever they want.

The West is quite a bit trickier, in part because of Butler/Minnesota.
WEST: GSW HOU UTA DEN OKC LAL NWO MIN | POR SAS MEM LAC DAL PHO SAC

I'm counting on Houston upgrading at the three and finding some depth ... in general, though, I'm not going to Vegas based on my feelings about this conference.
I also can't justify putting Memphis this high but first thought best thought? May adjust this.

Portland: I think their defense was "lucky" for a chunk of last season.
   427. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5766885)
Warriors - too much talent, even with coasting
Jazz - really like this team; Snyder COY
Rockets - enough questions for me to move them down again; I'm sure they'll be better though
Nuggets - most fun team
Thunder - better regular season team than playoffs
Pelicans - AD MVP season
Lakers - if they get to 50 wins, LeBron wins MVP
Blazers - not buying them
Spurs - too hurt, or old; I think Pops maybe even hangs it up and just focuses on USA bball
Mavs - decent start to being good again
TWolves - due to Jimmy trade
Grizzlies - JJ ROY
Clippers - I dunno
Kings - who cares
Suns - why

Warriors over Jazz

Raptors - Kawhi is Kawhi
Celtics - still don't like them
Bucks - buying them big time, probably too much
Sixers - not sure I think Brown is the coach that gets them to their best version
Heat (due to Jimmy trade) - much better after Butler trade, upset Philly in round 1
Pacers - by default
Wizards - also by default
Hornets - forgettable
Nets - getting better
Pistons - what and why
Cavs - by default
Magic - weird but interesting
Bulls - bad
Knicks - bad and not interesting
Hawks - Trae Young will be fun, but everything else bad

Raptors over Bucks

Warriors over Raptors
   428. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5766888)
If anyone is interested, the Butler scuttlebutt over the weekend is that Glen Taylor had one of his patented Face-to-Face Chats with Jimmy late last week and they reached a sort of detente whereby Taylor will take the lead in shopping him (or at least ensuring he is shopped, in good faith) as long as Jimmy doesn't act like a lunatic toward his teammates. We'll see how much time that really buys.

I have only a very tiny amount of pride, just enough to get me through the day, but I can't imagine holding myself in such low esteem as to welcome Butler back the way his teammates appear to be doing. Saw a Wiggins quote from the weekend to the effect of "you want a guy like that on your side," or something similar. Apparently getting shredded in the 1st round instead of missing the playoffs is worth being professionally and personally humiliated by your teammate.
   429. Just TFTIO Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5766900)
I mean, I am basically out of things to say about Butler, Thibs, Taylor, and the Minnesota Trainwrecks. My position on this is clear.
   430. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5766905)
I have only a very tiny amount of pride, just enough to get me through the day, but I can't imagine holding myself in such low esteem as to welcome Butler back the way his teammates appear to be doing. Saw a Wiggins quote from the weekend to the effect of "you want a guy like that on your side," or something similar. Apparently getting shredded in the 1st round instead of missing the playoffs is worth being professionally and personally humiliated by your teammate.


I don't know, that just means that Wiggins has as much self-esteem as I have esteem for him.
   431. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5766906)
I don't know, that just means that Wiggins has as much self-esteem as I have esteem for him.

I should have exempted Wiggins from that.
   432. Just TFTIO Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5766908)
OK SO MAYBE NOT. If, in fact Butler made his point to Thibs when he was traded that we wanted the full max renegotiation, it makes Thibs' extending of Wiggins a year early even more inexplicable.
   433. Fourth True Outcome Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5766909)
The dysfunction has been fascinating, but not really shocking. The biggest thing I think I've seen in this Minny shitshow is KAT handling it in what seems to be as quietly mature and professional a way as is possible. I don't know how you're supposed to handle something like this, but he's been making it clear he's not ok with this while not making himself the center of attention about as well as you could.
   434. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5766911)
jamal crawford inked by phoenix, a year at the minimum.

this makes no sense to me, outside of the new gm signing an old teammate. i understand that crawford is thought to be a good teammate and i guess he could teach booker a trick or two but they're terrible and he's worse (421st of 424 on that espn list i linked up-thread -- essentially because he's averse to defense).
   435. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:58 PM (#5766923)
jamal crawford inked by phoenix, a year at the minimum.

this makes no sense to me, outside of the new gm signing an old teammate. i understand that crawford is thought to be a good teammate and i guess he could teach booker a trick or two but they're terrible and he's worse (421st of 424 on that espn list i linked up-thread).


Eh, the Suns aren't going anywhere anyway, and it's 1 year at the minimum. For all of his shoot-first mentality and the jokes thereof, he seems like a genuinely good dude (has given back a ton to the greater Seattle area), you could do a lot worse in terms of veteran presence -- I think we tend to conflate people's games on-court with their quality as human beings. He seems fine as a de facto assistant coach and yeah, Booker could definitely learn from him. Thumbs up from me.
   436. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 01:59 PM (#5766926)
The last thing on earth a young, developing team like Phoenix needs is Jamal Crawford jacking and jacking. No one's going to learn how to play NBA offense watching Jamal Crawford shoot.

Good dude in the locker room, sure. But he's going to end up playing too many minutes and he's going to hurt the kids' development.

edit re: 437 below: I liked the Ariza signing for them because he's a good dude in the locker room and also can make his team better without the ball in his hands.
   437. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5766930)
Eh, the Suns aren't going anywhere anyway, and it's 1 year at the minimum. For all of his shoot-first mentality and the jokes thereof, he seems like a genuinely good dude (has given back a ton to the greater Seattle area), you could do a lot worse in terms of veteran presence -- I think we tend to conflate people's games on-court with their quality as human beings. He seems fine as a de facto assistant coach and yeah, Booker could definitely learn from him. Thumbs up from me.

They seem at least one year away from that kind of signing making sense, though. Ditto Ariza, to be honest. They're very bad and should be playing all the young guys for all the minutes.
   438. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:01 PM (#5766931)
(my understanding is that jamal is a good dude as well. also, his four point play thing is cool.)
sure - he could learn worse shot selection... there's reasons he was still available. you know how the spurs need guards? need outside shooting? they didn't pick him up. read into that what you will.
   439. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:04 PM (#5766937)
The takes on how KAT is reacting to this is interesting. Steph found himself in a similar-ish situation when he joined the Warriors. Go back and read some of the stories about that Warriors team--it was a pretty miserable year for Steph all around but he didn't complain and just got on with the job. Now people look back and marvel on what a professional Steph was but with KAT I'm hearing/seeing a lot of takes that he's being "passive" and "soft" about the Butler situation. I guess if KAT is great in 5 years passive and soft will be professional and mature. If he sucks, then he was passive and soft. I love pro basketball but I'm not really fond of the narrative machine as much as a lot of other NBA fans are. I'm kind of sick of the Ringer's never ending quest for gossip and pychobabble about what players are "feeling" or advice on what they "should" do for their "legacy". I'm getting old, I guess. I just like watching these guys play.

Also, I like to think of myself as the Josh Childress of this thread. Oh, hey, that guy.

Anyway, the important stuff:

West

Warriors
Rockets
Jazz
Pelicans
Blazers
Lakers
Nuggets
Thunder
Clippers
Spurs
Wolves
Grizzlies
Mavericks
Suns
Kings

East

Raptors
Celtics
Bucks
76ers
Wizards
Pacers
Heat
Pistons
Cavs
Hornets
Nets
Bulls
Magic
Knicks
Hawks

GSW over Toronto
Steph MVP (he looks really sharp in the preseason. As healthy as I've seen him in a while)
ROY: I want to say Jaren Jackson, who I think will be the best player in this class, but I think Doncic will play more, so Doncic.
COY: Budenholzer (I feel like I'm sleeping on the Bucks even as high as I have them finishing. They feel very much like the Warriors the summer they fired Mark Jackson. They won't be as good as the Warriors were, but the situations seem very similar.)
   440. spivey Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5766942)
Doesn't look like anyone mentioned Winslow's extention - 3/$39mil. Superficially from afar, it seems like he's been underwhelming. This also doesn't seem like a crazy deal, but I do wonder if he'd really get that much were he a FA.

My take is similar to the others. Miami gives out a lot of these mid-tier deals that in isolation don't kill you, but then you look up and realize their entire team is a bunch of ok guys locked in around $15mil/year.
   441. Just TFTIO Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5766944)
My take is similar to the others. Miami gives out a lot of these mid-tier deals that in isolation don't kill you, but then you look up and realize their entire team is a bunch of ok guys locked in around $15mil/year.

Makes trading for Butler easier.
   442. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:10 PM (#5766946)
i think i'll get pushback here but: winslow is a poor man's (and younger) kyle anderson - except he does it with athleticism versus technique. (and with a much higher ceiling, as much as i love slomo)
   443. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5766948)
Makes trading for Butler easier.


Right now Butler is the trade candidate of the month, but I suspect this is exactly Pat Riley's strategy--stockpile guys who are kinda-expensive but useful, waiting to pounce whenever a superstar goes on the market. Makes matching salary a cinch and makes it easy to tempt other GMs/owners who dream of coming out of trading away a superstar with a respectable team, rather than a pile of prospects and picks.

Makes it easier to sell Miami as a destination to restless superstars, too: Our team is right on the cusp, we have good veterans, if you join us we can win the title.

If it starts to become clear, in a year or so, that Anthony Davis won't be re-signing in New Orleans, Miami is probably going to be at the front of the line in AD rumors, too.
   444. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:18 PM (#5766951)
Champ: GS
MVP: Leonard
CoTY: Nurse or Bud. I guess Nurse.
RoTY: Ayton
   445. spivey Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5766958)
Predictions:

East:
1. Toronto
2. Boston
3. Philadelphia
4. Milwaukee
5. Washington
6. Indiana
7. Charlotte
8. Miami
9. Detroit
10. Brooklyn
11. Orlando
12. Chicago
13. Atlanta
14. Cleveland
15. New York

West:
1. Golden State
2. Houston
3. OKC
4. Utah
5. Lakers
6. New Orleans
7. Minnesota
8. Denver
9. San Antonio
10. Portland
11. Dallas
12. Clippers
13. Sacramento
14. Memphis
15. Phoenix


Finals:
Warriors over Raptors 4-1

MVP: LeBron
ROY: Trae Young
COY: Bud
   446. Fourth True Outcome Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5766960)
MVP: Leonard

Meyers has a chance to play real minutes this year, I guess, but that seems like a real stretch.
   447. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5766964)
East
1. Toronto
2. Boston
3. Philly
4. Indiana
5. Milwaukee
6. Washington
7. Miami
8. Detroit
9. Charlotte
10. Brooklyn
11. Cleveland
12. Orlando
13. Atlanta
14. Chicago
15. New York

West
1. GS
2. Houston
3. Utah
4. OKC
5. Denver
6. LAL
7. New Orleans
8. Portland
9. San Antonio
10. Minnesota
11. LAC
12. Dallas
13. Memphis
14. Phoenix
15. Sacramento

1st rd
TOR, BOS, PHI, MIL
GS, HOU, LAL, DEN

2nd rd
TOR, BOS
GS, HOU

CF
BOS, GS

Finals
GS in 6

MVP: Durant
ROY: Doncic
COY: Snyder
   448. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:35 PM (#5766966)
has anyone else noticed that in these ESPN basketball documentary promos, when kobe announced he was declaring for the NBA draft out of high school, he said "i'm taking my talent to the NBA"?


Ian Thomsem mentions this connection in his new book, too.
   449. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5766973)
Makes it easier to sell Miami as a destination to restless superstars, too: Our team is right on the cusp, we have good veterans, if you join us we can win the title.


Who WOULDN'T want to play with Duncan Robinson?
   450. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:48 PM (#5766978)
Who WOULDN'T want to play with Duncan Robinson?


Worked for Avery Johnson and Sean Elliott. Oh you didn't say AND.
   451. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 02:53 PM (#5766982)
Meyers has a chance to play real minutes this year, I guess, but that seems like a real stretch.

I don't remember where I read it or saw it (might have even been a tweet), but last year, Leonard had 0 blocked shots. He was the first 7 footer who player any significant amount of minutes in NBA history to not block a single shot. With Deron done (if not officially retired, or is he) and the Spurs waiving Brandon Paul, he might be the only Illini in the NBA right now. Both of those facts are very sad.
   452. Booey Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:06 PM (#5766989)
MVP - Considering the Raptor's likely record, Kawhi seems like a good pick, but I don't know...I'm just not feeling it. I think the odds that he misses a lot of games or isn't fully committed to a team he was traded to against his will just seems a little too high for me.

My guess is that it comes down to LeBron, AD, or Giannis, and whichever of the Lakers, Pellies, or Bucks wins the most games is going to determine the winner.
   453. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:17 PM (#5766998)
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine 2m2 minutes ago

The Clippers are in advanced trade discussions to acquire Alexis Ajinca from New Orleans in exchange for Wes Johnson, league sources say


Everyone, be sure to update your season predictions.
   454. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:24 PM (#5767007)
So much for my Clips buying out Johnson theory.

Here's a new NBA tool: rates players on 28 attributes on a 1-25 scale. Another site doing something similar comes online today as well - I'll likely link to that then.
   455. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5767013)
The Clips are waiving Ajinca, who's cheaper so they save money. So in a way, you're still right.
   456. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5767024)
I have only a very tiny amount of pride, just enough to get me through the day, but I can't imagine holding myself in such low esteem as to welcome Butler back the way his teammates appear to be doing. Saw a Wiggins quote from the weekend to the effect of "you want a guy like that on your side," or something similar. Apparently getting shredded in the 1st round instead of missing the playoffs is worth being professionally and personally humiliated by your teammate.


I don't know. I am not totally familiar with all the comments from various Wolves players, but I kind of think the professional thing to do - publically at any rate - is say vague, bland, and yet positive things about the situation and those involved and then do your job as best you can.

I just don't think there is an upside to saying or doing anything else. This is between Butler and the organization to all appearances and especially for a guy like Wiggins (by which I mean Canadian) there is no reason to pretend to be a verbal alpha dog and push back or challenge in the press.

If he talks trash it only makes things worse and no comment is barely better. He is a young man in a crappy spot. I am not going to defend his play on the court, but in public I think he shouldn't bother to get into it with Butler outside of bland platitudes.

I wouldn't criticize either Wiggins or KAT for going off or whatever. I know I would be pissed off at Butler (based on what I know), but I don't think it shows me anything about their "fire in the belly" or whatever if they just don't want to get into in the press with a seeming lunatic teammate more than halfway out the door.
   457. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5767025)
Undersized two guard Zach Lofton made the Pistons as a two-way guy. He's interesting because he played college ball last year ... and turns 26 next month. (Last guy I remember being that old in college then playing in the NBA was Ervin Johnson (no not that e.j.), who (iirc) worked in a grocery store (a la John Starks) before embarking on an excellent career at UNO and an impressive 13 years in the league.)
   458. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5767027)
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Sources on @TheAthleticNBA @WatchStadium: Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner has agreed to a four-year, $80 million contract extension.
   459. aberg Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:02 PM (#5767039)
Paying Turner $20m per year is fine. Getting Turner for Lavine money is a coup.
   460. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5767054)
Not so fast Shams?

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn 3m3 minutes ago

Pacers President Kevin Pritchard and agent JR Hensley still working on a contract extension for center Myles Turner, both tell ESPN. Expectation is deal can get done before 6 PM ET deadline, but they're still going back and forth on numbers for a 4-year deal in $70M-plus range.


   461. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:13 PM (#5767055)
Paying Turner $20m per year is fine. Getting Turner for Lavine money is a coup.

I think there's always risk in these kinds of deals, and he didn't seem to make any progress last year, but wow they have practically no money committed going forward. Oladipo and McDermott (and now Turner) are the only players making over $3.5 million after this year.
   462. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5767057)
K.C. Johnson @KCJHoop 1m1 minute ago

Bulls have called a 1 PM news conference for Tuesday to announce a major business, not basketball, announcement.


Jerry's selling the team? *fingers crossed*. Probably just announcing what company is getting to advertise on their jerseys.

EDIT: Heh
   463. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5767061)
Turner probably pretty much is who he is at this point. Likely an overpay, but not that much of one, and Indiana is neither a hot free agent destination nor sitting on a pile of hot prospects needing big extensions soon. There's plenty of money for Oladipo, if they can convince him to take it.
   464. jmurph Posted: October 15, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5767094)
On Nance's just signed extension (4 years, $45 million):
Danny Leroux @DannyLeroux
Cleveland will pay Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr $165 million from 2019-20 to 2022-23
   465. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 15, 2018 at 05:02 PM (#5767099)
These extensions all are a little worrisome in their way. I'm kinda hoping the Bulls don't agree with Portis today, though it might also be good if they did.
   466. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 15, 2018 at 06:05 PM (#5767126)
Guaranteed To Be Right Predictions:

East:
1. Boston
2. Toronto
3. Milwaukee
4. Philadelphia
5. Indiana
6. Washington
7. Miami
8. Detroit
9. Charlotte
10. Brooklyn
11. Chicago
12. Orlando
13. Cleveland
14. Atlanta
15. New York

West:
1. Golden State
2. Utah
3. Houston
4. Lakers
5. New Orleans
6. OKC
7. Denver
8. Portland
9. San Antonio
10. Minnesota
11. Dallas
12. Clippers
13. Memphis
14. Sacramento
15. Phoenix

Champs: GSW
MVP: LeBron James
ROY: Luka Doncic
COY: Mike Budenholzer
   467. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 15, 2018 at 06:52 PM (#5767145)
RIP Paul Allen.
   468. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 15, 2018 at 08:27 PM (#5767179)
Pair of point guard cuts were made today in Tim Frazier (journeyman who can't shoot and is iffy on D, but above replacement level - decent stopgap if you need one) and Shaquille Harrison. I can envision someone picking up Harrison, a la David Nwaba last year, as an energetic defensive specialist. Unlike Nwaba, Harrison can play point offensively (though you'd want to pair him with a ball dominant guy) and he takes enough threes that he can space the floor if you squint really, really hard. However, he has been quite a bit better in the NBA (in limited minutes) than he was in a much larger G League sample - to the point where it's hard not to wonder how fluky last year was. If it's real though, you get a poor man's Dejounte Murray for the minimum.
   469. maccoach57 Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:25 PM (#5767292)
Seems to be pretty broad consensus, with a few minor variations, on who finishes where and ofc on who wins the title. This ties in to some earlier discussions about NBA predictability/fandom and what people love about the sport. I will not issue predictions, because I suck at them, and they would be pretty much like everybody else's, but I do have a couple of thoughts on some teams:

New Orleans: Randle and Mirotic are an interesting pair of guys to put with Davis, but the roster is weak 5-12, even though Holiday is OK. I think winning a playoff series helped the vibe a lot, but Davis' head could already be in FA.
Milwaukee: I will be watching to see if Budenholzer makes the impact many seem to think he will. They should be pretty good, but as noted, I am skeptical about large differences being made by coaches. I think they need to get a second ASG-level guy--a guy who is better than Middleton.
Houston: I think it is likely that last year was their best shot, but I am with Lowe in that I think people are selling them a little short in some ways. I could see them going 51-31 or so, but then making the WCF again. And I could see Morey pulling off a major deal somehow.
Dallas: I think they will finish 9th or 10th and will be a little better than some models might suggest.
Clippers: Opposite--I think they will be a little worse than some models might suggest. Their core is gone.
Lakers: The Clowns and Bastards are actually a little better than some guys on last year's roster, and I think that has been overlooked a bit due to meme factor. Kuzma and Hart are not high-ceiling guys, but they can fit in on a LeBron James team. So everything for me as a fan, other than just having fun with the GOAT being on my team, will be about Ball and Ingram. I am skeptical of both, and I will not be at all surprised if one or both gets moved in a deal for a James wingman. Best case is that they both develop and the wingman comes in in FA, moving the team to contender status in 2019-2020. My gut says the ride will not be that smooth.
   470. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:47 PM (#5767322)
I generally agree with you about coaches, rr, and I am on record as not quite as optimistic about Milwaukee this year as most--but I will say, it's entirely possible that Budenholzer makes a big impact for them, not because Budenholzer is really awesome, but because Jason Kidd was really bad.

I'm pretty out on Lonzo Ball at this point. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem like he has a good enough handle to develop into a Rondo or Rubio on offense. His future in the NBA is as a perimeter defense specialist off the bench, I think. I would expect the Lakers to give him plenty of minutes in hopes of being able to trade him sometime within the next year.

Hope I'm wrong about Ball, though, because I dearly love players who have elite court vision and passing skills.
   471. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 15, 2018 at 10:51 PM (#5767324)
At least for me -- my Milwaukee optimism is not really based on Bud being all that great (although I think someone who went, what, 62-20 with the roster of that Hawks team a few years back is unlikely to be *bad*). It's more that I think Kidd over the past few years was one of the (few) coaches that move things in a significantly negative fashion. If you hand a decent coach a 23 year old with amazing physical abilities and a number of solid/good/intriguing complementary parts, I think they should be able to take that to at least a fringe contender.

e: coke to PASTE
   472. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:00 PM (#5767342)
I hear pretty often about how amazing an achievement winning 60 was with the 2014-15 Hawks, but... they had Horford, Millsap, and Teague at their peaks on the roster, all of them healthy all year. Those are damn good players, and guys like Korver and Schroder were far from useless. I don't think winning 60 in the East with that team was a gargantuan overachievement. Just a slight overachievement. It looks to me like the main question there is how much credit Budenholzer gets for DeMarre Carroll's fluke/career year.
   473. spivey Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:20 PM (#5767361)
Milwaukee has way more shooting and rebounding around them this year. I think the Lopez/Ersan/Connaughton moves are substantial. I think Thon and Snell are on short leashes as well. I think there’s a lot of improvement just by reducing minutes to replacement players and running NBA schemes on both sides.
   474. tshipman Posted: October 15, 2018 at 11:32 PM (#5767363)
The East is weird because I want to go under on everyone except Toronto, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to be right.

EAST
1. Toronto--this is the only Eastern team that matters.
2. Philly--flawed
3. Boston--way too dependent on an old Al Horford.
4. Indiana--is Oladipo really real?
5. Milwaukee--I'm just skeptical that they're that good in one offseason.
6. Miami--would pick them for 4 if they had Butler
7. Washington--sure, whatever
8. (God, who cares? Which mediocre team is going to fluke into 38 wins?) Detroit

WEST:
1. Golden State--I really want to pick another team to be the 1 seed, but there are too many question marks about everyone else. GS was a 66 win team with Curry healthy, and they're worse in the regular season.
2. Houston--they're worse than they were last year, but they had a fair amount of injuries to Paul and Harden.
2. Utah--I'm a super skeptic on Gobert's health, and Mitchell is really getting overrated, but they get 3 free wins a year off B2Bs and I think Houston is markedly worse.
4. Lakers--homer pick
5. New Orleans--really like AD at center
6. Denver--4 free wins/year, maybe they figure out how to hide Jokic better.
7. Dallas--They cost themselves so much offense from not running last year.
8. OKC--a deeply flawed team that is worse than the last two years.
   475. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 16, 2018 at 12:51 AM (#5767380)
[472] Horford, Millsap, and Teague were good but... by talent, none of them was a top 10 player in the league, maybe not even top 20. (I don't mean by their season's stats, which obviously add up to the 60-22 record, or if you prefer the 56-26 pythag). That year made DeMarre Carroll a lot of money, after which he was never nearly as good outside of ATL. Schroder was not all that good and was a rookie. 33 year old Kyle Korver was a great asset, but certainly not a world beater. I maintain that turning all that into 60 wins is remarkable.
   476. there isn't anything to do in buffalo but 57i66135 Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:10 AM (#5767386)
I'm pretty out on Lonzo Ball at this point. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem like he has a good enough handle to develop into a Rondo or Rubio on offense. His future in the NBA is as a perimeter defense specialist off the bench, I think. I would expect the Lakers to give him plenty of minutes in hopes of being able to trade him sometime within the next year.

Hope I'm wrong about Ball, though, because I dearly love players who have elite court vision and passing skills.


i've been saying this to people since ball was at UCLA: the comp fits statistically, but the way ball facilitates offense is completely different from the way rubio and rondo do it. rubio and rondo monopolize ball possession, almost hearkening back to pre-shot clock era offenses. otoh, what ball does best is make the early pass, before defenses get set, before they finish rotating, before they even realize they need to rotate.

if you add in defense, rebounding and (hopefully) 3P shooting, he can be a PG version of draymond green; someone who's strengths are so overwhelming that he has the value of a star despite having the usage of a role player.
   477. maccoach57 Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:20 AM (#5767389)
His future in the NBA is as a perimeter defense specialist off the bench, I think.


I am skeptical about Ball, but this is probably underrating the value of his passing skills and his defense, and overstating the issue, if there is one, with his handle--and he is still only 20. The question with Ball is whether he will he will make enough shots--from anywhere--to be a good player. One thing to watch will be whether he can finish better. He hit a Rubioesque .494 at the rim last year and one big reason that Rubio will never be an elite player is he has never become much of a finisher. His career high is .535, last year and he is at .485 career. Jrue Holiday, as one comp, is at .593. Kyle Lowry is at .595. Ball will have to do better than .494 at the rim--no one can be worth much with a TS of .444.

Milwaukee: They were 22nd in 3P% and 28th in OREB last year, so I can see the logic, but I do not think that Lopez, Ilyasova and Connaughton will do much more than help at the margins. Milwaukee was 9th in ORTG last year and beat their PYTH by 4 games. I am certainly down with the idea that they can go 49-33 or so, but I think they need another impact player, as I said. As to Budenholzer, I am sure that he is a smart guy, but he also coached Atlanta as they went from 60 to 48 to 43 to 24 wins.

   478. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 16, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5767432)
Milwaukee was 9th in ORTG


After listening to an offseason of Kidd is the WOAT and such, I assumed that Milwaukee had a terri-bad offense last year. I saw that 9th when I was doing my 10 minutes of research for my over/under pick and was surprised.

I picked Philadelphia under 53.5 for my under. Simmons/Embiid could get way better and I could be wrong, but I don't see them adding many more minutes than they had last year so that helped my decision. I think the supporting cast is worse. I'm selling Fultz as being a contributor to winning in 2018-19. They can still get better through trades/buyouts so that may help.

I think the under I liked the most was the Clippers because the more I think on it, the more I think the tank is rolling through at some point. But they aren't on TV all the time/part of "The Conversation" so it didn't seem as fun.
   479. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5767451)
After listening to an offseason of Kidd is the WOAT and such, I assumed that Milwaukee had a terri-bad offense last year. I saw that 9th when I was doing my 10 minutes of research for my over/under pick and was surprised


It’s because Giannis is just that awesome. Their offensive scheme was bad, though, very anachronistic. Defense and especially rebounding were bigger problems, but they have a lot of room to grow offensively too, with a modern system.
   480. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5767459)
I think people sleep on Carroll a little bit. He ain't great, but he was a solid player last year now that he's healthy again.

I don't think Kidd was the WOAT. I expect that the new system will be a better fit for Giannis, who will improve a bit on his own.

Ball: I'm more less with you, I think, robin - the finishing really concerns me, though one plus of the weird Lakers roster is that there are people he can learn from here. (Of course, that can happen anywhere.) Still, he's young, the jumper will improve, and the defense and playmaking are already solid.
   481. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:28 AM (#5767464)
The Bball-index site is now online, albeit a bit awkward to use at this point and there are a few opening day errors (e.g.: Super Mario is still listed on Orlando, etc...). Some of the ratings seem a bit wonky to me (they try to distinguish between skills and value, which results in a handful of outlier ratings (maybe Beasley isn't so bad at D; maybe Yogi Ferrell is as bad at guarding the perimeter as was once suggested) that aren't in line with how their teams performed when they were on the court) but this looks like a potentially valuable resource for player assessment going forward.
   482. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5767480)
8. OKC--a deeply flawed team that is worse than the last two years.

I agree with this, and add in that Westbrook is already hurt. If two of San Antonio, New Orleans, and Minnesota can get it together, I think OKC could miss the playoffs entirely.
   483. maccoach57 Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5767488)
It’s because Giannis is just that awesome. Their offensive scheme was bad, though, very anachronistic. Defense and especially rebounding were bigger problems, but they have a lot of room to grow offensively too, with a modern system.


Perhaps. Shooty compared Kidd/Budenholzer to Golden State switching from Jackson to Kerr, and Golden State did indeed jump from 12th in ORTG to 2nd that year. But Milwaukee doesn't have Curry and Thompson, so we'll see. I heard similar stuff when the Lakers fired Scott and hired Walton, who of course is a cool modern guy with a Golden State pedigree. The Lakers moved up from 29th to 23rd in ORTG under Walton, but as I have said, some of that was Kobe Bryant's retirement and the Lakers stayed at 23rd last year, in large part because Ball took Russell's minutes. You can argue that they would have dropped back with a crappy coach, I suppose, but everything comes back to personnel.

So, I can see the reasoning: Kidd sucked, Budenholzer is a cool, modern guy with Popovich connections, GA will get a little better, and they have added a couple of floor-spacing bigs in Ilaysova and Lopez. That noted, in spite of the big year in 2014-15, I am not convinced that Budenholzer is an impact coach--most guys aren't--and Ilyasova and Lopez were available cheap for good reasons.
   484. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5767500)
Just kinda reiterating, but I don’t actually think Budenholzer is an impact coach. He’s a generic NBA coach—but I believe that’s a big upgrade over Kidd, who was very much stuck in 2005. Just had no respect for the importance of the three point line or of screening and switch forcing. (Has any superstar player ever become a good coach, in any sport? Wayne Gretzky was an awful coach, too.) I think the Bucks will significantly benefit on both sides of the ball just from having a coach who lives in 2018.

The personnel is still not well suited to 2018 basketball, though. That’s why I’m only slightly optimistic about them instead of wildly optimistic like many people are. Last year they won 48, Pythag’d 44. This year I think they’ll Pythag around 48. Could win 50 if things break right, but I’d bet against it.

And that all assumes Giannis is healthy. He had knee trouble last year and that worries me.
   485. jmurph Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5767522)
(Has any superstar player ever become a good coach, in any sport? Wayne Gretzky was an awful coach, too.)

Bird's Pacers were very successful but everyone's understanding was that Carlisle and Harter did all of the actual Xs and Os. Russell won as a player/coach but that was basically a different league. I'm probably forgetting some obvious examples. Oh Lenny Wilkens was a great player, made 9 All Star teams.
   486. Harlond Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5767542)
(Has any superstar player ever become a good coach, in any sport? Wayne Gretzky was an awful coach, too.)
How about Fred Clarke, HOF player who was 1602-1181 as a manager with 4 pennants and 1 WS victory? Helped that he had Honus Wagner for much of his managerial career, but wins are wins. EDIT: On further review, Clarke had Wagner for practically his entire managerial career, and never had a winning record without him, and had losing records with Wagner when Wagner was 40 years old and not the force he had been before. Considering he had a player as transcendant as Wagner during Wagner's prime, there may be an argument that Clarke's one championship and 4 pennants was underwhelming. Still, being 6th alltime in wins over .500 as a manager is not nothing.

In basketball, what about KC Jones, HOF player with 5 finals appearances and 2 NBA championships?

   487. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5767551)
   488. NJ in NY (Now with Toddler!) Posted: October 16, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5767553)
East:
1. Toronto – They’re always a mid 50s win team, they’re not super old, and they just replaced Derozan with Kawhi. I think they’re a lock and should threaten 60 wins.
2. Boston – I love Hayward, but his injury return is starting to scare me a bit and, of course, I think Kyrie is overrated.
3. Philadelphia – Embiid still scares me injury-wise, Simmons still scares me no discernible jumpshot-wise, Fultz still scares me everything-wise…BUT THE UPSIDE!
4. Milwaukee – The world is Giannis’. I love what I’ve seen in preseason.
5. Indiana – Oladipo takes a step back, Turner takes a step forward, Tyreke will be helpful, but I see it as basically the same team as last year.
6. Washington – Boringly solid team with lots of offcourt drama potential.
7. Miami – They’re going to grit and grind their way to a playoff seed no matter what.
8. Charlotte – Kemba will be great in his free agency run but this team is meh.
9. Detroit – Blake will get hurt and I think I’m done waiting for Andre Drummond to make the defensive leap.
10. Cleveland – They’ll be decent and then Love will get hurt and they will be awful.
11. Brooklyn – Run of the mill bad team/
12. Chicago – Jabari Parker got fired on his day off.
13. New York – Starting to regret how much I bought into the Kevin Knox thing but Mitchell Robinson still looks intriguing and Frankie Nicotine actually showed me a few offensive moves in the preseason.
14. Orlando – Long and terrible.
15. Atlanta – I’m really excited to watch the worst team in the conference because of Linsanity + Traesanity.

EC Playoffs:

TOR over CHA 4-0
BOS over MIA 4-1
PHI over WAS 4-1
MIL over IND 4-2

TOR over MIL 4-2
BOS over PHI 4-3

TOR over BOS 4-3

West:
1. Houston – Olympic Melo is a thing that never really existed but I think will appear this year.
2. Golden State – KD’s last ride.
3. Lakers – Mediocre defense and elite offense.
4. Utah – The race for 3 is going to be tight, I flipped a coin.
5. Denver – Sort of like Utah’s mirror image.
6. Portland – They’re trying, Jennifer.
7. OKC – Injuries already mounting, hopefully Regular Season P has a better showing than Playoff P did.
8. New Orleans – I don’t see it. Beyond AD the talent just isn’t there because you’re counting on (a) Jrue staying healthy AND (b) Mirotic and Randle repeating their best years AND (c) Elfrid Payton’s haircut making him a better player.
9. Minnesota – I’m assuming Jimmy gets traded.
10. San Antonio – Even Pop isn’t good enough to make this a playoff team. Might be a great test for how ‘90s basketball would fare in the modern age though.
11. Dallas – They’ll be fun to watch but ultimately insignificant.
12. Memphis – I expect the old guys to disappoint due to injury or ability, but JJJ will be fun.
13. Clippers – Don’t get why so many media types have them as a solid team.
14. Phoenix – Booker and Ayton will both put up big offensive numbers while not really moving the needle on a team level.
15. Sacramento – Legitimately excited to see them unleash their Quadruple Towers lineup in the regular season.

HOU over NOP 4-1
GSW over OKC 4-0
LAL over POR 4-1
UTA over DEN 4-3

HOU over UTA 4-2
GSW over LAL 4-1

GSW over HOU 4-3

TOR over GSW 4-3

MVP: LAbron
DPOY: Giannis
ROY: Doncic
COY: Bud
   489. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: October 16, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5767597)
Popovich, of course, helped pioneer modern floor-stretching offense while denouncing the three point shot as something that never should have been brought into basketball, whenever anyone asked him about it. Part of me wonders if he’s now just gotten old enough that he’s just thinking, #### it, I’ve won my rings, these last few years my team’s going to play basketball the way it’s supposed to be played.

Or maybe it’s just that LMA and DeRozan happened to be the best players he could get under the circumstances and he’s making do as best he can with what he’s got. But I can never resist wild baseless speculation. :)
   490. The Good Face Posted: October 16, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5767601)
I am skeptical about Ball, but this is probably underrating the value of his passing skills and his defense, and overstating the issue, if there is one, with his handle--and he is still only 20. The question with Ball is whether he will he will make enough shots--from anywhere--to be a good player. One thing to watch will be whether he can finish better. He hit a Rubioesque .494 at the rim last year and one big reason that Rubio will never be an elite player is he has never become much of a finisher. His career high is .535, last year and he is at .485 career. Jrue Holiday, as one comp, is at .593. Kyle Lowry is at .595. Ball will have to do better than .494 at the rim--no one can be worth much with a TS of .444.


I think this is a pretty accurate summation of Ball's issues. Thing is, considering his defense/rebounding/passing, he'd be a legit star if he demonstrated an ability to shoot 3s at a league average-ish clip on decent volume and/or became a good finisher. If he never demonstrates the ability to do either of those things, he's still an interesting and useful player, but an odd fit for roster construction.
   491. JC in DC Posted: October 16, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5767608)
Starting to regret how much I bought into the Kevin Knox thing but Mitchell Robinson still looks intriguing and Frankie Nicotine actually showed me a few offensive moves in the preseason.


Don't bail on Knox yet! Yes, he struggled in preseason, but I wouldn't make too much out of that. I think he'll be fine. Lots of ups and downs ahead. Remember: he's still real young (younger, even, than Doncic!).
   492. aberg Posted: October 16, 2018 at 12:07 PM (#5767629)
(Has any superstar player ever become a good coach, in any sport? Wayne Gretzky was an awful coach, too.)


Joe Torre was an MVP. Dusty Baker was a very successful player. Lou Boudreau won a WS as a manager. Mike Ditka comes to mind- he was a HOF TE. Rudy T wasn't a superstar, but a very good player who became a very successful coach. Doug Collins?

I'm pretty out on Lonzo Ball at this point.


The use of "at this point" is what seems weird to me. I can definitely see being down on him, but I feel like he had an OK rookie year, fought through some injuries, and showed some improvement in his shot. He improved his shooting mechanics and is now in a much better team situation. His off-court stuff (his dad) has quieted down a lot.
   493. JC in DC Posted: October 16, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5767636)
Didn't Bill Russell coach? Often, great players are brought into difficult situations, to gloss over bad personnel. I thought Bird was a fine coach.
   494. aberg Posted: October 16, 2018 at 12:57 PM (#5767683)
Link to Google Sheet with preseason predictions

Consensus Projections:

EAST
1. TOR
2. BOS
3. PHI
4. MIL
5. IND
6. WAS
7. MIA
8. CHA
9. DET
10. BKN
11. ORL
12. CLE
13. CHI
14. NYK
15. ATL

WEST
1. GST
2. HOU
3. UTA
4. LAL
5. DEN
6. OKC
7. NOR
8. POR
9. SAS
10. MIN
11. DAL
12. LAC
13. MEM
14. SAC
15. PHX

EAST- TOR (6 VOTES), BOS (2), PHI (1)
WEST- GST (9)
CHAMP- GST (9), TOR (1- GOOD JOB, NJ)

MVP- JAMES (3/6 VOTES)
ROY- DONCIC (4/6)
COY- BUDENHOLZER (4/6)
   495. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:02 PM (#5767690)
Thanks, berg. My MVP/ROY/COY are buried in my comments (AD/JJJ/Snyder).
   496. maccoach57 Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:05 PM (#5767693)
Milwaukee: I think PASTE and I actually mostly agree. I will say this: if Milwaukee jumps up to like 2 or 3 in ORTG and goes ~53-29, I will certainly own that I probably underrated the Kidd/Budenholzer switch and the impact of adding the slow-footed shooting bigs. I think 47-35 with marginal improvement is more likely.
Predictions: NJ's comments were very clever and well-written. I think he may be selling NO a little short. I have never liked Randle's game, but he is 23, and I think his big improvement--finishing--will hold up, mostly, and I like the fit of him and Mirotic around Davis. I like NJ picking Toronto to beat Golden State for the title. If he's right, he can smacktalk almost all of us. I disagree with shipman about Boston; I think Boston is in very good shape to make the Finals.
Popovich: As I have said, I thought last year was one of his best coaching jobs: he kept the team in the Top 5 in D without Leonard and got a big year out of Aldridge, who is in his 30s and spiked his USG. But yeah--I would imagine that Popovich will be thinking about stepping back if things go the way most people seem to think they will for SA.
Bill Russell: Yes, he coached the Celtics from 1966-69. Supposedly Auerbach offered Frank Ramsey, Cousy, and Heinsohn the job first and they all said no, but it has largely been forgotten that in addition to everything else he did, Russell was the first black head guy in any major US pro sport, with the arguable exception of a guy named Fritz Pollard who kind of coached a NFL team in 1922. Frank Robinson of course managed the Indians in 1975, and Art Shell was the first black modern NFL coach with the Raiders, but that didn't happen until 1989.
   497. JJ1986 Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5767701)
Standings predictions:

East
1. Toronto
2. Boston
3. Milwaukee
4. Indiana
5. Philadelphia
6. Miami
7. Washington
8. Detroit
9. Brooklyn
10. Charlotte
11. Chicago
12. Atlanta
13. Cleveland
14. New York
15. Orlando

West
1. Golden State
2. Houston
3. Utah
4. LA Lakers
5. New Orleans
6. Oklahoma City
7. Denver
8. Portland
9. Minnesota
10. LA Clippers
11. Memphis
12. Dallas
13. San Antonio
14. Phoenix
15. Sacramento

MVP - Kawhi
CoY - Bud
RoY - SGA


   498. aberg Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:10 PM (#5767702)
Thanks, berg. My MVP/ROY/COY are buried in my comments (AD/JJJ/Snyder).


Gotcha. Added.
   499. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5767728)
I'll take a stab at it:

East:
1. TOR
2. PHI
3. BOS
4. MIL
5. IND
6. MIA
7. CHA
8. DET
9. WAS
10. BRK
11. ATL
12. CLE
13. CHI
14. ORL
15. NYK


West:
1. GSW
2. UTA
3. HOU
4. DEN
5. LAL
6. SAS
7. OKC
8. NOP
9. POR
10. DAL
11. LAC
12. MEM
13. MIN
14. PHO
15. SAC

GSW over PHI

MVP: Giannis
ROY: Doncic
COY: Snyder

Biggest trades: (1) Washington trades Bradley Beal to the Sixers for a package headlined by Markelle Fultz. The Wizards also get another recent draftee or pick in the deal, plus they avoid the luxury tax and thereby save $15M. (2) Minnesota trades Jimmy Butler to Miami for a package led by Josh Richardson. It will be essentially the same deal that the Wolves turned down last week.

Best stories: (1) Giannis makes his case for being the best player in the world. He wins the MVP by a wide margin. (2) The Spurs magically make the playoffs rather comfortably. Either Davis Bertans or Jakob Poeltl emerges in the frontcourt, while Derrick White lives up to the hype upon his return from injury. (3) The top 4 teams in the East all win 55+ games. (4) Denver and Utah are fun young teams in the West.

Worst stories: (1) The bottom handful of teams in the East engage in a massive tankathon rivaling last season. (2) The Wizards and Wolves are dysfunctional.

On the subject of tanking, I wrote an article on improving the NBA's competitive landscape. My proposal is basically designed to emphasize the draft and player development relative to free agency, while also restructuring the draft lottery to favor teams striving to win and coming up short rather than teams at the bottom of the standings. You can check it out here if you like.
   500. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 16, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5767739)
My predictions. Which no one needs to track but I want to post here. They won't vary much from the actual O/U numbers, but I'll make a couple changes with some B.S. rationales


Toronto
Boston - Just not sure this is truly like GREAT team.
Philadelphia
Milwaukee
Indiana
Detroit - Homer Pick
Miami
Charlotte

Washington - Difficult Personalities Narrative PIck
Cleveland - Assuming they win at beginning to not go into full-fledged tank mode.
Orlando
Brooklyn
Chicago
New York
Atlanta

Golden State
Houston
Utah
Denver - RPM says Jokic is best player in the league! Sure!
Lakers
Oklahoma City - Went from also betting the over to leaning towards the under after worrying a bit on injuries.
New Orleans
San Antonio

Portland
Minnesota
Dallas
Memphis
Clippers - Will be tanking.
Sacramento
Phoenix

MVP - If these are really how the standings shake out, how can I pick LeBron or Giannis for MVP? I guess I'll go Kawhi.
ROY - Doncic
COY - Nurse
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