NBA Season Preview

Gabe Lynch

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The basketball season is upon us and as such, an NBA preview is in order. By the time this is released, the first month of games will have been played and no early season injuries will be taken into account.

 

Eastern Conference

Celtics

The Celtics made no major offseason moves, so they shouldn’t change too much from last year. However, young players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should improve and take on bigger roles. Additionally, Gordon Hayward will likely play the whole season as opposed to the single half he played last year.

Projected seed: 1-3

Projected playoff finish: NBA finals loss

 

Raptors

The Raptors shook up the league over the offseason when they traded Demar DeRozan to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. On top of this, the Raptors dropped Dwane Casey and promoted assistant Nick Nurse. The success of the Raptors depends entirely on how Kawhi plays and feels. If he can recreate his 2016 season form and play like a top-five player in the league, then the Raptors could take the top spot in the east. If Kawhi decides he doesn’t want to try in Toronto, then the Raptors could easily finish bottom of the playoffs.

Projected seed: 1-6

Projected playoff finish: Conference semifinals loser

 

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets made a big improvement last year, jumping from absolutely horrible to only mildly horrible. They brought in some veteran players in an effort to improve their team in the short term, but these veterans will not have a large impact in the long term.

Projected seed: 11-15

 

New York Knicks

The Knicks brought in a new rookie this season with Kevin Knox .He should make a big impact on an otherwise weak team. With Kristaps Porzingis, the Unicorn himself, out anywhere from January to the entire season recovering from a torn ACL, other young players will have their time to shine.

Projected seed: 9-13

 

Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers should aim high his season. With Lebron having made his big-money move to the Lakers, this could be their season to take the East. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid looked amazing last season, proving to be one of the best backcourts in the east. The big worry for the 76ers, however, is outside shooting. J.J. Redick is their only real outside threat.

Projected playoff seed: 1-3

Projected playoff finish: Conference finals loser

 

Atlanta Hawks

They should finish very low in the eastern conference and the whole NBA. Trae Young, an unproven stud out of Oklahoma, is the best player team’s best player. Get ready for some blowouts.

Projected seed: 13-15

 

Miami Heat

The team has decent young players and a couple of good veterans in Dwayne Wade and Goran Dragic, but they will not make much noise in the playoffs.

Projected seed 6-9

Projected playoff finish: first round exit

 

Orlando Magic

Same story as the Hawks just with Mo Bamba instead of Trae Young.

Projected seed: 12-15

 

Charlotte Hornets

In a weak east, they could be a surprise playoff team with Kemba Walker. Tony Parker was a surprise acquisition and likely will not fit in that well. .

Projected seed: 5-12

Projected playoff finish: First round exit

 

Washington Wizards

The Wizards made few moves but the tried and true combo of John Wall and Bradley Beal is very worrisome to other top eastern conference teams.

Projected seed: 2-7

Projected playoff finish: First round loss

 

Indiana Pacers

Victor Oladipo, one of last season’s most improved players, and Myles Turner could take advantage of a weak East and go all the way to the finals.

Projected seed: 3-6

Projected playoff finish: Conference semifinals loss

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo could single-handedly carry the team to the finals, but he probably won’t with Celtics and 76ers in his way.

Projected seed: 3-6

Projected playoff finish: First round exit

 

Detroit Pistons

Head coach Dwane Casey could make the team a great regular season team, but they will likely lose in the playoffs.

Projected seed: 6-10

Projected playoff finish: first round exit

 

Chicago Bulls

While the Bulls are a fun team to watch, with a number of young players, they will not do well this season.

Projected seed: 10-15

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

With Lebron now gone and the Cavs failing to replace him, the Cavs will likely fall back into irrelevance just like the last time he left.

Projected seed: 8-13

Projected playoff finish: first round exit

 

Western Conference

Houston Rockets

Over the offseason, the Rockets picked up Carmelo Anthony who, if he accepts his role as an impact bench player, could fit in well with and improve the team. The duo of him and Harden, however, might just be too lazy. The Rockets will probably lose to the Warriors, who have somehow strengthened their lineup even more during the off-season.

Projected seed: 1-3

Projected playoff finish Conference final loss

 

Memphis Grizzlies

Don’t expect much from the Grizzlies this season. They have a couple of good players, but their lineup is getting older and are likely to face injury problems. They are unlikely to return at full health. Jaren Jackson Jr. should get a lot of playing time, but he is unlikely to carry them far.

Projected seed: 8-14

Projected playoff finish first round lost

 

Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic is an amazing passer, making the Mavs a fun team to watch. Doncic never played in college in the United States. Nobody knows exactly how good he is. Head coach Rick Carlisle will have a rough time splitting the time between Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr.

Projected seed: 9-14

 

New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis should have the best season of his career. Don’t be surprised if he wins MVP. The whole team will be playing with a chip on their shoulder. They have to prove that they can be a successful team even without Demarcus Cousins, who moved to the Warriors.

Projected seed: 3-8

Projected playoff finish: Conference semifinals loss

 

San Antonio Spurs

On the other side of one the biggest trades made this offseason are the one and only: the Spurs. Demar DeRozan should play well and will improve the defensive side of his game under Gregg Popovich. The preseason injuries to Lonnie Walker, Derrick White, and Dejounte Murray shouldn’t make too much of an impact overall. The first two will only be out for about two months. Bryn Forbes will have his time to shine, and he could easily step up and take on a bigger role in the team.

Projected seed 5-10

Projected playoff finish: First round loss

 

Oklahoma City Thunder

The departure of Carmelo Anthony is good for this team as the combination of Carmelo, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George, three ball dominant players,limited touches for the team’s other players. Russ could go for his third consecutive triple-double season, but it will mean little as the Warriors stand in everyone’s path.

Projected seed: 2-7

Projected playoff finish: First round loss

 

Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves are a good team with multiple great players. Dysfunction and injury are common with the players and coaches, so don’t expect much, especially with the way Jimmy Butler has been acting lately.

Projected seed: 5-10

Projected playoff finish: first round loss

 

Portland Trail-Blazers

The Trail-Blazers looked great in the regular season last year and then collapsed in the playoffs. Considering that not many moves were made over the offseason, they could do the same thing again this year.

Projected seed: 5-10

Projected playoff finish: first round loss

 

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are a good team with an interesting mix of young and old players. If Isaiah Thomas bounces back from his forgettable time with the Cavs, they could be a playoff team. However, in a stacked West, they are not likely to get past the first round. With Nikola Jokic, they will be a team like the Mavs, a team fun to watch for amazing passes and teamwork.

Projected seed: 7-11

Projected playoff finish: first round loss

 

Utah Jazz

The Jazz is an all-around good team. However, they suffer from the same problem as the Thunder: no one will be able to get past the Warriors with how stacked they are this season. Grayson Allen will be an interesting NBA player to watch.

Projected Seed: 3-7

Projected playoff finish: first round loss

 

Phoenix Suns

Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker will be a deadly combo. Great shooting and athleticism will come from Booker, with height, shooting, and athleticism coming from Ayton. Both players are young and there is very little veteran support from the rest of the team. Although a promising future team, the Suns will not perform well this year.

Projected seed: 11-15

 

Los Angeles Clippers

With Blake Griffin gone, the Clippers aren’t left with a strong offense. Doc Rivers should be able to use Boban Marjanovic in great ways.

Projected seed: 10-15

 

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have a few good, young players, but the front office will likely misuse them, as they have with all their players over the past decade.

Projected seed 10-15

 

Los Angeles Lakers

The biggest move of the offseason was Lebron signing with the Lakers. While the ragtag bunch of talent-laden youngsters the Lakers has assembled around The King might make for great off-court moments, they won’t do much in terms of wins. Lebron could single-handedly carry this team to a championship, but he also might not be enough for even a playoff spot.

Projected seed: 1-10

Projected playoff finish: Conference semi-finals loss

 

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors ruined the NBA this offseason when they signed Demarcus Cousins. Cousins likely won’t even be back until February. The Warriors have never had a very good big man and have finally filled that role. The only real challengers to the Warriors are the Celtics.

Projected seed: 1-3

Projected playoff finish: NBA finals champ