NBA Preview

Matthew Leto, Sports Editor

Eastern Conference

(1) Cleveland Cavalers 56-26 – The Cavaliers are the defending champions and are well prepared to defend their title. With LeBron James, a top 5 player of all time and superstar Kyrie Irving its going to be hard for any team in the Eastern conference to dethrone the Cavs.

(2) Indiana Pacers 55-27 – The Pacers picked up Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson during free agency. These two additions will mix well with second year Myles Turner and superstar Paul George. The Pacers should give the Cavaliers a run for their money for the 1st seed in the east.

(3) Toronto Raptors 55-27 – The Raptors retain superstars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan from their historic playoff run. The Raptors also added depth onto their roster with the addition of Jared Sullinger and with draft pick Jakob Poeltl.

(4) Boston Celtics 51-31 – The Celtics have superstar Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford who was picked up through free agency. The Celtics will look to have great play from Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown.

(5) Detroit Pistons 48-34 – The Pistons could be the sleeper team nobody is talking about. The Pistons, arguably have the league’s top big man in Andre Drummond. In addition, the Pistons also have Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Pistons also have Stanley Johnson and rookie Henry Ellenson who will look to make a splash in his rookie season.

(6) New York Knicks 46-36 – The additions of superstar Derrick Rose and the veteran Joakim Noah should contribute heavily. In addition, the Knicks have second year Kristaps Porzingis who is ready to take his talent to the next level. These players mixed with Carmelo Anthony make the Knicks a must watch team.

(7) Charlotte Hornets 45-37 – The Hornets lost Al Jefferson to free agency, however, the Hornets retained star Kemba Walker. The Hornets should compete well in the East with Nicolas Batum and Marvin Williams.

(8) Chicago Bulls 43-39 – The Bulls lost Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah however, they added Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade. The Bulls also have three young guys in Denzel Valentine, Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis who will look to take the league by storm.

(9) Atlanta Hawks 41-41 – The Hawks added superstar Dwight Howard but lost Al Horford in return. The Hawks also have Paul Millsap, Kyle Korever and Kent Bazemore. These pieces tied with Dwight Howard should be interesting to watch.

(10) Orlando Magic 39-43 – The Magic took a step in the right during this offseason adding Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo. The Magic also have Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon. Despite this interesting team, the Magic lost Victor Oladipo and will feel the repercussions this season.

(11) Milwaukee Bucks 37-45 – The Bucks are a very young and lengthy squad. The Bucks announced 6’10 Giannis Antetokounmpo as their starting point guard. The Bucks will also have Jabari Parker and Kris Middleton who will look to play a major role this season.

(12) Miami Heat 32-50 – The Heat made a couple small free agent additions, but nobody can replace the loss of Dwayne Wade this season. The loss of Wade will hurt the Heat offensively and likely lose to many games to return to the playoffs.

(13) Washington Wizards 25-57 -The Wizards have a great duo in the backcourt with superstars Bradley Beal and John Wall. The addition of Trey Burke should boost the number of victories for the Wizards this season.

(14) Philadelphia 76ers 15-67 – The 76ers will be much better this season than they have been a while. With number one pick Ben Simmons on the court, the 76ers should have more opportunities to win games. In addition, the 76ers expect the former number three pick two years ago, Joel Embiid to make his debut.

(15) Brooklyn Nets 9-73 – The Nets have an established center in Brook Lopez and rising superstar Bojan Bogdanović. The Nets also added Jeremy Lin, however it looks like the Nets will struggle this season.

Western Conference

(1) Golden State Warriors 67-15 – The Warriors added superstar Kevin Durant to join their super team. The Warriors have the talent to be 73-9 yet again. However, the Warriors will likely start the season with a couple losses as they attempt to gel with one another.

(2) San Antonio Spurs 66-16 – The Spurs lost Tim Duncan to retirement, but added Pau Gasol in return. The Spurs also have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge and should give the Warriors a run for their money.

(3) Los Angeles Clippers 55-27 – The Clippers have superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, along side veteran DeAndre Jordan. The Clippers also have a great sixth man of the year in Jamal Crawford. In addition, rookie Brice Johnson will look to make a splash this season.

(4) Utah Jazz 49-33 – The Jazz are the most underrated team in the league. The Jazz have Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. The Jazz also have scoring machine Gordon Hayward. The Jazz added George Hill and drafted Marcus Paige.

(5) Memphis Grizzlies 47-35 – The Grizzlies have a loaded team with: Marc Gasol, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley Jr. The Grizzlies also added Wade Baldwin IV.

(6) Portland Trail Blazers 46-36 – The Trail Blazers have superstars Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The Trail Blazers added Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli to strengthen their rotation. Look for Mason Plumlee and Allen Crabbe to make a splash.

(7) Minnesota Timberwolves 44-38 –  The Timberwolves will be the most improved team in the league this season. The Timberwolves have two legends in the making in Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns. The Timberwolves draft pick of Kris Dunn will also be exciting to see.

(8)Oklahoma City Thunder 43-39 The Thunder have a deep team, however, with the departure of Kevin Durant, its hard to predict the Thunder making the playoffs even with Russell Westbrook. The addition of Victor Oladipo will be very interesting to see the athletic duo in the back court.

(9) Denver Nuggets 40-42 – The Nuggets have built a strong team with Kenneth Faried and Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay. The Nuggets have Jamal Murray who will look to make a splash with Malik Beasley.

(10) Houston Rockets 40-42 – The Rockets will rely heavily on James Harden after the departure of Dwight Howard. Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza should contribute in a role player style.

(11) Dallas Mavericks  38-44 – The Mavericks added Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut to go along with Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks also have Seth Curry and Wesley Matthews to mix with the team.

(12) New Orleans Pelicans 35-47 – The Pelicans have a top 5 player in Anthony Davis mixed with Lance Stevenson and Solomon Hill. Buddy Hield should make a splash with his scoring ability.

(13) Los Angeles Lakers 25-57 – The Lakers have a trio of rising stars in Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. The Lakers also added Luol Deng and Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers are going to be better than most people think.

(14) Sacramento Kings 21-61 – The Kings have DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison. The Kings  have Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Malaki Richardson. The Kings have a chance to be good if these players perform up to par.

(15) Phoenix Suns 16-66 – The Suns have superstar Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe. The Suns have three rookies in Dragon Bender, Marquese Chriss, and Tyler Ulis.

Prediction – The Warriors and Cavaliers will be a trilogy in the NBA Finals. The Cavs will put up a good fight, but the Warriors will power through in 4 games.



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