Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015-16 Crystal Ball

The NBA season is here! Rejoice!

So who wins it all? I like the Golden State Warriors to repeat as NBA Champions. Their depth, and ability to defend combined with Stephen Curry, the reigning Most Valuable Player, make the Warriors my choice in a quick series facing Eastern Conference champs, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Say what? The Atlanta Hawks? 

Yes. The Atlanta Hawks. Jeff Teague continues to improve, and his backup Dennis Schroder could start for several NBA teams. Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford are all top-tier players at their respective positions. The addition of Tiago Splitter and the subtraction of Pero Antic makes the Hawks significantly better when Millsap and Horford are out of the game. To top it off, I like their coach Mike Budenholzer. 

Why not Cleveland? It will be close and it could very well be the Cavs representing the East. I just happen to give the edge to Atlanta. Last season the Hawks were 3-5 against the Cavs. Is it really such a stretch to see them improve by a game or two? We think not. 

New and Improved?

The Boston Celtics look to be improved this season. Already one of the deepest teams in the NBA, the C's added David Lee and Amir Johnson to their front court rotation. Coach Brad Stevens is a guy we believe in as both a communicator and as a 'basketball mind'. 
The Miami Heat should return to being a 50-plus-win team this season thanks to a healthy Chris Bosh, and a full season of Goran Dragic running the point. Gerald Green scoring off the bench, and a full season of Hassan Whiteside manning the paint will help too.

Who will win 2015-16 MVP?

We will go with James Harden, the most productive player in the game that is also efficient. However, the MVP race should be very close. Curry, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Anthony Davis all figure to challenge Harden.

If you were starting a franchise today and could sign any player in the NBA, who would it be? 
Anthony Davis. He is just now 22 years old. Had he been a four-year college player, this would be his rookie NBA season. 

Freaky deeky!
Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2015-16?
We like three players in this category but Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the way, with Meyers Leonard and Reggie Jackson deserving consideration. 

Which team made the best overall moves this offseason? 
San Antonio with the additions of LaMarcus Aldridge, and David West. 

Which one player acquisition will make the biggest impact? 
LaMarcus Aldridge in a Spurs uniform. 

What was the most underrated player acquisition? 
Jeremy Lamb has a chance to flourish in Charlotte  if he receives the playing time. Ty Lawson will make the Rockets better offensively. But the most underrated addition in our opinion is Cleveland adding Mo Williams. He is a major efficiency upgrade from non-scorer, Matthew Dellevadova. LeBron James will enjoy having a shot maker, in Williams, as a teammate. 

Who will win Rookie of the Year?
Karl Anthony Towns is our pick but we think Stanley Johnson, and Myles Turner will make some noise in this race. Towns is a BIG that has the finesse to shoot 81% from the free-throw line. He is still learning to play in the low post but he is accurate and focused with his touch near the basket. He provides a paint presence that any NBA team could use. 

Which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the Draft? 
Rondae Hollis Jefferson slipped to being the 23rd selection. We like his ability to defend and finish in transition.  He is an unquestioned NBA athlete that probably should have been picked in the top dozen.