Someone jailbroke the NBA this offseason. I don’t know if I ever made this many moves playing Association on 2k. Suffice to say, it’s been orgasmic. There’s no need for me to catch you up on what’s been going on; if you’re reading this, you know your stuff. Let’s tackle some of the questions you guys sent in.
“Where will Russ end up Dan? I need to know.”
The Houston Rockets. This is the reason I waited a day to post this article. I knew something was going to happen. But this… I had no idea. Russ makes sense over CP3 talent wise, but I’m not sure about the fit. This was essentially a straight up trade for two shitty contracts, maybe the two worst in the NBA behind John Wall’s in Washington. Westbrook is a worse shooter than Paul, and even more ball dominant, but he does bring a crazy huge upgrade in athleticism and pacing. Fuck, am I getting a little turned on thinking of Mr. “Why Not” in D’Antoni’s system? A little. But what’s going to happen when two players with historically high usage ratings are sharing a backcourt? Find out next week on Dragon Ball Z*.
*This is an old hack joke and I hate myself for using it.
“Biggest offseason move nobody is talking about?”
There’s a few I really like that I think flew under the radar, but the biggest one might be Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. The former ROY is coming off a historic 50/40/90 season, and showed flashes as a closer in several playoff games this postseason for the Bucks. The tandem of Brogdon and Oladipo should scare teams in the Eastern Conference this season, and expect Indiana to get home court advantage in April. In fact, the Pacers quietly had one of the best offseasons throughout the Association, adding Jeremy Lamb and TJ Warren to a team that was scoring deficient once Victor Oladipo went down. Real G’s move in silence. Good shit Indiana.
“Could Dan Carney beat the worst WNBA player 1v1?”
“Clippers a top 3 seed?”
Absolutely… if healthy. The Clippers will immediately have the most intimidating defensive squad next year with studs like 2x DPOY Kawhi, PG13, Pat Beverly, Montrez Harrell, Moe Harkless, and even Ivan Zubac, who was a top 5 rim protector last year. Some of those guys are major factors offensively, and then you still have Sweet Lou off the bench. This might be the most complete team in the NBA. Doc Rivers is your coach, Jerry West your GM, Steve “Lip” Ballmer your owner… I’m hard.
“Which bench will Dwight Howard crash next season?”*
Whoever feels like they need to be relevant. The last two teams he played for are the Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks, organizations that fly under the radar and haven’t been contenders for a while now. You know what would’ve gotten me off? The Magic sign and trade Vuc for Rozier with Boston, giving Mo Bamba and Jonathon Isaac more playing time (and allowing them to play small ball), and then picking up Dwight Howard once he’s waived from Memphis (if by “bench” you meant “bus bench”, then he’s in Memphis). Wouldn’t that be sweet. He comes off the bench and fulfills Marcin Gortat’s role when he backed up Howard. They get a starting PG… bravissimo.
*This answer doubles for the “Go Magic?” question I received. I’ll be doing team predictions soon, and I’m very excited to talk about how I think the Magic are screwing around.
“Is league truly balanced now?”
The West is truly balanced. The East is a wasteland after the top four or five teams. I don’t know who gets that 8th seed in the West. Is it the Spurs? Does Nola get in? Do the Mavericks make a jump with their new dynamic duo? I really don’t know. I guess the East is balanced if you’re competing for the number 1 pick in the 2020 draft. The NBA is more balanced than it’s been the last five years, but it’ll be a while before there’s a true balance in the force.
“Why do my Knicks suck?”
In a name? James Dolan. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: you cannot win with bad ownership. Especially in a league now where players have the power. They’re not going to want to play for a man who at times has been more committed to his shitty blues band than building a winning basketball team. I like what they did this offseason in terms of getting vets to mentor their young talent, which they do have, and they have a great coach for culture building in David Fizdale. Expect their front office to make moves on the very sexy 2021 free agency class that could include LeBron, Kawhi, PG13, and Giannis.
“Celtics are better or worse this year?”
I don’t think they’re necessarily better on paper, but they are better off than they were last year. Danny Ainge is a goddamn mastermind and deserves all the credit in the world for facilitating trades that have retained 3 different All-NBA point guards during past four seasons. I think Kemba buys into Brad Stevens’ system, Hayward comes back healthy and confident, and Brown and Tatum make the leap to fringe All-Star. There’s something to be said for keeping the band together and focusing on growth, and I think the Celtics should be wise to keep these guys together for a while. Losing Horford is nearly catastrophic for them, however. His efficiency, leadership, and stout defensive will be tough to replace.
“Who’s going to win the east?”
The difference between the East and West is that one player can win the East on their own, while it takes a team to come out of the West. With that being said, the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers have the two best players (until KD comes back, he will win a championship on the Nets - calling it now), and thus the best chance to advance to the NBA Finals in 2020. Expect one of those two teams to compete for a title next season. But watch out for the Nets and the Pacers though, both teams got better and are pretty deep. I could see one of those two teams upsetting a top seed.
“Lakers or Clips?”
The Clippers will have a better regular season record, but I think the Lakers are poised for a very deep playoff run. I can’t bet against LeBron James.
“Who wins the ship?”
Seeding will matter more this year than perhaps any other in recent memory, especially in the West. I don’t know how you could pick a team to win it all, honestly. If the Bucks had retained Brogdon, I’d be strongly advocating for them, but they didn’t, so now I think all the power rests on the other side of the country. Los Angeles wins it all.
“No way Dwight Howard is HOF.”
8x All-Star. 6x All-NBA. 3x DPOY. 1 Finals appearance. Top 20 all-time rebounding and blocked shots. Future HOF.
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