3 Word Previews of the 2016-17 NBA Season

Some have high hopes and others are in re-build mode. How will your team go this season?

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The NBA off-season moves have  wrapped up and training camp is about to begin. Instead of doing a long, in depth analysis of each team’s future, we’ve wrapped it up into a few words.

Atlanta Hawks:

3 Word Preview: Howard’s Resurection Tour

Dwight Howard isn’t spoken of too highly in many circles. To many, Howard is more trouble than he’s worth. However, the former no. 1 overall pick is still a top 10 centre in the league, and for the first time since his time in Orlando, he’s the top guy. In LA, he was behind Gasol and Kobe, who were all-stars,and in Houston, he was behind James Harden. In Atlanta, he can be the top guy. His ascencion back to the top may steamline though Atlanta. Aside from Howard, the Hawks did lose Al Horford in the off-season, so it will be interesting to see how the team’s dynamics change without the former All-Star. In the back-court, Dennis Schroder has been given the starting position after the Hawks traded away Jeff Teague. This should give the 23 year old a chance to set the pace and develop his game.

Final Record: 39-43

Boston Celtics:

3 Word Preview: So, So Close

In theory, Boston could have had the perfect off-season. They could have potentially grabbed the number one or two pick, and even if they didn’t, could have drafted a key piece. They could have signed two superstars (one being Kevin Durant), and they could have potentially been one of the scariest teams in the NBA. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The Celtics fell to third and while that’s not too bad, picking Jaylen Brown left a lot of people scratching their heads (especially since they already have a good SF in Jae Crowder). They also could have landed Kevin Durant, which they also didn’t. Did the Celtic improve? Yes. Did they become the threat that they could have become? No. However it’s not all lost for the Celtics. Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the league and he has led the team to back-to-back playoff appearances without superstars. Now, with Isiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder all playing team basketball, adding a selfless star like Horford to the front-court fills a hole that the Celtics needed to fill. The Celtics also have a great supporting cast with players such as Smart, Jerebko, Zeller and Olynk, the Celtics have the necessary pieces and team chemistry that could help them make a deep playoff run.

Final Record: 51-31

Image result for al horford celtics

Brooklyn Nets:

3 Word Preview: A Deep Hole

The Nets are potentially going to be the worst team in the NBA this year and for a couple of years. The Celtics own their picks and while they do have around $17M in cap space, that’s not enough to sign a max contract. On top of this, even if the Nets were able to freeup an additional $13M, they don’t have the market value to draw big names. Now, no offence to Linsanity, but when your biggest signing is Jeremy Lin and you also sign one of the biggest busts of all time, then you know you haven’t done well. The Nets won’t be pretty, and unlike teams such as the 76ers and Lakers, they don’t appear to have a future.

Final Record: 20-62

Image result for brooklyn nets 2016 jeremy lin

Charlotte Hornets:

3 Word Preview: Start. Trading. Now

The Hornets lost their starting center Al Jefferson and backup point guard Jeremy Lin. Then they traded their only draft pick away. Their only acquisition in the off-season was Marvin Williams. For the Hornets, their underdog season looks to be a one-time thing as the team seemed to only get worst, rather than better. Every team on this list made a major move or some improvement, but it appears that the Hornets will be the exception. Now Walker, Batum and Kidd-Gilchrist can still carry Charlotte to a playoff team, but their supporting cast has weakened, making it much more difficult for the trio.

Final Record: 35-47

Chicago Bulls:

3 Word Preview: Rejuvenationin Chicago

When the Bulls traded Derrick Rose, it was assumed by many that the Bulls would go into full rebuild mode. However, the Bulls were able to sign Rajon Rondo and the Windy City’s own, Dwayne Wade. What’s better is that the two newest signees appear to agree that it’s Butler’s team. They were able to build a possibly better squad than what they had last year. The Bulls also added Denzel Valentine who has already proven himself to be a strong talent. While many would say this “big 3” will not work due to the egos, this may not be the case. Butler will move to the wing and will be the main scoring option, with Wade the back-up. Rondo is an elite passer and play maker and having two strong scorers in Wade and Butler on the team will lend itself easier to create shots. The Bulls season is one that can either go really well, or terrible wrong.

Final Record: 42-40

Cleveland Cavaliers:

3 Word Preview: You’ll repeat…possibly

The Cavaliers didn’t mess too much up. They kept Lebron and don’t make any ridiculous trades. However, Cleveland may have forgotten the importance of role players. Matthew Dellavedova went to the Bucks, Mozgov went to the Lakers and at this time, Cavaliers and JR Smith are yet to reach an agreement. These players are important to the overall success. Dunleavy and Anderson’s signings may do little to help the team as their age may be a deterrent in giving them larger roles. On top of this, this may be the season in which the Cavaliers decide to part ways with Love, who has appeared to have left his best days in Minnesota. Nevertheless, when you have Lebron on your team, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make the playoffs.

Final Record: 60-22

Dallas Mavericks:

3 Word Preview: Look, It’s Dirk

Let’s face it: Dallas once again did little in the off-season. The most significant thing was actually a negative for the team: they lost Chandler Parsons. Sure they got Andrew Bogut who is a great rim protector, but he is troubled with injuires and his elite defending abilities are declining fast. They also got another former Warrior in Harrison Barnes, who is a risk. Developed right and he could be a star. Developed wrong and he’s just another what-if. However,  if you respect the legendary career of Dirk Nowitzki, you’ll be happy that he got such a worthy contract. However, the future isn’t bright. Dirk has 2-3 years left at the most, and the future seems very gloomy for the Mavs. Dirk can still put up consistent numbers and the Mavericks will most likely scrape into the playoffs. Though for Cuban, he needs to make sure that he starts planning for the future.

Final Record: 40-42

Image result for mark cuban and dirk nowitzki

Denver Nuggets:

3 Word Preview: Silently Builiding Something

The Nuggets didn’t make any huge signings in the off-season, how,ever they’re one of those teams that are building through the draft. Mudiay, Murray, Jokic. With the possibility of getting some serious value from a potential trade involving Kenneth Faried, the Nuggets are a serious dark-horse. They won’t make a splash next season, but in the net couple of seasons they could be good. However, next season is just another year for the youngsters to build team chemistry.

Final Record: 25-57

Detroit Pistons:

3 Word Preview: They still sleeping 

Detroit didn’t make any big moves, but they did make an improvement. They signed Boban Marjanovic and Ish Smith. They finished 8th in the east before being eliminated by eventual NBA Champs, the Cleveland Cavliers. However, the team is young, with an average age of 25. Detroit could make a splash and move up the eastern conference standings next year. Drummond is a top 5 centre in the league, and he lead the league in rebounds last year. Improving his offensive game would make him a threat and would allow the Pistons to build around him even more than they are currently doing so.

Final Record: 48-34

Golden State Warriors:

3 Word Preview: Oh p*ss off

What can we say. Stephen Curry. Draymond Green. Klay Thompson. Kevin Durant. This team is a beast. We mean, the Warriors were 1 win away from being the NBA champions. They’re one of the greatest sides of all time, and now you add former MVP Kevin Durant, and everything just seems unfair. However, in order to get KD, the Warriors did lose a lot of bench players, which could affect the team. (Warriors Get Durant, But at a Possible Cost). On top of this, having 3 scorers on the team could lead to chemistry issues, and, the Warriors lost Bogut, one of the leagues most underrated defenders in the league. Defence could be the Warriors Achilles heel next year.

Final Record: 75-7

Image result for kevin durant gsw

Houston Rockets:

3 Word Preview: A Better Team

Now that Dwight Howard has left, the undisputed star in Houston is James Harden, and in the off-seaon, the Rockets were able to continue to build a playoff team. They signed F Ryan Anderson and G Eric Gordon, who are not stars, but will give support for James Harden. Anderson last year was able to fill the void left by Anthony Davis injury. On top of the signings, they have Michael Beasley who will look to grow his role in Houston. They also hired coach Mike D’Antoni, who’s fast paced style of coaching is exactly what suits James Harden. This doesn’t make them a star team, but this does make them a better team for Harden

Final Record: 41-41

Indiana Pacers: 

3 Word Preview: Pacers Got Game

Earlier this year, Paul George publicly claimed that he was worried that the Pacers were wasting his prime as they had no talent around him.Then over the off-season, the talent swarmed him. The Pacers traded George Hill for All-Star PG Jeff Teague, acquired Al Jefferson in free-agency and acquired Thaddeus Young through a trade. On the right teams, these players have proven they can be stars, and surrounded by Paul George, who has just won his first Olympic gold medal and is entering his prime, this team could be dangerous in the east.

Final Record: 58-24

Los Angeles Clippers:

3 Word Preview: Just Stay Healthy

The Clippers last year arguably looked the best they ever have. They were htting their stride and producing good basketball behind Paul and Jordan. Perhaps with Griffin, they could have gone even better. When it came to the playoffs, many suspected that they may be the team to take down the Warriors. However, as luck would have it, both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were cursed with injuries, and the Clippers would go on to lose the series 4-2 against the Portland Trail Blazers, once again in the first round. With three stars in DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, as well as a supporting cast such as JJ Reddick, 3x 6th man Jamal Crawford and Paul Pierce, the Clippers can start to push for a conference championship. However, that is only if the team can find a way to remain healthy.

Final Record: 60-22

Los Angeles Lakers:

3 Word Preview: Give it Time

For some reason or another, the Lakers in the past 40 years have never had to experience the feeling of rebuilding. From Magic and Kareem, to Kobe and Shaq, to Kobe and Gasol, it always was just star player after star player. Now however, the Lakers are facing a rebuild. And so far, it’s going well. With Kobe’s retirement tour showing the true ageing affects, the young back court produced hope for the Lakers. Clarkson continued on his impressive rookie season, and Russel showed flashes of brilliance, including a 39 point explosion back in early April against the Nets. Add to this Julius Randle and SF Brandon Ingram and it appears that the Lakers have a young squad that will be dangerous in the future. But it will take years, and that’s the part that the Lakers are not used to. This year will be a trial and error season with all the young talent, combined with a young coach in Luke Walton.

Final Record: 26-56

Image result for d'angelo russell and jordan clarkson

Memphis Grizzlies:

3 Word Preview: JUST STAY HEALTHY!

We have re-ittirated the preview of the Clippers, but this time, have emphasised our point. The Grizzlies are a very strong team with Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and recently signed Chandler Parsons. However, the biggest issue facing the Grizzlies is the constant injuries. Marc Gasol, who is one of the top centres in the NBA, was injured. Conley was injured often last year. Add multiple injuries and suddenly the Grizzlies are struggling to even make the playoffs. They finished between the Rockets (8th) and the Mavericks (6th), two teams that the Grizzlies are much better than. Adding Parsons at the 3 is a sign of strong growth, but if they keep getting injured, then the Grizzlies will waste their prime. This year is a chance to prove that they are one of the best sides in

Final Record: 55-37

Miami Heat:

3 Word Preview: Rebuild Around Whiteside

Now that Dwayne Wade has left the Heat and Chris Bosh’s career appears to be over,  it comes down to the young centre, Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside has built his reputation as a shot-blocking beast and a strong rebounder, but while he does average double digits in PPG, now that he is the star of the team, his offensive abilities need to improve. Along with a supporting cast of Justice Winslow and Tyler Johnson,  young stars, it’s a rebuilding stage. It will be a test for Erik Spoesltra to rebuild a young core in a growing eastern conference. Pat Riley is a mastermind, so it’s likely he has a plan in place, and so, we’ll have to watch and see what Riley has in mind.

Final Record: 35-47

Milwaukee Bucks:

3 Word Preview: Future Is Bright

The Milwaukee Bucks should have made the playoffs last season, theoretically of course. After all, they made the playoffs the year before, and Parker and Antetokounmpo are only getting better. However, the team missed out and went into the lottery. However this the Bucks should make a leap this year. Antetokounmpo is only 21 and is already averaging 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.2 assists. On top of this, Antetokounmpo had 5 triple-doubles this year. He’s already considered to be a potential future MVP, and these numbers show. His partner in crime, Jabari Parker had an equally impressive year, averaging 15.4 points, and 5.2 rebounds. Now in the off-season, the Bucks added Australian point guard Matthew Dellevadova who showed his raw ability at the Rio Olympics, drafted 7″1 centre Thon Maker who, despite questions about his age and physicality, can be a great addition. Delly, Parker, Maker and Antetokounmpo are all under 27, and are yet to reach their prime. With Jason Kidd steering the ship, the future is bright for the Bucks.

Final Record: 38-44

Minnesota Timberwolves:

3 Word Preview: The Leap Year

Karl Anthony Towns. Andrew Wiggins. Zach Lavine. Kris Dunn. Ricky Rubio! That is more than a scary team. That is frightening. Towns averaged a double-double (18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds), and finished with 51 double-doubles in his rookie year, which was enough to see him take away the Rookie of the Year.In comparison to KAT’s numbers, Lebron James didn’t have 51 double-doubles until his 3rd season! Andrew Wiggins increased his scoring output, averaging 20.7 points. Young Zach Lavine also put up impressive numbers, averaging 14 points. Now, the Wolves also have a choice between the young Kris Dunn, who some expect to be the 2017 Rookie of the Year, or Ricky Rubio. Now Ricky Rubio still has immense trade value and this makes the Wolves even scarier. Additional to the players, the acquisition of Tom Thibedau will benefit the likes of Karl Anthony-Towns. Thibeadau os best known for his defense, and with KAT proving his defensive prowess, developing Towns into a beast on both ends of the court could make KAT one of the best players in the league in the next 5 years. However, despite the huge upside of this team, they are still young and developing. While Towns and Wiggins both have their eyes on the playoffs, it may not be the year for that achievement yet. By 2020 though , the Wolves could be the new Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers.

Final Record: 33-49

Image result for karl anthony towns, andrew wiggins and zach lavine

New Orleans Pelicans:

3 Word Preview: A Dangerous Duo

Anthony Davis is an MVP caliber player, however as history shows, you can’t be an MVP if  you’re teams in the lottery. However the Pelicans did have a tough season. Jrue Holiday was injured for a significant time and Davis went down a month out from the playoffs. Now, Davis may just have a future partner in crime. Buddy Hield is known for his offense, and with Davis being a force on both ends of the court, these two could cause some serious damage. Still, the Pelicans won’t be pushing for a title this year, but if Davis wants to be one of the best PF’s in the league, he may have just found his Pippen. Davis’ issues aren’t just from a lack of support. Davis has been plagued by injuries his entire career, and hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season since he was drafted. For the Pelicans, they need to have their trainers priorities to try and keep Davis healthy.

Final Record: 35-47

New York Knicks:

3 Word Preview: Now or Never

Yeah we’ve heard the jokes. This team would dominate in 2011, but not now. Here’s the facts though. This team is still good. Anthony has never had stars to play with in New York, but now he does. Let’s start with Rose. He is injury prone and is light-years from being MVP Rose, but that’s not what Knicks need. They don’t need a superstar. They just need a point guard who can contribute. Compared to Jose Calderon, he is a vast improvement. He averaged 16.7 points and over 4 assists, as well as playing the most games since his MVP season. Additional, Kristaps Porzingis can only develop further, and Melo is still putting up All-Star numbers. Add former DPOY Joakim Noah and on both ends, the Knicks can hold their own. The Knicks may not scream a championship team, but they can make a decent run, and may surprise a few.

Final Record: 50-32

Oklahoma City Thunder:

3 Word Preview: It’s Westbrook’s Now

Let’s try not to mention a certain someone leaving for a certain team which was deemed selfish. THAT player left the entire Thunder organisation completely in shock, and none more than close friend Russel Westrbook. It’s good news for Westbrook though as he now has the chance to prove how great he is and to possibly win the MVP. Statistically, Westbrook plays better without Durant, but this doesn’t always translate to W’s, and this was evident in the 2014-15 season. The Thunder also acquired young talent in Victor Oladpio. The International Stach Bros, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter have proven an asset. For Adams especially, his defensive abilities showed last season and will be more vital in the upcoming seasons. Still, losing such heavy talent like Ke…I mean Mr. John Doe will be tough to recover from.

Final Record: 48-34

Orlando Magic:

3 Word Preview: Just Going Nowhere

Unfortunately for the Magic, they seem to be a team that just is going nowhere. Last year they showed some improvement, but they don’t appear to have a bright future. If you look at all the struggling leagues, most of them show bright talent. Lakers have Russel, Clarkson, Randle and Ingram. Sixers have Simmons, Embiid, Noel and Okafor. Suns have Bledsoe, Knight and Booker ect. The Magic aren’t in that same boat. On the surface, it appears they won’t have a promising youngster until next year’s stacked draft. To top it off, the Magic lost possibly their brightest star in Victor Oladipo. The future of Orlando, for the moment, appears to be resting on the shoulders of Ibaka, Peyton, Fournier and Gordan. That’s not saying they can’t make an impact, but for now, they don’t posses the star potential of other league youngsters.

Final Record: 30-52

Philadelphia 76ers:

3 Word Preview: Hitting the Re-Start

The Sixers were easily the worst team last year. They only won 10 games, finished 2nd last in points per game (97.4), second last in field goal percentage (43.1) and pretty much sucked all-round. However, they had a productive off-season. Of course, landing Ben Simmons generally helped who is drawing comparisons to Lebron James, as well as other international players. With the next two or three years being all about building the team around Ben Simmons, this off-season wasn’t all that bad. Now it’s time for the 76ers to take their time and develop Simmons game, and build a struggling franchise around one of the game’s brightest future stars. Shifting away from Simmons though, it appears the centre position is one with turmoil. Of course, in 2013 they drafted Nerlens Noel, in 2014 Joel Embiid and last year, Jahlil Okafor. Okafor has so far been the brightest star, and therefore, Okafor is the man most likely to keep the starting spot, which leaves Noel and Embiid. Noel has recently spoken out about the position and showed obvious frustrations. However, the Sixers can fix things. Teams like the Celtics, Bucks and Bulls are in need of a better front-court and so, the Sixers could trade away one of their centres for a back-court player.

Final Record: 21-61

Image result for ben simmons

Phoenix Suns:

3 Word Preview: Watson’s Experimental Season

Everyone remembers the Suns era of Nash and Stoudemire. That was the closest the Suns have come to a championship. Now however, the Suns are looking to go back into the playoffs. Eric Bledsoe missed almost all season last year with a knee injury that required injury. This means that the first couple of weeks will determine if the injury has changed anything. Bledsoe on a good night can be a threat, and the Suns need this. They also have Brandon Knight, who although has had his fair share of features on “NBA Best Blooper” highlights, can combine with Bledsoe to form a strong back court. And of course, Devin Booker who last year impressed many with his shooting abilities and fundamental guard skills. The problem that the Suns face is: two guard spots, 3 promising guard players. It’s a decision Earl Watson needs to make, and also get right, because no matter who he sits on the bench, it will limit their potential for growth. On the other hand, they also have two young, promising forwards in Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, who both can turn into a formidable front court. Whatever the case, the Suns will have alot of time to experiment with their line-up.

Final Record: 26-56

Portland Trail Blazers:

3 Word Preview: The Silent Assasins

Where Damian Lillard sits on the scale of best players can be disputed. Some claim Lillard is underrated, as evident by the fact that he wasn’t selected as an All-Star. Some may say he’s an MVP calibre player. Where ever people sit, they can all agree that Damian Lillard is no joke. He’s the man who seemed to almost take down the Warriors single handedly. He’s the man who went on an absolute tear when he wasn’t an All-Star. Lillard seems to have this passion that won’t be ignored. Many dounted the youngster’s ability to carry an entire team, especially when Portland lost Lopez, Afflalo, Batum and former All-Star Aldridge. However, along with Most Improved player CJ McCullom, the Blazers finished fifth, taking down a strong Clippers squad before being taken down by the Warriors. The fact is, Lillard isn’t done yet and if he is still yet to reach his peak, the league better watch out.

Final Record: 55-27

Sacramento Kings:

3 Word Preview: “Give Me Strength”

Don’t understand the 3 word preview? Let us explain:

screen-shot-2016-06-23-at-6-29-26-pm

The Kings drafted 2 centres. 2!. Generally when a team has 2 young talented centres in Demarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley Stein, you would pick someone who is not a centre or power forward. However, instead they drafted…centres. The Kings made no off-season moves, lost Rondo, Rudy Gay wants to leave and Demarcus Cousins talent is super-ceded by his attitude. In general, the Kings organisation is a disaster, and it will be a very tough road to become even a chance at being contenders again.

Final Record: 24-58

San Antonio Spurs:

3 Word Preview: New Big 3

With the retirement of both Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, an era in the NBA has officially ended. For the Spurs, they lose the teams greatest ever . However, while Duncan’s legacy is incredible, his last few seasons saw his play diminish. However, over the off-season, the Spurs signed Pau Gasol. Gasol, although 36, still is playing at a high level. Matching Gasol along side Lamarcus Aldridge and MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs may possibly play at a higher level than last year. Gasol has shown he’s selfless and willing to intergrate into teams. Aldridge is still one of the best power forards in the league, and Leonard is looking to take a step closer to becoming an MVP. The only issue that the Spurs face is their lack of athleticism. This was one of the factors that led them to losing to the Thunder. All these factors are vital to the Spurs that may once again see them be a favourite in the West.

Final Record: 65-17

Image result for kawhi leonard dunking 2016

Toronto Raptors:

3 Word Preview: Canada’s Cinderella Story

The Raptors are coming off their most successful season in the franchises history, making it to the Eastern Conference finals, before losing 4-2 to the eventual champs, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raptors are still one of the best teams in the league, however in the conference finals, it was evident that Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan didn’t have the clutch attitude that a team like the Raptors need. Jarred Sullinger adds more experience in the front-court, however his shape is still a question. If Dwayne Casey can get Sullinger to to lose the weight, he could develop him into an above average power forward. Regardless, expect the Raptors to put up a strong record and possibly return to the conference finals…or better.

Final Record: 57-25

Utah Jazz:

3 Word Preview: The Next Step

The Jazz just missed out on the playoffs, and with some teams in the West getting worst, the Jazz could jump into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The Jazz are an underrated side with young talent. Gordan Hayward is 27, the prime age for NBA talent. His numbers were consistent from last year. His front-court partner Derrick Favors is also consistently improving and is a force on both ends of the court. The teams centre, Rudy Gobert has averaged over 2 blocks in the past 2 years, and is one of the most promising defensive players in the league. With the Jazz front-court all under the age of 27, the sky is the limit for the Salt Lake team. Utah will also see their point guard Dante Exum return from an ACL injury which he suffered in an international match in mid 2015. Combined, the Jazz have several years to improve and make a splash in the West.

Final Record: 50-32

Washington Wizards:

3 Word Preview: Chemistry is Key

The Wizards failed to make the playoffs last year after making it in 2015. For the Wizards, John Wall is doing what he can, while a breakout season is expected for Beal. Over the off-season, Wall noted that him and Beal had chemistry issues, but he hoped that they wouldn’t affect winning. Unfortunately this does. The most recent example is Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. They did what they can, but eventually, cracks started to show. It’s not too late to change it around though. If Beal and Wall can get along and Beal can have the break out season that he’s expected to have, then the Wizards could win. However, this season may not be the one. The Wizards have an average supporting cast and that won’t help help them go far. The team’s success lies on the shoulder of the back court.

Final Record: 38-44

 

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