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Where Do The Raptors Rank In The East?

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  • DanH wrote: View Post

    That's just... literally how the world works. I'm not making any predictions here - you are the one saying the Raptors bench wings will be so much better than the Bucks bench wings that it will completely wash out them having Middleton as their best wing.

    Clarkson doesn't really buy the Leafs any more cap space. Just lets them use it after the season starts, where before they had to have Marner signed beforehand.
    So said another way.. more cap space.

    Comment


    • DanH wrote: View Post

      Using 538's methods doesn't mean math and analytics have to go, it means your choice of whose math and analytics to pay attention to is a problem.
      It can also mean that anyone can make a pick using whatever set parameters they deem works for them.

      My favourite story from business is paraphrased as follows.
      Here is the story folks... go get me facts to support it.

      Comment


      • Demographic Shift wrote: View Post

        So said another way.. more cap space.
        Except, uh, no. They can't add any more salary than they already could. They just make some timing things easier.
        twitter.com/dhackett1565

        Comment


        • The Heat

          Wars were fought about it. Oaths were sworn. Enemies were made in perpetuity in RR over whether the Raptors were a treadmill team or not. Well the Heat are a treadmill team. They have won but a single playoff round since the 2013-14 season and average between 39 and 44 wins per season over that stretch. Eww you say ?It gets worse.

          The Heat have traded away their 1st rounders in 2021 and 2023 and they have traded all but one second round pick till 2027. They are hard capped this year. Next year they will be at the cap making free agency pretty tough sledding. Relief from the cap finally comes in 2021-22 when Jimmy Butler will be 32 years old entering his 11th year in the league. Shoot me now.

          They were however able to get out from under Hassan Whitesides deal and that’s a good. thing. The Heats bigs will be Bam Adebyeo and backing him up is Myles Leonard. They will be a physical force for sure.. but they also have two guys with manos de piedra from beyond 3 feet of the basket. The other bigs are the mercurial James Johnson and good Canadian boy Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk can at least stretch the floor a little. Getting any shooting from the bigs is not going to be a you will see in Miami on any kind of a regular basis. What they will get night in and night out is rebounding and dunks from Bam Bam...

          On the wings are the newly acquired Jimmy Butler, Waiters Island, Justice Winslow and 1st year man Tyler Herro. Jimmy is going to be living his dream in that he is going to have the ball a lot. He will likely be given free reign to iso and get his shot once Dragic brings it up the floor. Jimmy is going to post numbers. They might be empty numbers but they will be pretty good.

          Waiters is an acquired taste but Dion may fly in formation a little more this year as the Heat have in Jimmy someone else who can score on a team that have very few bodies that can. If he doesn’t do what Coach Spo wants Dion may see his PT dimminsh quickly until Spo needs something if Jimmy is having an off night. There is a special place in heaven for Coach Spo.

          Justice Winslow has come into his own and is a bona fide NBA rotation player now. He plays very good defense and has shown he can score some. He is best suited to be the first wing off the bench on a contender but on the Heat, who is not, he will start.

          Tyler Herro was drafted to bring some 3 point shooting for a team that is starved for it. He will help eventually but he is a first year guy picked in the mid teens.

          The Heats Ballhandlers are led by the now aging and perennially nicked up Goran the Dragon Dragic. Does he have another year in him ? The Heat are hoping so as next man up is currently Kendrick Nunn who they like but like Herro is a first year player. Dragic should work well with Butler but Goran like Jimmy is most effective when he has the ball.I fully expect Eric Spolestra to figure that out before training camp. Coach Spo is still really really good.

          There will be a lot of talk about the Heats culture and the Heats mystique but its just talk. The Heat will be the same team they were last year. A very tough physical team that will foul on just about every possession. Jimmy will help with the offense but look for them to post their usual 43 wins this year. The difference being they will get into the playoffs ahead of the Pistons this year.

          Next up.... The Detroit PIstons

          Comment


          • Demographic Shift wrote: View Post

            It can also mean that anyone can make a pick using whatever set parameters they deem works for them.

            My favourite story from business is paraphrased as follows.
            Here is the story folks... go get me facts to support it.
            Funny thing is that 538's model picked the Raptors over the Warriors, at the height of the "Warriors are better without Durant" chants. Even 538 questioned their own model.

            All models are wrong. Some are useful.

            Comment


            • golden wrote: View Post

              Funny thing is that 538's model picked the Raptors over the Warriors, at the height of the "Warriors are better without Durant" chants. Even 538 questioned their own model.

              All models are wrong. Some are useful.
              Fair dinkum.

              Comment


              • golden wrote: View Post
                I am really surprised at how little support Denver ..at least at this point ....is getting for consideration in the west.

                I am slowly coming around to Houston resurrecting their chances as a big time possibility to surface in late May as well. An intense competitor who at times hurts himself more than his opponent one Russell Westbrook has something to prove. No one carries a grudge like Russell. If he and Harden can exist on the floor and Westbrook can channel the hate he has for his critics .....that’s a team you don’t want to see come April,May. I wonder if DAntoni changes his scheme some this year as the 3 ball assault has now come up short when it matters two years in a row.
                Last edited by Demographic Shift; Thu Jul 25th, 2019, 12:02 PM.

                Comment


                • golden wrote: View Post
                  The Knicks off-season was disastrous considering what the goal was, what they sacrificed to go after it and what the was the actual outcome.

                  Comment


                  • The Pistons

                    The cold hard reality of life as a pro in the NBA is hitting Coach Casey. He got paid but now he sees why. This is a roster that’s .. how shall we say… fucked. Yes. That’s the word for it.The Pistons are still in the ICU from that trade for Blake Griffin and the Drummond extension and appear to be so for a while to come. They have tied up 60% of their cap on positions that this iteration of NBA ball values less than a case of the clap. Trying to put this into perspective its like a tech company counting on typewriters to increase top line revenue.

                    There is some hope. Reggie Jackson comes off the books next year as does Langston Galloway. But Griffin and Drummond hang like piano wire around their Pistons organizations balls for 3 and 2 more years respectively. The Pistons gutted their way into the post season last year only to be crushed and powdered in the first round. This year even that minor benchmark will be tough to get to.

                    The Detroit bigs and 60%of the cap are the albatrosses around the Pistons neck or lower extremities. Drummond needs a change of scenery but that 28M$ AAV is hard to move . Griffin for my money is now on the decent. His body is starting to betray him as he gets hurt each and every year. He will still have his moments when he puts up 20 and 10 but this version of Blake is vastly different than the 1st overall pick that went to the Clips. For continuity the Pistons signed a Morris twin.. Markieff this time round. The Wiz dumped him to OKC and OKC just let him go. Does he have something left… likely not. All in all this is a pretty combustible mix off the court with a Morris twin….. Blake the sucker puncher of trainers Griffin and Drummond. If I’m the Pistons GM I am resigned to the idea that I am going to get at least 1 or 2 calls to post bail for a D&D.

                    On the wings the Pistons drafted a kid from France who has promise.. just not this year. They also sport Tony Snell who they took for cap relief and cap weight Langston Galloway. The lone bright spot is emerging 3 point SG Luke Kennard.

                    Manning the point till they can cut his lame ass is Reggie Jackson. To paraphrase Churchill "never so little has come from so much". In a move that only his buddies in the NBA Players Only crew would love is the signing of Derrick Rose.Another stop gap measure on a stop gap team.

                    They have all their first rounders and most of their seconds. They are going to need them. They can crawl out from underneath the cap in two years time or earlier if they can find a way to unload Griffins deal or Drummonds deal. Best of luck on that but what the hell Chris Paul moved this year so anything is possible. As presently constructed the Pistons are the Charlestown Chiefs of the NBA. The Pistons will try to blow it up this year and restart if given the opportunity. Its going to be a long year in the Motor City. No matter how much you disliked Dwane Casey .. he doesn’t deserve this mess.

                    Next up… Two Possible Up and Comers in Atlanta and Chicago.

                    Comment


                    • The Hawks
                      Atlanta is as vanilla as yogurt in the NBA landscape. That may change next season. The heretofore non descript vanilla Hawks now sport an Irving like backcourt player in Trae Young (did I spell that wright ?) and an up and coming frontcourt featuring John Collins and a boom or bust pick in Cam Reddish.
                      On the wing they have a future steady eddy in D’Andre Hunter along with 3 ball man Kevin Heuter and have added a bit of veteran presence with the recently acquired Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe.

                      They still have Alex Len to man the middle but they have time and cap space and draft picks to see if they can find in the plethora of big men available at really any time of the season a player they like to shore that spot up.

                      The Hawks are coming folks…. They have all their 1sts plus an additional one from the Nets next year and cap space. Its just too bad they are in one of the worst sports towns in North America. These guys could push for the last spot in he post season this year if things come together for them .

                      Da Bulls

                      The Bulls aren’t as far along as the Hawks but ball should be better than the visine show the Bulls put on last year in the United Centre.
                      Wendell Carter Jr. should get a full run at the NBA this coming season to see what he has. Behind him is this years pick Daniel Gafford who doesn’t lack for spirt and competitveness. Laauri Markaanen bookends Carter as a stretch 4 in the Kevin Love mould. Mix in a veteran Thad Young and the Bulls look to be OK in the front court.

                      They are still stuck with all narcissist Zach Lavine on the wing but should be able to move him at the trade deadline for a team looking for a microwave type guy off the bench. Behind Zach is now veteran Otto Porter who will help the Bulls in a lot of ways.

                      The Bulls have moved on from Kris Dunn as their ballhandler and picked up my choice as Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year Coby White. White is a 6’5” PG who can really push the pace. He is a 1st year guy and a one and done pick but he has promise. Giving him a hand this year will be Tomas Satoransky a good pickup from the hemmoraging Wiz.

                      The Bulls won’t make the playoffs this year even if they put their minds to it .. however they still have all their 1sts and a couple of bonus second rounders coming up. They have the ability to shed some salary for some cap space next year.

                      The Bulls too are coming… just on a slower track than the Hawks.

                      Next Up… The Flotsam that is the Knicks, Hornets, Wizards and Cavs

                      Comment


                      • The Tank Brigade is set and ready to ride....


                        The Cavs


                        The Cavs are a good look at the bleak downside of the future of what the Raps might looks like. They have a really good PF in Love and not much else. If the Raps rescind the contracts of Kyle, Marc , Freddy and Serge they could look like the Cavs do now. It’s a sobering look for the tear it down to the studs and start over crowd.

                        To go with Love the Cavs have two guards in Sexton and Garland, a serious flyer on a Beasley like headcase in Kevin Proter Jr.with the same talent level, a Euro in Ossman who can play and cap space. Its another year in the desert for the Cavs who will be looking to trade Love for a 1st and a A level prospect. If they trade Love..

                        I am not sure they crack 20 wins this season.The Cavs have all their picks moving forward. They need them.

                        The Wiz.

                        As bad as the good folks of Cleveland feel its worse in DC.

                        They have gutted their team save for Beal. Why he is being held hostage in DC is anyones guess. Perhaps they truly like him and can build around him or maybe they believe the only way to get our form underneath Walls deal is to package him up in that move. The Wiz moved on from Porter, Morris, Satoransky . They project to start Beal, Ish Smith, the rook Hachimura , and two guys named Bryant and Brown. It starts off bad and tails off from there. The Wiz are already scouting the top 3 picks in the draft. They Wiz won’t win 20 games this year either.

                        The Hornets.

                        The highlight of the Hornets year could be Red Panda during their cheesy half time shows. Simon Says and the mind readers are others.
                        I have been ragging on this for a couple years that as good a player as Micheal Jordan was he is the antithesis as an front office executive. The Hornets are bad and all fingers point to Jordan. The shitty draft picks and the even shittier FA signings.
                        The Hornets who really had no stomach to resign Walker knew this long in advance of the trade deadline and didn’t make a move. Just criminal asset management.

                        Lining up for the Hornets this year is a whos who of vets past their prime and over reached draft picks. Batum, Marvin Williams, Cody Zeller are starting. Malik Monk is at least 10 back on the depth chart and he went 10th a year or two ago. Kidd Ghilcrist went 2nd overall and he too might come off the bench. Its bad. Real bad. Call your relatives they don’t have much time bad.
                        The Hornets might not get to 17 wins. The league wants to shoot Dolan… They should see if the can get Jordan with a ricochet.

                        The Knicks.

                        In what appears to be ground hog day in NY as the dust settles in the aftermath of the 2019 off season the Knicks did Knicks things and not so Knicks things. On the OH SO KNICKS things side of the ledger they traded a 7 foot 3 inch big who has guard skills for cap space which didn’t work out so well for them. Hey .. we all do what we do.

                        On the not so Knicks things side of the ledger they didn’t do the full Stoudamire this time through and blow through all that cap space on one guy on a long term deal. They spread their bet and signed mid to 3es tier talent on short term deals keeping their options open.

                        They also took the at the 3rd slot in the draft the the BPA in RJ Barrett. Its likely Porzingis said no to the Knicks as a long term option and they moved him for a futures. They actually do have a longer term plan in place and didn’t succumb to some cheap carny deal to get well quick. Good for them. Look they will stink again this year however they have 6 first rounders in the next 4 years and a pantload of capspace. If the Knicks actually stick to the plan they will be better. But this year. Get out the nose plugs as they will win less than 25 games.

                        Next up .. A quick look at the West and if the Lakers are simply hype. .. hint.. they are.

                        Comment


                        • Go West Young Man….

                          The West is really wide open… Recency bias says it’s the Clippers and Lakers that are the betting favourites… Denver and Utah who don’t have a full media contingent that appear on ESPN.. or TNT or NBA TV on a daily basis are likely rubbing their hands in anticipation of handing the LA teams some pretty decent body blows on the way to the WCF.

                          The Raps play in the East and it really doesn’t matter to their playoff chances and their road to get to the Finals what the West does but with Kawhi moving to the Clips heres a stab at what might unfold out West for the contenders…

                          The Clips.

                          The got Kawhi and Paul George.. That’s a real pantload of both offence and defence. But if you peel back who the supporting cast they are joining the slam dunk that the Clips are coming out of the West with ease may not actually be the case. The Clips won 48 games last year and adding two all NBA first team talents should be a slam dunk right ? Yes.. except Tobias Harris who helped contribute to those 48 wins is gone. So is the oft injured Danillo Gallinari but who still played above average for the Clips last year and so too is the up and coming rookie Shai G Alexander. All have left the building. They still have Lou “ how do you open a bank account” Williams and Montrez Harell along with all world defensive pest Patrick Beverly. But are those guys enough to fend off other teams in the post season. The Clips could be exposed in the paint without a rim protector or anyone of significance to match up with a Jokic in Denver and Gobert in Utah. There will be talk of how good Montrez Harrell is.. but colour me skeptical on him. He is a better version of Kenneth Faried. The Clips for sure are home court material.. but its not a cakewalk for them in the least especially if they draw Denver in the second round. .

                          The Lakers.
                          They have Lebron .. They have AD.. and they also have a series of retreads backing them up. Boogie Cousins looked at times infirm against the Raps coming back off that injury and his defensive ability has always been suspect. He really hasn’t played much ball in 2 years. Rondo mans the point and he still can’t shoot all that well. He will be 34 when the playoffs start . Lots of hype this year on Kyle Kuzma but there is a part of me that thinks Kuzma is equal parts budding star and equal parts Ryan Anderson. Just not sure yet. Danny Green is going to thrive in LA and drop a lot of shots. He will play defense for the Lakers who beyond Davis just don’t have a lot of it on the roster right now. Lebron has outsourced defense in the last couple years. The Lakers are going to have to find the secret sauce to winning the conference while being the poster child for a top heavy team with not much of a bench. The two best guys are really really really good but its still a bit of a team game and the squad behind LBJ and AD are decidedly suspect beyond Green. I don’t see them coming out of the West because too many things have to go right as opposed to having to cope with what will inevitably happens during the long 82 game season when things go sideways. Mix in a volatile front office, a coaching situation that has a second or perhaps third choice with the head coaches job right now with his defacto replacement waiting in the wings who is already on staff in Jason Kidd. There is a rabid media horde looking to fan the competition on who owns LA. Its going to be a circus like atmosphere before the season gets to 20 games. Hey what could wrong ? The theatre however will be can’t miss all year long.

                          The Nuggets.

                          My cheap seat vote as the team to beat even though they won’t get the coverage that the LA teams will get. They are deep and they now have the experience in the cauldron that is the NBA playoffs.

                          Nikola Jokic should be everyones hero. He looks to be out of shape. He is as slow as most of us who watch and cheer but this guy just does it all. He can bring the ball up the court. He is as good a passer as it gets. He has soft hands that erase bad passes in traffic. He can shoot from 3 to 35 feet. He can finish at the basket and you can run the offense through him if that’s what you want to do…. and he is 7 feet tall. Denver can spread the floor with shooters out the ying yang. Jamal Murray is the best Canadian ball player right now and he plays with a killers instinct. He is a threat from the arc everytime he gets the ball. Bookending him in the backcourt is another sandpaper type tough defensive guy from Michigan State mould in Gary Harris. Harris is also a bona fide 3 ball threat. Paul Milsap is the swiss army knife of power forwards although he is starting to show the miles on his frame . However Paul.. like Kyle last year is gearing it up for a run at the championship that has eluded him so far. This will be his last chance at it in all likelihood and he will be ready. Will Barton blows hot and cold but when he is on he gives you everything from the wing you can ask for.

                          The X factor for Denver is going to be red shirt rookie Micheal Porter Jr. He of the bad back but immense promise that slid in the draft. Coming off the bench are the very serviceable defenders and slashers Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig.

                          The Nuggets are a very talented and very deep group and they have a star in Jokic. Sound familar ? On the intangible side they have war wounds from years playoffs and they have a COY candidate in Mike Malone who has the ear of his team. They play at altitude in Denver and that is a big edge to homecourt advantage. If this team was in LA instead of Denver they would be the betting favourite by a wide margin.

                          The Utah Jazz

                          The Jazz like Denver are flying under the radar. Last year they just got hammered by the Rockets in the first round as they didn’t have the personnel to stay with the rockets at the perimeter. It was heart rendering for the Mormons as Houston pulled in front and with no offense to speak of it was over in 5 games. The Jazz were a half court team and got crushed in the track meet that the Rockets made the series into.

                          So the Jazz fixed that. Gone is Derrick Favours a talented but redundant piece in the Jazz front court who is the epitome of the half court game that killed the Mormons against Houston and in comes Bojan Bogdonovich who is a scorer from the arc and can get some on drives to the basket In comes Mike Connoley who will run the offence and is a pass first point guard. that can still get his but Conley will focus on setting up newfound scoring in the aforementioned Bogdonovich and Donovan Mitchell. Gobert will give them rebounding on both ends of the floor and is the best rim protector in the league. Steady play on the wing will come from starter Joe Ingles and the recently acquired Ed Boss Davis. The bench isn’t as deep as they might like it past Davis and Exum but neither is Phillys.

                          The Mormons also play at altitude. They have a good coach in Snyder. Mike Conley is healthy and ready to take a run in the west again. They will go as far as Connley and Mitchell takes them.Which is a second round matchup that they can win.

                          The Next Tier… The Rockets and the Blazers.

                          The Blazers have that backcourt that keeps them in any series but they are still missing a big man up front. Maybe Whiteside has an epiphany and loses all idiot status and gives them the rebounding and rim protector they have not had for years or maybe he just sulks. If he plays the Blazers have a bench and can make some noise. If not Whiteside is the Whiteside in the last gasps in Miam it will be the same old Blazers.

                          The Rockets have Russell Westbrook who has to seething right now. If DAntoni can piece together a rotation and a scheme that both he and Harden can work well in Houston the Rockets will be there again. Capella , PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon are all back and are still going to play at a high level. They too don’t have much of a bench but what makes the west uneasy is they still have 2 of the last 3 years MVP on the team. Houston will be in the mix if Westbrooke channels his fury at being dumped and left at the alter a thrid time at opponents .

                          Up and comer that is enjoying pre season notoriety but we will see when the season starts are the The Pelicans and the Mavs. If the two all Balkans and all Baltic all stars in Doncic the Zinger play well .. Dallas could push for the playoffs. No idea what to expect from the LA south in New Orleans with all world rookie Williamson. It looks good on paper.. but the games are played on the court.

                          Last years up and comer who might be on the verge the D’Arron Fox led Sacramento Kings.

                          Heading South this year… the Thunder and likely the Spurs as hard as that is to believe. The rebuild is clearly on in OKC and the Spurs even with the return of Dejounte Murray are going to struggle in my view as LaMarcus Aldridge and Derozan are going to start slowing down. You could put Memphis in here as well but Memphis has a plan and some young players and draft picks coming. This year however will be all about development for Morant and Jackson. JV should post his best numbers ever.

                          In the basement are the perennially shit and continue to be shit Phoenix Suns. Don’t see Minny being anything more than they are right now.. a bottom tier team with a player in KAT who has nothing else around him. If Wiggins is ever going to come out of his slump its this year. He is damaged goods right now in the eyes of the NBA. Time to reach inside yourself Andrew and amp up the give a shit meter.

                          Fearless prediction… Denver and the Clips in the WCF with Denver emerging as West champs.
                          Last edited by Demographic Shift; Sun Jul 28th, 2019, 09:18 AM.

                          Comment


                          • "But if you peel back who the supporting cast they are joining the slam dunk that the Clips are coming out of the West with ease may not actually be the case"

                            I'd like to meet any fan who actually thinks the Clips are a slam dunk to come out fo the West....

                            Demographic Shift wrote: View Post
                            Go West Young Man….

                            The West is really wide open… Recency bias says it’s the Clippers and Lakers that are the betting favourites… Denver and Utah who don’t have a full media contingent that appear on ESPN.. or TNT or NBA TV on a daily basis are likely rubbing their hands in anticipation of handing the LA teams some pretty decent body blows on the way to the WCF.

                            The Raps play in the East and it really doesn’t matter to their playoff chances and their road to get to the Finals what the West does but with Kawhi moving to the Clips heres a stab at what might unfold out West for the contenders…

                            The Clips.

                            The got Kawhi and Paul George.. That’s a real pantload of both offence and defence. But if you peel back who the supporting cast they are joining the slam dunk that the Clips are coming out of the West with ease may not actually be the case. The Clips won 48 games last year and adding two all NBA first team talents should be a slam dunk right ? Yes.. except Tobias Harris who helped contribute to those 48 wins is gone. So is the oft injured Danillo Gallinari but who still played above average for the Clips last year and so too is the up and coming rookie Shai G Alexander. All have left the building. They still have Lou “ how do you open a bank account” Williams and Montrez Harell along with all world defensive pest Patrick Beverly. But are those guys enough to fend off other teams in the post season. The Clips could be exposed in the paint without a rim protector or anyone of significance to match up with a Jokic in Denver and Gobert in Utah. There will be talk of how good Montrez Harrell is.. but colour me skeptical on him. He is a better version of Kenneth Faried. The Clips for sure are home court material.. but its not a cakewalk for them in the least especially if they draw Denver in the second round. .

                            The Lakers.
                            They have Lebron .. They have AD.. and they also have a series of retreads backing them up. Boogie Cousins looked at times infirm against the Raps coming back off that injury and his defensive ability has always been suspect. He really hasn’t played much ball in 2 years. Rondo mans the point and he still can’t shoot all that well. He will be 34 when the playoffs start . Lots of hype this year on Kyle Kuzma but there is a part of me that thinks Kuzma is equal parts budding star and equal parts Ryan Anderson. Just not sure yet. Danny Green is going to thrive in LA and drop a lot of shots. He will play defense for the Lakers who beyond Davis just don’t have a lot of it on the roster right now. Lebron has outsourced defense in the last couple years. The Lakers are going to have to find the secret sauce to winning the conference while being the poster child for a top heavy team with not much of a bench. The two best guys are really really really good but its still a bit of a team game and the squad behind LBJ and AD are decidedly suspect beyond Green. I don’t see them coming out of the West because too many things have to go right as opposed to having to cope with what will inevitably happens during the long 82 game season when things go sideways. Mix in a volatile front office, a coaching situation that has a second or perhaps third choice with the head coaches job right now with his defacto replacement waiting in the wings who is already on staff in Jason Kidd. There is a rabid media horde looking to fan the competition on who owns LA. Its going to be a circus like atmosphere before the season gets to 20 games. Hey what could wrong ? The theatre however will be can’t miss all year long.

                            The Nuggets.

                            My cheap seat vote as the team to beat even though they won’t get the coverage that the LA teams will get. They are deep and they now have the experience in the cauldron that is the NBA playoffs.

                            Nikola Jokic should be everyones hero. He looks to be out of shape. He is as slow as most of us who watch and cheer but this guy just does it all. He can bring the ball up the court. He is as good a passer as it gets. He has soft hands that erase bad passes in traffic. He can shoot from 3 to 35 feet. He can finish at the basket and you can run the offense through him if that’s what you want to do…. and he is 7 feet tall. Denver can spread the floor with shooters out the ying yang. Jamal Murray is the best Canadian ball player right now and he plays with a killers instinct. He is a threat from the arc everytime he gets the ball. Bookending him in the backcourt is another sandpaper type tough defensive guy from Michigan State mould in Gary Harris. Harris is also a bona fide 3 ball threat. Paul Milsap is the swiss army knife of power forwards although he is starting to show the miles on his frame . However Paul.. like Kyle last year is gearing it up for a run at the championship that has eluded him so far. This will be his last chance at it in all likelihood and he will be ready. Will Barton blows hot and cold but when he is on he gives you everything from the wing you can ask for.

                            The X factor for Denver is going to be red shirt rookie Micheal Porter Jr. He of the bad back but immense promise that slid in the draft. Coming off the bench are the very serviceable defenders and slashers Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig.

                            The Nuggets are a very talented and very deep group and they have a star in Jokic. Sound familar ? On the intangible side they have war wounds from years playoffs and they have a COY candidate in Mike Malone who has the ear of his team. They play at altitude in Denver and that is a big edge to homecourt advantage. If this team was in LA instead of Denver they would be the betting favourite by a wide margin.

                            The Utah Jazz

                            The Jazz like Denver are flying under the radar. Last year they just got hammered by the Rockets in the first round as they didn’t have the personnel to stay with the rockets at the perimeter. It was heart rendering for the Mormons as Houston pulled in front and with no offense to speak of it was over in 5 games. The Jazz were a half court team and got crushed in the track meet that the Rockets made the series into.

                            So the Jazz fixed that. Gone is Derrick Favours a talented but redundant piece in the Jazz front court who is the epitome of the half court game that killed the Mormons against Houston and in comes Bojan Bogdonovich who is a scorer from the arc and can get some on drives to the basket In comes Mike Connoley who will run the offence and is a pass first point guard. that can still get his but Conley will focus on setting up newfound scoring in the aforementioned Bogdonovich and Donovan Mitchell. Gobert will give them rebounding on both ends of the floor and is the best rim protector in the league. Steady play on the wing will come from starter Joe Ingles and the recently acquired Ed Boss Davis. The bench isn’t as deep as they might like it past Davis and Exum but neither is Phillys.

                            The Mormons also play at altitude. They have a good coach in Snyder. Mike Conley is healthy and ready to take a run in the west again. They will go as far as Connley and Mitchell takes them.Which is a second round matchup that they can win.

                            The Next Tier… The Rockets and the Blazers.

                            The Blazers have that backcourt that keeps them in any series but they are still missing a big man up front. Maybe Whiteside has an epiphany and loses all idiot status and gives them the rebounding and rim protector they have not had for years or maybe he just sulks. If he plays the Blazers have a bench and can make some noise. If not Whiteside is the Whiteside in the last gasps in Miam it will be the same old Blazers.

                            The Rockets have Russell Westbrook who has to seething right now. If DAntoni can piece together a rotation and a scheme that both he and Harden can work well in Houston the Rockets will be there again. Capella , PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon are all back and are still going to play at a high level. They too don’t have much of a bench but what makes the west uneasy is they still have 2 of the last 3 years MVP on the team. Houston will be in the mix if Westbrooke channels his fury at being dumped and left at the alter a thrid time at opponents .

                            Up and comer that is enjoying pre season notoriety but we will see when the season starts are the The Pelicans and the Mavs. If the two all Balkans and all Baltic all stars in Doncic the Zinger play well .. Dallas could push for the playoffs. No idea what to expect from the LA south in New Orleans with all world rookie Williamson. It looks good on paper.. but the games are played on the court.

                            Last years up and comer who might be on the verge the D’Arron Fox led Sacramento Kings.

                            Heading South this year… the Thunder and likely the Spurs as hard as that is to believe. The rebuild is clearly on in OKC and the Spurs even with the return of Dejounte Murray are going to struggle in my view as LaMarcus Aldridge and Derozan are going to start slowing down. You could put Memphis in here as well but Memphis has a plan and some young players and draft picks coming. This year however will be all about development for Morant and Jackson. JV should post his best numbers ever.

                            In the basement are the perennially shit and continue to be shit Phoenix Suns. Don’t see Minny being anything more than they are right now.. a bottom tier team with a player in KAT who has nothing else around him. If Wiggins is ever going to come out of his slump its this year. He is damaged goods right now in the eyes of the NBA. Time to reach inside yourself Andrew and amp up the give a shit meter.

                            Fearless prediction… Denver and the Clips in the WCF with Denver emerging as West champs.

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                            • G__Deane wrote: View Post
                              "But if you peel back who the supporting cast they are joining the slam dunk that the Clips are coming out of the West with ease may not actually be the case"

                              I'd like to meet any fan who actually thinks the Clips are a slam dunk to come out fo the West....


                              Tune into Rachel Nichols show the Jump... read any preseason picks stuff on ESPN / TNT / NBA.com or take a weekend trip to LAX and ask anyone from a baggage handler to a cabbie to a guy on the street... You may change your view as to who the presumptive favourtie to win the west is. LA is a media hub like no other. and their view is a national view.

                              Who do you have to carry the flag into the finals from the west ? I got Denver.
                              Last edited by Demographic Shift; Sun Jul 28th, 2019, 10:47 AM.

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                              • Demographic Shift wrote: View Post

                                Tune into Rachel Nichols show the Jump... read any preseason picks stuff on ESPN / TNT / NBA.com or take a weekend trip to LAX and ask anyone from a baggage handler to a cabbie to a guy on the street... You may change your view as to who the presumptive favourtie to win the west is. LA is a media hub like no other. and their view is a national view.

                                Who do you have to carry the flag into the finals from the west ? I got Denver.
                                I've read lots of accounts that pick the Clips to come out of the West (and win it all) but most of them were in the aftermath blush of the signing(s) and presser. I haven't ready (m)any that say it will be in a walk (slam dunk). I don't know who it will be but there's so many good to very good teams now, throw in unexpected injuries or the odd rim bounce or hot team at the right time and I wouldn't be surprised in the least if it's neither LA team to rep the West.

                                Joc-itch and Murray could easily surprise a team and I think Houston knocks off one of the favourites. Harden and Westbrook are more assassin/attitude than lebron/AD or Kawhi/George. Without a chance to win it all maybe, Luca and Zinger would be a blast to watch.

                                It's gonna be fun.

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