Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Benny Nadeau Comments

 

Projected Record: 49-33 (6th in West)

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Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard, trying to stay fresh. (AP)

Head coach: Kevin McHale
Projected record: 49-33 (6th)
2013-14 record: 54-28
2013-14 ORtg: 108.6 (4th)
2013-14 DRtg: 103.1 (12th)
Players in: Jeff Adrien, Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Joey Dorsey, Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson, Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Ish Smith, rights to Alessandro Gentile
Players out: Omer Asik, Omri Casspi, Troy Daniels, Francisco Garcia, Jordan Hamilton, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons
Projected Starting Lineup: Patrick Beverly, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard

Another season, another year chasing the Spurs. This is one of the best teams in the Western Conference, but will it be enough?
... ">MORE →

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected Record: 48-34 (7th in West)

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Spurs Mavericks Basketball

Dallas Mavericks fans know who their superstar is. (AP)

Head coach: Rick Carlisle
Projected record: 48-34 (7th)
2013-14 record: 49-33
2013-14 ORtg: 109.0 (T-2nd)
2013-14 DRtg: 105.9 (22nd)
Players in: Al-Farouq Aminu, Tyson Chandler, Eric Griffin, Richard Jefferson, Ivan Johnson, Jameer Nelson, Chandler Parsons, Greg Smith, rights to Emir Preldzic
Players out: Vince Carter, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Bernard James, Shane Larkin, Shawn Marion, rights to Tadija Dragicevic
Projected Starting Lineup: Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler

As always, this team will live or die with Dirk Nowitzki. ... ">MORE →

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Anthony Pignatti Comments

 

Projected Record: 47-35 (8th in West)

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Marc Gasol

A trimmer Marc Gasol holds down Memphis's frontcourt. (AP)

Head coach: Dave Joerger
Projected record: 47-35 (8th)
2013-14 record: 50-32
2013-14 ORtg: 103.3 (T-16th)
2013-14 DRtg: 102.1 (T-7th)
Players in: Jordan Adams, Vince Carter, Patrick Christopher, rights to Jarnell Stokes
Players out: James Johnson, Mike Miller, Ed Davis
Projected Starting Lineup: Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol

They didn’t make headlines this offseason, their key players are all returning and, to this point, are healthy.

The Memphis Grizzlies won 50 games in ‘13-’14 with last season’s reigning DPOY, Marc Gasol, missing 23 games due to a knee injury. Oh, and they did it playing in the West.

Understand this: they’re an exceptional team.... ">MORE →

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected Record: 44-38 (9th in West)

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Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe, Isaiah Thomas, and Goran Dragic are just three of Phoenix's talented guards. (AP)

Head coach: Jeff Hornacek
Projected record: 44-38 (9th)
2013-14 record: 48-34
2013-14 ORtg: 107.1 (8th)
2013-14 DRtg: 103.8 (13th)
Players in: Alec Brown, Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Thomas, Anthony Tolliver, T.J. Warren, rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic
Players out: Leandro Barbosa, Dionte Christmas, Channing Frye, Emeka Okafor, Ish Smith, rights to Alex Oriakhi
Projected Starting Lineup: Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Miles Plumlee

Just one year ago, ESPN analysts came to the overwhelming conclusion that the Phoenix Suns would be the worst team in the Western Conference.

This is the same Suns team that ended up winning 48 games and the hearts of League Pass subscribers everywhere. It's comical now that Ethan Strauss of ESPN.com called the 2013-14 Suns "boring" and "talent-deprived," but maybe he was onto something:... ">MORE →

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Ryan Carbain Comments

 

Projected Record: 38-44 (10th in West)

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Kenneth Faried

After shining for Team USA, Kenneth Faried looks to break out this season. (AP)

Head coach: Brian Shaw
Projected record: 38-44 (10th)
2013-14 record: 36-46
2013-14 ORtg: 103.3 (T-16th)
2013-14 DRtg: 105.4 (21st)
Players in: Arron Afflalo, Erick Green, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic
Players out: Aaron Brooks, Evan Fournier, Anthony Randolph, Jan Vesely
Projected Starting Lineup: Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried, Javale McGee

Last year, the Denver Nuggets lost their star GM, fired the incumbent Coach of the Year, and then went to assemble one of the most disparate rosters in the NBA. For their efforts, the team dropped 21 games in the standings.
... ">MORE →

Posted on: October 2nd, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected Record: 38-44 (11th in West)

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Anthony Davis , Hedo Turkoglu, Glen Davis, Danny Granger, Darren Collison

Is Anthony Davis ready to take the leap? (AP)

Head coach: Monty Williams
2013-14 record: 34-48
2013-14 ORtg: 104.7 (13th)
2013-14 DRtg: 107.3 (T-25th)
Players in: Omer Asik, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons, Russ Smith, Patric Young
Players out: Al-Farouq Aminu, Brendan Haywood, Anthony Morrow, Brian Roberts, Jason Smith, James Southerland, Greg Stiemsma, D.J. White, rights to Dwight Powell
Projected Starting Lineup: Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis, Omer Asik

Some teams have variance because of injuries. (Hello, Brooklyn!) Some teams have variance because of rookie head coaches. (Hello, Milwaukee!) But the New Orleans Pelicans have variance based almost exclusively on one factor: how far is Anthony Davis ready to climb?
... ">MORE →

 

Embed

High Expectations For Kidd, Parker

For the first time since leaving the team, former Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd spoke a bit candidly about his departure from the team.

"Well, I think the business side takes place a lot of times," Kidd told Chris Broussard of ESPN. "We talk about the game, but sometimes the business gets in the way. Brooklyn thought that they could do better in the sense of Milwaukee having interest, and them okaying it, and then the two owners finding a way to make a deal."

That's a bit different than the reports, which indicate that Kidd went over general manager Billy King's head, seeking a presidential position in an attempt to usurp power from his boss after just one year of coaching. Kidd was reportedly rebuffed by the team's Russian ownership, and sought a job in Milwaukee after the Nets no longer wanted him around.

Kidd's version of events is that Milwaukee had the initial interest, and Kidd decided to pursue that thread once the Nets thought they could "do better."

The Nets let Kidd out of his contract in exchange for two second-round picks from the Bucks, and hired veteran head coach Lionel Hollins on the same day to a four-year contract. The Bucks fired Larry Drew to make room for Kidd.

 

Lionel Hollins

Lionel Hollins has a clear idea of what he wants to run in Brooklyn. (AP)

During a five-on-five drill at Nets practice, Deron Williams shot down the left side of the court, curling to the opposite block to set a screen for Nets guard Bojan Bogdanovic. After setting the screen, Williams curled upwards, brushed Brook Lopez's shoulder, caught a pass from guard Joe Johnson on the right wing, and buried a three-pointer nothing but net.

On the next play, Lopez posted up his defender about above the left elbow, about 19 feet from the basket. "Get down, Brook!" Williams yelled.

After the play -- which ended with an open Lopez jumper, created by a double-team Williams drew inside -- Williams instructed his teammate. "You can't do that," Williams said, before pointing him closer to the high post and giving him further advice on positioning.

There's a reason Williams already looks more comfortable than in years past. For one, he's healthy, after offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle and loose a bone fragment in his right ankle. But just as important, he's been here before.
... MORE →

 

While Andrei Kirilenko sat out for his third consecutive practice to rest his sore back, his Russian teammate joined him on the sidelines.

... MORE →

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Alex Mazer Comments

 

Projected Record: 30-52 (12th in West)

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Kobe Bryant

Will Kobe Bryant accept another losing season? (AP)

Head coach: Byron Scott
2013-14 record: 27-55
2013-14 ORtg: 101.9 (21st)
2013-14 DRtg: 107.9 (28th)
Players in: Byron Scott (coach), Carlos Boozer, Jordan Clarkson, Ed Davis, Jeremy Lin, Julius Randle
Players out: Mike D'Antoni (coach), Kent Bazemore, MarShon Brooks, Jordan Farmar, Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman, Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, rights to Sergei Lishouk
Projected Starting Lineup: Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill

The purple-and-gold will still fill the seats this season, but for the wrong reasons.

For teams that reach rock bottom, it’s easy to say that there’s no place to go but up. But the Lakers just aren’t that bad yet. They’re entering another tumultuous season where they refuse to admit defeat as Kobe finishes off his final years with the squad.

Here at The Brooklyn Game, we’re all about giving readers the story from multiple perspectives. In case their roster didn’t prove how horrid 2015 will be for the Lakers, here’s some of their key players showing off their skills through the magical form of animated GIFs.
... ">MORE →

Posted on: October 1st, 2014 by Jaymz Clements Comments

 

Projected Record: 29-53 (13th in West)

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DeMarcus Cousins is all smiles (and selfies) with the media now. But can they win?

DeMarcus Cousins is all smiles (and selfies) with the media now. But can they win?

Head coach: Michael Malone
2013-14 record: 28-54
2013-14 ORtg: 102.9 (T-19th)
2013-14 DRtg: 106.3 (23rd)
Players in: Deonte Burton, Darren Collison, Wayne Ellington, Eric Moreland, Nik Stauskas, Jeremy Tyler, rights to Alex Oriakhi
Players out: Quicy Acy, Jared Cunningham, Aaron Gray, Travis Outlaw, Isaiah Thomas
Projected Starting Lineup: Darren Collison, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins

Theory: did the Sacramento Kings let point guard Isaiah Thomas walk to their division rival Phoenix Suns because they drafted him thinking he was Pistons legend Isiah Thomas and wanted to cop to their mistake? Because that's the only explanation that makes sense.

With Thomas out the door, the Kings turn to former Clippers backup Darren Collison, apparently figuring, ‘Hey, why not replace an undersized, offense-first point guard who struggles on defense with another worse one?’

Worse, with the eighth pick in a loaded draft class, the Kings took a shooting guard… the position they filled with their 2013 lottery pick. Nik Stauskas might be better than Ben McLemore, but it’s still an odd move, especially when they could’ve picked either point guard Elfrid Payton — an obvious position of need for the team — or power forward Noah Vonleh, who's an instant defensive upgrade over Carl Landry and a better long-term prospect next to DeMarcus Cousins than Jason Thompson.

Instead, their point guard combo is made up of Collison and Ray McCallum Jr., while at shooting guard, they’ve got two super-talented shooters who won’t be able to log big minutes together.

There's plenty of depth in a frontcourt rotation consisting of Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Derrick Williams, Reggie Evans, and $19.3 million worth of Rudy Gay, but all hope of a Kings resurgence after eight playoff-free seasons rests almost exclusively on the broad shoulders of DeMarcus Cousins.

If Cousins rounds out his game to include some vestige of defense (something Mike Malone was brought in specifically to help with) and becomes a leader for the team, rather than a constant distraction, new Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé will feel much better about his $534 million investment. Hopefully Cousins's part with Team USA for the FIBA world championships helps the maturation process; especially considering he has the potential to be the game’s most dominant big man not named Dwight Howard… and he’s only 24.

In the meantime, the Kings will be a young team trying to figure out how to play defense under Malone, all the while trying to figure out how to pass the ball. Collison may help a little with playmaking, but they’ll miss the underrated energy and drive Isaiah Thomas brought to the team, while hoping like hell that the Stauskas/McLemore duo works, and that the Cousins/Gay duo displays more of the promise they had towards the end of last season. If either of the oft-rumoured trades for Rajon Rondo or Josh Smith happen though, their entire outlook changes.

Best Case: Trade for Rondo and Smith and make the playoffs… but more likely, 10th in the west; Cousins, Gay and any sort of improved defense could make the Kings a frisky outsider for a low playoff seed, but the Western conference is populated entirely by hellfire and exploded dreams

Worst Case: Cousins sulks through the season until Reggie Evans puts him in a headlock, and Stauskas is crushed underneath the two of them… and the Kings still end up with only the 9th pick in the 2015 lottery.

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