Posted on: September 30th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 45-37 (5th in East)

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Lionel Hollins

The Nets look to reboot under new coach Lionel Hollins. (AP)

Head coach: Lionel Hollins
2013-14 record: 44-38
2013-14 ORtg: 104.4 (14th)
2013-14 DRtg: 104.9 (19th)
Players in: Lionel Hollins (coach), Bojan Bogdanovic, Markel Brown, Jarrett Jack, Cory Jefferson, Sergey Karasev, Jerome Jordan (camp), Willie Reed (camp)
Players out: Jason Kidd (coach), Andray Blatche, Shaun Livingston, Paul Pierce, Marcus Thornton
Projected Starting Lineup: Deron Williams, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez

Look, we're not fooling anybody: nobody knows where this team's going to end up.
... ">MORE →

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Anthony Pignatti Comments

 

Projected record: 43-39 (6th in East)

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Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade

Chris Bosh & Dwyane Wade have to move on in the post-Heatles era. (AP)

The poor, poor Miami Heat.
... ">MORE →

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Alex Mazer Comments

 

Projected record: 43-39 (7th in East)

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Lance Stephenson

Now in Charlotte, Lance Stephenson looks to silence his doubters. (AP)

Head coach: Steve Clifford
Projected record: 43-39 (7th)
2013-14 record: 43-39
2013-14 ORtg: 101.2 (24th)
2013-14 DRtg: 101.2 (6th)
Players in: Brian Roberts, Lance Stephenson, Noah Vonleh, Marvin Williams
Players out: Chris Douglas-Roberts, P.J. Hairston, Josh McRoberts, Luke Ridnour, Anthony Tolliver
Projected Starting Lineup: Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson

The buzz is back: factor in the motivation of rebranding, new guard Lance Stephenson, and a young playoff team, and you’ve got one frightening bug in North Carolina.
... ">MORE →

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 41-41 (8th in East)

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Danny Ferry

Embattled GM Danny Ferry has taken the spotlight off the solid Hawks. (AP)

ATL
Head coach: Mike Budenholzer
Projected record: 41-41 (8th)
2013-14 record: 38-44
2013-14 ORtg: 103.4 (15th)
2013-14 DRtg: 104.1 (T-14th)
Players in: Kent Bazemore, Adreian Payne, Dexter Pittman, Thabo Sefolosha, rights to Walter Taveras
Players out: Gustavo Ayon, Cartier Martin, Lou Williams, rights to Lucas Nogueira, rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis
Projected Starting Lineup: Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Al Horford

Remember when the Hawks were boring? When they were early-round playoff fodder year after year, without so much as a whisper from Atlanta? So much for that.... ">MORE →

Team Banner-Knicks

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Devin Kharpertian Comments

 

Projected record: 39-43 (9th in East)

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Derek Fisher, Steve Mills, Phil Jackson

Derek Fisher (center) and Phil Jackson (right) with Steve Mills (left), who allegedly is the GM. (AP)

Head coach: Derek Fisher
2013-14 record: 37-45
2013-14 ORtg: 105.4 (11th)
2013-14 DRtg: 106.5 (24th)
Players in: Derek Fisher (coach), Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Cleanthony Early, Travis Outlaw, Jason Smith, rights to Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Players out: Mike Woodson (coach), Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Toure' Murry, Lamar Odom, Jeremy Tyler
Projected Starting Lineup: Jose Calderon, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire

Let's start with the best-case: Amar'e Stoudemire rediscovers some offensive magic, Jose Calderon hums along and keeps erratic Knicks shooters in check, Iman Shumpert puts together a full season of locking down opposing scorers, efficiency bursts out of Carmelo Anthony for the second straight year, Andrea Bargnani is only kind of terrible, and they score enough points game in and game out to offset their average defense and surge into the playoffs behind first-year coach Derek Fisher.

Worst-case? Stoudemire can't stay healthy and can't defend the paint when he is, Calderon's efficiency drops back to earth after two incredible seasons, Bargnani is fully terrible, Anthony sulks through a season with disappointing teammates, Fisher tries to usurp Phil Jackson's job, gets "released," and heads off to coach the Milwaukee Bucks while Spike Lee takes his job on the sidelines.

The truth will probably lie somewhere in the middle.

Is that a playoff team in the East?
... Team Banner-Knicks">MORE →

Team Banner-Pacers

Posted on: September 29th, 2014 by Jaymz Clements Comments

 

Projected record: 38-44 (10th in East)

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Paul George

Paul George's leg injury was a big blow to the Pacers' chances. (AP)

Head coach: Frank Vogel
2013-14 record: 56-26
2013-14 ORtg: 101.5 (22nd)
2013-14 DRtg: 96.7 (1st)
Players in: C.J. Miles, Arinze Onuaku, Chris Singleton, Damjan Rudez, Rodney Stuckey, Shayne Whittington
Players out: Rasual Butler, Andrew Bynum, C.J. Fair, Paul George (injury), Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner
Projected Starting Lineup: George Hill, C.J. Miles, Chris Copeland, David West, Roy Hibbert

That sound? Oh, that’s just Pacers GM Kevin Pritchard softly crying in his office, adding the date of the 2015-16 NBA Draft Lottery draw to his Yahoo Calendar.

The other sound? Burning, as Larry Bird stared so long and hard at his desk that it lit itself on fire.
... Team Banner-Pacers">MORE →

 

Deron Williams

AP

Getting trimmer and shedding muscle was this summer's NBA trend, as stars like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, as well as Nets guard Joe Johnson, entered training camp noticeably slimmer than in seasons past. But Deron Williams went in the opposite direction, using his time in walking boots to put on muscle on his upper body.

"(I added a) little bit (of muscle)," Williams said. "When you're in two boots, and then you get out of one boot and you can't put the other foot down on the ground, all you can do is lift weights. So I ate weights for a little bit. That helps."

Williams added he came in at the same weight as he's been in years past, so the bulk-up could've been either purely toning his upper body, or adding upper-body strength to compensate for his inability to work out his lower body in the boot.

Listed at 6'3" and around 210 pounds, Williams already has a size advantage over most point guards, and may look to post up more. Only 27 of Williams's possessions came in the post-up last season, according to Synergy, less than 2.5 percent of the time. In his last full season in Utah, Williams went to the post-up about 4 percent of the time.

"I did that in Utah as well," Williams said about using his size to post up smaller guards. "I just got to get back to playing basketball, man. Y'all want me to predict what the hell's going to happen this whole year, I'm just going to go out and play basketball, have fun, that's all it's about, man. Just having fun."

 

AP

AP

After undergoing back spasms he called the "worst of his career" last season, it didn't take long in training camp before Andrei Kirilenko's back acted up again.

Kirilenko sat out of the team's second practice with lower back tightness, and expects to be out for 7-10 days. Kirilenko says he feels no pain in the back. "I don’t want to say it’s the right time, but it’s better now than in the middle of the season when you start missing games," Kirilenko said.

The Nets play their first preseason game on October 7th, against Maccabi Tel Aviv at Barclays Center. Kirilenko was non-committal, but likely won't risk a back injury for a preseason matchup. "I don’t really know what’s gonna happen the next 5-6 days," Kirilenko said. "This is a very important time to maintain it."

The 6'9" forward missed 37 games last season, mostly due to back spasms. He practiced the first day, playing five-on-five drills with the starting unit. He doesn't attribute his latest injury to training camp, since the workouts have been light and he's worked out all summer to improve his cardio and conditioning. One Nets source said that Kirilenko came into camp in "much better shape" than last season, when he took the entire summer off from basketball activities for the first time since becoming a professional.

Coach Lionel Hollins was unconcerned. "It’s part of the game," Hollins said. "You just have to deal with it."

 

AP

AP

Deron Williams had some choice words for Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
... MORE →

 

Andrei Kirilenko

Andrei Kirilenko (AP)

BY ANTHONY PIGNATTI

Here we go again?

It's just the second day of camp, and Andrei Kirilenko missed practice today due to a back issue. Kirilenko missed 37 games last season, most notably because of back spasms, which he described as "the worst of my career." Today, the issue is being described as a "tight lower back."

A Nets official said Kirilenko's sitting out was just precautionary, adding that Kirilenko entered training camp in much better shape than in the previous year.

As Kirilenko enters his 13th NBA season, you have to wonder if his age, now 33, is catching up with him.

Additional reporting by Devin Kharpertian

Team Banner-Pistons

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by Alex Mazer Comments

 

Projected record: 34-48, 11th in East

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Stan Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy is Detroit's best hope for success. (AP)

Head coach: Stan Van Gundy
Projected record: 34-48 (11th)
2013-14 record: 29-53
2013-14 ORtg: 102.9 (T-19th)
2013-14 DRtg: 107.3 (T-25th)
Players in: Stan Van Gundy (coach), D.J. Augustin, Caron Butler, Spencer Dinwiddie, Aaron Gray, Cartier Martin, Jodie Meeks
Players out: John Loyer (coach), Chauncey Billups, Josh Harrellson, Peyton Siva, Rodney Stuckey,
Projected Starting Lineup: Brandon Jennings, Jodie Meeks, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond

Someone's got to be 11th.
... Team Banner-Pistons">MORE →

Team Banner-Celtics

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by Max Rodriguez Comments

 

Projected record: 28-54, 12th in East

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Rajon Rondo

The Celtics will be without Rajon Rondo for 6-8 weeks. (AP)

Head coach: Brad Stevens
Projected record: 28-54 (12th)
2013-14 record: 25-57
2013-14 ORtg: 99.7 (T-27th)
2013-14 DRtg: 105.2 (20th)
Players in: Marcus Smart, Marcus Thornton, James Young, Tyler Zeller
Players out: Jerryd Bayless, Kris Humphries
Projected Starting Lineup: Rajon Rondo, Marcus Smart, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, Jared Sullinger

Watch the show "Deal Or No Deal" just once. It seems perfectly entertaining. Look at those people winning all that money!
... Team Banner-Celtics">MORE →