<![CDATA[NBA RSS Feed]]> en 120 <![CDATA[Los Angeles Clippers 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/28/los-angeles-clippers-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Los Angeles Clippers have topped 50 wins in each of the last five seasons, but this may be the toughest year yet for coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers return just five players from last years squad, and regardless of the talent level, it’s always difficult to hit the ground running with a fairly new team. Things take time and playing in the loaded Western Conference, you don’t have much leeway to figure things out.  

Here is your Los Angeles Clippers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Chris Paul is the biggest loss for the Clippers,…

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The Los Angeles Clippers have topped 50 wins in each of the last five seasons, but this may be the toughest year yet for coach Doc Rivers. The Clippers return just five players from last years squad, and regardless of the talent level, it’s always difficult to hit the ground running with a fairly new team. Things take time and playing in the loaded Western Conference, you don’t have much leeway to figure things out.  

Here is your Los Angeles Clippers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Chris Paul is the biggest loss for the Clippers, as he’s been the most consistent player for the franchise the last six seasons and helped change the culture. CP3 has the most assists in Clippers history with 4,023 and is probably the best player of all-time for the franchise as well. Sharpshooter JJ Redick leaves for the Philadelphia 76ers after four seasons in LA, three of which he shot better than 40 percent from three. Jamal Crawford is gone after five seasons with the Clippers and consistently being the most reliable player off the bench. Speaking of the bench, the Clippers also say goodbye to Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, Luc Mbah a Moute, Paul Pierce and Diamond Stone. Yikes. 

Key Player Additions: The Clippers bring over Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell from Houston in the trade for CP3. Beverley and Williams is likely going to be the starting backcourt for the Clippers and is a nice defensive/offensive combination. Dekker and Harrell are also young players who had their moments when they actually saw the court. Danilo Gallinari leaves six seasons of Denver and could be a huge steal for Los Angeles if he can stay healthy considering he’s a 37 percent shooter from deep and a solid passer as well. Gallinari will make life easier for everybody else with his ability to stretch the floor. Willie Reed was a solid backup for the Miami Heat last season and should be better with more playing time behind DeAndre Jordan. 

Draft: Jawun Evans is a gamer at the guard position with elite quickness, a reliable jump shot and above-average ball handling. Evans may not have great size, but he plays with a lot of heart and isn’t going to backdown from anybody. While the Clippers have struggled with backup play in the past, Evans could see some considerable playing time if he plays to his potential. Sindarius Thornwell is another tough guard who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty on the defensive end and improved his offensive ability over the years to the point he won SEC POY last season. Over time Thornwell could prove his worth due to his grinding attitude. 

Outlook: Give the Clippers front office credit for rebounding after losing arguably the best pure point guard in the league. Most teams are toast when its top player leaves, but the Clippers got a nice haul from the Rockets, snagged a difference maker in Gallinari, patched the bench the best it could and made sure Blake Griffin didn’t leave. It’s going to be interesting to see if there’s another gear for Blake now that this is solely his franchise. Either way, the Clippers will make the playoffs for a seventh straight season.

Playoffs? Yes.

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Fri, 28 Jul 2017 04:41:05 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90336
<![CDATA[Indiana Pacers 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/28/indiana-pacers-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Indiana Pacers found a way to clinch a playoff spot last season, but that team is long gone due to so much turnover this offseason. This will be the year we really learn a lot about Nate McMillan as a coach, as he has a roster full of new players and no longer has a star he can count on to will him to victory. Needless to say, this is going to be an interesting season for the Pacers with so many moving parts.

Here is your Indiana Pacers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Indiana Pacers begin a new era by trading Paul…

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The Indiana Pacers found a way to clinch a playoff spot last season, but that team is long gone due to so much turnover this offseason. This will be the year we really learn a lot about Nate McMillan as a coach, as he has a roster full of new players and no longer has a star he can count on to will him to victory. Needless to say, this is going to be an interesting season for the Pacers with so many moving parts.

Here is your Indiana Pacers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Indiana Pacers begin a new era by trading Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder. George spent his first seven seasons with the Pacers, producing more than 8,000 points, 1,400 assists and 2,800 rebounds. George is a four-time all-star, just turned 27 years old and is coming off the best offensive season of his career. Jeff Teague leaves for Minnesota after one season in Indiana and CJ Miles heads to Toronto after three seasons with the Pacers. Teague averaged nearly eight assists last year and Miles shot a combined 37.4 percent from deep during his three seasons. If you’re not paying attention, the Pacers lost three of their five double-digit scorers from last season, including their top-two playmakers. 

Key Player Additions: Darren Collison returns to Indiana after three years in Sacramento, and he’ll be the Pacers new starting point guard. Collison takes care of the ball, can help push the pace and is coming off a year in which he shot 41.7 percent from deep. Victor Oladipo is on his third team in three years and hopes he can find consistent play and a stable home in Indiana. Bojan Bogdanovic is a career 37 percent shooter from deep and will become a full-time starter for the first time. Cory Joseph has become one of the better backup combo guards in the league and Domantas Sabonis showed flashes of promise in his rookie season with the Thunder. 

Draft: T.J. Leaf was an elite offensive player in his one season with the UCLA Bruins, as he shot 61.7 percent from the field and 46.6 percent from three. Leaf has a bright future in the NBA due to his ability to fill it up and pass out of the post, but there are serious questions about his defense. Leaf could be Enes Kanter 2.0 based on what he showed in college. Ike Anigbogu also comes over from UCLA and has elite size and athleticism, but he must improve his jump shot and post skills if he’s going to become a reliable player at this level. 

Outlook: Many would think the sky is falling for the Pacers based on all the production they lost, but I actually like this roster and see potential. You can do a lot worse than a starting lineup of Darren Collison, Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young, especially in the Eastern Conference. Oladipo still has another level to get to and Turner is a possible all-star player based on his improvement his first two seasons. Not to mention a youthful bench made up of Joseph, Glenn Robinson III, Sabonis and Leaf, there’s some intriguing talent on this roster that may be going unnoticed. I may be on this bandwagon by myself, but I’m predicting the Pacers to make the playoffs this season. 

Playoffs? Yes.

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Fri, 28 Jul 2017 03:02:29 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90333
<![CDATA[Houston Rockets 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/28/houston-rockets-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Houston Rockets have topped 50 wins in three of the last four seasons and seem to be going for an NBA title in the second year under coach Mike D'Antoni. While there’s rumors floating around that Carmelo Anthony will eventually end up in Houston, the Rockets have to like their current roster as is and are one of the few teams that can give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money. Let’s take a look at things before August and a possible trade takes place. 

Here is your Houston Rockets 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses:…

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The Houston Rockets have topped 50 wins in three of the last four seasons and seem to be going for an NBA title in the second year under coach Mike D'Antoni. While there’s rumors floating around that Carmelo Anthony will eventually end up in Houston, the Rockets have to like their current roster as is and are one of the few teams that can give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money. Let’s take a look at things before August and a possible trade takes place. 

Here is your Houston Rockets 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Rockets lost a chunk of their rotation with a trade that sent Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell and Sam Dekker to the Los Angeles Clippers. Harrell and Dekker are both young players who had their moments in limited playing time, but the loss of Williams and Beverley removes an elite bench scorer and one of the top defensive point guards in the league. While the Rockets may be better off, it’s never easy to replace a quarter of a team in one season.

Key Player Additions: The Rockets landed possibly the best pure point guard in basketball in Chris Paul. CP3 is the ultimate floor general, elite defender and is capable of getting buckets when he needs to step up. If managed right, the Rockets will have one of the best passers/creators on the floor at all times when you add James Harden. P.J. Tucker brings toughness off the bench and is an underrated outside shooter while Luc Mbah a Moute is a lengthy defender who is coming off his second-best shooting season of his career. However, the Rockets offseason was all about getting Paul to join forces with Harden in hopes to taking this franchise to another level. 

Draft: Isaiah Hartenstein is a legit seven footer who just turned 19 years old and shot 42.5 percent from three in 2015-16 in Germany. There’s no clue if Hartenstein will in fact play as a rookie for the Rockets this season and there are concerns about back issues, but there’s no doubt he has high upside and could be a steal if everything pans out. After all, the Rockets have some success with international players, right? 

Outlook: Right now the Rockets are a legit title contender and those odds increase a little more if they’re able to move Trevor Ariza or Ryan Anderson to clear room for Carmelo. The Rockets will always have one of the top point guards in the league on the court at all times and the rest of the team will get tons of open looks. Add Melo and you’re talking about a scary trio with an underrated center in Clint Capela cleaning up the middle. The Houston Rockets are building something and aren’t hiding the fact they’re going for a title as early as this season. It’s going to be fun seeing CP3 play with Harden, and with or without Melo, the Rockets are one of a few teams that can give the Warriors a scare.  

Playoffs? Yes.

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Fri, 28 Jul 2017 02:18:23 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90330
<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/27/golden-state-warriors-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Golden State Warriors have won two of the last three NBA Finals and enter 2017-18 as the overwhelming favorites to repeat. Nothing else matters but the month of June for the team from Oakland, California, and this franchise has done everything it can to keep those expectations in place. Love them or hate them, the Warriors are the team that everybody else in the league is gunning for. 

Here is your Golden State Warriors 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Warriors kept their championship team intact by extending key players…

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The Golden State Warriors have won two of the last three NBA Finals and enter 2017-18 as the overwhelming favorites to repeat. Nothing else matters but the month of June for the team from Oakland, California, and this franchise has done everything it can to keep those expectations in place. Love them or hate them, the Warriors are the team that everybody else in the league is gunning for. 

Here is your Golden State Warriors 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Warriors kept their championship team intact by extending key players such as Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, but the cost is likely losing young shooting guard Ian Clark. While he still remains unsigned, Clark has said he would like more than league minimum and has received interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves. Clark has turned into a reliable bench player who can probably do more with extended minutes, as he shot 48.7 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from three during the regular season. That would be the only hit the defending champs take. 

Key Player Additions: Nick Young decided to leave money and starts on the table to come off the bench for Golden State. Young is known for being an undisciplined player at times, but he did shoot 40.4 percent from three a year ago and will get plenty of open looks playing in this offense. The Warriors also added journeyman Omri Casspi, who is a 36.7 percent shooter from deep for his career and has always been a solid rebounder. Casspi is just more depth on the wings to a team that was already loaded. 

Draft: Golden State got an energy spark in Jordan Bell, who plays the game with a ton of passion and does a lot of the little things well. Bell can improve the depth on his shot, but he fights for rebounds, sets his teammates up well and is a great defender with quick hands. Bell is in the perfect situation and is somebody who could earn minutes due to how hard he plays the game and the energy he brings. 

Outlook: The Golden State Warriors are once again the team to beat in the NBA and should win another title as long as the starters stay healthy. With Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Curry, there’s just too much firepower for teams to keep up for 48 minutes. It takes just a three or four minute stretch for Golden State to burry its opponents. The Warriors are also one of the better defensive teams in the league. There’s just little weakness for the team that stacked the deck. It’s championship or bust for the Warriors as long as this current core remains intact.

Playoffs? Duh.

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Thu, 27 Jul 2017 19:36:52 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90306
<![CDATA[Detroit Pistons 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/27/detroit-pistons-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Detroit Pistons have missed the playoffs in two of the three years under coach Stan Van Gundy and are eager to take advantage of an even weaker Eastern Conference. Detroit loves its basketball, and it would be a tough swallow if this is another year of disappointment. While expectations aren’t crazy high for this club, it’s time for the Pistons to turn things around after missing the postseason in seven of the last eight years.

Here is your Detroit Pistons 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Pistons say goodbye to their…

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The Detroit Pistons have missed the playoffs in two of the three years under coach Stan Van Gundy and are eager to take advantage of an even weaker Eastern Conference. Detroit loves its basketball, and it would be a tough swallow if this is another year of disappointment. While expectations aren’t crazy high for this club, it’s time for the Pistons to turn things around after missing the postseason in seven of the last eight years.

Here is your Detroit Pistons 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Pistons say goodbye to their third-leading scorer in Marcus Morris after two seasons in which he combined for 2,200 points, 770 rebounds and 361 assists. Morris played his role well in Detroit and brought some of the toughness to this team. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is now with the Los Angeles Lakers after four seasons in Detroit that consistented of up-and-down play and just 40.5 percent shooting from the field. However, at just 24 years old, there’s plenty of time for Caldwell-Pope to become a more consistent two-way player. Aron Baynes didn’t put up sexy numbers offensively, but he was a tough role player for the Pistons and helped clean the glass in his limited playing time. 

Key Player Additions: Detroit made one of the more underrated moves of the offseason by trading for Avery Bradley, one of the best defenders at the shooting guard position and somebody who shot 46.3 percent from the field last season. Bradley fits in nicely with the Pistons and adds a spark on the offensive end as well. Langston Galloway has bounced around the league and has had his hiccups as well, but he is a 36.6 percent shooter from deep and will commit defensively in his time off the bench. Anthony Tolliver returns to Detroit after a short stint in Sacramento while Eric Moreland also comes over from the Kings and turned heads during the summer league. 

Draft: The Pistons drafted Luke Kennard with their only draft pick. He was one of the top shooters in the 2017 class, shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from three in two seasons at Duke. However, Kennard is more than just a shooter, as he can break guys down off the dribble, get to the free throw line and create for others. Kennard played really well in summer league and is somebody who could be key this season to helping the Pistons make that rare playoff trip.  

Outlook: It feels like there’s pressure on the Pistons to make the playoffs this season after a lot of letdowns over the years and the fact the East is so wide open. And while I like the addition of Bradley and think Kennard has a bright NBA career, Detroit didn’t do a ton outside of those moves to improve its roster. Remember, the Pistons won only 37 games last season, so there has to be a considerable improvement in wins to make the postseason and you have to remove a team that made it last year. The Pistons are one of those teams that’s tough to gauge, so I wouldn’t be surprised either way, but I’m leaning towards Detroit coming up short.

Playoffs? No.

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Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:06:35 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90273
<![CDATA[Denver Nuggets 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/27/denver-nuggets-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Denver Nuggets haven’t made the playoffs since the last season George Karl was running the show, but they just missed out last year and seem to be one of those teams on the rise. The Nuggets have a losing record each of the last four years and it’s not easy to hang in the overwhelming Western Conference, but the Nuggets have to like the direction they’re heading. 

Will this be the year to end the playoff drought?

Here is your Denver Nuggets 2017 NBA preview. 

Key Player Losses: The Nuggets lost their leading…

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The Denver Nuggets haven’t made the playoffs since the last season George Karl was running the show, but they just missed out last year and seem to be one of those teams on the rise. The Nuggets have a losing record each of the last four years and it’s not easy to hang in the overwhelming Western Conference, but the Nuggets have to like the direction they’re heading. 

Will this be the year to end the playoff drought?

Here is your Denver Nuggets 2017 NBA preview. 

Key Player Losses: The Nuggets lost their leading scorer in Danilo Gallinari, who is now with the Los Angeles Clippers after six seasons in Denver in which he produced almost 5,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 667 assists. Gallinari has certainly had his issues with injuries over the years, but he’s a highly consistent shooter when on the court and was the only player on Denver who averaged two or made threes per game last season. Gallinari has shot a combined 37.8 percent from three the last two seasons. 

Key Player Additions: After averaging a career high 18.1 points for the Atlanta Hawks, Paul Millsap comes over to Denver and provides a serious upgrade to the power forward spot. Mills not only makes an impact in the locker room and on the offensive end, but he’ll help take some of the pressure off Nikola Jokic in the rebound department. Trey Lyles comes over from Utah after two seasons in which he shot 40 percent from the field and averaged 3.5 rebounds in under 17 minutes per game. 

Draft: Tyler Lydon is a nice stretch four who has good size at 6’9” and plays above-average defense. The Nuggets picked up Lydon in a trade with the Utah Jazz and could use him as a scoring spark off the bench this season often. Monte Morris has good size for a point guard, can hit the open jumper and simply doesn’t turn the ball over. Despite playing 33.8 minutes per game in four seasons for Iowa State, Morris averaged just 1.2 turnovers per game. That’s valuable. Vlatko Cancar will remain overseas for now, but he’s a versatile wing with a reelable jumpshot and could become a stretch big man we’re seeing pop up more and more as this game evolves.  

Outlook: The Denver Nuggets missed the playoffs by just one game last season, kept their team intact for the most part and added an all-star power froward in Millsap. Denver is a team to watch this season, especially with Jamal Murray having a full offseason under his belt and Mason Plumlee being more comfortable around his new teammates. The Nuggets have the firepower, the depth and probably the best big in the league in Jokic holding everything together. Even with the West absolutely loaded and teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves improving as well, I think this is the year the Nuggets sneak into the playoffs. This is a fun, young team that can win some games and turn heads.

Playoffs?  Yes.

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Thu, 27 Jul 2017 03:39:15 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90270
<![CDATA[Dallas Mavericks 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/26/dallas-mavericks-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a season in which they won just 33 games and haven’t missed the playoffs back-to-back years since the first two years Don Nelson was head coach. The West didn’t get any easier for a team like the Mavs, but Rick Carlisle is one of the better coaches in the league and the franchise has shown great consistency over the last 10 decade plus. The Mavericks are used to winning records and competing, and one down year won’t change those expectations. 

Here is your Dallas Mavericks 2017 NBA preview. 

Key Player…

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The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a season in which they won just 33 games and haven’t missed the playoffs back-to-back years since the first two years Don Nelson was head coach. The West didn’t get any easier for a team like the Mavs, but Rick Carlisle is one of the better coaches in the league and the franchise has shown great consistency over the last 10 decade plus. The Mavericks are used to winning records and competing, and one down year won’t change those expectations. 

Here is your Dallas Mavericks 2017 NBA preview. 

Key Player Losses: None. The Mavs kept the same team intact from a year ago by picking up Yogi Ferrell’s option and resigning Dirk Nowitzki for a two-year deal. The Mavericks rotation this season will be extremely similar to what it was a few months ago. 

Key Player Additions: The only player on the Mavs roster right now who wasn’t here a season ago is Josh McRoberts, who Dallas picked up in a trade with the Miami Heat for a draft pick, cash and A.J. Hammons. McRoberts is a career 46.4 percent shooter from the field and is a good passer, but he’s struggled with injuries the last few years and has played a combined 81 games the last three seasons. Hardly a key addition, but McRoberts is an addition nevertheless. 

Draft: The Mavericks landed one of the top players in the draft in Dennis Smith Jr., who could be thrown in the starting lineup at some point this season. Smith has the athleticism, quickness, shooting ability, passing and size to become one of the better players at his position in due time. Smith showed some of that potential during summer league and it’s clear he’s just scratching the surface of his potential at nearly 20 years old. With Dirk on his last leg, Smith is the future of this franchise. 

Outlook: While the Mavs didn’t do much winning last year, I like a lot of their pieces. Yogi and Seth Curry have shown they can be an explosive backcourt, while Nerlens Noel adds an inside presence this team has lacked for years. Harrison Barnes also shot the ball well last season and Wesley Matthews still has flashes of being the player he once was for Portland before his injury. Throw in Smith, who is a strong Rookie of the Year candidate, and the Mavs aren’t as bad as their record indicates. However, Dallas does play in the West, and when you consider the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets got better while the New Orleans Pelicans have a full season of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, and it’s tough to be a top-eight team. Still a fun team to watch though. 

Playoffs? No.

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:14:46 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90225
<![CDATA[Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/26/cleveland-cavaliers-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Cleveland Cavaliers have made the NBA Finals three straight years and enter another season as the favorites to win the East. While currently going through drama with Kyrie Irving and his trade reports, the Cavs are still in a good position as long as LeBron James is on the roster and they’re in a watered down Eastern Conference. Of course, things can change depending on the Kyrie situation.

Here is your Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 NBA preview. 

Key Player Losses: Unless you consider James Jones, who retired and took a front office…

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have made the NBA Finals three straight years and enter another season as the favorites to win the East. While currently going through drama with Kyrie Irving and his trade reports, the Cavs are still in a good position as long as LeBron James is on the roster and they’re in a watered down Eastern Conference. Of course, things can change depending on the Kyrie situation.

Here is your Cleveland Cavaliers 2017 NBA preview. 

Key Player Losses: Unless you consider James Jones, who retired and took a front office job with the Phoenix Suns, a big loss considering he’s made seven straight final appearances with LeBron, the Cavs didn’t lose anybody significant. All of the key players from last years squad are back for another run at a title. Well, at least for now given the Kyrie situation.  

Key Player Additions: The Cavaliers added a trio of veterans on the cheap in Derrick Rose, Jeff Green and Jose Calderon. Rose is coming off a season in which he averaged 18 points and shot 47 percent from the field while showing flashes of being Rose of old. The problem is he still struggles from the outside and is always one stretch away from being injured again. Green is capable of providing double-digit points off the bench while being a decent rebounder and a good defender. Calderon can hold down the fort at point guard for about 15-20 minutes, as he takes care of the ball and is a 40 percent shooter from deep. Not flashy moves, but does add depth to the Cavs roster and was the best they could do with zero cap space. 

Draft: None. 

Outlook: Everything changes if Kyrie is moved and what the return is, but right now the Cavaliers are the favorites to win the East and make the finals for a fourth straight season. The East has very few challenges and LeBron is still good enough to do most of the heavy lifting to get to the big dance. The problem is putting together a roster good enough to challenge any team that comes out of the West, particularly the Golden State Warriors. However, any team would love to have those problems, as you can’t win a title without at least getting to the finals. So, as of July 26, the Cavs are still in the drivers seat in the East.   

Playoffs? Yes.

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 18:19:23 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90222
<![CDATA[Chicago Bulls 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/26/chicago-bulls-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Chicago Bulls finished last season with a .500 record and gave the Boston Celtics a run before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. Well, the Bulls are indicating a full rebuild a few months later and certainly aren’t doing head coach Fred Hoiberg any favors. This is likely going to be a long season in Chicago.

Here is your Chicago Bulls 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The big loss for the Bulls was trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler has led Chicago in win shares each of the last three…

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The Chicago Bulls finished last season with a .500 record and gave the Boston Celtics a run before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. Well, the Bulls are indicating a full rebuild a few months later and certainly aren’t doing head coach Fred Hoiberg any favors. This is likely going to be a long season in Chicago.

Here is your Chicago Bulls 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The big loss for the Bulls was trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Butler has led Chicago in win shares each of the last three seasons and is fresh off a year in which he averaged 24 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Butler is one of the better two-way players in the league and just entering his prime as he approaches 28 years old. Rajon Rondo leaves for New Orleans after averaging 6.7 assists in one season with the Bulls, and Michael Carter-Williams is now in Charlotte. The loss of Butler, however, is a real low to this franchise. 

Key Player Additions: The Bulls picked up Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine in the Butler trade. LaVine is a young, exciting player who is coming off his best season yet in which he averaged 19 points and three assists, but he’s also coming off a major knee injury, which is scary considering he relies heavily on his athleticism and high-flying ability. Dunn is coming off a brutal rookie season in which he shot just 37.7 percent from the field in 78 games, but I’m always one to give the benefit of the doubt before calling somebody a bust. Dunn’s play will heavily determine if Chicago got hosed in the trade with Minnesota.

Draft: Lauri Markkanen is a seven footer who can space the floor, as he shot 42.3 percent from three in one season with Arizona. There’s questions about Markkanen defensively, but there’s no doubts about him offensively, as he can play in today’s game due to his ability to shoot a high percentage from the outside. Chicago can only hope Markkanen can provide a similar impact as a Karl-Anthony Towns or Kristaps Porzingis.  

Outlook: When you trade away the best player on your team, one of the top two-way players in the league and the face of your franchise for the foreseeable future, it’s a clear sign of a rebuild. The Bulls barely made the playoffs with Butler on the roster, now they have even more question marks and no star to go out there and will victories by dominating at both ends. Expect Dwyane Wade to be bought out at some point, as this season is all about the young guys and finding out if Dunn, Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne, Denzel Valentine and others are worth building around. It’s a show and prove season for everybody on this Bulls roster minus Wade and Robin Lopez. 

Playoffs? No.

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 17:34:21 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90219
<![CDATA[Charlotte Hornets 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/07/26/charlotte-hornets-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Charlotte Hornets have nowhere to go but up after winning just 36 games last season and not winning a playoff series since Paul Silas was head coach back in 2001-02. There’s obvious questions to answer with the Hornets, but this is a squad that has to like its chances being in the East and having one of the more underrated coaches in the league leading the way. 

Here is your Charlotte Hornets 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The only key player the Hornets lost was Marco Belinelli, who spent one season in Charlotte, averaging…

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The Charlotte Hornets have nowhere to go but up after winning just 36 games last season and not winning a playoff series since Paul Silas was head coach back in 2001-02. There’s obvious questions to answer with the Hornets, but this is a squad that has to like its chances being in the East and having one of the more underrated coaches in the league leading the way. 

Here is your Charlotte Hornets 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The only key player the Hornets lost was Marco Belinelli, who spent one season in Charlotte, averaging two assists and 10.5 points on 36 percent shooting from deep. Belinelli was one of the Hornets top bench players due to his leadership and ability to space the floor while creating for others. 

Key Player Additions: The Hornets got their big man by trading for Dwight Howard, who still has plenty left in the tank at 31 years old, as he averaged 13.5 points and 8.7 rebounds on 63.3 percent shooting last season with the Atlanta Hawks. While the public perception of Howard isn’t good, he’s a player who is still effective and can help a team win games if used properly. The Hornets also landed their backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams, who is already on his fourth team at 25 years old. While Carter-Williams hasn’t panned out since winning Rookie of the Year in 2014, he does set his teammates up nicely and can be good for stretches where he’s not asked to do too much. 

Draft: Malik Monk was the best shooter in the draft after making 39.7 percent of his threes in one season with Kentucky and his skill set suggests all-star potential. Monk is one of those players who can takeover a game when hot, and he’ll be a key contributor off the bench from day one for Charlotte. Dwayne Bacon is a lengthy shooting guard who really shined in two seasons at Florida State, shooting 51 percent on twos and averaging five rebounds. Bacon’s outside shot has to improve in order to become starter quality, but there’s a lot to like with the soon to be 22-year-old. 

Outlook: The Hornets kept pretty much the same roster they had a season ago while improving in the draft and stealing Howard. Those moves suggest the Charlotte Hornets will be a better team than last season. However, while the East is weak, I’m still not sure there’s enough overall talent or scoring for the Hornets to make a jump into the playoff conversation. It’s often Kemba Walker or bust with this squad and that’s simply not going to get it done. While I like the addition of Howard, the Hornets are still one of those blah teams in the East that’s on the outside looking in. 

Playoffs? No.

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:14:02 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90213