<![CDATA[NBA RSS Feed]]> en 120 <![CDATA[San Antonio Spurs 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/04/san-antonio-spurs-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The San Antonio Spurs remain the most consistent team in professional sports, as they haven’t missed the playoffs in two decades, constantly win 50 or more games and always have a shot to compete for a title. As long as Gregg Popovich is running the show, the Spurs are a threat to every team in the league and considering the 68-year-old is on the bench for another season, this year won’t be any different. But let’s take a quick look at the Spurs offseason anyway. 

Here is your San Antonio Spurs 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses:…

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The San Antonio Spurs remain the most consistent team in professional sports, as they haven’t missed the playoffs in two decades, constantly win 50 or more games and always have a shot to compete for a title. As long as Gregg Popovich is running the show, the Spurs are a threat to every team in the league and considering the 68-year-old is on the bench for another season, this year won’t be any different. But let’s take a quick look at the Spurs offseason anyway. 

Here is your San Antonio Spurs 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Jonathon Simmons goes after the money with the Orlando Magic after being a key contributor off the bench in two seasons, showing flashes of scoring potential and being a feisty, above-average defender. Simmons does a lot of little things well to help a team win and will only improve with just 133 games under his belt. The Spurs also lost center depth with Dewayne Dedmon leaving for the Atlanta Hawks and David Lee still looking for a job (likely outside of San Antonio). Dedmon started 37 games last season and Lee shot 59 percent from the field during the regular season. 

Key Player Additions: Rudy Gay has had issues staying healthy and is fresh off a major injury. However, Gay is still capable of averaging 20 points per night, and he shot 45.5 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from three last season. When healthy, Gay can hold his own at the small forward position, making this signing extremely valuable to San Antonio’s potential playoff run. Joffrey Lauvergne adds depth to the center position, as he’s averaging four rebounds and 6.1 points per game in just 15 minutes throughout his NBA career.  

Draft: Derrick White is one of those big point guards the Spurs like at 6’4”, and he commits defensively while shooting above 50 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from three. White isn’t the best athlete in the world and can be turnover prone at times, but he has a high IQ and should thrive in the Spurs system like most players they draft do. Jaron Blossomgame has his NBA body already with great athleticism, explosiveness and the willingness to defend his tail off. Blossomgame struggles with his offensive game, but the raw tools are there and it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s a rotation player within a year or two.  

Outlook: The San Antonio Spurs are one of a handful of teams that can realistically gun for an NBA title. With arguably the best coach of all-time, the best two-way player in the league and a supporting cast that consistently performs and is well prepared, the Spurs are a well oiled machine and have been for 20 years. The addition of Gay is huge for the Spurs bench and any improvement from LaMarcus Aldridge would be nice. Either way, the Spurs are the Spurs, and they’ll be no tough out and should always be treated seriously.  

Playoffs? Yes. 

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Fri, 04 Aug 2017 03:37:50 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90846
<![CDATA[Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/04/sacramento-kings-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Sacramento Kings won 32 games in the first season under coach Dave Joerger and are still trying to pickup the pieces after the DeMarcus Cousins trade. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since the Rick Adelman era, and they’re trying to slowly change the culture of the franchise despite the criticism the front office has received the last couple of years. Still, you have to wonder just howl on the fans of Sacramento can be told to wait before a season with promise actually arrives.  

Here is your Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA preview.

Key…

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The Sacramento Kings won 32 games in the first season under coach Dave Joerger and are still trying to pickup the pieces after the DeMarcus Cousins trade. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since the Rick Adelman era, and they’re trying to slowly change the culture of the franchise despite the criticism the front office has received the last couple of years. Still, you have to wonder just howl on the fans of Sacramento can be told to wait before a season with promise actually arrives.  

Here is your Sacramento Kings 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Kings watched a lot of contributors leave starting with Rudy Gay, who was second on the team last year with 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds. Gay had his issues staying healthy, but he’s a highly underrated player when on the court and will be a nice addition for the San Antonio Spurs. Darren Collison leaves for Indiana after starting 124 games in three years, shooting nearly 40 percent from three and averaging almost five assists. Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore take their talents to the Memphis Grizzlies after spotty play and often more frustrations than anything else. Arron Afflalo was often the most consistent player on the Kings last year, and he’s in Orlando, while Ty Lawson is still without a job after 25 starts last season. 

Key Player Additions: George Hill is on his third team in three years, and he brings stability at point guard, after averaging 14 points and 3.8 assists on 45.7 percent shooting from the field in his last two seasons. At just 31 years old, Hill is a nice pickup for this team that needed direction. Veterans Zach Randolph and Vince Carter leave Memphis to become the leaders of this young Kings squad and are guys who can still contribute despite being out of their prime ages ago. Randolph adds toughness defensively and has averaged no less than 14 points the last five years, while Carter shot nearly 38 percent from deep last year and averaged over 24 minutes. 

Draft: De'Aaron Fox has a chance to be a star in the NBA due to his athleticism, quickness, leadership and defense and improved jumper. Fox has a little bit of Russell Westbrook to his game and will make an immediate impact while changing the way people view these Kings overall. Justin Jackson is a gamer who got better every year at UNC, especially his jump shot. Jackson isn’t afraid of the moment and can defend multiple positions with his length and high IQ. Harry Giles had the potential to be the best player in the draft if it wasn’t for multiple knee surgeries at just 19 years old. Giles has great size, is an elite athlete, runs the floor well, can play multiple positions and has good hands in the post. Giles is a steal for the Kings if he stays healthy and can play to his potential. Frank Mason was one of the top scorers in college basketball and showed leadership last season with Kansas. Mason also takes care of the ball, which is key for his point guard position.  

Outlook: The Sacramento Kings had a terrific offseason despite all the players they lost. The added vets will help young players such as Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and the draft class come along quicker. Speaking of the draft, the Kings hit it out of the park, as Fox is a guy with all-star potential while Jackson and Giles can become key rotation guys. The Kings looked lost in the dark a few months ago but actually have some direction and seem to be building a decent team after all. With all that said, the Kings are still in the West, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. I’ll be watching this Kings team closely, but playoffs aren’t in the cards this season.   

Playoffs? No.

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Fri, 04 Aug 2017 03:35:18 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90843
<![CDATA[Portland Trail Blazers 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/03/portland-trail-blazers-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Portland Trail Blazers have made the playoffs four straight seasons under coach Terry Stotts and remain that team in the West that feels like its on the cusp of taking that next step if they can add one more piece. The problem is the Trail Blazers salary cap issues don’t allow much wiggle room, so they pretty much are what they are right now and will continue to lean on their star backcourt to do all of the heavy lifting. 

Here is your Portland Trail Blazers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Allen Crabbe leaves for the Brooklyn…

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The Portland Trail Blazers have made the playoffs four straight seasons under coach Terry Stotts and remain that team in the West that feels like its on the cusp of taking that next step if they can add one more piece. The problem is the Trail Blazers salary cap issues don’t allow much wiggle room, so they pretty much are what they are right now and will continue to lean on their star backcourt to do all of the heavy lifting. 

Here is your Portland Trail Blazers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Allen Crabbe leaves for the Brooklyn Nets after four seasons in Portland in which he shot 41.2 percent from three, averaging 8.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Crabbe was one of Portland’s better bench players, but with his questionable defense and limited upside at 25 years old, it’s understandable why the Trail Blazers weren’t afraid to let him walk. 

Key Player Additions: None. 

Draft: Zach Collins is a 6’11” center with a high IQ, runs the floor well and was one of the more effective scoring big men at the college level. Collins could still improve his decision making and can do a better job of defending without fouling, but he’s an effective low-post scorer who can spot Jusuf Nurkic minutes when needed. Caleb Swanigan brings a ton of energy to the court, rebounds at an elite level and did shoot 37.6 percent from three in two years at Purdue. Swanigan isn’t a great athlete and probably is what he is at this point, but his passion and ability to score and rebound can’t go unnoticed.  

Outlook: The Portland Trail Blazers were a different team in the 20 games Nurkic played, so having him for a whole year healthy will be a major plus. The problem is Portland has very limited depth or talent around Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, forcing that 1-2 punch to do nearly everything on a nightly basis. Evan Turner is stealing money, while guys such as Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and are extremely inconsistent. The Trail Blazers are an exciting team that will once again sniff around 45 victories, but they’re not a contender until they can add another star around their star backcourt.

Playoffs? Yes.

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Thu, 03 Aug 2017 18:22:19 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90792
<![CDATA[Phoenix Suns 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/03/phoenix-suns-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Phoenix Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2009-10 and have won a combined 47 games the last two years. Needless to say, it’s been a while since Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash were leading the way, consistently contending in the West and being one of the more exciting teams in the NBA. However, while the struggles have been real, there are some promising building blocks in Phoenix and a turnaround may be right around the corner if it plays its cards right. 

Here is your Phoenix Suns 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses:…

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The Phoenix Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2009-10 and have won a combined 47 games the last two years. Needless to say, it’s been a while since Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash were leading the way, consistently contending in the West and being one of the more exciting teams in the NBA. However, while the struggles have been real, there are some promising building blocks in Phoenix and a turnaround may be right around the corner if it plays its cards right. 

Here is your Phoenix Suns 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: None. 

Key Player Additions: None.

Draft: Josh Jackson was one of the more promising players in the draft, as he has elite size and athleticism and is already an above-average defender without stepping onto an NBA court. Jackson still has to improve his shot and his ball handling, but he has the potential to be one of the better forwards in this league rather quickly. Davon Reed is a versatile player who can lineup at shooting guard or small forward and brings energy to the court. It might take time before Reed contributes key minutes, but there’s upside here as well. Alec Peters doesn’t have the size or athleticism, but he dd shoot 48.7 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from three during his four years with Valparaiso. You always have a spot in the league when you can get buckets. 

Outlook: The Phoenix Suns are quietly building something with Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Jackson and Tyler Ulis. There’s a lot of talent, youth and potential on this roster and I see the Suns going places if they continue to keep this core together while slowly adding piece by piece. The Suns are going to be an exciting team that scores a lot of points, but maturity and defense remain the issues in terms of reaching that next step. So, playoffs aren’t a realistic goal right now in the West, but Phoenix isn’t that far off as last years record may indicate. 

Playoffs? No.

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Thu, 03 Aug 2017 18:19:49 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90789
<![CDATA[Philadelphia 76ers 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/02/philadelphia-76ers-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Philadelphia 76ers are trying to go from being the laughing stock of the league to a fun, winning squad that people can get behind. The 76ers have won 28 or less games each of the last four seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since 2011-12. However, last season this team showed flashes of hope and you can feel optimism in Philly for the first time in what feels like forever. Trust the process may have been a thing after all, eh?

Here is your Philadelphia 76ers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The 76ers didn’t lose anybody…

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The Philadelphia 76ers are trying to go from being the laughing stock of the league to a fun, winning squad that people can get behind. The 76ers have won 28 or less games each of the last four seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since 2011-12. However, last season this team showed flashes of hope and you can feel optimism in Philly for the first time in what feels like forever. Trust the process may have been a thing after all, eh?

Here is your Philadelphia 76ers 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The 76ers didn’t lose anybody who is going to be part of the long term success of this franchise, so there are no key player losses. However, Gerald Henderson did have a solid season last year in Philadelphia, averaging 9.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 72 games played and brought leadership to the young squad. Henderson was waived and will likely sign as a veteran presence for another team at some point. 

Key Player Additions: Philly made a splash with the signing of J.J. Redick, who has consistently been one of the top shooters in the league and knocks down 41.5 percent of his threes for his career. Redick instantly becomes the 76ers starting shooting guard and is instant offense coming off of screens. Philly also adds another veteran in Amir Johnson, who isn’t as flashy as Redick, but he does bring toughness, rebounding and can score in the post now and then. Both solid one-year signings that bring leadership and experience to the club while also improving the team this season.

Draft: The 76ers got their man in point guard Markelle Fultz, who has the athleticism, size and scoring ability to make an impact right away as a rookie. Fultz has been compared to everybody from Dwyane Wade to James Harden, and while some are still skeptical based on the lack of success he had in Washington, there’s no question the kid has the talent to be a game changer for this franchise. Jonah Bolden is a 6’10” power forward who can space the floor with his three point shot and contests shots well defensively, but he just signed a three-year deal to play in Israel. Mathias Lessort is an elite athlete at power forward who has an explosive feel to his game, but he’s still very raw offensively and can lack fundamentals defensively. Lessort is a bit of a project who will need time before making an impact on the NBA level. 

Outlook: Four of the five starters for the 76ers this season will be 23 years old or younger. This is a team full of babies. Talented babies, but babies nonetheless. It’s going to be fun watching Fultz, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid grow up together. Assuming the injury bug doesn’t bite the 76ers yet again, I think there’s enough here to clinch a playoff spot. The 76ers won 28 games last year just off of team play and will alone, but now they have actual talent with their top two players finally healthy and a legit starting point guard. The addition of Redick is also huge given the way he spaces the floor and is capable of dropping 20 a night. This is going to be a fun season in Philadelphia, and I think it leads to a playoff berth. 

Playoffs? Yes.

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Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:45:44 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90678
<![CDATA[Orlando Magic 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/02/orlando-magic-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Orlando Magic haven’t made the playoffs since Stan Van Gundy was coach and are coming off a season in which they won just 29 games. The Magic are clearly taking the slow build process with 10 players 26 years old or younger, so it’s one of those trust the process kind of deals. Still, I’m sure folks in Florida would love to see Frank Vogel and company show some kind of process in his second season. 

Here is your Orlando Magic 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Magic keep their starting unit intact but did lose players…

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The Orlando Magic haven’t made the playoffs since Stan Van Gundy was coach and are coming off a season in which they won just 29 games. The Magic are clearly taking the slow build process with 10 players 26 years old or younger, so it’s one of those trust the process kind of deals. Still, I’m sure folks in Florida would love to see Frank Vogel and company show some kind of process in his second season. 

Here is your Orlando Magic 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Magic keep their starting unit intact but did lose players Jodie Meeks and Jeff Green after one season. Meeks averaged 9.1 points in just 36 games with the team while Green played 69 games while shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from three. Neither loss is that critical to the growth of the franchise but they are the only two names worth mentioning. 

Key Player Additions: The Magic got a steal with the addition of Jonathon Simmons, who was a really good defender for the Spurs off the bench and still has some upside left to his game considering he’s played in just 133 games. Simmons makes the Magic a better basketball team right away. Arron Afflalo returns to Orlando, and while he’s approaching 32 years old, he’s still a spark offensively off the bench, as he’s topped 40 percent shooting from beyond the arc five times in his career. Veteran point guard Shelvin Mack adds depth to a position that’s lacked options the last couple of years and Marreese Speights joins his third team in three years and is a 35 percent shooter from deep. 

Draft: Jonathan Isaac is an elite athlete with ridiculous length, already an above-average defender and has a proven jump shot. Isaac was one of the better prospects in the draft and has the upside to possibly become one of the key faces of this franchise in time. It’s going to be fun watching Isaac grow into his body and improve his game by leaps and bounds. Wesley Iwundu is a versatile player who defends his tail off and can handle the ball well when needed. Iwundu needs to get stronger and could improve his game offensively, but terrific defenders have a place in this league with all the shooters teams have stretching the court. 

Outlook: The Magic return their starting lineup and made big pickups by adding Simmons and Isaac. Those two guys are players who will help the way people view Orlando, as they’re the type of players with upside you can build around. A full season of Terrence Ross is also going to help the Magic’s consistency. The problem with the Magic is that they’re still an extremely young team overall and most of these players are finding themselves. I expect a better season than last year, but I’m still not sure this is a playoff team right now.

Playoffs? No.

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Wed, 02 Aug 2017 13:43:33 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90675
<![CDATA[Oklahoma City Thunder 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/01/oklahoma-city-thunder-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Oklahoma City Thunder have won 62.2 percent of their games under coach Billy Donovan and have made the playoffs in seven of their last eight seasons overall. Despite losing one of the top players in the world last year in Kevin Durant, OKC won 47 games and showed they can still hang around in a loaded Western Conference. This season, the excitement and expectations are back after pairing Russell Westbrook with another marquee piece.

This should end up being a fun season for the lovable Thunder. 

Here is your Oklahoma City Thunder 2017 NBA preview.

Key…

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have won 62.2 percent of their games under coach Billy Donovan and have made the playoffs in seven of their last eight seasons overall. Despite losing one of the top players in the world last year in Kevin Durant, OKC won 47 games and showed they can still hang around in a loaded Western Conference. This season, the excitement and expectations are back after pairing Russell Westbrook with another marquee piece.

This should end up being a fun season for the lovable Thunder. 

Here is your Oklahoma City Thunder 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis are sent to the Indiana Pacers. Oladipo is a talented shooting guard with upside but hasn’t reached his full potential, which is why he’s on his third team in three years. Sabonis had his moments as a rookie last year, but he still shot just 39.9 percent from the field. Taj Gibson joins the Minnesota Timberwolves after playing 23 games last year after being traded from the Chicago Bulls, and he averaged nine points and 4.5 rebounds. 

Key Player Additions: OKC made a monster splash by trading for four-time all-star and one of the top two-way players in the league, Paul George. PG-13 is going to take so much pressure off of Westbrook while making the Thunder better at both ends of the court. Patrick Patterson will give the Thunder one of the top defensive lineups in the NBA, but he’s also a 37 percent shooter from deep for his career, which is nice to have off the bench. Raymond Felton adds depth and experience at point guard, and he averaged just one turnover per game last season in 21.3 minutes.

Draft: Terrance Ferguson is a 6’7” shooting guard with terrific athleticism, a jump shot and likes to get his hands dirty on defense. Ferguson needs to add muscle to his upper body and improve his ball handling, but the tools for him to be a really good player at the NBA level are already there. Ferguson is a nice player OKC can coach up and take time with, and he’ll be a key rotation player at some point. 

Outlook: Westbrook was able to lead OKC to 47 wins last season pretty much by himself, and now he has another star in George to help him. We’ve seen what the Thunder can do with two stars on their team with pretty much the same cast of role players. Also, a lineup of Westbrook, George, Patterson, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams is arguably the best defensive lineup in the NBA. Assuming Doug McDermott and Jerami Grant can be more consistent off the bench, there’s a ton to like with this Thunder roster and they could be that team nobody wants to see in the playoffs. The Thudner should have no problem topping 50 wins this season and could reach the Western Conference Finals if everything goes right. I’m intrigued by this team if you couldn’t tell. 

Playoffs? Yes.

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Tue, 01 Aug 2017 15:17:23 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90603
<![CDATA[New York Knicks 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/01/new-york-knicks-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The New York Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since Mike Woodson was head coach and they’ve been the joke of the league for quite some time with the Phil Jackson / Carmelo Anthony mess. With Phil finally gone and Carmelo still in active trade rumors, there’s no telling when the Knicks will actually start making headlines for its actual basketball play. The Knicks have won 37 or less games in five of the last six seasons and those struggles may continue.

Here is your New York Knicks 2017 NBA preview.    

Key Player Losses: Derrick…

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The New York Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since Mike Woodson was head coach and they’ve been the joke of the league for quite some time with the Phil Jackson / Carmelo Anthony mess. With Phil finally gone and Carmelo still in active trade rumors, there’s no telling when the Knicks will actually start making headlines for its actual basketball play. The Knicks have won 37 or less games in five of the last six seasons and those struggles may continue.

Here is your New York Knicks 2017 NBA preview.    

Key Player Losses: Derrick Rose leaves for the Cleveland Cavaliers after one season in New York in which he shot 47.1 percent from the field and dished 4.4 assists. Rose has played 60-plus games in back-to-back seasons, and while he’s still not the player he was for Chicago and can’t space the floor with an outside shot, he’s shown glimpses of being a productive player who can help a team win.Justin Holiday returns to Chicago after playing 82 games with the Knicks last year in which he shot 43.3 percent from the field, 35.5 percent from three and snagged 2.7 rebounds.

Key Player Additions: The Knicks brought back Tim Hardaway Jr. on a ridiculous four-year contract after he spent the last two years with the Atlanta Hawks. Hardaway is a 42.7 percent shooter for his career who has made 35.2 percent of his threes and averages 11 points per game. He does have upside, just turned 25 years old and has had games here and there where he’s shown he can takeover games and look like his father. His contract is a big commitment for a team desperate for talent and only time will tell if it pays off.

Draft: The Knicks drafted their point guard of the future in Frank Ntilikina, who has elite size at 6’5”, has a high IQ and is your rare pass-first option who sees the floor well. Ntilikina will take time to adjust after playing overseas and could add some muscle to his frame, but his upside is very high. Damyean Dotson is a shooting guard who improved his range over his college career and is an above-average rebounder for his position. It may be a while before Dotson sees considerable minutes for the Knicks. Ognjen Jaramaz is another point guard with great size and takes care of the ball, but he has to improve his outside shot if he’s going to make an impact at this level. Jaramaz is currently playing in Serbia. 

Outlook: I’m not expecting the Knicks to have Carmelo by the time the season starts and I’m not sure it matters with this franchise in rebuild mode and not going anywhere with him. The Knicks have to keep finding talent to put around Kristaps Porzingis, and they have some pieces in Ntilikina, Willy Hernangomez and Ron Baker who have upside. Maybe Hardaway thrives in his new role and shows he’s capable of being a top-two player on a team. While the cupboard isn’t completely bare, there’s just not enough here to make a playoff push even in the watered down East. The Knicks need to keep stacking assets in hopes of hitting a homerun to pair with their unicorn.  

Playoffs? No.

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Tue, 01 Aug 2017 15:14:08 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90600
<![CDATA[Minnesota Timberwolves 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/01/minnesota-timberwolves-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The Minnesota Timberwolves have not made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season and have won a combined 60 games the last two years. However, the Timberwolves have been sitting on a goldmine of talent the last few years and have had a different coach each of the last four years. There’s finally stability in Minnesota with Tom Thibodeau and the kids are slowly starting to become men.

Is this the year the drought ends?

Here is your Minnesota Timberwolves 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Minnesota trades the…

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The Minnesota Timberwolves have not made the playoffs since the 2003-04 season and have won a combined 60 games the last two years. However, the Timberwolves have been sitting on a goldmine of talent the last few years and have had a different coach each of the last four years. There’s finally stability in Minnesota with Tom Thibodeau and the kids are slowly starting to become men.

Is this the year the drought ends?

Here is your Minnesota Timberwolves 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: Minnesota trades the high-flyer Zach LaVine to the Chicago Bulls after three seasons and 206 games played. LaVine is coming off a serious knee injury, but he did just turn 22 years old and is fresh off his best season yet in which he averaged 19 points and three assists on 45.9 percent shooting. The Timberwolves also say goodbye to point guard Ricky Rubio after six seasons in which he averaged 10.3 points, 8.5 assists and shot 37.5 percent from the field. Kris Dunn is now in Chicago after a rough rookie season that included 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 28.8 percent shooting from deep. 

Key Player Additions: The Timberwolves land three-time all-star and one of the top two-way players in the league in Jimmy Butler. The former Chicago Bull is coming off a season in which he averaged 24 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 45.5 percent shooting, and he’ll help provide leadership as well to this young squad. Jeff Teague will be Minnesota’s new starting point guard after one year in Indiana, and he brings a more consistent offensive game to the table that Rubio didn’t exactly have. Taj Gibson brings toughness and rebounding off the bench, while Jamal Crawford is the ultimate heat check guy who can takeover games at times and is a career 35 percent shooter from three.  

Draft: Justin Patton is a legit seven footer who can already impact the game defensively, but he must improve his upper body strength and become more of an aggressive player on the glass with his size and athleticism. There may not be room for Patton his rookie season, but he’s a nice project to take time with and could eventually become a rotation player who can anchor a defense. 

Outlook: Minnesota gave Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns the help they need, as Butler drastically improves the starting five and Teague is the more consistent point guard. Throw in an underrated power play such as Gorgui Dieng, and the Timberwolves have a really impressive starting unit that can hold its own against any in the league. I’ve always been a fan of what Gibson brings to the table and Crawford adds a much needed spark off the bench. The Minnesota Timberwolves have put their chips in the middle of the table in hopes of a playoff berth for the first time in forever. I like what this squad is doing and they’ve become one of the top NBA League Pass teams. Congrats, a playoff berth is going to happen. 

Playoffs? Yes.

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Tue, 01 Aug 2017 05:14:39 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90588
<![CDATA[New Orleans Pelicans 2017 NBA Preview, Draft, Offseason Recap, Depth Chart, Outlook]]> https://sportschatplace.com/nba-picks/2017/08/01/new-orleans-pelicans-2017-nba-preview-draft-offseason-recap-depth-chart-outlook#comments The New Orleans Pelicans have made the playoffs just once in the last six seasons and coach Alvin Gentry has a winning percentage of 39 percent his first two years. While it is tough to compete in the Western Conference and 30 or more wins each of the last four seasons isn’t terrible, there has to be a sense of urgency while Anthony Davis is still young. It’d be nice to see New Orleans have a breakthrough season with two of the biggest stars on its team. 

Here is your New Orleans Pelicans 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The…

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The New Orleans Pelicans have made the playoffs just once in the last six seasons and coach Alvin Gentry has a winning percentage of 39 percent his first two years. While it is tough to compete in the Western Conference and 30 or more wins each of the last four seasons isn’t terrible, there has to be a sense of urgency while Anthony Davis is still young. It’d be nice to see New Orleans have a breakthrough season with two of the biggest stars on its team. 

Here is your New Orleans Pelicans 2017 NBA preview.

Key Player Losses: The Pelicans kept nearly their entire team together but did end up trading Tim Frazier to the Washington Wizards. Frazier has shown flashes of being an offensive spark and can hold his own defensively, but he’s just a career 40.3 percent shooter from the field and 31.6 percent from three. In order to get more consistent NBA minutes, Frazier has to improve those percentages.

Key Player Additions: Rajon Rondo ends up on his fourth different team since his Boston Celtics run came to an end, and it’s no secret what he brings to the table. Rondo is one of the smartest and best passers we’ve seen in this league in quite some time. Having a guy like Rondo come off the bench and lead the second unit is huge and does improve this squad. We’re talking about somebody who led the league in assists on a bad Sacramento Kings team. However, many consider Rondo a cancer and things can go sour quickly if he gets upset for whatever reason. I still like the pickup for the Pelicans who need talent wherever they can find it.

Draft: Frank Jackson is capable of playing point guard or shooting guard, and he brings quickness and a reliable jump shot to the table. Jackson shot shot 47.3 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from three in one season with the Duke Blue Devils. With the lack of guard depth on this Pelicans team, Jackson could see considerable minutes as a rookie. 

Outlook: The Pelicans have two stars in Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but we didn’t see enough success in the second half of last year to suggest these two can produce wins on their own. You need shooters to space the floor with these two guys on the court, and besides Jrue Holiday, there’s just not enough to get excited about. This feels like a season where Cousins and Davis are going to end up killing themselves nightly to try to keep the Pelicans afloat in the loaded West. I’m rooting for these two and hope things workout, but it’s tough seeing this squad make a big enough jump to reach the postseason.

Playoffs? No.

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Tue, 01 Aug 2017 05:11:53 -0400 https://sportschatplace.com/index.php?id=90585