Minnesota Timberwolves 2017-2018 Season Preview

Minnesota Timberwolves

Last Season: 31-51

2017-2018 Preview:

A draft day trade reunited two familiar friends. Jimmy Butler joins his former coach Tom Thibodeau in a neighboring state of Minnesota. The Timberwolves didn’t stop at just Butler. Taj Gibson who became a free agent after a short stint in Oklahoma City decided to join in on the fun. The free agency success for the T-Wolves helped bring in a much better roster than what Thibbs has been working with the past couple of years.

Gone is their long-time point-guard Ricky Rubio who had rumored to be on the market at the trade deadline in February. Rubio was traded for only a protected future round draft pick. Almost seems like a desperation to get rid of Rubio. Perhaps, it was all a part of the plan as Rubio turns into Jeff Teague and Aaron Brooks. A key loss would be Zach LaVine who is coming off knee surgery however, it’s even better his replacement turns into Butler.

The growth of Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins also depends on how successful Minnesota will be this season. It also seems as the size and length of these two and Butler will make it tough for teams to score at will. Defensively, this team is expected to be one of the best with Thibodeau at the reigns. Minnesota should easily be the easiest team to have the biggest turnaround from last season. Certainly, higher expectations and a tougher Western Conference should be taken into consideration. However, improving from 31-wins last season with a revamped roster is expected. Competing against the top-tier of Thunder, Warriors, Rockets, and Spurs may not include the young T-Wolves this year. They’ll stay middle of the pack out West with the Clippers, Grizzlies, and Blazers.

Key additions: Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, Aaron Brooks

Key Losses: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Nikola Pekovic

2017-2018 Prediction: 48-34

Milwaukee Bucks 2017-2018 Season Preview

Milwaukee Bucks

Key Additions: DJ Wilson (R), Sterling Brown (R), Gerald Green

Key Loses: None

Record Last Year: 42-40

The Milwaukee Bucks are returning every key player from last years team that made the playoffs and pushed the Toronto Raptors to 6 games in the 1st round of the playoffs. Just like last season, Milwaukee will start the season missing a key starter. This year the Bucks will start the season without Forward, Jabari Parker. Parker who averaged a career-high 20pts a game last season before tearing his ACL for the 2nd time in February. Last year the Bucks started the season without starter Kris Middleton who then returned only for the bucks to lose Parker. Parker has a target return date of sometime in February. Giannis Antetokounmpo took a huge step in his development last season. The Greek Freak put up 23 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds, two blocks, and almost 2 steals, last season on his way to All-NBA 2nd team honors. The Greek Freak looks to improve upon his breakout season and get the bucks back into the playoffs. The Bucks also had a nice surprise in 2nd round draft pick Malcolm Brogdon who became the 1st player selected in the 2nd round to win the Rookie Of The Year award. Brogdon averaged 10 points, four assists, and three rebounds per game last year. The Bucks added a 1st round pick DJ Wilson an athletic big out of Michigan and 2nd round pick Sterling Brown the younger brother of former NBA player Shannon Brown. The Bucks also added veteran SG/SF Gerald Green. Depending on health and the improvement of The Greek Freak look for the Bucks to improve upon last season and be one of the top defensive teams in the league.

Prediction: 48-34 2nd in Division 5th in the Eastern Conference

Miami Heat 2017-18 Season Preview

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat almost made the playoffs last season. The Heat was one of the hottest teams heading towards the end of last season. With everybody coming back look for the Heat to make the playoffs this year especially in a weaker east division.

Key Loss              

Luke Babbitt, Willie Reed

Everybody from the main core for the Heat came back which is weird typically somebody leaves for a big payday, but then again who would want to leave South Beach. The three-point specialists Luke Babbitt will be missed but he is replaceable.

Key Additions 

Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo

The Heat didn’t do a lot in free agency they mainly focused on bringing everybody. Pat Riley is a mastermind and head coach Eric Spoelstra doesn’t get enough credit. The culture that those two have built in south beach is like no other. The addition of Kelly Olynyk gives the heat another capable shooter from outside. Olynyk doesn’t rebound as well as he should for his size but he can play physical and is not afraid of the big moments (27 points in game seven in the second round). Bam Adebayo, on the other hand, will be given the opportunity to earn some minutes behind Hassan Whiteside. Adebayo the Kentucky Wildcat product is still raw but has the physical attributes to hold his own in the paint. Look for both guys to provide the Heat with quality minutes off the pine.

 X-Factor

Hassan Whiteside

Can someone tell me why Hassan Whiteside is not an all-star yet? Whiteside is a monster; Whiteside is a force on the defensive end but also can get buckets down low. Whiteside averaged 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks that’s insane numbers for a league that proclaims centers are nonexistent. Whiteside is a gamer changer. In order for the Heat to build off the success, they had last season they need Whiteside at his best every single night.

Prediction 

49-33

The Heat roster is filled with versatile players at all positions. The Heat will make a lot of noise this season in the east. Look for the Heat to maybe have two all-stars this year in Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic. The Heat are well coached and have the players to be able to compete with the best in the east. With everybody back and healthy, there should be no reasons why the Heat doesn’t make the playoffs.

Toronto Raptors 2017-18 Season Preview

TORONTO RAPTORS

Last Season: (51-31)

The Toronto Raptors didn’t make any flashy moves offseason and instead opted to re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka to new extensions. They did trade away Cory Joseph to get much needed three shooting on the wing in acquiring C.J. Miles from the Pacers. The Raptors did lose some defensively in letting P.J Tucker and Patrick Patterson sign elsewhere. DeMarre Carroll fresh off a good year in Atlanta didn’t quite work out for Toronto and was seen by some as a difference maker when challenging the Cavs. He was dealt to the Nets along with a first and second-round draft pick of the Raptors in exchange for C Justin Hamilton who is expected to be waived. While some may think they should have gone out and tried for other free agents, they feel that they have enough to make another run. It will be a tough sell seeing how both the Celtics and Cavaliers have made improvements in order to challenge themselves and/or Golden State depending on which makes the finals. That’s not to say the Raptors aren’t in contention for the eastern crown but this roster struggled mightily against LeBron in the playoffs and that would appear to be the case again this season should they meet. DeMar DeRozan is one of the games best mid-range shooters and is a headache for most teams and be close to unstoppable once he masters the three-point shot. Kyle Lowry signing his new extension has to prove that he can be dependable in the postseason. His struggles are well chronicled and can be attributed to the reason why Toronto hasn’t taken that next step. The supporting cast is also known to disappear as well and that won’t cut it down the line. The Raptors will be fine in the regular season winning close to 50 games again mostly beating up on the East. However, they are more than likely to bow out to the Cavaliers or Celtics come postseason time by standing pat.

Key Acquisitions – C.J. Miles

2017-18 Season Prediction (52-30)

Washington Wizards 2017-2018 Season Preview

Washington Wizards

Last Season Record 49-33

Last year the Wizards made it to the eastern conference semifinals and played a tough series against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics ended up defeating the Wizards in seven games. The Wizards have one of the best starting five in the NBA and maybe one of the best backcourts in the league (Yes, we can debate this). With everybody coming back from the main core the Wizards look to make it past the second round this season.

Key losses

Bojan Bogdanovic, Brandon Jennings.

The Washington Wizards have yet to complement their starting five with a decent bench unit. That didn’t help when the Wizards allowed Bojan Bogdanovic to walk without even offering him anything. After coming over from the Brooklyn Nets Bogdanovic excelled coming off the bench for the Wizards in 23mins per game Bogdanovic put up 12 points while shooting 39% from three. One would think with the Wizards in need of shooting and play-making off the bench they would keep a player like Bogdanovic.

Key Additions

Jodie Meeks, Mike Scott, Tim Frazier, Donald Sloan

The Wizards added some depth at the backup point guard spot. The combination of Tim Frazier and Donald Sloan where solid pickups. Tim Frazier? Who? Tim Frazier is super underrated. Frazier is a pass-first point guard that will get everybody involve. With the New Orleans Pelicans, last season Frazier averaged 7points and 5 assists. Look for Frazier to continue his success this year with the Wizards. The Wizards took a gamble on Jodie Meeks and forward Mike Scott. Both Meeks and Scott have had some success in the NBA, but as of late not so much. Mike Scott saw little time on the court last season due to legal issues and injuries.  When healthy Scott is capable of producing decent numbers hopefully he can get back to his Atlanta days because the Wizards can sure use his offensive skills set. Jodie Meeks on the other hand just hasn’t been able to stay healthy. When healthy Meeks is a knockdown shooter with the ability to defend, over the last two season Meeks only played 39 games combined. The Wizards sign both free-agents to cheap contracts so this gamble won’t hurt that much if both players don’t perform.

X-Factor

Secured the bag alert (DJ Khalid) voice. Otto Porter Jr secured a four-year deal worth 106 million dollars from the Wizards. To be honest I wasn’t the biggest Otto Porter Jr fan at first until last season. Porter Jr has the coolest first name in the NBA and an even cooler game. Porter Jr improved a lot last season averaging 13points 6 rebounds while shooting 43% from the three-point line. Those are solid numbers for your third option, Porter Jr is an excellent defender that can hold his own against bigger small forwards. With job security and another year under his belt look for Porter Jr to blossom into a better player this year.

 Prediction

57-25

The Wizards have a great core and added some decent bench players if everybody is healthy and Otto Porter Jr take a step forward in his development look for the Wizards to win the southeast division once again

Boston Celtics 2017-2018 Season Preview

BOSTON CELTICS

Last season: 53-29

The Boston Celtics are a serious threat to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for eastern conference supremacy. Kyrie Irving dominated headlines in the offseason after being dealt to the Celtics via trade request. He figures to be the go-to option along with newly acquired 3&D swingman Gordan Hayward as they look to secure a spot in the NBA Finals. The east has been decimated over the offseason as stars head west to form super teams. Last seasons roster maxed out with coach Stevens getting all he could from that unit. Adding Marcus Morris and Shane Larkin is sure to provide depth good enough to challenge any team in the NBA but losing Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley could hurt defensively. Even with those losses, the Boston Celtics should slightly improve their win total from a season ago and stand head and shoulders above the eastern conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Replacing Isaiah Thomas with Kyrie Irving means adding more versatility to the point guard position and more size. By improving his defense he can help neutralize the games best point guards in a point guard driven league while letting others contribute offensively. The Boston Celtics should have no problem securing the 1st or 2nd seed in the east.

Key Additions: Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, Shane Larkin, Aron Baynes

Key Losses: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Kelly Olynk

2017-18 Season Prediction (57-25)

NBA 2017-18 Season Predictions

Baseline Times NBA Contributor DeMario Jackson gives us his 2017-18 NBA Season Predictions.

NBA 2017-18 Predictions

The 2017-18 season is finally here and I’m the happiest guy in the world. I know (like most of the world) that we’re headed towards Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers part IV and to some that’s boring but the league has some bright new talent, many all-stars have switched teams and the 2017-18 season will be legendary! Here are my predictions, let me know your thoughts!

Top 25 NBA players

1.     LeBron James

2.     Kevin Durant

3.     Kawhi Leonard

4.     Russell Westbrook

5.     Stephen Curry

6.     James Harden

7.     Chris Paul

8.     Anthony Davis

9.     Giannis Antetokounmpo

10. Jimmy Butler

11. Draymond Green

12. John Wall

13. Karl Anthony Towns

14. Paul George

15. Gordon Hayward

16. Damian Lillard

17. Rudy Gobert

18. Klay Thompson

19. Kyrie Irving

20. DeMarcus Cousins

21. Kyle Lowry

22. Blake Griffin

23. Mike Conley

24. Nikola Jokic

25. Paul Milsap

All NBA First Team

Russell Westbrook

James Harden

Kevin Durant

LeBron James

Karl Anthony Towns

NBA All-Rookie Team

Lonzo Ball

Markelle Fultz

Dennis Smith Jr.

Ben Simmons

John Collins

NBA Standings

East

1.     Cleveland Cavaliers

2.     Boston Celtics

3.     Washington Wizards

4.     Milwaukee Bucks

5.     Toronto Raptors

6.     Miami Heat

7.     Charlotte Hornets

8.     Detroit Pistons

West

1.     Golden State Warriors

2.     Houston Rockets

3.     San Antonio Spurs

4.     Oklahoma City Thunder

5.     Minnesota Timberwolves

6.     Utah Jazz

7.     Denver Nuggets

8.     Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Awards

NBA MVP – LeBron James

ROY – Ben Simmons

DPOY – Rudy Gobert

6MOY – Derrick Rose

COY – Tom Thibodeau

Eastern Conference Champion – Cleveland Cavilers

Westerns Conference Champion – Golden State Warriors

Finals MVP – Kevin Durant

NBA Champion – Golden State Warriors

Oklahoma City Thunder 2017-2018 Season Preview

Oklahoma City Thunder

Last Season: 47-35

2017-2018 Preview:

Coming off a first-round loss in the Western Conference Finals last season the Thunder have completely rejuvenated. It was all Mr. Triple-Double last season that kept the Thunder alive. Russell Westbrook now has the biggest contract in the league as he signed a $205, five-year extension deal weeks ago. The defending MVP and triple-double king now has two new All-Stars to help him in pursuing a championship. With a new trio of All-Star joining forces in the Western Conference, the arms race brings forth a new contender. OKC is yet again in contention to compete with the magnificent Golden State Warriors. The biggest mark for the Thunder will be the ball distribution among their new stars. Anthony and George have spent most of the year previous years carrying the offensive loads for each of their teams respectfully. As Westbrook emerged as the clear leader in OKC, how willing can each of the three be to sacrifice some offense for defense and rebounding?

The Thunder will need to avoid each of their three stars taking contest shots and the willingness to adapt to making each other better players. Adding veteran players Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson will help the OKC bench. However, some of the youth of Semaj Criston and Josh Huestis will have high expectations on a contending team if given the green light in the rotation. Andre Roberson will be the X-factor player and defensive specialist on the perimeter alongside George. Improving his shot this season will help spread the floor as defenses normally allow him to shoot at will.

Key additions: Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Raymond Felton, Patrick Patterson, Terrance Ferguson

Key Losses: Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott

2017-2018 Prediction: 55-27, 1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference

Cleveland Cavaliers 2017-2018 Season Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers

Last Season: 51-31

2017-2018 Preview:

Cleveland was the story of the offseason with the trade demand made by Kyrie Irving than the trade of Kyrie Irving. From the outside looking in it would appear that Kyrie had lost his mind demanding a trade from a team with the best player in the world and an annual championship contender. For whatever reason Kyrie had to demand a trade he got his wish and now will have to prove he can lead a team. Cleveland got an extremely nice return for Kyrie in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 1st Rd pick which is unprotected. With all the rumors of LeBron possibly leaving Cleveland after this season Cleveland’s front office has put the franchise in a position to be relevant if LeBron does happen to take his talents elsewhere. Top to bottom Cleveland has the deepest roster in the league and in my opinion the leagues best player. Jae Crowder will add toughness to this team and another perimeter defender to potentially throw at KD. Thomas does a lot of the same things Kyrie does but he is about half a foot shorter. Kyrie not known for his defensive ability was less of a liability than Isaiah Thomas will prove to be. Also, how will can Thomas play off the ball as LeBron tends to handle the ball often.  Ante Zizic has some talent and could prove to be a steal from the trade. Jeff Green and D Rose could potentially be huge pieces off the bench if they accept their respected roles. I look for the Cavs front office to use that Brooklyn pick to potentially add another Star to the Roster.

Key Additions: Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Jeff Green, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade

Key Losses: Kyrie Irving, Deron Williams, Derrick Williams

2017-2018 Prediction: 56-26 1st in Central Division and Eastern Conference

 

Views From The Baseline – Episode 3: NCAA Basketball Scandal and Early Top 5 Predictions

Chevall Kanhai hosts an exclusive NCAA Basketball episode. He is joined by Nate Ledsinger from the Baseline Times team and a special guest Anthony Taylor. Anthony is known as “Coach Taylor” and the director/Head Coach of TaylorMade Basketball Academy. In this episode, the trio shares their insight and reactions to the College Basketball scandal. Nate and Anthony tag team on their early top 5 and sleepers to watch out for in the upcoming season.

Learn more about TaylorMade Basketball!
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