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!
Website: http://www.taylormadebasketball.com
Twitter: @TaylorMadeBBall
YouTube: TaylorMade Basketball

Carmelo Anthony joins Oklahoma City Thunder around Russell Westbrook’s loyalty

The New York Knicks made it official on Monday that they traded Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder for center Enes Kanter, forward Doug McDermott and the Chicago Bulls’ 2018 second-round draft pick. The news broke Saturday evening as the 10-time All-Star was speculated to be traded at least sometime this summer. The trade rumors included Anthony joining his friend LeBron James in Cleveland or potentially headed to Houston to join the Rockets.

As media day carried on for most of the NBA teams today, Carmelo was able to get his two cents on why he chose to waive his no-trade clause and head to Loud City. “It’s a different energy, a different focus, a different motivation that myself have, Paul has and Russ has, being that we haven’t won a championship yet in our career, and we see that, and that’s our ultimate goal.”

When asked about convincing from Russell Westbrook to join the Thunder Anthony advised, “Russ don’t really do the convincing,” Anthony said Monday, with a laugh. “He came to New York and played pickup at my gym. I saw him in Paris at fashion week. Me and Russ became closer and closer over the years. He was a big part, he was a big reason why I wanted to come here. To see his loyalty to the city, to this organization, what he was able to do on the court — I wanted to be a part of that.”

The Thunder will feature three All-Stars on opening night when they ironically will host the New York Knicks. Paul George and Anthony will join the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook in the starting line-up. With Anthony shifting to OKC, the Western Conference becomes even deeper.

Anthony posted a farewell article to New York on his personal website Monday. The article titled “DEAR NEW YORK” reflects his memories and best wishes to his now former team.

 

 

 

 

Breaking down the Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas blockbuster

If you look at this trade in a vacuum the Celtics 100% lost this trade. The Celtics acquired probably the 5th or 6th best point guard in the league for the 8th or 9th best point guard in the league. And it cost them…

Isaiah Thomas, a quality 3 and D swingman, a first round talent in Ante Zizic and most likely a top 5 pick. That is a hell of a haul for Cleveland. Especially for a player who made it publically known that he wanted out. When you compare it to what other teams have been able to get in return for their superstars (see George, Paul; Butler, Jimmy; Cousins, Demarcus) Cleveland has to get an A+ grade for this trade.

This was a huge price for the Celtics to pay, and probably a slight overpay on their part. However, that is okay. Boston has been collecting assets for years so it CAN overpay for a superstar without compromising the entire team. This team is still is going to have 3 top 5 picks (Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, LAL/SAC pick) on the roster even after the trade. That is a young core most teams would salivate about and now that core will be entering their prime while Kyrie and Gordon Hayward are still in theirs. This move wasn’t made to make a run at the 2018 NBA championship; this move was made to put the Celtics in position to compete for multiple championships in the next 5-7 years.

Another aspect of this deal is that if the Celtics had kept all their top draft picks it would have been unlikely that they would have been able to keep them all in the long term, if they developed the way teams hope top draft picks do.  Brown, Tatum, and the two 2018 lottery picks would have all been in line two get their second deals around the same time.  We saw this happen to OKC in 2012 and they were forced to trade James Harden because of it.  Boston was probably looking to avoid a similar situation.

People have been quick to proclaim winner and losers in this trade. The truth is it is way too early for that. If the Nets pick ends up being a top 3 pick and that player turns into a superstar the Cavs are clear winners, if the Nets end up with the 7th or 8th pick it looks like a fairly even trade. Regardless, the eastern conference just got a lot more interesting next year.