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Season Previews Part 9 (Final)

So here we have it hoop heads, the season is finally upon us!

We hope you have stuck with us during the Pre-Season  and have enjoyed our previews on every team in the NBA.

Here is our 9th and final part to the series. Enjoy the season!

 

Portland Trail Blazers

How will they do?

It’s been a long time since the Blazers have really put up any serious fight out West. Sure they have been playoff bound for most of the last handful of seasons (apart from last season) but have generally only snuck into the 8th or 7th slot. However, with all of this midtable fight, the Blazers certainly looked like a team that was heading in the right direction. Oden, Aldridge and Roy were gaining momentum in their careers and everything was looking up for this young team. Then the curse hit them…hard. Injuries ruined this team and all the groundwork done to get themselves past that 7th or 8th seed was undone. They needed to rebuild again. it may have taken them a couple of seasons to really start to believe again, but i think they are back on the right road now. They have a supremely talented PF in Aldridge who is a genuine star in the prime of his career and have managed to build a quality young roster both through the draft and trades around him. The gifted Nicolas Batum was resigned and the selection of rookies DamianLillard and Meyers Leonard in the draft has many Blazers fans excited about what lies ahead.Lilard especially may just turn out to be the answer to all their problems. A free scoring PG that knows how to run the floor and control the tempo of the game, he will be critical in the success of this team for years to come. Many reports coming out of the balling media have Lilard as a massive chance at sneaking through and stealing the ROTY Award from some of the more fancied players.

Whilst i like this Blazers team and strongly believe that they have a chance to shake things up out west…this won’t be the year for it. They are too young and inexperience to really take it to a conference that is probably the strongest it’s ever been. For them to get into the 8th seed or higher. LeMarcus Aldridge is going to need a career season and take his game to another level and players like Batum and Lilard will need to gel straight away. I will say though that while i don’t see them making the playoffs this season, I expect them to be in the mix and take some big scalps during the season. This is one team that you don’t want to take too lightly cause they have the talent there to beat some of the best, but don’t have the experience to do it night after night.

Players In and Out
OUT: Jamal Crawford (LAC), Raymond Felton (NYK), Jonny Flynn (Pistons), Kurt Thomas (NYK), Hasheem Thabeet(OKC), Joel Przybilla (Bucks)
IN: Damian Lillard (Rookie), Meyers Leonard (Rookie), Will Barton (Rookie), Victor Claver (Valencia), Joel Freeland (Unicaja Malaga), Jared Jeffries (NYK), Ronnie Price (Suns), Sasha Pavlovic (Celtics)
Prediction
 
@nickaruss – 11th seed in the West. Won’t make the playoffs.
Washington Wizards

How will they do?

It’s tough to write up these previews for low to mid table teams. Nobody really ever wants to see teams suck completely and you want to see these teams become better and challenge for playoff spots. It’s like we have a soft spot for some of these teams and we cheer for them regardless of how much they suffer. For me, one of those team has always been Washington. Will this coming season be any different to the last few medicore ones? I am going to go out on a limb and say yes! Sort of! There is no doubt that this Wizards team may have finally cracked the code of success and they now have one of the most exciting guard combinations in the league with John Wall and Bradley Beal. This backcourt is young and full of potential, and if they can gel quickly and create opportunity for experienced players like Nene, Ariza and Okafor then this team will have a shot at causing some teams a few headaches. This is no playoff team just yet though. The guard combination will needs a season or 2 to really dominate the games and their veteran additions in Ariza, Okafor, and in parts Nene aren’t quite the calibre needed to lift a young team into playoff contention. I like Nene and think he can make a difference to this team, but he suffers from a serious case of inconsistency. When he is on form and they have Wall and Beal playing well, this is a team that will compete against some of the Eastern Conference big guns, but will ultimately fall well short because the depth just isn’t there. Many people are expecting this to be John Wall’s career season and will see him finally reach the dizzy heights of the All Star game. I am not too sure just yet. He certainly has bucket loads of talent but has a mountain to climb to get over some of the stars ahead of him on the pecking order. 

I know one thing is clear with this Wizards team. They will be fun to watch and if Wall and Beal live up to the hype, then watch out cause this team will be a force to be reckoned with….in a couple of seasons.

Players In and Out
OUT: Andray Blatche (BKN), Maurice Evans, Rashard Lewis (Miami), James Singleton, Morris Almond (Red Star Belgrade)
IN: Trevor Ariza (NOH), Earl Barron (Atleticos de San German), Bradley Beal (Rookie), Steven Gray (Ventspils), Emeka Okafor(NOH), Jannero Pargo (Atlanta) , AJ Price (Pacers), Shavlik Randolph (Piratas de Quebradillas) and Martell Webster (T-Wolves).
Prediction
 

@nickaruss – 13th seed in the East. No playoffs this year.

Sacramento Kings
How Will They Do?

On paper the Kings have an exciting looking roster. A ton of youth, and their potential is limitless. It’s pretty obvious seasoned experience is the element they require before making any rumblings in the talent pool that is the Western Conference. Despite their dismal 22-44 (.333) record last year, the Kings showed signs of playing some great looking ball. Quick, fast break ball which tore some teams apart (Celtics being one). The Kings have a pretty solid starting 5 this year but their bench still lacks any real punch. Expect DeMarcus Cousins to keep on improving, and become the board monster that the Kings so desperately need. With the arrival of Aaron Brooks (who will run the point) Tyreke Evans can focus on playing his true position of Shooting Guard which is promising for Sacramento and also a pretty solid back court.. Evans will need to find his form though after a fairly disappointing 2nd year. What will be exciting for Kings fans this year will be seeing rookie Thomas Robinson. Being picked at number 5 and coming into the league with a lot of praise and expectations. The Kings will most likely have Robinson’s back from the off as the young rookie comes into the league with quite the back story, Robinson lost  his grandmother, grandfather, and mother all within three weeks of one another, leaving him to fend for his sister and himself. Already this pre-season, Robinson has got some minutes under his belt and looks the goods. Expect to hear that name more as the year progresses. So to wrap it up the Kings will be fairly exciting to watch but will not be giving the people of Sacramento and playoff ball soon. I just hope for the sake of Kings fans that the team stays in Sacramento as rumours still continue to linger that they may seek a move to pastures greener (Seattle?).

 

Players In & Out

Out: James Johnson (Toronto), Orlando Johnson (Indiana), Hassan Whiteside (Waived), Donte Greene (Waived)

In: Aaron Brooks (Houston), Thomas Robinson (Rookie), Jason Thompson, 

Prediction

@Nick_A_How – 13th in the Western Conference

 

Utah Jazz

 

 

How Will they Do?

Last years condensed season suited the Jazz just fine… With a fair mix of veteran experience and a smattering of youth saw them finish the season out with an acceptable 36-30 (.545). Now, with the season going back to it’s original 82 game schedule, this year might be slightly different for the Jazz. Various rivals in the Western and reloaded in a huge way and that will make things slightly more difficult to pick up that 8th seed again. Losing point guard Devin Harris to Atlanta will be a blow for this year, but the pickups of Mo Williams, and Marvin Williams will cushion that somewhat. That aside, the Jazz do play some good basketball to watch and are forever a bogey for various contenders. If the Jazz pick up a few more pieces as the year progresses expect them to pip the 8th seed, without that it could very well be a long season for the Jazz.

Players In & Out

 

Out: Devin Harris (Atlanta), Shan Foster (Waived), Brian Butch (Waived), Trey Gilder (Waived)

In: Mo Williams (LA Clippers), Furkan Aldemir (LA Clippers), Randy Foye (FA), Kevin Murphy (Rookie)

Prediction:

@Nick_A_How – 8th/9th in the Western (May scrape into the Playoffs)

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