Another one of my long rambling posts, this time with depth charts of each team, predictions and summaries of how I anticipate each team's season to go.  


Atlantic Division-

New York Knicks-34-48

PG-Frank Ntilikina, Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke
SG-Tim Hardaway Jr, Courtney Lee, Ron Baker
SF-Mario Hezonja, Damyean Dotson, Lance Thomas
PF-Kristaps Porzingis (inj), Kevin Knox, Noah Vonleh
C-Enes Kanter, Mitchell Robinson, Luke Kornet, Joakim Noah
2-way-Isaiah Hicks, Allonzo Trier

Much of the upcoming season will be interim for the New York Knicks.  They are projected to have max salary cap space next summer and are going to go big after guys like Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler next summer.  The Knicks won 29 games last season, much of which came prior to the Porzingis injury.  It remains to be seen how long he will be out for, but the time frame is between December-February return.  He'll definitely take it slow, but he needs to show he can get back to his old self as he's in a contract year.  The Knicks improved this summer if nothing else, than by adding high upside guys.  Hezonja was lost in ORL and got his minutes jerked around.  He'll likely get a ton of burn this year in NY, especially as a scorer until Porzingis comes back.  Ntilikina needs to show some improvement, but did so towards the end of last year.  He's projecting more as a combo-guard right now, but he's a ball-stopper on defense, he just needs to work on his jumpshot.  Robinson was a high upside pick in the draft and has a ton of potential as a bouncy shot blocker.  With Porzingis out though, they're going to rely heavily on Hardaway, Hezonja and Kanter as their primary scorers.  There is little defense on this team though.  Still, the roster is improved from last year, Knox will be a spotlight player early on after a strong summer league.  They have nothing to lose this year except for young guys to prove themselves and those types of teams tend to be strong.  With the East being wide open from about the 7th-15th slot in the East, NY could end up anywhere.

Brooklyn Nets-35-47

PG-D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Shabazz Napier
SG-Joe Harris, Caris LaVert, Treveon Graham
SF-Rondae Hollis Jefferson, Allen Crabbe, Dzanan Musa, Rodions Kurucs
PF-Demarre Carroll, Kenneth Faried, Jared Dudley
C-Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis

After surpassing expectations last year and winning 29 games (yes, that surpassed expectations), even with one of their best players out half the season (Russell), the Nets continued to stay relatively pat this off-season making some smaller moves to collect assets and players on small deals to fill out their roster.  Napier, Faried and Davis will be an upgrade over Lin, Quincy Acy and Timofey Mozgov which will help their bench in a big way.  They have relatively good depth, especially at PG-SF including a couple of young prospects in Musa and Kurucs.  If the Nets can stay healthy, they could surprise some teams this year with development from Allen who looks to be every part of an NBA center at just 20 years old.  Much like the Knicks, the Nets are going to look to take advantage of the weak East and some teams bottoming out.

Toronto Raptors-52-30

PG-Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Kay Felder, Lorenzo Brown
SG-Danny Green, Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Malachi Richardson
SF-Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby, CJ Miles
PF-Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam
C-Jonas Valanciunas, Greg Monroe

The Raptors won 59 games last year but fell to Lebron in the playoffs and they shook the NBA by trading one of the most loyal players in NBA history (DeRozan) for a player who may end up being a rental (Kawhi).  Outside of that, the Raptors didn't do much this off-season but bring back VanVleet and add Monroe on a minimum deal.  On paper, the Raptors look to be a very versatile team.  They need Kawhi to buy in though and be as effective as he was prior to last season which is asking a lot considering his injury status.  The Raptors won't win 59 games again, but they'll certainly be in the conversation for best in the East, battling with the 76ers for 2nd in the Atlantic.

Philadelphia 76ers-54-28

PG-Markelle Fultz, TJ McConnell, Jerryd Bayless
SG-JJ Redick, Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet
SF-Robert Covington, Wilson Chandler, Furkan Korkmaz
PF-Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Mike Muscala, Jonah Bolden
C-Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson
2-Way-G-Shake Milton, PG-Demetrius Jackson

PHI won 52 games last season even with Embiid missing about 15 games to end the season and Fultz barely playing at all.  That's why it's hard to see this team only winning 2 more games after adding Chandler and keeping a majority of the rest of their core.  But they lost Ilyasova and Belinelli, two huge components to their late season run.  Smith is now out for an unknown period of time after an injury in summer league leaving PHI with very little depth on the perimeter.  Expect PHI to play VERY big with Covington and Korkmaz playing a lot of SG when Redick rests.  They're going to rely on a lot of players who are rookies or new guys to the system which is always a scary thought, but they are incredibly talented up and down the roster.  The only question will be, who is going to shoot for this team?

Boston Celtics-65-17

PG-Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, Brad Wanamaker
SG-Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jabari Bird
SF-Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris
PF-Jayson Tatum, Semi Ojeleye, Robert Williams, Guerschon Yabusele
C-Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Daniel Theis
2-Way-PJ Dozier, Walt Lemon Jr

We will probably never see a team lose it's top two players (all-stars, in fact) and win 50 games.  55 games, to be exact.  Now bring everyone back and add those two all-stars, it's hard to see BOS winning less than 65 games.  This team is absolutely loaded top to bottom and could trot out a 30 win team with it's bench alone.  BOS is the clear cut favorite in the East this season and a Finals run is the achievable goal.  

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Central Division-

Cleveland Cavaliers-30-52

PG-Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson, George Hill
SG-Kyle Korver, Cedi Osman, JR Smith
SF-Rodney Hood, Sam Dekker
PF-Kevin Love, Larry Nance, Channing Frye
C-Tristan Thompson, Ante Zizic
2-Way-Billy Preston, John Holland

After having their hearts ripped out for a 2nd time by Lebron, CLE is once again left in shambles.  But this time, they had a way out.  Trade Kevin Love for assets, trade Hill during the season as he's on an essentially massive expiring contract (with minimal guarantees next year), pick up a future 2nd for Korver (and give him a chance to play for a championship team) and go from there in a re-build.  They did that, because they were forced too, because there team was terrible after Lebron left for Miami, and got Kyrie Irving in the draft.  Instead, they stuck to their guns thinking they'd be able to retain talent and build a decent team.  They doled out a massive extension to Kevin Love (4/120) and are on the verge of extending Hood to a likely 3-year deal that is not likely to be cap friendly.  Love has played 60 and 59 games respectively the last two seasons and Hood was buried on the bench in UTA and in CLE even after he was traded to CLE before playing some in the playoffs.  I fully expect CLE to play their vets to start the season-a lot of Hill, Clarkson, Korver, Smith, Love and Thompson when they should be getting their young guys burn and seeing what they have in Sexton, Osman, Hood, Nance and Zizic.  This team is going to be a failure in a relatively strong Central Division.  They'll be bad enough to not make the playoffs, but not good enough to get a top 5 pick.

Chicago Bulls-37-44

PG-Kris Dunn, Cam Payne
SG-Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Antonio Blakeney
SF-Jabari Parker, Denzel Valentine, Chandler Hutchison
PF-Lauri Markkanen, Bobby Portis
C-Wendell Carter, Robin Lopez, Cristiano Felicio, Omer Asik
2-Way-Rawle Alkins

On paper, this team should be electric.  In reality, it's going to be a trainwreck defensively.  LaVine and Parker are, by advanced metrics, two of the most iso-heavy guys in the league.  On top of that, they have no depth in their backcourt.  They'll certainly be improved from their 27 win team last season, but it's not hard to do that.  Carter was a great addition to their front court and I fully expect Robin Lopez to be on the move this summer, especially if Carter plays up to his summer league standard.

Detroit Pistons-38-45

PG-Reggie Jackson, Ish Smith, Jose Calderon
SG-Luke Kennard, Langston Galloway, Khyri Thomas, Bruce Brown
SF-Stanley Johnson, Glenn Robinson III, Reggie Bullock
PF-Blake Griffin, Jon Leuer, Henry Ellenson
C-Andre Drummond, Zaza Pachulia
2-Way-Reggie Hearn, Keenan Evans

In one last ditch effort to save his job as a coach and GM, Stan Van Gundy traded away Tobias Harris and picks for Blake Griffin.  It didn't work out.  The Pistons went 17-17 after the Griffin trade.  Then they went into the summer with no cap space and no picks.  They bought into the draft picking up Thomas and Brown, both potential 1st round picks and they'll desperately need one of those two guys to hit.  While DET has a good front court in Griffin and Drummond, their back court is horrendous.  Jackson is fine, but a chucker, Kennard is developing, but beyond those two guys, they have a bunch of journeymen.  And one injury to one of their key 3 guys will spell disaster for this team.  With the mismanagement of the front office and bad asset management, DET is destined for around .500 and cap hell.

Indiana Pacers-50-32

PG-Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, Aaron Holiday
SG-Victor Oladipo, Tyreke Evans
SF-Bojan Bogdanovic, Doug McDermott
PF-Damantas Sabonis, Thad Young, TJ Leaf
C-Myles Turner, Kyle O'Quinn, Ike Anigbogu
2-Way-CJ Wilcox, Edmund Sumner

The Pacers were seemingly a rag-tag crew thrown together last year with little direction then shocked the world, won 48 games and took CLE to the brink in the 1st round of the playoffs behind MIP Oladipo.  The Pacers didn't massively overhaul their roster, but did add some serious depth bringing in Evans on a 1 year deal and McDermott on a mind-blowing 3 year deal.  They also added O'Quinn to their front court to bolster their defense.  I have IND winning a few more games this year, up to 50 from 48, but I see a bit of a regression to the mean.  Everything spells right for them-a very talented starting lineup, a very deep bench, a wide variety of lineups and a contract year for Turner who needs to break out in a bad way.  But with all that said, I still don't see them making a jump to a 55 win team just yet.  They don't have top end talent outside of Oladipo and play a true brand of team basketball which will almost always revert to the mean after a break out year.  50 wins though, is still a big win for a team who was seemingly lost a year ago.

Milwaukee Bucks-52-30

PG-Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Matthew Dellavedova
SG-Khris Middleton, Donte Divincenzo, Pat Connaugton
SF-Tony Snell, Sterling Brown
PF-Giannis Anteotokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson
C-Brook Lopez, John Henson, Thon Maker, Tyler Zeller
2-Way-Trevon Duval, Jaylen Morris
Camp Invites-Shabazz Muhammed, Christian Wood

The Bucks should be one of the highest jumpers this year and I'm predicting an 8 win jump.  A lot goes into that.  First, the addition of Budenholzer, a competent NBA coach, is the biggest addition.  He'll get the most out of every player 1-15.  Second, the free agent additions of Ilyasova and Lopez will provide great shooting and depth.  And third, the addition by subtraction of Jabari Parker.  What was lost on this team last year was team-offense.  They didn't space the floor well, consistent lineups were non-existent and when Giannis wasn't on the floor, it was straight iso-ball.  8 more wins isn't out of the question by any means and I see them netting themselves either the 4 or 5 slot in the playoffs.
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Southeast Division-

Washington Wizards-46-36

PG-John Wall, Tomas Satoransky
SG-Bradley Beal, Austin Rivers, Troy Brown, Jodie Meeks
SF-Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre
PF-Markieff Morris, Jeff Green
C-Dwight Howard, Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, Thomas Bryant

On paper, the Wizards should be good.  On paper.  But there team seems to be so dysfunctional.  A move was clearly coming after Wall and Gortat traded barbs in the media the entire second half of the season and Gortat was sent packing to LAC for Rivers.  The Wizards lost Wall and went on to go 16-12 without him, just above their average for the season which speaks volumes about how they operate with Wall on and off the floor.  Now, WAS improved their roster by adding Howard, who can be impactful, and adding significant depth to their bench in Rivers and Green.  So yes, on paper, the Wizards should be good, but they seem to be a ticking time bomb.  I'm playing the in-between game giving them 46 wins, up from 43 last season, but not the 50 win team some expect.  It'll be a very interesting team to watch, if they stay around .500, will they make another trade?  Do they re-tool in a big way or send out Oubre and try to package him for something bigger?

Miami Heat-40-42

PG-Goran Dragic
SG-Dwyane Wade, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson, Wayne Ellington
SF-Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Rodney McGruder, Derrick Jones
PF-James Johnson
C-Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk, Bam Adebayo
2-Way-Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson

The Southeast is a crapshoot this year and the Heat fall right in line with that statement.  They spent all of the summer with Whiteside potentially on the block after he was played off the floor in the playoffs and was a distraction in the media.  The Heat literally did nothing this summer.  Without any draft picks or cap space and a number of contracts that are hard to trade without downgrading the roster, MIA will trot out the same lineup they had last year.  Waiters will be back after a year off and Wade is likely to return for his final year.  What's interesting is MIA's lineups are odd.  Johnson is the only true PF on their roster while Olynyk will play a lot of PF.  They will also play a lot of SG's as PG's when Dragic is off the floor.  They barely squeeked out 44 wins last year and I see a bit of a regression from them and some trades in the future to open up playing time for Adebayo.

Charlotte Hornets-37-44

PG-Kemba Walker, Tony Parker, Deyonta Graham
SG-Jeremy Lamb, Malik Monk, Dewayne Bacon
SF-Nicolas Batum, Miles Bridges, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF-Frank Kaminsky, Marvin Williams
C-Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, Willy Hernangomez
2-Way-JP Macura

The Hornets won the award for weirdest off-season.  All signs pointed to them trading Kemba as he enters the final year of his contract, try to shed some salary, tank and re-build with a high draft pick.  Instead, they went out and spent on adding Parker, boughtout Howard, traded for Biyombo and drafted Bridges.  All of these moves are very sideways moves-the moniker for the Michael Jordan GM-era.  A year of development for Monk, a return from injury in Batum and rookie Bridges, along with cutting the fat in Dwight Howard spells this team should be better.  But they have such little top end talent.  There's a huge drop off from Kemba.  This team reminds me back of mid 2000's Bucks and they seem to be in this state of mediocrity until some of their horrendous contracts are off the books.

Atlanta Hawks-29-53

PG-Trae Young, Jeremy Lin
SG-Kent Bazemore, Kevin Huerter, Tyler Dorsey
SF-Taurean Prince, Justin Anderson, De'Andre Bembry
PF-John Collins, Omari Spellman
C-Dewayne Dedmon, Alex Len, Miles Plumlee
2-Way-Jaylen Adams, Alex Poythress

It's hard to say the Hawks got worse, but they sure tried too.  Schroeder was known as an inefficient chucker with a bad defensive effort, but I wouldn't have expected much more from the lead guy on a terrible team.  Looking at ATL's moves in parts, they made some questionable moves to continue to add future draft capital when they could've had Luka Doncic, a potential bonafide star.  The Hawks are certainly deeper than they were last season.  They added Lin, Anderson and Len to their bench which will help them notably, but they failed to unload Bazemore, albeit for pieces they were offered.  But considering they had three 1st round picks, they added Young, Huerter and Spellman, you could argue all three were reaches and all three had some of the highest bust potential grades in the draft.  Regardless, I don't see them eclipsing 30 wins yet.

Orlando Magic-27-55

PG-DJ Augustin, Jerian Grant, Isaiah Briscoe
SG-Evan Fournier, Jonathan Simmons, Melvin Frazier
SF-Jonathan Isaac, Terrance Ross, Wes Iwundu
PF-Aaron Gordon, Jarell Martin, Khem Birch
C-Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba, Timofey Mozgov
2-Way-Amile Jefferson, Troy Caupain

Going into the summer, the Magic had some tradeable contracts and a decent pick.  They seemed destined to blow it up, not take on any serious contract and try to re-build around something.  They did none of those.  They traded Biyombo, a borderline non-player, for a true non-player in Mozgov and added Jerian Grant.  That's how they addressed their zero point guards on their roster.  They are legitimately going to start the year with Augustin and Grant as their PG's.  They then re-signed Gordon to a massive contract after he hasn't really broken out completely and has failed to stay healthy.  The two promising players they have-Bamba and Isaac, both will need some development.  Bamba is probably further along than Isaac, but Bamba is stuck behind Vucevic who's likely entrenched as their starting center.  I don't see this being their team for long, I think eventually John Hammond will grow impatient and trade a future 1st for another player, but this team is very, very far away.
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Northwest Division-

Oklahoma City Thunder-52-30

PG-Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroeder, Raymond Felton
SG-Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot
SF-Paul George, Terrance Ferguson, Abdel Nader
PF-Jerami Grant, Patrick Patterson
C-Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel, Hamidou Diallo
2-Way-Tyler Davis, Deonte Burton

For the first time in awhile, OKC had a good off-season.  Instead of having to inevitably buyout Carmelo and spend gobs of money to do so and see no roster upgrade for it, they unloaded him to ATL and got Schroeder in return while only giving up a future protected 1st.  Schroeder may not stretch the floor, but he's a massive upgrade over OKC's bench last season.  The big return will be Roberson back from injury.  OKC was just a completely different team when Roberson went down.  OKC will have four elite defenders on their starting lineup and Roberson provides a lot of roster flexibility.  Getting Noel for a minimum was just icing on the cake.  OKC really fell apart when Adams was off the floor.  They played a lot of Patterson or Grant at the 5 and gave up a ton defensively.  Noel is a completely different player than Adams, but he's going to feast as a rim running, athletic big.  They also nabbed TLC and Nader in a trade.  The battle for PT between Ferguson, Abrines and TLC will be a fun one to watch.  Ferguson is really young and looked lost 95% of the time on the floor last year, but with a year of development, his brain should catch up with his body and he'd be a huge addition to their rotation.  And obviously getting George back on a 4 year deal gives them a ton of consistency moving forward, something they haven't had since Durant left.  I like this team's defensive potential and offensive versatility.  Where I see holes is their lack of a really good PF, outside of Grant, who's a hard nosed defender, but OKC needs him to improve his outside jumper.  

Utah Jazz-48-34

PG-Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, Raul Neto
SG-Donovan Mitchell, Alec Burks, Grayson Allen
SF-Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder, Thabo Sefolosha, Royce O'Neal, Georges Niang
PF-Derrick Favors
C-Rudy Gobert Ekpe Udoh, Tony Bradley
2-Way-Naz Mitrou-Long, Tyler Cavanaugh

Utah shocked a lot of teams last year winning 48 games.  And that was with Gobert going down with injury for awhile.  They then shocked OKC in the playoffs and became the NBA darling behind who should've been ROY in Mitchell and a team-brand of basketball.  But I think Utah was a bit of a flash in the pan.  You can only maximize so much talent on this roster.  Their improvements should come from Exum, hopefully Burks or Allen give them something at the 2 and the team stays healthy.  That's their path to 50 wins.  But they're older and have a severe lack of flexibility and depth in the front court.  Of course, playing with Gobert gives them the option to play Crowder/Sefolosha at the 4.  But I just don't see them getting to 50 wins. I have them at the same number as last season.

Denver Nuggets-47-35

PG-Jamal Murray, Isaiah Thomas, Monte Morris
SG-Gary Harris, Malik Beasley
SF-Will Barton, Michael Porter, Torrey Craig, Jarred Vanderbilt
PF-Paul Millsap, Trey Lyles, Juan Hernangomez, Tyler Lydon
C-Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee

The Nuggets had to send off two of their role players, Faried and Chandler, this summer to stay under the luxury tax, but to re-sign Jokic and Barton.  I thought those were relatively good moves, Barton has a much brighter future than the other two and locking up Jokic was huge for them.  I'm not sure they got drastically better, but they did add Isaiah Thomas, who will serve as their 6th man.  Porter was an excellent pick.  At 13 in the draft, it's always a crapshoot and he fell to them.  It remains to be seen whether he'll be redshirted this season.  But the Nuggets have been burned by bad defense and bad coaching schemes.  They're going to rely heavily on some very young players or unproven role players in Beasley and Craig if they can't get Porter in.  But it's a young team with an intriguing core.  They won 46 games last year and I see them right at that number again, give or take two games.

Portland Trailblazers-45-37

PG-Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Wade Baldwin
SG-CJ McCollum, Seth Curry, Nik Stauskas, Gary Trent
SF-Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, Jake Layman
PF-Al Farouq Aminu, Zach Collins, Caleb Swanigan
C-Jusuf Nurkic, Meyers Leonard

The Trailblazers did a ton of deck shuffling this summer with basically no impact.  Clearly, their path was to improve their outside shooting aside from Lillard and McCollum, but they did it by sacrificing defense.  They let Ed Davis and Shabazz Napier walk and substituted them with a hope that Collins can play big minutes this season and Seth Curry and a rookie in Simons.  A lot is yet to be seen who will come out of their rotation.  There will be a big battle for the 3rd guard position between Curry, Simons and Baldwin and I wouldn't be surprised to see Baldwin get that spot.  But they still are going to trot out the same ho-hum front court after re-signing Nurkic.  Turner, Harkless and Aminu make a ton of money and offer so little to the team.  With such a bad summer and so little flexibility moving forward, I wouldn't be surprised if POR got off to a slow start that CJ gets traded.

Minnesota Timberwolves-42-46

PG-Jeff Teague, Tyus Jones, Derrick Rose
SG-Jimmy Butler, Josh Okogie
SF-Andrew Wiggins, Keita Bates Diop, James Nunnally
PF-Taj Gibson, Anthony Tolliver
C-Karl Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng, Justin Patton

This team is right on the verge of being a disaster.  They barely squeeked out 47 games last year (even though Butler was hurt for awhile) and barely made the playoffs.  They made virtually no moves this off-season aside from drafting Okogie and KBP while swapping Nejmanja Bjelica for Anthony Tolliver.  They lost Jamal Crawford, brought back Rose and are likely to bring in Luol Deng.  KAT is in an extension year which will be watched closely by many.  It would take an absolute godfather offer to get him and a lot of risk considering he'll be entering free agency, but if the Wolves don't start out hot, Thibodeau will be on the hot seat and a fire sale may come quickly.  With Wiggins not showing any consistent improvement, their hodge-podge front court and lack of any supporting cast, I see this team falling off quickly.
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Pacific Division-

Golden State Warriors-62-20

PG-Steph Curry, Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook
SG-Klay Thompson, Patrick McCaw, Jacob Evans
SF-Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala
PF-Draymond Green, Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko
C-Demarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney, Damian James

The Warriors won 58 games last year and were hampered by injuries for a large portion of the season by various players at staggered points.  It's hard to see them winning any less than that, especially adding Cousins.  Regardless of the amount of shots that will be available, that starting 5 is treacherous.  They have a very unproven bench though.  But it's likely you won't see them go beyond Livingston, Iguodala and Bell/Looney, all three who have played major parts the last two seasons.  But if a big injury comes, they'll be going deep.  With the Rockets probably falling off again this year, it's the Warriors conference to lose and more wins are likely available at the top.

LA Lakers-50-32

PG-Lonzo Ball, Rajon Rondo
SG-Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart, Svi Mykhailiuk
SF-Brandon Ingram, Lance Stephenson, Isaac Bonga
PF-Lebron James, Kyle Kuzma, Michael Beasley, Mo Wagner
C-JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac

Well, this will certainly be an experience.  It's clear LAL is bringing in short term guys to move towards free agency next season and build a super team, but this team still has to play 82 games together this season.  Their will be a ton of deck shuffling.  How do you distribute minutes between Lonzo and Rondo, keep them both happy while not playing them together.  Who will emerge as the starters/rotation players between KCP/Hart/Stephenson?  How the hell do you manage your center minutes when McGee is off the court?  Well, I see a lot of 28 minutes for Lonzo, 20 minutes for Rondo games which will be odd considering one will always be on the court with Lebron.  I'd bet Hart takes a big chunk of those SG minutes with his development and 3P shooting ability.  And I see a lot of Ingram/Lebron/Kuzma/Beasley as some combo of the 3-5 grouping which will leave one guy guarding opposing centers.  It's really hard to see how this team fits together, but it will be fun to watch.

LA Clippers-45-37

PG-Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Pat Beverley, Milos Teodosic, Jawun Evans
SG-Lou Williams, Avery Bradley, Jerome Robinson, Sindarious Thornwell
SF-Luc Mbah A Moute, Danilo Gallinari, Wes Johnson
PF-Tobias Harris, Montrezl Harrell, Mike Scott
C-Marcin Gortat, Boban Marjanovic

With Beverley having a non-guaranteed contract, this may not be the final Clippers roster and I would expect them to try to trade him to a team looking to stay under the luxury tax, but LAC may be trying to do the same, so taking on more salary may not be entirely desirable and they could waive him regardless.  The Clippers made a ton of moves over the last 6 months trading Griffin, re-signing Lou Williams to a very fair, minimal 3/18 extension, drafted two backcourt players and signed Mbah A Moute and Scott.  On paper, they have a very versatile team.  They traded Griffin with the idea of re-building on the fly and doing less with more.  They're front court is going to take a big hit as they lost DeAndre Jordan to FA and acquired Gortat for Austin Rivers.  But their backcourt is overcrowded with 6 guys vying for the PG and SG spots.  They will certainly be competitive, while also remaining extremely flexible with only $60M on the books next summer however a Tobias Harris extension is likely in the works.  The Clippers will likely be fighting for a 7th or 8th seed this season.

Phoenix Suns-32-50

PG-Elie Okobo, Isaiah Canaan
SG-Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Troy Daniels
SF-Josh Jackson, Trevor Ariza, TJ Warren
PF-Ryan Anderson, Dragan Bender, Darrell Arthur
C-DeAndre Ayton, Richaun Holmes, Tyson Chandler

I don't expect their rotation to look anything like this, but more in the realm of Booker, Jackson, Warren, Ariza, Ayton with Bridges, Anderson, Okobo and Holmes off the bench.  It's a bold move to have let Payton walk, trade Brandon Knight and let Tyler Ulis go to leave really only one very young, very unproven rookie PG as their one capable PG.  Booker hasn't shown any real ability to be a playmaker but it seems as though they're going to run the offense through him.  Regardless, PHX improved their roster pretty dramatically this summer and it started with drafting Ayton.  They overpaid Ariza, but only for a 1 year deal to lock down on defense as a versatile forward.  I don't see them shocking anybody this year, there's going to be a ton of growing pains with so many young players, but if nothing else, they'll be a fun league pass team to watch.

Sacramento Kings-27-55

PG-De'Aaron Fox, Yogi Ferrell, Frank Mason
SG-Buddy Hield, Iman Shumpert, Ben McLemore
SF-Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson
PF-Marvin Bagley, Zach Randolph, Nemanja Bjelica, Skal Labissiere
C-Willie Cauley Stein, Harry Giles, Kosta Koufus, Deyonta Davis

The Kings did nothing right this off-season.  First, they nabbed the #2 overall pick and swiftly took Bagley.  I like Bagley a lot, but find Doncic to be a better long term prospect.  And it seems as though they drafted Bagley passing on Doncic simply because of Hield.  They then filled in their roster by convincing Bjelica, who backed out of a 76ers deal, and overpaid him massively on a 3/21 deal while they still have Randolph and Labissiere on the roster.  And when Fox is off the court, they filled their backup PG with Ferrell and Mason, none of which are great options.  This roster is filled with a lot of spare parts, but they do have two players to build around in Fox and Bagley, but it remains to be seen if they'll ever become stars.
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Southwest Division-

Houston Rockets-58-24

PG-Chris Paul, Brandon Knight, Michael Carter Williams
SG-James Harden, Eric Gordon
SF-Carmelo Anthony, Gerald Green, James Ennis
PF-PJ Tucker, Marquese Chriss, Isaiah Hartenstein
C-Clint Capela, Nene, Zhou Qi

The Rockets won 65 games last year because Harden and Paul went full MVP mode all season while allowing primary defenders Ariza, Mbah A Moute and Tucker to do the dirty work.  They played a lot of small ball lineups with a hybrid front court of Ariza, Mbah A Moute and Tucker with no real center, but spread the floor so well with enough interior strength they could get away with it.  They allowed the former two, and the best defenders of the bunch, to walk this off-season and replaced them with the likes of Carmelo, MCW, and Ennis.  While they made out well in the Ryan Anderson trade, getting two potential role players in Knight and Chriss, they didn't do enough to keep up with the Warriors this off-season.  Chriss needs a rejuvenation to his career after he was out of shape, launching 3's and overall being lazy on defense.  With two big time leaders in the locker room, maybe he gets it in HOU and can turn it around.  And HOU better hope he can as they don't have a lot of great options behind Tucker, who himself is getting older and slower.  Their immediate bench (Gordon, Green, Chriss) will be serviceable, but any long term injury (like when CP3 went down for 20+ games) could be damaging to this team.

San Antonio Spurs-52-30

PG-Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, DJ White
SG-Demar DeRozan, Marco Belinelli, Lonnie Walker, Bryn Forbes
SF-Rudy Gay, Dante Cunningham
PF-Lamarcus Aldridge, Davis Bertans
C-Pau Gasol, Jakob Poeltl

A looming Kawhi trade seemed to doom San Antonio all off-season.  They were set to get a bunch of pieces that were going to be mismatched to their core along with maybe some late 1st round picks.  Instead, they overhauled their roster allowing Kawhi, Parker, Kyle Anderson, Danny Green to walk or get traded and probably made their roster better.  They also nailed the Walker pick in the draft while giving him a year to get use to the NBA as he won't have to play much.  They also massively upgraded their frontcourt by getting Poeltl in the Kawhi trade, a major need for Gasol rest and when he gets played off the floor.  They're going to be a dangerous team this year if they can all stay healthy with a rock solid starting lineup and a solid bench of complimentary players.

New Orleans Pelicans-48-34

PG-Jrue Holiday, Elfrid Payton, Frank Jackson
SG-Etwuan Moore, Ian Clark
SF-Solomon Hill, Darius Miller, Troy Williams
PF-Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle
C-Anthony Davis, Jahlil Okafor, Alexis Ajinca, Cheick Diallo

After Cousins went down with an achilles tear, it looked like doom and gloom for New Orleans the rest of the season and this summer.  Instead, Davis went on an MVP-tear, Cousins wasn't re-signed and it opened up cap room for NO to make some savvy moves by bringing in Randle for relatively cheap and Payton for very cheap.  NO is dangerously thin at SG and SF, but they've been dealing with that for a few years now.  Solomon Hill will be returning after missing the entire season last year and will be a good glue guy for them.  Moore is up and down as a scorer and the rest are plug and play guys.  However, I see a lot of Payton/Holiday backcourt minutes to alleviate the need for further depth.  They also added Okafor on a flier which could be a good move if it works out, but he hasn't worked out anywhere he's been and NO has enough depth they don't need to rely on him.  I don't think they break the 50 win barrier, losing Rondo is going to hurt a lot as a playmaker, but they'll still be a fun team to watch and a low playoff seed.

Memphis Grizzlies-44-38

PG-Mike Conley, Andrew Harrison, Shelvin Mack, Jevon Carter
SG-Garrett Temple, Marshon Brooks, Wayne Selden
SF-Chandler Parsons, Kyle Anderson, Omri Casspi, Dillon Brooks
PF-Jaren Jackson Jr, JaMychal Green, Ivan Rabb
C-Marc Gasol

While I promoted a complete tear down of MEM roster and re-build, they went the opposite by spending a ton this summer.  They didn't have much room to work with but used their entire MLE on Kyle Anderson, then traded a few non-essential pieces to get Garrett Temple and had a good draft getting Jackson Jr and Jevon Carter.  MEM has a terribly crowded backcourt and wing position and a very thin front court.  But their backcourt will be full of competition.  I'd expect veteran Temple to get the starting nod as a knock down shooter and consummate professional while Harrison, Mack and Carter vie for backup PG minutes, all providing various levels of play (Harrison as a combo guard, Mack as a distributor and Carter as a lock down defender) while Temple is a steady player and Brooks comes off the bench as a microwave scorer.  I'd also expect Parsons and Anderson to start as the 3/4 with Gasol at center and Jackson to come off the bench where he's needed at the 4 or 5.  Signing Casspi was a bit of a surprise as Brooks came on late as a solid scorer, burying him even further.  MEM may need to look to a trade early in the season to bolster their center position.  But this team certainly looks every bit of a winning team, a massive turnaround from last season, IF they can stay healthy which Conley and Gasol haven't done together in some years.

Dallas Mavericks-40-42

PG-Dennis Smith Jr, JJ Barea, Devin Harris, Jalen Brunson
SG-Luka Doncic, Wes Matthews, Ryan Broekhoff
SF-Harrison Barnes, Dorian Finney Smith
PF-Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Powell, Maxi Kleber
C-DeAndre Jordan, Salah Mejri

Adding Doncic and Jordan, a year of seasoning for Smith Jr and a healthy Barnes should give DAL a big boost.  And they'll certainly win more games than their previous 24 win season, but I'm not sure how great they'll be.  Jordan gives them a defensive anchor in the front court and will allow them to play small, but I don't see a ton of solid depth on this team.  Barea and Matthews are veterans who can get the job done, but outside of them, it's a very weak bench.  Dirk is 40 now and won't be able to play more than about 20-25 MPG which leaves a lot of Barnes moving up to the 4 and a whole lot of Powell.  I still see DAL as outsiders looking-in to the playoffs and another re-build next summer when Dirk retires and Jordan leaves in free agency. But their payroll will only be at $52M next summer when Jordan, Matthews, Dirk, Barea and Harris come off the books and a solid core of Smith, Doncic and Barnes.  
Twitter: @TheSpangover

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So the way I have this is--

12-New York

1-Golden State
3/4-San Antonio/OKC
5-LA Lakers
6/7-New Orleans/Utah

Overall, I think the rankings turned out pretty good.  I'm not sure how PHI/TOR is going to play out, those two could swap with various record combinations.  Same goes for IND and MIL.  There's a top tier of BOS, with PHI/TOR in the second tier and MIL/IND in the third tier with a bunch of unknown below them.  As for the West, I see GS as a top tier, HOU/SA/OKC as a third tier, then 5-12 is anybody's guess.  LAL could crash and burn with their rag-tag roster while MEM could surge back into the playoffs with a healthy roster.
Twitter: @TheSpangover

Check out diener and my new website @

Newest additions
-top 15 NBA free agents by position. That's 75 reviews of free agents.
-Diener breaks down the Brewers as a franchise
-2013 NBA Draft Combine Day 1 results and review
-State of the Roster-breaking down 3 best and worst NBA rosters
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