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NBA 2012 Season Preview: The 14th Ranked Teams in the East and West

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE:

#15: Charlotte Bobcats
#14: Orlando Magic:

“OOOO YES! There is very little chance I will be on this team at season’s end!”

Yesterday, while profiling the Charlotte Bobcats, I stated that I had originally put the Magic at #15 until I took a look at the Bobcats’ depth chart. Even though I have bumped the Magic up a spot, I am not trying to pay a big compliment to this team.

This team lost it’s two top player in the off-season in Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson. They turned those two players into… Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga. To steal a reference from Mr. Bill Simmons, the Magic traded a loonie and a quarter for a quarter, a dime, and four nickles.

In discussions with fellow First Off The Bench writer David, he made some solid arguments that the Magic have actually set themselves up well to rebuild in the post-Dwight era. Instead of floundering in the middle of the Eastern Conference (see Western Conference team below) with some of the other reasonable trade packages they could have received for Dwight, they are preparing to rebuild through the draft. Rebuilding through the draft requires getting high draft picks, which requires doing very badly, which is why I have them projected to finish #14 in the East.

To expand a bit further on their actual team, not just the players they lost from last year, this team will be able to put a line-up of reasonable professional basketball players on the floor every night. Their roster will include a strange mix of players which include Hedu, Jameer Nelson, Big Baby Glen Davis, and JJ Redick, as well as the players listed above. While these guys are in no way the worst players in the league it is a strangely build team that is a shell of the roster that was built around the best Center in the game, and is not built to thrive without him.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a the Magic look to ship out a number of these quality trade pieces to contenders throughout the season. Just another reason for this low ranked projection for the team that lost the most in the summer of 2012.

NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE:

#15: Sacramento Kings
#14: Houston Rockets:

The jury is still out on the Daryl Morey General Manager experiment in Houston, but the jury is getting tired. Daryl has been trying to somewhat reinvent the game of NBA team-building by working to acquire “assets” that he will then flip for a superstar demanding out of an unfavorable situation. Teams who find themselves with said disgruntled superstars are usually looking for a package of draft picks and young cheap prospects in return for their franchise player.

New crop of very young talent on the Rockets.

When you look at the current roster of the Rockets you see a collection of trade packages… without and big trade targets available. Unfortunately trade packages are probably not going to win many games in the NBA. The Rockets are chalk full of very young talent, but at the moment none of it seems to be top-top quality young talent, in comparison to the Anthony Davis’s and Kyrie Irving’s of the League.

Something tells me that Daryl Morey isn’t quite finished trying to achieve his goal of landing a superstar player in Houston, but if he gets to the end of the season with this roster he will, by default, have laid the game plan for the Rockets future. That is to bottom out and rebuild through the draft.

My #13 seed projections for both Conferences will be up tomorrow!

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NBA 2012 Season Preview: The 15th Ranked Teams in the East and West

October 16, 2012 1 comment

Ok people, the NBA season is quickly approaching with the first tip-off on October 30, 2012, and that leaves me exactly 15 days to break down my full list of team predictions.

For the next 15 days I will be posting my end-of-season-placement predictions for both Conferences. That means today I will preview the two teams I think will finished 15th in both the Eastern and the Western Conferences and on the day the season starts I will preview the two #1 seeds in each Conference.

I will fully admit that this is a near-direct rip-off of the season preview being done by Scott Carefoot on The Basketball Jones (Big shout out to the TBJ Crew who has kept me entertained with podcasts all summer long). I am doing my preview in a slightly different format, in trying not to completely rip-off Scott Carefoot, to help to force me to keep writing every day again, and to help me not have to write too much every day, because I am lazy. Let’s see how it goes.

NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE:

#15: Charlotte Bobcats:

I started writing this article with the Orlando Magic as the #15 team in the East, but that was until I looked at the depth chart of the Charlotte Bobcats. Regardless of the fact that the Magic lost the franchise’s two best players (Howard and Anderson) and went through a massive organizational change, they are still going to be able to put more professional basketball players on the court than the Bobcats.

The “Cats”, as their new third jerseys state, are not looking that much better on paper than you would think after having an off-season to recover from 7 win season. They are going to be starting their #2 overall draft pick, Kidd-Gilchrist, at Small Forward with Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon. That is about where the list of names known to the average NBA fan ends and I doubt those three names drum-up much excitement.

When we take a look a bit deeper you see a small flicker of light on this roster that could eventually grow in the next few years. With a young core of Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and the already mentioned Kidd-Gilchrist there is some hope, but not enough to get out of the basement of the NBA East. Hope is going to come through lottery draft picks for the next few more years. (Please Andrew Wiggins, do not get selected by Charlotte in 2014!!)

NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE

#15: Sacramento Kings

Although skilled, Tyreke and the rest of the Kings still have a lot to prove.

A lot of people have been talking about the ultra-competitive Western Conference this year in terms of there being three teams that could conceivably finish first (OKC, Spurs, Lakers) and that there are probably 11 teams that could conceivably make the playoffs. I believe this thinking of an ultra-competitive Western Conference can also be applied to the bottom feeders. In my rankings it was tougher than expected to put the bottom 5 in the right order.

As for the Kings, I don’t know what else to say about this team other than I have no faith in either the individual players that are on the team, the way that this roster has been put together, or the stability of the franchise in Sacramento.

I can group this most of this ramshackle of a roster into three categories, none of which are overly flattering. First we have the “quality college players that are still unproven in the pros” with Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette, and Thomas Robinson (I know he is a rookie but he goes into this category by default). Then we have the “overpaid under-performers” with John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw, and Aaron Brooks.

Lastly there is the “players I do not recognize by name” category with Jason Thompson, Marcus Thornton, James Johnson, Tyler Honeycutt, and Franciso Garcia (OK, I do recognize James Johnson only because he was on the Raptors last year). I do not want to make too harsh a judgment on any of these players as I have not caught many Kings games in the last few years, but for the team’s sake I hope they are decent players as two of them are pegged as starters.

Any Kings fans will notice that I have left Isaiah Thomas off this list. He is the one player that I couldn’t put in one of the three categories because all I have heard about him is that he actually pretty damn good and has outperformed all of his professional expectations.

Considering the strength of the Western Conference from top to bottom, it is hard for me to project a team higher than 15th when 93.3% of the roster is able to be slotted into disparaging categories I just made up.

My #14 seed projections for both Conferences will be up tomorrow!

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2011 NFL Season Non-Bandwagon Underdogs: Tennessee Titans & Minnesota Vikings

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment


With the extreme hype swirling around the return of the NFL, mostly due to a summer of lockouts and the knowledge that the NBA probably isn’t coming back any time soon, the sports media world has been ripe with underdog projections.

One of the great things about the NFL compared to some of the other North American professional sports leagues is that random teams can ‘pop’ from season-to-season, going from relative obscurity one year to winning their division and a playoff berth the next (Kansas City last year and Miami before them). Most NFL followers know this phenomenon is bound to happen again this year and many are making projections as to which team is going to ‘pop’. Read more…