I ran out of time. Soon, I will be far too busy screaming at a blank screen that should be showing me a game on League Pass Broadband to do any more season previews (and they aren't previews anymore then, right?). But still, I haven't really covered all the surprises, so here are a few quick hits.
Everyone keeps using the word "rebuilding" here. The Vegas Line is set at 33.5 wins at Bovada. Please, please, go out and bet the over on this. It's way, way off. This team will fight for the playoffs, which in the West means they'll flirt with 50 wins. I don't live in Vegas and I don't trust my money to online sites (remember the poker Black Friday), but if no one gets rich off of this bet, I won't sleep at night. This isn't just Harden. Parsons was a very good rookie, and he'll be better. Asik was incredible in limited minutes, and he'll get lots of minutes now. Lin is at the very least an average/competent point, and probably more. And Harden...well Harden really is that good. Trust me.
Yeah, I'm with Arturo on this. No matter what you think, you are probably wrong, because nobody knows if this grand experiment of Hawes at PF is going to work. Unless what you think is that Bynum makes them a contender -- then you are definitely wrong. It's not that Bynum isn't that good, it's that Iggy was that good too. You swap an apple for an orange and you don't get a healthier meal, unless you are allergic to citrus or something. I dunno what that metaphor was. Channelling KG I guess. Plus I am on some serious cold medicine right now. But one thing I am sure of: this team downgraded its backcourt a lot, and Bynum makes up for that but he does not negate it.
This team is starting to look good. Kanter seems to have 1-UPed, and he was already a pretty good rookie with superb rebounding skills. Hayward was a good rookie who will likely get better. Favors is improving. Oh yeah, and Milsap is still a beast. If this team gives Jeremy Evans some burn and turns out to be anywhere near as good as he seems (I know his incredibly stellar play is a small sample, but Raja Bell has been horrible over a large sample, so seriously, how is this even a thing?) who knows how good they'll be. I know I'd bet the over on 43 wins, that's for sure.
I said this before, but then Love got hurt. My quick surprise prediction: the Wolves are not going to suck without Love. This whole roster is revamped, these are not the same losers that went 2-9 without Love. I guess I touched on that when I covered the Suns, who employ the actual players who are going to be terrible without Love (like they were last year). I think this is a solid .500 team without Love, maybe better given the schedule that seems to benefit them.
This team made some disastrous moves in the offseason, but contrary to popular believe, Rose was never the only reason this team was good. As long as Noah and Deng and even Boozer (who gets dogged on way more than he deserves) are healthy this team will be near a 50-win team. Of course, the absense of Rose still hurts because the difference between 'playoff team' and 'contender' is an important gap. But lots of people are counting them out entirely, and that's just crazy talk.
- Golden State
One of the few teams where coaching really matters. Reportedly, Marc Jackson has given the starting job to Harrison Barnes instead of Brandon Rush, which is basically about the worst choice he could possibly make. This team had some potential but the Warriors fans that keep writing me about how high they are on this team are bound to be a little disappointed, especially in the brutal West. Bogut is the big question mark here.
I think Wall will get better. I think Beal is the real thing. I think Nene will bounce back. Okafor provides overpaid but solid play. I expect this team to be in the playoff conversation, which is really remarkable given where this team was 2 years ago. Of course, Wittman can still screw it up. Remember, this is the guy that forbade Kevin Love from shooting threes ever after his horrid shooting start in his rookie year (if you believe Love magically sprouted a shooting stroke in his third year, I have some prime real estate in the middle of a northern Minnesota lake to sell you), and kept his minutes to sub-20 levels throughout his first 40+ games, despite the fact that he was a top 5 rebounder on a team with no talent.
Oh, man. I actually think this guy may compete for rookie of the year. He won't win it, of course, but he'll enter the conversation. He looks like a man among boys out there. I think I was very much wrong about him during the draft.
This guy will be a huge star (in production if not recognition). No question in my mind. You know this if you've been reading my blog, but it really amazes me that he's still kind of a "secret". He shouldn't be any more of a secret than Faried was. In other words, all the signs are there that he is exactly what he looked like in college, which is 'freakishly good'. Yet, he's 6'3". We need to just get over it and move along. If he gets all the baskets and all the rebounds, why are we all so damn hung up about this?
He will be amazing. Y'all need to stop with this "he hasn't played in a year" stuff, seriously. He was the best player on arguably the best team in Europe, then played the olympics too. I realize that isn't the NBA, but it's not Santa Clara university, either. That is not even in the same universe as "not playing for a year". Last year how many people argued that Ricky Rubio has "never played"?
That's all I have for now. Enjoy the games!