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Old 10-05-2017, 08:49 PM   #48
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Mudkip Rhee's official 2017-2018 NBA rankings predictions before the season

Title says it all, here we go!

Eastern Conference:
Spoiler: show
1. Celtics - yeah, I know, I'm the resident Celtics fan, but this really has more to do with the Cavs' roster situation than how much better the C's got. Even so, Kyrie seems to be more than willing to buy into the system,
Hayward will be phenomenal under Brad, and Jayson and Jaylen already look like really great contributors. Easily a 50-55 win team, which will be more than enough to win the East.

2. Cavs - Here's the inevitable take right off the bat: Isaiah Thomas is currently projected to be out right up until the All-Star Break, and he was the piece comparable to Kyrie Irving in terms of offensive (and defensive)
production in the trade. Thomas is arguably a little better in the playmaking department, but we're not even sure if he'll be the same player thanks to this hip injury that is concerningly similar to injuries that have forever changed basketball players in the past. The Cavs did pick up some excellent depth in Jae Crowder, D Rose, D Wade, and Jeff Green, but out of these, only Jae Crowder has consistent shooting abilities, which is really what LeBron needs around him. Wade and Bron will be fun to watch, but between needing to figure out rotations at two points in the season (beginning of the season and whenever IT returns) and the fact that LeBron teams have never been overly concerned with the regular season, I think the Celtics will edge them out for the 1 seed.

3. Wizards - Wall, Beal, and Otto Porter are on board for the long run,
and Wall is many people's dark horse for an MVP candidate this season (which makes him not a dark horse?), which I am inclined to agree with.
These are all really fantastic players when they're not injured, and they've got a player in Kelly Oubre Jr. who may have improved enough to help them off the bench. Bogdanovic was a big piece in their late-season run, but Jodie Meeks is a more than comparable replacement. With the weakening of other east teams, this is likely a 48+ win team.

4. Bucks - Giannis is gonna be better. Malcolm Brogdon is reigning Rookie of the Year. Khris Middleton is going to be healthy to start the season. GIANNIS IS GOING TO BE BETTER.

5. Heat - they're not going to start 11-30 again. Justise Winslow will be back and better than ever. Whiteside, Waiters, and Dragic are lowkey monsters.
They won't be a 60 win team, but they'll be better than the vast majority of East teams.

6. Raptors - Losing Patrick Patterson hurts more than it should for these guys... Serge and Lowry were their big signings of the offseason (Norman Powell too), and while Lowry and Derozan are great players, I just don't see how well they match up with the direction of the league, especially Demar.
Kobe-like player without the defense? It'll be a grind for this team, but I hope they prove me wrong.

7. Hornets - I don't love Dwight Howard on this team, especially with Kaminsky and Zeller being huge contributors on this team and eating those bigs' minutes. However, I'm high on Malik Monk next to Kemba, I love Kemba, and I think Nicolas Batum is criminally underrated. That'll be more than enough for a playoffs spot.

8. Pistons - Losing KCP and Marcus Morris hurts, but Avery Bradley is more than an upgrade over KCP, instantly bringing a better scoring option and 1v1 defender to the wing position. Reggie Jackson will likely play more games than he did last season, and Drummond seems to have been working hard on his shot. If Drummond does any better than he did last season and Stan Van Gundy makes good with Reggie, this is an Eastern Conference Playoffs team.

9. Sixers - what's the likelihood none of the key players on this team get hurt this season? The Sixers? I was encouraged by an interview of Embiid saying that he was learning how to land better to prevent injury, but he's out for the beginning of the season right now. Simmons looks phenomenal, and i don't think he's too likely to get hurt, but Okafor simply bleeds points whenever he's on the floor, and I'm still not convinced that Fultz can be that big of a contributor right off the bat. I think that Redick was a great signing for veteran leadership and floor spacing around Fultz, Simmons, and Embiid, so there's definitely a good chance that Philly makes it, but I'd rather the Sixers defy my expectations than take a chance on them and be disappointed again lol.

Here's where I'm less sure about things

10. Nets - the loss of Brook Lopez hurts on the offensive end, but Timofey Mozgov is actually better at getting rebounds and playing defense than him,
Allen Crabbe is a really good role player, D'Angelo Russell seems very happy to be where he is, and Jeremy Lin has demonstrated very strong off-ball playing ability in the past. The Nets finally have a direction as a franchise, and not a moment too soon. They finally get their own first-round pick next season, but they have very little motivation to tank this season. They're definitely a lot better with a better future than the following players.

11. Knicks - Porzingis is free of Phil Jackson's insistence to use the Triangle offense! He's going to have the ball more than 2 minutes a game now that Melo's gone! The Knicks paid... how much to Tim Hardaway? But Frank Ntilikina looks great! Porzingis is gonna be an All-Star this year MARK MY WORDS

12. Pacers - I've always liked Myles Turner, but he's not a top 5 Center and definitely not good enough to be the best player on a playoff team, but here we are. Oladipo is just... not a good swap for PG13. Still, Turner will net this team 28+ wins on his lonesome lol.

13. Hawks - Millsap, Howard, and Tim Hardaway Jr. are gone. Their best players are Kent Bazemore, Dennis Schroeder, and Mike Scott. Their bench looks like a D-League G-League bench. no.

14. Bulls - RIP the Rondo era. (oh and some guy named Jimmy Butler (also D-Wade)) Zach Lavine apparently has hops tho and Lauri Markkanen looks like he'll be okay? Better tank for Doncic!

15. Magic - As much as I love Terrance Ross, Jonathan Simmons, Elfrid Payton, and Aaron Gordon, I would NEVER put them on the same team.
In the past three years, Orlando has. There's going to be better dunking here than the 16-17 Dunk Contest, but that's gonna be about it.

Western Conference:
Spoiler: show
1. Warriors - Their nickname is the Dubs for a reason, and it's not just because their name begins with "W".

2. Rockets - They still have the GOAT Ryan Anderson but they lost the sub-GOAT Pat Bev. This team got way better defensively with off-season signings and trades, with the biggest loss defensively being Beverly, and offensively, they are the image of the new NBA. This will be a really fun team to watch.

3. Spurs - They're the Spurs. There's no way they don't have home court advantage in the first round of the Playoffs.

4. Thunder - I actually had them as #2 before the Melo trade. I'm not sure how much better he makes them, and I've always like McDermott and Kanter off the bench. However, Melo is undeniably good next to good distributors and players, and Russ and PG13 are that. We'll see if Russ trusts his new teammates enough to make the ball move, but the Thunder will be good,
no doubt. (I also like Patrick Patterson lol)

5. T-Wolves - good players, good on paper, bad on chemistry paper, they'll be good. We'll see if they FINALLY make the Playoffs lol

6. Clippers - Milos Teodosic can BALL, he's a good replacement for CP3 with 1000% less off-court beef with the players. Not to mention they got Pat Bev and friends from the CP3 trade.

7. Nuggets - Millsap's always been one of my favorite players, and Jokic will be starting all season FOR A CHANGE. Jamal Murray is fantastic, Gary Harris can be fantastic, Mudiay supposedly got better. Losing Gallinari hurts,
but Wilson Chandler will do fine, and Faried is good off the bench.

8. Jazz - Rubio + Gobert will be fun to watch, and Rodney Hood might make the jump to a good first scoring option. He's shown that he's got versatility,
so he's really the X-factor here.

9. Blazers - this ain't Portland's year. Nurkic helps, but losing Allen Crabbe hurts a lot more than one might expect. A lot of the Blazers' defensive lineups relied on Crabbe's consistency, but now they don't have that.

10. Grizzlies - Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are fantastic and I love them but unlikely to show us anything new. If Chandler Parsons actually DOES SOMETHING this season, they've got a shot, but losing Tony Allen and VC hurts Grind City's identity. It's going to be tough, but Memphis has a history of subverting expectations. This may change.

11. Lakers - there's a lot of good pieces here, and KCP and Brook Lopez will help these guys develop quickly. Lonzo? Great passer already. Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle have played long enough to know how to contribute right off the bat. Larry Nance Jr. is quite nice. Ingram's got a good ceiling. Kyle Kuzma has already shown what he can do. They're not a playoff team yet, but they're not getting a high lottery pick this year for a change.

12. Pelicans - This roster is a hot mess. Jrue Holiday and Rondo together will not work. Boogie and AD? I like it, but it hasn't shown itself to be anything special. Rondo was their big offseason acquisition. They're not getting better.

13. Mavericks - a lot of the season will be Dennis Smith Jr. learning how to lead the team next to Dirk and Harrison Barnes. Dirk can still get buckets,
and Harrison Barnes and Yogi Ferrell may mature as players. This is far from the worst team in the league.

14. Kings - They've got good rookies. They've got vets I like in VC, George Hill, and Zeebo, but I don't think these fit together. Buddy Hield is fun to watch, and he'll be even more fun to watch, but they're not much better than they were two seasons ago.

15. Suns - I like Devin Booker next to Josh Jackson, but there's just... not a lot of scoring or defense here. (Tyson Chandler, Eric Bledsoe, and Josh Jackson will probably be their best defenders by a large margin.) Hopefully, this will be a year for DBook, Marqueese Chriss, and Dragan Bender to improve so that they can go for a playoff spot next year.

Me on SP

D- Ref on PASBL
(PASBL squad!)
Let's go WILD
I will battle for cheap
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