NBA Regular Season Primer: Part 2

Here is part two! Same set up as the first. If you have not read the first part and you don’t see your team here, then it is over there. They are long enough as it is and I didn’t want to combine both conferences. This part will have the Western Conference. Read on and enjoy!

Sacramento Kings (28 wins)

Draft – De’Aaron Fox (1, 5),  Zach Collins (1, 10) traded to Portland, Frank Mason (2, 35)

Trades – None.

Transactions – Signed (G) George Hill and Vince Carter (making this Vince’s 7th team in his career. Count em.)

The Kings made the huge trade last year with DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans (which somehow didn’t work for either team, more on that later) and now is tanking in the last year before the draft gets tweaked. That being said, De’Aaron Fox is the point guard in college that took it to the highly touted Lonzo Ball and outplayed him in the NCAA tournament so he should be fun to watch. Hopefully George Hill doesn’t take too many minutes from him and Vince Carter needs to keep getting them checks.

Phoenix Suns (28.5 wins)

Draft – Josh Jackson (1, 4),  Davon Reed (2, 32), Alec Peters (2, 54)

Trades – None.

Transactions – They really only signed their rookies and a couple smaller pieces. Random fact – Anthony Bennett was waived from the team in October; thus ends the former #1 pick in the draft.

This team has Devin Booker who could contend for the scoring title or at least challenge Kobe for the second highest points in an NBA game (81) since he had 70 last year. Don’t expect much from this team as the West is super top heavy. If you happen to catch a Suns game Josh Jackson should be a fun watch, as he is a highly touted shooter and a good defender.

Los Angeles Lakers (33 wins)

Draft – Lonzo Ball (1, 2), Tony Bradley (1, 28) traded to Utah Jazz

Trades – Received Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma from the Nets and sent D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. Received Josh Hart in the Tony Bradley trade to Utah.

Transactions – Signed Andrew Bogut, Tyler Ennis, and Kentavius Caldwell-Pope.

This team, despite my dislike for LA, has some fun pieces. If the basketball gods could stop letting Julius Randle get injured he could combine with a young core of Lonzo and Brandon Ingram. The Lakers aren’t looking to extend Randle but if he looks great then it will be a long decade for people who hate the Lakers. The buzz this coming season will all be about free agents coming to LA next year (LeBron James and Paul George).

Dallas Mavericks (35.5 wins)

Draft – Dennis Smith (1, 9) – best deal in the draft?

Trades – Traded AJ Hammons and a 2023 second round pick for Josh McRoberts from Miami.

Transactions – Resigned Dirk and Nerlens Noel. Dirk should be considered a unicorn for staying with one team his entire career now, not that he is German.

Somehow with the 9th pick in the draft they managed to get what could be the most athletic point guard in the draft. He fell because of off-the-court problems. Rick Carlisle will do his best to coach this team to a near .500 record. They have now become for the past few years the worst team in Texas and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel (do I hear a Dennis Smith Jr. train coming?? No, just a 37 win team.)

Memphis Grizzlies (37.5 wins)

Draft – They did not have any picks 🙁

Trades – No trades 🙁

Transactions – They signed Mario Chalmers (and now you know where he is), Tyreke Evans, and Ben McLemore.

Gone is Zach Randolph and Tony Allen 🙁 but they still have Mike Conley and Marc Gasol! Offensively they have struggled outside of those two and right now JaMychal Green is listed above Chandler Parsons in the depth chart; Parsons makes $23 million this year. They decided to take a slight turn but not blow up their nucleus. Did anyone tell them about the draft rule change? They could grit and grind their way to contending for the #8 spot though.

New Orleans Pelicans (40 wins)

Draft – No 1st from Boogie trade, Dwayne Bacon (2, 40), Edmond Sumner (2, 52) – traded to Pacers

Trades – None other than draft picks to Pacers.

Transactions – They resigned Jrue Holiday and signed Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen.

The two towers experiment seems to already be over only 9 months in. Everyone thought the Pelicans really robbed the Kings, which they still kind of did, but now that the moment is over, the Pelicans wish they hadn’t made that trade. Now the big talking point is where can New Orleans trade Boogie Cousins to get solid pieces in return. They have to make some kind of run or there won’t be much incentive, other than money, for Anthony Davis to stay in New Orleans once his current contract is up. Maybe the team will be sold to Seattle – crazier things have happened.

Utah Jazz (41 wins)

Draft – Tyler Lydon (1, 24) traded to the Denver Nuggets, Josh Hart (1, 30) traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, Thomas Bryant (2, 42) traded to Lakers, Nigel Williams-Goss (2, 55)

Trades – Traded Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant to Lakers for Tony Bradley and Donovan Mitchell of Denver. Traded a 2018 top 14 protected first round pick for Ricky Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Transactions – Re-signed Joe Ingles, signed Thabo Sefalosha

They have a player is on the short list for favorites for Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, and acquired a much more pass first point guard in Ricky Rubio. It remains to be seen who will be shooting of his passes to get him a ton of assists. This is a team who is a dark horse to get a #8 seed. They have no clear number 1 guy but Joe Johnson at times can put on a really good imitation.

Portland Trailblazers (42.5 wins)

Draft – Justin Jackson (1, 15) & Harry Giles (1, 20) both traded to Kings, Caleb Swanigan (1, 26)

Trades – They received Zach Collins from the Kings trade. Traded for Andrew Nicholson from Brooklyn to waive him and make cap space.

Transactions – Not much.

Portland is also a team running it back with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum captaining the back court. Nurkic will be starting ahead of Zach Collins so we may not see much from their rookie this year. Unfortunately the West is nearly impenetrable to break into the top 4. They will be a bubble team with “Big Game Dame” on the court attacking the other point guard like a bulldog. In the sense that a bulldog is great at dribbling and is a volume shooter. Fun Fact: Shabazz Napier is backing up Lillard – you know, the guy LeBron was so excited Miami drafted his last year.

Los Angeles Clippers (44.5 wins)

Draft – None.

Trades – Can I interest you in the biggest trade of the off season? They sent Chris Paul to Houston for: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Lou Williams, and some spare parts. Huge. They also received Danilo Gallinari from the Nuggets in a separate trade.

Transactions – They signed Blake Griffin to an extension. He is now the #1 guy.

We are going to find out what a team led by Blake Griffin looks like. I can’t say I am anticipating a lot since the odds are not in his favor to stay healthy (terrible but true). To the Chris Paul trade – in 2014-15 they won 56 games and made it to the second round of the playoffs, with a 3-2 game advantage they choked away the last quarter of game 6 at home, went on to lose game 7 and it has been all down hill since. That was the closest they came. Now they are in real danger of being passed by the Lakers soon (this season?!). Yuck.

Denver Nuggets (45.5 wins)

Draft – Donovan Mitchell (1, 13) traded to Jazz, Vlatko Cancar (2, 49), Monte  Morris (2, 51)

Trades – They received Tyler Lydon in the trade from the Jazz. Denver received a second round 2019 pick from the three-team trade that involved Danilo Gallinari

Transactions – Signed Paul Millsap (great signing).

This is the “all business” team. They have Nikola Jokic, Millsap, and Emmanuel Mudiay. Not one of them is very flashy or will be making a lot of noise off the court. Also, no giant stars but they have the pieces to put together a good season, especially playing a mile high. This team is also every talking heads little darling – so watch for that.

Minnesota Timberwolves (48 wins)

Draft – Lauri Markkanen (1, 7) – traded to the Bulls

Trades – Another huge deal! This was a draft day deal so this may have even been forgotten by some. The Chicago Bulls traded Jimmy Butler to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the #7 pick (Lauri Markkanen).

Transactions – Signed Taj Gibson, Shabazz Muhammad, Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague.

This team may be the most improved and people are thinking big things for a core of Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. What they lack in spot up shooting is made up for in defense. Which is a odd for a team….oh wait, Tom Thibodeau is the coach. This makes sense now. But really this is an above average team, most people just think we have seen the best of Jimmy Butler and find it lacking.

Oklahoma City Thunder (53.5 wins)

Draft – Terrance Ferguson (1, 21)

Trades – Oh boy. This team was busy. I will concentrate on the two big ones. They traded Oladipo and Sabonis to Indiana for Paul George (well, one year of him). They also traded Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and their 2018 second rounder to New York for Carmelo Anthony.

Transactions – They re-signed Russell Westbrook (cutting off talk that he would go to LA) and Nick COllison. They signed Raymond Felton (wow) and Patrick Patterson.

You want stars. They got stars now. The right stars doing the right things? No. You can’t blame Sam Presti for trying. If this does work though and Westbrook shares the ball with Melo and PG13 then they could be quite a force. It remains to be seen if they can play as a team and that will be what this squad is scrutinized for.

Houston Rockets (55.5 wins)

Draft – Isaiah Hartenstein (2, 43), Dillon Brooks (2, 45)

Trades – See the Los Angeles Clippers part above.

Transactions – Other transactions I find interesting is that they re-signed Nene. He sucked them in with his great contract year play.

Here we go. It’s an arms race and though they may be losing, Houston will put up a fight. I promise not to use any Apollo 13 memes this year in reference for when they run into the warriors. Others will do that for me. Chris Paul and James Harden will be on the court together, or more importantly as others have pointed out – one of them could ALWAYS be on the floor. Trevor Ariza should be putting up a lot of uncontested three pointers.

San Antonio Spurs (55.5 wins)

Draft – Derrick White (1, 29), Jaron Blossomgame (2, 59) – honestly these names sometimes are crazy.

Trades – None.

Transactions – They JUST re-signed LaMarcus Aldridge, and re-signed Manu, Patty Mills and Pau Gasol.

Quick note – you know who is leading the MVP odd as of Monday (10/16)? Kawhi Leonard. I mean, I love the guy but he will have to average 27 to 30 points and the Spurs to win 60 for him to get close. Big thing he has going is he is the only big guy on his team. LaMarcus needs to do more for them to challenge the Warriors. Their PG position is a clear weakness as they right now have Dejounte Murray listed as the starter with Mills then Parker backing up. I guess it never hurts to have depth and they always have depth.

Golden State Warriors (67.5 wins)

Draft – None. They don’t need them.

Trades – Received Jordan Bell in a trade with the Bulls

Transactions – They spent their off season just locking up their team. they re-signed Durant, Curry, David West, Zaza Pachulia, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and JaVale McGee.

They are the reigning champs. I was a happier person when most casual NBA fans did not even know there was such thing as the Golden State Warriors. They have 4 guys who are arguably in the top 20 best players and two of them have won MVPs. Lack of focus is what could hurt this team. That is about it. Barring injuries and suspensions (I am looking at you Draymond the nut puncher). It’s the Warriors’ league and we are just watching it – enjoy!

 

I hope you have enjoyed the NBA regular season primers! Remember these are intended just to brush up your knowledge for the casual fan. I would be happy to talk NBA more and will do so later in the season!