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R.D. Mangles
Jan 10, 2004



After five years of inept tanking and becoming the laughingstock of the league, the Bulls finally made changes. And after a 2020-1 season with few major roster changes, team president Arturas Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley went absolutely nutso, rebuilt the team from the studs up, and the team instantly transformed from cellar dweller to the top of the East. New Bulls Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso spearheaded one of the most dangerous perimeter defenses in the league and DeMar DeRozan, left for dead in San Antonio, had the finest season in his career becoming a clutch superhero and absolutely destroying the league, earning an All NBA nod. The Bulls held the top seed in the East until Covid and injuries absolutely ravaged the team: both Pat Williams and Caurso broke their wrists getting clotheslined at the rim, Lonzo got a mysterious knee injury, and Zach LaVine finished the season sort of limping. By the end of the year, the Bulls plummeted to the six seed and were throttled in the playoffs by the Bucks as home fans had to watch the despicable Grayson Allen rain threes on them after his dirty, goony play knocked Caruso out for months. The Bulls are largely going to try to run it back this year and hope that being healthier and giving their guys another year will propel them deeper in the playoffs.


The Long Island Legend. Donovan is in his third year with the Bulls, replacing noted bald maniac Jim Boylen. Donovan came in as a credibility guy after the last two Bulls coaches were first-timers who were in over their heads. I'm not smart enough about basketball to know how good Donovan is in terms of basketball strategy, but the team plays hard for him and there is not a lot of drama with this group and Donovan seems liked a respected Basketball Guy so I don't have a problem with him. He also has a J. Jonah Jameson haircut.


Absolutely no one of note. Third string point guard Troy Brown is gone, as is deadline buyout pickup Tristan Thompson who was at least fun to google when it looked like the Bulls were going to sign him and instead getting a flood of insane celebrity gossip.


Zach LaVine, SG
After another all-star season, the Bulls decided they are not loving around and signed Zach to a max contract. LaVine at this point in his career is what he is: an absolutely elite scorer at all levels who does insane dunks and is deadly from three. He is not a very good defender (although he at least tries) and a decent playmaker, and he is the the guy in Chicago for the forseeable future. The basketball nerds will say things like LaVine absolutely can't be the best player on a championship team and whine about his defense or whatever, but if you see one of them you should stuff them into the nearest garbage can and tell them that LaVine loving rules. He had knee surgery in the offseason and looked like he was still working himself back in preseason, but Zach will be fine. He is also probably the most pleasantly boring good player in the NBA.

DeMar Derozan, SF
DeMar was loving incredible last year. All he did was hit ludicrous clutch buzzer beaters, score an insanely efficient number of jump shots, and remind the NBA that he is still a badass. His dinosaurian offensive game is the closest thing to how Jordan scored in the United Center, and we hard a lot of "since Jordan" records. It is hard to believe DeMar can replicate last year's season, but I think he will still be really good, and hopefully the team won't be so egregiously injured that their only offense is DeMar isos at the elbow. But man, I love to watch this guy cook.

Nikola Vucevic, C
Vooch had a rough year last year, as Zach and DeMar demanded more touches and pushed him out to the line, where he struggled. There is a fear that the Bulls traded for him in an outlier shooting year and the Bucks basically just gave him open threes and dared him to hit them in the playoffs. He can hold his own inside defensively just by being big, but is not quick or jumpy enough to serve as a rim protector. But people fixate too much on what he can't do. Give him room to cook in the post, and he is one of the few bigs in the league with an advanced back-to-the basket game. He is a willing defender if he can get some help and has a soft touch inside. Vooch handled offseason trade rumors with good humor and seems to be happy here, but he is in his last year, so the Bulls need to figure out what to with him quickly.

Javonte Green, PF
"There are five Javontes out there" is something Stacey King likes to scream about this extremely undersized hustle and defense man who loves to dunk. Green started a whole bunch of games at PF last year even though he's generously listed at 6'5" out of necessity but it looks like he will start the season as the starting 4. Javonte can't really shoot, he doesn't really need the ball, and he's ridiculously overmatched against any big man with size, and to be honest it's kind of alarming that he's starting at power forward, but Javonte loving rules and hopefully Pat can figure things out and send him back to the bench as a very useful dude to come in and dunk on people for 20 minutes a game. Somehow ended up playing for the Montenegro national team with Vooch, making the Bulls the official NBA team of Montenegro.

Lonzo Ball, PG
When he was healthy, Lonzo was a force for the Bulls. He did everything they needed from a guard: he guarded the opponent's best perimeter player, made threes at more than 40%, and threw absolutely sick outlet passes. He can't finish at the rim at all and is not exactly the most tricky dribbler in the half court, but with Zach and DeMar absorbing a lot of the ball, he was a perfect complement-- for a few months. Unfortunately, the last we heard from Lonzo he was talking about how he still could barely navigate stairs and had not recovered from a knee injury sustained in January. He had another surgery and everyone is saying positive things, but there's a pretty decent chance that Lonzo doesn't play this season or if he manages to come back is a shell of himself. This is an absolute bummer. Get well soon, 'Zo.

Ayo Dosunmu, PG
If there was one positive from the injuries last year, it was that Ayo, the fan-favorite second-year guard out of Illinois and from Chicago, unexpectedly played a ton and turned out to be good. An able defender and rim finisher who developed a good partnership with Vooch and loves to go coast-to-coast really showed something, quickly eclipsing Coby White as the first guard off the bench. Ayo was still a rookie, but he came in this season looking more confident shooting. If Ayo can get his jumper down and continue to defend, he will help assuage the Ball injury. He will start until Lonzo comes back and gets the announcer to do Frrrrrrrrrrom Chicaaaaaaaago in the intros, so that's cool.


Pat Williams, PF
Penciled in as the starting PF, the Bulls are counting on Pat, their third-year #4 pick, to develop rapidly. Unfortunately, Pat is 21, missed most of last year after getting gooned by Mitchell Robinson, and appears to have lost his starting power forward job to a backup shooting guard. The organization is still really high on Pat who, along with Ayo, is the only young guy with upside on the team, but the hope that he could somehow turn into a star player looks dim. I still think that Pat can be really good and the organization loves him, but he might be too young and raw even in his third year to be useful on this veteran team. Because of this Pat is the subject of a lot of scrutiny and I hope it doesn't gently caress him up and he just balls out, I will defend Pat with my life.

Alex Caruso, G
Bulls fans loving love this guy. An undrafted hustle guy on the Lakers, Caruso made himself into an absolute bulldog of a defender, wreaking absolute havoc on opposing guards, getting steals and throwing down dunks. The Bulls hoped Caruso would be able to continue his efficient three point shooting in a larger role, but he's not particularly good on offense. But Caruso will go through screens, take charges, get steals, and throw sick passes all day.

Andre Drummond, C
Well, it's Drummond. I hated this signing because Drummond, even though he's not even 30 yet, seems to be on the washed veteran pipeline and despite his bulk he isn't really a great defender. At least once a week, Drummond will do the absolute dumbest poo poo you've ever seen a player attempt in a professional basketball game. But despite that, Drummond has a few things going for him: he is absolutely enormous, which is a need for a team that got shoved around by the big guys in the East, and he is still an absolutely nasty rebounder. He is basically a much better version of Tristan Thompson, and if he remains engaged and in the system, and makes it so I don't have to see Tony loving Bradley failing to catch another pass, he could be a useful bench piece for them. He even shot some threes in the preseason, lmao.

Goran Dragic, PG
Dragic offers everything the Bulls need: a steady passer in the halfcourt who can shoot and run a team. Unfortunately, that was Dragic four years ago. At 36, he could be completely washed. He is coming off a bizarre season where he refused to play for Toronto and waited all season before he got bought out and played not particularly well for the extremely dysfunctional Nets. Hopefully, a full season with a more stable organization will let Dragic flourish as the gritty veteran providing some shooting off the bench, but this team already has a gazillion guards and if the Bulls are counting on him for anything more than running some bench units, they are in trouble.

Coby White, G: Because the Bulls didn't make any major moves this offseason, they desperately need Coby to be their bench shooter. Coby showed some flashes last year after missing a large chunk of time to a shoulder injury and is better in his role of bench gunner than as a disastrous attempt to let him run point, but the Bulls don't have a lot of shooting on this team and need Coby to hit a poo poo load of threes because apparently you need to shoot threes to win games in the Modern NBA. Coby is in a weird spot in the last year of his deal and someone that might be dealt, though he is worth more to the Bulls than any other team right now.

Dalen Terry, Wing
The rookie out of Arizona already looks like a future glue guy who defends, shows some vision, throws down some cool jams, and that's pretty much it so far. Terry is a fun dude with an infectious personality who seems to love being in Chicago and I hope the Bulls find some way to get him on the court this year, hopefully it isn't because the entire team is injured. If they can't, he might go get some burn in the G League.The front office seems to love these long defensive guys with vision who can't shoot.

Derrick Jones, Jr., F: A skinny 6'5" guy who somehow ended up playing backup center last year. Throws down absolutely insane dunks.
Tony Bradley, Jr., C: This guy is still on the Bulls, lmao.
Marko Simonovic, C: If this guy is playing minutes outside of Hoffman Estates, something has gone horribly wrong.


The vibes around Bulls fans, despite coming out of nowhere and having an incredibly fun season last year, are kind of lovely. Part of it is the fact that they went into the shitter last year; a lot of it is because they didn't make any big moves while their rivals in the east made all kinds of splashy signings. It seems like the Bulls are treading water while the East is swimming laps. More ASSET-pilled fans would note that the Bulls blew their draft pick load putting together this team, which looks like it might top out as a team scrapping for the six-seed and they got owned in the Vooch trade while the trade that sent away Daniel Gafford for Troy Brown, Jr. looks pretty bad as well. In a league that thrives on transactions, the Bulls offered none. You can take Karnisovas at his word that they are counting on better health and, in his words, "continuity" or you can assume the Reinsdorfs are being cheap and won't let them go into the tax. But all of this sourness occludes that this team is fun as hell and rules, and I think will be much better than people think. DeMar, Zach, and Vooch are really good professional basketball players and the team that limped out of the playoffs is the worst version of them. Maybe I'll be wrong and they'll be stuck in the play-in and then blow it up, but here's one thing I know: the Bulls aren't tanking, I'm not watching dogshit players struggle under the dumbest loving coach I've ever seen with the shittiest front office in the game. They are going to be competent and competitive, and if that's what this group tops off as I'll take it.

There's been a ton of movement in the NBA again, so let us know: who are the guys on your team

R.D. Mangles fucked around with this message at 05:21 on Oct 13, 2022


Aug 15, 2009

A city that was to live by night after the wilderness had passed. A city that was to forge out of steel and blood-red neon its own peculiar wilderness.
I believe in the Drummond 3 point revolution

Henchman of Santa
Aug 21, 2010
I always like this thread and it makes me sad that it gets fewer posts every year! Here are your Detroit Pistons (I don't have time to find pictures):

Head coach: Dwane Casey
In the twilight of a long coaching career, the former Raptors head man is committed to building something in Detroit after its decade-plus in the wilderness. His Toronto teams were excellent in the field of player development, and hopefully that continues with a team whose core players are all under 24. Don't know if he'll be here long enough to reap the rewards though.

Who's gone?
Jerami Grant: The leading scorer was traded to Portland after a couple of years trying to be The Guy on a terrible team following years of utility roles on good ones.
Kelly Olynyk and Saben Lee: Traded to Utah.
Frank Jackson: Well-liked player but there was no room in the rotation for him anymore. He's a free agent.
Luka Garza: The Iowa legend became a summer league fan favorite but is not built for actual NBA basketball. He's on the Wolves now.

New arrivals
PF/SF Bojan Bogdanovic: The return for Olynyk and Lee should address an extreme lack of shooting skill as well as veteran presence.

PG/SG Jaden Ivey: The fourth best option in a three-prospect draft, the Pistons are nonetheless excited that the explosive Purdue product with Detroit roots fell to them at #5. They are hoping he and Cade can be the Thomas/Dumars or Billups/Hamilton of the future.

PF/C Jalen Duren: Rim-running big out of Memphis that we picked up at the back of the lottery. He is basically a child but should hopefully grow into a dangerous lob threat.
C Nerlens Noel: A veteran rim protector should be useful coming off the bench.

SG Alec Burks: Here for more shooting and vet presence, but he's coming off injury.

SF Kevin Knox: I don't know why we signed Kevin Knox

Some undrafted guys called Jules Bernard and Stanley Umude are probably being cut or sent to the G-League. Braxton Key and Buddy Boeheim(!) are on two-ways. Kemba Walker is technically on the payroll.

Returning likely starters:
PG/SG Cade Cunningham: The hopes and dreams of the franchise and city rest on the shoulders of last year's number one pick. Haters will point to his terrible efficiency numbers. Believers will point to his demonstrably high basketball IQ and increasing feel from the game. A massive playmaking guard with a lot of confidence in the clutch but not a ton of athleticism, he is sort of a poor man's Luka Doncic.

SF Saddiq Bey: He had a 50-point game last year! On jumpers! The Villanova product is a fan favorite with a smooth stroke and occasional bruising drives to the rim, but he needs to show consistency to reach his full potential.

C Isaiah Stewart: "Beef Stew" is an undersized, ground-bound center who's built like a tank, hustles his rear end off, and tried to kill LeBron James. Allegedly capable of hitting threes, though I've never seen it. I think his real future is energy guy off the bench.

Returning supporting cast:
PF/C Marvin Bagley III: Kings reclamation project got a nice contract due to his solid rim-running role after we picked him up at the deadline. He's injured for the first month of the season or he might be the starting 4 over Bogdanovic.

SG/SF Hamidou Diallo: Cool dunk man with flashes of brilliance. Also hurt.

PG Killian Hayes: Kevin O'Connor's favorite prospect of the 2020 draft is basically just escargot Elfrid Payton. Fighting to stay in the league as far as I can tell.

PG Cory Joseph: The veteran of the backcourt. Coaches love him and he can provide solid if unspectacular play as he has for his whole career.

PF/SF Isaiah Livers: I haven't gotten to watch him much but they are very high on the former Michigan second-rounder. Expect to see a lot of him off the bench.

SG Rodney McGruder: He's still here?

Projection: Some think the Pistons are likely to make the play-in if not the playoffs, but that would require a pretty big leap from last year's 23-win squad. Vegas has them projected around 30 and I think that sounds about right. We have hope in Detroit basketball for the first time since the 2000s, but a team this young is still at least a year away from doing any damage around the league, especially in an improved East.

Feb 23, 2004
When I was 17, my father was so stupid, I didn't want to be seen with him in public. When I was 24, I was amazed at how much the old man had learned in just 7 years.
Los Angeles Lakers

Head Coach: Darvin Ham
He's a first time NBA head coach, although he's not new to coaching by any means. He's "paid his dues" as an assistant for several NBA teams (including the Lakers) and also headed summer and G league teams. Further, he's a former firey NBA player that was famous for doing literal rim breaking dunks. He seems to be a pretty player-friendly coach and his goal is to get a team that was not engaged with its coaching last year to engage with it and actually run the offense. It's actually--albeit with a few innovative twists--the same offense the Lakers ran last year, but don't tell anyone as Vogel's offense was often a scapegoat last year, even though it was just the same offense LeBron has ran nearly every year of his career but like 1.5 years in Miami. One change Ham is making to the defense. Vogel's defense, although mainly drop based, had a decent amount of switching and was willing to concede some three pointers. This year, at least in theory, the defense is supposed to be basically man defense, long gone from the NBA. The guys seemed to enjoy it in the early preseason, although the Timberwolves showed how difficult it can be to run this sort of defense now as in truth the offense almost always dictates the matchups they want. We'll see how it goes.

The old follks: Ariza, Bazemore, Dwight, Avery Bradley, Wayne Ellington are for sure gone. There was some talk of Melo joining the team for the last roster spot but he also seems to be gone.
Young players:
Malik Monk played himself into a very nice contract with the Kings.
THT was traded for by the Jazz
Stanley Roberts was the league minimum player the Jazz requested in the Pat Bev trade. This is a blow to the Lakers because he was secretly the Lakers 3rd best player last year if you believe lineup data.

Lebron James - Lebron
Anthony Davis - Seems to be moving great in preseason
Russell Westbrook - Had a couple good preseason games as far as activity, had one bad one and people published a bunch of videos to embarrass him. Lakers will experiment with him coming off the bench in their last preseason game. I don't expect it to be the way going forward.
Weynen Gabriel - Lanky high energy player who has a high basketball IQ, as long as the ball isn't in his hands and then all bets are off.
Austin Reaves - Lebron's pet project last year. It looked like he turned Austin into a capable role player last year although in preseason Austin Reaves looks terrible so who can say if it worked.
Kendrick Nunn - I promise you I watched him play a single preseason game last year. But he's back this year and looks to be back to his 'five good games every ten games but you don't know the order of those good games" self.

New Vets -
Immediately Hurt: Troy Brown Jr, Dennis Schroder, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Lonnie Walker IV
Damian Jones - Returning Laker who is very compatible with LeBron. Hasn't looked very good with the bench units so far but we'll see what happens
Thomas Bryant- Returning Laker who famously had great chemistry with Russ in Washington. Recovering from an ACL injury though so not moving around so great at the moment.
Pat Bev - Media makes a lot of memes about him, often for good reason. He's a very capable backup guard though who plays okay offense and hard nose, annoying defense and is the type of guy you like if he's on your team.
Matt Ryan - Looks to be the final roster spot recipient. Buddy Hield 2.0 basically.

Max Christie - Slasher that the Lakers think can be a great defender and be taught to shoot. Promising preseason development but he's far away.
Scotty Pippen JR (2-way) - Scottie Pippen's son. Does not appear to be a good basketball player yet but there's potential that they may get out of him in the G league.
Cole Swider (2-way) - Three point gunner in college with enough height to allegedly play PF. His body has already dramatically changed since summer league although he still doesn't quite have the athleticism to stay on the floor in the NBA.

Likely Starting Lineup: Westbrook/Nunn/LeBron/Davis/Gabriel . But who can say. Last year the injuries and covid forced a record number of NBA lineups and the team never got its feet under it.
Bench Rotation: Pat Bev, Troy Brown, JTA, Schroder, Lonnie Walker and Thomas Bryant and maybe Damian Jones are expected to get a lot of minutes. In a world where this team is good they'd probably reduce the rotation a bit but I think they are going to struggle to find consistent lineups

Projection: AD looks good. LeBron is coasting but had a casual 27 point half. If they can get anything from anyone else this team can compete for a six seed. An injury to either of those two dudes though that lasts more than a couple games will be a disaster. Maybe still a play-in by defaulut due to many tanking teams but we'll see.

What if there's a trade? All bad, won't help:
  • The popular trade everyone pushes is Turner and Buddy Hield for Russ and 2 picks. I hate this trade. Buddy Hield is one of the worst players in the league and Turner is fragile, not a rebounder, and a free agent and I don't think this team is very good. I'd rather have the picks.
  • I also don't like the popular Hornets trade of Gordon and Rozier; Gordon looks slow and has a contract almost as bad as Russ's; doesn't make the team a contender, not worth even one pick to me since the Lakers are saving the Hornets so much money and frankly the Lakers are better off with Russ and Nunn probably.
  • The Knicks trades are awful and if you are honest you would admit that normally it would be the Knicks sending picks to the Lakers to take those bad contracts on.
  • Maybe you've heard of a better one?

Apr 16, 2005

YOUR 2022-2023



2021-2022 Season Review

Other than the individual accolade for Jokić, basically a lost season. What it did establish was a baseline of just how good a team of Jokić And Whoever is: 48 wins and an unlucky first-round matchup with the Warriors. This was a team that played Facundo Campazzo for 1,184 minutes, who was probably the worst player in the NBA (though he also made some insane passes, seriously watch this if you haven't seen his clips).


Offseason Moves copy/pasted from Hollinger at The Athletic to save me a couple seconds


Last season: 48-34 (lost in first round); eighth in offense, 13th in defense
Key additions: SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Bruce Brown, C DeAndre Jordan, PG Ish Smith
Key subtractions: PG Monté Morris, SF Will Barton, PF JaMychal Green, SG Austin Rivers, SG Bryn Forbes, PG Facundo Campazzo
This was the first offseason for Tim Connelly to be replaced by Calvin Booth. Overall, a decent job, except for one thing.

The big move was the trade with the Wizards of "Mr. Nugget" Monte Morris and Will Barton for Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith. Essentially, the Nuggets gave up one of the best backup point guards in the league for a solid 3-and-D wing. This is what NBA trades are truly supposed to be: something that truly makes both teams better. The reasoning is that with Jamal Murray coming back, and the emergence of Bones Hyland, the solid play of Monte won't be needed nearly as much as someone who can chase around scoring guards and sit in the corner on offense.

Losing Will Barton was an absolute blessing; he's one of the most average starters in the league at everything. 36.5% from three is fine, but not "play him to shoot threes" good. He can handle the ball, but he wasn't good enough at it to want him to do it. He wasn't good enough at running the offense to have him lead the second unit (though they did try), and he's too ball-dominant to fit him in alongside Jokic and Murray.

Aside from that, the Nuggets failed to re-sign DeMarcus Cousins, not listed above despite the enormous boost he gave to the bench last year as a backup to Jokić, replacing him with DeAndre Jordan. This is not good. I would go so far as to say this was very bad. If the Nuggets struggle more than expected this year, one of the reasons will be not finding a backup big for Jokić, someone who plays in at all a similar way to the man himself. Cousins, even if he can physically only play 10mpg and racks up technical fouls, absolutely did that. Apparently, they wanted a ~solid veteran presence~, and there were some vague whispers that Cousins was bad for the locker room or whatever. I'm sure Malone wasn't happy about it, he had been publicly lobbying for Cousins before the Nuggets had even signed him. I wish Boogie only the best, and will miss him dearly.

JaMychal was superfluous with Jeff Green also on the roster, and Bryn Forbes was on the team so briefly I often forget he ever played (even though Denver inexplicably gave up a 2nd round pick for half a season of him off the bench, yes I still get mad at Tim Connelly for minor poo poo like this).


Starting 5!

Center (if you're normal)/PG (if you read CSPAM) - Nikola Jokić

How much do I still need to talk about this guy? Reigning back-to-back MVP. He is the Denver Nuggets at this point.

He's the most impactful offensive player in the NBA, and this past season he worked a lot on improving his defense.

Especially in clutch moments, he had some truly impressive defensive plays.

Were half of them things that would be called a foul in the first 46 minutes? Yeah. Doesn't change the fact that it was good and impactful, though.

After a year of hard-carrying the team, 2022-23 will be a year that Jokic can use his energy a bit differently. He's by nature a pass-first guy, but last season, he had to be score-first due to the complete lack of help. His second-leading scorer was Aaron Gordon at 15ppg, which was the lowest scoring of any second-highest-scorer in the NBA last year. Jokić's assists were down (slightly, in per-game but not AST%) while his usage, turnovers, rebounding, and even his shooting efficiency, somehow, were all up. He got better at shooting around the basket and in the short midrange, while his free throw and long-range shooting took a hit, probably due to how tired he was.

Also, the most common nickname is "Joker" but "Big Honey" is way better.

Unrealistically optimistic hope: the improved supporting cast leads Jokić into averaging a triple-double for his third straight MVP.

More realistic expectation: 1st team All-NBA unless Embiid gets MVP.

PG - Jamal Murray

Is he simply back, or is he BACK?

"539" was thrown around a lot: the number of days between his injury and playing in a Nuggets uniform again for the first time in preseason. Everyone will be holding their breath every time Jamal leaves his feet for the next five months, but the injury really took away people's memory of just how good Jamal was.

It wasn't just "bubble Murray:" while he's known as the guy who will absolutely take over in the 4th in important playoff games (and he will!), this downplays just how good Murray was after the bubble. In the 48 games he played before getting hurt, he was averaging 21/5/4, shooting 40.8% on threes, while only being assisted on 58.1% of them. His ability to create something out of nothing is incredible, and takes the load off Jokić having to do this 40 times per game.

And the connection Jamal and Jokić has is truly special, rivaled only by the Steph/Draymond connection in terms of two players that make each other better. I'm sure it'll take them a few months to shake the rust off, but they've been working at this stuff since they were coming off the bench together in 2016. They'll run 1/5 pick and roll, 5/1, playground-style give-and-go, whatever. If it involves the two of them, it's almost certainly a bucket.

Unrealistically optimistic hope: he's not just BACK, he makes his first All-Star team. He's not just second banana to Jokić, he's actually embracing his drive to be the primary scorer as Jokić is setting him up for easier baskets than he ever had before.

More realistic hope: he can still shoot, he can still work magic with Jokić, but he's lost a bit of explosiveness and plays 50 regular season games.

SF - Michael Porter Jr.




MPJ probably has the widest variance in the NBA in terms of what he'll put up this season. There's a very real possibility he's this generation's Greg Oden, a highly-touted prospect who shows great flashes when he plays, but cannot physically play basketball because of injuries. For MPJ, it's not a series of random freak occurrences like AD or others, but consistently his back. I can see MPJ reading a headline like that Itchy and Scratchy cartoon that says "you need a back to play basketball."

He only played nine games last year before being pulled, and was very clearly not himself for those. His jump shot, one of the best in the NBA, wasn't hitting; he just seemed stiff and uncomfortable.

But that's the bad stuff, that's almost all that anyone has talked about with MPJ: the "what if he can't play." Well, if he can, the man is really loving good. 6'10" with the ability to just completely ignore whatever poor fool is trying to "contest" his shot, he'll take threes that have you asking "why on earth would you shoot that" until it swishes perfectly.

What was interesting in the nine games of 2022, though, was that aside from being completely off, he also looked better in his areas of weakness. He wasn't Jokić with his passing, but he was fitting into the offense instead of stopping the ball every time, and even had a couple nice finds. He seemed to be grasping some ideas of defense, which is a promising start for a 6'10" athletic guy.

His preseason also looks good, which is a huge relief. I was terrified he'd be missing shots again like his nine games in 2021, but he's 10/20 on threes in preseason.

Of course, he does have non-injury related weaknesses. Last we saw him, he still had work to do on defensive awareness. He cannot dribble, like, at all. People criticize his shot selection, but I'll defend him on this; he's shooting 44.5% on threes and 62.8% on twos, I'd never yell at him to shoot less. He does seem, overall, like kind of a dumbass, in a hybrid Kyrie anti-vax and Shaq actually-just-dumb kind of way.

Unrealistically optimistic hope: his back issues are behind him, he becomes at least average on defense, and he makes the All-Star team. Jokić passes him the ball at the three-point line 14 times a game, he shoots it every time to make six of them, instead 18 PPG plus all the cuts for dunks.

More realistic expectation: I really do not know. There seems like very little middle ground on this one, either he plays NBA basketball or he doesn't. Therefore because there's two options, it's a coin flip, Nuggets 50/50 to win the championship.

PF - Aaron Gordon

AG's career turn I can only compare to Andre Iguodala (though AG was never close to being an all-star): important piece on a bad team to key role-player on a contending one. The previous season, Coach Malone made him the team's #1 defensive option for 1-4; he had to chase Trae Young or whoever else around for the whole game, while circumstances also forced him to be the default #2 scorer (as discussed above). This year, he has help both in lessened offensive responsibility, and from an actual perimeter defender, so while I still expect him to spend a lot of time guarding wings, his overall energy expended per play will probably be way down.

One of the positives of 2022 was the amount of time Jokić had to spend working on the two-man game with AG, and while it'll never be as good as the one with Jamal or MPJ, AG knows how to cut for Jokić for easy baskets. AG is nothing better than average as a shooter, but that's taking into account that he had to do a lot of bullshit shot creation with awful bench units or when Jokić was getting the ball denied to him by three guys.

One thing I wonder about is if, similar to Camby and Millsap before him, he's a guy who really really wants his one or two long twos or post-ups called every game despite not being that great at them. In preseason, at least, he bizarrely wanted to do post isos a couple times, but hopefully that's just messing around and we won't see that too much during the year. HOPEFULLY.

Unrealistically optimistic hope: first team all-defense while his three-point shot improves due to being more open than in years past.

More realistic expectation: solid defense, 10ppg.

SG - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Brought to do two things: Three, and D. Denver has been lacking a good version of this player for years (Jerami Grant was the closest, but wasn't actually at his best in Denver). I haven't watched much of him myself, but training camp interviews show he's working with Coach Malone on his job of "run to the corner," and he seems happy to do it. As with any Denver newcomer, we'll have to watch for how good he is at making opportunistic cuts to the rim when Jokić has the ball and his defender isn't looking, but other than that his job performance rating will just be looking at his 3P%. If he sticks to the ~40% he's shot over the last three seasons, phenomenal.

If you've actually watched this guy, please, jump in with cool aspects of his game I don't know about.


The Bench

PG/SG - Bones Hyland AKA Bizzy AKA Bizzy Bones AKA Tresy AKA Did You Know There's A Streetball Scene In Delaware AKA BONE3 AKA Don't Call Him Nah'Shon

As president and founder of the Bones Hyland fan club, I call this meeting to order. Reminder do NOT interrupt when the chair is speaking, we are following Robert Parish's Rules of Order.

RESOLVED: that Bones is a Hooper, and BE IT FURTHERMORE RESOLVED that Bones has That Dog in him. Okay I'm bored of this gimmick already, but Bones was an absolute steal at the 26th pick of the draft, and already as a rookie, was put in charge of getting the bench unit to score.

Bones is absolutely in a Jamal Crawford kind of mold, a score-first PG with a ton of craftiness around the rim. He doesn't have all the crossovers of Crawford yet but who the hell does; instead, he has range out to the logo. He actually seems to prefer spotting up four feet behind the three-point line, where the defender is super far from contesting. His shiftiness, confidence, ability to find unconventional scoop layups to get buckets, and rail-thin frame that means he ragdolls whenever he gets fouled has made him my favorite non-Jokić player. He's the kind of bench scorer that gets HYPE when he scores, and his showboating to the home crowd has made him a favorite of highlight reels and the five Denver citizens who can find a way to watch the games. His "I can't hear you" celebration to the crowd is great.

Actually, Crawford might not be the best comparison. Bones is a streetball player. He wants to do Hot Sauce moves and completely embarrass you, but instead of super flashy dribble moves, it just feels like his body is moving at the wrong speed. He does constant hesitations followed by a burst, followed by a layup that leaves his hand either a second too early or a second too late. Actually go watch that video above, it's real good.

He claimed to put on :siren: SIX POUNDS OF MUSCLE :siren: in the offseason, which, six? I mean, I guess that makes it more believable??

He's probably never gonna be an amazing defender because he's so light, but he has good anticipation of passing lanes and he's so shifty in transition that it's a free two points if he intercepts your pass.

He's a point guard, but his ability to run the offense instead of just do sick 1v1 moves is a work in progress. He had a good connection building with Boogie at the end of last season; if he finds a connection with a bench big, the Nuggets #1 weakness in the Jokić era (godawful bench that turns his leads into deficits instantly) evaporates.

Unrealistically optimistic hope: sixth man of the year.

More realistic expectation: 25 minutes a game, leads the bench unit in scoring.

??? - Bruce Brown

While KCP will be the most impactful acquisition for the Nuggets, Brown might be the most interesting. His skillset (defend, cut, hit threes, even if last seasons 40% shooting was a fluke) fits perfectly with Jokic, but I have no idea where the hell they're going to fit him in the lineup. Those skills would want to make you play him with the starters, but what do those lineups look like? Do you take KCP or AG out for him? There were even discussions of putting this 6'4" guy in as backup center based on some stuff he did with the Nets last year, which, I dunno, dude, the NBA is weird these days. The Nuggets bench lineups in years past have had issues where all five players are role players who are allergic to making proactive plays, leading to hot potato into the worst end-of-shot-clock attempts possible, so I hope they figure something out. The bench unit with him in preseason looked bad.

More practically, KCP/MPJ/AG aren't going to play 82 games, so I could see Brown moving up to the starting lineup in stints.

PF/C - Zeke Nnaji

Super promising young player that genuinely seems like he's bulked up in order to try to grab a backup center role away from the old farts. He's super skilled (37/80 on threes last year, 46.3%), good nose for offensive rebounding, promising in terms of defensive awareness, but the worry is he's just too small (6'9") to play a real role as a backup big. To which I say, who loving cares, the reporters and coaches won't shut up about what a great training camp he had, give the kid some run. This is his third year in the league and despite putting up incredible per-minute stats, he's played 1095 career minutes.

My prediction is that at the start of the year, Coach Malone will play wayyyy worse people than him, then injuries will happen, then at the very end of the season, they'll realize "Nnaji actually... Good??" and he'll finally get some real playing time. But hopefully we can find out for real who this guy is with a larger sample.

If Bones finds a real connection with a bench comrade, it's gonna be Zeke (they've shown some steps toward this already).

Also, good piano player.

PF/C - Jeff Green

One of two remaining Supersonics players in the league, Uncle Jeff is playing into the age of 36. After being a high-flying tweener SF as a youngster, he's turned into a reliable backup big with acceptable shooting. He will, however, throw down the most thunderous dunk if you check your phone while he's in the game. He's going to obliterate some kid with no living memory of the time when Jeff Green was first in the league.

Unrealistically optimistic hope: Jeff Green

More realistic expectation: Jeff Green

SF - Davon Reed

As a two-way player last year, he was ineligible for the playoffs, where I think he would have been really good. He got converted to a real contract this year, so I'm excited to see if he can be a three-and-D guy from the scrapheap. If his three-point shooting is real (37/86, 43% last year), that's huge alongside truly committed defense.

Quick hits:
SG/SF - Christian Braun (pronounced "Brown"): rookie, 3 and D potential, looks solid on that end already, has Tenacity and Hustle and Grit and white skin.
PG - Ish Smith: throw-in in Washington trade. Third string, reliable PG. Hit a game-winner in preseason. Seems like a nice guy.
C - DeAndre Jordan: should not be in the NBA. Super friendly, really funny, great mentor, please promote him to assistant coach instead of taking minutes from positive players.
PF - Vlatko Čančar: his fourth year with the Nuggets, inexplicably. Has played 500 career minutes. Hit some good shots off Luka passes in Euroleague.
??? - Peyton Watson: project who was terrible even in college. G-League.
C - Jack White: lol like the musician. Guys he's named Jack White! What is he a fucken uhhh Jack White? Like the musician. Actually he's Australian.


Coach - Michael Malone

Really friendly guy, kind of the opposite end of the "media interactions" spectrum from Pop in that he seems to enjoy giving in-depth thoughtful answers even to silly questions. Reputation as a "player's coach" who tries to build a family kind of culture in Denver. Trying hard to focus the team on defense this year. Two or three times a season, he'll purposefully get in a shouting match with a ref over Jokić no-calls to show Big Honey he's serious. Malone is respected enough that he didn't get trampled doing this:


Strengths and weaknesses

This is the best starting five in the NBA. Put up anyone you want against Murray/KCP/MPJ/Gordon/Jokić and I'm taking the Nuggets. They'll cruise to a top-5 ORTG.

The question is going to be on the defensive end. They somehow ended up 13th overall, based on Jokić's strides in that area and Gordon making it his priority, but the anti-Jokić crowd is going to claim that this team's ceiling is always going to be low based on the inability to defend the rim. There's definitely a possibility this is true. But with KCP and Gordon, this team has its best chance to prove the opposite.

The other issue is going to be that bench. Aside from MPJ, Bones has the biggest questions on the team as far as whether he's capable of leading the bench to putting up decent numbers in non-Jokić minutes. It's difficult to exaggerate how horrible they were at this in the past.

But this year, I'm truly optimistic even about that. Whereas in years past they were giving real playing time (in the PLAYOFFS) to players like Austin Rivers, Markus Howard and Facu, this year their roster is at least solid eight deep.

I mean... unless there's... injuries... :smith:

FINAL overly optimistic hope: #1 ORTG, #10 DRTG, FINALS WIN BABY YEAHHH

FINAL more realistic prediction: #5 ORTG, #15 DRTG, competitive Western Conference Finals series

kingcobweb fucked around with this message at 22:12 on Oct 14, 2022

Sep 3, 2006

All days are nights to see till I see thee; and nights bright days when dreams do show me thee.
You know who's a cool team now? The Minnesota Timberwolves are, that's goddamn right!

The Story So Far

Last season was a solid season, as Towns, Ant and D'Lo (who was good during the season) lead the team to 46 wins, a play-in victory and a fun/strange/still tight first round series with the Memphis Grizzlies. They had solid help from Patrick Beverly, Malik Beasley (in the 2nd half of the season) and Jared Vanderbilt, though it was clear the team had gaps, as Vanderbilt helped paper over defensive issues by being pretty much nothing on offense, and the team's offense had issues with playmaking.

But then the front office was revamped and some poo poo went down in the offseason so now it's time to see what this era of Wolves will look like.


Longtime assistant (and English league player!) Finch is a pretty solid, if unexciting coach. He's got the team playing decent defense and seems to strike a balance in getting everyone involved in offense while still developing new players. He probably isn't a top-tier coach, but he's basically what you want a small market to have on the bench because he'll get productivity out of everyone without trying to push a square system through a round team. I'm looking forward to the inevitable "The GM didn't hire him so he'll be fired for stupid reasons" down the line that will piss me off.


Pat Bev, Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, a few other guys who largely don't matter. And a bunch of draft picks are gone. Pat Bev will be missed as the franchise really appreciated his fire, Malik was a competent player and Vando played real hard which was nice. But the losses were for a purpose which is a nice change, instead of guys leaving on paycuts so they can actually be on TV.


So the big one is Rudy Gobert. Rudy will be taking over the center duties on defense and playing P&R man on offense. His role is essentially the same as vanderbilt had last year but he is SOOOO much better at everything. The idea here is you will need to make some decisions on defense, and we've seen KAT play just fine next to a mainly paint/roll man in vanderbilt and Naz Reid last season.

Kyle Anderson gives the Wolves a guy who can give a little of everything and I expect he'll get a fair bit of playing time next to KAT this season. I'm really excited as we had a lack of just competent, smart players who can find a way to stop a bad run or take advantage of a bad matchup. I was stoked we got him even before the other moves.

Austin Rivers and Bryn Forbes rounds out the most impactful new guys who will be part of (near the back of) the rotation.

What the team will look like

Starters will be:
Jaden McDaniels (6'10 multipurpose forward who has the potential to be real good, is in a good role as 5th forward)
ANT (Now at SG full time, which will help)

As a starting unit they basically will have D'Lo and Ant start a lot of the offense and probably see a lot more P&R with Gobert and D'lo, KAT playing his usually Outside/In game with maybe more matchup issues. I actually think you'll see this lineup less than you'd think as the team will probably try to use it's depth a bit more and have starters mixed with the bench. I think the two other lineups you'll see a lot is:


This is an offense-oriented lineup that will probably be what the Wolves use in the 2nd half of the first quarter. KAT and Ant play well together, McLaughlin is disruptive enough to take some pressure off, and Kyle Anderson can give a little playmaking/defense. This will then turn into:


This is the P&R heavy offense with Nowell helping the scoring and just choking out other 2nd units defensively. This 10 man rotation can basically always guarantee a good lineup on the floor and not overplay anyone.

How it could go wrong
KAT and Gobert could not mesh. ANT could regress with a team that will look somewhat different, they don't have any shooters you can bet the farm on, so spacing could be an issue. D'Lo can look like playoff DeAngelo and not Regular Season/Play-in DeAngelo. I think the first part of the season will be shaky, but I expect them to round into a good regular season team. Playoffs I think they have holes and KAT will need to cut down his fouling on both sides when the whistles are quicker to be blown. ANT was good last year but this is a big year for him and even holding steady would be a disappointment.

This is essentially the team for the next 4 seasons (depending on what happens with D'Lo). So for the trade to be worth it I'd like to see a 2 playoff series wins in total, though I'd probably take making the playoffs each year and 1 series win. They do that the trade was a success. This is probably not a contender unless ANT really blows up or McDaniels or someone takes a big step.

But they were a fun team to watch last year, and really that's what I want the most. So that considered, I am looking forward to this season.

Lockback fucked around with this message at 21:46 on Oct 14, 2022

Nov 21, 2013
The Golden State Warriors


A little over a year ago, many had thought they'd seen the last of the Warriors dynasty. Despite playing to the level of his 2016 MVP season, Stephen Curry could not drag the 2021 Warriors past the play-in (ignobly being the first 7 seed to lose their playoff berth in the play-in in NBA history). After a significant overhaul of the Warriors bench, the team was vastly more competitive last season, racing out of the gate to an 18-2 start. Though the team stumbled with injuries, the Warriors rounded into shape as the playoffs began, bolstered by the much-awaited return of shooting guard Klay Thompson after two years medical absence. The playoffs saw the Warriors return to dominance, with excellent play not only from Curry, but from playoff neophytes Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins. After defeating the Boston Celtics in 6 games, Stephen Curry was honored with his first Bill Russell Finals MVP award.

Now, once again, the Golden State Warriors are NBA champions, a title they hope to defend in the upcoming season. The roster has been altered less than in the previous offseason, though the loss of role players Otto Porter Jr. and especially Gary Payton II will see the Warriors looking more to their younger drafted players and newcomer Donte DiVincenzo for production. Can the Warriors win back-to-back championships for the 2nd time in a decade? Let's take a look at their personnel and decide:

Steve Kerr (Coach)

Among the most decorated individuals in NBA history, Steve Kerr now possesses 9 championship rings (5 as a player, 4 as a coach). Kerr is the 3rd-longest tenured NBA coach currently serving, and has led the Warriors to a league-best 429-200 regular season record during his 9 years as head coach (made more impressive by the fact that the Warriors posted a league-worst record of 15-50 in the abbreviated 19-20 season).

Stephen Curry (PG)

Widely considered the greatest shooter to have yet lived, Stephen Curry is the foundation of the Warriors' considerable success over the past decade. His elite finishing, playmaking, and off-ball movement combined with his otherworldly shooting skill create a unique challenge for opposing defenses, one which they are often unable to meet. His defense has improved considerably since he entered the league, going from abysmal to slightly above-average (for a guard of his size). His 3pt% fell off somewhat during the 2022 regular season (to a "mere" 38% on 11.7 attempts/game), but rebounded in the playoffs, dispelling insinuations of decline. Look, he was going through a lot during the season, what with getting his degree and and his parents getting divorced, not to mention the drama surrounding his attainment of the all-time 3pt record. Warriors faithful are confident in the continued excellence of Curry, who entering his 14th NBA season appears to be aging like few others have before him.

Klay Thompson (SG/SF)

The other Splash brother, Klay's career was sidetracked for two years by devastating ACL and Achilles injuries. Many wondered whether he would even return last season, let alone return to his peak as an elite scorer and defender. While not quite back to his full 2019 abilities, Klay's return has been nothing short of a miracle of modern sports medicine. Klay looked uneven during his abridged 2022 season, but his shooting skill and physical health appear undiminished. There is hope that his continued treatment and physical therapy throughout the offseason will see him return once more to being among the best 3-and-D players in all of the NBA. He will likely see significant rest during the regular season (akin to other injury prone stars like Kawhi Leonard), but is poised to be a vital contributor to a contender.

Draymond Green (PF/C)

One of the most unique players in the NBA, Green is an elite defender and playmaker while being a negative scoring threat. His (in)famous "triple single" statlines belie his tremendous value as coordinator for both the offense and defense. He fits the Warriors, and the Warriors fit him, but it can be difficult to judge his value in the abstract, since much of his worth to the team lies in his chemistry with Curry, Thompson, and Poole (lmao). He is outspoken in the extreme, and rides a fine line in games between inspiring and exasperating. His recent altercation with teammate Jordan Poole has called into question his long term future with the Warriors, but in all likelihood his on-court performance will adjudicate the matter one way or the other.

Andrew Wiggins (SF)

Long considered a draft bust, Andrew "All-Star Starter" Wiggins has found a home with Golden State. League commentariat was initially aghast at the 2021 trade of D'Angelo Russell for Wiggins (and a 1st round pick), citing his anemic defense and bloated contract as the death knell of the Warrior's dynasty. Instead, Wiggins has revitalized the team, essentially being a superior version of Harrison Barnes (who, 2016 Finals performance aside, was a huge contributor to the winningest regular season team in NBA history). His defense, rebounding, and much-improved 3pt shooting have earned him a reputation as one of the most reliable members of the team, along with the moniker of "two-way Wiggs," an epithet which would surely have surprised Timberwolves fans a few years back.

Kevon Looney (C)

The most underrated of the Warriors starting 5, Kevon Looney is not anybody's idea of a physically dominant center. Originally a small forward at UCLA, in college Looney drew comparisons to Kevin Durant for his length and jump shooting ability. Multiple hip surgeries later, Looney has completely reinvented himself as a somewhat-undersized but incredibly savvy C (sadly, his jump shooting went with his hips). Fans affectionately say that while he may be half a step slow, he's two steps ahead mentally. His defense and rebounding were crucial to the Warriors success last season, regular and playoffs. In the offseason he signed a 3 year/$22.5 million contract with the Warriors, to mutual cheers. Though he looks 38, he is in fact only 26, and there is reasonable hope that his best basketball is yet to be played.

Jordan Poole (PG/SG)

Drafted 28th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Jordan Poole was by some metrics the absolute worst player in the NBA his rookie season. Through hard work and the tutelage of the Warriors coaching/vets, Poole has emerged in the last two seasons as one of the most exciting young guards in the league. He plays with undeniable swagger, driving into the paint and shooting threes with a confidence and verve reminiscent of nothing so much as a young Steph Curry. When Curry was on limited minutes during the opening games of the 2022 playoffs, Poole stepped into his role without missing a beat, giving an offensive performance worthy of the great shooter himself. Statements by both Poole and the Warriors' front office suggest a large extension is imminent, and it will be well-earned. Poole is looking more and more like the future of the Warriors offense, a role few would have guessed his first year in the league.

Jonathan Kuminga (PF)

Drafted 7th overall* in 2021 NBA Draft, Kuminga is a rare athletic talent, with incredible speed and leaping ability. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, JK decided to forgo college, instead being one of the first young prospects to sign directly with G-League Ignite. He has shown an early talent for drawing fouls, using his superior athletic abilities to force defenders to move or foul during his explosive drives to the basket. As his jump shooting continues to improve, JK will be a potent offensive threat off the bench for the Warriors this year, playing a role similar to that of Andre Iguadala in the early days of the Warriors dynasty.

*This was the pick sent by Minnesota along with Wiggins, a trade which looks more favorable to the Warriors by the day.

Moses Moody (SF)

The 14th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Moody is the more "NBA ready" of the Warriors' two 2021 1st round picks. He is, in a word, polished. Poised, intelligent, but not lacking in confidence or aggression, Moody has already shown that he is playable in high-pressure NBA moments. His general all-around competency and lack of mental errors make him the perfect plug-and-play off the bench player in the Warrior's scheme, and he will likely see significant minutes this season.

(Full disclosure, I was hoping the Warriors would pick him 7th overall in 2021. Getting him and Kuminga was incredible).

James Wiseman (C)

The 2nd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. If Moody's byword is "polished," Wiseman is the epitome of "potential." A 7'1" athletic freak with surprising jump shooting ability, Wiseman is the archetypical pick for talent. Pushed into a role too big for his experience in his rookie year, and sidelined by injuries last season, there are rumblings already among some Warriors fans to call him a bust. This is premature in my view, as centers often take a while to fully come into their own. He's still maturing, both physically and mentally, and will hopefully be a solid contributor behind Kevon Looney at C. The Warriors haven't had a real lob threat in years, so if nothing else he'll contribute some cool highlights this season.

Andre Iguadala (SF)

The second oldest player in all of the NBA, the one-time All-Star and Finals MVP now provides most of his value at practice and in the locker room, a veteran presence and carrier of team culture. While it would be unfair to directly compare him to Udonis Haslem (Iggy did play around 600 minutes last year, more than UD in the last 3 seasons) his on-court impact is minimal these days. Still, in those few minutes he does play he retains the defensive acumen and basketball IQ that made him beloved as a 6th man in the early days of the dynasty.

Donte DiVincenzo (PG/SG)

I'm going to be honest, I don't know a ton about this guy, I think he was a solid contributor off the bench on the Bucks? White Donte is a hilarious nickname, I'm hoping for another OPJ/GP2 random burst of competence from a new Warriors role player this year. From what little I've seen, his playmaking and 3pt shooting will fit right in with the Warriors' offensive schemes. The guy hustles on defense, so Kerr will like him.

JaMychal Green (SF/PF)

Green is a journeyman who gave the Warriors fits when he was at Denver, he'll likely take on much of the responsibilities of Nemanja Bjelica. 3pt shooting, defensive boards, and willingness to pass will decide whether Green sees consistent minutes with the Warriors this year. At 6'9" 230lbs., he adds much needed size to the Warriors bench.

Other assorted rookies/deep bench guys:
Patrick Baldwin Jr., Anthony Lamb, Ryan Rollins (guy looks like someone was cloning Russell Westbrook but took him out of the tank a bit too early) Pat Spencer (Google this guy, see if you can guess what NCAA sport he was a beast in before switching to basketball)


This is a team with Championship expectations. The Warriors are bringing back all of their stars, and everyone is healthy at the start of the season for the first time in 3 years. The starting line up of Curry/Thompson/Wiggins/Green/Looney is among the most experienced and skilled in the entire league, and the bench looks to be, at the very least, as deep as last year. With an exiting batch of young players developing alongside their veteran core, the Warriors look poised to be a playoff threat for the next several years.

DJ_Mindboggler fucked around with this message at 22:54 on Oct 14, 2022

R.D. Mangles
Jan 10, 2004

wait, northwestern basketball legend Mr. LaCrosse pat Spencer actually made it to the fringes of the NBA??????

Nov 21, 2013

R.D. Mangles posted:

wait, northwestern basketball legend Mr. LaCrosse pat Spencer actually made it to the fringes of the NBA??????

I was so confused as to what this stocky white guy was doing during the preseason games, but he actually looked okay, even had a sick dunk. Could end up being the 14th/15th man.

Mar 18, 2012
Okc thunder

This is all you need to know about the non rookies

Name - What they are

Shai - bucket
Giddey - dime bag
Dort - stone wall
Mann - hooper
Poku - here
Kenrich - energizer
Wiggins - solid
Jre - solid
Muscala - money
Waters - maybe solid?
Bazley - last year with the team most likely

Rookies: Chet (hurt, broke foot on flooded Seattle court), Jalen Williams (J-Dub), Jaylin Williams (J-Will), Ousmane Dieng.

Jdub looked really really good during summer league and summer league. Need to see if his scoring prowess works against nba players playing at nba speeds.

Dieng showed during preseason he could possibly be a defensive menace with his already stout 6'7" 215 lb frame (lol i cant find any consistency in these measurements hes probably bigger). Looking forward to seeing how players like kenrich Williams rub off on him he could be someone we talk about in future seasons. He showed some nice offensive potential as well that I'll include a nice highlight of just to show how well he moves around

J-Will seemed like a guy who played his role well but nothing really special. He's good at taking charges and can do somethings with the ball but how well he can play pnr defense will determine if he's someone you want on the floor.

R.D. Mangles
Jan 10, 2004

DJ_Mindboggler posted:

I was so confused as to what this stocky white guy was doing during the preseason games, but he actually looked okay, even had a sick dunk. Could end up being the 14th/15th man.

The one thing about Pat is that he's a crazy athlete and can get up. Dude just showed up to play DI basketball* as a grad student without playing competitively since high school and was actually decent.

* i mean technically northwestern is division I.

Nov 21, 2013

R.D. Mangles posted:

The one thing about Pat is that he's a crazy athlete and can get up. Dude just showed up to play DI basketball* as a grad student without playing competitively since high school and was actually decent.

* i mean technically northwestern is division I.

Oh yeah, that came across harsher than I meant it. I was thoroughly impressed after reading his biography, he just has a very unusual physique for basketball.

R.D. Mangles
Jan 10, 2004

no worries, i watched a lot of this guy play basketball and i am stunned that he is playing professionally at any level.


Sep 22, 2000

Soiled Meat


The 2022-23 season finds our heroes in un totally familiar territory: trying with inevitably futile cheerful gumption to put a championship-caliber roster in place around superstar PG Damian Lillard. Last season saw GM Neil Olshey ousted after nine years of running the team, to be replaced by rookie GM Joe Cronin, who immediately charted a new course for the franchise. The team shut down Damian Lillard and showed the entire league how to properly tank, going 7-28 down the stretch and jettisoning nearly 2/3s of the active rotation. With a retooled roster under 2nd-year coach Chauncey Billups, the Blazers stand ready to reclaim their place at the top of the Western Conference standings the small but animated dogpile of teams who have a solid shot at the play-in.

  • Dame is Back and says he feels right for the first time in his career
  • Starting backcourt should be the most potent offensive duo this town has seen since last year
  • Jusuf Nurkic often attends games in fashionable street clothes
  • Logjam of cool/jumpy/athletic wings that should probably all get minutes, there are worse problems to have. Shaedon Sharpe looks like a highlight waiting to happen
  • Multiple guys with saucy floater game
  • Logo still slaps

  • No concrete evidence that anyone on this roster can even spell "defense" without trailing off with a glazed stare fixed squarely on the middle distance, followed by an awkward change of subject
  • Failure to address frontcourt depth means a woeful lack of size and/or experience particularly at C
  • PG depth also a concern
  • Unknown quality of coach
  • No RoLo


Damian Lilliard (PG): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Lillard's successful return to all-NBA form. When he's at his peak, the Blazers are a top-5 offense. When he's not, it's Rough
Anfernee Simons (SG): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Simons's ascendance to true #2 scorer on a good team. Still only 23, Simons needs to make defenses pay, and needs to demonstrate enough energy on defense to offer at least some resistance on that end of the floor.
Josh Hart (SF)): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Hart's ability to consistently hit 3s from the corner, handle the tougher matchups on D, anchor the second unit when asked, and provide grit and hustle to a team sometimes sorely lacking in both.
Jerami Grant (PF): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Grant's potential to provide frontcourt scoring, pull defenders out to the three-point line, spot Nurkic at C when needed, and be the kind of dynamic big that Portland hasn't seen since LaMarcus Aldridge.
Jusuf Nurkic (C): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Nurkic staying healthy and providing stout PnR play w Lillard, and protecting the rim from the endless waves of opponents he is certain to encounter there.
Keon Johnson (PG): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Johnson's ability to provide decent PG play during Dame's bench minutes
Gary Payton II (SG): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Payton's defensive prowess 1-on-1 providing a crucial advantage, particularly in a Western Conference fuckin stuffed with prime-time backcourt scorers
Nassir Little (SF): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Nassir Little's willingness to take the next step, and by that I mean take several steps in succession with rupturing an earlobe, contracting scurvy, or falling victim to any similar tragedies as have dogged his promising career to date
Shaedon Sharpe (SG): It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Sharpe's providing an unexpected injection of HoF talent, seriously if he could just roll in with 20-25ppg and some plucky defense we might have something special here
Drew Eubanks {PF}: It's not a stretch to say that the Blazers fortunes depend in large part on Drew Eubanks not having to play heavy minutes for the Blazers at C.

It's not a stretch to say that several of these things will come true. The stretch comes when they kind of all have to come true in order for the Blazers to get anywhere out west.

I didn't mention Justise Winslow, Trendon Watford, Greg Brown III, Jabari Walker or Olivier Sarr, all of whom will see minutes throughout the season here or there, none of whom can be relied on to change the course of the upcoming season.


The Blazers shook up the front office but it didn't solve their problem: an undersized backcourt that sucks defensively needs smart, reactive, defensively-oriented players up front to compensate. When the Blazers have had that, they've done well. This season is the latest in a series of attempts to capture that balance (and acquiring Jerami Grant will certainly help.) The problem, of course, is that they've swapped out one undersized, defensively suspect SG in CJ McCollum for another undersized, defensively suspect SG in Anfernee Simons; to date, the results have been pretty much the same, and project to follow a fairly similar trajectory in the upcoming season.

There are ways to counteract this. Nassir Little has shown potential on D but can't stay healthy long enough to make a difference. The team signed Gary Payton II this offseason as a defensive stopper, but he's been injured since he got to town. Keon Johnson has looked good defensively but is still very young and will see only limited minutes. The team hired Billups in hopes that he could coax better defense out of this roster, but that's been pretty nonexistent. Billups got a pass last season, but with several more tools and a mostly-healthy roster, the pressure's on to show some/any improvement. The players like him and respect him, but it remains unclear whether he can coach a flawed team into the postseason.

It's not all bad here. If Dame is truly healthy, it's huge. He's an elite offensive player who can make this one of the most potent offenses in the league more or less on his own. There's good young talent in Simons, Little, Johnson. Justise Winslow will see meaningful minutes off the bench and will do good things. Jabari Walker turned heads during summer league and preseason and will probably earn minutes as the season progresses. And I love what little we've seen from Sharpe - he's looked more patient than you'd expect, and has enough talent that it may just become impossible to keep him on the bench.

The problem isn't that the team is bad (they are not), it's that the West is really really good. Doesn't matter how good you are if there are a half-dozen teams demonstrably better than you.

BEST CASE: Sharpe pops in a big way, Nurk plays ~70 games, Dame bombs with aplomb, and the Blazers capitalize on a couple of unforeseen West Coast meltdowns to sneak into the top four out West against all odds, where they enjoy a few spirited playoff scrums before getting rocked in five by the Nuggets etc. Flush with success, the Blazers nonetheless enter the offseason with most of the same questions they had the year before.
WORST CASE: Dame is in fact not back, Nurk battles foot issues and is in and out of the lineup all season, the bench never gels into anything more than a bunch of 6'6" PFs who think they can run the break, and Chauncey is not the right guy. Blazers halfheartedly tank down the stretch and limp into the offseason with most of the same questions they had the year before.

rivetz fucked around with this message at 07:33 on Oct 18, 2022

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