Seven more days remaining until the regular season begins. That is a cause for us NBA fans to have problems sleeping due to excitement like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. By now, my top five point guard (find that here) and top five shooting guard (find that here) articles have been published and you should know what is going on in these articles. … Continue reading Top 5 Small Forwards Heading into 2017-2018
September is upon us. We are almost a month away until the NBA regular season begins. This season looks to be a good one with quite a few top players wearing new jerseys next season. There are a few cuts and additions to make (and an impending decision on Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony that may impact teams like the Houston Rockets) that likely will not move the needle for teams that much. With that being said, here are predictions for the Western Conference on where I believe, seeding wise, the teams will finish.
** Stats come from ESPN.com **
If you are reading this article, then chances are you read the other three so you know what is going on by now. The NBA season is hours away from tipping off and I still have the top 5 power forwards and top 5 centers to write. If you do read this article, feel free to comment about it in the comments section below!
*any stats come from ESPN.com & Basketball-Reference.com*
We are two positions in now as both the point guards and shooting guards article are available for viewing. I put this in the last article but I will reiterate once again; after I published my point guards article, I decided to change something up. For instance, James Harden was a shooting guard last year but will be a point guard this year. My original plan was to put him in the shooting guard list because most of his minutes and stats came from the two guard position last year. I then decided to change that because James Harden will not be a shooting guard this year so why would I put him in the shooting guards list? So, with that being said, James Harden’s name will not be seen in this article, nor will I change the first article to put his name in there. These rankings are based on two ideas. I compared all the stats from the point guards’ regular season and postseason. I also looked at their possibilities for them to improve this coming season, though it was not as important last year’s stats. Now that I put that for everyone to see, let’s dive into this article to answer the question; who are the top five small forwards heading into 2016-2017?
As I am sure you read in the title, this article will be my opinion on whether teams are trending upwards, downwards, or neutral for this coming season. Now, some factors go into this decision. My decision on what trending grade they receive deals with how much better they will be from last year to this year. None of my trending decisions will factor on success in a couple years. It deals with, ‘will they be better than last season?’ So, with that being said, it is time to get right into my opinion for Western Conference Teams.
* RECORDS COME FROM ESPN.COM Eastern Conference: Atlanta Hawks Last Season = 60-22 This Season = 48-34 (-12 wins) Boston Celtics Last Season = 40-42 This Season = 48-34 (+8 wins) Brooklyn Nets Last Season = 38-44 This Season = 21-61 (-17 wins) Charlotte Hornets Last Season = 33-49 This Season = 48-34 (+15 wins) Chicago Bulls Last Season = 50-32 This Season = 42-40 … Continue reading Comparing Teams’ Last Season’s Records vs This Season’s Records
My Beginning of Season Eastern Conference Predictions:
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Chicago Bulls
- Atlanta Hawks
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Miami Heat
- Indiana Pacers
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Detroit Pistons
- Charlotte Hornets
- Orlando Magic
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
End of Season Eastern Conference Standings:
(+or- represents difference from my prediction)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (+-0)
- Toronto Raptors (+2)
- Miami Heat (+4)
- Atlanta Hawks (-1)
- Boston Celtics (+4)
- Charlotte Hornets (+6)
- Indiana Pacers (+1)
- Detroit Pistons (+3)
- Chicago Bulls (-7)
- Washington Wizards (-5)
- Orlando Magic (+2)
- Milwaukee Bucks (-6)
- New York Knicks (+1)
- Brooklyn Nets (-4)
- Philadelphia 76ers (+-0)
Who will be the Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and Most Valuable Player? Well, I cannot answer that question with the correct answer, but instead, I will give you my choices for each award. This season has been fun and historic, but it is coming to a close. The Spurs tied for the most home wins in a season, the Warriors are going for a record 73 wins, and finally, Kobe is mortal and plays in his final NBA game tonight. Let’s see who wins some awards (hypothetically) in this historic season.
ESPN.COM, BASKETBALL-REFERENCE.COM, AND NBA.COM ARE WHERE I GOT MY STATS. OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Most Improved Player
#3: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)-
The Greak Freak! A possible point guard next season? That is scary for teams since he is an athletic 6’11”, 222lbs monster. His season was pretty good. The Bucks? Not so much. That is why he takes a hit here and sits at #3. The Bucks finished with a 33-48 record and did not make the playoffs after making the playoffs last season.
Giannis did not dissapoint this season. He was a huge bright spot for this Bucks squad. Giannis (with one more game to go) put up 21 double-doubles and 5 triple-doubles. His minutes went from 31.4 to 35.4. He increased his scoring from 12.7 to 16.8. His rebounds increased from 6.7 to 7.6. His assists increased from 2.6 to 4.3. His steals and blocks also increased from 0.9 to 1.2 and 1.0 to 1.4 respectively. Although he still shot it poorly from the three, he grew upon his field goal percentage, three point percentage, and free throw percentage. His percentages went from .491% to .507% (field goal %), .159% to .260% (three point %), and .741% to .721% (free throw %). He was good enough to be considered for this award.
#2: Hassan Whiteside (Miami Heat)-
Hassan has played in 72 games (with one left to go) this season. He has started 42 of those. I believe not being a starter hinds his MIP case. He has been a major factor for the Miami Heat as they make it to the playoffs this season. Currently, the Heat are sitting at #3 in the Eastern Conference with a 48-33 record. Now let’s get back to Hassan Whiteside.
The only major stat that he did not increase is field goal percentage. Hassan’s minutes per game have been upped from 23.8 to 29.1. His points per game increased from 11.8 to 14.2. His rebounds per game went up from 10.0 to 11.9, which is third in the NBA this season. His blocks per game went from 2.6 to a crazy 3.7, which is first in the NBA. DeAndre Jordan is second and he only has 2.3. Hassan has also put up three games this season where he accomplished a triple-double, as well as 41 double-doubles. Like I said earlier, his field goal percentage declined from .628% to .606%, still putting him at #3 in the NBA. Whiteside has quite a resume for him to possibly win MIP.
#1: C.J. McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)-
What if I told you that the Blazers were not expected to make the playoffs after losing 4/5 of their starters? What if I told you that the Blazers did not care about that. The Blazers will be the 5th or the 6th seed in the playoffs with a record of either 44-38 or 43-39 with one game to go. Damian Lillard was amazing this season as the only remaining starter for the Blazers squad. Another reason why they are so good this season is their shooting guard, C.J. McCollum. Wesley Matthews went to the Dallas Mavericks, allowing C.J. McCollum to slide over to the starting shooting guard spot. Lillard and McCollum are a dangerous backcourt. Let’s not focus on Lillard right now because this is about his teammate, my pick for Most Improved Player.
McCollum has increased his stats across the board. With Matthews departure, his minutes per game increased from 15.7 to 34.8, and he did not disappoint. His points per game increased from 6.8 to 20.9. His rebounds per game went from 1.5 to 3.2. His assists went from 1.0 to 4.3. His steals went from 0.7 to 1.2. He increased all of his percentages as well. His field goal % went from .436% to .448%. His three point % went from .396% to .421%. Lastly, his free throw % went from .699% to .827%. Those number increases, the fact he went from a bench player to a starter due to a starter moving on, and the fact that he has answered the call and helped Lillard lead this team to a playoff seed when they were counted out in the beginning of the season, means he should win this award.
At the beginning of the season I made predictions of where I thought the NBA teams would end up in their respective conferences. I thought it would be fun to compare those predictions to where the NBA teams actually rank since the All-Star Break is upon us. With the Eastern Conference Edition already published, it is time to compare for the Western Conference.
Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Los Angeles Clippers Portland Trail Blazers Memphis Grizzlies San Antonio Spurs Dallas Mavericks New Orleans Pelicans Oklahoma City Thunder Phoenix Suns Utah Jazz Denver Nuggets Sacramento Kings Los Angeles Lakers Minnesota Timberwolves I have already made my predictions for who I think will finish 15th-11th in the Western Conference and you can find that here: https://thethreepointer.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/my-predictions-for-final-western-conference-standings-positions-15-11/ Now it is time to … Continue reading My Predictions for Final Western Conference Standings (Positions 10th-6th)