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Old 10-13-2018, 03:14 PM   #1
octothorp
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Default 2018-19 NBA and Raptors thread

With the season getting underway on Tuesday (and the Raptors kicking off theirs at home to Cleveland on Wednesday), it looks to be an NBA season full of change, everywhere except at the top of the standings.

Here's 30(+) questions that will help define the season:

Atlanta Hawks - A full rebuild is underway in Atlanta. Trae Young is a polarizing figure to start a rebuild with; can he show even a glimmer of the Steph 2.0 upside that the Hawks are hoping for?

Boston Celtics - It's an elite level of skill but with a lot of duplication on the wings. How do they put together a rotation that goes from being very, very good to elite?

Brooklyn Nets - Is there enough young and versatile talent to be in the running for the 8 seed?

Charlotte Hornets - There's not a lot to be optimistic about either short or long term. Will they try and stick it out with Walker, or trade him and go for a full rebuild?

Chicago Bulls - A young team with a lot of talent but experience both on the court and behind the bench. Can all these pieces come together and start to win games this year?

Cleveland Cavaliers - There might be a lot of pride at stake in showing that they were more than just LeBron, but is there enough talent there to match? Does this become like the Kevin Love Wolves teams?

Dallas Mavericks - The Mavs think Doncic is a franchise-anchoring talent, and this season will be about passing the torch from Dirk to Luka. Will the kid be able to live up to these extremely heavy expectations?

Denver Nuggets - Electrifying offense will be intact from last year. But they need better defense. Isaiah Thomas isn't going to be bringing it, so will their young stars like Jokic and Murray be able to give give enough at both ends to get them to the playoffs they narrowly missed out on?

Detroit Pistons - Can Dwayne Casey get the sort of constant, incremental improvement in Detroit that he was able to get in Toronto?

Golden State Warriors - Will they face their toughest competition in the west finals or the NBA finals? Will they face even a bit of adversity before then?

Houston Rockets - Will this season's roster really be a step backward, which it looks like on paper?

Indiana Pacers - Pacers exceeded expectations with an outstanding season from Oladipo. Did they make the right offseason vet acquisitions to continue to move up the east rankings?

LA Clippers - The Clippers are looking to assemble a solid group of complimentary players in hopes of attracting a star next offseason. Can they be appealing enough to attract a star, or will they look like a mess that top free agents will avoid?

Los Angeles Lakers - LeBron gets his least-talented set of teammates since his first Cleveland stint. How much can he get out of them?

Memphis Grizzlies - Conley and Gasol, if healthy, continue to be a reliable pair, plus they've got the vastly overpaid Chandler and a few decent prospects. Is there enough there to retool or are they headed for a rebuild?

Miami Heat - A team with good players and depth at every position, but no stars save an aging Wade. After Dragic at 17PPG, nobody else on this roster averaged more than 14PPG last year. If there's no star coming in via trade, can anyone emerge as a go-to scorer for this team?

Milwaukee Bucks - Can Budenholzer finally get this team over its first-round playoff hump, or they squander another prime Antetokounmpo year?

Minnesota Timberwolves - Like, WTF?

New Orleans Pelicans - Played their best without Cousins in the lineup last year, but there's still a huge drop-off after Davis. How do they figure out a way to build a contender around one of the best players in the league?

New York Knicks -Will this be the worst of both worlds for the Knicks, missing Porzingas to injury for the first half of the season, and then getting him back just in time to ruin their high lottery pick ambitions?

Oklahoma City Thunder - Westbrook will continue to be Westbrook, but Roberson turned out to be a huge difference-maker on this team. Can he give them the defensive identity they need to hang with the other top WC teams?

Orlando Magic - A coaching change could get more out of this young, solid roster. Can they stay in the mix for a playoff spot through the season?

Philadelphia 76ers - This team will be a contender for eastern champion eventually, the only question is how steep is the last step of that climb? Will they be in the mix this year or next?

Phoenix Suns - With another high draft pick likely, does Ayton live up to the 1st overall hype?

Portland Trail Blazers - Lillard's team overachieved last year until a disappointing playoffs. So who are they? The team that won 13 in a row last year, or the team that got swept by the Pelicans?

Sacramento Kings - Likely headed for another high lottery pick, which is nothing new, but missing on their picks is also nothing new... will picking Bagley over Doncic finally be a case of getting it right?

San Antonio Spurs - How much can Pop get out of what is likely (especially with Murray out) the worst roster he's ever coached? Will Aldridge and DeRozan be able to coexist with both tending to fall in love with the midrange game?

Toronto Raptors - They've only got one guaranteed year with the current roster so it's win now mode; while most eyes will be on Kawhi, the biggest factor may be how fast Nurse can adjust to HC duties. Can they come together quick enough to be contenders by the end of the season?

Utah Jazz - Mitchell was sensational last year, anchoring the team with Gobert missing significant time. Can those two combine to take Utah up to the 2nd tier in the West?

Washington Wizards - They've been hungry for another star to put with Beal and Wall, but is Howard a good fit for those two ball-dominant guards?

Last edited by octothorp; 10-13-2018 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 10-13-2018, 05:06 PM   #2
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With the Raps I'm not overly concerned about them doing alright in regular season and potentially going the distance in the playoffs. What annoys me is the southern teams loading up on talent in the NBA. It's lazy and it's an overall boring product.


So the Raps regular season prediction? 56-26. Beyond that, I frankly don't care very much as the NBA product is so top heavy.
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Old 10-13-2018, 10:08 PM   #3
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^^^^^^^

Yep, it's ridiculous. What's the point in most fans even watching. You can build a really great team like the Raptors, but really you've got nothing if the star fraternity doesn't decide to descend on your city.

Combine that with VERY suspect officiating that tends to show a little more than mere incompetence and the league is entertainment and not sports.


I know sports is entertainment, but the NBA is just entertainment.
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Old 10-15-2018, 07:32 PM   #4
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I obviously can't disagree with the NBA being predictable, but boring seems misplaced. Yeah we all know the Warriors will be playing either the Celtics or the Raptors, but the on court product has never been better for the most part. That's what makes superteams ruin everything, because if not for that the competitive balance would be such that 6-8 teams could win it every year instead of injuries being the only way it's not a given who will win it all. I don't like having to root for Durant or Curry to get hurt to offer drama. But the game itself is great to watch.

As for the Raptors, I actually think Kawhi re-signing isn't as unlikely anymore with LeBron on the Lakers, I don't think he wants to play second fiddle to LeBron. So it'll either be Clippers or Raptors, so that's a lot closer in terms of choice. The options now with Kawhi and Danny Green defensively are pretty much endless, you could see a small ball lineup of Lowry-Green-Kawhi-OG-Ibaka that would be a major pain to play against with the length and active hands. Ultimately that's what we now know matters, they've fallen apart the last two seasons in the playoffs defensively and now shouldn't have that excuse if everyone is healthy. Offense should be close to as good as last year too. Nurse is fine since they're going for it now so a new system makes no sense, just tweaks is smarter. And they still have assets to do something really crazy at the deadline, so it should be a fun season to follow at least.

As for the rest of the league, I hope the Nuggets take a big step forward, they have potential to be as much fun to watch as the Warriors. I think the Lakers will be in the playoffs, the Spurs playoff streak will end, the Heat will eventually get Jimmy Butler, Cousins actually fits in so well in Golden State that they sign him long term and trade Klay to the Lakers in the offseason, and the Grizzlies are the worst team in the NBA.
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:16 PM   #5
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Trade Klay? GS is a freeshooting team, IMO there's no way they deal Klay no matter how good Cousins turns out to be with them.

Fully agree that the NBA is getting much better higher end talent overall, but it's still boring when ultimately you know the general outcome. Teams like the 76ers and their drafting should be rewarded, but instead we know they won't be anywhere when the dust settles, and eventually one or two of their star players will move on to the warmer climate and they'll be left with a mediocre team. The worst/fixed reffing of all the major sports is another issue all together.

Raps, I personally think teams will exploit Lowry's ego and short temper, and I could totally see him being ejected 5 times this year. I'd argue there's more pressure on the guy to perform this year, and I don't think he handles that well consistently, and you know he's not handling it well when he takes selfish deep shots. With Green and Kawhi and OG teams aren't going to challenge them too much, directly, so I'm guessing you'll see Lowry challenged more (along with Val/Serge). I don't think they make an additional major move to go for it as I don't think that's an NBA thing to do at the deadline. Supporting pieces yes, but major player? Can't remember the last time that was done at the deadline?
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Old 10-17-2018, 08:08 PM   #6
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Really enjoyed the game tonight. Leonard is a tremendous player. Lowry was terrific. Raptors have a nice team.
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Old 10-18-2018, 10:55 AM   #7
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Pretty sure Kentucky still pays better, but interesting to see if this deals a big blow to the NCAA

https://twitter.com/statuses/1052952238489051136
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Old 10-18-2018, 05:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SportsJunky View Post
Really enjoyed the game tonight. Leonard is a tremendous player. Lowry was terrific. Raptors have a nice team.
Yeah, decent for a game 1, and lots of upside with this team... I'm really optimistic about their defense... their worst defenders now are merely average for their role, while at some positions they have multiple elite defenders. Leonard looked a little out of sync with the rest of the offense at times, but his ability to impact the game when he doesn't have the ball in his hands is what's most impressive.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:38 PM   #9
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Should be an interesting season for them. I thought they looked quite rusty (or jitters) early on, but that's what a full season is for. Quite a new lineup, so it'll take a bit of time to figure out how players move and whatnot, so time will tell what style they'll eventually play.
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Old 10-19-2018, 04:18 PM   #10
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I'm not sure how much you can take from game 2 of the season, but tonight will if nothing else be an interesting gauge into how much of a threat the Raps can be to the Celtics. Really gonna be watching how they mix and match defensive lineups. This is where Kawhi really opens things up on that side.
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Old 10-19-2018, 06:17 PM   #11
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"Serge Ibaka ... baka... baka." (Weebs will get it.)
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Old 10-19-2018, 07:07 PM   #12
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Watching this game, there some bad reffing (as is the NBA), but that aside, both teams are being very sloppy with the ball and their shot choices. I'm finding Lowry particularly isn't distributing the ball as quickly as he should, and players are taking it upon themselves to be a little selfish with the ball. Lowry's gotta set the tone with quick decisions and distribute the ball to the open guy - not wait to get everyone set on the opposing d, then passing. That's old school basketball and it doesn't work.
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Old 10-19-2018, 08:38 PM   #13
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Speaking of the NBA being predictable, let's just go ahead and get to the Raps-Celts East Final. Raps defense the last five minutes of the game was terrific, stopped the Celtics from moving off the ball and forced bad shots.
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:20 AM   #14
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Kawhi got MVP chants! Awesome
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Old 10-20-2018, 06:57 AM   #15
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Uhhhhhhh....

https://twitter.com/statuses/1053471346263379968
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:30 AM   #16
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How have I never watched Raptors Game in an Hour before? I watched game two in an hour and it has changed my life. Also, VanVleet is fun to watch.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:41 AM   #17
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Toronto are resting Kawhi Leonard in Washington tonight, team says. He didn't get enough rest last year?
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Old 10-20-2018, 12:10 PM   #18
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I think it's more so to make sure he recovers and eases himself into regular minutes. I don't really have a problem with it. Contrary are the Jays who rush guys back out of some business obligation. If the intention is to have a healthy guy throughout the season, I'm fine with it.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:28 PM   #19
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Quote:
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How have I never watched Raptors Game in an Hour before? I watched game two in an hour and it has changed my life. Also, VanVleet is fun to watch.
Where do you find it? I always just watch the 10 minutes recaps on Youtube.
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Old 10-21-2018, 07:56 AM   #20
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I'm thinking it's like Sportsnet's Jays in 30? Raps in an hour?
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