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3 Teams the Warriors Have to Watch Out for This Season

The 2016-17 Golden State Warriors are built to be potentially one of the greatest NBA teams ever yet they are not invincible. The talent is there but one or two injuries can change things in the blink of an eye. Of note, the Warriors won’t have the depth they had enjoyed last season with the departures of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes, and Festus Ezeli.

Beating The Reserves

Defeating the Warriors will not happen by trying to outscore their stars including Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant. Instead, one must focus on maximizing the advantage to be had when competing against the reserves.  The Warriors will also have to depend upon playing small ball without a legit center to fill the lane. Team like the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and Los Angeles Clippers will need to take advantage they will enjoy competing against the Warrior bench that contains rookies and fringe players.

No Big Guys

The Warriors will probably be outrebounded by the Cavaliers, Spurs, and Clippers.  At least, they will have to be if they are going to be beaten.  All of the above teams have the personnel and each has demonstrated their effectiveness in doing so in prior match ups. The Cavaliers young center Tristan Thompson did well in last year’s finals in limiting the Warriors to one shot per possession and keeping Curry’s penetration to a minimum.

Former Miami Heat Chris Andersen is available to back up Thompson and can provide 15 to 20 minutes in relief to limit the Warriors second chance possessions. The Spurs brought in LaMarcus Aldridge a year ago, and he has proven a worthy asset to limit the Warriors chances at points in the paint. The Spurs utilize their bigs to defend Curry to slow down his ability to shoot the three and drive the lane. The Cavaliers successfully mirrored the strategy in the finals when they shifted forward Kevin Love to body Curry. The Clippers have the ultimate weapon at the center position in DeAndre Jordan, as he consistently is one of the league’s best at limiting second chance points, historically leads the league in rebounding, and field goal percentage. The one drawback is the team has to take him out in the later stages of the game for fear of having to see him at the charity stripe where he struggles mightily.

Limit Transition

The Warriors thrive in getting the ball out on transition after a missed shot. Yet, one can take advantage of the emotional Warriors in the same manner. Curry and Green driving the lane and missing a shot can give an opponent an opening to run and score on the other end of the floor. If the break is not there, use a structured offense as the Spurs often exhibit to not settle for a rushed shot.

Importantly, one must make the Warriors work on the defensive end. Curry and Durant are human and tire like any professional basketball player. If they are working hard on the defensive end, their legs will not have as much spring to fire up shots on the offensive end. The Cavaliers, Spurs, and Clippers can utilize off ball screens to beat down the Warrior guards which can pull Durant out to assist thereby opening the lane for James, Aldridge, and Griffin to get their points. Either way these three teams must play the perfect game and hope that the Warriors make multiple mistakes. The Warriors are the favorite to win the title in 2017 due to the Durant acquisition which will put all others on catch up mode.

NBA Picks & Season Predictions

With all the free agents left it’s going to be difficult to predict the upcoming season, but since I have a fond love of basketball I will do my best.

If Kevin Durant had stayed with the Oklahoma City Thunder they would have been able to make it far in the playoffs. Him and Westbrook had a true dynamic together and they just needed a little bit of help to become unstoppable.  Now that he’s left Oklahoma City is in the middle of the pack.

The Golden State Warriors may have lost the championship and may have lost some of their free agents but expect them to be hungrier than ever.  They added Durant to an already stacked starting roster and they seem to have the best chance to hoist the championship trophy at the end of the season.  It’s no surprise that they are the favorites to win it all again.  The site FreeNBABasketballPicks.com had them as the team with the highest projected win total at 66.  This is going to be a tough team to beat, especially come playoff time when it’s more about stars than depth.

I think the Cavs may have their hands tied if LeBron ever decides to leave, but I think he’ll finish his career out in Cleveland.  Either way he’s going to be there this season.  While he’s probably slightly passed his peak, Kyrie Irvinig is budding into a superstar in his own right, plus he has Kevin Love to help shoulder some of the load.

The Celtics I think are going to be a little bit of a surprise and I expect great things from this team. They did pick up a solid draft pick, but most importantly they added Al Horford from the Atlanta Hawks.  He’s one of those guys who did a little bit of everything, making every team he played for better.  They will be going to the playoffs for sure, but just how far will they go? I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the conference finals.

The Toronto Raptors might have a shot of making it pretty far, and if the Raptors can keep stars DeMar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry healthy then I think they have a chance of clinching the east.  Lowry gives them a nice point guard and experience in the backcourt.

One of my favorite sleeper teams in the west is the Los Angeles Clippers. When I say sleeper I mean that I think this team is going to go really far this season. I like what the team is doing. They have a great looking roster with Chris Paul, JJ Redick, DeAndre Jordan, and Blake Griffin.  The key for this team is health.  If they keep their core on the floor then it’s going to be a great season.

The San Antonio Spurs will make it to the postseason but how far will they go in the playoffs it depends on some other teams in the western conference. I think they will be one of the last teams standing in the west.

I think with Andre Drummond the Detroit Pistons may be a solid underdog team that no one wants to play.  I think it’s possible for them to go to the conference finals.  I like this team.  They’re confident, they are growing together, and Stan Van Gundy is an excellent coach. It’s going to be a good season.

While the Miami Heat have a good shot of making it to the playoffs, I’d be surprised if they get to the second round.  This team has some young stars, but after losing the Big Three it’s time to blow up and rebuild the roster.

I believe the Orlando Magic may actually make the playoffs in the 7th or 8th seed. They won’t trade their chances away like they usually do.

I’m going to go with the Portland Trailblazers to make it to the playoffs and I think they may even improve more than last year.

I know one thing.  If Hield wins the Rookie of the Year and Anthony Davis stays healthy the New Orleans Pelicans could be a team that surprises this year.

Those are a couple of my predictions for how this year might turn out.  I do know I’m excited to see what happens and can’t wait for opening night!

NBA Rookie of the Year Picks

The NBA season is looking like it’s going to be a great one in 2016-17. There is so much new talent that is coming into the league and many fans are excited to see these up and coming players. I know I can’t wait to see what they can do.  There is also talk of who the Rookie of the Year will be.  We’ve already predicted the playoff teams, so today we took a look at the list of rookies and here are our predictions on the favorites to win the award.

There is a favorite for this award already. Ben Simmons was drafted from LSU by the Philadelphia 76ers and he was the first overall pick in this season’s draft. He was a top choice due to his talent. According to the odds and statistical analysis Simmons has a 33% chance of winning this award and there is also a 66% chance that the award will go to someone else in the league. While he has a pretty good chance of winning the odds are still against Simmons.

There are some other players that those that follow the NBA are excited about seeing. Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield did well in college and this will also be their first year playing in the NBA. Hield was selected sixth but he has the second best odds of winning this award. While they are good Simmons is still favored.

There are some other top contenders for this award as well. They include Brandon Ingram and Denzel Valentine. Ingram was drafted by the Las Angeles Lakers and Valentine was taken by Chicago. Some say that Ingram has potential to become Rookie of the Year. While he does have a smaller frame he has the skills. Still some people worried that due to his smaller size he will get pushed around by the bigger players on the court.

Those are the top five favorites with a chance to win, but there are some other players that are long shots who have a chance. Jaylen Brown was the third overall pick and Dragan Bender was the fourth pick. Both of these players have a one in twenty chance of winning the Rookie of the Year Award.  That seems like possibly some value due to how high they were chosen.

With all of this talent coming into the NBA there are a number of contenders that can end up being Rookie of the Year. There is a lot of talent. Even though there is a favorite at this time anything can happen and these new players can take this award home in their first NBA season.

NBA Free Agent Predictions

The upcoming NBA season will see some changes in the lineup of every team. There are a number of players that are going to become free agents. Of course a lot of people are making predictions on which teams these players will sign with.  Once they do sign you can check out the CBS Sports free agent tracker to find who went where and for how much.  Let’s take a look at a few of the more popular players left to sign and give our thoughts as to where they might end up.

Deron Williams is set to be a free agent. He was making over five million dollars on his last contract. Currently he does not have offers from other teams but there is still plenty of time before the season is set to start.

Rajon Rondo is said to be on the market as a free agent. Rajon was making over 9 million dollars according to his last contract. Currently he does not have an offer but there are said to be many teams that are looking at him.  I think if he goes to a decent team he can really get them over the hump.

There are some players that are expected to see a change in their salaries. Dehantay Jones from the Cleveland Cavaliers was making around eight hundred thousand dollars. He did not see much playing time so was not making hardly anything. He is currently a free agent but has received offers for over a million dollars.

Jason Terry is another player that is a free agent. He was making just under a million dollars last season. He is currently still looking and at his age is looking at only one or two more years to collect a league paycheck.

Kevin Durant is an unrestricted free agent who is in his prime.  This is the guy that every team is after. He averaged 28 point per game with Oklahoma City and is currently making around 21 million per season.  If he stays with the Thunder they are a contender, if not then they will struggle to make the playoffs.

Many cannot believe this but LeBron James is on the market as a free agent.  However, there is next to no chance he leaves Cleveland. He just signs short term deals so he can cash in on the new television money that is coming into the league and increasing the salary caps.  Currently James is making around 23 million dollars per season. If there was no cap then he would make a ton more than that.

Hassan Whiteside is now a free agent. He scored around 14 points per games and can block just about any shot. He is making just under 1 million dollars a year playing for Miami and is looking to increase his playing time and the amount of money that he earns during the season.

These are just some of the free agents that will be in the NBA for the upcoming season. Free agents are often looking for additional playing time as well as more money to play the game. These free agents see to be on the right track to making more money and making their name known in the game of professional basketball.