1. CAVALIERS 60-22 The champs bring back the whole gang, and barring injury (certainly possible with Irving and Love) a return to the finals is a foregone conclusion. 
  2. CELTICS 54-28 Horford provides the missing piece to a young, talented, deep team. 
  3. PACERS 53-29 People are overlooking a talented Pacers team that got better with additions of Teague and Young. 
  4. RAPTORS 51-31 Air Canada will fly high again with the core intact, but Celtics and Pacers got better while Raptors stayed the same. 
  5. PISTONS 47-35 Drummond is the most dichotomous player in basketball: The best rebounder (14.8 per game) and the worst free-throw shooter ever…literally (35.5% last season)
  6. HAWKS 43-39 A healthy Howard is a defensive upgrade over departed Horford, but an offensive downgrade. Schroder is promising, but losing Teague still hurts. 
  7. WIZARDS 43-39 This is shooting the middle: Assuming Beal/Wall/Porter miss only 25% of games with injury. Depending on health, win total could skyrocket or plunge. 
  8. HORNETS 41-41 Batum is a stud, but I’m not as hot on these guys as some. Front court is extremely unproven. 
  9. BULLS 40-42 Different cast same result; Bulls miss the playoffs again. Why sign odd assortment of non-shooting veterans, instead of launching full rebuild? 
  10. KNICKS 37-45 Bulls 2.0: Another bizarre arrangement of past-their-prime players when they should clearly be rebuilding youth around Porzingis. 
  11. BUCKS 33-49 Loss of Middleton KILLER for an ultra-athletic young team that struggles to score. 
  12. HEAT 31-51 The Big 3 are all officially gone and so are the Heat’s chances of being competitive. 
  13. MAGIC 29-53 When you are trying to build around your talented young power forward and center you pick up…another power forward and center? 
  14. NETS 22-60 The Nets have the longest, slowest rebuild of any team: no control over their top pick until 2019. 
  15. 76ERS 14-68 Loss of Simmons is a heartbreaker. The front court is stack—the back court not so much. 




  1. WARRIORS 69-13 Weird quirk where a team is actually better but has a worse record than the previous year. Statistics say some of those close games bounce the other way. 
  2. SPURS 64-18 Duncan was still valuable but rapidly fading—they won’t miss him as much as you think. It’s the Leonard/Aldridge show now. 
  3. CLIPPERS 56-26 This team has a punchers chance of surprising anyone if they can stay healthy come playoff time. 
  4. JAZZ 45-37 New PG Hill carries youthful Jazz to the playoffs—and then some. 
  5. BLAZERS 43-39 Great guard tandem raining from outside would suggest the Warriors mold…but they lack the Draymond Green part of the blue print. 
  6. GRIZZLES 43-39 There is no possible way they can be as injured as last year…can they?
  7. THUNDER 42-40 Westbrook and Co. are better than you realize…just not quite good enough. 
  8. TIMBERWOLVES 40-42 Super-talented young ‘wolves get first taste of playoffs. Unfortunately it’s against the Warriors. 
  9. ROCKETS 39-43 Injury-prone additions do little to help Harden from their place in street clothes at the end of the bench. 
  10. MAVERICKS 38-44 I get it—it’s hard to know when to hang it up and start rebuilding, but seriously the core of this team is eligible for the AARP. 
  11. PELICANS 37-45 Davis is so good it’s terrifying, but management just can’t seem to cobble together the right pieces around him. 
  12. SUNS 28-54 Talented guards aside, this is a very incomplete team. They should probably deal Knight for some front court help. 
  13. NUGGETS 26-56 There are pieces to like here, but just not enough of them. Who will carry the torch when Gallinari goes down?
  14. KINGS 26-56 Through all the disfunction that is the Kings, there is some talent here (even beyond Cousins), but not nearly enough to field a competent team. 
  15. LAKERS 23-59 They gave Timofey Mozgov 64 million dollars for some reason. Anyone got an answer for that? 





Cavaliers def. Celtics in 6



Warriors def. Clippers in 5


Warrios def. Cavaliers in 6



Russell Westbrook

Posted on October 25, 2016 .