Maurice Dixon

@WriturRece | mdixon27@gmail.com

Last year around this time when the NBA season was close to beginning, I decided to offer a very brief preview for every team in the league with hopes of providing something not everyone was saying. Well, I’m back to reveal what I think again under the same format since shorter statements are so popular.

With the following 30 predictions, questions or “bold” statements, I tried not to repeat as much of the information that is already out there or list a bunch of statistics and analytics but just what I believe to be newsworthy.

So what you’re about to witness are just my thoughts, just my thoughts–right or wrong. Just what I was feeling at the time.

ATL – There won’t be that much success overall for the Hawks this season but how good will general manager Travis Schlenk’s Golden State Warriors South experiment look this season?

BOS – With good health and sacrifice, the Celtics should reach the Finals, and probably come real close to winning the title, which will be their first since 2008.

BKN – The Nets added some intriguing pieces last season and that didn’t amount to much. They made some insignificant additions recently and that won’t make this season a better one either.

CHA – The Hornets brought in another big-name player to join forces with Kemba Walker but unfortunately Tony Parker is well past his prime.

CHI – Jabari Parker is back home but the Bulls and fans hope his injury history doesn’t return either.

CLE – LeBron James decided heading West was best, and Kevin Love, who became the second option last season is now the first since the Cavaliers plan (hope) to remain relevant.

DAL – The Mavericks believe Luka Doncic can ball in the NBA just as well as he did in the EuroLeague. Now it’s time to see how long it takes him to adjust.

DEN – Will Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic (Denver’s Big 3) do enough to get the Nuggets back in the playoffs?

DET – Pistons’ new coach Dwane Casey’s message to Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond should be “dunk as much as possible.”

GSW – DeMarcus Cousins joined the Warriors, likely giving them a boost in motivation to become the first team to three-peat since the Shaq and Kobe Lakers.

HOU – The Rockets plugged in a third scorer if an injury (see Chris Paul’s file) comes calling again late in the playoffs but is Carmelo Anthony the best option?

IND – Victor Oladipo, the most-improved player last season, has Tyreke Evans to lean on when it comes to the play-making duties, and maybe that gets the Pacers past the first round.

LAC – With the departure of DeAndre Jordan, Lob City is officially a thing of the past so what identity lies ahead for the Clippers, who are in the shadow of the Lakers again?

LAL – The Lakers have another great player (LeBron James) in uniform but he will not be making a ninth straight Finals’ appearance.

MEM – Last season, Marc Gasol had to play alongside a number of role players due to injuries, and the Grizzlies piled up loss after loss. Mike Conley is healthy again so the results should be better.

MIA – The Heat have the same cast returning so much of the same can be expected but hopefully Bam Adebayo will get to throw down more alley oops. And wow, it’s time to say farewell to Dwyane Wade, the third greatest shooting guard of all time.

MIL – How will Mike Budenholzer, who didn’t have a superstar in Atlanta but coached the Hawks to 60 wins in his second season, make Giannis Antetokounmpo even more of a threat on offense?

MIN – Jimmy Butler said he’s done wearing a Timberwolves’ jersey; therefore, at some point the team will look different around Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

NOP – Is Anthony Davis back to being a one-man show or is Jrue Holiday finally ready to be a consistent second option?

NYK – Kristaps Porzingis won’t be in the lineup at the start of the season, ultimately meaning the Knicks will not experience that much success this season either.

OKC – Paul George thought teaming back up with Russell Chuckbrook, excuse me Westbrook, for the long haul was the move to make but will this duo make more than a playoff appearance this time around?

ORL – The Magic’s resigning of Aaron Gordon was a good decision but how good of a decision was it to draft Mo Bamba?

PHI – The 76ers will be more of a force to reckon with but will Ben Simmons start to be a consistent threat from the perimeter?

PHX – Smooth scorer Devin Booker has a 7-foot threat (DeAndre Ayton) to dump the ball down to in the post, and is this the beginning of the next exciting young duo?

POR – After a disappointing sweep from the playoffs last season with home-court advantage, the Blazers didn’t shake up their roster so the Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum show will go on but that won’t take the team beyond where it has been.

SAC – Did the Kings make the right choice by selecting Marvin Bagley III No. 2 in the draft? That question will be answered to an extent this season.

SAS – The Spurs constantly make the playoffs and DeMar DeRozan, Kawhi Leonard’s replacement, constantly struggles in the playoffs so it will be interesting to see how Gregg Popovich reverses the latter of this trend.

TOR – If Kawhi Leonard remains healthy, the Raptors shouldn’t end up shook in the postseason.

UTA – Questions loomed last season about the Jazz having enough offense. Now the only question is how will Donovan Mitchell continue to amaze the masses?

WAS – The Wizards have a history of locker room issues, and now they add Dwight Howard to the roster. Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

 

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