Who won 2017 NBA free agency? (WEST)

After an insane 2016-2017 NBA season, the time for mental basketball recovery continues to elude us all. This was only helped with this years free agency period as the trades and signings made things very interesting as we approach the new NBA season.

Free agency can be a time where you either applaud or disgust in the decisions made by your favourite team. The hot takes fly as we pick apart both players and franchises thought process on how they arrived at their choice, but thats what makes the off-season great.

Check out our Free Agency recap as we go from East to West and analyse some of the latest movement in the league.

(Transactions are current as of 23/7/17)

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Who won 2017 NBA free agency? (EAST)

After an insane 2016-2017 NBA season, the time for mental basketball recovery continues to elude us all. This was only helped with this years free agency period as the trades and signings made things very interesting as we approach the new NBA season.

Free agency can be a time where you either applaud or disgust in the decisions made by your favourite team. The hot takes fly as we pick apart both players and franchises thought process on how they arrived at their choice, but thats what makes the off-season great.

Check out our Free Agency recap as we go from East to West and analyse some of the latest movement in the league.

(Transactions are current as of 20/7/17)

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Golden State Warriors sweep Trailblazers

The Warriors started their playoff campaign with a lot of excitement as they got Kevin Durant back for the last few games of the season after suffering a MCL sprain just over a month ago. The Warriors had also just gone on a winning streak without Durant that erased all doubt that they’d be ready for the playoffs and even encounter any trouble with the Portland Trailblazers.

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Cleveland Cavaliers sweep Pacers

The NBA Playoffs only started a week ago and its opening series kicked off the festivities with the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Indiana Pacers at Quicken Loans Arena. Heading into the series the tale of the 2 teams was one that lead by LeBron James ended the season as the 2 seed and a questionable defense as well as a poor record after the All-Star break. The other was a Pacers team that boasted some young and some veteran talent that only just managed to punch a playoff ticket after being in a triple-threat season finish with both the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat.

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If the Playoffs started today… (EAST)

I can’t tell if time seems to be going quicker as I get older or the NBA season is also starting as quick as its ending. When the Christmas day game between the Warriors and Cavaliers had ended I must admit I wanted to fast forward to the playoffs and finals right away. As usual though, I reminded myself why we watch the regular season and that it sometimes goes by extremely unappreciated.

However, as I write this (April 3rd) playoffs prediction/preview the standings could change as the East decides its fate with teams being 1 game or less apart from each other. The West on the other hand is more or less decided and so far this years playoffs teams look to be vey exciting with some of the better first round match-ups in the last few years.


Boston Celtics (1) vs. Miami Heat (8)

BOSMIA

I will save my recent indulgence into the Cavaliers conspiracy for now, but it seems that the Celtics will manage to swipe the first seed from Cleveland and at this point would face the Miami Heat. The Heat are having one of the most amazing seasons for a team that should really be an 11th seed looking from the outside in. Somehow though, the Heat have rattled off some amazing wins, even going on a 20+ game winning streak at one point.

The Celtics have also had their own amazing year, with Isaiah Thomas coming into his own in his new home in Boston. Thomas has fit so well into the team that he propelled himself into an MVP caliber player as he lead the C’s to victory after victory in what may be the best collection of 4th quarter performances the league has seen in years. The Celtics once again have a true leader and a player that drives the rest of the team with his sheer will to go against any opponent.

Even with all of this said the 1 seed in the East won’t know its opponent until the last day of the season unless one of maybe 4 teams go on an undefeated streak to lock up the last spot. Even more so, the one seed is still up for grabs for both Boston or Cleveland, which then again will swap the matchups and could have huge implications on the road to the Eastern Conference Finals.


Washington Wizards (4) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (5)

WASMIL

For purely selfish reasons I hope that the Wizards and Bucks do not move positions in the East because there is possibly no better first-round match-up in the East that will beat this series in entertainment value. This series would have it all, the pace, the athleticism, the shooting!  Everything about this series is must-see NBA, and it is very evidently selfish that I would want this series to push to a full 7 games.

The Wizards have been very underwhelming the last few seasons as they continued to look like they were ready to become a force in the East boasting some of the best young talent the East has to offer. But year after year they fell short, that even looked to be the case as this season began when the Wizards racked up losses at an alarming rate. As the questions began to surround the team, it seems as though new Head coach Scott Brooks had something to do with the full 180 that this team would soon see as they approached the end of 2016.

Almost just as much as I’m excited for Wizards playoff basketball, I’m equally excited for the Bucks to make an appearance especially when the possess one of the greatest players of the next generation after LeBron retires. The Bucks have been a bit up and down this year and it’s heartbreaking that Jabari Parker won’t be joining them for this series. I believe that the Bucks can give the Wizards a legit series if not by matching their talent then by matching their athleticism and youth.


Toronto Raptors (3) vs. Atlanta Hawks (6)

TORATL

Don’t count on me watching this series closely much less at all as the team that makes it out of this series should logically be Toronto with all their late season acquisitions and projection that Kyle Lowry will be available. I’ve been on the skeptical side of things when it comes to the Raptors after watching last years playoffs and my position hasn’t been swayed enough to change.

But in a series with the Hawks they shouldn’t lose this series, but I wouldn’t been mind-blown if it happened. The Hawks have a record that poorly reflects their overall greatness in the East and in some ways is a testament to the low level of basketball in the East. However, I am being kind to both sides here giving the Hawks 2 games where they can steal one on the road due entirely to the Raptors having one of those Raptor-like games that has been a big fork in their regular season and playoff road over the years.


Cleveland Cavaliers (2) vs. Chicago Bulls (7)

CLECHI

I’ll try and keep this part short because for the most part you’ve probably had it in your mind that while LeBron lives and breathes on a hardwood court and resides in the East, that his Finals ticket is booked.

The theory here is that the recent slide in wins for the Cavaliers is all front to avoid a potential 8th seed series with the Heat or Pacers, then a potential second-round match with the Buck or Wizards. See the problem there? If the Cavs stay in the 2nd seed it will almost definitely give them the easiest road to the Eastern Conference Finals given that they’ll meet with either the Raptors or Hawks in the second-round. It’s possible that this theory is true but after 2 strong wins by the Cavaliers it seems that they’re trying to recapture that playoff mode that everyone thought they’d all of a sudden lost.

As far as this series goes, much like the Celtics, due to the unknown of the 7th, 8th and 9th seed its hard to tell who the Cavs will eventually meet but if the Bulls grab the 7th it shouldn’t be long before the Bulls vacation starts. The Bulls did beat the Cavs in one of their TNT Thursday extravaganza’s where they’ve seemed unbeatable for some reason, don’t expect that Bulls team to show up in mid-April. With LeBron in full “Zero Dark 23” mode, the unstable mix of Butler and Rondo without Dwyane Wade will only go so far.

Like most of theses early predictions I feel I’ve been generous to some teams by spotting them a game or 2 here and there, but when it comes to the Cavaliers, much like last year they know how to finish a team early to get that much needed rest. So while I’ve got the Bulls taking one at home, don’t be surprised if the brooms come out in the Windy City.


ON THE FRINGE: Chicago Bulls (7th Seed), Miami Heat (8th Seed), Indiana Pacers (9th Seed)

Games remaining:

MIAMI HEAT CHICAGO BULLS INDIANA PACERS
@ Charlotte Hornets @ New York Knicks [HOME] Toronto Raptors
WIN | 112 – 99 (8th seed) LOSS | 100 – 91 (7th seed) WIN | 108 – 90 (9th seed)
@ Toronto Raptors @ Philadelphia 76ers [HOME] Milwaukee Bucks
LOSS | 96 – 94 (9th seed) WIN | 102 – 90 (7th seed) WIN | 104 – 89 (8th seed)
@ Washington Wizards @ Brooklyn Nets @ Orlando Magic
WIN | 106 – 103 (9th seed) LOSS | 107 – 106 (8th seed) WIN | 127 – 112 (7th seed)
[HOME] Cleveland Cavaliers [HOME] Orlando Magic @ Philadelphia 76ers
WIN | 124 – 121 (9th seed) WIN | 122 – 75 (8th seed) WIN | 120 – 111 (7th seed)
[HOME] Washington Wizards [HOME] Brooklyn Nets [HOME] Atlanta Hawks
TBD – 000 – 000 (* Seed) TBD – 000 – 000 (* Seed) TBD – 000 – 000 (* Seed)

If the Playoffs started today… (WEST)

I can’t tell if time seems to be going quicker as I get older or the NBA season is also starting as quick as its ending. When the Christmas day game between the Warriors and Cavaliers had ended I must admit I wanted to fast forward to the playoffs and finals right away. As usual though, I reminded myself why we watch the regular season and that it sometimes goes by extremely unappreciated.

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#2 at UCLA, #1 in the NBA Draft?

It’s become a novelty year after year for basketball fans to try and predict the next big college star. Sometimes, if not more than most, our predictions are met with disappointment as our elected “future star” fails to live up to the high expectations upon entering the NBA.

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Triple-Double Troubles

Westbrook has been dazzling fans all season, and so far it has equated to OKC sitting at 7th in the West with a winning record just below .600. So far, Westbrook’s stats have been nothing short of eye-popping and yet even with all the stats combined it begs the question of how long this can act as the band-aid to the real situation that Oklahoma City is currently facing.

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Bragging Rights? – Game 2 of 3

This week we’ll see Game 2 of the 3 game regular season match up between the Warriors and Cavaliers. As we’ve done since this rivalry started in 2015 each game has been magnified and broken down so much that we think it really has an effect on how the Finals will eventually end.

But does it really matter in the end?

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No Rose, No Wins, Nowhere.

The Knicks season started off with some excitement of what the team could accomplish which had Knicks fans hoping for the best and possibly a playoff seeding. As it turns out, it has been anything but that as New York continue to find ways to lose games and in some ways more embarrassing game after game. The Knicks are 1-9 in their last 10 games, bordering on being a .500 team and only 2.5 games outside of the 8th seed, giving them plenty of incentive to hold leads and beat the teams they should on the schedule.

Unfortunately it seems that the Knicks are a collective that are damaging themselves internally even with a healthy Carmelo Anthony, sophomore star Kristaps Porzingis and a contract-year Derrick Rose. Internal problems such as Carmelo calling his own isolation play in part frustrating coach Jeff Hornacek and vice versa when Hornacek draws up a play that Anthony gets caught on camera being visually disgusted with his coaches decision.

The Knicks appalling play has gotten so bad that reports of Derrick Rose abandoning his team following a reported “blow-up” with Hornacek, eventually resulting in the Knicks being unable to reach Rose before, during and even a while after the game had finished.

The last stretch of games and life in general for the Knicks has been anything but pleasent and when you suffer 2 losses on game winners it tends to sting a little more, causing heavy evaluation and reflection on how the team got to that point and why it’s not an isolated incident but rather a consistent shortcoming. It’s alarming when your franchise player releases this gem to the media regarding the target of the “blame game” in relation tot he Knicks performance:

Carmelo Anthony:

“When We Win, It’s Us. When We Lose, It’s Me”

The real question is just how the Knicks will handle this and with the trade deadline coming up its only a matter of time before the Knicks and its players begin to decide their fate. The Knicks aren’t the only team struggling right now, however they’re actions and behaviour while dealing with the losses are being projected far more loudly than any other team in the league.