Tuesday, October 27, 2015

30 Teams in 30 Tweets: Volume 4

Man, a whole year has gone by since we wondered if LeBron could make his homecoming one for the ages...and so much has changed. Steph Curry ascended to the throne, taking the MVP and the Larry O'Brien trophies home with him to the Bay. James Harden took the mantle from Steve Francis and was truly "Franchise like a Houston Rocket", just missing the MVP himself. Russell Westbrook matched his crazy threads with a crazy scoring streak, and we lost HOF caliber guys like Durant and Bosh for way too long during the year.

So here we sit, the dawn of the 2015-2016 NBA season and there are, as always, more questions than answers...and we'll enjoy every minute from now til June as we get those answers. Until that time though, let's revisit the annual Ball So Hard tradition - 30 Teams in 30 Tweets.

As always, feel free to leave your feedback in the comments and Happy NBA Season to all!

Atlanta Hawks:  Big surprise with Budenholzer. East's  #1 seed? Doubtful, but another deep run makes sense.

Boston Celtics: Best coach in NBA after Pop. Stevens will get everything out of this deep, star-less roster. Atlantic title isn't as crazy as it sounds.

Brooklyn Nets: The Pierce/KG trade is looking really good for Boston - Brooklyn is destined to watch the ping pong balls this May.

Charlotte Hornets: When the highlight of your season is Frank Kaminsky's roster photo, join the Nets in your Lottery excitement. 

Chicago Bulls: Can D-Rose stay healthy? I wrote this last year. And the year before. If he does, they're playing late into June. 

Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron might finally understand saving himself, and a healthy roster, will get him and Cleveland that title. Watch out.
Dallas Mavericks: The team that lost DeAndre Jordan. Losing will be a theme. All. Year. Long. 

Denver Nuggets: Could be a tough year for the Nugs. Mudiay is interesting and will be fun to watch. Sneaky 8 seed at best. 

Detroit Pistons:  Stan has done work in Detroit, and quickly. This team will be a bit better than expected and could see a Round 1 playoff series. 

Golden State Warriors: Repeating is tough. The pressure is already on. Be happy everything lined up last year, Dubs fans, won't happen this year. 

Houston Rockets: They got close last year. They should again. Deep roster and Harden has something to prove - he wants that MVP.

Indiana Pacers: The East gives them the chance to bounce right back into the mix. They won't. Hickory uniforms will be their season highlight. 

Los Angeles Clippers: The uniforms are horrible. The roster is not. Doc won't have to worry about covering LAL banners after this year, they'll have their own. 

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe is back. The Lakers...not so much. Russell and Randle are a nice start though. They are LA's "other" team now. 

Memphis Grizzlies: Always expect them to drop, and they always hang around. Still a mid-seed and capable of a surprise. West just seems too tough to tame. 

Miami Heat: Winslow was a huge draft day steal. Bosh back healthy will be big. They are much better than last year. 

Milwaukee Bucks: Parker will be back. Kidd was impressive. This team came out of nowhere. Will they live up to higher expectations or take a step back? 

Minnesota Timberwolves: #RIPFlip - sad start to the year. KG has a star to mentor and now he'll play even more inspired. Sentimental playoff pick. 

New Orleans Pelicans: Playoffs were a nice bonus for a young team with a budding superstar. Davis will make MVP noise, but team still feels a year out. 

New York Knicks:  This team is becoming a circus on and off the court, beginning with their head coach. Porzingas could be really good - the Knicks won't. 

Oklahoma City Thunder: KD's last stand? Westbrook's year to claim OKC as "his" team? They should be playing in June. But we say that every year. 

Orlando Magic: This is the team that could do what the Bucks did last year. Don't be surprised if they're a high seed in the East.

Philadelphia 76ers: RT from 2014: Year 2 (now 3) of Tankapalooza. They’ve got some pieces and potential, but its going to be ugly this year. 

Phoenix Suns: I just can't figure this team out. They look like they might sneak in, then they fall off. I am sticking with lottery for PHX this year. 

Portland Trailblazers: Losing Aldridge hurts. Lillard is a star, but can he be THE star? Might be a bit of a drop off, which is death in the West. 

Sacramento Kings: Cousins. Rondo. Karl. What could go wrong? One of those 3 won't last the season. Easily the most dysfunctional team in the league. 

San Antonio Spurs: Too easy to pick them. They have reloaded without ever having to rebuild. Won't be a shock if they win it all, but just short seems right. 

Toronto Raptors: The good news is they don't have to play Paul Pierce until the Finals. The bad news is they'll never get there. 

Utah Jazz: One of those years where you just want to see some positive steps forward while you wait out the big guns and rise in the West. 

Washington Wizards: This could be Beal's breakout year. Probably staying in the playoff mix, but expectations are lower. 

Playoff Predictions:

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams: 1. Chicago 2. Cleveland 3. Atlanta 4. Boston 5. Miami 6. Orlando 7. Toronto 8. Washington

Western Conference Playoff Teams: 1. San Antonio 2. Oklahoma City 3. LA Clippers 4. Golden State 5. Houston 6. Memphis 7. New Orleans 8. LA Lakers

ECF: Cleveland over Chicago - There's just too much talent on that Cavs roster if they're healthy. And if LeBron doesn't have to do everything himself, they're going back to the Finals.

WCF: LA Clippers over San Antonio - Kills me to have OKC on the outside looking in here, but it is the Clippers time. Plus, we get the Spurs/Clips series we all want.

NBA Finals: LA Clippers over Cleveland - Sorry, Bron Bron. You're a bridesmaid again. Its time for the other LA squad to get their banner. With the vet leadership of Paul Pierce, just like in 2008, Doc is getting a ring. 


MVP: Russell Westbrook

6th Man: Isaiah Thomas

Def. POY: Kawhi Leonard

Coach: Brad Stevens

Rookie: DeAngelo Russell

Sunday, October 26, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Tweets: Vol. 3

What an off-season for the NBA! LeBron and "The Letter", a mega, mega TV rights deal, another Team USA gold, old faces in new places, pre-season injuries, 44-minute games and renewed hopes and expectations for every team in the league. Yet, while all of this has been great, the real reason for our excitement is that we are finally ready for the 2014-2015 tip-off this week!

Now, what would the few days before the dawn of a new season be without a Ball So Hard Sports "30 Teams in 30 Tweets" primer for our fans?! Sure, you can go to the "experts" out there (or Jalen Rose and his baseball bat if you just want to hear jibberish) for long-winded analysis, but like Sweet Brown says, "Ain't Nobody Got Time For That"! So, instead, we give the #BSHNation what they want: 30 Teams in 30 Tweets: Volume 3!

As always, read, enjoy, debate, criticize, whatever your little roundball-loving hearts desire. But know this: we hit 14 of 16 playoff teams last year. Now, some of the jade has stayed (we still love Doc and the other LA squad) and some has moved (Pierce to DC means the Wiz get far more love than Brooklyn now) and some is renewed (welcome back, Hornets!), but as always, the analysis is real!

Without further adieu, here we go. Your 140 character outlooks for everyone in the NBA. Tuesday will be a great beginning for the league's future and hopefully we'll look back in June as some really great predictions from here. Let's get to the tweets:

Atlanta Hawks:  Playoff constant. Could be as high as 4 seed. Still see low seed, 1st round exit and Horford dealt.

Boston Celtics: Smart, Sully and Olynyk will be fun to watch. This team will scrap. Don’t discount an 8 seed, but 28-30 wins and a big summer sounds right.

Brooklyn Nets: Kidd leaving is a plus. Hollins will get max effort. Bottom half playoff team if healthy. Enjoy KG’s last ride.

Charlotte Hornets: Hornet Revival! Big Al and Born Ready will get this team into the playoffs again, where they might just make some noise.

Chicago Bulls: Can D-Rose stay healthy? If so, Gasol makes this team one of, if not THE favorite in the East. Big year for Noah.

Cleveland Cavaliers: The Letter stole the summer headlines. The Big 3 stole the preseason media coverage. Will LeBron bring a ring to Cleveland? Yes, but in ’16.
Dallas Mavericks: Parsons is a nice get. Nelson an underrated signing as well. Should keep this squad in the West 8, but not far into the playoffs.

Denver Nuggets: Can a team be TOO deep? We will find out this year. Nuggets have the talent to make playoffs and go deep. Manimal’s break out year!

Detroit Pistons:  Stan Van Gundy has his work cut out for him in the Motor City. Feels like a “reset button” year to get things in order. Sorry, fans.

Golden State Warriors: Pressure is on Klay. If they choose you over K-Love, you better help Steph and the crew get deep into the summer. They picked the wrong guy.

Houston Rockets: They failed to get their 3rd star. Ariza will help. Look for a mid-year Rondo push. Still a piece or two away from cracking the elite teams.

Indiana Pacers: Feels like their window slammed shut. PG-13 missing the year means a long, long season in Indy. Could also mean Lottery status.

Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers era of failure is gone. Ballmer and Rivers will win. This could be the year for the “other” LA team to raise a banner.

Los Angeles Lakers: Can Kobe be healthy again or has age finally caught up? We know it has with Nash. Randle can be good, but this team will struggle.

Memphis Grizzlies: RT from 2013: Made noise but fell short last year. Same old story. Guessing they drop a bit this year before making a charge down the road.

Miami Heat: This is D-Wade’s team. Unfortunately, this isn’t 2006. They’re still a playoff team, but the Heatles era is nothing but a memory now.

Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari will be great. Not sure why they wanted Kidd, but they are the Bucks. At least they have Mallory Edens!

Minnesota Timberwolves: Another year where MIN trades a star to create a Big 3 for someone else. Wiggins is a star in the making, but not yet. Rubio needs to shine.

New Orleans Pelicans: The Brow is a future MVP. This team is ready to make some noise. Could crack the playoffs this year, but if not bank on it in ‘16.

New York Knicks:  Jackson will eventually bring a title to the “Zen Garden” but will it be before Melo’s new deal expires? Doubtful. Growing Pains for D-Fish.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The Durant injury is crippling to this team. Have to have homecourt to beat SA or LAC. Westbrook will carry them but could be a lost year.

Orlando Magic: They are building something special in Florida with Oladipo and Gordon. That next lottery piece they get next year will help too.

Philadelphia 76ers: Year 2 of Tankapalooza. They’ve got some pieces and potential, but its going to be ugly this year. Lowest wins in history? Possible.

Phoenix Suns: Dead wrong about them last year. They’ll hang around the 8 seed again, but ultimately will fall short. Then big decisions in off-season.

Portland Trailblazers: Lillard has elevated himself to star status. Now he has to team with Aldridge to improve on last year. They just might.

Sacramento Kings: Cousins is going to be an All-Star. Rudy Gay will help. Interesting mix of a team trying to win now while rebuilding. Rondo’s new home?

San Antonio Spurs: The Champs can repeat. Kawhi is again the key. If healthy, look for this team to be playing in June one more time.

Toronto Raptors: Shocking that Ujiri has turned the Raps into Denver East. Very deep. Maybe too deep. Top 4 seed in the East.

Utah Jazz: While they won’t win many games, this team is going to be interesting to watch. Young and can grow together. How will Exum adjust to NBA?

Washington Wizards: The Wiz put the league on notice in last year’s playoffs. Now, with the Truth to guide the young guns, this could be THE team in the East.

Playoff Predictions:

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams: 1. Chicago 2. Cleveland 3. Washington 4. Toronto 5. Charlotte 6. Miami 7. Atlanta 8. Brooklyn

Western Conference Playoff Teams: 1. LA Clippers 2. San Antonio 3. Golden State 4. Oklahoma City 5. Houston 6. Portland 7. Denver 8. Dallas

Eastern Conference Finals: Chicago over Cleveland. Everyone will pick Cleveland to win the East or be in the ECF. I think Washington gives them all they can handle in the Semis and would give Chicago a run if they got a crack at a healthy Bulls squad, but they just won’t have the firepower. The Bulls, if healthy, go to the Finals. If they aren’t healthy, it wouldn’t shock me to see LeBron back in the Finals and Cleveland fans out of their minds.

Western Conference Finals: LA Clippers over San Antonio. This is going to be the year that the Clippers officially put their past behind them, in every facet of the franchise’s history. New owner, great coach, an MVP candidate in Blake…all of it adds up to taking the moniker of “LA’s Team” from the Lakers and heading to the Finals.

NBA Finals: Bulls over LA Clippers. This will be one hell of an NBA Finals if it happens. As a Celtics fan, I love that it would be the perfect Lakers nightmare: the Clippers and Pau Gasol both battling for an NBA title while they sit home! This would seem to be a 7 game slugfest, but I think in the end, the student will get the best of the teacher and Thibs’ boys will overcome Doc and the Clips. This Chicago team just has too much talent if they are healthy to be beaten this year.

Awards Predictions:

 This feels like an easy LeBron win. You could also see Blake make a run if the Clips follow through as far as I have them going. D-Rose will have to be an MVP again for the Bulls to win it all. I really like Westbrook putting the team on his back while Durant is out as well, and the Brow is still a year away. With all of that said, I’m going with LeBron, Westbrook, Griffin, Rose in that order this year.

6th Man: Andre Iguodala. If GS makes him the 6th man as rumored, this is his to lose. You could see Tristan Thompson make a run here with Cleveland as well.

Coach: Doc Rivers. He kept this team focused and competitive as well as anyone could have during the Sterling debacle. He will be rewarded for keeping them focused and going even further this year.

Rookie: Jabari Parker. He is the most pro-ready of the Wiggins/Parker debate. He’ll show why and win this award this year.

Defensive POY: Joakim Noah. He’s going to have to be a monster for the Bulls to make the Finals and win it all.

There you have it. Outlooks for all 30 teams, ranked playoff predictions and award projections for the 2014-2015 season. As always, let's hear it in the comments if you agree or disagree and we'd love to hear your predictions as well. Happy Hoops Season, everyone!