With the NBA season starting tonight, I have my final 3 teams for my countdown today. These are the best of the best in my opinion. These are the teams to beat. And I'm only going to do my three teams today. I will do a whole post season prediction and award winner predictions tomorrow. So today, we have our final 3. Lets get into it.
At number 3 I have the Philadelphia 76ers. I love this team. There was a point in time, on this very same website, when I chastised what this was doing. I hated what they put on the court. They were a tire fire. Now, all of that has changed. Brett Brown is a very good, very patient coach. Ben Simmons is a monster. That dude is a 6'10 point guard. I literally do not care that he can't shoot from the outside, everything else he does is wonderful. He is an elite passer. He is a great attacker of the rim. He is a solid defender. He is a terror for opposing players trying to guard him. Joel Embiid is a modern Hakeem. I know that is high praise, but dammit, he deserves it. He has some incredible low post moves. He can shoot fro the outside. He can pass so well out of the post. He plays great defense. He is an awesome rebounder. And he is just an overall fun guy. If he can stay healthy, much like he did last year, he and Simmons are going to be vaulted as the future faces of the league. Robert Covington is underrated and can shoot the rock. He also plays very solid D. He knows his role on this team, and he plays it perfectly. Dario Saric is much of the same. He is the perfect third or fourth option for this team. He is also a good rebounder and he, at least, tries on defense. TJ McConnell is a better, scratch that, a much, much better version of Matthew Dellavedova. He is a better shooter, a better playmaker and isn't annoying. I'm not giving up on Markelle Fultz yet. He sat most of last year, but doesn't every 76ers pick do that? Why was he so maligned for it? I saw the videos of his shot, and when he came back, he looked timid, but he is still only 20. He has looked better in preseason. He won't be asked to be the savior. I feel like he is going to be a solid player for this team. JJ Redick, while I think he is a wildly overrated defender, can still shoot the hell out of the ball. He is the floor spacer that Embiid and Simmons need. They also added Wilson Chandler, who is another instant offense off the bench for this team. Mike Muscala can shoot as well. Losing Zhaire Smith for the year will be a bummer, but they have another solid rookie to fall back on, Landry Shamet. The 76ers are back to being a top notch NBA franchise. I am fully buying in to this team being good to great again. I like watching this team, and I think they are going to be the best in the East.
At number 2 I have the Houston Rockets. I know, they lost some key guys. Losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah AMoute might sting, but, and correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't this team still have the reigning MVP James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela? Don't they also have PJ Tucker still? Didn't they finally shed the horrible Ryan Anderson? Isn't former 6th man of the year winner Eric Gordon still there? Don't they still have Nene? The Rockets are still stacked, and people are freaking out about them losing 2 guys. Harden is amazing. I do not like watching him play, he is a total ball stopper, he draws to many fouls and shoots too many free throws, and is horrendous on defense, but the dude can shoot and slash. He is one of the best at getting to the rim and is one of the best at shooting the three. Harden is amazing. Chris Paul is super dirty and old, but he is still producing and has more freedom to shoot. He does get hurt far to much, especially at crucial moments. But, Paul is still one of the better pure point guards playing. Clint Capela might be the best rim runner in the league. He did the right thing in re signing there, because he gets so many open looks at the rim. He is also a great defender and rebounder. PJ Tucker is one of the toughest guys in the league, and he can shoot the three. Nene is another one of the toughest guys in the league, and even though he isn't what he used to be, he will fight a dude if need be. These 2 add the toughness this team has always lacked. Eric Gordon is a great, great bench player. He is the perfect instant offense guy. He, much like Harden, isn't a good defender at all, but he can fill up the stat sheet. Gerald Green is a high flyer and shoots a lot of threes, which means he fits in perfect for this team. They got Brandon Knight and Marquiss Chriss in the Anderson trade. While I don't think either of those guys will contribute much of anything, the best thing they did was help the Rockets get off Ryan Anderson. And they added Carmelo Anthony. This is about 5 years too late, but if he plays like Olympic Carmelo, and I know I said this exact same thing last year, he will fit in just fine. The Rockets don't play much defense, and they won't win 60 plus games again, but they are still great. They score and score and score. The Rockets are still the second best team in the league.
And at number 1 I have, of course, the Golden State Warriors. I mean, who else would it be? When Boogie Cousins comes back, they will be starting 5 all stars. KD is the best all around player in the league. He can score from anywhere on the floor, he has become a much better rebounder and passer, and when he plays defense, he is ferocious. I'm not down with his passive aggressive, wannabe bad guy mentality, he's not a bad guy, but the dude can play. Steph is the best pure shooter I have ever watched. He can shoot fro anywhere, and I mean ANYWHERE on the court. He is also a wizard with the ball. He isn't much of a defender, but he doesn't need to be. Klay Thompson is the second best pure shooter I have ever seen. He has the best shooting motion and he is such a threat to just go off at anytime. He has the ability to score 30 in a quarter. He has done it. Multiple times. He is also a lock down defender. He should always be on first team all defense. Draymond Green is the engine that runs this team. His headaches that he causes are totally worth it because the dude gives maximum effort. He is the best pound for pound defender in the NBA. He is also the only guy I have seen competently guard all 5 positions and do it well. He is also a decent offensive player. And when he gets back from injury, even if he is just 70 percent of who he was before, Boogie is an amazing modern center. He can shoot from three. He is a beast in the interior. He is nearly unstoppable down low. He is a great rebounder. And if he chooses to play defense, he is good. Also, I know there are worries about his presence in this locker room, but I don't buy it. This team is too well put together to let one guy screw it up. And I also love that people are saying the same nonsense that they don't have any depth. Well, they said that last year and they still won the title. They also still have Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. I know they are older and have played a ton of basketball, but they are both perfect for this team. These 2 know exactly when to turn it on and off, and they will be crucial come playoff time. Jordan Bell also played a ton of minutes last year and was a great rebounder, defender and scored when he needed to. He fits too good with this team. Kevon Looney got key playing time last year, and he is back. The Warriors are going to continue to dominate this league as long as they keep guys like Steph, who is under contract, Klay, who has said he wants to stay, KD, who always flirts with leaving, and then signs on again and Draymond, who should never leave this team because it is far too perfect for him. What this lacked was a true center, and they got Boogie on a one year deal. Until further notice, I will always put the Warriors at number 1, and I will continue to pick them to win the title. The Warriors are the Patriots of the NBA, except they don't lose titles, they dominate and win them all.
That does it for my countdown for the 2018-19 season. Come back tomorrow for my post season and awards predictions. And also, get pumped. The season starts tonight. NBA basketball is back.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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