I love NBA basketball.
Another day, another basketball preview. Today I will give you my next three teams. These teams are better than the 76ers, Lakers and Trail Blazers, but not by that much. They're a step up, but they're still going to be picking in the lottery in next year's draft.
My number 27 team is the New York Knicks. The Knicks are this low you're asking me? Absolutely. Sure, they have Carmelo Anthony, one of the most overrated "superstars" in the NBA today. Sure, Phil Jackson is running the show as the GM now. Sure they had a lottery pick, they took Kristpas Porzingis, and who knows with him. He's either the new Dirk Nowitzki, or in his GM's terms, the next Shawn Bradley. There's no middle ground for Porzingis. Time will tell how well of a GM Phil Jackson truly is. I don't think he's done a good job so far, but he is a basketball genius, so he may know something we don't know. But, you trade away Iman Shumpert and JR Smith and the team gets worse? How in the hell does that happen? They didn't get much of anything in return as well. Bad move by Phil Jackson. Carmelo Anthony is a shell of the player he was in Denver and his first couple seasons in New York. He gets hurt constantly, argues with the front office, i.e. takes a max contract from the Knicks and now, according to rumors, he wants to be traded to the Bulls who tried really hard to get him last offseason and he has ZERO interest in passing the ball, or playing defense. He fought so much with Tim Hardaway Jr last season, they traded Hardaway to the Hawks for next to nothing just to make Anthony happy. At this point in his career, he's a worse version of Kobe Bryant. Instead of leading and helping this team, he bitches and complains. It's never his fault, it's everyone else around him. He's past his prime, and he's never been to the Finals in his career. Do you remember when he and LeBron James were rookies and people actually thought that Anthony may be a better pro than James? You were all wrong. James is ten times the player that Anthony is on his best day. The rest of their roster is pretty weak. They signed Aaron Affalo this offseason to an eight million dollar contract. That's crazy. Affalo is a good defender, but that's it. He is not the player he was with the Nuggets and he is only getting older. They signed Robin Lopez, and while he's a good NBA center, he is not the answer for the Knicks. They have the aging corpse of Jose Calderon and they signed Derrick Williams. You don't remember him? He was a lottery pick four years ago and he couldn't find the court in Minnesota or Sacramento. He will struggle in New York. Langston Galloway was a "pleasant" surprise. He looks like he could end up being a good bench player in his career. But, the Knicks start him. Other than that, there's really not much to like about the Knicks and I don't like much about who I mentioned. They're a 26 or 27 win team, at best, this year.
How the Knicks will win it all.
They will win the title if Carmelo finds his form from 8 years ago, Porzingis becomes a beast immediately, Affalo travels back in time to 5 years ago and Derrick Williams suddenly becomes an All Star. That's not happening. This team is a mess and they will be for the next two or three years.
My number 26 team is the Denver Nuggets. What in the world happened to this team? They were in the playoffs two years ago and had one of the best home court advantages in all of the NBA. Then, out of nowhere, they imploded. They've traded away a ton of good players, fired a decent coach and gave up midway through last season. During last year they traded away Aaron Affalo, Timofey Mozgov and Ty Lawson. They did have Lawson all of last season, but when they drafted Emmanuel Mudiay, the writing was on the wall. They have likable NBA players, guys like Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari. They also drafted Mudiay, and I like him a lot. I think he's going to end up being a really good NBA point guard. Kenneth Faried is a hustle and rebounding machine. This guy goes 100mph and plays with reckless abandon. Wilson Chandler is long and rangy, he's a solid defender and a pretty good three point shooter. And Gallinari, if he can stay healthy, is a good all around player. But, these guys don't mesh well together. When they play, it's like a mishmash of solid players and not so solid players. It doesn't help that everyone one of these guys, Mudiay being the exception, is always on the trading block. It's hard to play hard for a team that is always in discussions to trade you. There's some good young talent, but those guys aren't ready yet. The veterans are too old and they can't help in any phase of the game. This team signed Mike Miller for Christ sakes. He hasn't been helpful in 8 years.
How the Nuggets will win it all.
The Nuggets will win the Finals if Mudiay becomes elite immediately, not happening, Faried becomes not only a rebounding machine, but a 25 point per game player, not happening, Chandler and Gallinari put in 60 combined points a night, not happening, and Mike Miller and Gary Harris come off the bench with some instant offense, not happening. This team is too far behind almost every team in the West, minus the Lakers and Trail Blazers, and they will need some time to get back to where they were two years ago. Sorry Nuggets fans, you'll be lucky to win 30 games this season.
My number 25 team is the Brooklyn Nets. They were in the playoffs last year, barely, and they got worse in the offseason. Sure, they bought out Deron Williams, who hasn't been good in five years, but they replaced him with Jarret Jack and Shane Larkin. Those two are hardly world beaters. Larkin is inexperienced and Jack, when the Warriors traded him, they got immediately better. Joe Johnson clearly doesn't want to be on this team anymore but, his contract is so bad, no one will trade for him. He's stuck. They resigned Brook Lopez, but he's a foot injury waiting to happen. The guy can barely stay on the court as it is, and now the Nets just gave him big money. They signed Andrea Bargnani and Thomas Robinson this offseason. Those are two lottery busts. Bargnani has been on four different teams now, and Robinson can't seem to find the court on any team he's been with. They drafted Ryan Boatright, and while he was a great college scorer, he'll find it to be much tougher sledding in the NBA. Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, their other draft pick may be good, but I don't have a big enough sampling since he was a one and done player from Arizona. The rest of the roster is filled with question marks. It's gotten so weird with their crazy owner recently, that NBA TV showed him running drills in camp, and these drills were asinine. Go look it up on Google, it's insane.
How the Nets will win it all.
The Nets will win the title if everyone, including Joe Johnson, buys into this crazy owner, believes their own hype and somehow wins games they shouldn't. That won't happen. As I said before, their best player, Joe Johnson, doesn't want to be there, Brook Lopez is one foot injury away from being done for good and everyone else on the roster is unproven. The Nets are a 30 win team. No ifs ands or buts about it. So, there are my 27, 26 and 25 teams for you. Come back tomorrow for 24, 23, and 22.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is enjoying one more day of one kid and one money. Follow Ty on twitter @tykulik.