We’ll see how the Sixers go up against the Nuggets, Jazz, Blazers, Thunder, and Timberwolves. If you’re wondering why I don’t go into great detail about the teams in previous posts, well it’s because when the individual match-ups come along, things will be much more detailed. Are you ready to look at the last Western Division? I am too. So let’s hurry up and get it done.
The Nuggets are probably the least talked amount team in the Dwight Howard trade. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t work out for them. Andre Iguodala is an addition they needed. Their defense will now be improved by that much. Trust me Nuggets fans, you got a piece there. Keep an eye on the knees, although he hasn’t had much of a problem staying on the court.
Ty Lawson is the scoring PG/SG guy but they’ll be okay because Andre Miller is in town again. A teammate of Iguodala’s in Philly, Miller still shows that not leaving his feet is a great way to stay on the court, literally and figuratively. Danilo Gallinari is the 3-point guy that will prove to be deadly around the Andres’ (see what I did there?) play-making abilities. Don’t forget about their young big men. JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried aren’t Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin (yet?) but in time they can definitely be a nice combo for the Nuggets.
The Sixers will have their work cut out for them. Defensively, the Nuggets will definitely be able to slow down the Sixers. Offensively, the Sixers will probably have the advantage. I think games vs the Nuggets are going to go either way and will prove to be an exciting match-up.
The Jazz are licking their wounds from the Deron Williams and Jerry Sloan incident. But they have players to still build around. Paul Millsap, Gordan Hayward, and Enes Kanter might be a core to look into. Derrick Favors too. But, for the time being, it looks like the Mo Williams and Al Jefferson show. Both are in their prime although they won’t be leading the Jazz to as many wins as Stockton and Malone. In fact, I don’t think playoffs is in the picture. Well maybe they can do it. They’re certainly not a lottery team, I don’t think.
Both Jazz and Sixers have quite the amount of big men. The match-ups may end up coming down to which big man was playing their “A” game. This is one of those games where I would hope Turner and even Jrue would have a solid game as perimeter play is weak for the Jazz.
I still think the Jazz needs to trade a big off for a wing player. I made a mild suggestion for them to trade for Iguodala, but obviously that’s not happening. Getting a wing player and actually a PG (because Mo Williams isn’t all that great) should be a priority. There are teams looking for a PF and the Jazz can afford to trade one off.
I feel the Sixers have the advantage over the Jazz but sadly I think that the Jazz are a team that can pull off an upset because upsets happen all the time in the NBA.
The injury bug stopped this team from making the playoffs last season. Once part of the laughing stock of the league, they have a solid core to build what I seriously think can be a contender in a few years. Ricky Rubio proved he’s a beast. Kevin Love proved to at least me that he’s a rebounding monster who can hit that 3 pointer. Nikola Pekovic is a Center that compliments Love nicely.
They only got better this off-season. Andrei Kirilenko spent some time away from the league but seems to have only gotten better, in accordance to the Olympics performance he game for Russia. And now he’s most likely going to start at SF for the Wolves after last season the Wolves tried to make it work with Beasley. Chase Budinger is a good pick-up too.
The risk they took was taking on a formerly retired Brandon Roy. I’m not going to dive into the tale of Roy’s career the past two seasons. Let’s just say that if Roy is still productive, the Wolves are going to be even more deadly than before. Hm, Roy was drafted by the Wolves…
Again, if the Wolves stay healthy, this team will be in the playoffs. And I would love to see that. Can they beat the Sixers? No not yet. But Pekovic may cause Bynum problems as he’s tough enough.
The Thunder didn’t make a lot of changes this off-season. But I guess they really didn’t have to. Led by their trio of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, this team is still a contender and one of the now few teams that can potentially sweep the Sixers in a season series. The only team that can seriously stop the Sixers in the East is the Heat. In the West, it’s the Thunder and I guess the Lakers.
They have a great cast of supporting players. The problem that’s being raised is if the Thunder can afford to keep them. Even in the Seattle Sonics days, this core was being built to contend and the roster spent most of its time reaching that status on rookie contracts. Now that money is becoming more and more of an issue, OKC will have to figure out who is not as important to their championship hopes and if they can replace a player for a lesser price.
Still, as long as they keep their core duo in Westbrook and Durant, they should be an elite team.
This team has been in “blow it up” mode and it’s been interesting to see them get rid of the playoff core they had. Unlike the Sixers though, the Blazers have pretty much entered rebuilding mode. LaMarcus Aldridge appears to be the piece they want to build around. Nicolas Batum is also a player that team has been reluctant to let go of, despite many offers for him as well as Batum himself saying he would like to move on.
Other than that, the roster doesn’t have much promise. I think they can say goodbye to the playoffs for a while. And I guess say hello to the lottery.
Sixers should have no trouble taking care of the Blazers at this point. Aldridge at PF will be able to take care of any of the Sixers’ PF’s and Hawes so Bynum may have to spend time defending him. Batum will be a problem actually for the Sixers too but he’s not going to kill the team…right?
That’s it for the West. I want to make a note here that I probably won’t going into previewing the Atlantic division for the sole reason that I’ve already previewed the division a couple of times before and quite frankly I grow weary of talking about it. So most likely Southeast and Central. Also, the staff is working on player profiles and I’ll be giving a run down of the season including player awards and such. Stay tuned.