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NBA 30 Team Preview 2020-2021

nba-30-team-preview-2021

The NBA is back for one of its' most challenging seasons, facing unique disadvantages spread throughout the league like how younger players missed out on their summer league development or how other players lost out on precious recovery time. It will be a perfect season to welcome back Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant who along with countless others are itching to play again. With several new teams looking to make it to the finals it should be another fun season to watch, and a difficult one to predict.

*Oddshark.com

 

2019-2020 Record

2020-2021 Projected Wins*

Atlanta Hawks

20-47 (30%)

35.5

Boston Celtics

48-24 (67%)

45.5

Brooklyn Nets

35-37 (49%)

45.5

Charlotte Hornets

23-42 (35%)

25.5

Chicago Bulls

22-43 (34%)

29.5

Cleveland Cavaliers

19-46 (29%)

21.5

Dallas Mavericks

43-32 (57%)

42.5

Denver Nuggets

46-27 (63%)

44.5

Detroit Pistons

20-46 (30%)

23.5

Golden State Warriors

15-50 (23%)

38.5

Houston Rockets

44-28 (61%)

35.5

Indiana Pacers

45-28 (62%)

39.5

Los Angeles Clippers

49-23 (68%)

46.5

Los Angeles Lakers

52-19 (73%)

47.5

Memphis Grizzlies

34-39 (47%)

31.5

Miami Heat

44-29 (60%)

44.5

Milwaukee Bucks

56-17 (77%)

51

Minnesota Timberwolves

19-45 (30%)

28.5

New Orleans Pelicans

30-42 (42%)

35.5

New York Knicks

21-45 (32%)

22.5

Oklahoma City Thunder

44-28 (61%)

23.5

Orlando Magic

33-40 (45%)

32

Philadelphia 76ers

43-30 (59%)

44.5

Phoenix Suns

34-39 (47%)

39.5

Portland Trail Blazers

35-39 (47%)

40.5

Sacramento Kings

31-41 (43%)

28.5

San Antonio Spurs

32-39 (45%)

29.5

Toronto Raptors

53-19 (74%)

42.5

Utah Jazz

44-28 (61%)

41.5

Washington Wizards

25-47 (35%)

32.5

Trae Young

Trae Young

Atlanta Hawks 35.5

They couldn’t get any traction going in the standings last season but the development of Trae Young alone exudes hope for a bright Atlanta future after seeing his scoring average balloon ten points. John Collins' suspension hampered his own time to develop on the court but he too ended up having a nice statistical season. Last season’s acquisition of Clint Capela was the first sign that they were ready to load up around Trae by covering up for him with the extraordinary former rocket rim rejector. Rajon Rondo, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Danilo Gallinari now give them a very versatile offensive attack, even when Young rests. Among their trio of promising wings Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, and De’Andre Hunter perhaps one could still start but they all could still play meaningful minutes despite the recent roster reinforcements. The sixth overall pick Onyeka Okongwu is loaded with talent and could be able to make an instant impact, especially if he is able to show his defensive prowess. It was important that the team added players capable of running the offense so they can move Trae off the ball more, which should add to his lethality while also increasing their chances of competing come playoff time. OVER 36-36

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics 45.5

Following another conference finals heartbreak, the celtics at least can take solace of their gained experience, increasing their probabilities that they may finally bust through one of these years with this core. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are a prolific duo that the franchise should absolutely keep building around and Marcus Smart has shown tremendous growth offensively, solidifying himself as the starting shooting guard. Daniel Theis can stretch the floor for their offense to run smoothly and he also provides sturdy enough defense despite his size, while Tristan Thompson brings his manic rebounding aboard to help during their inevitable playoff run. Several players could end up missing out on playing time but there is upside to be had in Grant Williams, Robert Williams III, Semi Ojeleye and rookie lottery pick Aaron Nesmith. The addition of Jeff Teague could end up being a huge signing with him well equipped to be a key contributor off the bench while also being capable of stepping in to help run the offense. Kemba Walker starting the season limited may only end up being a standings related setback, but it is also likely that they don't miss a beat with the steady heart of Jaylen and Jayson setting the tone. UNDER 42-30

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

Brooklyn Nets 45.5

With Kevin Durant making his eastern conference debut Brooklyn is ready to brawl anybody this coming post-season. Durant being supported by such a stellar duo of centers, Jarret Allen and DeAndre Jordan, should transform them into a top defense overnight with such extraordinary length. Caris LeVert is capable of playing the hero on a sub-par team, as he exemplified in the bubble, but should also be a tremendous understudy for KD as they push to the top of the east in a hurry. Spencer Dinwiddie sticks around to champion a much improved second unit which had heady acquisitions of Bruce Brown and Landry Shamet, loading up Steve Nash for his first coaching corral. As much noise that surrounds Kyrie Irving the buzz created by his ball handling is infinitely louder and should pair wonderfully with Durant. The east isn’t going to let them walk to the finals but they should probably be the favorites with their championship caliber roster; plus Durant could be worth an additional 15 regular season wins for them. OVER 50-22

Lamelo Ball

Lamelo Ball

Charlotte Hornets 25.5

Although they took a step back in their competitiveness, several young players showed promise for this perennially faltering franchise and Michael Jordan supplemented that growth by drafting perhaps the best prospect entering the league this season in Lamelo Ball. Youngsters P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges offer both enormous athleticism and the potential to take this roster forward in the standings with their impact on both ends. A worthy off-season addition of Gordon Hayward should help by adding even one more ball handler to complement their battalion of already capable guards with Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham still around. Ball gives them a trio of strong guards that could elevate the team around them enough to push for a playoff spot with their strong mix of scoring and facilitating. Cody Zeller has failed to show consistency throughout an entire season but is still capable of randomly sprouting a bulbous double-double tree on the stat sheets. Hayward finds himself in a similar spot now as in Boston with young teammates growing around him but should still get an ample opportunity to earn his paycheck with an expected volume increase. Whether they improved enough to work their way into the playoff picture remains to be seen but their young core actually looks like they could blossom into something beautiful someday. OVER 26-46

Coby White

Coby White

Chicago Bulls 29.5

After an emergency shock treatment to restore their young nucleus a new optimism has emerged with head coach Billy Donnovan perfectly capable of running an offense around the team’s strengths. An intriguing backcourt of Coby White and Zach LaVine can electrify arenas offensively but may also be over exploited on the other side of the ball. Wendell Carter Jr. might be their most valuable chip they possess because of his key blend of offense and defense. Laurie Markkanen has struggled to maintain his footing thus far in his career climb, but signs are there that his shooting could keep him hanging around again this season. A subtle great off-season addition was the 34-year-old Garrett Temple who coupled with Thaddeous Young offer ample productivity and leadership. The big off-season addition was still their rookie Pattrick Williams who excites many with his athleticism, giving him a very clear path to fit right in on this roster. Otto Porter’s time so far as a bull has been dampened by injury but he could be primed for a resurgent season just in time for another big contract and Tomas Satoransky could improve by shifting to the bench. Expectations of playoffs are reasonable but perhaps still a lofty sight with improved arsenals along the eastern sea. OVER 30-42

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond

Cleveland Cavaliers 21.5

They are unlikely to be mentioned among the crop of eastern conference playoff hopefuls but if the roster is able to gel, they could end up sneaking by several teams. Isaac Okoro addresses their need on the wing so he should have plenty of run for his first season and could fit in nicely getting out in transition with their quick guards and big men who can make outlet passes. The improvement of Colin Sexton offensively has been the only engaging thing about Cleveland the past few seasons but with Darius Garland in line to progress and a stronger roster behind them now the cavs could be in for a turn-around campaign. There is also some evidence for a solid second unit with JaVale McGee coming to town to pair with the bouncy Larry Nance Jr, giving them decent pieces to run with up-and-coming play-makers Kevin Porter Jr and Cedi Osman. A few feisty guards in Matthew Dellavedova and Dante Exum round out the guards and should be a good deterrent to the starters in practice. Kevin Love and Drummond could own the defensive glass and if their guards are able to leak out, they could find themselves starting to win games with defense and transition baskets. OVER 27-45

Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic

Dallas Mavericks 42.5

Luka’s rapid ascension into super-stardom has ensured that this franchise will be relevant for a very long time with his dominance showing he can carry a very wide cast of teammates towards a winning season. This time around, however, there is likely an inevitable ceiling because of Kristaps Porzingis’s propensity for injury. A nice addition of Josh Richardson adds another creator type who could play pivotal roles in second units while also giving the starters another attack layer offensively. Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr can bomb away threes in this offense so with big men Porzingis and Maxi Kleber being able to space the floor as well it provides a tough blueprint for opposing defenses to try to slow down all of Luka’s plans. Gaining playoff experience was huge but they also seriously tested the clippers in the first-round and should be seen as a potential problem moving forward. OVER 43-29

Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray

Denver Nuggets 44.5

Jamal Murray achieved greatness during their run to the conference finals with his sensational efficiency and playmaking, opening the door for a possible championship this season in Denver. Nikola Jokic remains one of the more unique weapons in the league with his extraordinary vision and ability to make any shot. Gary Harris and Paul Millsap provide meaningful offense with a strong defensive mentality that is necessary for advancing late in the year. The severity from the sting of losing Jerami Grant may only be seen during certain matchups in the post-season, but for the regular season it opens up a lot of minutes for Michael Porter Jr to flourish. They made their playoff run without Will Barton so his long-awaited impact will be a welcome sight, and if they can unearth the potential of Bol Bol then things get even scarier for their opponents. They have been a damn good team for three seasons running now so it’s only a matter of time until this pair of Jokic and Murray sees confetti. OVER 50-22

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin

Detroit Pistons 23.5

Whatever way this season shakes out personnel wise there is potential intrigue for fans with a duo of Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin capable of turning back their clocks for better production or becoming attractive pieces for other markets at some point. If the latter road is taken a significant amount of time will open up for Sekou Doumbouya to showcase his potential and for lottery pick Killian Hayes to get the necessary minutes for his optimal development. Jerami Grant was able to secure himself a max deal and it will be fun to see him take flight in his new role after opting for more on-court growth over another guaranteed playoff run with the nuggets. Delon Wright didn’t end up fitting in with Dallas but has another chance to seek the production that’s been hiding in his per minute numbers with a potential big role on the table. They ended up hitting the center market hard in free agency, even enticing Mason Plumlee to also defect from Denver, but simply spending that many free agent dollars won’t bring back the production they were getting from Drummond or Wood in that spot. UNDER 20-52

Draymond Green & Andrew Wiggins

Draymond Green & Andrew Wiggins

Golden State Warriors 38.5

Suddenly without Klay Thompson there is enough doubt that they will find themselves on the outside looking in again with their lone splash brother to carry them. After their uncharacteristic season they wound up with the second overall pick James Wiseman, who may see starters minutes for them out of the gates. They have shuffled pieces around a bit since the "injury bug," hit them but settling in on Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre on the wings adds some hope for a formidable lineup with their team leader Draymond Green looking for a redemptive season. Kent Bazemore comes back to the bay now with the potential to be a key reserve along with some emerging players in Eric Paschall and Damion Lee who benefited from the extra playing time they received last campaign. Ex Celtic Brad Wanamaker was signed to be a reserve guard but with their lead guard Curry expected to carry such an enormous burden his minutes could remain marginal. They will be approaching this season with a different mindset than last time knowing it will take everything they have to return to their old contending ways, so it will be hard to bet against them at least making the playoffs. OVER 39-33

James Harden

James Harden

Houston Rockets 35.5

It is officially too late to wonder whether the team should trade away one of the greatest scorers in NBA history on a count of unhappiness after the organization seems to have already mishandled things, leaving them to just patiently ponder the best package. Harden is capable of winning plenty of games again with this current team but he likely is mentally prepared for an exit knowing the rockets roster isn’t ready for a championship. John Wall and DeMarcous Cousins form a fun duo in the instance Harden vanishes Houston as both are looking to reignite their careers. Christian Wood was another big addition who should be able to build off the fantastic momentum he discovered last season. Eric Gordon could find more opportunity for shots depending on how the season ends up but there is far too much mystery around Harden to safely predict a playoff appearance this season. UNDER 32-39

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis

Indiana Pacers 39.5

The pacers could be among the better regular season teams out east but may struggle to match up with the top teams again come playoff time. Their starting lineup is packed with good players and perhaps their continuity is what will break them through on the second stage this time around. A coaching change could bring a fresh perspective but the personnel is still among the deepest in the league with Aaron Holiday and Jeremy Lamb highlighting their very good bench. Victor Oladipo may not reach that old level of production fans became accustomed to but he really just needs to play better within the team. Their front line of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner have grown well together but could be split up if they can’t advance further this year, although it’s important to note that they got swept by a hungry Miami team that continued that dominance on their way to the finals. After Malcom Brogdon had a break-out year and the way TJ Warren was scoring during the bubble, they could really explode if Oladipo gets back on track. OVER 43-29

Lou Williams

Lou Williams

Los Angeles Clippers 46.5

After taking several hits from the media their long tenured coach was let go and numerous reports about the unfair treatment of the star players was released as well, signaling a fair amount of turmoil just as their tethered gym partners were celebrating their championship in the offices down the hall. Montrezl Harrell will report to that side of the hall this season but the clips were able to snag Serge Ibaka in free agency to bolster their already elite defense. Lou Williams accounts for so many buckets still this late in his career and will have some newer faces to involve in the fun this time via Luke Kennard and Nicolas Batum. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George may be under some heat this season, so their response could simply be winning a championship to silence everyone. OVER 48-24

Jimmy Butler & LeBron James

Jimmy Butler & LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers 47.5

LeBron got the job done and now has even seen the roster around him improve for his title defense. Dennis Schroder should be an impact guard for the team giving them another proficient scorer to compliment "The King," while Marc Gasol still has a bit left in his tank and should absolutely love playing with LeBron and vice versa. Montrezl Harrell will bring an explosive energy to the second unit with his attacking game and could help share the regular season burden with Anthony Davis. Kyle Kuzma is the greatest enigma on the team but will still be able to find a way to score the basketball. Key finals contributors Markieff Morris and Alex Caruso were retained and with Wes Matthews joining up it gives them outlandish depth; plus considering the pre-season that Talen Horton-Tucker had, it’ll be impossible to find minutes for everybody. LeBron and Davis could easily take the regular season lightly with such a stacked roster behind them as they will likely be tested heavily along their path to duplicate their success. OVER 49-23

Ja Morant

Ja Morant

Memphis Grizzlies 31.5

Ja Morant will be enough to keep Memphis on our minds with his highlight performances each night leading a less talented team to likely overachieve. Jonas Valanciunas has never handled big minutes so having Jaren Jackson Jr starting the season rehabbing will limit their front courts' potential. Brandon Clarke was a standout last season and should carry that momentum forward this year with a great chance to produce big statistics alongside Jonas. Dillon Brooks is capable of getting as hot as anyone but there has been very little night to night consistency in his approach. De’Anthony Melton was a valuable contributor for them last season and was rewarded with a four-year deal to help solidify their defense. It will be harder to repeat their near playoff miracle that occurred last season but with Ja they could always find themselves in the picture. UNDER 25-47

Tyler Herro

Tyler Herro

Miami Heat 44.5

The championship pursuit gave these young guys a plethora of knowledge by competing with the best in the business at the top stage and they should be able to build off that momentum for an extensive run with this core. The legend of Tyler Herro became quite fun during playoff time with his difficult shot making ability on full display so seeing him offer his diverse skill set amongst the starters all year should be amazing. Bam Adebayo is the heart of the team defensively and his offensive game itself is a marvel to see. Jimmy Butler won over a lot of supporters during their trip to the finals, making it appear his previous playing destinations weren’t properly valuing his extreme drive for winning. Duncan Robinson further solidified his shooting role with his smooth touch from beyond still hovering around 40 percent during his first post-season run. Andre Iguodala ended up being a convenient late season addition for them, still possessing his invaluable knowledge, and he should be useful in winning late again. Averey Bradley brings them another feisty defenseman to help guard the wide range of opponents that stand in their way of making it back to the finals. OVER 45-27

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks 51

After a very disappointing playoff performance they were able to rebound with a pleasant off-season capped by Giannis signing an extension. Jrue Holiday was a huge addition and should complement Antetokounmpo and Middleton well with his much-touted defensive brilliance and elite offensive output. They will be a very different roster with several new faces coming in looking to make an impact with Bryn Forbes likely occupying a key guard role for them. Bobby Portis's propensity for punching in points will be a welcome sight coming off the bench and should mix well with backup ball handler DJ Augustin. Developing wing Donte DiVincenzo has a knack for stealing the basketball and should be presented more of an opportunity to shine after not being traded. Giannis is continuing to polish his own game each season and is already an extreme challenge to stop with the ball in his hands, so Milwaukee should once again cruise through the regular season. The playoffs will be another matter with Brookyln’s emergence as well as the Miami team that just gave them fits. OVER 52-20

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns

Minnesota Timberwolves 28.5

A beneficiary of another number one pick, the franchise selected the athletic Anthony Edwards to pair with their extraordinary big man Towns. Edwards is capable of playing three positions and with the wolves having several workable pieces in those spots he’ll likely flirt with each one early on in his career. De’Angelo Russell could produce big numbers again in a situation where he could play off ball frequently with Ricky Rubio and Edwards around. The Timberwolves received excellent production from Malik Beasley last season so he should definitely be a key scorer for them whether he finds one of the starting spots or not. Ed Davis is around to provide a solid rebounding presence off the bench and Juan Hernangomez is in a spot to seize a lot of power forward minutes after his strong end to last season. Towns is brilliant and together with Russell should boast a top offense, but defense has forever been an issue that could limit them to fall below their peers. UNDER 25-47

Brando Ingram

Brando Ingram

New Orleans Pelicans 35.5

Brandon Ingram busted out last season with his all-around game taking some of the spotlight from Zion Williamson who came into the league as one of the highest profiled prospects in recent times. Steven Adams should be a fine upgrade at center and gives them a chance for an ultra-lengthy attack. Lonzo Ball will have so many weapons around him this season it should be his finest assist totals of his career. Eric Bledsoe gives them a tough two-way threat who could be a truly great sixth man for this team as JJ Reddick could still be the one with the starters for his floor stretching purposes. They have a lot of great young pieces with Jaxon Hayes development at center an entertaining watch as well as Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker being available for steady production. They are in a position to constantly seek improvement around their star talent with so many assets in tow, but a full season of Zion could truly mean anything for this year. UNDER 31-41

Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton

New York Knicks 22.5

This season in the big-apple could be a big-spectacle with polarizing figure Tom Thibodeau stepping under the lights again. The roster is different but also the same with their familiar trio of point guards competing for minutes. Rookie Obi Toppin should find a role right away giving Thibs a versatile offensive weapon but RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox may start to cede minutes because of the number of playable parts around them. Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel give them a good paint presence to try and give Thibs the dependable defense he desires while Julius Randle should still get enough minutes to post his numbers. They acquired a few skilled guards in Alec Burks and Austin Rivers to help out with their rotations and if Elfrid Payton is able to take a step forward it could get the team flowing. Their season outlook depends on whether the young guys buy into Thibs as well as he buy into them. UNDER 20-52

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Oklahoma City Thunder 23.5

Shai Gilgeous Alexander has been a real prize for them and after his year studying next to Chris Paul he should be ready to lead the way for this asset rich team. They brought in Al Horford, Trevor Ariza and George Hill who bring their wide range of league experience to the table. Luguentz Dortz became a popular name during their playoff stint and should be in line to produce during the regular season along with Hamidou Diallo. Darrius Bazley is in a nice spot to carve out some statistics in his second season with the team and rookie Theo Maledon could find minutes for himself with the youth movement likely an early priority in Oklahoma City. It should be a dramatically different season for the thunder, and with so many movable parts really anything is possible. UNDER 19-53

Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz

Orlando Magic 32

Perhaps they have been looked over too much in recent seasons with their roster lacking the big-name star appeal but Nikola Vucevic is a smooth operating offensive talent with his underrated ball movement and soft shooting touch. Markelle Fultz should get a larger blast of minutes this season but their rookie Cole Anthony should have a meaningful role himself. Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross are skilled scorers for them and with Aaron Gordon in a spot to play more power forward minutes it could mean a career year for him. Mo Bamba is still a valuable bench big for them and with Khem Birch also around their frontline should be their strength. They could be in a spot to improve with the steady Vucevic churning away and the potential for Fultz to elevate his game further. UNDER 31-41


Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers 44.5

Enough changes occurred that there is renewed optimism for this squad to take the next step during the post-season. Valuable shooters Danny Green and Seth Curry should make a big difference in their overall offensive flow while Green also brings with him his two straight championships and the potential for a stifling defensive pairing with Matisse Thybulle. Ben Simmons could get traded for Harden, but either guy is capable with this roster to take the team to the finals. Joel Embiid probably would be a better match with Harden but together with Simmons have been quite promising with their elite defense together giving them the chance to get by anyone. Tobias Harris gives them an excellent third scoring option and has the size to give their defense an overall stamp of length. The sky is the limit as they are a rising power out east but the roads will be more challenging with Brooklyn now in the picture. UNDER 41-31

Devin Booker & DeAndre Ayton

Devin Booker & DeAndre Ayton

Phoenix Suns 39.5

Devin Booker is an elite scorer and with an all-time play-maker in Chris Paul next to him the future is now in Phoenix. Deandre Ayton might fully blossom playing with Paul, upping his potential to fatten out his double-double stats. The team has multiple useful wings with a nice signing of Jae Crowder joining the emerging Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges. Chris Paul may need to take cautions during the regular season to stay fresh but there are plenty of capable fill-in candidates to get by in those instances with Cameron Payne as well as the dependable Langston Galloway joining up and Jevon Carter sticking around. Dario Saric re-signs as well giving them another wrinkle at a small ball center to use with the number 10 overall pick Jalen Smith, who could prove useful to them as well in their pursuit of some playoff basketball. The pieces are here, the superstar is here, and Chris Paul is itching to win so this isn’t a bad longshot to win the title with the Phoenix Suns juicy + 4500 championship odds. OVER 40-32

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

Portland Trail Blazers 40.5

After a very prudent off-season in Portland where they successfully managed to load up around Damian Lillard, they could now be looking at their ticket to the finals. Robert Covington can bring their stock forward together with Gary Trent and their exemplary wing defense. Lillard and McCollum keep improving and are a wonderful balance to each other offensively, maintaining their roles as catalysts for the team. Jusuf Nurkic is healthy and ready to make an impact locking down the middle and with a signing of Harry Giles they bolster their already deep bench. Anfernee Simons is an explosive guard for their second unit and with Rodney Hood and Derrick Jones Jr there are plenty of angles to look for offensively. Carmelo Anthony could have a lesser role with the recent additions but he still will be a big part of their approach. The time is now in Portland to go for it so they have to be in the conversation for a potential championship push. OVER 41-31

Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield

Sacramento Kings 28.5

The roster is talented enough to cause some damage but they may be amongst the teams left sniffing the playoffs as the season is wrapping up. De’Aaron Fox inked an extension and with his ascending skillset he should become a bargain for them rather quickly. Rookie Tyrese Haliburton should get ample time to showcase himself being a potential third guard behind Fox and Buddy Hield. The team has added Glen Robinson III to help with some off the bench scoring and between Richaun Holmes and Hasaan Whiteside there will often be a solid big man on the floor for them. Fox will have plenty of scoring outlets with the emerging Marvin Bagley as well as the steady Harrison Barnes among others. The kings could find themselves in the mix out west again with a fairly deep lineup that has a rising star capable of leading them there. UNDER 26-46

LeMarcus Aldridge

LeMarcus Aldridge

San Antonio Spurs 29.5

After missing the post-season for the first time in twenty-three seasons it is worth wondering if it will be the same direction that they head this campaign with a seemingly tougher western conference environment. All across the league the trend of two small guards is taking over so the back-court of Dejounte Murray and Derrick White could be fully unleashed with their blazing speed and defensive strength. They have a deep rotation of guards for Pop to use with Lonnie Walker IV and Patty Mills as well as a second-round pick Tre Jones. DeMar DeRozan continues to be a consistent fixture for the squad and since arriving in San Antonio has seen his playmaking rise. LeMarcus Aldridge could be more accurate on his long balls as he transitions even more into a shooter for the tail end of his career. Jakob Poeltl shows glimpses and could solidify his role further this season and with a resurgent Rudy Gay they are well equipped to compete. The spurs have a potential to be better and perhaps restart another playoff streak under Pop, or they might end up being the cause of his retirement. UNDER 28-44

Pascal Siakam

Pascal Siakam

Toronto Raptors 42.5

After yet another fantastic regular season the team ran out of steam in the playoffs and now two more blocks from their championship core have gone to LA; although the engine of the team Kyle Lowry remains to navigate their squad through another perilous season. Pascal Siakam’s recent struggles adjusting to the enhanced defensive attention he got in the post-season should only make him greater faster and OG Annunoby could build off of his productive season with the way he performed in the clutch against Boston. The frontline acquires Aaron Baynes who could be a serviceable piece along with Chris Boucher and Alex Len. The guards should be a strength again with Fred Van Vleet flourishing in a starting role and the emerging Terrence Davis off the bench. They should still be a playoff caliber team but might struggle early on trying to redefine their identity. UNDER 40-32

Donovan Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell

Utah Jazz 41.5

Utah has one of the best teams in the league because they have a unique defensive stopper in Rudy Gobert as well as a clutch go to scorer in Donovan Mitchell. Mike Conley will be asked to perform better this season after failing to find his rhythm all year and Jordan Clarkson will be available to offer his distinctive skill in scoring whenever called upon. Derrick Favors comes back and should be a valuable bench component for them to help topple their western foes. Bojan Bogdanovich has been very efficient for Utah and should continue to be a sneaky source of points for them. Joe Ingles off the bench puts their second unit near the top of the charts with his phenomenal playmaking ability leaving Quinn Snyder with the pieces to go far if they are able to gather momentum at the right time. OVER 44-28

Rui Hachimura

Rui Hachimura

Washington Wizards 32.5

Their forgettable injury plagued season was capped by joining the bubble to win just one game there, leaving Rui Hachimura as perhaps the biggest beneficiary with some extended play to close out his rookie season. Thomas Bryant has shown some signs of being productive as well and he should find a lot of easy buckets with Russell Westbrook joining the team. Bradley Beal is their star and it will be a lot of fun seeing him with Westbrook instantly becoming one of the best back-courts. Beal’s playmaking ability has really risen a notch while Wall has nursed himself back to health so by adding the relentlessness of Westbrook it should make for an even better combination than what Wall and Beal previously were. Davis Bertans was able to shoot the lights out last campaign ensuring him a big role this season with even more open shots likely sewn in his direction. The star guard duo has enough pieces to work with to adequately assume they will at least be qualifying for playoff basketball. OVER 37-35

nba-30-team-preview-2021

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