Thursday, October 10, 2013

BSN's NBA Preview Teaser

Eastern Conference bottom 3

by Sam Persanyi (@SamPersanyi)

15.  Orlando Magic
        Last season: 20-62
2013 projection: 20-62

The Magic are in full rebuilding mode as this team lacks any star talent and with that comes a lack of depth.  A lineup that headlines Aaron Afflalo as its number one option led the Magic to one of the worst records in the NBA.  They made their first move by drafting the athletically talented guard Victor Oladipo with the second pick in the draft as they look to build this lineup.  Unfortunately for them, their struggles seem as though they will continue through this season.  The bright point for them is that the 2014 draft class looks to be one of the most talented draft classes in a while.  A rebuilding team such as Orlando can make big moves in the rebuilding process in a draft like this next year’s one.  However, for this season, the Magic’s outlook is bleak.

Player to Watch: Victor Oladipo – This kid was a human highlight reel while at Indiana.  His game improved with every year that passed; his work ethic and athletic ability make some believe that his ceiling is as high as he makes it.  While the Magic struggle, look for him to be all over the highlight reels everywhere.

     14.  Charlotte Bobcats
Last season: 21-61
2013 projection: 35-47

Among the worst teams in the league the Bobcats have made some additions this offseason to start to build a contender.  If you take away the fact that their owner, Michael Jordan, could come on and be one of the Bobcats best players, their outlook can only go up from where they have been in the last few seasons.  This team is headlined by new addition, center Al Jefferson.  In an effort to sure up the front court, the Bobcats selected athletic big man Cody Zeller.  While their starting lineup on paper looks to be serviceable, they lack depth at almost every position.  This team is starting to make moves in the right direction, but are still a few years of being where they want to be.  Jefferson along with Kemba Walker are the main proven scoring options on this team, while Kidd-Gilchrist is defensive minded. He needs to improve as a scorer to give this team options on that end of the floor. While they will improve from one of the league’s worst records, the improvement won’t be as great as many fans are hoping for.

Player to Watch: Cody Zeller – One of the rookies who impressed in the summer league, look for Zeller to be in talks of rookie of the year.  Due to his size, versatile talent, and athleticism, he will be hard for opposing teams to match up with. 

  13.  Philadelphia 76ers
Last season: 34-48
2013 projection: 26-56

The 76ers have had a busy offseason as they look to start new and build a contender.  One of their biggest offseason moves was on draft night when they traded point guard Jrue Holiday to the newly-named New Orleans Pelicans for their first round draft pick, which they used on former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel.  The move for Noel was thought by some to be a reach due to his knee problems.  However, the Sixers must love his upside as there is no time table for his return.  Noel will not likely make a huge impact this season as he rehabs his knee.  On draft night they also drafted Holiday’s replacement and who they hope to be their floor general for years to come in former Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams.  This team is a few years out of being relevant as they are one of the front runners for the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes that will be next year’s draft.  They do have a new head coach in Brett Brown and return some of their starters in Turner, Young, and Hawes.  I doesn’t look like it will matter much as most of this roster is unproven.

Player to Watch: Evan Turner – Evan Turner has been quiet in the NBA for his first few years.  His production has gradually gotten better each year.  With Jrue Holiday gone, not only will Turner be asked to take over some of the ball handling responsibilities as he played point forward in college, but he will also likely be the number one option in terms of offense.  Look for Turner to have a better year as his team struggles.

Western Conference bottom 3

by Sean O'Brien (@SeanNeutron)

     15. Phoenix Suns  
Last season: 25-57
2013 projection: 22-62

If the Kings have hope, the Suns have “nope”. As in a chance at a respectable season? Nope. They lost Scola to the Pacers, but even before that this team was floundering without any plan or direction. Goran Dragic always plays well and got a hefty contract out of it and the team did acquire Eric Bledsoe- but after that there is not a whole lot to be “sunny” about in Phoenix. The arrival of Terps product Alex Len may be a cause for some cheeriness, but he is a project and at least a year away from being a factor for the franchise. The Suns post-Nash have been full of good, serviceable players- but good and serviceable does not get you to the playoffs, much less a Larry O’Brien trophy. 

Player(s) to watch: Eric Bledsoe and Alex Len- If only because outside of Dragic, there won’t be any others to invest interest in. Bledsoe is a very dynamic player with speed and finesse and the ability to create his own shot while Len is a project with only one year at Maryland. They won’t make Phoenix a contender anytime soon, but they will have some fun moments in the meantime. 

14. Sacramento Kings
Last season: 28-54
2013 projection: 30-52

A few things Kings fans can be happy about: not being owned by the Maloofs, a deeper team (in comparison to recent seasons) and Ben McLemore. When you look back on the 2013 NBA Draft, McLemore will be seen as an absolute steal as the seventh pick, and with Evans gone- Sacramento is McLemore’s for the taking. Along with Demarcus Cousins and Greivis Vasquez, the Kings are now finally headed in a positive direction. Carl Landry has returned to add veteran leadership to a team with John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Marcus Thornton. While they once again will fail to come anywhere remotely close to the top eight spots, fans can once again have hope.

Player(s) to watch: The dynamic of Cousins/McLemore- Cousins as the incumbent star will be looked at to help guide the Kansas rookie. While it has been noted that Cousins has had maturity issues in the past, he will have to get past those and make the transition as smooth as possible if he wants to ever play in a meaningful basketball game.

13. Los Angeles Lakers
Last season: 45-37
2013 projection: 34-48

Since the inception of the Lakers franchise in 1948, the team has only missed the playoffs five times (1957-58, 1974-76, 1993-94 and 2004-05. 2004 was also the last time the team failed to crack 40 wins). Call it sacrilege, but 2013-14 will mark the sixth time. I’m no prophet, but assisted by the fact that an already aging team lost their best player (Bryant), second-best (Howard) and leave their last best options (Gasol and Nash) with a group of inexperienced, inconsistent options. Gone is Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison. Enter Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Wes Johnson, and returning Jordan Farmar. Coming back from last year is Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Robert Sacre and Jordan Hill. The team drafted Ryan Kelly from Duke. In any other year, it would be a great draft pick- but in a season that will see them struggle even worse than last, it is a piece of gum plugging a leak in a dam.

Player (s) to watch: Nick Young and Jodie Meeks- In the absence of Kobe Bryant, these two will be logging big minutes to try and replace his production. While at times it will be admirable, would you trust leaving a pair of your Ferraris to one kid who just got his license and the other with a bad driving record? Neither would I- but desperate times call for desperate measures. Bryant will likely push himself to come back before the new year, but he should “do the Derrick Rose” and rest up for a more productive 2014. 

BSN's full NBA preview will be available Tuesday, October 15th at

Like it? Love it? Hate it? Contact me on Twitter @SeanNeutron

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