2013-2014 NBA Season Preview (24-19)
24. The Boston Celtics
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr Seuss. That’s really all that needs to be said, but to clarify I will continue. Doc is gone, Pierce is gone, KG is gone, Ray is gone, Terry is gone (thankfully), and so is any hope of making the playoffs. This summer involved more drama than a Miley Cyrus Starbuck’s visit gone awry for Boston. Doc bolted for L.A., got in a feud with Bill Simmons, and confused lots of people. But, as they say, it’s water under the bridge now. The Celtics traded Pierce, KG, Terry, and D.J. White to the Nets for Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries (who just happens to hate Rondo), Marshon Brooks, Kris Joseph, Keith Bogans, and three first round draft picks, as well as the right to swap picks in 2017. It was a good deal for Boston’s future and Brooklyn’s now. Danny Ainge then went and hired Brad Stevens to be the new coach in a move that many like. First round pick Kelly Olynyk has looked good in the preseason, so that’s encouraging. But, one way or another, all signs point to Rondo being traded at some point this year. Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley will anchor the squad, and I don’t think they’ll be as bad as most assume. Nowhere near good, but not awful. Here’s to hoping they somehow get Paul Pierce v2 AKA Jabari Parker in the draft.
23. The Toronto Raptors
What’s the good news here? The Raptors got one of the best GMs in the League from Denver, Masai Ujiri. The bad news? Toronto acquired STEVE NOVAK, TYLER HANSBROUGH, D.J. Augustin, and Austin Daye. Let’s all let out a collective “yeeeeesh.” That’s ugly. Rudy Gay had a terrible season last year, maybe his eye surgery over the summer will improve his shot (seriously.) They traded Andrea Bargnani to the Knicks, which was a good move, I guess, but he has always showed potential. Toronto just wasn’t the spot for him. They have some young stars in the making in DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross, who got chained by Drizzy himself. Amir Johnson is a solid power forward and Jonas Valančiūnas has shown flashes of reliability as a center. Kyle Lowry is a better than average point guard. But, all signs point to another mediocre year in the T-Dot.
22. The Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks got really Buck-y in the off-season. You really have to feel for that fan base. They just want to watch good basketball, but they keep getting tricked. They’re kind of like your little brother who you used to hand the PS2 controller to and tell him that he way playing too, when he really wasn’t. They lost Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Sam Dalembert, JJ Redick, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and a few others. They gained OJ Mayo, Carlos Delfino, Zaza Pachulia, Caron Butler, Gary Neal, Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight to accompany Larry Sanders and Ersan İlyasova, who happens to look like a giant James Franco. It’s the perfect roster to randomly make the playoffs, or be erratic and terrible. I vote for the latter. Milwaukee should’ve gotten smart for once and tanked.
21. The New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans What? Yes, you read that correctly. They’re the Pelicans now, and we have been forced to deal with it. They did make some moves this off-season, but to me, they all seemed very random. It was as if they were composing a dish out of the Recipes For Disaster Cookbook. Here’s what happened: They gained Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Al-Farouq Aminu, Anthony Morrow, and Greg Stiemsma. They lost Grievis Vasquez, Robin Lopez, and Xavier Henry. That all seems nice until you factor in that they already have Eric Gordon and his untradeable contract and Austin Rivers with all of his douchebaggery, It’s a shooting guard fiesta!!! Plus, they made a terrible move in the draft when they traded Nerlens Noel AND THEIR TOP FIVE LOTTERY PROTECTED 2014 DRAFT PICK to Philly for Jrue Holliday and Pierre Jackson. Holliday is good, but it’s common knowledge around the NBA that next year’s draft is the Holy Grail and the Pelicans flew the coop on some prime real estate. Not to mention they blew their chance at a Noel-Anthony Davis combo that could’ve put block parties around the nation to shame. This season will blow up in the Peli’s face.
20. The Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks finally lost Josh Smith and everything that came with him. And by that, I mean the occasional wonderful game and the ever-present terrible shot selections. They also lost Devon Harris, Ivan Johnson, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro, Anthony Tolliver, and Deshawn Stevenson’s ATM. They kept Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, and acquired Paul Millsap and Elton Brand. Millsap is a beast, but he’s not going to save a franchise. They also have a new coach in Mike Budenholzer. Al Horford remains the rock on this team, and as always, they will be decent(ly bad). There are more Knicks and Celtics fans in the ATL for a reason.
19. The Washington Wizards
This is the first year that the Wizards won’t finish in the bottom ten in the league in a long time. They got Martell Webster for way too much money (4 yrs, $22m), Eric Maynor, and Al Harrington. They didn’t lose anyone. And they drafted a couple of Jr.s in Otto Porter Jr. and Glen Rice Jr. The key here is that they have John Wall as point guard and that he recently just got paid (Ooo Kill ‘Em!!). He was on fire in the second half of last season and Wiz fans hope that continues. Brad Beal looked nice in his rookie year and Jan Vessely is definitely a basketball player. There’s always Nene and Emeka Okafor hanging around. They have a solid little bunch, and seem to be a trade away from the playoffs. It could be good times in Chocolate City this season…maybe.