2019-20 NBA season predictions

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2019-20 NBA season predictions

Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, shoots a free throw in the 2019 NBA Finals. He was the star of the show in that series, helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Championship. Leonard surprised the league when he signed with the LA Clippers in the off-season.

Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, shoots a free throw in the 2019 NBA Finals. He was the star of the show in that series, helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Championship. Leonard surprised the league when he signed with the LA Clippers in the off-season.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, shoots a free throw in the 2019 NBA Finals. He was the star of the show in that series, helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Championship. Leonard surprised the league when he signed with the LA Clippers in the off-season.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kawhi Leonard, the Finals MVP, shoots a free throw in the 2019 NBA Finals. He was the star of the show in that series, helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA Championship. Leonard surprised the league when he signed with the LA Clippers in the off-season.

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The NBA season is about to kick off on Oct. 22, which is next Tuesday, and there is a new look in the league. Many of the teams lost their best players while others gained them. Debatably, this summer was the best NBA off-season of all time. This is my personal predictions for the NBA seasons and how certain teams will stack out. Also, I included my personal starting lineup and sixth man predictions with personal ratings for how the player fills the designated role.  

Western Conference

Playoff Picture

1: LA Clippers – 58-24

The LA Clippers have basically brought back the same team as last year, except with two of the Top 10 NBA players. Kawhi Leonard, in debate for the best player in the league, was the Finals MVP last year and has proven himself for his insane talent. He is one of the most clutch two-way players in the league. Paul George was also traded in free agency to the Clippers in exchange for Danillo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a record breaking amount of first round picks. He is also one of the NBA’s best two-way players who was in the conversation as a top three candidate for both the Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award. With those two superstars plus the almost same surrounding lineup as last year that led to a 48-34 record, the Clippers can only go up. Lou Williams, Sixth Man of the Year legend, and Montrezl Harrell are two players who will possibly make up the best bench in the NBA. The Clippers have one of the best defensive and offensive lineups, which leads to there being a good chance for the Clippers to lead the West.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Patrick Beverley B+

SG: Paul George A+

SF: Kawhi Leonard A+

PF: JaMychal Green C

C: Ivica Zubac B-

Sixth Man/Men

PG/SG: Lou Williams A+

C/PF: Montrezl Harrell A

2: Denver Nuggets – 57-25

The Denver Nuggets have players like Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap who are great role-players with potential to be more this year. Most considerably, though, Nikola Jokic is one of the best centers in the NBA. With Jokic, also known as the “Joker,” the Nuggets were the second seed last year.  They had the best record at home last year, 34-7, with an insane potential for players like Jokic and Murray to grow into maybe some of the best players in the league. Also, out of Mizzou, Michael Porter Jr. has a lot to prove that he can develop after injury. The only problems with the team is the heavy reliance on Jokic being healthy to win and their away record being below .500.  Overall, the Nuggets should be a real team to fear in the Western Conference this year.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Jamal Murray A-

SG: Gary Harris B+

SF: Torey Craig B

PF: Paul Millsap A-

C: Nikola Jokic A+

Sixth Man/Men

SF: Will Barton B

PF/SF: Jerami Grant B

3: LA Lakers – 55-27

The Lakers have two of the best players in the NBA in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. There is no possible way to go incredibly wrong with two superstars, but the supporting cast in my opinion is somewhat average. Kyle Kuzma seems to be looking like he improved a lot this year, but only time will tell us that. Javale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley, Danny Green and Rajon Rondo are the best players that will be playing for the Lakers this year other than LeBron, Kuzma and AD. Yet while none of them are bad, most of them don’t live up to the bench of the Clippers. Also, LeBron is aging and is clearly on the decline as displayed last year. If injuries impact his game this year, the Lakers will be running a lineup similar to the Pelicans in 2017-18 with AD leading the team, with a few good players that aren’t superstars. That team won’t make as much noise, so the success of the Lakers is really up to LeBron James and if he can hold up against the test of age.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Rajon Rondo C+ (or possibly LeBron)

SG: Danny Green B+

SF: LeBron James A+ (or Kyle Kuzma if LeBron is PG) 

PF: Anthony Davis A+

C: JaVale McGee B+

Sixth Man/Men

PF/SF: Kyle Kuzma B+

C: Dwight Howard B-

4: Utah Jazz – 54-28

The Utah Jazz last year proved that they could be a successful team with being the fifth seed and facing the Rockets. Though they didn’t win, that series showed a bright future to look ahead to. Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are two players that did extremely well together last year who led the team to a 50-32 record. Though losing some role players in the process, the Jazz had a phenomenal off-season picking up Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanović. With keeping Joe Ingles, the team has a definite starting five with all consistent to all-star level players. They will do better this year because of the incredible off-season and the team’s chemistry as shown last year.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Mike Conley A-

SG: Donovan Mitchell A

SF: Bojan Bogdanović B+

PF: Joe Ingles B

C: Rudy Gobert A+

Sixth Man

PG/SG: Emmanuel Mudiay C+

5: Portland Trail Blazers – 50-32

The Portland Trail Blazers had a lot of success last year in the playoffs, making it to the Western Conference Finals to be swept by the Warriors. With having a backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, the Blazers are heavily reliant on the two to score. Hassan Whiteside was traded to Portland for the last year of his hefty deal to be used to fill the gap that is now there without Enes Kanter. If Jusuf Nurkić returns to the state he left off in before the devastating knee injury upon his return to the team, then the Trail Blazers will have a very successful frontcourt. That is expected to occur later this season, but it could approach sooner or later than expected. Overall, Portland seems to be a solid five seed that will possibly go far again into the playoffs.  

Projected Starting Roster

PG: Damian Lillard A+

SG: C.J. McCollum A

SF: Rodney Hood C

PF: Zach Collins D

C: Hassan Whiteside B+

Sixth Man

SF/SG: Kent Bazemore C

6: Houston Rockets – 49-33

The Rockets are looking much better now than they were at the beginning of last year. With Russell Westbrook replacing Chris Paul, much improvement seems to come in 2019-20. Also, James Harden is a scoring legend. He came second in the MVP race last year and won it the year before. Last year he scored 36.1 points being the primary ball-handler. Clint Capela is still on the team as well. He fills the gaps with solid rebounding and post defense. Basically, the only thing keeping the Rockets at the six seed is the unknown effect of having two primary ball handlers in Westbrook and Harden. If they successfully work together, then expect Houston to be much higher. To get 49 wins seems about a happy medium of an estimate with the unpredictable duo of guards.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Russell Westbrook A

SG: James Harden A+

SF: Eric Gordon B

PF: P.J. Tucker B-

C: Clint Capela A

Sixth Man

PG: Austin Rivers C+

7: Golden State Warriors – 47-35

As the former first seed last year and Western Conference Champions, the Warriors are predicted to take a large drop in wins. After losing Kevin Durant in free agency and Klay Thompson to injury, Golden State has lost many of its assets. They still have Draymond Green and Stephen Curry. Also, in exchange for signing rights of KD, the Warriors received signing rights to D’Angelo Russell from the Nets. They signed Willie Cauley-Stein to a mid-level extension as well. Jordan Poole was taken in the late first round this year in the draft, who also seems to be a good pick. So, there still is a lot of talent on the team, especially with Thompson coming back before the playoffs. Though they will take a drop in the regular season, I expect them to make a deep playoff run with all of this depth in the starting lineup.  

Projected Starting Roster

PG: Stephen Curry A+

SG: D’Angelo Russell A

SF: Glen Robinson III D-

PF: Draymond Green A-

C: Willie Cauley-Stein B+

Sixth Man/Men

PF/C: Kevon Looney B-

SG: Jordan Poole C+ 

8: San Antonio Spurs – 44-38

The San Antonio Spurs typically always make the playoffs, even if they are at a low seed. With possibly the greatest coach of all time in Greg Popovich, they have a great leadership team. They have pretty well kept the same lineup with a few minor additions like DeMarre Carroll. DeMar Derozan is still on the team, as well as an aged LaMarcus Aldridge.  With younger and promising guards like Derrick White and DeJounte Murray, they are still a well-rounded team. An eight seed seems like an appropriate placement for the team.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: DeJounte Murray B+

SG: DeMar Derozan A

SF: Rudy Gay B

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge A

C: Jakob Poeltl C+

Sixth Man

PG/SG: Derrick White B+

Out of Playoff Western Teams 

9: Sacramento Kings – 42-40

Sacramento has a young team with valuable assets like De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley III. They also resigned Harrison Barnes who has experience with winning on the Warriors. In my opinion, they are still too young to beat a team like the Spurs. They do have an incredibly bright future in the rising star Fox mainly, but overall it will be hard for the Kings to make the playoffs unless one of the other players take a big step. Don’t be surprised, however, if the Kings get a low seed to make the playoffs.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: De’Aaron Fox A

SG: Buddy Hield A-

SF: Harrison Barnes B

PF: Marvin Bagley III B+

C: Dewayne Dedmon C+

Sixth Man

SF/SG: Bogdan Bogdanović B

10: New Orleans Pelicans – 41-41

The New Orleans Pelicans have gained many assets from trading away Anthony Davis to the Lakers. They received Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first round picks. Also, they lucked into getting the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, leading to acquiring Zion Williamson. He is probably one of the best dunkers the NBA has ever seen. The 6’6” powerhouse is coming in at about 285 pounds, more than almost every center. That weight is mostly all in muscle, which is scary for his opponents who can now easily be overpowered by him. Ball also seems to have been working on his shot over the off-season and is becoming a solid three point shooter with a refined shot. At shooting guard, Jrue Holiday is still on the team as well, who is an underrated veteran. Overall, the Pelicans are well-rounded, but their success is dependent on Williamson, and it is still too early to tell if his game will transfer to the NBA. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Pelicans would be in the playoffs at a six or lower seed.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Lonzo Ball B+

SG: Jrue Holiday A-

SF: Brandon Ingram B+

PF: Zion Williamson A

C: Jaxson Hayes C+/Jahlil Okafor C

Sixth Man/Men

SG: JJ Redick B+

SG/SF: Josh Hart B-

11: Dallas Mavericks – 41-41

The Dallas Mavericks are another team with a bright future. With Kristaps Porzingis signing a five year extension and the Rookie of the Year last year in Luka Doncić, two of the best young players are on the team. There is not much more to the team, though. Basically, this prediction is if Porzingis returns to the former version of himself that he was on the Knicks. If it is just Luka leading the team, then expect them to be placed a lot lower on this list.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Delon Wright C

SG: Luka Doncić A+

SF: Tim Hardaway C

PF: Kristaps Porzingis A

C: Dwight Powell D+

Sixth Man

PG: Seth Curry C

12: Oklahoma City Thunder – 35-47

Oklahoma went from a playoff team to a rebuilding project with the trades of two superstars in Russell Westbrook and Paul George. They received an absurd amount of first round picks in the future from both teams. They also got valuable assets now in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul. Yet while Paul is past his prime, he has a lot to prove in leading this team. The Thunder still have Steven Adams, but that won’t be enough to get close to the playoffs. The future’s looking good for Oklahoma City, though.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Chris Paul A-

SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander B+

SF: Andre Roberson C

PF: Danilo Gallinari B+

C: Steven Adams A-

Sixth Man

PG: Dennis Schröder C+

13: Minnesota Timberwolves – 34-48

The Timberwolves have been a below average team for a while now. They have Karl Anthony-Towns, who is a top five center in the NBA for sure. He is also young with a bright future in the league, and is locked down to the team for five more years. Andrew Wiggins is a disappointing first overall pick from 2014, but he is still young and has time to grow in Minnesota. The Wolves still have Robert Covington, but he has to step up a lot if he wants his team to even get close to the playoffs. Other than that, the only other valuable asset the team has is Jarrett Culver. He was picked sixth overall this year, but is unproven in the league as of now. Overall, the T-Wolves aren’t really looking good nor bad this year with another year of probably being below average and missing the playoffs.  

Project Starting Lineup

PG: Jeff Teague D-

SG: Andrew Wiggins B+

SF: Jarrett Culver B

PF: Robert Covington B-

C: Karl Anthony-Towns A

Sixth Man

PG: Shabazz Napier D+

14: Phoenix Suns – 28-54

The Suns were one of the worst teams last season with only 19 wins. Though they did purely awful, they have an insane future with Devin Booker and first overall pick in 2018 DeAndre Ayton. With Ayton especially, the growth is limitless as they are going to enter their prime in a few years. With the additions of Dario Saric and Ricky Rubio, they seem to be looking to get near the playoffs in a few years. Expect the Suns to be good then, but for now they are just below average with a slight improvement.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Ricky Rubio B

SG: Devin Booker A

SF: Kelly Oubre Jr. B

PF: Dario Saric B-

C: DeAndre Ayton A-

Sixth Man

SF/SG: Mikal Bridges C+

15: Memphis Grizzlies – 19-63

The Grizzlies took a step down from Conley and Gasol to Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas at the time being. It was a smart move to get rid of Gasol for Valanciunas in order for more of a future, a cheaper salary and a quality center. The only reason Conley was traded was to make room for Morant to start and do well at point guard. The team also has the promise in Jaren Jackson Jr., who seems to be a solid power forward. They are yet too inexperienced to do well in the league, but the potential is there. Morant is a favorite for Rookie of the Year Award since he will be the first option on the team scoring-wise. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Ja Morant A-

SG: Dillon Brooks C+

SF: Jae Crowder B

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr. B+

C: Jonas Valanciunas B+

Sixth Man

SF/SG: Andre Iguodala A- (If a buyout does not happen on his contract)

Eastern Conference

Playoff Picture

1: Milwaukee Bucks – 59-23

Milwaukee is an obvious choice for the one seed, as they were the first seed last year too. They only lost Malcolm Brogdon, which did hurt them, but they still have the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Also, they locked down Middleton for another five years, who had an all-star season last year. Eric Bledsoe had his best season last year with very good defense. Lopez has been a decent shooting center for the Bucks as well. Overall, they are well-rounded still and not much can stop Antetokounmpo.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Eric Bledsoe B+

SG: Wesley Matthews C+

SF: Khris Middleton A-

PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo A+

C: Brook Lopez B

Sixth Man

PG/SG: George Hill C+

2: Philadelphia 76ers – 58-24

The Sixers lost Jimmy Butler in the off-season, but they secured Ben Simmons, Al Horford and Tobias Harris for at least four-year deals. They are the largest starting lineup in the league height-wise, while also having insanely good defense. The only thing the Sixers are lacking is a sharpshooter that they had in Reddick last year. Simmons seems to be developing a shot, but that is not as dependable as having a definitely good shooter. Harris and Josh Richardson are good shooters, but they aren’t enough to make the Sixers a sure shot at the first seed. Overall, Philadelphia has a good chance at making it to the Finals this year with many stars and being led by Joel Embiid. With Embiid and Horford in the front court, it will be hard to get past them.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Ben Simmons A

SG: Josh Richardson B+

SF: Tobias Harris A-

PF: Al Horford A

C: Joel Embiid A+

Sixth Man

SG: Zhaire Smith C

3: Indiana Pacers – 49-33

The Pacers made a lot of improvements in the off-season by obtaining Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren. This gives them more of a chance to succeed in the playoffs and be especially dominant in the regular season, if Victor Oladipo is healthy. Also, they have a great backcourt in Sabonis and Turner. They also signed Jeremy Lamb in order to come off the bench or start if Oladipo is out at the beginning of the year. They have a solid all around lineup, meaning that they should do good if the chemistry of the new players works out.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Malcolm Brogdon A-

SG: Victor Oladipo A (Once he returns from injury)

SF: T.J. Warren B+

PF: Domantas Sabonis A-

C: Myles Turner A-

Sixth Man

SG/SF: Jeremy Lamb B+

4: Boston Celtics – 47-35

Boston lost Kyrie Irving and Al Horford most notably this off-season.  Those are two huge losses that they are going to feel this year, but they got okay replacements. Kemba Walker will replace Irving, which is an okay move after the Celtics knew they wouldn’t be able to keep him. Enes Kanter is a decent pick up for $5 million, but he does not compare to Horford. The Celtics didn’t have a good off-season, but they still will be good with the continuous development of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Marcus Smart has incredible defense, and Gordon Hayward has to prove he is worth it to start after his major injury right after he was first signed by Boston. The Celtics are still well-rounded, so they will be at least an above average team with a little success in the playoffs. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Kemba Walker A

SG: Jaylen Brown B+

SF: Gordon Hayward B+

PF: Jayson Tatum A-

C: Enes Kanter B

Sixth Man

SG/SF: Marcus Smart B+

5: Toronto Raptors – 46-36

The Raptors lost their best player in Kawhi Leonard over the summer. He delivered them an NBA Championship in his year with the team, but he wanted to go home to LA. The reigning champs still have a decent team with Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. They are lacking a quality shooting guard and small forward, but the rest of the team is solid. Siakam also seems to be still improving after his breakout season last year. Overall, Toronto still has a future of competition post-Kawhi.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Kyle Lowry B+

SG: Norman Powell D

SF: OG Anunoby C-

PF: Pascal Siakam A

C: Marc Gasol A-

Sixth Man/Men

PG: Fred VanVleet B+

C/PF: Serge Ibaka B+

6: Brooklyn Nets – 44-38

Wow is all you can say after what the Nets pulled off this off-season. They got Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan in free agency. This year they will run without Durant due to injury, but the future’s looking bright with these guys and KD. They did end up losing D’Angelo Russell, but they still have most of the other guys and a year for Caris LaVert to prove himself without Durant. They are simply set, but this season will probably be a little bit of a struggle to succeed unless Irving steps up. They will for sure make the playoffs, but it is hard to tell how well they will do without the chemistry.

Project Starting Lineup

PG: Kyrie Irving A+

SG: Joe Harris B+

SF: Caris LaVert B+

PF: Taurean Prince B

C: Jarrett Allen A-

Sixth Man/Men

PG/SG: Spencer Dinwiddie A

C: DeAndre Jordan A-

7: Orlando Magic – 43-39

Orlando stayed the same over the off-season mostly. They signed an extension with Terrance Ross and Nikola Vucevic. More success is in dependence of the improvement of young players like Jon Isaac, Mo Bamba and Markelle Fultz. It would also be nice if Aaron Gordon could play at a higher level. Lacking a solid point guard is hurting the team with D. J. Augustin being just below average. That is why Fultz needs to improve in order to be his best version of the number one pick he was in 2017. If these changes occur this year, expect an interesting team to watch in the future who can compete with teams like the Bucks in the east.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: D.J. Augustin D

SG: Terrance Ross B+

SF: Jonathan Isaac B

PF: Aaron Gordon B+

C: Nikola Vucevic A

Sixth Man/Men

SG: Evan Fournier B+

C: Mo Bamba B

8: Miami Heat – 41-41

The Heat are hard to predict what type of splash they will make in the east. If Tyler Herro is as great as it seems, he will be for a low lottery pick, then the team has a real chance at up to the 5 seed. With reasonable estimates and the addition of Jimmy Butler, Miami will probably be slightly better than last year. Losing Hassan Whiteside will clear room for Bam Adebayo to prove himself as a solid young center. They also still have a healthy Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic, who could possibly break out this season. If things go well, the Heat can have an incredible season this year. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Goran Dragic B+

SG: Dion Waiters C+

SF: Jimmy Butler A

PF: Meyers Leonard C

C: Bam Adebayo B+

Sixth Man/Men

SG: Tyler Herro B+

SF/PG: Justise Winslow B+

Out of Playoff Eastern Teams

9: Atlanta Hawks – 40-42

The Atlanta Hawks are hard to predict for this year because of their young core. Trae Young and John Collins are leading the way, but there are also notable freshmen or sophomores like Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. Trae Young will be dominant as will Collins, but the other three are a coin toss. If they do well, Atlanta could easily make the playoffs. There is a lot to prove, but this team has a bright future. They only lack a quality center, which they don’t have in Alex Len. If they could pick up a good center before the trade deadline, then the Hawks could easily go somewhat deep in the playoffs. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Trae Young A

SG: Kevin Huerter B

SF: De’Andre Hunter B

PF: John Collins A-

C: Alex Len C-

Sixth Man

SG/SF: Cam Reddish B

10: Detroit Pistons – 38-42

The Pistons are lacking a shooting guard and small forward, but they are set at point guard and a front court. Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson will probably split the minutes at point guard. Also, Andre Drummond is still on the team and is the board man. Blake Griffin is making up for his loss of athletic ability with a new sharpshooting trait. The only problem is that they are injury prone. Other than Drummond, most of the team has suffered a severe injury in their careers. If Rose and Griffin go down, then the team will instantly be a low tier team in the east.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Derrick Rose B+

SG: Luke Kennard C+

SF: Tony Snell C-

PF: Blake Griffin A

C: Andre Drummond A-

Sixth Man

PG: Reggie Jackson B

11: Chicago Bulls – 29-53

The Bulls are a very young team with its core being in Lauri Markkanen and Zach Lavine. They also have players with potential like Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. and even Otto Porter Jr. Thaddeus Young was an interesting pick up for the team, but he will help Lauri Markkanen develop defensively and in the post. The team is another team with a bright future if there is development in all of the young players, but they aren’t to the level of a playoff team yet. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Coby White B-

SG: Zach Lavine A-

SF: Otto Porter Jr. B

PF: Lauri Markkanen A-

C: Wendell Carter Jr. B-

Sixth Man

PF/SF: Thaddeus Young B

12: Washington Wizards – 27-55

Washington had a dynamic duo in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but Wall is out for all of the season. Without him, Thomas is there to replace him. He has a lot to prove, but he could possibly have another breakout season if the team chemistry is up. Also, the Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura, who can be a solid power forward. Bryant last year proved that he can start at center, so the team isn’t looking awful this year. They lack depth, but Beal can carry the team to at least over 25 wins. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Isaiah Thomas B-

SG: Bradley Beal A

SF: CJ Miles C-

PF: Rui Hachimura B-

C: Thomas Bryant B-

Sixth Man

PF: Davis Bertans C+

13: New York Knicks – 27-55

There was a lot of improvements made to the Knicks over the off-season, but things didn’t go as planned since Durant, Irving and Williamson went to different teams. They still got Randle, Barrett, Morris, Payton and Gibson, however. They have the depth to compete now, but the chemistry won’t be there instantly. Dennis Smith Jr., Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox are the only main players who remain on the team from last season, so chemistry will be the main complication. They also lack one superstar to be a top ten team. They will do better than last year, but overall they won’t be that good still.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Dennis Smith Jr. B+

SG: RJ Barrett B+

SF: Marcus Morris B-

PF: Julius Randle A-

C: Mitchell Robinson B+

Sixth Man/Men

SF: Kevin Knox B

PG: Elfrid Payton B-

14: Cleveland Cavaliers – 18-64

The Cavs have two solid guards with a lot of potential in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. In every other position, however, they are not as lucky. Every forward/center is past their prime with not much of a future. Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson were both good players, but they are on a huge decline. Osman is an okay role player, but the potential needed isn’t there for a rebuilding team. The only way the Cavaliers will do better than last year is if Garland proves himself as a future star. 

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Darius Garland B+

SG: Collin Sexton B+

SF: Cedi Osman B

PF: Kevin Love A-

C: Tristan Thompson B-

Sixth Man

PG/SG: Jordan Clarkson B+

15: Charlotte Hornets – 10-72

The Hornets have possibly the worst lineup I have ever seen in my years following the NBA. They were carried solely by Kemba Walker to nearing the playoffs last year, but they lost him in the off-season. To replace him, they signed Terry Rozier for $20 million a year for three years. That is a huge overpay. The whole infrastructure of the team is messed up with overpaid players. They also have the horrific contracts in Nicolas Batum, Bismack Biyombo and Marvin Williams. The team has its only future in Malik Monk, Rozier and Miles Bridges. All of those players seem to not have as much potential as the Hornets want. Rozier is the main problem. He did good in preseason, but he is facilitating the ball and the main scoring option. He has big shoes to fill from Kemba, but I don’t think he will be able to. Unless Rozier plays like he was paid to, the Hornets are going to have trouble finding wins.  

Projected Starting Lineup

PG: Terry Rozier B-

SG: Malik Monk B-

SF: Nicolas Batum B-

PF: Miles Bridges B

C: Cody Zeller C+

Sixth Man

SG/SF: Dwayne Bacon C+