The NBA season is almost here. And if you're anything like me (stuck with a floundering fantasy football team, while stuck rooting for shit teams like the Buffalo Bills) then you're more than ready for this upcoming round-ball season. So far, from the preseason, we haven't gathered shit, other than The Heat still look like clear favorites, Greg Oden can dunk and the Lakers still seem to think they're a contender.
We here at HefferBrew want to make this easy for you, and all your NBA viewing pleasure. So who will be number one? Will Derrick Rose return and, yet again, rule the league? Will the Nets actually be a contender? How many points a game will Al Jefferson score when the Bobcats are letting him take 30 shots a game? Will the Bobcats win more than 13 games? Will the Sixers win two games?
These are just a few of the perplexing questions heading into this, more than fascinating, NBA season. We're gonna start this from the first, and work our way to the bottom of the NBA. Let's be real here, we don't care about the Heat repeating, or the rest of the top of the Association, we care about the bottom, the Cats, Kings and Sixers of this league. So let us begin with our No. 1 team, the Miami Heat:
No. 1 - Miami Heat
1. Miami Heat – 2012 record: 66-16
PG Mario Chalmers
SG Dwyane Wade
SF LeBron James
PF Udonis Haslem
C Chris Bosh
Bench: Norris Cole, Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, James Jones, Joel Anthony, Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, Rashard Lewis, Jarvis Varnado.
What We Like: Right off the bat, the addition of Michael Beasley (drafted by Miami, originally) and Greg Oden (the second coming of Sam Bowie), have put this team in one of two areas, we'll cover the first area…first. These two have an opportunity to put this team over it's "top-of-mount-Olympus-already" attitude. They have a weakness at center? If Oden works out, they now just brought in a former top-three pick who can tower over the entire court and be a solid two-way player. They don't have anyone to back up James? Well, Beasley can be that guy. If he stops punching himself in his own face for missing shots, that is. They have the same core returning and Dwyane Wade could either be one of two things. The Wade we had last year, where he was useless at times, and wasn't the same "drive to the basket without regard and get 50 million fouls on the way". Wade, was, at times, awful for Miami last year. This year, if he's that same pinball player we love and hate, it's over. This team will be shooting 40 free throws a game – if Wade is back to his old self – and no one will be able to stop them.
What We Don't Like: Now the latter of the conversation, Michael Beasley and Greg Oden could sink this team. Beasley is a headcase. And I mean, HEADCASE!!! Greg Oden's knees could easily buckle like a rickety bridge over an amazonian river, at any moment. These are their two biggest free agent signings that could A. swing the league in a way where Michael and the Bull's 72-10 record, may be in trouble. If they don't pan out, and Ray Allen's age finally begins to catch up to him, the Heat will still be a No.1 contender, but LeBron will have to take his game to a level that we've never seen before. If Wade is the same Wade as last year, then LeBron will be averaging 35/9/9 with ridiculous percentage splits. It's really a "Tale of Two Cities" with this team. They could easily be an unstoppable force, but at the same time, they could be an advanced aging team that will have to lean heavily on LeBron, who could have no number two to go to.
6. Los Angeles Clippers – 2012 record: 56-26
PG Chris Paul
SG J.J. Redick
SF Jared Dudley
PF Blake Griffin
C DeAndre Jordan
Bench: Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Ryan Hollins, Byron Mullens, Maalik Wayns, Willie Green, Antawn Jamison.
What We Like: The addition of Doc Rivers and subtraction of Vinny Del Negro, is a good place to start. The additions of Darren Collison, J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley. All great ideas, for a coach who's about to run 1,000,000,000 screens to get open threes. Other than that. They're pretty much a lock to win the Pacific division, with maybe the Warriors nipping at their heels. They have Chris Paul locked in, they have DeAndre developing as something other than rim protection and lackluster offense. Blake Griffin is Blake Griffin, and other than all that, expect this team to run a lot of high screens, and off the ball screens to shoot a lot of threes.
What We Don't Like: Will those additions really pan out as a possible title contender? Possibly not. J.J. Redick is not a starter – according to Rivers though, and their depth chart, he is. Their defense, without Barnes and Jordan on the floor will be less than porous. And the "development" I mentioned earlier, with DeAndre, and too a further extent, Blake, will it actually pan out? Although, they are both great at dunking. Griffin doesn't have a post game, or a jumper, and DeAndre is usless anywhere outside of 10-feet of the basket. The Clippers have a damn fine chance at making a run with Doc. And as good as Chris Paul is (Who's never advanced to a conference finals in his career), DeAndre and Blake aren't Perkins and Garnett.
7. Memphis Grizzles – 2012 record: 56-26
PG Mike Conley
SG Tony Allen
SF Quincy Pondexter
PF Zach Randolph
C Marc Gasol
Bench: Ed Davis, Jon Luer, Mike Miller, Kosta Koufos, Tayshaun Prince, Jerryd Bayless, Nick Calathes, Jamaal Franklin.
What We Like: They, yet again, did nothing of mention during the off-season. Mike Miller was their biggest acquisition. Miller is more comparable to a lively corpse than he is a viable sixth or seventh man option. Tayshaun Prince is always a good defender and at the wing position, guarding guys like Durant, Leonard and usually the other teams best player, is something Prince has always excelled at. They will be a tough team to score on. Which brings us to what we don't like.
What We Don't Like: Although they are the same team; where the hell is their scoring going to come from? Gasol is good, yes, Randolph is a scorer. But, with a minute left, or really any "crunch time" situation, who on this team do you want to give the ball to to create something? Their two best players operate best at the blocks – requiring their shots to be created a little more with help. MIke Conley is really where it's at. That's it. Not a single other person on this team is someone you want to turn the game over to, down two, with a few seconds left. The Grizzles and their "Grind-House" are always a great story during the year, and they'll are a perennial contender. But for a division title, or maybe advancing to the second round. Other than that, they're just a really good defensive team, who sooner or later, will have to find an irrationally confident shooter to put them over.
9. Brooklyn Nets – 2012 Record: 49-33
PG Deron Williams
SG Joe Johnson
SF Paul Pierce
PF Kevin Garnett
C Brook Lopez
Bench: Jason Terry, Andrei Kirilenko, Andray Blatche Mason Plumlee, Reggie Evans, Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor, Alan Anderson, Shaun Livingston.
What We Like: What isn't there to like about this roster. Unless your a Celtics fan, like myself, who hates to see Paul Pierce in any other uniform other than green and white. Okay, now that my tears have dried…. This team has a brick shit-house for front court defense. With twin towers of Lopez and Garnett, this team will protect the rim with a vigor like someone shit on their favorite Bentley. Deron Williams has a competent roster now, and Joe Johnson can, maybe, feel like he doesn't have to take every shot. Paul Pierce is a boss, and has at least three great seasons left in him. Anytime you can trade a boat filled with holes and asbestos, for the greatest Celtic next to Bird, the greatest Power Forward, not named Tim Duncan, and the corpse of Jason Terry. You have to do that deal. No matter what.
What We Don't Like: Although those players are great. They are old as hell. Garnett is 37, Pierce is 34, and Ray Allen Joe Johnson is 32. These are no spring chickens. Garnett battled injuries all year, Pierce carried the Celtics, which could be all he had left, Johnson has spent a lifetime jacking up terrible and unwarranted shots – so his elbow could be shot, and Deron Williams always has something wrong. So, if they stay healthy, they could be the third or fourth best team in the league. They won't stay healthy, and that's why they're nine.
The Middle Of The Pack
12. Denver Nuggets – 2012 Record: 57-25
PG Ty Lawson
SG Randy Foye
SF Wilson Chandler
PF Kenneth Faried
C JaVale McGee
Bench: J.J. Hickson, Andre Miller, Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph, Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton, Quincy Miller, NATE ROBINSON, Darrell Arthur, Danilo Galinari (Injured).
What We Like: This team needs to trade a guard for a shooting guard, and go HAM with Nasty Nate. Give that man as many minutes as you possibly can. Ty Lawson, whose prompt for a balla season, can stay, Andre Miller, seems to be the odd man out. Sorry Andre. You're great, it's not you, it's just that…. You aren't Nate The Great. I mean, look at his wonderful cameo in the new Uncle Drew III Tape. Aside from the ridiculous. They brought in Brian Shaw, former second-hand man for Phil Jackson, they've turned to McGee for rim protection, and signed J.J. Hickson for some added offense at the rim. Again though, Ty Lawson is probably looking at a 22/4/9 season. With ridiculous percentage splits. Like what Curry did last year.
What We Don't Like: The fact that Wilson Chandler is your starting small forward, and the fact that you're putting your defense in JaVale McGee's overzealous hands, are never good things. Although I feel Shaw will be a great addition, it's still not enough to put this team outside of "really fun to watch".
Atlanta Hawks – 2012 Record: 44-38
PG Jeff Teague
SG Kyle Korver
SF DaMarre Carrol
PF Paul Millsap
C Al Horford
Bench: Louis Williams, Elton Brand, Dennis Schroder, Shelvin Mack, John Jenkins, Jared Cunningham, Cartier Martin, Gustavo Ayon, Mike Scott, Pero Antic.
What We Like: This is now Al Horford's team. With the subtraction of Josh Smith, and the addition of Paul Milsap, the Hawks look to have the poor man's Z-Bo/Gasol in the Eastern Conference. Starting Kyle Korver is always a bad idea. Seeing, as he's never played defense. Ever. Whoever DeMarre Carrol is… He could be good. All in all, the Hawks look to stay middle of the pack as they have for the better part of five years. There good for anywhere between an eight and five seed in the east. Even when they did finish as a top-five team in season past, they never felt like a team who could get over the top. They won't this year; but Hawks fans won't have to worry about Josh Smith jacking up threes anymore. So that's a silver lining.
What We Don't Like: The loss of Josh Smith: The man may have jacked up unwarranted threes, but for his entire career in ATL, Smith averaged, 15.3/3.2/8 (Points/Assists/Rebounds). The Hawks made the playoffs each year he was apart of the team and he was supposed to be the lynch in that brought Dwight Howard home. Now, with all that in the rear view mirror. Milsap is the only hope to salvage the loss of such a primary player.
Speaking of Mr. Smith, this bring us to our next team….
15. Detroit Pistons – 2012 record: 29-53
PG Brandon Jennings
SG Chauncey Billups
SF Josh Smith
PF Greg Monroe
C Andre Drummond
Bench: Peyton Siva, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Will Bynum, Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva, Kyle Singler, Luigi Datome, Josh Harrellson.
What We Like: Joe Dumars seemed fed up with his teams futility and added himself some real stars. With Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, the Pitons resemble a complete team, finally. Prior to, all they had was Greg Monroe, then last year, they added Andre Drummond last year in the draft. It became apparent that Detroit, much like when they won their championship in 2004, had a very good core at forward and center. Like the two Wallaces before them, Drummond and Monroe look to be rim protecting gods. The addition of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings will be a wondrous experiment, that could A. lead to great things for D-Town, or B. lead to a calamity of sadness, the likes no one has ever seen on a projected "good" team. Aside from the Lakers last year; who were comedy gold with their failing.
What We Don't Like: That high calamity I spoke of. This could be a really good defensive team, that is afraid to give the ball to anyone. Jennings and Smith could easily sink this ship if they continue their "me first" attitudes they had with their previous teams. Granted, they were all their previous teams had. but, nonetheless, if Smith is jacking up unwarranted threes and Jennings is dribbling out the shot-clock to take a fade-away three from 40-feet out, then the Pistons will be, yet again, a floundering bag of sadness. They will make the playoffs though. Their combo of Drummond and Monroe is too good and only going up in terms of skill.
19. Dallas Mavericks – 2012 Record: 41-41
PG Jose Calderon
SG Monta Ellis
SF Shawn Marion
PF Dirk Nowitzki
C Samuel Dalembert
Bench: Vince Carter, Devin Harris, Jae Crowder, Gal Mekel, Wayne Ellington, Ricky Ledo, DeJuan Blair, Brandan Wright, Bernard James.
What We Like: The idea that his team is going to turn it around this year and possibly make the playoffs. As an eight or seven seed. They will make it though. Jose Calderon is a sexy addition, and Dwight Howard Samuel Dalembert at center will be a defensive stop-gap for when Dirk, Jose and Monta, let pretty much everyone get past them. The main thing about this team, that could push them to a sixth, or better yet, a fifth seed? "Monta Ellis have it all" and "Monta-ball".
What We Don't Like: "Monta Ellis have it all" and "Monta-ball". Oh, and Shawn Marion is their starting small forward still, and he's great defensively, don't get me wrong. I just didn't know he was still playing when I started writing this. That's all.
On The Outside Looking In
20. Cleveland Cavaliers – 2012 Record: 24-58
PG Kyrie Irving
SG Dion Waiters
SF Earl Clark
PF Tristan Thompson
C Anderson Varejao (Andrew Bynum?)
Bench: C.J. Miles, Jarrett Jack, Alonzo Gee, Anthony Bennett, Carrick Felix, Matthew Dellavedova, Tyler Zeller, Sergey Karasev.
What We Like: Kyrie Irving,. And at an alarming level. Last night (Monday), we watched at least an hour of Kyrie highlights, as well as the new "Uncle Drew: chapter three" video. The kid is prime to take off beyond what he already did last year. There isn't much else to talk about with this team. Other than the Bynum signing, they brought in a bunch of role players and nothing to really make them 10 games better than what they were last year.
What We Don't Like: Mike Brown is their new head coach. He was good when he was last there… there was something about those teams, I can't quite put my finger on it… but I know it was something important that made them so good. What was it again? Oh yeah, god damn LeBron James was on those teams. As great as Kyrie is; he isn't LeBron. Brown doesn't call plays, he only preaches defense, which this team may be bad at – which remains to be seen - and something called the Princeton offense (a lot of screen-and-roll, beneficially for Kyrie – was supposed to be for Steve Nash). Him and the "Princeton Offense" were fired four games in, by the Lakers. Brown will most likely get a fair shake with the Cavs, and if he can pull this very young team together. The Cavs and Cleveland could have something to root for in 2016… Most likely 2017.
Here’s a video of Kyrie Irving though. He’s just the best.
…And another. We’re sorry, he’s just so good.
22. Toronto Raptors – 2012 Record: 34-48
PG Kyle Lowry
SG DeMar DeRozan
SF Rudy Gay
PF Amir Johnson
C Jonas Valanciunas
Bench: Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Terrence Ross, Austin Daye, Steve Novak, Landry Fields, Quincy Acy, Dwight Buycks.
What We Like: The Rudy Gay trade, although did add a little extra to this team, going 17-16, with Gay in the lineup. It's always good to see a "small" market team, acquire a perceived "All Star". There is a huge debate amongst hoop-heads, on whether Gay is A. Terrible, or B. Decent, but can't shoot for someone who just wants to shoot. DeRozan will blossom into a legitimate two-guard for the Raptors, which could possibly sneak them into and eighth seed in the East. If Bynum doesn't come back, or just never plays at an NBA level when he comes back. The spot reserved for Cleveland will for sure belong to Toronto, or a team later to be named.
What We Don't Like: It's the Raptors, for one. The Gay trade, although on paper, looks good, is an analytical nightmare. Gay's true shooting average is at a 52.5 and if you look at his shot chart in any fashion, its a lot more misses than makes. I feel Gay is great, he's someone you'd want on your wing in a league, where very few dependable, scoring wing players exist. The Raptors are still an outlier at best, and could make a jump. It all depends on where Gay can take them.
24. Sacramento Kings - 2012 Record: 28-54
PG Greivis Vasquez
SG Marcus Thornton
SF John Salmons
PF Jason Thompson
C DeMarcus Cousins
Bench: Ben McLemore, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette, Patrick Patterson, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Travis Outlaw, Hamady Ndiaye, Chuck Hayes.
What We Like: There really isn't much to like. Other than 'Boogie' Mother Fucking Cousins. Dude will be a beast this year. Mark my words. We're getting a 20/13 season out of Cousins. What will this do for the Kings playoff hopes, and fan base mentality? Nothing. But it'll be awesome to watch it all season. Ben McLemore taking over the two-guard spot eventually will be interesting. Depending on how much of a role they allow him and Isaiah Thomas to have, the youth on this team could maybe, muster a 41-41 record. And it's the little things in Sac-Town, right?
What We Don't Like: This is still a team that has way too many guards. The got rid of Tyreke Evans in the offseason, and added McLemore. No knock against McLemore. They just should've found someone to partner with 'Boogie' on the block. Bolster their rim defense and allow more in and out play with big men and guards. Instead, it'll probably be more of the same in Sac-Town. A lot of guards, a lot of dump-ins to Cousins and a lot of losing.
We Gunning For That Numba One Pick
25. Celtics – 2012 Record: 41-40
PG Avery Bradley (Rajon Rondo)
SG Jeff Green
SF Gerald Wallace
PF Brandon Bass
C Kelly Olynyk
Bench: Courtney Lee, Jordan Crawford, Kris Humphries, Jared Sullinger, Vitor Faverani, Keith Bogans, Phil Pressey.
What We Like: I'm a Celtics fan. There isn't much to like. Kelly Olynyk and Vitor looked great in preseason, and Avery Bradley seems to have his corner three and top-tier defense back. All of that was in preseason play though. Jeff Green has an opportunity to prove that he's a capable fill in for the legendary Paul Pierce. That's also a long shot. It's a young team, with a new – also young – head coach, Brad Stevens, and they really have no expectations whatsoever. It'll be a fun team to watch, especially when Rondo returns, but anything outside of "fun" is a huge stretch.
What We Don't Like: I can honestly say Gerald Wallace, although a hard playing player, is not going to do much. Kris Humphries could be the 12/12 guy he was for a year with Brooklyn. Again, that's a big stretch. Jeff Green will have flashes of greatness, but he'll most likely wilt like a fragile flower for most of the season. Andre Wiggins here we come!!!!
26. Charlotte Bobcats, Cats? Hornets? – 2012 Record: 21-61
PG Kemba Walker
SG Gerald Henderson
SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
PF Cody Zeller
C Al Jefferson
Bench: Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Josh McRoberts, Jeff Taylore, James Southerland, Bismack Biyombo, Bendan Haywood, Jeff Adrien.
What We Like: Kemba Walker is really cool. Al Jefferson really wanted to get paid; and the Bobcats obliged him. Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon could be something… like 15 points combined a game. Josh McRoberts is great at dunking so the Cats fans can enjoy that. Also, is it still Bobcats? Or is Hornets yet? I'm not too sure.
What We Don't Like: Cody Zeller at forward. It literally makes no sense. He can't shoot – and if you dare question me, here you go – he isn't a good defender and he certainly isn't a power forward. Michael Jordan may have been the greatest player, but as an owner, he's just awful. This team is a hodgepodge of bad shooters, bad defenders, and then there's poor Jefferson. At least he's getting paid. Instead of a name change, this team should've just folded up and disappeared. Changing the name of this team is like Disney throwing a different title on "The Lone Ranger"; No matter what, it's still gonna be a heaping pile of shit.
28. Orlando Magic – 2012 Record: 20-62
PG Jameer Nelson
SG Arron Afflalo
SF Maurice Harkless
PF Tobias Harris
C Nikola Vucevic
Bench: Victor Oladipo, Doron Lamb, E'Twaun Moore, Ronnie Price, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell, Kyle O'Quinn.
What We Like: This is an awesome young core that they've developed. Although, something like that transcends to success in this version of the NBA. But these Magic are not the Thunder, and there isn't a Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook on this team. Oladipo was a solid addition, he seems like a serious player in the same likes as Luol Deng, and someone who can guard from one to three. Tobias Harris came along last season with averaging 11 points and five rebounds in 23 minutes a game. They dropped Hedo Turkoglu on Friday. This was possibly the best thing this team could've done.
What We Don't Like: This will be a fun team. They'll be horrifyingly over-matched against the top of the East, but they're a team that can keep up or beat the Hawks, Cavs, Raptors, and Celtics when need-be. They're a young team, with a young GM (Rob Hennigan, 30) who's the reason they dropped the Dwight fiasco as well as swapping J.J. Redick for the aforementioned Harris (a fantastic trade by all means). They have a lot of upside, they just need to get rid of Jameer Nelson somehow and they could probably sneak into an eight seed or finish just on the cusp.
29. Phoenix Suns – 2012 Record: 25-57
PG Goran Dragic
SG Eric Bledsoe
SF P. J. Tucker
PF Markieff Morris
C Alex Len
Bench: Archie Goodwin, Ish Smith, Gerald Green, Dionte Christmas, Marcus Morris, Channing Frye, Miles Plumlee.
What We Like: Ummm…… There's a dude named Christmas? They have twins on the team. Like identical basketball-playing twins. They traded their best player, Marcin Gortat, a possible budding young player in Kendall Marshall and Shannon Brown, to the Wizards, effectively making my John Wall fantasy pick up pretty smart. They're new uniforms and new court design make them look like a college team. But, they're essentially a really well paid college team, so it makes sense.
What We Don't Like: Everything that doesn't involve their Gorilla mascot, the Morris Twins and the last name Christmas. Unfortunately, there will be no presents for Suns fans.
That about does it for the annual NBA season preview at HefferBrew. Check back with us through out the season for all the hot sports takes you can handle. Like us on Facebook and follow is on Twitter at @HefferBrew.