We expect the most wide open season in many years
As Zach Lowe reports for ESPN three to five teams now have at least two perennial All Star players:
Nets: Irving and Durant (once he returns) plus Deandre Jordan, Lavert, and Harris, with a nice bench Dinwiddie, Jarett Allen, Wilson Chandler and Taurean Prince
Lakers: Davis and Lebron, with Boogie, Kuzma, and Danny Green, plus Rondo, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley
Clippers: Kawhi and PG 13, plus Shamet, Pat Beverly, Zubac, Green, Mo Harkless (nice addition) and the picka nd roll pairing of Harrell and sweet Lou Willimas
Warriors: Curry and Klay (once he returns) plus they have Draymond and Deangelo Russell (not sure for how long)., a resigned Looney, Willie Cauley Stein
76ers: Embiid and Simmons (needs a jump shot) plus Horford, Richardson and Harris
Net there are at least 5 teams that enter next season with at least two perennial all stars who should all make the playoffs
This will make next season fun to watch-we have a concentration of high end talent but we avoided the super team that has haunted the league in the last few years.
Other teams we like (may not have 2 All Stars but may have more balance) include:
Denver: Jokic, Murray, Harris, Millsap and Porter Jr (Brian’s pick for rookie of the year) plus Jerami Grant (recent addition) , Morris, Beasley, Barton, Craig, Hernan-Gomez, and the best Plumlee this team is talented and SUPER DEEP
Utah: Gobert, Conley (trade), Mitchell, Bogdonovic (free agent), Ingels plus Jeff Green, Ed Davis, Mudiay, Exum, Royce O’neal and Niang. We think the new look Jazz will likely challenge Denver for the #1 seed in the West as the Clippers and Lakers practice load management
Portland: Lillard, McCollum, Hood, Collins and Nurkic with Bazemore (trade), Tolliver and Whiteside (free agents) also looks like a solid squad-they did make the Western Conference finals last year. Brian believes the Blazers will acquire their final piece in Portland native Kevin Love (before the regular season begins)
Houston: Harden, Paul, Gordon, Tucker and Capela, House, Rivers, Gerald Green, Nene etc. This is the say one thing (open to trading everyone) and do another (trade no one) team but they still bring back a lot of talent.
Bucks: Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe, Lopez and Wes Matthews (free agent) with George Hill, Connaghton, Sterling Brown, Ilyasova/DJ Wilson and ROLO (free agent center addition). We expect the Bucks to be the #1 seed in the East (for the second year in a row). Look for a trade for a shooting guard at the deadline.
Pacers: Oladipo (when he returns) , Brogdon, TJ Warren, Sabonis and Turner with Jeremy Lamb, TJ McConell, Doug McDermott and the rookie Bidazak. Brogdon is the key here according to Mike. Brian predicts a trade with the Celtics which would bring Gordon Hayward back home again to Indian for Sabonis
Celtics: Kemba (free agent) , Brown, Hayward, Tatum and Kanter (free agent) with Smart, Edwards, Williams, Langford, Ojelye, Theis and Robert Williams making for anothr playoff team (we have them as the 4 seed in the East).
Favorite team (which we do not think will make the playoffs) to watch
New Orleans Pelicans: Lonzo; Jrue Holliday, Ingram, Zion and Derrick Favors with Josh Hart, JJ Redick, Okafor, Nikel Alexander Walker, Jaxson Hayes, Moore, Frank Jackson (summer league stud), Kenrich Williams and Christian Wood this squad looks like it could be a playoff team in the East