Each NBA Team’s Best Jersey

Happy New Year everyone! We are not only in a new year of 2020 we are in a new decade! With a new decade upon us, I thought it would be great to do a more fun type of blog than I usually do. One of the more underrated aspects of the NBA that I love is the jerseys. The NBA used to only did special jerseys for the All-Star Game which would inspire alternate jerseys that teams could wear on an every other game basis on the road or at home. The NBA and its players starting to take fashion more seriously on and off the court led to experimentation with team uniforms outside of the run of the mill home and away jerseys. For a while, teams experimented with holiday theme jerseys for Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day for example but it seems like those have been phased out. City jerseys are now the new wave as all 30 teams have special jerseys that represent the city of the corresponding team. With that being said, I thought I would take a look at each team’s best jersey ever. This will not include alternates, holiday editions or any other special edition jersey. This will strictly be the best home/away jersey in each team’s history. I may make a blog ranking the top 10 best alternate/special edition jerseys of all-time one day but for now no special edition jersey will be featured. With that being said let’s begin!

SPOILER ALERT: SHOTS WILL BE FIRED!

Eastern Conference

Atlanta Hawks

This is for sure one of my favorite jersey designs of all-time. This jersey designed has aged like fine wine as far as I’m concerned. Maybe if they brought these jerseys back full-time it could distract Hawks fans from how bad the team is. (SHOTS FIRED!)

Boston Celtics

Classic. Just classic.

Brooklyn Nets

I had to take it back to the ABA days for the Nets best jersey. It was honestly between these and the Drazen Petrovic Nets era jerseys but I edged it to these. I just like the color scheme and the stars and stripes type look to these. This is definitely a look the Nets should revisit on a theme night or a special occasion game (minus the short shorts of course LOL).

Charlotte Hornets

Although I’m not a huge fan of the color scheme, I’m a sucker for pinstripe jerseys. Plus, Charlotte has not had a very good history in terms of jerseys but they at least look better than the Hornets have played. (SHOTS FIRED!)

Chicago Bulls

When talking about what team has the best overall jersey catalog ever I would pick the Chicago Bulls. The script jerseys get the nod for me just because it looks so simple but its effective. Its a change of pace from their regular jerseys that just have Bulls on the front in that generic font. Again, it’s not a huge change and its not over the top flashy, but to me it gets the job done.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Again, I am a sucker for script jerseys and the Cavs are no exception. The Cavs actually had a surprising number of great jerseys that I had to choose from but it was these that got the nod. I really like how the “C” in Cavaliers is designed on the jersey. Even though I’m usually not crazy about the ketchup and mustard color scheme, this jersey pulls it off well.

Detroit Pistons

Not much to say here I’m not a fan of the teal color in their 90s jerseys with the Piston in the logo so I opted for their more basic jersey. Not great but not bad either just ok.

Indiana Pacers

This is probably the most underrated jersey design ever. I like the pattern on the jersey with the white, yellow and navy going from left to right and I especially like how they designed the team name and number on the jersey. I would love for this jersey to make a return.

Miami Heat

If I were to include special edition jerseys into this equation, I think we all know I would have picked the Miami Vice jerseys. But, they weren’t included so I’ll stick with these. Not that they don’t look good they look great, they’re just not the Miami Vice jerseys LOL.

Milwaukee Bucks

I know most will go to the 90s purple/green jersey with the Buck on the side but I personally am not a fan of those. Those, to me, are an example of jerseys going over the top and failing. These, on the other hand, get the job done without doing too much.

New York Knicks

Again, not much to say but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If only the Knicks knew how much their franchise needed fixing they could finally win an NBA championship after 50 years. (SHOTS FIRED!)

Orlando Magic

Not only is their pinstripes in this design, there is also a star as the “A” and the dot on the I in Magic. Honestly, this same design without pinstripes look good the pinstripes are just the cherry on top. Definitely one of my favorite jersey designs ever.

Philadelphia 76ers

In a way this is an emotional pick because I grew up a huge Allen Iverson fan and this jersey was synonymous with his time in Philly. With that said, the design of this jersey looks very good. I love the imagery of the basketball flying from the star underlining the Sixers logo. I am a sucker for stars taking the place of he dot over the “I”. Its just a great jersey design the emotional connection is just a plus.

Toronto Raptors

I, like most people, did not like these jersey when the Raptors first started wearing them. I don’t know when they started to grow on me but they did. I maintain that I don’t like the purple/black/red color combination but that’s just a minor nitpick.

Washington Wizards

I wanted to pick their gold alternate jerseys from the mid 2000s but as previously stated I can’t. That should not take away from how nice this jersey is. To me, the jerseys were better when they were the Bullets compared to their jerseys as the Wizards (don’t @ me). I especially love the hands over the Ls designed to look like its reaching for the basketball above.

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks

So far in this blog, we have learned I am a sucker for script jersey designs, and stars as letters or letter accessories on jerseys. Now the next thing I am a sucker for is a skyline jersey design hence this Mavs jersey. Although this jersey is very well done, I do kind of wish the logo was a bit lower on the jersey and the skyline was bigger. This is a very good skyline jersey but its not best one I’ve seen. Which is the best? Well…

Denver Nuggets

…why this one of course. I absolutely love this jersey. Home, away it doesn’t matter both of them look amazing. I went with the away version just because I think the blue magnifies the rainbow stripes and skyline better than on the white jersey. Either way, this is for sure one of my all-time favorites.

Golden State Warriors

This is another very underrated jersey. I love the way they incorporated the bay bridge on this jersey. I do w

Houston Rockets

Most would pick the pinstripe jerseys as the best for the Rockets and while I do like those, I like these slightly better. It may look simple but the font looks different from any other jersey. I honestly don’t know what attracts me to this jersey specifically I just know that I like them a lot.

Los Angeles Clippers

Before the LA Clippers were the Clippers we all know and…they were the San Diego Clippers and before that they were the Buffalo Braves. As the Buffalo Braves, they had one of the most underrated jerseys of all-time. I love everything about this jersey from the color scheme, the black and orange lines going diagonally across the jersey and the logo placement. If only I included city jerseys in this list this year’s Clippers city jerseys would give it a run for its money. At the same time thank God I didn’t because I would have a tough choice to make.

Los Angeles Lakers

See Boston Celtics description.

Memphis Grizzlies

Now usually I’m not a big fan of teal but this is a huge exception. Oh my goodness this jersey is amazing. There are so many things I love about this jersey but probably my favorite is the design on the collar and shoulder lining. This would definitely be a candidate for my top 10 jerseys of all-time not only in the NBA but arguably in sports period.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Another jersey that uses the collar and shoulder line effectively. From the mix of colors to the logo and number fonts this is just a well done jersey. My one nitpick is I wish they found a way to incorporate the Timberwolf (or whatever the singular word for Timberwolves is) from the logo onto the jersey.

New Orleans Pelicans

Not much to say here but for all the wrong reasons. This is the Pelicans/Hornets best jersey by default quite honestly. This is a franchise that has never done well with making aesthetically pleasing jerseys in their history. If only they could win a championship, or at least make a Western Conference Finals, we wouldn’t have to notice how ugly their jerseys are. (SHOTS FIRED!)

Oklahoma City Thunder

BRING THE NBA BACK TO SEATTLE! No disrespect to Oklahoma City some of the best moments in recent NBA memory have occurred in OKC. I just miss the NBA in Seattle and more than that I miss seeing these jerseys on the NBA court. They may look simple but that’s what make them great. Green and yellow is an amazing color combination and the design looking great is just the cherry on top.

Phoenix Suns

Another well done amazing jersey. This is a flashy jersey that doesn’t look like its trying too hard. I honestly prefer the black version of this jersey but all the color combinations for this jersey look great.

Sacramento Kings

I had to take it back to the Oscar Robertson days for the Kings best jersey. The Kings really made me think about this one they have had great jerseys in every era. It was between these, the checkerboard Kings jerseys from the 90s, and the baby blue Kings script jerseys. These get the nod from me because I love the layout of the jersey design with the team name displayed on the side vertically as well as they red and white lines.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs old teal, pink and orange although it looked great didn’t make sense because their jerseys were black, white and silver. I think if they made their jerseys to match the colors to match their logo they would have looked great–but they didn’t. That doesn’t mean these don’t look good because they do. I personally love the Spurs logo as the “U” in the team name on the jersey. But their jerseys are just like how they are on the court not flashy but effective.

Utah Jazz

Last, but not least, we have this masterpiece of a jersey from the Utah Jazz. The mountain in the background is obviously the main appeal of the jersey but the underrated aspect of the jersey is the font used to spell out Jazz. I love the imagery of the Jazz name on the jersey made to look like its flying through the mountain. The color scheme is great I mean this jersey is just the full package and the best way to end this list.

Randy Moss Thanksgiving Showcase

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Today is a day Americans gather to give thanks with their friends and family and fellowship together with the ultimate feast. Thanksgiving is known for many things: turkey, pumpkins, pilgrims and most importantly football. The tradition of the NFL playing games on Thanksgiving day goes as far back as 1920. Today I want to take a look at one of the greatest, most unique Thanksgiving Day performances in NFL history.

Ask any NFL football fan who had the best rookie season of all-time more than likely they might say Randy Moss. Moss was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 21st overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Along with Moss, this draft featured future all-time greats quarterback and first overall pick Peyton Manning and defensive back Charles Woodson. In addition, other great players drafted in 1998 included: fellow receiver Hines Ward; running backs Fred Taylor and Ahman Green; guard Alan Faneca; and quarterbacks Matt Hassleback, and Ryan Leaf (just kidding LOL).

In his first season, Moss overshadowed everyone in his draft class by leading the Minnesota Vikings to a franchise and then league best 15-1 record. He led the league with 17 receiving touchdowns, was third in the league with 1,313 receiving yards and 69 receptions on his way to winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. Moss had a number of incredible performances in his rookie season but none were more impressive or unique than his Thanksgiving Day performance against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Vikings came into the game with a 10-1 record on a three-game win streak after suffering their first and only loss of the season while the Cowboys were 8-3 on a four-game win streak. This game was significant as it was tagged a revenge as the Dallas Cowboys were one of many teams that passed on Moss in the NFL draft. At the time, the Cowboys were coming off a season where they missed the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. Their offensive big three were at the end of the line.

Their star receiver Michael Irvin would retire after the following season, Troy Aikman would retire two seasons later, and Emmitt Smith would head to the Arizona Cardinals four seasons later. The Cowboys drafting Moss could have been a huge first step in the team maintaining its place as a championship contender. Instead, the Cowboys would push forward slowly fading away from the glory days of their championship success obtained in the 1990s. Ok enough background let’s talk about Randy Moss’ Thanksgiving day performance.

Randy Moss ended the game with three catches for 163 yards and three receiving touchdowns. He is the only player with more than three catches in a game to score a touchdown on each catch and finish with at least 160 yards. All three of his touchdown catches went for 50+ yards. This was one of Randy Moss’ breakout performances that put the league on notice that he was the future of the NFL and the best receiver in the league. Here are the highlights from Moss’ performance:

Malice at the Palace 15 Years Later

Background

It has been 15 years to the date that the most controversial incident in NBA history took place affectionately known as Malice at the Palace. November 19, 2004 a regular season game between division rivals the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan. This was the first meeting between these two teams since they played each other in the Eastern Conference Finals a series the Pistons won in six games on their way to winning the NBA Finals. It was just the eighth game of the season for the Pistons and the ninth game of the season for the Pacers. The game was rather uninteresting through the first three quarters with the Pacers leading for the majority of the game. However, in the final seconds of the game, things got very interesting for all the wrong reasons.

With 45 seconds left in the game, Pistons center Ben Wallace when up for a dunk where he was fouled by Pacers forward Ron Artest (now known as Metta World Peace). Ben Wallace took exception to the foul by Artest and proceeded to push him. Wallace then went after Artest but his teammates and the Pacers players that were on the court converged to separate them. Now, in today’s NBA, both teams would have been separated and the referees would have reviewed whether the foul committed by Artest was a flagrant one or two or if it was a common foul as well as whether Ben Wallace deserved and the other players involved deserved technical fouls. SPOILER ALERT: that is not even close to what happened. I don’t think anyone in attendance or watching at home could have guessed what insanity was about to happen.

As both teams are separated and cooling off from the skirmish, Ron Artest is hit by a beverage (probably a beer) thrown at him by a fan. Incensed by this, Artest runs in the stands and starts a fight with fans. Though Pacers teammates namely Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson followed him into the stands to de-escalate the situation, Pistons fans continued to throw drinks on the Pacers players. This led to Jackson and O’Neal to begin to throw punches at fans alongside Artest in the stands. After a few minutes of brawling in the stands, the players are finally able to clear the stands but bafflingly, the incident DID NOT END THERE! As the players clear the stands and make their way back on to the court, somehow fans are able to get on the court and the brawl continues. Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson continue to brawl with fans with one of the more replayed moments of the brawl being Jermaine O’Neal running in on the scene throwing a punch at a fan while slipping on liquid on the court. Finally, team and game officials are finally able to get the players off the court before the situation could escalate any further but the damage was already done.

Look me saying what happened does not do the brawl justice. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the infamous incident:

Aftermath

The punishment for this situation saw multiple players from the Pacers and Pistons receive suspensions and some legal charges against fans and players. Five players for the Indiana Pacers (six players overall) received suspensions of five games or more with Ron Artest receiving the heftiest suspension of any of the players involved as he was suspended for the 73 remaining regular season games in addition to the 13 postseason games the Pacers ended up playing bringing the total to 86 games. Stephen Jackson received a 30 game suspension and Jermaine O’Neal received a 15 game suspension (originally 25 games but was reduced on appeal). Pacers veteran guard Anthony Johnson rounds out the field of players that received a five or more game suspension at five games. Longtime Pacers guard and Hall of Famer Reggie Miller (who was inactive for the game and in his final NBA season) received a one-game suspension. Ben Wallace received a six-game suspension the heaviest suspension of the four Pistons players that received one. Reigning Finals MVP and Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups received a one-game suspension as a result of the incident as well as veteran teammates Derrick Coleman and Elden Campbell.

As far as criminal charges go, five Indiana Pacers players (Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Anthony Johnson and David Harrison) and five fans (John Ackerman, John Green, Bryant Jackson, William Paulson and David Wallace) received criminal charges and were sentenced to community service and probation as a result. Pistons fan John Green was noted as the fan who threw the cup at Artest that started the brawl in the stands. At the time of the incident, Green was on court-ordered probation at the time for a DUI conviction and had previous convictions for carrying a concealed weapon, felony assault, and three drunk driving convictions. David Wallace, one of the fans that was charged as a result of the incident, is Ben Wallace’s brother.

Being that these two teams were in the same division, they played each other three more times in the regular season with their next matchup coming on Christmas day at Indiana. The next time they played each other at the scene of the crime at the Palace, the game had to be halted for a half an hour because of a bomb threat. Luckily, the situation was sorted out and both teams proceeded with the game. In a bizarre twist of fate, both teams would also meet in the postseason for the second straight season where the Pistons would win the series in six games. The Pistons would go on to advance to their second straight NBA Finals though they were unsuccessful this time around as they were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in seven games.

The Pistons would appear in the Eastern Conference Finals the next three seasons but would be unable to make it back to the NBA Finals and were able to keep their main core intact until the 2006-2007 season when Ben Wallace signed with the Pistons other division rival Chicago Bulls in free agency. On the other hand, the Indiana Pacers would not have the same success as after they were able to make the playoffs the season following, they went through a four-season drought where they missed the playoffs. The team would undergo major changes in this time period. Although Ron Artest was able to return to the team the next season for a time, he would be traded to the Sacramento Kings midseason. Stephen Jackson was traded to the Golden State Warriors a season after Artest was traded and in the offseason following the 2007-2008 season, Jermaine O’Neal was traded to the Toronto Raptors.

This incident is what made the NBA league office become more strict in order to repair the image of the NBA in the aftermath. This included limiting the amount of alcohol that was allowed to be sold at NBA games, introducing new security guidelines, and later on a new dress code.

Historical Perspective

This is an incident that the NBA had never seen before, has not happened since and more than likely will not happen again. Yes NBA players have fought/brawled with each other before, NBA players have gotten into it with fans before, never before have NBA players gone into the stands and brawled with fans. This was without a doubt the most chaotic incident in NBA history and I could go as far as to say the most chaotic in sports history. Many have debated who was more at fault for the situation Pistons fans or Pacers players namely Ron Artest. I honestly don’t think either party is more to blame than the other as both played significant roles in the escalation of the incident.

Pistons fans were wrong for throwing beverages at the Pacers players and Ron Artest was wrong for being unable to keep his composure and charging into the stands. Pistons fans were wrong, Ron Artest was wrong everyone was wrong. To a lesser degree the coaching staff for both teams should have taken better control of their players, security should have been in place to control the players when the skirmish between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest first happened and to keep fans from being able to escalate the situation any further. We can go on and on debating who was more in the wrong but at the end of the day none of that matters. All that matters is that no one was significantly hurt as a result of the incident, no one received any jail time and the NBA made the necessary changes needed to prevent a situation like this from ever happening again.

San Francisco 49ers: Contenders or Pretenders?

The San Francisco 49ers have by far been the most surprising team so far this season. A 51-13 win over the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday improved their record to 7-0. They are now one of just two teams that remain undefeated this 2019 NFL season (New England Patriots). This comes following a 2018 season where they finished with a 4-12 record. The defense for the Niners has played a major role in their success allowing just 11 points per game on the season second best in the league including just 7.6 points per game in the four games since their bye week. Their pass defense is best in the league in yards allowed, second best in passing touchdowns allowed, tied for second best in interceptions and are fourth best in forced sacks. Although their run defense is just outside the top 10 in yards allowed, they are third best in touchdowns allowed giving up just two rushing touchdowns this season.

From top to bottom, the defense for the Niners is loaded with big name players and young stars. Rookie defensive lineman Nick Bosa has been a bright spot for the team as so far he has seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 13 QB hits on the season (top 10 in NFL in each). Former longtime Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has had a stellar second season with the 49ers putting up three interceptions and a pick six so far this season. In addition to Sherman and Bosa, the defense also features defensive back K’Waun Williams who has a career high two interceptions this season, defensive end Arik Armstead with 5.5 sacks along with seven QB hits and tackles for losses, Pro Bowl defensive end Dee Ford with 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles and Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner with seven QB hits and two forced fumbles.

As far as the 49ers offense goes, it has been their rushing attack doing most of the heavy lifting. The Niners have attempted the most runs and have scored the most rushing touchdowns this season while having the second most rushing yards. Running back Matt Breida leads the team in 446 total rushing yards while Tevin Coleman leads the team with five rushing touchdowns and 66.4 rushing yards per game. On the other hand, their passing attack has left a lot to be desired as they are in the bottom half of every category except for yards per attempt. Another weak spot for the Niners offense have been turnovers as they have committed 12 so far this season including seven interceptions by Jimmy Garoppolo. That brings us to the question: Are the San Francisco legitimate Super Bowl contenders or are they pretenders? Ok now hear me out I know this is going to seem like a cop out answer but, I don’t think that question has been answered yet.

Strength of Schedule

In the Niners seven games so far this season, they have played just two teams with a winning record with the combined record of all their opponents adding to 16-35. The Los Angeles Rams is the only team they have played so far that made the playoffs last season. The remainder of the season, the schedule for the 49ers will be significantly tougher as they will face five teams with winning records. Of those games, three will come against division opponents: Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks (2), three will come against division leaders: New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens, and the remaining three coming against teams with losing records: Arizona Cardinals (2) and Atlanta Falcons.

Is their Defense for real? Can the Offense keep up?

So far this season, although the defense of the 49ers has played extraordinary, it not been tested very well like it will be for the remainder of the season. Only two of the teams they have played so far are in the top half of the league in yards from scrimmage per game (Rams and Buccaneers). Those same two teams along with the Carolina Panthers are the only teams the 49ers have played that are in the top half of the league in points per game. Four of the teams remaining on the Niners schedule are in the top 10 in yards from scrimmage per game and all but one (Arizona Cardinals) are in the top half of the league in the same category. Three of the teams remaining on the Niners schedule are in the top 10 in points per game and five are in the top half of the league in the same category.

In addition to the defense being tested, the offense will also be tested but in a completely different way. Can the offense carry the torch in games the defense is struggling? Can the rushing attack remain consistent for the Niners for the remainder of the regular season into the postseason? Will Jimmy Garoppolo continue to struggle or will he be able to improve as the continues? These are questions about the offense that will be answered as the 49ers begin to face tougher opponents in the back half of their season. The way the offense of the 49ers plays could determine whether they are Super Bowl contenders or a one and done team in the postseason.

In Conclusion

The remaining nine games of the season for the 49ers will certainly be a test but on the bright side, history is on their side. Since 1990, none of the previous 25 teams that have started a season 7-0 has finished with less than 11 wins. The average record of teams that started a season 7-0 is 13-3. Of said 25 teams, 12 went on to appear in the Super Bowl with six teams going on to win it all. An additional five teams would appear in their respective Conference championship game. Five teams lost in the divisional round and three lost in the Wild Card round. The Niners have the talent on both sides of the ball to finish the season off well all that’s left is to execute. The keys for a strong finish for this team will be to cut down on turnovers, and improved passing game, and consistency in the running game and on defense. The sky’s the limit of what the this team can accomplish if able to remain healthy and consistent for the rest of the season.

NBA Predictions: Pacific Division

I’m not even going to try to sugarcoat this the Pacific division is the best division in the NBA and its not even close. The only other division that comes close is the Atlantic division but not even they come close to the level of talent in the Pacific. I’m talking stars like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell, De’Aaron Fox, and Devin Booker. That’s just some of the big name players in this division I could keep going but I think I made my point. The biggest story of the Pacific division is the battle of LA between the Lakers and Clippers. Both teams had incredible offseasons changing the scope of the NBA with moves made in free agency. Both teams are heavy favorites to make the NBA Finals if they are able to remain healthy. As for the regular season who finishes with the best record? Here are my predictions for the Pacific division!

Los Angeles Clippers: 58-24

The Los Angeles Clippers could quite possibly be the best defensive team in the NBA this season. The thought of three of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA today in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley on the same team in insane. Their defense is not only what makes the Clippers such a great team. The Clippers have no shortage of scoring, athleticism, shooting, and depth this team is going to be hard to beat. The one thing the Clippers may struggle with is rebounding. The Clippers do not have much size on their roster so its going to take a significant amount of hustle if they do not want to get dominated on the boards every night. Other than that, believe the hype with the amoung of talent on the Clippers roster will be playing in May and possibly June if able to remain healthy.

Los Angeles Lakers: 56-26

I can almost copy and paste everything I just said about the Clippers but the Lakers are great for an entirely different reason. The Lakers front line is the best in the NBA and I can confidently say its not even close. Just look at the caliber of names in the Lakers frontcourt: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Javale McGee, and Dwight Howard. These guys are a maychup nightmare as they can dominate teams on the low block on both sides of the ball. On top of that, the Laker backcourt is loaded with shooters and solid defenders. Health is the only thing that I can see that would derail the Lakers chances to contend for an NBA championship this season and beyond.

Golden State Warriors: 50-32

As an NBA fan, I really really hope that Klay Thompson is able to play this season because that would make this division that much more competitive than it already is. The Warriors no longer have Kevin Durant so they won’t be as good as in years past but they will certainly be very good. The sign and trade for D’Angelo was a great move as well as going after Willie Cauley-Stein. Cauley-Stein along with Draymond Green and Kevon Looney on the front line is a very interesting prospect to go along with their stellar backcourt. With the injury to Klay Thompson, I can’t see the Warriors being major players in the NBA title picture but they will certainly be a very good team.

Sacramento Kings: 40-42

The Sacramento Kings could be one of the more underrated teams in the NBA this season. The Kings made some very good moves this offseason signing Harrison Barnes (even if they did overpay him), Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph, and Dewayne Dedmon. Along with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, this team could surprise some people. On offense, they are a nightmare on the fast break with the athleticism, shooting and playmakers on their roster. Defensively, the Kings will need some work as they don’t have any significant perimeter or post defenders. Their defensive woes are why I have them finishing below .500 but they still could shock some people with their level of play.

Phoenix Suns: 22-60

I can’t help but feel bad for Devin Booker. He has been incredible scoring the basketball ever since he entered the league four years ago but the Suns have just been awful. Ever since Booker entered the league in 2015-2016, the Suns have gone 87-241 and went through four head coaches in that time. With the hiring of Monty Williams as head coach, this is the fifth head coach for the Suns in five years. How can a team expect to build when coaches are coming and going season by season. I feel sorry for guys like Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton because they are great young talents that have the potential to be among the best in the NBA but their potential is being wasted in this joke of a franchise. On the bright side, at least they’ll have a great chance to get the first pick in the 2020 NBA draft whatever that’s worth.

NBA Predictions: Southwest Division

Russell Westbrook and James Harden reunited as teammates, Kristaps Porzingis returns to the basketball court alongside Luka Doncic, the beginning of the Zion Williamson and Ja Morant era in New Orleans and Memphis respectively, and the Spurs look to keep their 21 consecutive year playoff streak alive. These are some of the storylines to watch for in the Southwest division. The Russell Westbrook-James Harden duo will be especially interesting to see as both players have been known for their ball dominance on offense leading to both topping the leader boards in scoring, assists and triple doubles. With an offensive minded system and an offensive minded coach in Mike D’Antoni, it will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out watching who takes over the ball handling responsibilities for the team. So where will the Rockets finish in the division? Let’s find out here are my predictions for the Southwest division!

Houston Rockets: 59-23

Well it didn’t take us that long to answer that question now did it. The Houston Rockets are arguably the best offensive team in the NBA going into this season. They already had one of the best playmakers in the NBA today in James Harden, but now they added another in Russell Westbrook. These two leading the offense of the Rockets with spot up shooters all over the floor makes them a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams in the league. Outside of trading for Russell Westbrook, the Rockets did make one underrated move signing veteran center Tyson Chandler. Chandler coming off the bench along with Clint Capela gives the Rockets two solid shot blockers down low. If the Rockets’ defense is able to keep up with the production of their offense, then they could be a very dangerous team and a threat to make it to the NBA Finals.

San Antonio Spurs: 50-32

The Spurs last season were a victim of a deep Western Conference and I don’t see this season being any different. The Spurs are a very good team with one of the greatest coach of all-time leading them. The difference between this year’s team and last year’s is that they will have rising star point guard Dejounte Murray who missed all of last season with an injury. Demar Derozan had a very good first season with the San Antonio Spurs last season while Lamarcus Aldridge had another excellent season with the Spurs. The Gregg Popovich system brings out the best in players and it will be what helps the Spurs in their bid to secure a playoff spot this year.

Dallas Mavericks: 47-35

If there is one player I am excited to watch this season its Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis has been out since suffering a torn ACL in February of the 2018 season. I am excited to see how he looks in his return and if he is able to return to all-star form. I am also excited to see how well he and Luka Doncic play together as on paper this is a duo that could dominate for years to come. As far as how I think the team will do, I think they can be pretty good its just too bad they’re in the Western Conference. The key for the Mavs will be their role players specifically Tim Hardaway Jr. If the Mavs want any chance of success, they need a third scoring option after Porzingis and Doncic. The best scorer outside of those two on this team is Tim Hardaway Jr. If Hardaway is able to give the team at least 17 points per game with Porzingis and Doncic both playing well, they could be in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

New Orleans Pelicans: 41-41

Its looking like the New Orleans Pelicans are going to be without Zion Williamson for a while as he recovers from a meniscus injury. Although, to be honest, I would have predicted the Pels to finish 41-41 whether Zion was injured or not. Zion Williamson gets a lot of hype and its well deserved but it can distract people from the fact that the rest of the Pelicans roster is very good. They have a nice mix of young stars and veterans with players like Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, Josh Hart, and Derrick Favors. This team has some solid talent but like the Mavericks, are not as talked about compared to the teams in the loaded Western Conference. The Pelicans could compete for a playoff spot but that’s about it. Sorry JJ Redick but unless you get traded, that playoff streak is coming to an end.

Memphis Grizzlies: 28-54

Even though I predict the Grizzlies to finish last in the division, Grizzlies fans should be optimistic about this team. The Grizzlies have officially hit the reset button trading Marc Gasol to the Toronto Raptors last season and trading Mike Conley to the Utah Jazz in the offseason. They have a bright future as they have drafted two players in the past two NBA Drafts (Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.) that can lead this team for years to come. The next step for the Grizzlies is to improve their supporting cast. As they continue to accumulate draft picks and build team chemistry, the Grizz will start to see results. Unfortunately, this season will not be a very good one but it will be beneficial in building chemistry between Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and the rest of the Grizzlies roster.

NBA Predictions: Northwest Division

Saying that the Western Conference is going to be fun to watch this 2019-2020 NBA season is an understatement. There is are so many teams that have a legitimate chance of winning the Western Conference making it to the NBA Finals. We’ll get into some of those predictions soon but I’m starting off my predictions in the West with the Northwest division. The biggest change coming out of the Northwest division came from the Oklahoma City Thunder when they surprisingly traded Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers then traded longtime franchise point guard Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. These moves were among the most shocking as the former was hidden from the media so there were no updates on Paul George wanting to be traded meaning the only update on that story was when he was officially traded. The Russell Westbrook trade was shocking because he had been with the Thunder ever since he was drafted in 2008. I think its fair to say that nobody expected Russell Westbrook to leave the Thunder when the season ended. The Thunder were not left empty handed as they received Chris Paul in a trade with the Houston Rockets. How much will these moves help or hurt the Oklahoma City Thunder? Let’s find out here are my predictions for the Northwest division!

Utah Jazz: 54-28

In the past five seasons, the Utah Jazz have been among the best defensive teams in the NBA with their star center Rudy Gobert winning the past two Defensive Player of the Year awards. I think they continue they their defensive dominance on their way to winning the Northwest and securing a top four seed in the Western Conference. The Jazz made some big moves this offseason with their biggest move coming when they traded for longtime Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley. The pairing of Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt could be one of the best two-way starting backcourt we have in the league. In addition to Conley, the Jazz also added solid veterans to their roster including Jeff Green, Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis giving them some added depth. If healthy, the Jazz could be one of many contenders to make it out the West this season.

Denver Nuggets: 52-30

Last year the Denver Nuggets had a breakout season finishing with a 54-28 record and with the second seed in the Western Conference. The season did not finish the way they wanted as they were eliminated in seven games in the second round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers. The offseason saw the Denver Nuggets keep their roster intact with their one noticable offseason addition coming from signing Jerami Grant in free agency. Another noticable difference for the Nuggets this season is their top draft pick Michael Porter Jr. will return after missing all of last season with a back injury. While I do not think the Nuggets will be as good as they were last season, I do think they will be amongst the best teams in the West. They will surely be entangled in the battle for a spot in the top four in the West.

Portland Trail Blazers: 51-31

Continuing with the theme of teams I can see competing for a top four seed in the Western Conference the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers had an excellent season last season finishing with the third best record in the Western Conference and making it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000. This offseason, the Blazers made some pretty good moves acquiring Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore, and Pau Gasol. Acquiring Hassan Whiteside was an especially good move as he will fill a much needed hole left by Jusuf Nurkic who continues to recover from a fractured tibia and fibula sustained late last season. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will continue to stake their claim as one of the best backcourt duos in the NBA leading the Blazers to one of the top seeds in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City Thunder: 38-44

Following the aforementioned trade of Russell Westbrook, it is officially a new era in Oklahoma City. The amount of stars that have come and gone in OKC is a who’s who of stars in the NBA. In addition to Westbrook, the Thunder have had the following players on their roster: Kevin Durant, James Harden, Paul George, Victor Oladipo, Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Carmelo Anthony, and Enes Kanter. One would think that with this quality of talent that a team would win multiple NBA championships but for the Thunder that was not the case. Now the Thunder will look to move on as they look to get back to contention in the West. The Paul George and Russell Westbrook trades brought in some solid talent for OKC: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danilo Gallinari. I can not see the Thunder contend for a playoff spot this season but hey crazier things have happened we’ll just have to wait and see.

Minnesota Timberwolves: 36-46

When talking about players that have played well below expectations, the first player that comes to mind is Andrew Wiggins. Andrew Wiggins, nicknamed Maple Jordan, was pegged as the future of the NBA a future all-star and even a possible MVP. So far, he has been slightly above average but he has not improved which means the team has not improved. Karl-Anthony Towns has been a bright spot for the T-Wolves but he needs some help from Wiggins and the rest of the Wolves roster if there is any chance of Minnesota being competitive. There is some solid talent on this T-Wolves roster with Jeff Teague, Robert Covington, Josh Okogie and Gorgui Dieng among others. All of these players are going to have to step up if they want any chance of competing for a playoff spot in the ultra competitive Western Conference.