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Round Table: 2016-2017 NBA Season Preview

Round Table: 2016-2017 NBA Season Preview


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Take a deep breath everybody. After yet another long offseason, we have finally made it to opening day of the 2016-2017 NBA season! As MFFLs, and fans of the NBA in general, this time of the year is always filled with excitement and hope. To kick things off, some of our staff writers got together and made their early predictions for playoffs seedings, awards, and how they think the Dallas Mavericks will perform this season.

Playoff Predictions


Dalton Trigg:


Western Conference

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Spurs
  4. Rockets – Although defense might be an issue, I could see Houston having a really good regular season under new Head Coach Mike D’Antoni.
  5. Mavs – As always, I expect Rick Carlisle to do his thing and get this team to the postseason. With more talent on hand that last year, I think Dallas will solidify itself in the middle of the playoff bracket.
  6. Thunder
  7. Grizzlies
  8. Timberwolves – Having an overload of young talent on the rise, along with Tom Thibodeau at the helm, I expect Minnesota to push through this year and make it in.


Eastern Conference

  1. Cavs
  2. Celtics As close as the Celtics were to being a contender last year, they still lacked a true go-to guy. Although I think Al Horford‘s best years are behind him, I think he’ll be an excellent addition to a young up and coming group.
  3. Raptors
  4. Pacers
  5. Bulls – I’ve got to say, I’m curious to see how the combination of Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler mesh together. I wouldn’t consider any of them to be stellar shooters, but I think theres enough there to get them the 5-seed in the East.
  6. Knicks – This Knicks team has so many question marks when it comes to health. If they can keep it together this season though, they have one of the best starting lineups in the NBA on paper. I expect New York to make it back to the postseason this year and possibly make it to the second round.
  7. Pistons
  8. Hawks


Dylan Duell:

Western Conference

  1. Warriors
  2. Spurs
  3. Clippers
  4. Jazz (perfect blend of youth and experience with additions of Joe Johnson, George Hill and Boris Diaw.)
  5. Grizzlies
  6. Mavs
  7. Trail Blazers
  8. Thunder (Russell Westbrook dominates, but the surrounding roster and intangibles don’t matchup with competition. Plus, wouldn’t it be awesome to see KD vs. Russ in the 1st round?)


Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland
  2. Boston
  3. Indiana
    (Another year away  from the gruesome injury for Paul George.  Replacing George Hill and Ian Mahinmi with Jeff Teague and Thaddeus YoungMyles Turner is a big man to watch.)
  4. Toronto
  5. Hawks (The most consistent team in the conference the last ten years. Doesn’t translate to playoffs success.)
  6. Knicks (Willing to concede this could be way off in either direction. Big names)
  7. Bucks
  8. Pistons



Taimon Turner:

Western Conference

  1. Golden State
  2. San Antonio
  3. LA Clippers
  4. Portland (Expect Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to have the best backcourt behind Steph and Klay)
  5. Memphis
  6. Dallas
  7. Oklahoma City
  8. Minnesota (They will lose to GS in the first round but they will prove that they are on the up and up and will be a force to mess with for the foreseeable future, think 2009 Thunder)


Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland
  2. Boston
  3. Indiana
  4. Toronto
  5. Chicago
  6. New York
  7. Atlanta
  8. Milwaukee



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After all is said and done, which team will hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year?



Dalton Trigg: This season is going to be jam packed with subplots being that so many players switched teams this past offseason, with Kevin Durant being the biggest headliner.  As we all learned in 2011, just because a Super Team is formed, doesn’t mean they will automatically win it all in their first year together.  My gut tells me that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will pull off another classic NBA Finals performance against the NBA’s newest villains, the Golden State Warriors.



Dylan Duell: Nobody can make argument for anyone other than the Cavs or Warriors without sounding like that dude who just likes to have outrageous opinions for fun. Between those two, give me the Warriors (with Zaza as Finals MVP…)



Taimon Turner: The easy answer is the Warriors. They added Kevin Durant to a team who won 73 games and was seconds away from closing out the Cavs to win back to back Finals without him. With that said, I’m usually always a guy who comes in strong defense of the defending champs no matter what year it is. This may be Lebron’s toughest test, but it will only build his legacy. I’m picking the Cavs to repeat.


Who will win MVP this year?



Dalton Trigg: If KD hadn’t left for Golden State, I would’ve picked Steph Curry to go for the 3-peat with this award. However, there is only one basketball, and even thought I think Steph will still be as efficient as ever, I think we’ll see a slight dip in his stats.  That being said, I think LeBron will win his 5th league MVP trophy, which will be his first since the 2012-2013 season when he was with the Miami Heat.



Dylan Duell: My usual rule for this award is what player would turn his franchise to rubble if he were taken away from them that season.  Will that fit any of the Warriors this season? No, because they have like four of the top fifteen or twenty players in the game.  It will be nearly impossible for them to win less than sixty games.  The Cavs? Not far behind.  Kawhi Leonard’s numbers and personality won’t be sexy enough down in the Alamo City.  My guess it will be Chris Paul’s year out in Lob City.  They did pretty well without Blake Griffin last year, so I think that will hold over to impact opinions this year when the Los Angeles Clippers win their usual 50-something games.



Taimon Turner: It really depends what one defines as most valuable. I expect former MVPs Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Lebron James to have dominant years. I expect Kawhi Leonard to be dominant and valuable to the Spurs but I don’t know about the NBA’s Most valuable. When I look at valuable, I look at the guy who absolutely dominates his team to the playoffs with a lackluster roster surrounding him. So my pick for MVP will be Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook is a very competitive guy and wants to prove that he was truly the number one guy while Kevin Durant was in OKC. Westbrook proves MVP honors this season.


Who will win Rookie of the Year?



Dalton Trigg: In my opinion, this award would have been a lock for Ben Simmons had he not injured his foot.  Reports say he’s going to be out until January, and I don’t think he’ll have enough time to make up ground.  I’m giving the nod to Kris Dunn here.  I think Coach Tom Thibodeau will do a good job preparing Dunn to run the show.  With young pieces around him like Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins, I think he is set up to have the most success this year with the Minnesota Timberwolves.



Dylan Duell: Buddy Hield for the Pelicans.  This team is primed for tanking if they don’t get off to a hot start.  That will be difficult without Jrue Holiday and Tyreke EvansAnthony Davis is battling an injury as we speak, so Alvin Gentry has his work cut out for him.  Hield is primed to put up great numbers on a bad team if he can take advantage of the role he’s given.



Taimon Turner: This is a tough one also due to the injury to Ben Simmons. I feel like you can make a case for Brandon Ingram, but the Los Angeles Lakers still have some issues to figure out before he can truly began to flourish. I am going to go with Buddy Hield of the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans needed a shooter and they may have found one in the Oklahoma standout. Head Coach Alvin Gentry is an offensive minded guy and you’ve got to believe that he will find ways to get his rookie shooting guard the ball. Look for Buddy Hield to have a fantastic season.


What will be the Mavs win/loss record this year, and how far do you see them going in the playoffs if they do make it there?



Dalton Trigg: Year after year it’s the same story.  The Mavs scramble to salvage what seems to be a lost offseason, critics predict that they’ll win a number of games somewhere in the high 30’s, and yet they always find a way to prove everybody wrong.  If you back the last few seasons, Dallas has only gotten better in seeding each year. I expect that to happen again this season as they fight and claw their way to the 5-seed in the West. I expect the Mavs to return to the 50-win club this year as well. I also expect Dirk Nowitzki to continue playing at a high level. With his style of play, he could play until he’s 50 years old if he wanted to.

Record Prediction: 51-31



Dylan Duell: I can see the West playing out with the Warriors winning close to 70 games, the Clippers and Spurs winning in the high 50s and then the remaining five playoff teams finishing with somewhere between 43 and 49 wins.

The Mavs will likely fit right in the middle of the pack again.  Put me down for Dirk and the boys finishing with 45 wins and setting up a matchup with DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers in the first round.  We’ll see how the matchup plays out, but I think they’re better equipped to handle the elite teams with their improved rebounding and athleticism.



Taimon Turner: The Mavs scare me a bit. I said in a prior roundtable that Harrison Barnes would have a break out season this year. Preseason has not been his best friend but I think he will ultimately be ok. As long as Rick Carlisle is the head coach of the Mavs, I feel he will find a way to get this team into the playoffs. I’m going to say the Mavs go 45-37. They will be in a battle with Oklahoma City and Minnesota for those final three playoff spots. It should be interesting to watch.

Dallas Sports Fanatic Staff

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