NBA 2023-24 Thread

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Well we made it to Christmas, so it's time to take a look at the schedule and see who has had an easy schedule so far and who has had a hard one.

If you're good and your schedule the rest of the way is easier, hey - you're for real!

If you're bad and your schedule the rest of the way is harder, get - you kinda suck!

And so on and so on


Good news for Boston and Denver!

Bad news for the Lakers, Bucks and Suns.
this is all set up perfectly for the raptors to beat the celtics tomorrow night, then lose to the pistons by 30 on saturday.
this is all set up perfectly for the raptors to beat the celtics tomorrow night, then lose to the pistons by 30 on saturday.

Watching that game last night, I have no idea how that Pistons team has lost 28 straight.
I know they are extremely young, but there's a decent amount of talent. You'd think they'd fall into a couple of wins.
Watching that game last night, I have no idea how that Pistons team has lost 28 straight.
I know they are extremely young, but there's a decent amount of talent. You'd think they'd fall into a couple of wins.

Well, they haven't played as hard as they've played in the last two games during the streak.

And Monty Williams is commiting coaching malpractice.

When you tank - you need vets. Someone in the room, on the team, who can act like a professional. When you don't - you get this, and you get the process 76ers.

Worked out in the end for Philly, although one could argue that their issues with Simmons and Embiid's immaturity at times are related... we'll see with Detroit. They don't have "that guy," so it's hard to see how they take the next step. Cade is wildly inconsistent.
So is this game just a fluke or is Giannis rampaging into double coverage and throwing a wild pass to the perimeter the only offensive play the Bucks have?

That reminds me, I was at a festival over the summer in early December (and it was actually fucking cold and rained almost non-stop!!! Climate change folks!!) and I was wearing my huge Kings beanie and a bloke came up to who obviously actually knows things about basketball and started talking to me about Haliburton and then all this technical stuff and I was like uhhhh yeah man! Light the beam and that
The tea leaves to me indicate that the Sixers will go the Dejounte Murray route at this deadline. I am torn on this possibility. On one hand, he makes a lot of sense: the single biggest need is another creator who can let Maxey rest a bit more and play more off the ball (where he is an elite shooter), and Murray would also be the best self-creator for late game situations. On the other hand, Atlanta has been a mess since he got there, and there's a decent chance his all-NBA defensive reputation doesn't match up with the reality. That said, the Sixers can't afford to wait. Their assets are expiring contracts to make the money work now, and Embiid is at the top of his game. He will cost 1-2 first round picks, most likely, and the Sixers can make that work.
we have mercifully reached the half way point of the season. let's take a look and see how we're doing...


yea they were decidedly average last year, and i don't see any reason for them to be anything more than average again. the east is a seven team conference - and atlanta's not one of the seven. they have good coaching - so, hey, sure, they could maybe add 3 to 4 wins and end up at 44/45 wins. but a few injuries could easily have them lose 4 to 5 more and end up at 36/37 wins.

so, uh, yea. they're an average team - and a break here or there could send them a bit higher or lower than average, but not by much.

yep - atlanta is decidedly mid to mid lite - and probably about to blow it up.

KP changed his game considerably . When he was with the Knicks - the Unicorn days - he played almost like a 7'4" small forward. He tried to do that again when he first came back with Dallas - but legs that long aren't meant to take the abuse that goes with being a slashing wing. (take note, Chet and Wemby)

offensively he'll do a lot of scoring from the high post (he's not a guy who buries you in the block), and can be very dangerous in screen/roll action - either as a roller or as a pick and pop guy. he's become VERY efficient on the offensive side.

defensively - he'll protect the rim, but can also be an absolute liability in the same area that he excels at on offense - defending on pick and rolls on the perimeter. it'll be something teams look to expose in the playoffs for sure. bazooka joe will have to figure that out (or will it be the Celtics new "consultant" that ends up being the guy to figure it out? :hmm: )

i'd be very worried about his legs - while also thinking that his odds of staying healthy are better now because of the changes he's made to his game. but still, to paraphrase Jeff Ament, seven three is a long way to fall.

if he can stay healthy Boston is as good as anyone and should absolutely challenge Milwaukee for the east.

Boston is the best team in the east and it's not that close right now.

two years ago Cleveland was the sneaky team that caught people by surprise with their defense - and then added a star player the next offseason.

brooklyn is that team this year.

they can't all be winners, folks.

what's crazy is that they actually WERE that team - and then they went and sat everyone against Milwaukee and for whatever reason have been absolute dog shit ever since. there's rumors that the team was pissed about it and there's been a dinwiddie led rebellion against the coach - but, well, they sorta suck right now.

still beat the lakers in LA, tho

re: Strus - i don't put a lot of stock in Miami Heat guys who end up on other teams being able to replicate what they did in Miami (we'll come back to that when we TALK LAKERS).

Is Evan Mobley ready to take the next step? if the answer is yes? Cleveland could be very scary - not Boston/Milwaukee scary, but a dark horse team that could contend if either of the top two suffer big injuries.

if Mobley isn't? then they're likely a 45 to 50 win team that maybe can get out of the first round (but probably won't).

Cleveland is, well, currently a 45 to 50 win team that might be able to get out of the first round (but probably won't)

as long as they have the best player in the NBA on their roster - which they do - they are the favorites to repeat. nothing anyone in the west did this offseason moves the needle far enough to beat this team.

they didn't just win the title - they dominated their way to the title. the disrespect shown to them is crazy. they beat minnesota in a gentleman's sweep. they beat phoenix 4 games to 2 with all four wins being in double digits. they curb stomped the Lakers, and finished it off with another gentleman's sweep of Miami.

they are the best team in the NBA.

i know their record isn't the best in the NBA - but, yea, in my eyes they're still the team to beat. and they're only a game out of first and went a month without Murray.

maaaaybe? but probably not. i wonder if Klay will be moody since he hasn't gotten his extension. CP3 will be fine - and if he's coming off the bench this could actually extend his career and allow him to finally be healthy in the postseason. they'll need Kuminga to finally make a jump - and it looks like he may have done that if you go by the preseason - but time will tell.

the issue with poole - more than anything locker room related - was that he was redundant. they didn't need his scoring - that wasn't the issue for them. their bench looks much better, and much more "warriors" like - ball movement, defense.

if all things break they could be among the teams with a shot - if denver falters (i.e. Jokic or Murray get hurt)

this team has been an absolute dumpster fire ever since draymond punched jordan poole in the face.

blow it up.

i'm tired of talking about the what if's of this team. and i'm tired of talking about james harden in general. blah.

after a sluggish start - the clippers have been sneakily good since the Harden trade. Kawhi should be talked about in the MVP conversation, but isn't for some reason. he's actually going to qualify, too.

alas - they're as good as their health - which historically always tanks. so, yea, either prove it or go away.

let's start by saying that cam reddish sucks. everyone's waiting for him to be a good player, but he's on, what, his fourth team already? in four years?

i'm also a bit tired of hearing about Austin Reaves. like - come on. he's a nice role player - but they're talking about him in LA like he's somehow the third star.

Rui - i watched him up close and personal for 3 years. what i saw was a guy who would always show you JUST enough to be enticed about his potential, while never actually ever reaching that potential. to borrow a very played out phrase - the dog, it ain't in him. maybe LA & lebron can bring it out of him. but i have my doubts. what he did last year lines up exactly with what he did with the Wizards. He'd look amazing one day, and then disappear for a week. his percentages and advanced stats actually went DOWN when he came to LA. to me he's always been fools gold, and i think that's exactly what he'll be in LA. he might drop 30 on opening night, and then put up 3 games in a row of 8 points. but the 30 will get everyone fired up about how good he could be. pass.

which brings us to LeBron and AD. the lakers will be as good as the health of those guys. you betting the house on that? didn't think so.

lebron and AD have been healthy and have put up "numbers" and this team, in season tournament aside, kinda sucks.

cam reddish does, in fact, suck. austin reaves is a role player and nothing more. Rui is the same mid guy he was with Washington. they have no cap space and very little as far as tradable assets. maybe they'll pull something off to get someone nobody seems to want (hi, Zach Lavine) - but, yea... the Lakers suck.

[quotethe Adams injury is huge for them. the west is better and deeper - so it may already be too late by the time Ja comes back.[/quote]

Memphis was awful - then looked good when Ja returned - and are now awful again with Ja out for the season.

the good part of the season went faster than a lap dance at Shotgun WIllies.

i have a huge shrug at the loss of Vincent and Strus. The Heat create guys like that in their sleep.

I don't see a regression - because let's be real - they were the 8 seed last year. They made a big run in the playoffs when Playoff Jimmy came out - but they were a decidedly average team all year (another reason why buyers should beware when signing their big playoff performers - hi Lakers, Cleveland).

Herro is healthy - so that will help. Jovic is a guy to keep an eye on... can he finally start contributing? he looked good in FIBA. thomas bryant feels like the perfect miami player. he's incredibly active and plays with a ton of energy, and has a bit of a chip on his shoulder over not getting any time in LA or Denver. Jaime Jaquez also looks like a tailor made Heat Culture guy.

i don't think Miami has the assets to make a big trade - they don't have enough draft picks. but they'll be fine. they're not as good as Boston or Milwaukee, but they weren't last year, either. they just got hot at the right time.

Miami is literally in the exact same spot they were in last year - with a slightly better record (but same seed).

nobody will want to play them in the playoffs - but much like last year, they're really not that good. they're just tough and well coached.

It's a Boston / Milwaukee conference. Everyone else is playing for the ability to move in to the ECF if someone (Giannis, Tatum, Lillard, Brown) gets hurt.

I feel like Milwaukee is slightly better - but a lot of this will come down to health. conceivably the heat will be taken off of Middleton - allowing him to be healthier down the stretch. but it's also possible that Middleton is just cooked. what he is able to provide will be the difference between Boston and Milwaukee.

welp - looks like it's actually a Boston show.

but the race for #2 is a lot more interesting than i think anyone could have predicted.

Milwaukee has a major problem rolling out Dame, Middleton and Beasley every game. they're good offensive players, but they can't guard a soul. need to add a defensive minded guard to that rotation. someone like, ya know, Jrue Holiday.

side note - what an absolute boner of a move by Milwaukee to not work to get a third team involved in the Dame trade with Portland to make sure that Jrue doesn't end up going to an eastern conference opponent.

and with that - they're still the 2 seed, with a great home record. but i don't think anyone would be that shocked if Philly, New York or even Indiana (if Halliburton ever gets healthy) end up in the ECF opposite Boston.

they need to make this the Anthony Edwards show - and i think they know that. don't be shocked if KAT is traded.

they made this the Anthony Edwards show - and they're the 1 seed.

KAT is likely sticking around now (but wouldn't be surprised if there's a move in the offseason). team has a bit of everything - they're legitimately good.

speaking of...

more of the same, unless they can figure out a way to swing a trade to upgrade Randall. That very well could be KAT. I don't buy the Embiid rumors that started today. Daryl Morey isn't doing that. But KAT/Minnesota? Yea I can see that happening.

When Obi Toppin is decidedly MEH in Indiana and the Knicks are again a top 6 team in the east, maybe - just maybe - Knicks fans will give Thibs the credit he deserves.

But probably not.

the OG trade was an amazing pickup. he fits what Thibs wants to do perfectly. his +/- has been ridiculous since coming over to the Knicks.

with no Kat trade on the horizon - the Knicks will likely keep Randall. They still have Fournier's contract and a lot of draft capital - so they could easily pull off a trade for someone who can help them offensively. i have to think Atlanta would much rather have the Knicks expiring deals and picks than, say, the Lakers spare parts.

if that doesn't work out... may i suggest a deal for Kuz and Gafford (to be a backup big and rim protector without Robinson).

you don't need to have three stars to be a title contender - and the Knicks appear to be going down the Detroit Pistons (billups, hamilton, etc.) road instead. they could be really scary in the playoffs to, well, everyone but Boston.

man i have no idea what Morey is doing. Just take what you can get. They'll be BETTER without Harden. But, well, Morey has to be the smartest guy in the room at all times. He's putting Nurse in a bad spot.

Embiid has two to three years left before that body becomes a ticking time bomb. Philly needs to make a move now, trust that Maxey is a future stud, and see what they can do. But ultimately? Yea - Embiid will likely ask out this offseason after another playoff run where he shits the bed and disappears in the clutch (only he won't be able to blame Ben Simmons or James Harden this time. Maybe it'll be Tobias Harris' fault).

the teams with the most assets to give in an offseason Embiid trade are the Knicks and OKC. But i don't see Morey trading him to New York, and OKC doesn't need him. So I have no clue where he might end up. Miami doesn't have the draft picks. Utah?

to Morey...


Maxey is a stud and it's a clear case of addition by subtraction. this team looks so much better, and they have draft capital and expiring contracts to trade if they see fit.

that said - Embiid needs to put up or shut up come playoff time.

i get that trading Ayton added to their all around depth - but Nurkic is cooked (as is Gordon).

Bradley Beal hasn't been a facilitator, nor has he been a guy who plays off the ball, since the last time John Wall was healthy. and now they want him to be their point guard? good luck. he also hasn't played help defense in 5 years. maybe he can turn on a switch now that he's with a team that should be good - but i have my doubts. and he's already hurt and apparently isn't playing tonight.

look they can be good because KD Is that guy. but they got smoked by Denver. smoked. is adding Beal and losing all depth at center really going to close that gap? if brad plays help defense against Denver in the playoffs the way he played here for the past 5 seasons he's going to get absolutely eaten alive.

they're very much like the Nets with KD, Kyrie and Harden. they COULD put it together, but probably won't - and even if they do, probably won't be able to stay healthy.

they're slowly starting to look better here and are creeping up the standings - but they've had a lot of issues staying healthy, and have ZERO depth. rumors are that they're looking to trade Grayson Allen - who has been their one good player not named Durant, Beal or Booker... which just shows how little wiggle room they have here.

will be interesting to see what happens in the buyout market with this team.

If you figure Memphis will slip a little.. Phoenix and Golden State are question marks, but if you assume they'll both see a 3 to 5 game bump to the positive? that puts Sacramento pretty much in the same general position they were in last year.

they absolutely need to defend better to be taken serious come playoff time. i don't think they didn't anything to fix that.

there are a lot of "good" teams in the west - maybe only one great one, but a lot of good. a 3 game drop off - which isn't crazy, could all of a sudden see them going from the 3 seed to battling to avoid the play in.

Sacramento slipped a solid 3 games, and are battling for a play in spot.

feel this is a separate question and will move to the bottom - because there's one team in particular from below that could become a major player in the west this year...

oh, and have they ever...

the Hornets have the feel of a team that SHOULD have enough talent to improve, but probably won't.


Bulls are big "blow it up at the deadline" candidates. Vucivec only makes 18 million this year, 20 next, 21 the year after. that's a very reasonable contract in today's NBA (which is absurd, but stil).

derozan is in the last year of his contract. caruso's deal is only partially guaranteed next year.

lavine is the question mark. his 40ish million dollar deal will be tough to trade. but yea - i can see them dealing off the other two.

yep (although they are in the play in currently... but mostly because everyone else in the conference sucks


Everything Kyrie Touches Dies.

Dallas has had a decent start to the season, but things have slowed a bit for them. if things get worse, we'll see if Kyrie decides to take three weeks off and completely tank the season.

nope. they're still in the basement. maaaaybe if things go wrong in Charlotte they might be the second worse. but they're very not good.

yep - Detroit still sucks. historically, event.

i don't get the brooks thing. the number one thing they needed was maturity and accountability - which, ok sure - vanvleet. but brooks? he's just an older version of what they already had - immature and unprofessional. udoka should help there in some regards - but, uh, he's also the guy who got fired for sleeping with the wife of a celtics executive.

after a good start - they've slipped out of the play in, and the wheels might be falling off. better - tougher - but still not good enough.

they might be better - but brown, yea - he's not with Jokic of KD anymore, and Toppin is as over-rated as they come.

they're well coached, and haliburton is good. so we'll see.

uh, yea - Indiana is better. Halli is better than most people could have guessed, and the Siakam trade was a great move for them.

New Orleans looks good.

New Orleans will be as good as Zion's health. nothing has changed there.

the Thunder will be a top 6 team in the west and avoid the play in. SGA is a top 10 player in the league. the sky is the limit with this team - and they have all the assets in the world to make a trade if a start unexpectedly pops free.

true story.

i thought they'd compete for the playoffs last year... they DID get close towards the end of the season, but yea - i think they're a play in team this year. Paolo and Franz are studs.

also a true story.

portland hasa lot of pieces that contending teams are going to want come trade deadline. if they're smart they collect a ton of firsts and go full in on the rebuild. no half measures.

also also a true story

they're bad. really bad.

but he's good. really good.

the question isn't how good will he be. he's going to be VERY good. the question is whether or not he can stay healthy doing the things he does with that frame. touched on it with Porzingis earlier. the human body isn't mean to be able to play as a guard at that size. if he stays healthy he's a future top 10 player and potentially a top 3 player. but it's a huge if. it's literally the only question with him. his skill is not in doubt.

Wemy is, indeed, very good.

and the spurs are, indeed, very bad.

every time i think toronto is tanking they make the playoffs. so who knows. Barnes didn't make as big of a jump last year as expected - but his development is key to what they do. Siakam seems destined to be traded (hello OKC). nothing Masai does would surprise me. so if toronto's all of a sudden in the mix for a playoff spot will i be shocked? no. but it seems like a year to break things down and collect assets... especially if you think you can build around Barnes.

the tank is finally on in toronto.

i don't think Utah being good will be a surprise. But i don't think they'll be as good as they looked at times last year. they traded some of those guys off at the deadline. We'll see if Kessler has another level to get to. Markannen is who he is - he's good, but i don't think he has another level left. they're still another year or two away - but they do have a TON of assets to be players if they so desire.

sluggish start for them, but they've pulled themselves all the way up to .500 and are currently in the play in.

we'll see what trader danny does at the deadline. while he'd love to compete for a playoff spot, he'd love trading jordan clarkson to the knicks for expiring deals and picks, too.

oh... uh, about this next one...

yes. they're not tanking.

when OKC traded Russ away - everyone expected the full tank job. but they didn't. they actually surprised people and made the playoffs. THEN they traded CP3 and Paul George and went full tank. they got all those picks AND they got SGA out of the deal.

the guys in charge of the Wizards now are cut from that cloth. it's a weaker draft this year. they're not going full tank. at least not yet.

the beal no trade clause kept them from getting the haul that the old regime SHOULD have gotten for him 3 years ago. so to do this right - they need assets. they have a TON of tradable contracts. they have a ton of veterans on this team that can help establish a good culture now, and be used as trade pieces later. this year is not the tank year.

now 2024-25 - when boozer and cooper flagg are on the draft board? THAT is the tank year. that's the year to go all in and try to get that top 3 pick - and i believe that's the plan.

the folks in charge now know what they're doing. the previous folks did not.

honestly? i think they'll win around 35 games this year. the same as last year, actually - but will be a lot more fun in getting to the same result. they'll run more, play better defense, and have some young kids who you can actually get excited about.

to that note... Bilal Coulibaly is a stud. he has all nba defensive player written all over him, especially given that he's still just 19 years old.

Bilal is a stud - and i do still believe the front office knows what they're doing.

but wooo baby, the tank is on in full force and effect.

it starts, honestly, with Jordan Poole. he's worse than expected - so it all snowballs from there.

Deni has actually looked much better now that he's been given the chance to handle the ball more. and yea - give Bilal time. he's going to be an all defensive player at some point.

the wizards will be VERY active at the deadline - looking to trade off the pieces they do have (Kuz, Tyus Jones, anyone with a pulse that someone is willing to take)... while also readily taking on the shit contracts from other teams in exchange for draft picks.

Chet is the obvious choice here. Scoot Henderson should get every opportunity to put up numbers. Cam Whitmore looked great in the preseason and could be a sleeper. Walker's got an NBA ready body and won't be relied upon to score.

it's a Chet / Wemby race for ROTY.

Whitmore's been ok. Jarace Walker never plays.

Scoot Henderson has been concerningly bad for Portland.

Jacquez has been great for Miami - because of course Miami made the right move.

Look for TNT to move to Tuesday night only and Amazon to grab Thursday nights (starting after the NFL regular season ends).

Disney/ESPN/ABC will be the question. They want it back - but will have competition from Comcast/NBC/Peacock. What Disney ultimately ends up doing with ESPN will be a big player here.

But the league will get a motherload of cash from Amazon (or Apple or YouTube).

The new rules around players, ya know, actually playing in games is specifically aimed at the TV deal.

Look for a big global streaming rights package, too.

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