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NBA Regular Season Dec 2020/Jan 2021: The Season Almost Literally Never Stops

King Kamala

Integral Poster
NBA season kicks off tomorrow. Everyone feel free to make playoff predictions ITT and discuss first month-ish of action.

A few topics of discussion beyond the predictions
1. Who is the biggest threat to prevent a L.A. Lakers repeat?
2. Where will James Harden end the season?
3. Team you think will overperform this season
4. Team you think will underperform this season
5. What is your hot take prediction for the '20-'21 NBA season?
 

HarleyQuinn

Laugh This Off... Puddin'!
Staff member
1. Who is the biggest threat to prevent a L.A. Lakers repeat?
Nobody. I would've said GSW before Klay died for the year though. Boston has enough to make a run but teams like Milwaukee, Washington, etc. lack the overall for me to comfortably say any of them.

2. Where will James Harden end the season?
I don't care but I'll say Brooklyn. Whatever.

3. Team you think will overperform this season

I think that Phoenix has a chance to surprise a lot of people. Ayton/Paul/Booker is a serious trio and they have some key veteran depth too.

4. Team you think will underperform this season

Indiana but they feel like a team that's overperformed to 45-48 wins the past 3 years so maybe I'm wrong and they finish in that area yet again.

5. What is your hot take prediction for the '20-'21 NBA season?

Zion becomes the Charles Barkley that people think he could become. Averages over 25+ PPG and stays healthy the entire season as well.
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
1. Who is the biggest threat to prevent a L.A. Lakers repeat?
I really don’t see anyone competing, barring some MAJOR injury or surprise. Last year I was hopeful for the Clippers but they’ve lost so much credibility. With last season plus more upgrades, I cannot see anyone competing barring some huge event.

2. Where will James Harden end the season?
Honestly, I don’t think there are buyers. Especially since it looks like he didn’t come back in the best shape. I’m guessing this season plays out in Houston and maybe we hear it start up next offseason.

3. Team you think will overperform this season

I’m not sure I can come up with an overperform. Last year was definitely the Thunder and I cannot imagine any like that. I think the Suns may make the biggest jump but based on their bubble play and offseason upgrades, I think they are expected to be a playoff team at this point. I guess the only team I can quantify like this is Memphis could be a bottom seed playoff team if they keep up what they were doing last season and things fall right. But Jaren Jackson Jr is still out the start of the year and they still will have a hard time making the playoffs in the West.

4. Team you think will underperform this season

Going to say my same answer for last year: The Bucks. When I think of this question, I think of teams that should be in the mix. I’ve been seeing tons of people acting like the Bucks are the unquestionable team to beat in the East and while I like some of their moves, I still don’t see them hands down winning the East. We saw last season with Miami, which I had called before the playoffs started to friends off board, Miami can shut down Giannis and then there is nothing else. Jrue will do better under pressure than others but not enough to get over the hump.

5. What is your hot take prediction for the '20-'21 NBA season?

I’m not sure I have one. I’ve been saying Luca is going to be MVP and now he’s the Vegas favorite. There really isn’t much to be interested or excited for in the rookie class. Maybe hot take to do with when crowds come in? I really feel this season is going to be fairly paint by numbers.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
1. Who is the biggest threat to prevent a L.A. Lakers repeat?
If KD and Kyrie have their heads on straight, I think Brooklyn could be the biggest threat. That's a MetLife Stadium sized "if" though so I will say Milwaukee. Although as @Baby Shoes mentioned, their playoff track record is NOT GREAT. I'd be very surprised if someone other than the Lakers wins, barring injury to LeBron or Anthony Davis.

2. Where will James Harden end the season?

Philadelphia. Philly seems desperate enough to get over the middle of the pack, that they'll gamble their future.

3. Team you think will overperform this season

So many people including ITT have picked Suns as surprise team that I don't think they're really that much of a surprise. Of all the other non playoff teams, the Minnesota Timberwolves stand out to me as the team that I think could be better than people expect. I've also seen San Antonio Spurs listed as one of the worst teams which I think is mildly confusing. They were a middling team last year and they haven't got exponentially worse and rest of conference hasn't gotten a lot better. I'm assuming they stay in 30-40 wins area but I wouldn't be shocked if they are back in race for 7-10 seed.

4. Team you think will underperform this season
If KD and Kyrie, don't have their heads on straight, they could be eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Also tbh, I wouldn't be shocked if the Phoenix Suns underperformed and narrowly missed the playoffs again.

5. What is your hot take prediction for the '20-'21 NBA Season?
I don't think it necessarily SHOULD be a surprise since he has won it 2x but I think Steph Curry is a MVP candidate again and more or less wills his team into playoff race ala circa '06 Kobe.
 
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cobainwasmurdered

CWM
Staff member
No one

Houston because no one will take him that he wants.

The Suns.

The nets because Kyrie will space out and/or KD will get hurt.

I was going to say the Curry MVP thing but Kamala stole it so... Devin Booker goes off for 70+ again
 

Alfdogg

Alfdogg
1. Who is the biggest threat to prevent a L.A. Lakers repeat? Milwaukee. I do think the Lakers will win again, but the Bucks are the only team I can see giving them a really competitive series, and I think they would have got there last year if not for the shutdown/bubble. Middleton wasn't quite enough as a second option, but he's great as a third option with Holiday there.

2. Where will James Harden end the season? Houston

3. Team you think will overperform this season: What would "overperforming" be for Atlanta? I liked the offseason they had and could see them sneaking into the playoffs as the 7 or 8 seed.

4. Team you think will underperform this season: Two teams: First, the Nets. Their best player hasn't played a meaningful game in a year and a half following an injury that only one elite player that I know of (Dominique Wilkins) made a full recovery from. They have a first-year head coach with no experience. And they have Kyrie Irving. I could see this being the 2013 Lakers all over again.

Second, the Clippers. I saw somewhere that Tyronn Lue was going to try running the triangle offense. As far as I know the last coach to primarily feature the triangle was Derek Fisher, and we all know how that turned out. Obviously the Clippers have considerably more talent than that Knicks team did, but with all the tough teams in the West I wouldn't be shocked to see them get bounced in the first round.

5. What is your hot take prediction for the '20-'21 NBA season? Idk.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Maybe I will look like an ass when the Phoenix Suns end up a top team but The Ringer ranked them in the Top 10 teams in their preseason predictions article (over Toronto) and I think people have officially gotten too excited about the 2020-21 Phoenix Suns.

Now I'm reading the article more and Philadelphia is at #9? These predictions suck!!!
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I see the ceiling for the Suns the fifth in the West but expect them to more than likely be a low playoff seed.

People continue to disrespect Toronto but anyone putting Philly above Toronto is “buying the label” of the “names” in Philly. Toronto will sneakily be the three or four seed in their conference. Honestly, I would not be surprised for Toronto-Philly being the 4-5 first round matchup and having Toronto bounce them in the first round.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I would swap Toronto (who was at #13) and Philadelphia (who was at #9) and swap Utah (#12) with Phoenix (who was #10) and rankings would have been good. Warriors at #11 was a headscratcher too in that range but I won't fault them. They're probably one of the biggest headscratchers to try and predict. If Steph, Draymond, and Wiggins all have career years then I could see them scratching and clawing their way to 2nd round or I could see them ending up in lottery again. I wouldn't fault someone for ranking them that high or even in the low part of Top 10 tbh but I also probably would put them in the #15-20 range myself...
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I think if Steph can stay healthy this year and they can figure out how to fit in Wiggins, Oubre and Wiseman, the Warriors could be interested. Granted I saw Draymond is already hurt now but I’ve seen Oubre do some nice stuff on bad teams and if Wiggins can play to a quarter of his hyped potential when he entered the league, it could be interesting. Still not enough to beat the Lakers but we will get more entertaining games.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I don't see what Philly has done in the offseason to justify them staying in the Top 10. Doc is a slight upgrade over Brett but he is not (as much as it pains to say as a late '00s Celtics stan) a GREAT coach. Signing Dwight Howard to backup Embiid? Trading Josh Richardson for Seth Curry (which seems like a slight downgrade tbh)? That trade was one of those offseason moves that I'm just reading about now a month late btw.
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
Doc still gets a ton of hype but even when he won a championship with my team, I didn’t think Doc was that great of a coach. His is more a personality guy than an Xs and Os guy but you saw how that worked last year with the Clippers, which didn’t seem to be as toxic a situation as Philly is. On top of bringing in crazy Dwight who isn’t far removed from injuring his butt as a Wizard.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
I could also see Dwight and Embiid having some crazy personality conflict and getting into a shoving match over who gets to sit behind the commentary table when WWE is able to return to the Wells Fargo Center.
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I don’t know. Dwight has his issues but I don’t recall him ever being that full of himself to prompt a clash with Embiid. Dwight really just moves to another topic when Shaq still gets petty, despite the fact that no one mentions them in the same breath anymore. He really has embraced the “just another guy” role but you still heard minimized weird stuff with him last year like when he was the only attendee of the Bubble Pool Party, guessing we just get weird stuff with him without a filter there.
 

Gert

Integral Poster
I don't see what Philly has done in the offseason to justify them staying in the Top 10. Doc is a slight upgrade over Brett but he is not (as much as it pains to say as a late '00s Celtics stan) a GREAT coach. Signing Dwight Howard to backup Embiid? Trading Josh Richardson for Seth Curry (which seems like a slight downgrade tbh)? That trade was one of those offseason moves that I'm just reading about now a month late btw.

I think if you are pro Philadelphia its because the Seth Curry and Danny Green moves are probably downgrades on talent but upgrades on fit with Embiid & Simmons. I think the better court spacing could make some of their other reserves who shot poorly last year may have a better chance too.

Plus if you believe that a Harden for Simmons swap could be legit down the road then it becomes almost a decent hedge having them in the Top 10. I'm not fully convinced either, but I could see their ceiling being high.
 

King Kamala

Integral Poster
Danny Green is another offseason move I completely forgot about.

Hot takes not taken...Baby Shoes mentioning Collin Sexton in the ROH thread reminded me I almost picked the Cleveland Cavaliers as my surprise overperformers. Combination of the backcourt maturing and Andre Drummond wanting to prove he's still an elite center plus Indiana Pacers possibly declining and that entire division being garbage made me think they could pull off a surprise playoff run. But then I remembered it's Cleveland and they could also just as easily be ass then I would get made fun of and/or have to watch anime again.
 

Gert

Integral Poster
NBA season kicks off tomorrow. Everyone feel free to make playoff predictions ITT and discuss first month-ish of action.

A few topics of discussion beyond the predictions
1. Who is the biggest threat to prevent a L.A. Lakers repeat?
Brooklyn, Milwaukee, LA Clippers probably in that order.
2. Where will James Harden end the season?
Philadelphia
3. Team you think will overperform this season
I honestly don't know. I think the top 12-13 are all bunched in close, minus 3-4 teams
4. Team you think will underperform this season
Minnesota. Although it does seem like most people have them towards the bottom of the West, so maybe they are where we thought they would be.
5. What is your hot take prediction for the '20-'21 NBA season?
I got nothing, besides my terrible predictions....


Gert's Eastern Conference Predictions

1. Milwaukee
2. Philadelphia
3. Brooklyn
4. Miami
5. Toronto
6. Boston
7. Indiana
8. Washington
9. Atlanta
10. Orlando
11. Chicago
12. Detroit
13. Charlotte
14. New York
15. Cleveland

I literally probably changed my 1-6 in many different orders. I probably like Brooklyn the best to come out of the East, but I am concerned with their health of KD & Kyrie throughout the season. I'm a little lower on Atlanta then some, and I may be wrong, but if they get to the #7 or #8 spot that's still a pretty big jump they have to make especially with the roster turnover. I think the bottom 3 are pretty locked in, although who knows what Detroit will look like after the trade deadline.

Gert's Western Conference Predictions
1. LA Lakers
2. Denver
3. LA Clippers
4. Utah
5. Portland
6. Dallas
7. Phoenix
8. Houston
9. Golden State
10. Memphis
11. New Orleans
12. San Antonio
13. Sacramento
14. Minnesota
15. Oklahoma City

I think 2-6 are pretty close and I'm sure I could get 8-12 all wrong.
 

Gert

Integral Poster
The Kennard contract compared to the Kuzma one is crazy.

I don't understand that deal at all. I think 4-48 or 4-52 is fair (?), but I can't imagine Kennard would have such a great year especially considering what his role will be on this team will be that he would command more than 16 million next year....
 

Baby Shoes

Baby Shoes
I really like the way they are conducting this virtual ring ceremony. They also probably should have Markieff Morris’ daughter hype everyone on the team.
 
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