Tag: bucks

Brow on the Move

Wow. What a week it has been for the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis. On Monday, Davis’ agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told Adrian Wojnarowski that Davis “wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship.”

Damn Brow, that is cold. The Collective Bargaining Agreement states that neither players nor their agents are allowed to publicly request trades, so the league has followed up quickly with a $50k fine for the big man.

As if that wasn’t enough, Paul went to ESPN and reported that Davis will not be signing an extension this upcoming summer, and there has been leaks already that the Brow won’t be signing long term with anyone other than the Lakers.

Photo credit to Sky Sports https://www.skysports.com/nba/news/12375/11621473/la-lakers-expected-to-push-for-anthony-davis-from-new-orleans-pelicans-before-trade-deadline

The Pelicans have responded respectfully in my opinion, offering up the following statement:

This past weekend, Anthony Davis’ representatives informed us that Anthony does not wish to sign a contract extension with our team and subsequently has requested a trade. Although we are disappointed in this decision, our organization’s top priority is to bring an NBA championship to our city and fans and build our team for long-term success.


Relative to specific talks of a trade, we will do this on our terms and our timeline. One that makes the most sense for our team and it will not be dictated by those outside of our organization. We have also requested the League to strictly enforce the tampering rules associated with this transaction.

https://www.nba.com/pelicans/news/statement-new-orleans-pelicans-1-28-19

So is it Magic, or is it LeBron? Has Magic been looking at this since he arrived? All thoughts that are running rampant through the basketball world, but nothing is for sure yet.

If Davis didn’t land on the golden coast, where else could he go? Paul’s statement outlined he wants to win now, but there are many teams that would welcome his talents, potentially using them to pave their way to the Larry O’Brien.

Houston Rockets

Call me crazy. No other pundit is putting the Rockets in the mix. So why am I? Remember the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes? I do. Somehow the Rockets were in the mix offering up to and including four first round picks , with whatever contracts they had to match salary. If I’m the ghost of Dell Demps, I’m looking to hoover up as many first round picks as possible in an attempt to sell the Pelicans ownership that I can still do my job half decently. And if I can somehow swindle someone like Clint Capela in return, I’m looking pretty good.

New York Knicks

It’s pretty obvious at this point that there is a rift between Knicks brass and the unicorn twin Kristaps Porzingis. It seems like Knicks staff are hell bent on keeping him out for the full season to “protect their investment”, but reports are suggesting that ‘Taps is chomping at the bit to get back on the court. If there is no signs that he is willing to sign an extension with the Knicks immediately, and opt to become a restricted free agent, why not look to capitalize on value return by getting arguably the best big man in the league, and hopefully convince him to stay and sign for the super-duper max.

Photo credit: https://www.nj.com/knicks/2019/01/nba_trade_rumors_knicks_aggressive_in_pursuit_of_p.html

Philadelphia 76ers

An Embiid-Davis front court tandem? I don’t think I need to write any more. Elton Brand’s offer starts with a package of Jimmy Butler (who will be lucky to receive a vets min contract this summer the way he’s going), Markelle Fultz, and whatever draft picks you have remaining. This is a long shot, but you can only imagine how many 76ers fans are salivating over the thought of this happening.

Toronto Raptors

If I’m Masai Ujiri, I’m buttering up the Pelicans front office on a tasty offer starting with a possible All-Star in Pascal Siakim. Siakim has been by far Toronto’s shining star coming out of the Kawhi for Demar trade this summer. Oh what’s that? That was only the appetizer? The main course is Jonas Valanciunas (established starting center), followed by a cheese course of OG Anunoby. We also have a wine cellar that is highlighted by Delon Wright, Fred Van Vleet and Norm Powell. Take your pick New Orleans. This pantry is quite bountiful.

Photo credit: https://www.raptorshq.com/2019/1/29/18202203/nba-trade-rumours-anthony-davis-toronto-raptors

Milwaukee Bucks

As of Tuesday afternoon, it sounds like the Bucks standing offer is anyone except Giannis, which makes zero sense. The Bucks depth and chemistry is what has got the Bucks to first in the East under head coach Budenholzer. But hey, if you combine the wing-spans of the Brow and the Freak, you could reach from one side of the court to half way across Lake Michigan. Sounds pretty freakish if you ask me.

So what do you all think? Sound off in the comments!

NBA Power Rankings – Week 15

Week 15 has been a weird week for me. The teams listed in the top five have yet to change for the third week in a row, but the order has changed a bit based on the few games I’ve watched this week.

I also want to preface this article with this. [spoiler] The Pacers are in fifth out of pure respect this week [/spoiler]. I highly doubt they’ll be around next week, as teams below them right now seem to be surging, but with what happened to Victor Oladipo this week in their game against the Raptors, I felt like it was well deserved. With all that being said, lets dive into the happenings of week 15.

1. Golden State Warriors (35-14)

Week 15 Record:  2-1
Offensive Rating: 115.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.5 (2nd)

Technically the Bucks should be here on winning percentage alone (regardless of the Warriors having only one more loss). Strength of schedule compared the Warriors (vs. Lakers, Wizards and Celtics) and Bucks (vs. Mavericks, Hornets, Thunder) are almost carbon copies of each other.

HOWEVER, I put the Warriors in number one based on their game against the Celtics. I’m putting this bluntly, but that doesn’t mean that the Thunder are chumps. Quite the opposite really. Anyways, the Warriors were able to stave off defeat by 4 points, and holding Kyrie to a meager 32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. It really seemed like the Warriors were able to lock down in crunch time, and manage to score 115 on one of the leagues better defensive teams.

Enough of the positive crap now. I loathe the Warriors. The fact that Boogie is back and averaging a cool 13.3ppg and 7.7 rpg for them, is enough to enrage me beyond words. With that being said, kudos Golden State. You’re first overall this week, and you bought your fourth ring. Can we fast forward to the 2019-20 season yet?

2. Milwaukee Bucks (35-13)

Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 103.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +9.4 (1st)

If the Warriors are 1A in week 15, the Bucks are 1B. As stated previously, the game that it came down to that separated these two were the Warriors vs Celtics and Bucks vs Thunder. The Warriors won, and the Bucks lost.

That should mean sweet fuck all at this point really, but I think it’s common sense right now that the Warriors are really…really getting into the swing of things. The only thing that the Bucks can say that they are better at when compared to the Warriors, is they are defensively arms and legs above the competition right now. With that being said, the difference in offensive rating between the Bucks and Warriors is a cool 2.5 points right now, and they’re doing this with about 1/5 of the star power that the Warriors have.

Is it fair to anoint Giannis as the East heir apparent yet? After being named Eastern Conference All-Star Team Captain this week, he capped a three game week off on Sunday averaging a quiet 32.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg, 4.5 apg with 1.5 spg and 1.5 bpg. ALL OF THIS ON ONE HALF OF A THREE POINT MADE PER GAME. He really is a freak in the most positive of ways.

nba power ranking- weeks 12

3. Toronto Raptors (37-15)

Week 15 Record: 2-2
Offensive Rating: 112.4 (7th)
Defensive Rating:  107.5 (9th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)

I’ve made it quite clear that I am a Raptors fanboi before. Please take the following as a personal cry for help from Raptors Nation to Raptors Front Office brass.

To Masai Ujiri, Bobby Webster and Nick Nurse:

Start playing Kawhi more. Stop with this rest shit, and get him in the game. We should be fisting teams right now, but instead I find myself more and more worried about how well Malachi Richardson is going to match up against other teams star small forwards. I DO NOT WANT TO BE DOING THIS ANYMORE. Get your shit together, for the love of god, please.

Also, please be active at the trade deadline. You’ve made it quite clear that this is the all-in year. Push your chips into the middle of the table and show the rest of the upper echelon teams that your nuts are hanging down around your knees. If I don’t find out that one of Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, or Marc Gasol are not a Raptor post deadline, I might cry. I might cry blood. Don’t make me cry blood.

Sincerely,

Concerned Raptors Fans Everywhere

4. Denver Nuggets (33-15)

Week 15 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 107.7 (10th)
Net Rating: +5.8 (4th)

As a teenager, I found myself enthralled with the game of basketball. I would literally watch anything of any professional playing anywhere to learn more about the game. I found myself absolutely amazed with the story of Arvydas Sabonis, while he played for the Trailblazers from 1994-2002. His skill set was unreal, but what I found the most amazing skill set he maintained was his ability to pass in and out of the post.

I feel the exact same way about Nikola Jokic. His passing ability, his soft hands around the rim, and his ability to absolutely dominate on the block. Here’s a video of his game on Saturday night.

Due to a 1 game suspension he earned in week 15, Jokic only played in 2 of the Nuggets 3 games.

Against Utah:
28 points, 21 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block

Against Philadelphia:
32 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, 1 steal, 2 3PM

Jokic is going to be the reason that the Nuggets go deep into the Western Conference playoffs this year. Mark my words (out of 10).

5. Indiana Pacers (32-18)

Week 15 Record: 1-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (15th)
Defensive Rating: 104.2 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.5 (5th)

I’m still 50/50 on the whether or not the Pacers will be here next week. Part of me believes that if they can grind out a win against the Raptors after VO blew out his quad, then they can do it. The other part of me looks at the wing depth, or lack thereof on this team and thinks that the Pacers are about to plummet.

Regardless of all of this, I was quite sad to find out about the severity of Oladipo’s leg injury this week. The East was better off with him leading the Pacers.

JUST MISSED OUT:

Philadelphia 76ers (32-18)

Did the Sixers get better when they found out that Jimmy Butler has to see a wrist specialist? I imagine they could’ve got something a lot more productive in a trade otherwise. That’s a shame.

With that being said, they went 2-1 in week 15, and are breathing down the neckline of the Pacers blue collared shirt.

Also, in other news: Ben Simmons shot a 3 this week. Never again.

PANIC BUTTON:

New Orleans Pelicans (22-28)

If I’m Dell Demps, I’m writing my resignation letter in English and Creole French right now. I’ll refer to the once great David Stern’s thoughts on Demps:

“[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Yea, he’s gonna lose AD. The Pelicans are slumping, and they’re leaning on Jahlil Okafor for offense right now. It’s time to pull the plug and clean house. Davis is a Laker, Celtic, or Not-Pelican come this summer. This season is a wash.

MAKING GAINS:

Houston Rockets (29-20)


Did I say Rockets? I meant Hardens. The Houston Hardens are posting the following line in the last 7 days:

44.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.0 spg and 1.0 bpg on 4.3 3PM. Somhow I think those three point numbers are a bit too low.

When you look past the legendary 1-man show that James Harden is putting up recently, the Rockets went 3-1 in week 15 and are leap frogging up the West standings right now. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Paul’s return will change the pace, or if Harden continues to out-alpha every man on a basketball floor within 100 feet of him in week 16.



NBA Power Rankings – Week 14

Week 14 has proven to be a bit boring. The richer get richer, the medium get medium-ier, and the poor are still outside the top 5. The top 5 have stayed the same, but they’ve all decided to play musical chairs this week.

The one thing I’ll preface week 14 with before I start is that I think the best team in the league is actually first, finally.

1. Milwaukee Bucks

Week 13 Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 113.5 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: 103.8 (1st)
Net Rating: + 9.7 (1st)

Milwaukee is back in the top slot, but somehow I’m somewhat unimpressed with Giannis’ line (21.3ppg, 11.3 rpg, 6.0apg, 2.0spg). You’re right, it’s still a monster line but, it just doesn’t seem like he went full freak this week.

The Bucks are back in first place in the East this week, after beating some mediocre teams in Miami, Memphis, and Orlando. They won all games with a margin greater then 10 points. Overall, they’re the best team in the entire league this week defensively, which is a huge feat in my opinion (notably beating defensive titans OKC, Indiana and Boston), and now own a monstrous +9.7 NET rating. They’re not beating teams, they’re demoralizing teams by shutting them down, and outscoring the crap out of them.

If Mike Budenholzer doesn’t win Coach of the Year this year, I’ll personally be in awe. He’s turned this team around quicker than any casual fan would dare to admit. The even more scary part to this week 14 realization is that the Bucks are actually set up for a while with depth. I won’t officially hand them the keys to the East this week, but other teams have seriously need to think about how they approach the Bucks in the future (including the playoffs).

nba power ranking- weeks 12

2. Toronto Raptors

Week 13 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 112.0 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 107.0 (9th)
Net Rating: +5.1 (6th)

This has been a pretty ho-hum week for the Raptors. The Celtics made them look like a beatable team on Wednesday , allowing Kyrie Irving to go off with 27 points, 18 assists, 5 rebounds and a casual 1 steal and block.

Kawhi looks like he’s taking an early spring break right now, having only played 1 of week 14’s games, and that game being the loss to the Celtics. In the remaining two games the Raptors had to rely on bench depth to come up beat Phoenix by 2 points. Perhaps without the massive 21 point third quarter from Danny Green against the Grizzlies, that game might’ve been a bit closer as well.

If there was any team in the top 5 that didn’t deserve the first spot, it’s definitely Toronto. I really hope the rumours of the Raptors front office looking to trade for an ELITE level shooting guard are actually true, because it might be the kick they need to keep Milwaukee down for the rest of the season.

3. Golden State Warriors

Week 13 Record: 3-0
Offensive Rating: 115.4 (1st)
Defensive Rating:  109.0 (15th)
Net Rating: +6.3 (2nd)

Last week, I cried a little on the inside when I realized that Demarcus Cousins was making his return. Then he did this in his first game back:

Now we’ve got fanbois running around making infinity guantlet jokes about the Warriors. I’m really having a hard time with seeing how the Warriors don’t cruise through the Western conference playoffs this year without breaking a sweat. They might be third right now, but they don’t care. They’re playing the long con for ring 4 in 5 years.

4. Denver Nuggets

Week 13 Record: 2-1
Offensive Rating: 113.1 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 107.9 (T10th)
Net Rating: +5.2 (5th)

Lets give Denver a get out of jail free card this week. I’m still in awe that they played 5 games in 7 days in week 13. This might be evident from the 31 point drudging they received from Golden State this week.

They got to finish up the week against Chicago and Cleveland, so hopefully they got some time to recharge with 2 seemingly easy games. Lets see what they come back with in week 15.

Oh yea. Nikola Jokic averaged more assists than rebounds this week, notching another triple double against Cleveland. Jamal Murray is looking more and more like a complete scorer this season (averaging a cool 24 ppg this week), given his cool start to the season. I also forgot to mention that they’re looking to get Isaiah Thomas back in the first week of February too.

Just pretend like you didn’t see anything that I just typed in what is supposed to be an “off-week” for the Nuggets.

5. Indiana Pacers

Week 13 Record: 3-1
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 104.0 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.7 (4th)

How are they winning games?

No seriously. A few weeks ago I mentioned that most reporters are casually forgetting this team, and most of the players on it this season. But now I’m starting to really wonder how they’re doing it.

The Pacers are quietly the third best team in the East after week 14. In a 4 game week, they went a cool 3-1, abusing the Suns by 35 points, shutting down the Mavericks by 12 and closing out Sunday with a 25 point win over the Hornets. The one game they lost, the script was flipped by losing to Philadelphia by 24.

THE TREND: All 3 of their wins came by locking their opponents down to under 100 points {“Phoenix”: 97, “Dallas”: 91, “Charlotte”: 95} (yes I just realised that the list I gave you is a JSON object, leave me alone, this is my second job). Opponents FG% during those games respectively were 42.1%, 42.0%, and 40.2%. Per basketball-reference.com, the league average for FG% is 46.0%.

And without a “lockdown” defender DPOY candidate on this team, one can only assume that they’re defending as a team. If Indiana is in the top 5 next week, I’ll try and deep dive a bit more into their defensive stats as a team.

JUST MISSED OUT:

Oklahoma City Thunder (28-18)

This team smash’s steaks, all the bloody time mate.

Week 14 record: 1-2
Paul George: 27.3ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.3 apg, and a monster 3.7 STEALS PER GAME
Russell Westbrook: 26.0 ppg, 10.0 apg, 8.3 rpg, 2.3 spg
Steven Adams: 16.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 2.3 spg

Three players, three unreal defenders. OKC deserves more credit than what they’re getting right, despite a 1-2 week 14. Plus this monster game against Philadelphia.

LOSING GROUND:

Los Angeles Clippers

Once a western conference titan this season, the Clippers have slipped from 1st to 8th in the west. They caught lightning in a bottle for the first half of the season, but it looks like teams are catching on to the koolaid that Doc Rivers was selling his players.

With that being said, a 25-21 record is nothing to sneeze at, but with the Lakers, King sand Timberwolves breathing down their necks, it might be time for the Clippers to sip the sizzurp and start winning again…quickly.

MAKING GAINS:

Brooklyn Nets

In week 3, I wrote that the Nets were the 15th best team in the league. At the time I was definitely stretching it, but now I’m not looking so crazy.



The Nets are the 6th best team in the east right now with a 25-23 record, being lead by everyone’s favourite snitch:

D’Angelo is finally making the Lakers look a little dumb for trading him. This week alone, he lead the Nets to beat the Celtics (kay), Rockets (wait..), and Magic (that’s more like it).

The last seven days (including Monday January 21st), Russell is carrying this under-achieving team with 28.0 ppg, 7.0 apg, 3.3 rpg, and a Harden-esque 5.7 3PM. Lets keep an eye on these guys as the season grind to a close. I doubt they’ll crack the top 5, but I’ve been wrong before.

NBA Power Rankings – Week 12

BasketBrawlers NBA Power Rankings is officially back for the New Year! We will be working even harder to provide you with the content and unique insights that you need from the NBA world. With Adam Kroon, the usual editor of this segment tied up with other commitments, this weeks segment is brought to you by the Give N’Go Podcast’s own: Rajan Sharma

Much has changed in the NBA landscape since the turn of the new year. The Grizzlies, who had started out red hot at the beginning of the season are starting to show their age. The Rockets have been fuelled by the MVP Calibre Heroics of James Harden, and Spurs have quietly been surging behind an inspiring performance on the night of Kawhi’s return to San Antonio. With that said, lets get to it! W

1. DENVER NUGGETS (26-11)

Last Weeks Ranking: 3 (+2)
Last Weeks Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 111.9 (7th) 
Defensive Rating:  106.4 (9th)
Net Rating: +5.4 (5th)

The Nuggets took care of business against some teams fighting hard for a playoff spot with games against the Knicks, Kings, and Hornets respectively. The Nuggets continue their surprisingly successful campaign and have survived their injury plagued season so-far. With Paul Millsap and Gary Harris returning to action this week the Nuggets are finally starting to get healthy – which should be a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

nba power ranking- weeks 12

2. TORONTO RAPTORS (30-12)

Last Weeks Ranking: 1 (-1)
Last Weeks Record: 4-1 
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 107.3 (10th)
Net Rating: +4.9 (6th)

The Raptors have been busy this week! They started out with some hard fought victories against the Bulls and Jazz (a game in which Kawhi Leonard dropped a career high 45 points against the Utah Jazz defense) before they went in the San Antonio and got absolutely decimated by the Spurs, who were led by DeMar DeRozan’s revenge triple-double – the first of his career.

However, the Raptors managed to save face by defeating the other 2 teams fighting for the top spot in the east to end the week. The Raptors took a page out of Drizzy Drake’s playbook and beat the Bucks and the Pacers back-to-back. Going back-to-back! With Kyle Lowry returning to the lineup after being out for 6 days, we may actually see the Raptors two stars play in the same game for the first time early December this upcoming week!

San Antonio Spurs

3. SAN ANTONIO SPURS (23-17)

Last Weeks Ranking: Not Ranked (+13)
Last Weeks Record: 3-0 
Offensive Rating: 112.2 (5th) 
Defensive Rating: 109.1 (16th)
Net Rating: +3.1 (8th)

Don’t look now, but the Spurs are once again flying under the radar in to the playoff picture! The Spurs have rattled off 4 straight victories over the Clippers, Celtics, Grizzlies, and capped off by a routing of the Toronto Raptors after DeMar DeRozan racked up the first triple-double of his career against his former team. The Spurs are finally starting to get healthy after their wing depth was decimated by injuries to start the season and the results are showing in the win column. The Spurs play the Thunder twice next week, giving them a real shot of moving in to the top 4 of the Western Conference. Let’s see if old reliable can keep the NBA’s longest winning streak rolling!

4. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (27-11)

Last Weeks Ranking: 4 (-)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 113.5 (2nd)
Defensive Rating: 104.3 (3rd)
Net Rating: +9.2 (1st) 

The Bucks are the only team in the top 3 of both offensive and defensive efficiency in the entire league. They came up just short in a marquee match-up against the Raptors on Saturday night, but they have still been dominant thus far. The Bucks have won 8 of their last 10 games, and if Brook Lopez can continue his Harden impersonation – hitting step back 3’s with 16 on the shot clock on the regular – the Bucks will be a tough match-up for any team come playoff time. Despite the hot start, lets see how the Bucks close out this season, as they will now play 21 of the next 30 games on the road.

5. HOUSTON ROCKETS (22-16)

Last Weeks Ranking: Not Ranked (+11)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 112.9 (4th)
Defensive Rating: 111.6 (25th)
Net Rating: +1.3 (13th)

The re-emergence of MVP Harden has been an absolute treat to watch for NBA fans across the globe. James Harden is averaging over 40 points per game over the last 12 games, including an absolute thriller against the defending champion Golden State Warriors in which The Beard dropped another 44-point triple double and a game winning 3-pointer over Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

An interesting point to note though, is that this sudden improvement of play by the Rockets also lines up with Chris Paul being removed from the lineup. Could this just be a coincidence? Tune in to the Give N’Go Podcast’s episode 12 which discusses this in detail in last week’s pod: http://basketbrawlers.ca/give-n-go/

6. PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (23-17)

Last Weeks Ranking: 13 (+7)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 111.6 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 110.4 (21st)
Net Rating: +1.2 (16th)

The Blazers sole loss last week was by 2 points in a thriller against the rival OKC thunder. Besides the one blemish, the Blazers were able to rattle off impressive wins against the Sixers, Kings, and the blazing hot Houston Rockets. All the off-season talk about whether or not Lillard and McCollum can co-exist as your 2 best players has quieted down now with the emergence of their bench, and their young Bosnian Center Jusuf Nurkic, who became the first player in NBA History to record a rare 5×5 game (at least 5 points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in the same game) while also recording at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. The 23-year old big man finished the game against the Kings with 24 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks. Wow.

7. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (26-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 6 (-)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 113.6 (1st)
Defensive Rating: 109.3 (18th)
Net Rating: +4.3 (7th)

The Warriors were one blown call by the refs and a James Harden step-back 3 away from a perfect week. Despite all of their recent struggles, the Warriors still hold on to the 2-seed in the Western conference, and sit only 1 game back of the top spot. If you are a Warriors fan, I think you take this result all day given the struggles of the Warriors supporting cast this season. We are yet to see Boogie make his debut with the team, but it seems like they need another boost to get them back to their championship aspirations after going 8-5 over their last 13 games.

8. INDIANA PACERS (26-13)

Last Weeks Ranking: 11 (+4)
Last Weeks Record: 2-1 
Offensive Rating: 108.7 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 102.9 (2nd)
Net Rating: +5.8 (3rd)

The Pacers fell short on Sunday night against a Kawhi-less Raptors squad, but they still hang on to the number 3-seed in the Eastern Conference and the 2nd best defensive rating in the League. The Pacers will face off against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night, which should be a nice test for a team looking to establish themselves amongst the elite in the NBA.

9. PHILADELPHIA 76ers (26-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 2 (-7)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (13th)
Defensive Rating: 107.6 (11th)
Net Rating: +2.1 (10th)

Despite all the drama that seems to surround the Sixers at every turn of the way – the latest being Jimmy Butler suddenly unhappy with his new role on the team – the Sixers continue to rattle off victories. The Sixers will have a pretty pedestrian week next week, as they have games against the Wizards (twice), Hawks, and the lowly Knicks. If they can sort out all their internal dramas, they could be next in line to join Toronto in the 30-win club by the time we roll out these Power Rankings next week.

10. Oklahoma City Thunder (25-14)

Last Weeks Ranking: 7 (-3)
Last Weeks Record: 3-1 
Offensive Rating: 107.4 (21st)
Defensive Rating: 101.7 (1st)
Net Rating: +5.6 (4th)

Seems like the Thunder can never quite get it right…they followed up impressive wins over the Mavs, Lakers, and Blazers with an absolute DUD against the Washington Wizards. Scott Brooks got his revenge game against his former squad, and despite Russell Westbrook having another triple-double, he did his squad no favours with his 8 turnovers in the game and 9/23 shooting from the field. But alas, that is the fate of the OKC Thunder until they realize that maybe running more of the offence through PG-13 instead of Westbrook may be the solution to their problems. The dynamic duo of Westbrook and Paul George are currently sitting at a usage rate of 31.3 and 29.6 respectively.

Well there you have it! Let me know what you think about the power rankings in the comments below, or on twitter page (link is below):

https://twitter.com/_BasketBrawlers

Who didn’t quite make the cut…

11. Boston Celtics (23-15)

12. Los Angles Clippers (23-16)

13. Utah Jazz (20-20)

14. Brooklyn Nets (20-21)

15. Los Angles Lakers (21-20)

BasketBrawler’s Pre-Season Award Predictions

By Rajan Sharma

If this off-season has taught us anything, it is that the NBA is a 12-month sport. There have been no breaks in the action as we went from another Golden State Warriors Championship to the NBA draft that saw DeAndre Ayton go 1st overall and the Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks exchange future studs Luka Doncic and Trae Young, to a free agency period that saw the best player in the world – Lebron James – take his talents to Hollywood, to the end of the summer drama with Jimmy Butler taking the entire Wolves organization hostage and terrorizing everyone and their grandmothers on the practice courts.

The NBA is one giant soap opera, and I love every second of it. But with that being said, every good soap opera needs a star-studded cast to take it to the top. That’s where I have turned to the Basket Brawler’s own panel of basketball analysts and experts to see who they believe will walk away with the hardware this season with each of the top regular season awards. Joining me on the panel today will be our local Seattle Supersonics enthusiast Draydan Power, Basket Brawlers Fantasy League Defending Champion Adam Johal, the Tech Guru and lead analytics expert Adam Kroon, the Give N’Go Podcast’s own Jordan Taylor, and Fantasy Basketball Analyst Extraordinaire Steven Petterson.

So, without further a due, lets see who the Basket Brawlers expert panel has chosen to take home the hardware in this upcoming NBA Season!

Most Improved Player Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick – Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
After having a disappointing season last year, Myles Turner has completely changed his diet and body in anticipation of a big bounce back season. Myles Turner is the ideal big man in today’s NBA. He is long, athletic, protects the rim, and he has an outside jumper. Look for Turner to help the Pacers build on an impressive 7-game playoff series loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers and take a run at the Eastern Conference crown now vacated by The King.

Draydan Power’s Pick –  Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets)
The blue arrow has already taken a leap forward after a great finish to last year’s campaign. He was heating up after the All-Star break and was absolutely electric to watch during the OT thriller against the T-Wolves last season. A big piece of me would of loved to have seen the Nuggets in the playoffs just to see what he could do, but regardless, he’s geared up to continue his rapid rise with a huge year this year. Even though IT is there, I don’t think it will affect his play time and I can’t wait to watch him, Jokic, and Millsap make a splash in the high elevation.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)
Myles Turner was a hot choice for MIP heading into the 2017 season, but injuries led him to regress a bit in his third year.  Turner has dedicated his summer to his conditioning and appears to be in much better shape than his previous three seasons. Like his teammate Victor Oladipo, Myles Turns looks to translate his improved conditioning onto the court for 2019.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Josh Richardson (Miami Heat)
Josh Richardson will be an All Star in the East this year. Book it. Spoelstra, Pat Riley, and Richardson himself have all been hyping him up as a break out player this year and his final two preseason games showed why. He is controlling the floor and scoring at will. Richardson has stated he hopes to reach 18ppg this year and I believe he will do it as he grows in to a force to be reckoned with and shows everyone why Riley was so hesitant to include him in a potential Butler trade.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – JaVale McGee (Los Angles Lakers)
Playing with Rondo and LeBron is going to revitalize his career. I have nothing else to say, but lob city just switched LA teams

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
If you had Victor Oladipo winning this award at the start of the season, I have some stocks and bonds I want you to take a look at. After preseason I really don’t see alot of players looking like they will take a major step forward. Some that come to mind would be Miami Heats Josh Richardson, the guard-forward was a nice surprise last year and many news outlets have lavished over his off season training. When your part of the package for a potential jimmy butler trade, better believe this guy can ball. Other player consideration I have were Atlanta’s John Collins, a cheap pick in itself as players in their second year make incremental improvements to their game. Finally someone you cannot leave out of the conversation is Giannis, all preseason has taught us is that he truly deserves that number one overall fantasy spot. Is this the year he goes from all-star to better than LeBron? He is a legitimate shot at both MVP and MIP. 
Winner: Giannis Snub: Josh Richardson

Defensive Player of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
Adding to my theory of a good storyline, this one is just too juicy to pass up. Kevin Durant has already made it known during the off-season that he wants more respect for the work he puts in on the defensive end of the court, and blames the fact that people “hate” him for the reason he doesn’t get his proper recognition on that end of the court. The Slim Reaper averaged nearly 2 blocks and 1 steal per game last season, along with having one of the best rim defense statistics in the entire league. This is the year that Durant finally breaks though and adds to his already impressive resume.

Draydan Power’s Pick – Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
After what most people consider to be a Twilight Zone season for Kawhi, he needs to come back and make a big splash in the worst way. I truly believe that Kawhi will be in the running for MVP but won’t quite close it out (spoiler – I’m betting that will go to the other DPOTY candidate). All the pressure is on the Raps after firing Dwayne Casey and giving up DeMar DeRozan for a Kawhi rental, so expect him to come out gangbusters. I hope to see a Kawhi with a chip on his shoulder, getting down and dirty on both ends of the floor and carrying the Raptors to a deep playoff run.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
Amongst the players with the most to prove this season, Kawhi has to be near the top of the list.  Fans and journalists around the NBA have seemed to forgot the level Leonard was playing at prior to his injury last season.  Kawhi will once again have to prove why he is one of the greatest two-way players in NBA history, and in a weaker conference, I think he will certainly do that.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
This is a real, dark-horse pick. It’s weird to think that Simmons is only in his second year in the league, but I believe we are going to see some considerable growth – specifically on the defensive end. Last year Simmons was a strong force on the defensive end and from what I have seen in preseason he looks extra committed to that side of the floor this year. He locks in, guards with intensity, and smothers opposing guards. I think this year people realize how much of an asset Ben Simmons’ defence is. Does he win the award? Maybe it’s a season or two early… But if he does, I told you so.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
No one will challenge the throne. We’re looking at another Ben Wallace type run for DPOY with Gobert. No surprise here whatsoever.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Defensive player of the year is always a hard one. Mainly due to stats not having as much of impact when being factored into voting. Short and quick: were looking at back to back award from the Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, something we have not had in at least 4 years. He’s got it all defensively, and with a clean bill of health relative to last year. He’s primed to patrol the paint erasing opponents shot attempts with his quick feet.
Winner: Rudy Gobert Snub: Drummond Green

Coach of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Nick Nurse (Toronto Raptors)
Adding to the story line and what I feel will be a special season North of the Border, first year head coach will take home the Coach of the Year honours after leading the Raptors to 60+ wins and a 1st seed in the Eastern Conference. All the attention seems to be on the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers coming in to the season and the Raptors will once again fly under the radar and take the crown out East. For those unfamiliar with Nick Nurse, his peers voted him as the most likely best future bench boss when he was an assistant last year. He is an analytical genius and an intelligent basketball mind who likes to experiment and think outside the box. Having come from the Houston Rockets system previously, Nurse is an advocate for high efficiency shots and this new look Raptors team may be even better on both ends of the floor with Kawhi Leonard. I fully expect them to finish top 5 in both offense and defense this upcoming season.

Draydan Power’s Pick –Brad Stevens (Boston Celtics)
He could of easily won it last year as well. Brad took a team of rookies and sophomores to the Eastern Conference Finals, pushing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to 7 games without the help of their two All-Stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. People have been spouting off all summer with questions of “What do you do now when you developed so much young raw talent and now have to add two All-Stars!?”. Boo-hoo what a tough problem to have. Even if it was a problem, I would trust Brad to figure it out and incorporate everyone as needed while getting players up and down the bench to buy in to the system. This guy is for real and this will be the first of many awards for him.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)
Coach Bud has had of history of making rosters with less than stellar talent perform beyond their capabilities.  Now that he has a roster equipped with a bonafide superstar in Giannis, Mike Budenholzer is ready to show the league what a full roster is capable of under his system.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Mike Budenholzer (Milwaukee Bucks)
Unlocking Giannis Antetokounmpo’s full potential and unleashing a fast, free-flowing, high octane offense is going to make Budenholzer look like a genius. I see him as being for Giannis what D’Antoni was for Harden. Giannis was already fairly successful while being held back by Kidd, and he will be unleashed now. Budenholzer and Giannis will lead the Bucks further than anyone currently anticipates, and Coach Bud will be rewarded for it.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Brett Brown (Philadelphia 76ers)
With another year of Simmons and Embiid blossoming under his tutelage, we’re going to see the Sixers make the Raptors and Celtics feel hot under the collar. Looking for 50 wins this year is the next step for this team, and hopefully a nice trophy for coach Brown.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets)
Coach of the year; definition; which team with the best roster finishes top 3 in the conference while not underperforming or over achieving. Check the history, I ain’t lying. Would love to see Denver Nuggets Head coach Mike Malone win. He has done amazing work out their with that young team and they are primed for a David vs. Goliath playoff first round if they can make it in the ever talented western conference.
Winner: Mike D’Antoni Snub: Michael Malone

6th Man of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Tyreke Evans (Indiana Pacers)
Tyreke “The Freak” Evans had a bit of a resurgent year last season – posting his best campaign since he put up 20/5/5 in his rookie year. Make no mistake about it that last season was no fluke. Tyreke displayed elite ball handling and court vision, an improved jump shot, and leadership qualities that we had not seen from him before. With the Pacers looking to take the next step in to one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams, look for Evans to bring a spark off the bench and even close out games with fellow dynamic scorer Victor Oladipo.

Draydan Power’s Pick – Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Call me safe with some of these picks. Eric Gordon was runner up last year and much like Brad Stevens, I don’t think anyone would of been too surprised to see him win. His touches will definitely go down with Melo in town, but this guy balls out against any starting or secondary unit in the league. He’s a huge reason the Rockets had and will have so much success, so look for him to put in another phenomenal year. If he stays healthy, he’s a top pick.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Dennis Schroeder (OKC Thunder)
The Thunder have been longing for the days of James Harden when they had elite scoring off the bench. Dennis Schroeder is clearly not on the level of Harden, but his ability to score off the bench and potentially play alongside Russ could vault him to the top of the SMOTY race

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Terry Rozier (Boston Celtics)
Terry Rozier is coming for his money. With his contract ending after this year, Rozier has already stated that he is going to play so well that Coach Stevens won’t be able to take him off the floor. I envision a ton of games where Rozier’s tenacity and drive propel him to be on the floor when the game is on the line. Will he get enough minutes behind Kyrie to have the stats needed for a 6th Man award? Debatable. But I think Scary Terry is going to force himself into this conversation one way or another, in his quest for a massive pay-raise in 2019.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Carmelo Anthony (Houston Rockets)
He did not go quietly into the night. He did not want this. Holy fuck he’s good at it. Whodathunkit? Lou Will will have competition this year in Carmelo now that he’s deemed playing off the bench to be possible. Look for him to drop at least 8 long 2s a game with a couple boards and minimal defense to help the Rockets lose to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals again this year.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – JJ Reddick (Philadelphia 76ers)
6th man of the year, as I write this Jamal Crawford still remains without a team in October and you can never count this perennial award winner out of the conversation. Most of my early picks have become full time starters on their teams this year (Denver’s Will Barton to name one). I’m not fond of LA Clippers Lou Will, into reason why is there are alot of capable mouths to feed in LAs step child NBA team. Bother their draft picks look good and Patrick Beverly and Avery Bradley appear healthy and ready to go this season. My dark horse for this award resides on the city of brotherly love. Preseason has shown us Brett Brown is starting to have more faith in second year point guard Markelle Fultz, he has been playing well in response after being inserted into the starting lineup during ore season. The odd man out becomes my NBA look alike: JJ Reddick. A starter in his own right, I see him leading the 76ers second unit on A nightly basis while maintain similar scoring averages to last season. A victim. Of circumstance, but hey bringing a trophy home to wifey should take the sting off.
Winner: JJ Reddick Snub: Eric Gordon

Rookie of the Year Award

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
This one was an easy choice for me. Luka is the best rookie prospect we’ve seen from Europe in a long time. Luka just has that special IT factor in his game that will translate beautifully to the NBA after winning Euroleague MVP last year as a 19 year old Phenom. There is just something with how in control Luka plays that separates him from the rest of the rookie pack. Some may say he is too slow, but he moves just at the right pace, he is never in a rush, and gets to any spot he wants on the floor with a James Harden-esque play style. Couple that with his elite playmaking and court vision and you have the makings of a perennial all star in this league for many years to come! I am all aboard this hype train!

Draydan Power’s Pick Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
It’s a stacked rookie class again this year, but the era of the big man is ready to make a come back. Deandre Ayton has impressed everyone this pre-season by looking like a man among boys…probably because that’s exactly what he is. I am a big believer that it will transition well into the regular season and we will see Ayton get as many touches and looks as he can handle with Booker out to begin the season. Oh, and when Booker is back, he’ll be a full-time glass cleaner on both ends of the floor. He’s my man for ROY.

Adam Johal’s Pick – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) 
This year’s crop of rookies are extremely talented with the likes of DeAndre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr, Trae Young, and Miles Bridges.  However, amongst all rookies, Luka Doncic appears to be the most NBA ready, and more importantly, has the best roster around him. Often, success of rookies – and NBA players in general – depends on fit. Luka will slot into the point forward role will targets like DeAndre Jordan, DSJ, Wes Mathews and Harrison Barnes around him.  Expect big things from Luka in his first year.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Luka is going to make Atlanta look like fools. It will be a strong two way battle between him and Ayton, but Luka will prevail. His long tenure in the European professional leagues will help him battle through the trials of a long 82 game season, giving him a sustainable edge over Ayton. His highlight plays, and already-signature, behind-the-back drives will be on Sportscenter reels all season.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
Serbian National Team coach and current Phoenix Head Coach was quoted as saying that Luka would be like a wolf among children this season. Former Euro League MVP Doncic will prove all the haters, including the Hawks front office, completely wrong.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
ROY this year more than ever will be about oppurtunity on the team your drafted by. You have to consider depth, coaching staff, and team expectations. PHX Deandre Ayton fits the bill. With little depth behind him, Ayton will demand heavy minutes from the get go. The suns have no expectations going in and this will allow Ayton to flourish as a legitimate player. Other notables to watch will be Dallas Mavericks Luca Doncic and Atlanta’s Trae Young, no depth on either team behind them, but I only see their roles as ok players and not spectacular like Ayton. Not to take away from their talents, they could definitely have the better careers. Time will only tell.
Winner: DeAndre Ayton Snub: Ben Simmons :smirk:

Most Valuable Player of the Year

Rajan Sharma’s pick: Kawhi Leonard (Toronto Raptors)
This was probably the hardest award to choose from. Its hard to bet against the King, and we all know what James Harden and Anthony Davis are all about…. But the NBA award voters love a good story and this one fits the mould. Disgruntled Superstar leaves San Antonio on bad terms and returns to the league to lead the Toronto Raptors to their first 60+ win season in Franchise history. All the talk around the Raptors will be about whether Kawhi will stay or will he go, but make no mistake about it – Kawhi will be on a mission this season to prove that he has still got it! Voters LOVE a first time award winner, and with all signs pointing to Kawhi being happy so far in Toronto, im expecting him to take the league by storm! The Raptors will improve on their 59-23 season last year and I expect Kawhi to laugh all the way to his first MVP award of his career.

Draydan Power’s Pick – Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
As I said above, it’s all about the big men. AD nearly won it last year with his incredible performance after the All-Star break to close out the season with Boogie on the sidelines. The dude has a new agent and has not been shy about his feelings towards leaving if there isn’t success in New Orleans. He knows what he’s capable of doing to the best talent in the league and he will do everything in his power to bring success to the Big Easy, or at the very least, cement himself as a top player in today’s game as he looks to move on. Side note: if he didn’t win the MVP (and even if he does), he’s a good bid for DPOTY as well.

Adam Johal’s Pick – LeBron James (Los Angles Lakers)
I really wanted to pick Giannis here, but this season seems ripe for the King.  LeBron’s Lakers have a better roster than his Cleveland team last season and I fully expect the Lakers to usher in a new era of showtime basketball.  While some (ludicrously) have the Lakers finishing as low as 9th, I think the Lakers will finish top 3 in the West – thrusting LeBron to the top of the MVP conversation for 2019.

Steven Petterson’s Pick – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
The Greek Freak is coming for everyone this year. At 23 years old, Giannis is ready to take his reign as one of the best players in the league (and make about 8 league members look foolish too). In Milwaukee’s new system his full range of talent will be on display, and it is going to horrify every opposing team all season long. 30-7-7, with Giannis pushing Milwaukee to the 3rd seed in the East – you heard it here first.

Adam Kroon’s Pick – Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
This is a contract year for the Brow, and if he wants to get max dollars while not playing for the Pelicans, he’s going to need to blow up and carry the Pels into the playoffs. Without Boogie to help in the last year’s playoff push, we saw Davis pull a LeBron like carry-my-team-on-my-shoulders move. I think we’re going to see a carry over of that Anthony Davis this year.

Jordan Taylor’s Pick – LeBron James (Los Angles Lakers)
The MVP race remains ideally the same horse and pony show after the dust settled on the major off season moves over the summer. The likes of James Harden, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis will continue to reign supreme as upper level players. My guess is the enamour of LeBron in LA is to much for the voting board and the king continues his tyrant rule over the NBA. Let’s not forget that there is always the outliers in teir two that could shake up the status quo: Kevin Durant, kawhi Leonard, and Giannis.
Winner: LeBron James Snub: Giannis


Well, there you have it! Who do you think got it right? Do you agree or disagree with any of these rankings? Hit us up in the comments and let us know what you think!