October 22, 2016 by Ell and Mike Sports
Ell’s Preseason NBA Playoff Predictions
The Warriors are the elite team in the West, with elite talent in the starting lineup from PG to PF and adequate talent off the bench, but can they win it all with everyone wanting to take them down. This team will continue to blow team out offensively and even more so with the addition of Durant.
The Spurs will miss a legend in future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, but Pau Gasol is a solid replacement in this system. The Spurs have already established a younger core to go with the aging big 3, which is now the big 2, with Ginobili in his last year and Parker slowly having his minutes taken by Patty Mills. The Spurs won’t miss a beat continuing to be led by Kawhi Leonard and good coaching.
The T’Wolves are a young team on the come up and have a very balanced starting lineup, which is young and only getting better. As this team continues to grow, no one will want to see them in the playoffs, as they are tough to matchup with top to bottom. The bench is getting better, as well, led by 6th man Shabazz Muhammad and rookie PG Kris Dunn who can help get more out of Rubio or complement him defensively.
Damian Lillard continues to prove that he one of the top young PG’s in the league and will continue to lead this team, as his help grows. The combo of Lillard and McCollum should be even more lethal and they have gotten even more athletic and have added Evan Turner to help move the ball. This team has depth top to bottom and should be ready to cause problems.
The Clippers still boast one of the best starting lineups in the league with their big 3 of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, but the clock is ticking. The bench has solid pieces, as well, but this team is really lacking on the wing and will need to find a legit starting SF. The Clippers will continue to lean heavily on the production of their vets, hoping some role players step up when needed.
The Thunder have taken a step back with the loss of Durant, but Russell Westbrook is more than ready to lead this team into the playoffs with the help of Victor Oladipo. This team should now be more equipped to handle the solid guard duos in the Western Conference and having Oladipo next to Roberson really improves perimeter D. The bench and Cameron Payne really need to step up for this team to take a step forward.
The Jazz are a young team on the rise and proved that last season, boasting a solid starting lineup and young core. The twin towers of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert keep teams out the paint and keep the team in games, while Hayward and Hood mostly provide the offense. The addition of vet George Hill should help control the floor better especially late in games, while Joe Johnson can help provide an offensive spark when things stall; this is exactly the type of veteran help this team needed.
Choosing the last pick was tough, but the Grizzlies should have it with their consistent veteran presence. Mike Conley continues to lead the way and star Marc Gasol is healthy again and ready to give teams problems in the West. As the preseason proved, veteran Zach Randolph will be a problem for opposing teams coming off the bench and this team has enough veterans and experience to make a playoff push; health will be the key as usual.