By Rob Schardt
Will people finally get on the Pacers hype train? I am now a firm believer in this team. Many fans wrote off the Pacers after they traded away Paul George to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, but now this trade looks like to be a win for the Pacers too. Oladipo has transformed himself into a perennial all-star and Sabonis has elevated his career to a whole new level. I except the Pacers to be a lot stronger, especially with the additions of Tyreke Evans, Kyle O”Quinn and Doug McDermott. Players like Myles Turner and Bojan Bogdanovic are pieces I believe will help the Pacers dramatically. Turner especially, I think is a great asset to have and is due for a terrific season. This team is deep and I believe they could be a top 3 seed in the East while finishing first in the division.
This team has me divided on so many levels. There is no doubt they are loaded with talent, especially when they have a top 5 player in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bringing in Coach Mike Budenholzer will certainly better this team dramatically and if he can establish a solid chemistry with guys like Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe, this team will be scary. Although Jabari Parker left for Chicago in free agency, the team brought in Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez which will certainly help out. Drafting former college basketball finals MOP in Donte DeVincenzo will bring a solid shooting presence and terrific piece to put in a lineup. This team I believe starts with Coach Bud and if everything clicks they will be dangerous and finish second in the division.
Well, what else is there to say? They lost the best player in the NBA in LeBron James for a second time and now he is not coming back. Truthfully, I still think this team can make the playoffs and there are a few reasons why. The Cavs good enough talent to compete in the East and with players like Larry Nance, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and George Hill, they will win games. Kevin Love maybe the one piece that I am questioning. He is an amazing player yes, but if he can become that super star he once was, the Cavs will be a good team. Selecting a player like Colin Sexton was a solid pick up by the Cavs. Sexton is an athletic freak and will be able to have an immediate impact to show case himself as soon as he hits the floor. I believe they will finish third when the season concludes.
This team is super confusing to me. They did not have a 2018 first round pick and are stuck with a huge Blake Griffin contract. The team did let go of coach Stan Van Gundy and brought in former coach of the year, Dwane Casey. To be honest, the Pistons do not have the same talent that the Raptors have, but do have some solid play makers. Outside Griffin, the Pistons have Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, but it basically just ends there. Dwane Casey does not have much to work with, but I think he will make the most of his opportunity here. I think the Pistons will hang around the .500 mark all year long, but in the end, will not make any noise and will finish fourth in the division.
I think it is more than clear that this team is in rebuilding mode. They did sign Zack LaVine and Jabari Parker this summer, which will help them win games, but in the end It will be more than difficult for this team to compete. Selecting Wendell Carter Jr. in the draft was by far the best thing this team could have done because he will become an absolute stud. Kris Dunn has showed some promise since his arrival to the windy city and I believe he will compete at a high level once more. Lauri Markkanen is an absolute monster and is probably the team’s best offensive player and with new solid players coming in, Markkanen will have a better shot at showing off. I like this team a lot, but in the end they need a few more years to compete once more. I do expect them to finish last place here, when it’s all said and done.
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