Grading My 2018 Preseason Picks: Eastern Conference

Looking back on the preseason previews, I covered the Western Conference and went 8-4 on my picks where I set a specific “over or under” bet in the article. Sure, I got two other picks wrong without saying a number, and the 15th case was simply saying the Warriors were good without providing context, so I gave myself an 8-6-1 record. Did I do as well in the East? Besides being one of the legion of people who didn’t see the Pacers coming, I mean (more on that later.) In order of publication: MIAMI HEAT Over/Under: 43 Pick: “But a …

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Grading My 2018 Preseason Picks: Western Conference

Before the season, I stuck my neck out and made 30 predictions for 30 teams, trying to decide whether they would go over or under their Vegas expectations. Of course, there’s plenty of stuff I got right. But there’s also a lot of stuff I got hilariously wrong, so let’s go through real quick and see how I did, in order of posting date for the previews, and starting with the West (East coming later this morning): DALLAS MAVERICKS Over/Under: 35.5 Pick: “Expect about 30 wins.” (Under) Actual: 24-58 So I overrated them. I did, however, predict Harrison Barnes would …

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The Only 2017-18 NBA Predictions You Need

by Fox Doucette The 2017-18 NBA season’s about to tip off as I write this, and Pace and Space Year 3 begins in earnest. We’ve got a new server (maybe I’ll take the time to tell the story of how and why we parted ways with SportsBlog after the Great Redesign Fiasco last March, but the short version is we lost about 95 percent of our search traffic overnight when their redesign left us with nothing but deadlinks on our Year 1 content), the stuff’s slowly being migrated over and patched together from where it’s sitting on old computers, and …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Boston Celtics

by Fox Doucette Talk about “no respect.” The Celtics were the No. 1 seed in the East last year, they added Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving in the offseason, and I’ve yet to see a Twitter pundit who wasn’t from Boston who’s predicting them to make the Finals. It seems like everyone thinks Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder are going to put LeBron back in the catbird seat, and some folks are even suggesting that the Wizards or Raptors are going to grab the No. 2 spot this year. That might just be absurd. Irving’s been waiting three years now …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Toronto Raptors

by Fox Doucette The Toronto Raptors are the last remaining holdout for the idea that old-school basketball can actually win games, and they went 51-31 despite ranking 22nd in the NBA in three-point attempts in 2017. While the Rockets and Warriors were breaking basketball with triples aplenty, the Raptors’ efficient inside-out game managed to rank sixth in offensive rating even as they were 24th in pace. Casey says he wants to modernize the offense a little this year, shoot more threes, look more like a pace-and-space team, but with the Mid Ranger playing shooting guard, will it be hi ho …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Philadelphia 76ers

by Fox Doucette Is it time for the Process to finally bear fruit? And if so, how much value is found in ending up as a 7 or 8 seed in the playoffs, getting smacked around by Boston or Cleveland, then relying on all the pieces to gel as the team starts to age into its prime? It’s a real question for the Sixers, as they project as a 39.5-win team in Vegas, making them the projected 8 seed in the East if everything goes according to Hoyle. Joel Embiid is about to play his 32nd career NBA game in …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: New York Knicks

by Fox Doucette Oh man, talk about your questions with obvious answers. We’ve had a few of those in these 27 episodes so far (three more until the season starts!) For the New York Knicks, it’s Kristaps Porzingis’s team now. Carmelo Anthony is plying his trade in Oklahoma City along with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, so all that remains is to see whether the big Latvian can do anything to restore this wretched franchise to respectability.

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Brooklyn Nets

by Fox Doucette There’s something to be said for grade inflation, as asking if the Brooklyn Nets are “good” is a question with an obvious answer, while asking “do they completely suck or is there hope here?” is a completely different question with a less obvious one. After all, if a straight-F student at least starts pulling a C-minus once in awhile, there’s hope that you can put them through community college and they might just end up with a decent job someday, while other straight-F students wash out and die of drug overdoses in alleys. The Nets have looked …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Cleveland Cavaliers

by Fox Doucette This year, the Cleveland Cavaliers, not content with the answer they got in 2007 the last time they asked this question, have posed the inquiry “How bad a Letter League outfit can we put around LeBron James and still make the Finals?” Dwyane Wade is ready to collect a pension, Kevin Love’s transformation into completely ordinary stretch 4 is complete, Kyrie Irving is on the Celtics now and Isaiah Thomas won’t be able to stay healthy, J.R. Smith is still on the team, and Derrick Rose and Kendrick Perkins? Really? Yet Vegas has them as the favorite …

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Is This 2018 NBA Team Any Good?: Indiana Pacers

by Fox Doucette Man, it is a terrifying time to be a Pacers fan. This team is good enough to make a bit of noise in the 9-12 echelon in the East and keep the fans clinging to false hopes of the playoffs as late as All-Star Weekend, but they’re bad enough to have no chance whatsoever to make the actual playoffs. Or, if you want the wry, worst-case scenario, they’re not good enough to tank. On the other hand, this is a batch of castoffs and nobodies surrounding the best young player Indiana’s had since…well, since they drafted Paul …

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