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Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return

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Old 10-17-2015, 08:40 PM   #169
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return

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Old 10-17-2015, 08:43 PM   #170
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:09 PM   #171
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return

2015-16 NBA Final Regular Season Standings

April 13th, 2016

By Vonny Lee


The end of the NBA Regular Season is upon us and what a year it has been. Here's a quick look at the final regular season standings and where the team's that didn't make the playoffs stand at season's end.

The Central



1. The Pistons -- made a late push for the playoffs but couldn't string together enough wins to make a difference. SVG now heads into another offseason with disappointment foremost on the minds of everyone involved with the organization; Brandon Jennings will test FA and likely not be back ... will Reggie Jackson be enough to run the point for Detroit?

2. The Bucks -- made late adjustments to their rotation to try and make a positive push, but came away with nothing to show for it. The Bucks now have to look hard to see where this season went wrong -- was it Michael-Carter Williams, Greg Monroe, both, or something else entirely? Next year will determine the fate of nearly everyone who's bet on this roster, from Jason Kidd to the Greek Freak.

The Atlantic



1. The Wizards -- bet that this season would be the one where they made the leap, but instead their early season moves to secure a playoff spot fell short and now they're left on the outside looking in. Randy Wittman is likely to get axed in the offseason and whomever follows him will be mandated to make the playoffs next year, or face a similar fate.

2. The Celtics -- don't regret the Boogie trade ... yet. The arrival of Cousins was supposed to energize the Celtics and allow the team to make a push for a playoff spot; instead, Boogie's arrival upset the balance the team had achieved and now leaves the Celtics looking for a way to reestablish some of that balance over the offseason. The fate of Marcus Smart, Tyler Zeller, and Jared Sullinger all remain to be decided in the biggest offseason for Boston in nearly half-a-decade; can the Celtics build around Boogie, or will he prove too much for even them?

3. The 76ers -- lost, exactly like they wanted to, but fell a game short of being the worst in the NBA; that honor belongs to the Jazz. Philly made progress towards the end, but the trades of multiple assets over the season doesn't seem to have hurt their chances too badly at securing the first overall selection.

The Southeast



1. The Hornets
-- hit a losing streak at the worst time, going 3-7 over the last 10 games and just missing the playoffs despite the Knicks woeful end-of-year performance. This might be the final iteration of this team with Al Jefferson in the middle, as both he and the Hornets seem ready to move on; where will Michael Jordan go from here?

2. The Magic -- almost made it. A late season push, led by Joe Johnson, energized the team and the fanbase, getting them so close to the playoffs. Despite missing the final cut, the Magic are looking up and with the Lakers pick (acquired in the trade with Philly at the deadline) looking to easily fall outside the top-3, the Magic will be able to snag a valuable asset to develop as this team looks to be on the rise.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:23 PM   #172
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return

2015-16 NBA Final Regular Season Standings

April 13th, 2016

By Vonny Lee



The Southwest



1. The Mavericks -- are the only team in their division that didn't make the playoffs, an embarrassment that Mark Cuban isn't pleased with. However, with the arrival of Embiid and the multiple injuries to many players, this year is a lost year for the Mavs. The question becomes whether Dirk decides to hang it up, avoiding another year of potential misery, or if he comes back for one more ride.

The Northwest



1. The Blazers
-- just couldn't hang on to their positive momentum. Lillard did an admirable job of nearly leading this team to the 8th seed, but he missed out by two games. Still, with as shorthanded as Portland was throughout the latter half the season, the fans shouldn't be upset -- next year will be better for the team.

2. The Timberwolves -- had their star rookie, Anthony-Towns, get hit with a limiting injury during the last month of the season. His decline in play, combined with Wiggins' sophomore slump, doomed the Wolves in a conference that eats its young. KG may hang it up at the end of the year and the Wolves have to hope that Wiggins can bounce back next season; this team isn't quite there yet, but they'll be something special when it's all said and done.

3. The Nuggets -- were bad, just as they wanted to be, and nearly finished with the worst record in the league. The team's offense has been atrocious since the trades of Faried and Chandler, and the Nuggets front office will have some choices to make during the offseason as they look for a direction to take this team in.

4. The Jazz -- finished with the worst record in the league, a big step back from a team that was a threat for the final playoff spot last season. Despite their futility, the top pick is waiting for them and the top of the draft is rather stacked with talent; Utah should find a good player to pair with Hayward, Exum, Burks, and Gobert, but that player may be better than half of the aforementioned names.

The Pacific



1. The Lakers -- actually didn't look too horrible at the end of the year, despite missing not only Kobe but also Russell. Still, they weren't bad enough to get their pick back and LA will have to hope that their cap space will sway someone to pick them in FA. They also might be secretly hoping Kobe retires, but insiders report Bryant is gearing up for yet another return.

2. The Kings -- are really, really bad. Tied with the 76ers for the second-worst record in the NBA, the Kings have a bevy of picks, a solid draft, and George Karl (firmly in power) heading into the offseason. Free agency will likely be a place that yields only bench players for them; the team's improvements will come from the draft and internal developments.
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:48 PM   #173
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return


1st Round Playoff Preview

April 13th, 2016

By Vonny Lee



The 2016 NBA playoffs have finally arrived and the league is bracing itself for a resumption of multiple postseason rivalries.



1. Rockets vs. 8. Pelicans

The Rockets earned the first seed with an impressive 56-26 record, barely edging out the Sonics and Thunder for the 1st seed. Houston enters the postseason with no injuries and plenty of confidence.

Their matchup, however, is a familiar foe in the Pelicans. Anthony Davis and company surged ahead to finish the season at 41-41, winning four straight to secure the final spot. Davis will not be so easily denied this time around and, with the first round only five games, the momentum the Pelicans have will be even more important.

Prediction: Pelicans steal a game and make it interesting, but the Rockets handle Davis and co. Houston wins the series 3-1.

4. Clippers vs. 5. Warriors

The Clippers once held the 1st seed, but faltered late in the year and the rest of the West didn't mind taking advantage. That theme will continue to show itself in the postseason as LA is missing one of its most important pieces, J.J. Reddick, who is out for the next 4-6 weeks with a severe ankle sprain. With Lance Stephenson also slightly banged with with a twisted ankle, the Clippers two spot is weak.

Just what the Warriors, the one team no one wants to see in the playoffs, want. Thompson should have a field day with the Clippers and the return of Andrew Bogut (finally back after missing most of season with an injury) will allow the Warriors to put out nearly their entire lineup. Iggy is still out, likely for next 4-6 weeks, but the Warriors have more than enough to get past the Clippers.

Prediction: The Warriors are champions and, until otherwise proven, get the benefit of the doubt. Golden State wins the series 3-1 and it's not particularly close.

2. Sonics vs. 7 Suns

The Seattle SuperSonics have blown away all expectations of anyone, having a dream season (and making David Stern look like a fool, even in retirement) and have a favorable matchup against the Suns. The Sonics won the majority of the games against this squad during the regular season and have no injuries to speak of.

The Suns, for their part, are not going to bow down to any team. Injury free and with playoff experience in Tyson Chandler on the roster, the Suns will be looking for an upset and a validation of the two-small guard system.

Prediction: The Sonics might get caught looking forward to the Thunder in the next round, but making the playoffs can't be enough for this team now; with Seattle hosting playoff games for the first time in over a decade, the energy will be with the Sonics. Seattle sweeps, 3-0.

3. Thunder vs. 6. Spurs

The Thunder had the 2nd seed, but lost it in the last day. OKC is furious at itself and its angry; Durant was denied the MVP despite a stellar campaign and the Thunder have an axe to grind.

Unfortunately, so do the Spurs. They were close to winning the last game of the season against the Sonics and, much like the matchup before, the atmosphere was very playoff like. But the Spurs fell, dictating that they end up as the 6th seed in the ultra-competitive conference. San Antonio wants its shot at the Sonics as much as OKC, and they're the deeper team.

Prediction: This series comes down to the wire, ultimately hinging on which team is the better team; San Antonio takes it, 3-2, and Tim Duncan survives another first round bloodbath out West.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:07 PM   #174
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return


1st Round Playoff Preview

April 13th, 2016

By Vonny Lee




1. Cavs vs. 8. Knicks

Cleveland is banged up and hurting, missing two of its best contributors in J.R. Smith (Torn ACL, out for the season) and Kevin Love (broken finger, out for 1-2 weeks). The Cavs, however, have continued chugging along thanks to the brilliance of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.

The Knicks backed into the playoffs and in ugly fashion; after the All-Star break, the team got hit by the injury bug and only barely recovered in time to prevent an epic collapse. Knicks fans will take the victories where they can get them, but the Knicks come into the postseason thanks to how bad everyone behind them was.

Prediction: Cavs sweep. The Knicks aren't even supposed to be here, easily a year ahead of their schedule, and LeBron isn't about to let Carmelo get by him.

4. Hawks vs. 5. Grizzlies

Atlanta was looking at securing the 2nd seed as the season went into its lat month, but injuries to its second unit made that task impossible. Atlanta instead had to settle for the 4th seed, but in a weak East the difference isn't great; eventually, the would have had to go through LeBron anyway.

For the Grizzlies the second-half of the season was more like what the organization had in mind when they moved out East; filled with many wins and a commitment to defense, Memphis is more than happy to meet a division rival it knows well. Unfortunately, Zach Randolph won't be there as he's out with a knee injury for the next 2-4 weeks, forcing the Grizz to start Brandon Wright next to Marc Gasol, changing the dynamic.

Prediction: No Z-Bo, no second round. Hawks win series 3-2.

2. Heat vs. 7. Pacers

Old rivals meet again, but neither is the same as the last time. The Heat now sport Dragic and Whiteside as feature players. The Pacers make the playoffs, largely thanks to the addition of Derrick Favors. The Heat feel confident Whiteside can take Favors away as an option.

The Pacers might agree with them. Despite Favors' play, the Pacers can't be confident in their matchups; PG13 will be facing the combination of Deng and Gerald Green at SF, while the talent of the Heat is clearly better than the Pacers.

Prediction: The glory days of this rivalry are gone. Heat sweep 3-0.

3. Bulls vs. 6 Raptors

The Bulls made a strong showing at the end of the season, and they look fresher than they have in years. Mirotic, however, is out for the next 1-2 weeks with a lower-back issue, making the Bulls without their sweet-shooting stretch four.

The Raptors are more banged up, though. Biyombo, their defensive specialist off the bench, is out for 2 weeks with a torn hamstring. Joe Johnson, former Bull, is still out with a broken right ankle but could be ready for the second game of the series. Kyle Lowery is dealing with a pinched nerve and is listed as questionable, but is likely to play the first game of the series.

Prediction: Bull and Raptors engage in a thoroughly entertaining first round series, but the Raptors don't have enough to get past the Bulls. Chicago takes the series 3-1.
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:42 PM   #175
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return

Wow. Great content and great writing.

Write long, and prosper
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:56 PM   #176
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Re: Second Coming: A SuperSonics Return

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamJones113
Wow. Great content and great writing.

Write long, and prosper
Much obliged. Game one of the Sonics/Suns series is being played now ... the postseason is a different beast.
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