Tag Archives: Thunder

NBA Preview: Awards, Hype, Prediction Edition

With the NBA Season getting ready to start it’s only right that we answer a few questions in regards to awards, playoff seeding, finals predictions etc…. Please be sure to sound off and voice your opinions and enlighten us on your predictions.

Statistical Predictions:

Who will lead the league in scoring?

  
Hornback: Kevin Durant

Fort: Kevin Durant

Carter: Kevin Durant

Who will lead the league in rebounds?

  Hornback: Andre Drummond

Fort: Hassan Whiteside

Carter: Deandre Jordan

Who will lead the league in assists?

  

Hornback: John Wall

Fort: John Wall

Carter: Chris Paul

Who will lead the league in PER? (Player Efficiency Rating)

    
Hornback: Anthony Davis

Fort: Anthony Davis

Carter: Chris Paul

Who will lead the league in usage percentage?

  Hornback: LeBron James

Fort: Carmelo Anthony

Carter: James Harden

What will be the top 5 offenses?

   
Hornback:

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Thunder
  4. Hawks
  5. Spurs

Fort:

  1. Warriors
  2. Clippers
  3. Thunder
  4. Hawks
  5. Spurs

Carter:

  1. Clippers
  2. Warriors
  3. Thunder
  4. Rockets
  5. Heat

What will be the top 5 defenses?

    
Hornback:

  1. Jazz
  2. Warriors
  3. Bucks
  4. Grizzlies
  5. Wizards

Fort:

  1. Warriors
  2. Wizards
  3. Cavaliers
  4. Bucks
  5. Thunder

Carter:

  1. Bucks
  2. Bulls
  3. Pelicans
  4. Warriors
  5. Jazz

Awards Predictions:

Who will be this season’s Coach of the Year?

  

Hornback: Alvin Gentry

Fort: Erik Spolestra

Carter: Jason Kidd

Who will be this season’s Executive of the Year?

  
Hornback: R. C. Buford (San Antonio)

Fort: Pat Riley (Miami)

Carter: John Hammond (Milwaukee)

Who will be the season’s Rookie of the Year?

  Hornback: Jahlil Okafor

Fort: Emannuel Mudiay (Winslow very close 2nd)

Carter: Karl-Anthony Towns

Who will be this season’s Most Valuable Player of the Year?

  Hornback: James Harden

Fort: Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook

Carter: James Harden

Who will be this season’s Defensive Player of the Year?

  Hornback: Rudy Gobert

Fort: Dwight Howard

Carter: Anthony Davis

Who will be this season’s Sixth Man of the Year?

  Hornback: Isaiah Thomas

Fort: Louis Williams

Carter: Isaiah Thomas

Who will be this season’s Most Improved Player?

  
Hornback: Derrick Favors

Fort: Jordan Clarkson

Carter: Rudy Gobert

All NBA 1st Team

Hornback:
Steph Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Anthony Davis
Dwight Howard

Fort: 
Russell Westbrook
James Harden
LeBron James
Kevin Durant
Anthony Davis

Carter:
Chris Paul
James Harden
LeBron James
Blake Griffin
Anthony Davis

All NBA 2nd Team

Hornback:
Chris Paul
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
DeMarcus Cousins

Fort: 
John Wall
Steph Curry
Paul George
Lamarcus Aldridge
Blake Griffin

Carter:
Steph Curry
Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant
LaMarcus Aldridge
Demarcus Cousins

All NBA 3rd Team

Hornback:
John Wall
Jimmy Butler
Kevin Love
Blake Griffin
Marc Gasol

Fort: 
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Chris Bosh
Marc Gasol

Carter:
John Wall
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Pau Gasol
Marc Gasol

All NBA Defensive 1st Team

Hornback:
John Wall
Tony Allen
Draymond Green
Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert

Fort: 
John Wall
Jeff Teague
Kawhi Leonard
LeBron James

Carter:
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
Rudy Gobert

All NBA Defensive 2nd Team

Hornback:
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Serge Ibaka
Marc Gasol

Fort: 
Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Paul George
Anthony Davis
Deandre Jordan

Carter:
Michael Conley
Tony Allen
Draymond Green
Serge Ibaka
Deandre Jordan

All NBA Rookie Team

Hornback:
D’Angelo Russell
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mario Hezonja
Stanley Johnson
Jahlil Okafor

Fort: 
Emmanuel Mudiay
D’Angelo Russell
Justice Winslow
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jahlil Okafor

Carter:
Emmanuel Mudiay
Mario Hezonja
Stanley Johnson
Karl-Anthony Towns
Jahlil Okafor

Playoff Predictions

  
DeShawn Hornback:

  1. Warriors
  2. Spurs
  3. Rockets
  4. Clippers
  5. Thunder
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Jazz

Ryan Fort

  1. Thunder
  2. Warriors
  3. Rockets
  4. Spurs
  5. Clippers
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Pelicans
  8. Mavs

Tyler Carter:

  1. Spurs
  2. Warriors
  3. Clippers
  4. Rockets
  5. Thunder
  6. Grizzlies
  7. Suns
  8. Kings

  
Hornback:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Hawks
  3. Wizards
  4. Bulls
  5. Raptors
  6. Heat
  7. Bucks
  8. Detroit

Fort:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Hawks
  3. Wizards
  4. Heat
  5. Bulls
  6. Raptors
  7. Bucks
  8. Pistons

Carter:

  1. Cavaliers
  2. Bulls
  3. Heat
  4. Raptors
  5. Wizards
  6. Bucks
  7. Hawks
  8. Pacers

Final Four

Hornback: 

Spurs vs Warriors
Cavaliers vs Wizards

Fort: 

Thunder vs Rockets
Cavaliers vs Heat

Carter:

Spurs vs Clippers
Cavaliers vs Heat

Finals Predictions:

  
Hornback:

Spurs vs Cavaliers Cavaliers in 7

Fort: 

Thunder vs Heat Thunder in 6

Carter:

Spurs vs Cavaliers Cavaliers in 6

The Oklahoma City Thunder Were Favored Over Memphis Why? – Omavi Darden

Once Russell Westbrook was lost due to injury, many people still claimed that the Thunder could make it to the NBA Finals without him. I immediately disagreed with that claim.

For starters, the Thunder had a ferocious battle tested Grizzlies team to get by first. I already knew from the jump, that the Grizzlies would give the Thunder serious problems in the interior. The lethal combination of Zach and Marc scoring in the paint area and fighting for rebounds would obviously wear this undermanned Thunder team down over a 7 game series.

Their defensive schemes were just as good. The Grizzlies do a good job of forcing opposing teams top offensive players into spots on the court where there is help defense (greatly reducing the % of attempted shots and good for disrupting an efficient offense).

Next people seem to forget how good Mike Conley is. He is a top 10 point guard in my opinion. He is a good floor general, can stretch the floor with his shooting touch, and isn’t afraid to take big shots down the stretch of tight games. He is so agile and fast, he gives defenders fits trying to stay in front of him and guard him.

People also forgot that Memphis had a Tony Allen and a Tayshaun Prince. These two players are superb one on one defenders, and great team defenders as well. Tony is a quicker more physical defender who can get up in you, and pressure you into tough spots on the court. Prince is a tall/longer/finesse defender who uses his body to maneuver himself into advantageous positions on the court over offensive players (to the point where he can literally dictate the shot that the offensive player takes), and still contests it with his outstretched arms, resulting in a lower % shot. That’s exactly what Memphis wants you to do.

Marc is also the leader of this tantalizing defense. He doesn’t necessarily block a lot of shots or make the most exciting defensive plays, but its his paint presence alone that allows this Memphis team to function so well defensively. His help defense and rotations on defense are crisp as can be. He alters a lot of shots attempted in the paint area, causing them to miss severely. This Memphis team really believes in one another, and the trust factor is the reason they operate so well as a unit. Players know where teammates want the ball on offense, and also know where the help side defense is going to be at.

Memphis doesn’t necessarily have a designated star player on their team that they rely on to get them buckets at the end of close games. However, they don’t need one because they are such a good team. At the end of the day I understand Kevin Durant is a star in this league, and he can drop 40 on any given night. But at the end of the day, one man can not expect to take on a whole team and be victorious. Memphis ended up winning this series 4-1 I’m not too surprised.

Omavi Darden

Kevin Durant vs Carmelo Anthony

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Melo or Durant? Durant or Melo? Which one is the better scorer? Who’s the better defender? After LeBron who comes next? Those are questions Melo and Durant leave us with night in and night out. It’s a never ending saga; Melo might drop 35 one night and Durant will come back and drop 35 another night; Melo hits a game winner one game and Durant does it the next game; Melo uses his overwhelming power to bully defenders while Durant uses his nice, silky smooth game to manipulate defenders at will. Each time those things happen our minds promptly change our stance on which player is better.
  At 6’8 230lbs Carmelo Anthony’s game is based on speed, power, quickness, making contact and physicality. When ever he drives he bumps bodies with his defender in order to get them off balance so he can go right by them without them catching up, or so he can go up for a shot without them being able to contest it well. By forcing contact, Melo wears down his defenders and causes them to either foul or back away due to fatigue.  Kevin Durant’s game, on the other hand is somewhat opposite to Melo’s.
  Durant’s game isn’t predicted on speed, power and physicality; his game is more so finesse than anything else. Instead of looking for contact, like Melo does, Durant tries to avoid it. Standing anywhere between 6’9-7’0, Durant bases his game off of deception, quickness and length. When the ball is in his hands he uses quick deceptive dribble moves to either go by or freeze his defender. If the move or moves he uses fail, he simply steps back and uses his astonishing length to get off any shot he wants.
   This season each player has accounted for 30+ points in over 15 games. (Melo 19 and Durant 23.) Each player has had a couple of 40 point games as well. (Melo 5 and Durant 6.) And only one of the two has hit the 50pt mark this season, that person being Durant.  Just by looking at that Durant holds a slight edge over Melo in the scoring department. When looking at the numbers Durant gains a bigger lead.
  As of now Kevin Durant averages 28.9 ppg 7.5reb 4.5ast 1.2blks 1.6stl 3.3to and 2 fouls per game. In the efficiency category Durant makes 9.3 shots a game on 18 attempts, shooting 51.6%; attempts 4.4 3pts a game, making 1.9 and shoots 42.6% from deep; he also shoots 90% from the free throw line, averaging 8.5 makes on 9.3 attempts.
   Carmelo Anthony on the other hand averages 28.4 ppg 2.7ast 6.5reb 0.5blks 0.8stl 2.7to and 3 fouls a game in 38 minutes. He shoots 44.5% from the field while averaging 9.9 makes on 22.2 attempts; shoots 39.3% from deep on 2.7 makes out of 6.8 attempts; and shoots 82% from the free throw line averaging 6 makes on 7 attempts.
  As you can see above Durant is clearly a better player and scorer than Melo. Defensively they’re both relatively weak, but because of Durant’s length and ability to not foul he gains the upper hand. When you look at both players offensively you can tell Durant is by far the better player.
  Durant is a better playmaker and makes smarter decisions with the basketball. At times during Knick games Melo will shoot shots that make you question his motives; that problem doesn’t persist in Durant.
  Offensively it’s not even close. Not only is Durant in the 50s, 40s, 90s club he averages more points on less attempts. In New York Carmelo is the go to guy and gets the ball whenever he wants it. Durant plays on a team where the PG often forgets who needs the ball and that takes away from Durant’s game. Westbrook averages 18.7 shot attempts a game compared to Durant’s 18. No one on Melo’s team, outside of him average over 15 shot attempts. Give Durant that type of environment and he’d average 30+.
To Melo’s credit he scores in more ways than Durant does. Melo will mix it up on you by doing an array of things from posting up to shooting jumpers, while Durant sticks to jumpers. The scoring in different ways is cute and all, but would you prefer the guy who mastered one thing or the guy who learned everything but didn’t master it? I’ll like my chances with the guy who mastered one as opposed to the guy who didn’t.
  At the end of the season Kevin Durant will go home with his fourth straight Scoring Title, while Carmelo Anthony will be left award less for a fourth straight year.

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