Category Archives: Four Point Plays

All four DRaT writers write in on a theme.

Four Point Play: Who Will Win the Regular Season?

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Here at DRaT, we sometimes like to ask all of our main contributors to weigh in on a certain topic. Sometimes, Stavi’s computer is broken and we can only bring you 3/4 of the magic. 

What team will finish the season with the best record in the Eastern Conference?

Jake Weiner

Call me a homer, but I’m rolling with the Bulls in the Eastern Conference. You know the stats, but they bear repeating: the Bulls have had the most wins in the NBA the last two years that Derrick Rose played. In fact, they’ve been redonkulously good the games he’s been in the lineup. The early injuries to everyone else are a bit concerning, but a healthy D-Rose plus Thibs goes a long way. I like the Bulls to win around 60 games and narrowly edge out Miami from homecourt advantage.

Tyler Geocaris

Kills me to pick them, but I have to be honest with myself. The Heat are clearly the best team again this year and don’t show signs of slowing down. They have the best player in the world and if the additions of Beasley and Oden somehow are able to work out, it’s just going to be game over. The only thing really preventing them from winning the regular season is either injury or if they decide to rest their players on random nights. Although teams have added pieces to become more of a threat (Pacers, Nets, Bulls, Knicks), I just don’t see anyone toping them in the regular season. It hurts bad, but I gotta go with Miami.

Jacob Bikshorn

I’m going to go with the Bulls for this one. For me, the question doesn’t really pertain to who is the most talented team on paper, a title that clearly belongs to the Heat. The more important aspect of teams to take into account with this question is who is the captain of the ship. In Miami, I expect coach Erik Spoelstra to take his foot off the gas a little bit. In 2012-13, Miami had a historic regular season that featured a 27 game winning streak. But the postseason was definitely more of a struggle for the Heat than most teams thought. Seven game series with both the Pacers and Spurs probably took a few years off of Spoelstra’s lifespan and I’m guessing he is going to ensure his team is as fresh as can be heading into the postseason. The Bulls, on the other hand, are driven by Task Master Tom, a man who will only be satisfied if his team goes 82-0. Expect the Bulls to host Game 7 (if necessary) in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Which team will finish the season with the best record in the Western Conference?

Jake Weiner

Out west, I’m rolling with the Spurs. Popovich and co. have mastered the art of the regular season. You’d think resting key players would hurt in the long run, but the Spurs find quality rotation players every year by giving them big minutes in lieu of their “Big Three”. Oklahoma City would be a solid pick but it’s hard to know how much ground they’ll lose without Russell Westbrook. The Clippers are sure to be improved, but San Antonio has this on lockdown.

Tyler Geocaris

Picking the team coming out of the West is pretty difficult this year. With so many good teams in this conference, it’s basically a toss up. I really like what the Clips did this offseason by adding quality perimeter play with Dudley and Redick. Oh, and don’t forget they actually have a coach now this year. (RIP VINNY) They had a very high-powered offense last year, but after this offseason I think it got even better. CP3 has a ton of weapons so I won’t be surprised if they come out on top of the regular season. Only thing I’m worried about is there big situation. Mullens/Hollins as your secondary bigs just isn’t gonna cut it.

Jacob Bikshorn

I like the Thunder to finish with the top seed out West. Few teams in the league can match the one-two scoring punch of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. And while Westbrook will start the season on the shelf, OKC’s early season slate is not exactly packed with contenders. In addition to their potent offensive weapons, the Thunder also sport a solid crew of defensive stalwarts in Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha and RWB himself. While a lack of offensive depth and creative play calling may doom them in a seven game series, teams will struggle against the Thunder in the regular season without the time to study and gameplan how to stop them.

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Four Point Play: Who Will We be Watching?

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Some people lead wonderful productive lives. They work hard during the day. At night, they spend time with family, or with a book, or maybe they have a project at home that they are working on. These people are normal.

Then there are people who watch NBA League Pass.

We here at DRaT watch a lot of League Pass, and we all have teams that we are excited to see play throughout the year. There’s nothing better than turning a boring Tuesday night into an NBA double header. While watching the Bulls is obviously a top priority over the other 29 teams in the league, there’s plenty of nights when the Bulls aren’t playing. Each of us is excited to watch every team in the league develop new players and create a unique team identity. But we all have one team that we are especially excited to play, even if it’s a Wednesday night in February against the Suns.

Jake Weiner has his eyes on Rip City.

Jacob Bikshorn wonders how new additions will mesh in Brooklyn.

Tyler Geocaris is excited to see the Pelicans.

Steven Kerstein has high hopes for the Motor City (well, their basketball team).

2013-14 League Pass Legends: Detroit Pistons

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As an investor, financial shortcomings make me bitter.  Nothing holds more true than when Bick and I lost our Detroit Over/Under wins bet by one measly contest. I’m fuming as I write this… Keep in mind that the Pistons started 0-8 and Andre Drummond missed ten games down the stretch! Now, in 2013, I’m doubling down.  While some would call this a symptom of a gambling problem, I view this a responsible way of reviving a struggling facet of my portfolio.

With Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith arriving in the Motor City, the Pistons are surely going to be much improved.  Throw in Drummond and Greg Monroe and you’ve got an arguable fifth or sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.  The Pistons have a little bit of everything, posing matchup nightmares with every team in the conference.  On any given night, one of the Pistons’ starters can step up and lead the team.  There’s too much potential and firepower in the starting five for them to be bad.  Albeit Jennings has had his ups and downs as a pro, I think he finally takes the step up knowing that he’s playing with quality talent.  With lobs to Drummond on the interior and kick outs to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on the perimeter, the former Buck should see his assist total skyrocket.

While the parts of the whole may take some time to click, the Pistons should pose a formidable opponent to every contender and trounce the trash of the Eastern Conference.  While the other members of DRaT might tune into the games of their favorite League Pass squads once in a while, I guarantee that I’ll be fully engaged.  If only for no other reason than the fact that the squad’s success affects my bottom line.

Jake is looking forward to watching Rip City

Geo’s pumped for Year 1 of the Pellies

Bicky thinks the Nets have the right mix of talent and experience

2013-14 League Pass Legends: New Orleans Pellies

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The Pelicans, or as Zach Lowe says, the Pellies, had a pretty poor season last year, finishing second to last in a tough Western Conference. Unfortunately for the franchise, first overall pick Anthony Davis was sidelined throughout the season with various injuries and Austin Rivers may have had one of the worst statistical seasons of all time. And don’t forget Eric Gordon has barely played since he’s came to New Orleans. Whether he actually has a knee problem or he just really hates the franchise, they still have not been able to see the talented shooting guard at all. Remember, Gordon was pretty upset when they matched the Suns offer. Is his knee that bad? Who knows.

The Pelicans made a few puzzling moves this past offseason. They added the “quite talented yet can’t seem to put it all together” Tyreke Evans and also traded their rights to Nerlens Noel and a top five protected pick for young star guard Jrue Holliday. Assuming Gordon will be healthy, this gives the Pellies three players that like/need the ball in their hands at all times.

How is a team like this going to co exist? Can this very talented group of guards be able to play on the floor together? Although a three guard lineup may work out well in NBA 2k, lineups like that normally won’t fly in an ACTUAL NBA GAME. These are some issues that head coach Monty Williams is going to have trouble addressing.

Another thing I look forward to watching with this Pelicans squad is the emergence of Anthony Davis. Besides the injuries in his rookie season, Davis did have a pretty good year. When he was on the court, he averaged 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.8 BPG, very respectable for a rookie. AD seems like a hard worker, so I will not be surprised if he takes another step this upcoming season. (He looked awesome in the Team USA Select Game.)

This Pelicans team will most likely not make the playoffs next year, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be an entertaining League Pass team.

Jake Weiner has his eyes on Rip City

Jacob Bikshorn wonders how the new look Nets will play out.

2013-14 League Pass Legends: The Brooklyn Vets

 

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Brooklyn Nets

After making the much anticipated move into the House that Hova Built, the Nets season played out pretty much like everyone would have predicted. A group of talented, yet ultimately bland guys coasted to the fourth seed in the East, only to get knocked out of the first round of the playoffs despite having the three best players in the series. There was a lot of criticism directed at the Nets last year for perhaps not being the most motivated or intense team in the league.

But this offseason was an exciting one for Brooklyn. No one is going to accuse this team of being gutless this season after the mega trade that brought Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Certified Crazy Person Kevin Garnett to the Nets. They also let go of interim coach PJ Carlesimo, an understandable move after he willingly played 3-on-5 in the playoffs last year as the Bulls completely ignored Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. In his place, the Nets hired the newly retired Jason Kidd to be the team’s head coach.

Why am I excited to watch a lot of Nets games this year? The answer is simple: No team in the league has as many questions surrounding it then Brooklyn. Will they be able to stay healthy? Will Deron Williams and Garnett get along? Will Williams, who is such a stubborn asshole that he forced Jerry Sloan into retirement, get along with a coach who is certain to be hard on his point guard? What kind of a role will Paul Pierce fill on this roster? Do Garnett and Brook Lopez have anything at all in common?

No team has a higher ceiling and lower floor than the Nets. They could finish second in the East, keep Pierce and Garnett fresh for the playoffs by giving extra minutes to Andrei Kirilenko, Andre Blatch and Reggie Evans during the regular season, and become true title contenders when springtime rolls around. But at the same time, this team is really old. They have seven (eight if you count Jerry Stackhouse) players on the roster who are over the age of 30. A couple of injuries, paired with the natural erosion of skills that comes with age, and this team could be a complete mess.

However this Nets season shakes out, I’ll be watching.

Jake Weiner has his eyes on Rip City

Tyler Geocaris can’t wait to see the Pellies