NBA Season Preview

We at Cosas are basketball nerds. Though we don’t have much money to gamble, we look to look at some things through a gambling lens, as it really helps us fine tune our bad takes and take stands. An annual tradition is for Blaze and the Doctor to check out Vegas win totals and argue about the over unders and teams we view very differently. We also make predictions on regular season standings, playoff results, and a few awards. Check out our predictions and some quick-hitting thoughts below (and our draft recap if you missed it). The previews is free of COVID-talk and free to all of our loyal audience. As the great Marie-Antoinette said, let them eat takes.

Blaze, why do you hate the Grizzlies? 

DD-I have them as an Over and you’ve got them as an Under lock. *Hedge Alert* I can see where you’re coming from but man are they not just so exciting? They’re my number 1 team that I wish didn’t play in the Western Conference. Not because I see them as a threat to our Mavs this season but because I want to be able to root for them and it’s much easier to do that when teams like that are in the East. Nevertheless, they offer a lot of fun elements. Ja is somehow all things waterbug, John Wall fast, bouncy and has great vision. He really needs a consistent jump shot to take the next leap but he’s still so much fun as presently constructed. They’re a well put together team that’s eyes are toward the future which is a recipe for NBA fun. I just wish they were the Orlando Magic, or something. Here’s to hoping that the now 3 inches taller Jaren Jackson Jr. makes a speedy recovery and stays healthy so we can see the seedlings of what this team will one day be. And everybody’s mock draft darling Desmond Bane, too!

BF-This probably all stems from me never, ever being willing to take the L on Ja Morant, even if there’s a fire.  The Grizz coaches recently made comments that make it sound like his “improved” jumper will be a work in progress and erratic, but a good thing for him in the long run.  I’m also worried about the ever-growing Jaren Jackson Jr.’s health.  More than anything though, I think they’ll just be victims of the strength of the West and be right on the playoff bubble and a likely play-in casualty.  But Xavier Tillman is my guy! Anything can happen if he’s getting minutes.

What team do you feel most sorry for?

DD-For me it’s the Blazers. At this point in his career, Dame has become a lovable has-not-won-a-championship-and-it-doesn’t-look-like-he-will type player (I couldn’t bring myself to call him a loser because he is most definitely not). I see a lot of similarities between Lillard and pre championship Dirk which automatically makes me want to root for him. But about those Blazers – They had an offseason that I’d describe as more fun than productive. They acquired 

  • Robert Covington, a 3-D guy that just about every team would like to have and should fit nicely next to Dame and McCollum 
  • The still intriguing Harry Giles, the guy that every NBA nerd wants to have on their team so they can brag to their other NBA nerd friends that they have Harry Giles 
  • Derrick Jones Jr., the guy dunks a lot

But it’s not going to be nearly enough for them to do anything in the West which means another year will go by with Dame not even sniffing a ring. The silver lining with that? Maybe he’ll stay snarky on IG/Twitter calling out the sins of other players not as real as Dame. 

Also, Carmelo Anthony. I feel sorry for the Blazers fans trying to convince themselves that Melo’s still a productive player.

BF-I think you’re wrong on the Blazers.  I’m not saying they’re making the Finals, but Dame did already drag them to a Western Conference Finals, and he’s got a better supporting cast now.  No one wants to play them, and they can have the best player on the floor on any given night.  And I honestly think your line of thinking falls more in line with a team I always pity, in Utah.

But there are plenty of teams with bleeker outlooks than those two and next to nothing to look forward to.  The Spurs to me have so little to cling to right now.  They have some nice players who are all playing a notch above what their actual role should be.  Their outlook on things would improve greatly…by dealing either of their best players, which is never a fun place to be.  And their brightest building block is a rookie 3+D prospect.

Which team would you rather watch Cade Cunningham over?

DD-This is probably too long of a list but I’ll say I’d be fine if I never watched one Cavs game this year.There is some Collin Sexton buzz out there but unless he turns into Pete Maravich, I’m out. 

BF-Great question.  First of all, as a Mavericks fan, I’m terrified he’s going to end up in Oklahoma City, but I feel like the Cavs, Pistons, and aforementioned Spurs will be woefully unwatchful this season.  But college basketball still sucks.

You’ve got the Pelicans as an Under at 36. What would it take for the Pelicans to take a mini leap in your eyes?

BF-I don’t trust Zion to stay healthy; I think they have a weird mix of good playmakers but not great shooters and just some funky overlap in skill sets.  Stan Van will form a fu*!ing wall and put Zion in get spots defensively, but I think they’ll be another casualty of the West and are a trade or two away from getting the right pieces around Zion.

DD-Yeah, I agree. I’m ready to give up on Lonzo because I don’t see the point of him if he can’t beat anybody off the dribble and if he still has a shaky 3 point shot. I also don’t like that they paid Brandon Ingram. Just the toughest spot to be in, in the NBA – having a player that’s really good and that if you don’t pay them when it’s their time to get paid, then it looks like you don’t take care of your players. The Kings will soon run into this with Fox. 

Like you said, all of this depends on Zion’s health but I think the better version of the Zion Pellies doesn’t include a lot of the players on their roster.

Little Mavs talk, does Dallas make a significant trade at the deadline? 

DD-I think they’re prime to make a significant trade. We know they have financial flexibility. We know they have roster flexibility. We know Luka’s meteoric rise has sped up their plans. And we know they have *some* picks somewhere down the road they can trade. So I say they will. But what? That’s tricky. Could some kind of combination of THJ’s expiring contract, DFS, say, Tyrell Terry and picks bring anything of significance? 

BF-I think they’re prime and able to for sure.  But I don’t think we do anything splashy, in-season, unless a surprising all-star level guy becomes available.  I imagine we want to see how Richardson meshes and what the team looks like at full strength, and that that will be enough to carry us into the playoffs with a fighting chance against anyone.  The Giannis dream is now dead, but we still have a ton of cap flexibility next summer, and I don’t think we’re going to wipe that out to chase a 3rd/4th best player in the season.  The names we heard all off-season, Oladipo, Lavine, Dinwiddie types, do very little to move the needle for an already deep team, so I’m just not seeing it.

Last thing before we get out of here, give me your hottest take that you’re willing for me to remind you of once it blows up in your face:

DD-The Warriors will finish the season with one of the 5 worse records in the league (and bonus take: the next time they make the playoffs, Steph will be off the team)

BF-Wow.  I wasn’t ready for that.  I nearly said that Luka will average a 30 point triple double, but that’s not even a warm take.  So I’ll say the Suns are going to keep the bubble mojo alive, fight for home court, and Devin Booker is a top 5 MVP candidate.

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