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NBA: Projecting The Starting Lineups For Each Team

Chicago Bulls:

 

PG: Derrick Rose

SG: Jimmy Butler

SF: Mike Dunleavy

PF: Pau Gasol

C: Joakim Noah

key reserves: Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott

The Bulls are one of the deepest teams in the league, but their starters are pretty set in stone. The addition of Pau Gasol makes them an elite team, and the return of an elite Derrick Rose makes them an instant contender. They have great shooting from Butler and Dunleavy to stretch the floor, and they have great options in the paint with Gasol and Noah. Rose will likely be back in his MVP form after a great showing in the FIBA preparations and should be the first option on offense. The Bulls are a team to expect to win the East.

 

 

Miami Heat:

PG: Mario Chalmers

SG: Dwyane Wade

SF: Luol Deng

PF: Josh McRoberts

C: Chris Bosh

Key reserves: Danny Granger

The Heat did a great job making up for the loss of LeBron James, as they continued to get Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, and Danny Granger in free agency. They still boast a scary starting lineup, filled with a good mix of shooting, passing, and takeover scoring. The return of Chris Bosh was pretty unexpected and very fortunate for the Heat. He can finally take over as a number one option.

Miami better hope he does, as they paid him like it. He will be the highest paid player in the NBA next year with his new contract.  Still, the Heat will for sure be a playoff team next season and could make some noise if everything goes their way.

 

San Antonio Spurs:

PG: Tony Parker

SG: Danny Green

SF: Kawhi Leonard

PF: Tim Duncan

C: Tiago Splitter

key reserves: Patty Mills, Boris Diaw, Manu Ginobili

The reigning champion San Antonio Spurs bring back a very slightly changed team from last year.  The addition of UCLA rookie Kyle Anderson and trailblazing assistant coach Becky Hammond have this team looking a little different, but nothing drastic.

The team will likely don the same starting lineup as last season, and that likely won’t be a problem, considering the results of last season.

 

Los Angeles Lakers:

PG: Jeremy Lin

SG: Kobe Bryant

SF: Nick Young

PF: Julius Randle

C: Jordan Hill

key reserves: Steve Nash, Carlos Boozer

The Lakers are definitely better than last year. The return of Kobe Bryant won’t hurt, that’s for sure. The additions of young guys like Julius Randle and Jeremy Lin make this teams future a little brighter. Resigning Nick Young, Jordan Hill, and many other bench mobster also makes the Lakers much better than last year.

The addition of Carlos Boozer is a puzzling one, but it can’t hurt too bad. He can maybe teach Julius Randle a few things in the post.

The Lakers are a much better team this year and, depending on the success of Kobe, they could be competing for a playoff spot at the end of the year.

New York Knicks:

PG: Jose Calderon

SG: Tim Hardaway Jr.

SF: Carmelo Anthony

PF: Andrea Bargnani

C: Samuel Dalembert

key reserves: A’mare Stoudemire

The Knicks bring back a new and improved lineup. The new faces of Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, and others bring a refreshed look to the Knicks and actually some hope that they won’t be as bad as last season. The ultimate goal of this team is not winning this season, but rather scoring a big free agent next offseason, where they will have loads of cap room.

This lineup should let them go right down that path.

Los Angeles Clippers:

PG: Chris Paul

SG: J.J. Redick

SF: Matt Barnes

PF: Blake Griffin

C: DeAndre Jordan

key reserves: Spencer Hawes, Jamal Crawford

The Clippers come back even better than last season, as they usually do. But, every year, they fall short in the playoffs. Can the addition of Spencer Hawes change that immediately?  Absolutely not. But, he will help, and the Clippers team comes back one more year experienced and after one more year of playoff loss, they are much angrier. The great starting lineup is still one of the most dangerous of all in the league.

Boston Celtics:

PG: Rajon Rondo

SG: Marcus Smart

SF: Jeff Green

PF: Jared Sullinger

C: Kelly Olynyk

key reserves: Avery Bradley

The Celtics remain in the midst of a slow rebuild, and the fact that Rajon Rondo is still in the starting lineup is a testament to that.  The team has a lot of talent on the roster, but GM Danny Ainge has made some questionable moves, such as drafting guards Marcus Smart and James Young, then signing guard Avery Bradley to a big contract, then not trading Rondo. Still, they put out a solid lineup and should be in the 8-9-10 range of the East.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

PG: Russell Westbrook

SG: Anthony Morrow

SF: Kevin Durant

PF: Serge Ibaka

C: Steven Adams

Key reserves: Reggie Jackson

Steven Adams finally cracks the starters, as Kendrick Perkins is one of the biggest problems in the Thunder’s Finals drought. The addition of Anthony Morrow will try to make up for the loss of Thabo Sefolosha on the wing. Morrow may be more of a sixth man, but I doubt Jeremy Lamb gets the nod over him.

The Thunder remain one of the scariest teams in the league, because of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant of course, but need to get their act together before their championship window closed.

Toronto Raptors:

PG: Kyle Lowry

SG: Terrence Ross

SF: DeMar DeRozan

PF: Amir Johnson

C: Jonas Valanciunas

Key Reserves: Louis Williams, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, James Johnson

The Raptors had one of the better offseasons in the NBA this season, which says something since their starters did not change at all. They did bring in scorer Louis Williams to pair with other bench scoring guard Greivis Vasquez, also whom they resigned. The resigning of Patrick Patterson and signing of James Johnson bolster the bench frontcourt more than ever before. This team is a contender in the East.

 

Houston Rockets:

PG: Patrick Beverley

SG: James Harden

SF: Trevor Ariza

PF: Terrence Jones

C: Dwight Howard

Key reserves: Troy Daniels, Alonzo Gee

This offseason did not go as planned for the Rockets, who lost Chandler Parsons, traded Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin, and had a verbal commitment from Chris Bosh turn into a spurn. Still, Trevor Ariza, Alonzo Gee, Ish Smith, and others have jumped to the Rocket ship, and have them thinking contention.

It is possible that the Rockets recreate the success of last season, but it seems unlikely after the loss of team leader Chandler Parsons.

Dallas Mavericks:

PG: Jameer Nelson

SG: Monta Ellis

SF: Chandler Parsons

PF: Dirk Nowitzki

C: Tyson Chandler

Key reserves: Brandan Wright, Richard Jefferson, Devin Harris, Jameer Nelson, Al Farouq Aminu

The Mavericks had a massively successful offseason, adding Tyson Chandler back and acquiring Chandler Parsons. They also bolstered the bench with Richard Jefferson,  Ivan Johnson, Raymond Felton, and Al Farouq Aminu. This team is special, and is truly the scariest team in Texas.

Golden State Warriors:

PG: Stephen Curry

SG: Klay Thompson

SF: Andre Iguodala

PF: David Lee

C: Andrew Bogut

Key reserves: Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes

The Warriors brought in Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush to help with the bench, but other than that, the Warriors remain a middle of the pack team.

 

Indiana Pacers:

PG: George Hill

SG: Rodney Stuckey

SF: C.J. Miles

PF: David West

C: Roy Hibbert

Key reserves: Damjan Rudez, Luis Scola

The Pacers lost Paul George to injury and the future looks bleak. With nothing but old age and small contracts on the roster, the Pacers may look to blow it up this season.

 

New Orleans Pelicans:

PG: Jrue Holiday

SG: Eric Gordon

SF: Tyreke Evans

PF: Anthony Davis

C: Omer Asik

key reserves: Ryan Anderson

On paper the Pelicans are a top talented team. In reality, the disappointing play of Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Jrue Holiday always hold this team back. Anthony Davis is ready to take over, and with the addition of Omer Asik, it should be easy for him to impose his will on offense.

 

Philadelphia 76ers:

PG: Michael Carter-Williams

SG: K.J. McDaniels

SF: Jerami Grant

PF: Anthony Bennett

C: Nerlens Noel

key reserves: Jason Richardson, Tony Wroten, Joel Embiid

The 76ers have a lot of young talent on the roster, but the two most talented are both not likely to play next season – Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.  Therefore, the sixers may not have the most successful of seasons.

Cleveland Cavaliers:

PG: Kyrie Irving

SG: Dion Waiters

SF: LeBron James

PF: Kevin Love

C: Anderson Varajao

key reserves: Tristan Thompson, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller

Well this team looks very different — in a good way of course. The addition of Kevin Love, LeBron James, Shawn Marion,  Mike Miller and others have this team thinking titles, and there is no reason to think they cannot achieve it.

 

Charlotte Hornets:

PG: Kemba Walker

SG: Lance Stephenson

SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

PF: Cody Zeller

C: Al Jefferson

Key reserves: P.J. Hairston, Gerald Henderson, Noah Vonleh, Marvin Williams

This Hornets squad had some of the most change out of the entire league, right down to the name. They are marginally better than last season and are a serious contender for 50 wins, which would be a franchise first. The strong bench as well as the addition of star Lance Stephenson make this team a serious sleeper in the East.

 

Portland Trail Blazers:

PG: Damian Lillard

SG: Wesley Matthews

SF: Nicolas Batum

PF: LaMarcus Aldridge

C: Robin Lopez

Key reserves: Chris Kaman, Thomas Robinson

The Blazers were a pleasant surprise last season and, with Lillard and Aldridge still at the helm, are looking to build on that success. The signings of Chris Kaman and Steve Blake should help them obtain that goal, even though losing Mo Williams may sting a bit.

 

Sacramento Kings:

PG: Darren Collison

SG: Ben McLemore

SF: Rudy Gay

PF: Jason Thompson

C: DeMarcus Cousins

Key reserves: Carl Landry, Nik Stauskas

Some questionable decisions such as letting Isaiah Thomas off for  near nothing, signing Darren Collison to a big deal, and drafting a redundant SG in Nik Stauskas have many critics asking what the Kings plan is. It is hard to tell right now.

 

Washington Wizards:

PG: John Wall

SG: Bradley Beal

SF: Paul Pierce

PF: Nene

C: Marcin Gortat

key reserves: DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, Otto Porter

The Wizards lost Trevor Ariza, but not for nothing. The consolation prize of to-be Hall of Famer Paul Pierce gives this team something that only Nene had previously – playoff experience. Pierce, an NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, will instantly be a locker room leader for this young team looking to make noise out East.

 

Phoenix Suns:

PG: Isaiah Thomas

SG: Goran Dragic

SF: Gerald Green

PF: Markieff Morris

C: Miles Plumlee

Key reserves: T.J. Warren, Archie Goodwin

With Bledsoe still a RFA, recently acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas gets the nod from me at PG. Goran Dragic, a should be All Star, joins him in a two point guard set. Other than that, the team remains somewhat unchanged, with new draft picks T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis being some of the only new players.

Orlando Magic:

PG: Elfrid Payton

SG: Victor Oladipo

SF: Aaron Gordon

PF: Tobias Harris

C: Nikola Vucevic

key reserves: Evan Fournier, Channing Frye

Not predicting the Magic to start Frye may be a little risky here (they are paying him $8 mil a year) but I think Aaron Gordon will show enough potential to earn the starting job. Gordon won’t be much of a force off the bench, so starting him is the right move. New point guard Elfrid Payton is their guard of the future, and sophomore Victor Oladipo is right beside him. The Magic have a lot of young talent, and the team and it’s fans should be excited for a new year. No more tanking, this team is going to go out and try and win.

 

Milwaukee Bucks:

PG: Brandon Knight

SG: O.J. Mayo

SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo

PF: Jabari Parker

C: Larry Sanders

Key reserves: John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Nate Wolters

Milwaukee was a surprise crapshoot last year but the new addition of to be star Jabari Parker is going to turn this team around. Milwaukee has a lot of talent and is actually pretty deep, so I would expect Milwaukee to show a much better team this season. The playoffs aren’t a reality for them, but a 9-10-11 seed isn’t too shabby for this young squad.

 

Atlanta Hawks:

PG: Jeff Teague

SG: Kyle Korver

SF: Thabo Sefolosha

PF: Paul Millsap

C: Al Horford

key reserves: Pero Antic, Adreian Payne, DeMarre Carroll

The Hawks swung and missed on big free agents like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Luol Deng, and Greg Monroe, but still come out of this offseason a better team. Draft addition Adreian Payne has a lot of potential for this team, and  free agent signing Thabo Sefolosha fixes up some defensive issues on the wing. Jeff Teague is still waiting on a breakout statistical season and, with a healthy Al Horford, this year looks like it could the one.

 

Memphis Grizzlies:

PG: Mike Conley Jr.

SG: Vince Carter

SF: Tony Allen

PF: Zach Randolph

C:  Marc Gasol

Key reserves: Tayshaun Prince, Jarnell Stokes

The Grizzlies remain a grit’n’grind team, and the additions of Jordan Adams, Jarnell Stokes, and Vince Carter all contribute to that style of play. The Grizz are coming off a near second consecutive Western Conference Finals appearance after losing game 7 to the Thunder last postseason. They need to build off that momentum and get back to the playoffs, which should be more difficult with an even more competitive Western conference after this offseason.

 

Detroit Pistons:

PG: Brandon Jennings

SG: Jodie Meeks

SF: Kyle Singler

PF: Josh Smith

C: Andre Drummond

Key reserves: D.J. Augustin, Caron Butler, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons were busy this offseason, signing 4 free agents to deals. One of which whom is likely to be the starting shooting guard is ex-Laker Jodie Meeks. Meeks is a sharpshooter that meshes well with Andre Drummond down low. With Monroe still in NBA-limbo, the Pistons have to look at other options. Starting Josh Smith at power forward and bringing shooter Kyle Singler to small forward does exactly what Stan Van Gundy wants – surround his big talented center with shooters. Sound familiar? That’s because it is the same system he implemented with Dwight Howard on the Orlando Magic, his last coaching gig.

 

Utah Jazz:

PG: Trey Burke

SG: Dante Exum

SF: Gordon Hayward

PF: Derrick Favors

C: Enes Kanter

key reserves: Alec Burks, Rodney Hood

The Jazz brought in a lot of talent this offseason. The headliner of that talent is combo guard Dante Exum, the 5th pick in the draft. The young Aussie should come in as an immediate leader for this team and, alongside Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke, the Jazz look very scary from the perimeter. Kanter and Favors make up a mean frontcourt, too, so teams have a lot to watch out for when they play Utah.

 

Denver Nuggets:

PG: Ty Lawson

SG: Arron Afflalo

SF: Danilo Gallinari

PF: Kenneth Faried

C: JaVale McGee

key reserves: Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic

The Nuggets made some great trades this offseason and added a starter. They turned a young foreign shooter (Evan Fournier) and a few picks into scorer Arron Afflalo, bringing him back to Denver. They also swung the 11th pick in the draft into two later first rounders, where they snagged two high upside great players in Gary Harris and Jusuf Nurkic. The Nuggets look like they are back in playoff position, which is right where they want to be.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves:

PG: Ricky Rubio

SG: Zach LaVine

SF:Andrew Wiggins

PF: Thaddeus Young

C: Nikola Pekovic

Key reserves: Gorgui Dieng, Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Mo Williams

The Wolves look a lot different from last season, and that is probably for the best. Since they are starting young, I would say starting LaVine, who has been very impressive this offseason, would be harmless. They may compete for a 8 seed, though, with the additions of Thaddeus Young and Mo Williams and development of young guys like Gorgui Dieng.

New face of the franchise Andrew Wiggins is going to be given the keys to this team from day one, and there is a lot to be excited about for not just T-wolves fans but NBA fans with this young Kansas product. This team will definitely be watched closely this season.

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