With the NBA offseason activity beginning to wane heavily this week, albeit for a few signings still up in the air- Brandon Jennings/Nikola Pekovic notably. And on the eve of the NFL and college football's annual takeover of all things media, I think it's finally time to make some predictions for the upcoming NBA season given that the majority of rosters are somewhere between working rough draft and fixed. Now before reading this column, I need you guys to realize a few things: 1) I'm making NBA predictions in JULY and literally ANYTHING can happen before the season to derail these predictions. 2) These are 100% serious. I am not here to troll or make fun of anybody. That would be churlish and a waste of time. 3) I encourage you to respond with how you feel about my predictions. So without further ado, I present to you a running column that will include a Fanpost for each and every NBA team, "The Flagrantly Early, Incredibly Half-Baked NBA Predictions Series."
No. 1: Evan Turner will set a record for unhappy stares
A quick perusal of the 76ers working roster for the upcoming season will yield a bevy of emotions. From disappointment that there are no All Stars to sadness that this roster makes up a real NBA team to humiliation for the 76ers fan base. I can't imagine anyone attending 76ers games because they are going to be so historically atrocious. But the most unhappy camper of it all has to be Evan "The Villain" Turner. Just two years ago, the 76ers were good! He was playing big minutes as a role player with one of his AAU buddies Jrue Holiday. Two young cats taking the league by storm. Now Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, Doug Collins, and any remnants of that competitive are gone and what's left are a bunch of scraps and a terrible feeling in Evan Turner's gut like he's been punched. He's Rick Grimes- one of the good ones left to a barren wasteland trying to string together his raggedy band of misfits into a force for survival. Alas it will all be in vain as Philly will be bad, and Evan Turner will be unhappy. At least he now has Royce White to take his anger out on.
No. 2: Philadelphia will rue the day it offloaded Jrue
Anytime you can flip a 4 year vet, All Star PG who averaged 17-8-4 splits, above average PER and who's only 23 for a turnover prone, slow, rookie who will be only 1 year younger than Holiday when the season starts you have to do it right. Maybe Nerlens Noel comes back, plays incredible, and has a tremendous career. Maybe the Pelicans are awful next year and that gives the 76ers another great lottery pick. But maybe not, and I think new GM Sam Hinkie got a little too cute during his first offseason summer. "Dealer" Dell Demps might've just fleeced him because the Pelicans are looking to win right now and a lot of signs point to a non-lottery pick in the offing for Philly in return. The worst part is, I don't think anybody in Philly thinks what he did was wrong.
It's just hard to comprehend why Hinkie would find Philly's best player expendable. If Jrue goes out this season, busts it hard, puts up video game numbers, plays great, and takes the Pelicans to the next level it looks really bad on Hinkie. Why give up your best asset for the promise of future wealth? I get the idea that if you're going to be bad, you might as well be awful so you can get the #1 pick, and basically win a franchise changer. I'm not sure "moneyball" works in the NBA. People try to use Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston Rockets, as a reference but Morey wasn't smart to stockpile assets. It hurt his franchise and would've killed the Rockets brand had he not pulled a coup d^etat on OKC. It just seems like the 76ers front office jumped ship too quick on this team that Doug Collins coached into a contender. Hinkie will rue the day he gave up on Jrue.
No. 3: Spencer Hawes will put up monster stats
Hawes is in a contract year. Hawes has virtually no competition at the center position behind the possibility of Nerlens when he returns from injury. He could conceivably average a double-double; Hawes was close even last year. Hawes will get his paint touches, he'll get plenty of the ball, plenty of minutes to pad the stats on a bad team like all the greats do. Maybe he's tradable for even more assets at the deadline because his value has risen so much. With Nerlens as the center of the future for the Philadelphia 76ers, he's definitely expendable. But maybe they keep Spencer Hawes and he has a monster year. Then after an statistically anomaly of a season, his value has shot up to an all time high. Two options: he either walks for nothing to a team he likes better than the 76ers or you can sign and trade him for assets! I still think Hawes will be a bright spot for the punchless 76ers. Everybody plays their best in a contract year, right?