Hooray for the NBA season

Week 8 Prep Roundup
October 26, 2016
Get sweaty for a good cause: Local gym set to raise money for St. Jude’s this weekend
October 26, 2016
Week 8 Prep Roundup
October 26, 2016
Get sweaty for a good cause: Local gym set to raise money for St. Jude’s this weekend
October 26, 2016

For just about everyone, football is the king.

But for me, it’s more like a prince or a knight.

I like the game – make no mistake about it.

But let’s be real: To Casey Gisclair, basketball is king.

So with that said, this week is always one of my favorites of the year – that time of the year when we toss the ball up at half-court and begin the NBA season, while also still having many months of the football season still to go.

It’s the best of both worlds.

I get to have my cake and I get to eat it, too.

Here are five predictions I have for the NBA season. Some will be popular in Louisiana, and others won’t.

I can’t wait to see some basketball again.

PREDICTION 1: The Warriors won’t win 70 or more games

I just can’t see it. For starters, it takes a little bit of time for things to mesh on the basketball floor. The Heat didn’t win the NBA Championship in LeBron’s first year in Miami, nor did the Cavs win it in year one when The King went back home. Because of that, I see no way that the Warriors win 70-plus games for a second-straight season. I think they’re going to have some growing pains – enough to cost them a few games early in the season. That, and I also think they’re going to rest their star players heavily in the final 30 or so games to make sure that everyone is healthy for the team’s expected June push.

PREDICTION 2: The Thunder won’t make the playoffs in the Western Conference

This one is probably the prediction that I feel the best about of my five. There’s no way the Thunder will make the playoffs this season. Barring some type of trade to acquire another high-end superstar player, Oklahoma City just won’t have enough firepower to keep up with the top teams in the league. Knowing that, Russell Westbrook will put a lot of pressure on himself to will the team to victory. It will start out OK. Westbrook will put up some insane numbers and will do some very Kobe Bryant-like things to keep the Thunder competitive. But he’s going to simply run out of gas – much like he did the season that Kevin Durant was injured and hardly played. I think Russ is going to be must-see TV, but I don’t think the Thunder will have much success in the win/loss column. Heck, in the preseason, they lost to a non-NBA team, and needed last-second heroics to beat another. That’s usually not a telltale sign for success. Expect the Thunder to have a pretty tough go, especially in the late stages of the season.

PREDICTION 3: All of the “super teams” besides the Warriors won’t pan out

I think a lot of aging superstars are going to get humbled this season. The New York Knicks are first on the list. Their combination of Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Krostaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah won’t work. The pieces don’t fit. Rose needs the ball to be successful, and if he has it, that means Carmelo Anthony doesn’t, which means that he, too, can’t be successful. Adding Noah six years ago would have been a big-time acquisition, but is he even still a quality player? In 29 games last year, Noah averaged 4.3 points per game and shot 38 percent from the floor – at the CENTER position. Noah couldn’t move last season, and unless he healed big-time in the offseason, he’s going to have a whale of a time making an on-court impact this season. Along the same boat, I think the Bulls will be a train wreck, too. Rajon Rondo and D-Wade on the court at the same time is a spacing nightmare. Those cats won’t be nearly as good as people think.

PREDICTION 4: James Harden will thrive as an NBA point guard

Homer alert – I am a huge Rockets fan, so take everything I am about to say with a grain of salt. But I think James Harden is going to have a superstar season. In Mike D’Antoni’s system, Harden will be utilized as a point guard, and with shooters like Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker and others running beside him, I think he’s going to have a Steve Nash-like impact on the league. Harden has the handles to run the point. Heck, he has the ball in his hands 99 percent of the time for the Rockets, anyway. If he has the mindset to distribute first, it could open up the defense and allow him to dominate games later – which could benefit the Rockets in a big way. In Houston’s first five preseason games, Harden racked up 98 points and 53 assists – all while not even playing 30 minutes per game. Given his usual 36-38-minute rotation, I don’t think it’s crazy to assume that he will average 25 points and 11 assists per game with six or seven rebounds sprinkled in on the side. The Rockets, like the Thunder, will be an incredibly fun team to watch. They won’t play a lick of defense, but they’ll get buckets. I like to see teams get buckets.

PREDICTION 5: The Pelicans again won’t make the playoffs

Don’t egg my car, guys, but I just don’t see it with the Pelicans this year. They won just 30 games last year and lost three of their seven best players off last year’s team in Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Norris Cole. That’s putting a lot of pressure on Anthony Davis to have an all-time great season to carry this team. But even then, it might not be enough. Losing Jrue Holiday to start the season is a big-time blow, and I just think the Pelicans won’t have enough offense to consistently win regular season games in the Western Conference. I don’t think they’ll be 30-52 again like last season, but I don’t think they’ll be above .500, either. I think they’ll fall just below that mark, and will come in somewhere near 37 or 38 wins. Next year is the season I expect some real growth for our franchise. •

NBA season begins

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