It’s been a while since we’ve done a roundtable post here at Saving the Skyhook, so this one is a bit lengthy, but we’ve got a lot to talk about.
Let’s get into it.
Who finishes with a better record: The New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets?
Jack Maloney (@jmaloney9): Yikes. The Knicks certainly looked the better side last night in their 30 point demolition of the Nets. I’ve been going back and forth on this one for a few minutes, and I still can’t really decide. I guess I’ll go Brooklyn because I think they’re the more talented of the two teams and I still believe they’ll eventually figure things out.
Quentin Haynes (@Haynesenberg): This is a pretty tough question, but I guess I’ll go with the Nets for now. Brooklyn is a better team, and once Deron Williams comes back, things should start to fall into place. The Nets also don’t have these monstrous disadvantages on either side of the ball, which matters quite a bit. The Knicks, once Tyson Chandler returns, should be fine, and should be able to return to a playoff team in the East, but with Amar’e and Bargs playing on the regular, you can’t sustain a lead, nor play defense well enough to give Chandler breaks.
Sonny Giuliano (@SonnyCG): I’ll cautiously go with the Brooklyn Nets, just because they have a veteran presence—albeit an aging and out of their prime veteran presence—in place that the New York Knicks don’t. Even though the Nets have been just as bad as the Knicks have, it feels like the situation is much more grim with the Knicks, who have held two closed doors/players only meetings. We’re only thirty something days into the season and they are already in complete shambles. Even though the Nets season has been a huge disappointment and most notable for a spilled drink, it still feels like they can turn it around.
Who finishes with a better record: Utah Jazz or Milwaukee Bucks?
JM: This is another tough one. The Bucks certainly have an advantage playing in the dismal Eastern Conference, and I think that will end up making the difference. Plus, the Bucks are far from healthy. Once they get larry sanders¡ back and hopefully get a bit healthier, they should be able to do enough to finish with more wins than Utah, who has to deal with a brutal schedule out West.
QH: Hahaha. Both of these teams stink. S-T-I-N-K. Give me Milwaukee with a win or two over Utah. The Eastern Conference is full of struggle, and once we get to the middle of the season, some teams should be outright poor, poor enough for Milwaukee can sneak a couple of wins. On top of that, they’ll be getting Larry Sanders back eventually, and that should help them shore up the 24th ranked defense in basketball. I see Milwaukee with 22 wins and Utah with 20.
SG: The loser finishes with the better record. If you’re Utah and Milwaukee, you don’t want more wins. The only things you want more of are phantom injuries and ping pong balls in May. That’s it. To really answer the question though, I’ll take Milwaukee to end up with more wins, even though in a seven game series I would favor the Jazz (by the way, that’s the absolute worst Finals matchup you could come up with right now). The Western Conference is loaded with teams that could end up above .500 and make the playoffs, and Utah has to play them on a regular basis. Milwaukee has the luxury, or in the spirit of tanking, chore, of playing the rest of the sub .500 duds in the Eastern Conference.
Do the Charlotte Bobcats make the playoffs?
JM: Yes. They’ve struggled a bit lately, going 3-7 in their last 10 contests, but still sit in the 8th spot in the East at 8-11. A couple of teams ahead of them, namely the Bulls and Celtics, could very easily fall apart, and there are only a couple of teams below them that I can see making the postseason. Kemba Walker’s been playing really well this year, and Al Jefferson is a rock down low – as long as he can stay healthy. As long as they can stay around .500, that should be more than enough to bring them back to the postseason.
QH: I lean towards no. The Nets and Knicks should be able to recover and claim a playoff seed, Toronto, if they remain in tact, should be able to continue their stay above them in the standings. Detroit should leap into their stratosphere, and Cleveland is a trade away from being right there, I think. Those five, plus Atlanta, Indiana, and Miami make eight. I didn’t even mention Washington, who’s ahead of them in the standings. The Bobcats are a really good defensive team, and a pretty unorthodox offensive team. At times, Josh McRoberts is the best passer on the floor, and they have two players who help lead the charge defensively, while shooting under 40% from the field. Being 4th in the league in defense is great, but 29th in offense is pretty bad. If Charlotte can take a step forward offensively, then maybe, but right now, I say no.
SG: Yes, and I say that with an uncomfortably comfortable amount of confidence. I pegged the Bobcats as a playoff sleeper even before we realized the Eastern Conference outside of Miami and Indiana would be as shaky as 007’s martini. It seemed like there was an outside chance that if everything clicked for Charlotte, they could somehow scrape their way to forty wins and a seven or eight seed in the playoffs. Now it seems like it’s entirely possible. Even though their offense is hard to watch (last in field goal percentage, three point percentage, free throw percentage and points per game), they play good defense (2nd in points allowed and 4thin opponents field goal percentage) and they play hard every night. As sad as it is, that might be all you need to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference this year.
If you’re unfamiliar, Damian Lillard has something called 4 Bar Friday that he started. Every Friday, he raps 4 bars and posts it to his Instagram. He’s invited others to participate, and Harrison Barnes, Paul George and Rich Bucher have all participated. Give us your 4 Bar Friday submission – the only rule is it has to be NBA related.