• 10/18/2013, 11:16AM ET

I Put My Money On...

harrisplz (20-10-1) vs DJ: RIP Rubin Carter (2-23-1)

Western Conference Battle of the Midgets: which team will have the best record at the end of the season?

-Minnesota, T-Wolves
-Portland Trailblazers
-Utah Jazz

Ah, the NBA season is here. Since "Clairvoyant Bill", if you get the reference, is doing his NBA team previews, I thought it'd be fun to a little TD about the middling teams of the Western Conference. So here's my take:

The basketball Gods hate the T-Wolves, plain and simple. If you think Kevin Love, Caveman Pek, and Rubio are going to play more than 40 games together, you're either insane or overly optimistic, OR you just haven't followed the T-Wolves for long enough. I say one of them goes down 30 games into the season.

Jefferson's gone, Millsap is gone, which opens up room for the talent Kanter-Favors right? Sick and tired of ESPN hyping these guys up. Their per-36 numbers are good, but that isn't any indication that these guys are going to play well vs starters. I say they produce less than what Jefferson and Millsap produced last year on offense and perform slightly better defensively.

I'm going with Portland! MTC on their excellent off season acquisitions, and more crap about the Wolves and Jazz :]

The T-Wolves.

Minnesota lost SF Andrei Kirilenko, PG Luke Ridnour, C Greg Steimsma, and guard Malcolm Lee to free agency and Brandon Roy was released, but none of them were irreplaceable.

They went out and signed: G/F Kevin Martin, F Corey Brewer, F/C Ronny Turiaf and drafted F Shabazz Muhammad (#16 overall), C Gorgui Dieng (#21 overall) and F Robbie Hummel (#58).

Martin gives them a legit SG that can score 18-20ppg. Kevin Love is one of the best power forwards in the game. Ricky Rubio is a great playmaker and perfect fit at PG to run their offense. Rubio is the classic definition of a pass-first PG and his upside is limitless. He reminds me of _ason Kidd before he developed a jumpshot. Rubio makes the unbelieveable pass and is a triple-double waiting to happen.

Nikola Pekovic and Derrick Williams both made serious strides last season for Minnesota. Pekovic averaged 16.3ppg and 8.8 rpg, up from 13.9ppg and 7.4rpg in 2012.

Williams is entering his 3rd season, but is still just 22 years and he averaged 12ppg and 5.5rpg (slight improvement over 8.8ppg and 4.7rpg in 2012), but played just 24.6 minutes per contest in 2013.

I like the Wolves. I really do. I want to see Rubio dish it out to Kevin Love and Kevin Martin for a whole season. I want to see Caveman Pek bully down low and I want to believe Derrick Williams is ready to make "the step."

But I'm done with wishing and hoping that:

1) They stay healthy for a whole season. God hates the T-Wolves. Plain and simple. Rubio, Love, Budinger, and the rest of the team all get hurt over and over and over and over and over and over- get it?

2) Derrick Williams can be productive in Minnesota. I like Derrick Williams as a stretch 4, but he doesnt belong in Minnesota. He's playing behind Kevin Love who does EXACTLY what he does but better. Just not the right team for him.

Oh, and their summer acquisitions were average at best. K-Mart, a decent scorer. Corey Brewer, a decent defender. Shabazz is gonna blow. Sorry.

The Blazers on the other hand had an excellent summer. Here's what they did:

1) Got Thomas Robinson for free because Houston had to clear space.

2) Got Robin Lopez, a solid starting center for free.

3) Drafted C.J. McCollum who looks like he can play some good minutes off the bench. He played really well in summer league.

"1) They stay healthy for a whole season. God hates the T-Wolves."

Really? Seems to me that he hates the Blazers since they are snake bitten by injuries.

Sam Bowie. Greg Oden. Brandon Roy. And now CJ McCollum is already hurt.

The same bone in his foot he broke back in January. An 8-10 week injury to heal from, but he wasn't healthy until right before the draft. Took almost 5 months for him to rehab it. Sounds like it might be a chronic issue and that's never good.

I'm not a Doctor, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Decent? He's the best SG they have had in quite a while and fills their biggest need, a 2nd scorer to go with Love since Rubio is a pass first player. And if he can average 18-20ppg (definitely possible since he averaged 14ppg in 27mpg last year off the bench)

Good teams need role players and Brewer's a role player. But, he's a very good defender that can play SG and SF.

Brook Lopez is a good center. Robin is okay, he isn't much of an upgrade over JJ Hickson who played center last year. He might be a better defender, but Hickson was a better scorer and rebounder.

Blazers have had bad luck with injuries in the past- it has nothing to do with their current roster. The current T-Wolves roster is full of players with recent injuries.

C.J. McCollum's injury is not a big deal. He's a role player for the Blazers. He can take his time in returning.

I'm sorry D.J. but apparently you haven't been watching enough NBA games in the last few years. Kevin Martin can shoot open three's and.... that's it. He's an average shooting guard. Let's not act like his presence is going to be season changing.

Robin Lopez is not much of an upgrade over Hickson? What are you on? Have you seen Hickson play at all in the last two years? The guy can't defend his own shadow or make a jump shot. Once in while he has a nasty dunk on the highlight reels, whatever.

Robin Lopez plays good defense, rebounds well, and he runs the floor. He's not great, but he's a serviceable big man. He's a BIG upgrade from J.J Hickson- by the way, he didnt play center last year. It was mostly Aldridge.

So overall, I'd say the chances of Portland's bench not being worst bench in the league this year is higher than Rubio becoming Rondo or the Wolves staying healthy

"C.J. McCollum's injury is not a big deal. He's a role player for the Blazers. He can take his time in returning."

He was expected to contribute a lot and even play a little SG next to Lilliard. It's a big loss, despite you trying to minimize it.

Martin is an average SG? He made 45% of his FGA's last year and 42.6% of his 3-pointers. 10th in the NBA is average? I think not. He's one of the best 3-point shooters in the League. And he's going to be a huge addition for Minnesota.

I forgot about Pekovic in my previous argument. Adding Martin gives them a big 3 scoring tandem of:

Love, 23-25ppg
Martin, 18-20ppg
Pekovic, 16-18ppg

Rubio can just run the offense and get everybody involved. They don't have to count on him to score.

Last year:

JJ Hickson, 12.7ppg, 10.4rpg, 0.6bpg and 0.6spg while making 56.2% of his FGA's and 67.9% of his FTA's.

Lopez, 11.3ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.6bpg and 0.4spg while making 53.4% of his FGA's and 77.8% of his FTA's.

Hickson is a better offensive player and rebounder while Lopez is a slightly better defender. Lopez isn't a huge upgrade at all.

Good TD, Harris. Happy to see you back.

October 18, 2013  12:04 PM ET

think it'll be tight between the wolves and blazers and will largely dictate on the wolves health. they stay healthy and they'll finish better, but i'm not overly optimistic

October 18, 2013  01:20 PM ET

I'll get to this later tonight.

October 19, 2013  09:31 AM ET

Sorry, Harris. I had impromptu plans Friday night.

Good luck.

October 19, 2013  01:34 PM ET

How can I be winning 3-0 after the first round... DJ hate still permeates this place huh

October 19, 2013  01:38 PM ET

losing those guys for the wolves is gonna be addition by subtraction. andrei had moments but his best offensive days are far gone. roy was just a cap hit. ridnour made too many stupid plays and to's. health will be their key

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October 19, 2013  05:24 PM ET

Check out the other TD. You may have been arguing a one sided argument.

October 19, 2013  05:25 PM ET

Check out the other TD. You may have been arguing a one sided argument.

Spinny thing got the quote. That was for you PGH.

October 19, 2013  05:39 PM ET

Spinny thing got the quote. That was for you PGH.


Are you referring to my Most Entertaining in Sports TD with HCF?

October 19, 2013  05:47 PM ET

Macho, Are you referring to my Most Entertaining in Sports TD with HCF?

Nope. The one where you thought DJ was calling you a troll.

October 19, 2013  05:52 PM ET

Never called PGH a troll.

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October 19, 2013  06:20 PM ET

I honestly have no clue what the hockey mafia is but sure

Sir if you would step over here please.

There is no such thing as the hockey mafia, you never heard of the hockey mafia, see?

October 19, 2013  09:21 PM ET

Just a group of concerned business men.

October 19, 2013  09:22 PM ET

I forgot to add likeminded.

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