At the start of every NBA season, we here at Ballerball like to do this completely proprietary thing called a “Season Preview” (patent pending). This is an exclusive feature on Ballerball and cannot be found anywhere else on the internet.
The NBA is as unpredictable as ever. With such a wide variety of possible outcomes, we’ve decided to discuss the best and worst case scenarios for each team. We also asked our experts for their breakout stars because why not. First up is the Atlantic Division. Enjoy!
The Atlantic Division
The Boston Celtics
Best Case Scenario: Bird and McHale are relieved of their respective duties with Indiana and Houston, respectively, and resolve to come back and play all Celtic home games so as to keep the Boston crowd interested and show Sullinger the proper ways in which to endear himself to a fan base.
Or, that the inevitable Evan Turner-Rajan Rondo fight happens when cameras are around.
Worst Case Scenario: That the inevitable Evan Turner-Rajan Rondo fight happens when cameras aren’t around.
Breakout Player: Does Dino Radja still hoop? It could be him. This Gerald Wallace may have a long career ahead of him, too, though.
Best Case Scenario: Best case scenario for them is to trade Rondo. They get students at Harvard and MIT to crunch the numbers and trick some team to trade them 6 picks for Rondo.
Worst Case Scenario:
Breakout Star: Smart people! Those MIT and Harvard grads will bring in a killer package for Rondo and will totally change the franchise. Stay in School kids!
Best Case Scenario: When Rajon Rondo returns, he and Marcus Smart blend seamlessly like Pacino and DeNiro scenes in The Godfather: Part Two.
Worst Case Scenario: When Rajon Rondo returns, it’s as DeNiro in The Deer Hunter.
Breakout Star: Kelly Olynyk produces, directs, and stars in a made for Youtube! rendition of Conan the Barbarian. It sounds so promising Jared Sullinger signs on to play Thulsa Doom.
Best Case Scenario: Rondo gets traded.
Worst Case Scenario: Rondo gets traded.
Breakout Star: Marcus Smart.
The Toronto Raptors
Best Case Scenario: Hansborough and Stiemsma achieving peak whiteness by partnering up to create an ankle sock company called Effort & Intangibles.
Worst Case Scenario:Drake gets seven Kentucky players banned from collegiate athletics forever for accepting gifts from the rapper including, but not limited to:
bottled tears, OVO Jordans, cashmere hoodies, golden owl statues, lint rollers, wheelchairs, and autographed pictures of The Weeknd photoshopped in front of various iconic Canadian buildings holding a sign that reads “Remember ‘House of Balloons’?”
This causes an investigation of the whole organization ending in the team being uprooted from Toronto and relocated to Seattle when league authorities find Damon Stoudamire locked in the basement of the Air Canada Centre, naked, being forced to watch Avery Johnson highlights on a loop.
Breakout Player: Grievis Vasquez is the best basketball player in the world.
Best Case Scenario:
Worst Case Scenario:
Best Case Scenario: Boredom with the division causes the Raptors to form the CBL, which, like its CFL equivalent, features an extraordinarily wide field of play. This widened court leads to not only four point shots but five point shots.
Worst Case Scenario: Ironically, the Raptors are bounced from the Playoffs when LeBron turns out, once again, to better at everything than everyone else, including five point shots.
Breakout Start: Canadian innovation!
Best Case Scenario: DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are cast in the upcoming Justice League movie franchise.
Worst Case Scenario: The Justice League movie franchise is scrapped due to “creative differences” and non-sanctioned fight scenes.
Breakout Star: Keep your eye on this guy named Drake. Maybe this time the hype from Canada is real.
The Brooklyn Nets
Best Case Scenario: Jay and Bey stay together and she still shows up to sit court-side and maybe she rotates outfits throughout the game only wearing clothes she donned in the videos for the BEYONCÉ album, specifically the “Flawless” video, which is the best video in the history of videos that aren’t Trace Adkins “Just Fishin'”, which beats out “Flawless”, but only because it is harder to make someone laugh than to make them love, and that “Just Fishin'” video is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
Or, the schedule makers make it where they have to play the Bucks every other game. That this won’t happen is proof enough that we live in a fallen world devoid of any hope.
Worst Case Scenario: Kevin Garnett has nerve damage in his spine after headbutting Markel Brown too hard.
Breakout Player: On May 8, 1970, Willie Reed led the New York Knicks to a Game 7 win over the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship. Seems like he’s due for another breakout performance.
Best Case Scenario: Deron and Joe shoot lights out and Garnett gives a throwback performance and Plumlee and Brook Lopez open up a loose leaf tea shop next to Prospect Park. But Alan Anderson is soooooo over loose leaf tea.
Worst Case Scenario: US/Russia relations worsen as a result of the Crimea occupation. Prokhorov is forced to sell the Nets but vows revenge. Prokhorov plots his retribution. Midway through the season a HUGE Prokhorov shows up at the door of the Barclay’s Center. It opens up and a slightly smaller Prokhorov is revealed then a smaller one then a smaller one; until the Prokhorov Nesting Dolls of fury have claimed Brooklyn in the name of Mother Russia.
Breakout Star: The NBA and non-tax paying owners. Last year the Nets paid $90 million dollar in luxury tax and still have one of the highest payrolls in the league. The other owners will likely use that money to not keep their teams competitive.
Best Case Scenario: Maybe being 30 scares the shit out of Deron Williams, causing him to play with a sense of urgency.
Worst Case Scenario: Maybe being a 30-year-old point guard causes Deron to text Jason Kidd, “So coaching isn’t that hard, is it? I mean, some team’s still paying you.”
Breakout Star: Mason Plumlee takes the next step, and it’s not from inside a Bed, Bath, & Beyond.
Best Case Scenario: Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and AK-47 on the same team!!!
Worst Case Scenario: With those great players, I’m ready for the 2007 season to start!!!
Breakout Star: Anyone who plays over 65 games
The New York Knicks
Best Case Scenario: Phil Jackson is somehow able to recruit the 1992 versions of both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to come play for the 2014-2015 version of the Knicks.
Or, they get Eddie to come coach when Derek Fisher, inevitably, doesn’t work out.
Worst Case Scenario: “And now, starting at Center, coming out of the University of Kansas, Cole Aldrich.”
Breakout Player: Cole “World” Aldrich
Best Case Scenario: THE TRIANGLE! Its the most perfect system! So perfect that like no teams ever run it! Phil and Derek Fisher unlock Olympic Carmelo and he averages 35 pts a game and makes the Knicks a contender.
Worst Case Scenario: We realize that immediately hiring ex players to coach might not be the smartest idea and Melo is NBA Melo. Also this picture gets framed in the Knicks locker room.
Breakout Star: The city of NEW YORK! NEW YORK has such an energy. Its basketball MECCA. I can’t wait to see what kind of high jinx these Knicks get into under the backdrop of America’s playground. New York City is almost a player on the team.
Best Case Scenario: The Triangle Offense is actually a musical the Knicks have been rehearsing all offseason.
Worst Case Scenario: The Triangle Offense is a not so good Jesus Christ Superstar.
Breakout Star: Wine Baths!
Best Case: Phil Jackson assigns everyone to read Eleven Rings.
Worst Case: The players opt for the movie version and meet up at Carmelo’s house to stream the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
Breakout Player: Members of the 2001-02 Lakers who just start showing up and shooting a few just to see if they still ‘got’ it.
The Philadelphia 76ers
Best Case Scenario: Embiid gets a talk show.
They also have a guy named Casper on their team so it would be nice to see someone with that name get some TV time because it would be fun to see journalists try to write headlines about him.
Worst Case Scenario: They trade Michael Carter-Williams for Rajan Rondo and then watch as Nerlens and Joel’s souls get eaten alive.
Breakout Player: Eric Snow
Best Case Scenario: They go 0-82, get 3 out of the top 5 picks in the next draft and start a dynasty from the bottom up.
Worst Case Scenario: They actually win a couple of games and the Philly fans get a taste of it and want to keep winning. But don’t they know the NBA isn’t about winning but about tanking and acquiring picks??? Anger! I’m a journalist!
Breakout Star: Sam Hinkie. He has convinced a city of notorious fans that losing is not only ok but a viable plan. He is amazing.
Best Case Scenario: Nerlens Noel plays well enough to get an endorsement deal with Nerds candy, endearing himself to future generations of Trick-or-Treaters for years to come. Fans shake boxes of Nerlens’ Nerds every time he swats a shot or sinks a free throw.
Worst Case Scenario: Henry Sims and Brandon Davies both dress as Joel Embiid for Halloween. Henry Sims and Brandon Davies each break a foot.
Breakout Star: Casper Ware is neither friendly nor a ghost, making his presence on the roster an even bigger mystery, until ownership reveals he’s there to recruit either Christina Ricci or Bill Pullman into being the face of Philly fandom.
Best Case Scenario: Sam Hinkie delivers cryptic mixed-metaphor speeches about Emmanuel Mudiay and Justise Winslow.
Worst Case Scenario: Sam Hinkie re-enacts Rocky scenes from those tall stairs.
Breakout Player: Nerlens Noel. Unless he breaks his ‘breakout star’ award.