So far, so good for Derrick Rose in his return from an ACL injury.
Ready for some bold predictions?
This NBA season is bound to be a great one With LeBron and the Heat going for a 3-peat, Derrick Rose making a long awaited comeback and Kobe Bryant badly wanting that sixth ring. The storylines are endless, but we've got some storylines of our own that are going to happen because we said so. Here are your NBA semi-serious season predictions. Written by Jimmy Spencer. Follow him on Twitter.
The casual NBA fan will once again be reminded the Hawks are actually an NBA franchise just in time for their first-round playoff ousting. The silver lining? General manager Danny Ferry is rebuilding with a keen reproach of crap contracts.
Remember Saved by the Bell the New Class? Rajon Rondo (pictured) plays Screech, Danny Ainge is Mr. Belding …. You get the idea; it wasn’t a good show. The Celtics will fail to make the postseason for the first time since 2007.
Jason Kidd will be rudely interrupted by Kevin Garnett (pictured) and Paul Pierce at least twice per sideline huddle. He’ll lose the word-count battle 986 to 65 per game, which surprisingly adds up to the number of years on the Nets’ roster.
Michael Jordan will sue Miley Cyrus for stealing his patented weird tongue thing. With the money won, he'll sign Corey Maggette for $12 million per year and Bobcats fans will tune back to college basketball.
Derrick Rose will cross up a defender, dance through the key and finish with a lightning-quick dunk on opening night. The highlight will prompt 98 percent of Bulls fans to look at each other and proclaim: “See, I told you he made the right decision to sit.” The rest of us will look equally as stupid.
Fans, tired of still hearing so much about LeBron, will burn Kyrie Irving’s jersey just for attention. Meanwhile, Irving will torch opponents at a (finally) healthy clip and finish as a top-three MVP candidate.
Dirk Nowitzki (pictured) will be traded. Mark Cuban has maintained it will never happen, but Nowitzki is 35 and he’s in the final year of his contract. Without a true superstar by his side, the Mavericks are a fringe playoff team in an overly competitive West, and Nowitzki said last season he has no interest in more frustration. But before any of that, we’ll get some great GIFs of Nowitzki shaking his head after watching Monta Ellis jack three-pointers.
You have to hand it to the good ole’ egotistical Nuggets. Coach of the Year? Don’t need him. Executive of the Year? Completely unnecessary. This franchise allowed their core reasons for success to walk, and it will cost them a postseason. Good luck, Brian Shaw.
People will actually want to watch the Pistons this season. Detroit’s interior of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond (pictured) could already be a top-five frontcourt in the NBA, and adding Josh Smith to the mix makes Detroit incredibly tough to stop inside. The question mark will be whether or not Brandon Jennings is the right general for the team. If he is, Detroit will begin to make some postseason noise.
Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry will twist an ankle celebrating, and Draymond Green won’t be there to help him up. It won’t stop Curry though. He'll still topple last year's record-breaking 272 three-pointers even if he has to do it while hobbling around.
Dwight Howard will once again underperform due to being distracted by his superstar, high-scoring teammate. Because come on, that beard is just too much fun.
Roy Hibbert (right) and Danny Granger will start slow, and Paul George will remain the clear star of the Pacers. Come spring time though, the Pacers will be perfectly built for the postseason and good enough to once again fall to the Heat.
Los Angeles Clippers
The NBA chorus will sing the praises of Doc Rivers as he leads “ya know, that other” Los Angeles team to 56 wins. Then Chris Paul and the Clippers will lose in the playoffs to a tougher team like the Memphis Grizzlies and everyone will remember they only got incrementally better this offseason. Somewhere, Vinny Del Negro will be nodding his head.
Los Angeles Lakers
You will see this Kobe Bryant more than you will see this one ... and Mike D'Antoni will be fired.
The Grizzlies will continue to be the live-in girlfriend you know will never get a ring. Their physical nature gets them close, but there's still not enough scoring to ultimately triumph. By the way, how gross do you feel with that visual of Zach Randolph bringing you breakfast?
LeBron James won’t leave for the NFL, but he’ll play football when he has the chance. Meanwhile, Chris Bosh will continue with inside jokes no one else gets.
No Bucks fan will ever say: “If only we still had Monta Ellis.” A future of Ellis and Brandon Jennings wasn't going to improve Milwaukee past last year's first-round decimation anyway. And while the new economical backcourt of O.J. Mayo (pictured), Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour isn't a game-changer, at least it gives Milwaukee more flexibility moving forward.
Someone will, once again, regret taking Kevin Love (pictured) in the first round of their fantasy basketball draft. A bolder prediction, however, might be to say that the combo of Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic will stay healthy and end a nine-year postseason drought. But that seems too unlikely.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Hornets, uh I mean Pelicans, will build hype by winning a ton of games they aren’t “supposed to,” yet will still finish below .500. However, the Hornets, eh Pelicans, still don’t have much winning experience on the roster. There’s plenty of young talent — including newcomers Jrue Holiday (pictured) and Tyreke Evans teaming with potential All-Star Anthony Davis — but it’s going to take time before those Pelicans learn to fly. (Note: more focus will be on their hideous jerseys more than their hideous name.)
New York Knicks
Mike Woodson will be fired when his 2009 All-Star team doesn't win a title on the back of Carmelo Anthony's offense. Of course, Andrea Bargnani will be the other scapegoat. He will take a large volume of ill-advised three-pointers, ("Ah, come on he's shooting from Lawn Guyland") and play spotty defense, (“Ahrite ahready, what’s he on a cawfee break?”).
Oklahoma City Thunder
After last season’s letdown following the Russell Westbrook injury, Kevin Durant will learn second-place isn’t so bad. He’ll embrace his secondary relationship to LeBron and create a season-long series of mixtapes for the Heat star. King James won’t care.
The only wins Victor Oladipo will earn will be for some lucky jerk's fantasy keeper league.
You’ve already heard by now that Philadelphia will be very cautious about actually winning, hence rookie Nerlens Noel (pictured) likely not playing this season. In ensuring that effort, the 76ers will do their best to trade for either Gerald Wallace or John Salmons.
Things will get worse before they get better. The addition of Eric Bledsoe doesn't move the needle of talent for rookie coach Jeff Hornacek, but the overall steadiness of lackluster talent will certainly add to the team's hope of piling up draft picks.
Damian Lillard will take another large step toward his ultimate place as a bonafide superstar, and the Trail Blazers will be the somewhat-surprise playoff team in the West. Building a quality bench rarely gets attention, but that’s exactly what Portland did this offseason and it will pay off.
DeMarcus Cousins will be loved by Kings fans to the extent the Maloofs and Chris Hansen are hated. The ultra-talented center will nearly be voted to the All-Star game thanks to a typical Sacramento social-media push.
San Antonio Spurs
Most everyone will ignore the Spurs during the regular season, and when they’re forced to comment on the team they’ll say one of these five things: 1. “Gregg Popovich should win Coach of the Year.” 2. “Tim Duncan is playing like a kid out there.” 3. “Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are questionable to play tonight.” 4. “Where'd this Danny Green kid come from?” 5. “Who's this (fill in the blank) guy?" There’s really nothing else to say. Except that they’ll be back in the Western Conference Finals — again.
Rudy Gay is Toronto's go-to scorer ... and he shot 41 percent last season. Uhhh, so does the LeBron lottery-pick-goes-to-the-hometown-team rule apply to Andrew Wiggins and Canada? Just kidding, Toronto won’t actually be as bad as they’d like to be.
The Utah Jazz were forced to choose between Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap this offseason. They chose neither, instead opting to go down a different path with a younger squad. They won’t be better, of course. The good news for Utah? Trey Burke (pictured) will make a late-season push for Rookie of the Year.
John Wall is poised for the type of MVP season Derrick Rose had in 2010. The 23-year-old has the potential to tally 25 points and eight assists per game. The Wizards were an awful 5-28 before Wall came back from injury last year and a mediocre 24-25 after his return. If Wall plays in at least 70 games this season, even without Emeka Okafor, the Wizards will claim a bottom playoff spot in the East.