Site Manager’s Note - Welcome to the inaugural Grizzly Bear Blues NBA Preview Over/Under Challenge! Think you are smarter than twelve of our staff members? Take the challenge by posting your over/unders in the comments section every day with the corresponding teams. We will keep track over the course of the season, and the commenter(s) who beats our overall over/under projections at the end of the season will win a Fan Essentials box!
The GBB Staff taking part in this challenge are-
Joe Mullinax - Site Manager
Matt Hrdlicka - Senior Features Writer
Kevin Yeung - Senior Features Writer
Chase Lucas - Features Writer
Mac Trammell - Features Writer
Brandon Conner - Features Writer
Jonathan Concool - Game Coverage Writer
Collin Huguley - Game Coverage Writer
Austin Reynolds - Game Coverage Writer
Corban Ford - Game Coverage Writer
Jonah Jordan - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor
Adam Rubrum- GBB Boots on the Ground Editor
Today, I will take a closer look at the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
NEW YORK KNICKS: Vegas Projection- 38.5 Wins
GBB Overall Staff Predictions-
- Five take the over (Mullinax, Ford, Concool, Conner, Jordan), seven take the under (Lucas, Hrdlicka, Reynolds, Trammell, Huguley, Rubrum, Yeung)
- Average projected record- 38-44
Collin’s players to watch and prediction- The New York Knicks are attempting to take on the role of contender with a flurry of moves they made this offseason. The team signed Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings to free agent deals, and also traded for Derrick Rose. Pair those guys with franchise centerpiece, Carmelo Anthony, and young Latvian sensation, Kristaps Porzingis, and there is an argument that they could become a playoff team in the East.
The Knicks also hired a new coach in Jeff Hornacek that had a good deal of success in Phoenix before being ousted after a rough start to last season. Hornacek is a well respected basketball mind and it will be his job to find ways to make players like Rose and Anthony fit together, as both are ball-dominant scorers.
Overall, the Knicks have a very good player in Anthony, who is coming off a very efficient season and terrific Olympics. Porzingis is also a very promising player that could become an All-Star one day. But with the infusion of Rose, the flow of the offense and the fit of the players feel strange. Throw injury concerns for Rose, Anthony, and Noah into the fold and I don’t see the Knicks making the postseason. I see this as a rough year for the Knicks, who could see some chemistry issues with so many moving parts. I am taking the under with the Knicks, with a record of 36-46.
PHOENIX SUNS: Vegas Projection- 26.5 Wins
GBB Staff Predictions-
- Nine take the over (Mullinax, Lucas, Ford, Concool, Jordan, Trammell, Huguley, Rubrum, Yeung), three take the under (Hrdlicka, Reynolds, Conner)
- Average projected reccord- 28-54
Collin’s players to watch and prediction- The Phoenix Suns are a team with several very talented guards and have brought in a few talented young bigs as well. They just need some time to develop.
Coach Earl Watson has announced that Eric Bledsoe will start at point guard next to sophomore sensation, Devin Booker, leaving Brandon Knight to be the team’s sixth man. If Knight can accept this role (he has taken issue with coming off the bench in the past), then the Suns have a very good three-guard rotation.
The team lost power forwards Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer in free agency, but brought Jared Dudley back to take their place. The team also brought back Leandro Barbosa to be scoring punch off of the bench. The team also still has Tyson Chandler and Alex Len at center. Chandler is not what he once was, but Len is a solid center that provides depth behind Chandler for the second unit.
The team drafted Dragan Bender and traded for the draft rights to Marquese Chriss to sure up the future of the power forward position. Both players are very talented, but very raw. Both will need time to develop before making an impact.
The Suns do have some very good players. Bledsoe is a top-10 point guard in the league when healthy, and the sky is the limit for Booker. New coach Earl Watson will try to turn the team around and is said to be working well to develop the young players on the team. But the Suns seem to be too young to have a good year in the West. But, I think they are capable of winning more than 26 games. I’m taking the over with the Suns, with a record of 30-52.