Here we are on the cusp of another NBA season. The 2016-17 NBA season is shaping up to be exciting, especially for UK fans. Former UK players are poised for breakout seasons, bounce back seasons, and for a few, possibly championship seasons. The NBA season isn’t the only thing just around the corner. On November 4, next Friday, Now That’s What I Call Music! 60 hits the racks at your local Sam Goody for the masses to enjoy. That’s right, we’re on the 60th Now CD which has served as a CliffsNotes for popular music since its inaugural release in 1998. To honor both of these momentous occasions, here’s a a preview for the Western Conference teams using a song from the Now series.
Denver Nuggets: “Team” Lorde- Now 50
The lyric that sealed the deal: “We live in cities you’ll never see on screen.” I would like to watch Jamal Murray play this year, but the Nuggets just won’t be a very exciting team this year as they continue their post-Carmelo rebuild. I might catch them on League Pass occasionally but that’s about the only way you’ll see the Nuggets this year.
Minnesota Timberwolves: “Let’s Get It Started” Black Eyed Peas- Now 17
This is an important year for the Timberwolves. They showed flashes, particularly KAT, but still finished 12 games out of a playoff spot. They lost Kevin Garnett to retirement, but added Tom Thibodeau which should provide an immediate impact, especially on the defensive end. The T’Wolves are loaded with young talent, but it’s time for them to start making a playoff push.
Oklahoma City Thunder: “Bad Blood” Taylor Swift- Now 56
Well this one is probably obvious. The big news during the off-season was the departure of Kevin Durant and the subsequent comments which Durant and OKC point guard Russell Westbrook have said. Westbrook will be a man on a mission to prove he can carry an NBA franchise by himself. The Thunder also lost Serge Ibaka in the offseason, but added Victor Oladipo while returning the ‘stache bros. The Thunder will be good but won’t contend for a championship unless they find someone who can score consistently outside the paint.
Utah Jazz: “Just the Way You Are” Bruno Mars- Now 37
The Utah Jazz return just about everybody from last year’s near-playoff team. Trey Lyles is poised to take on a bigger role while the signing of Joe Johnson should add a new dimension to the offense. These improvements along with what they had should be enough to get them in the playoffs. Meanwhile the Jazz surely upgraded their rebounding by drafting Taurean Prince, who taught us all a thing or two about rebounding after being eliminated from NCAA tournament.
Edti: Commentor kvltclassic has pointed out that Prince was traded to the Hawks. As a result I have decided to downgrade the Jazz’s rebounding prognostication from “surely upgraded” to “maybe upgraded”. Thanks kvltclassic!
Dallas Mavericks: “Don’t Trust Me” 3OH!3- Now 31
I love Dirk Nowitzki and I’d love to see him get a shot at a title run. Unfortunately the Warriors and Cavaliers are serious roadblocks there. Even without those super teams the Mavs roster has some glaring holes with players who do not have a good history with coming through in the clutch (looking at you Deron Williams and Harrison Barnes). This team has talent but their ceiling is likely a first round playoff loss if they get in at all.
Golden State Warriors: “The A Team” Ed Sheeran- Now 45
Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and me could win 50+ games. They have a slew of big bodies they can rotate in to take up space as well as Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodola which have been invaluable pieces. There will probably be an adjustment period and Green seems to be only two or three steps away from blowing everything up, but this team is the undisputed best team on paper. I fully anticipate a third installment of the Warriors-Cavs at the end of the year.
Los Angeles Lakers: “SOS” Rihanna- Now 22
The Lakers have a lot of potentially fun young pieces. Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and Deangelo Russell may become one of the better nuclei in the league, or they could all not mesh and everything fall apart. It doesn’t help that they have a first year head coach and some questionable veteran leadership. By mid season they will be sending up the SOS as they being their post-Kobe rebuild. They will be awful, but they’re LA and they have cap space so they’ll bounce back in a couple of years.
Los Angeles Clippers: “Together Again” Janet Jackson- Now 1
The Clippers are tied for the league’s oldest average age at 30.1 years which gets them a song from the original Now CD. It seems like trades and free agency are constantly threatening to break up Paul/Jordan/Griffin foundation, but they are still together. They could’ve been a handful for the Warriors in the playoffs last given the Warriors’ injury status, but the injury bug struck the Clips against Portland and ruined that dream. The Clippers will be a top three team in the West and a dark horse to come out of the West.
Portland Trail Blazers: “Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson- Now 53
This team of upstarts had a surprising run to the playoffs last year and franchise guard Damian Lillard just released his first hip hop album under the name Dame D.O.L.L.A. Warriors coach Steve Kerr even gave Lillard the early nod for MVP. Things are looking good for the Trail Blazers as they try to jump into the upper echelon of Western Conference teams. They will probably finish in the 4-6 range in the West, but few teams look to have more fun than Portland this year.
Wildcats Suns: “All the Small Things” Blink 182- Now 4
This song is an homage to all of the UK guards on Phoenix, even sans Archie “Brrrrrrrrr” Goodwin. It’s an especial tip of the hat to beloved Wildcat Tyler Ulis who packs a lot of punch in his small frame. Most pundits are predicting a breakout year for Devin Booker and the return of Eric Bledsoe will definitely give the Suns a much needed lift. On paper the Suns have a good roster and seem like a borderline playoff team. If Booker does break out and the front court can hold their own the Suns should be in the playoffs comfortably around the 5-7 seed.
Wildcats Kings: “Toxic” Britney Spears- Now 15
This one is for Shannon the Dude. The Kings have three ‘Cats on the roster which make them a BBN favorite, but the Kings appear to be run like a team in NBA 2K17 franchise mode by someone named gamer_for_dayz420. Despite this, the Kings only finished eight games out of the playoff picture but I expect the Pelicans, Timberwolves, and Suns to all improve over the Kings. The Kings will continue to wallow in this weird purgatory they’ve been for the last decade.
New Orleans Pelicans: “Waking Up in Vegas” Katy Perry- Now 32
This song is all about a roller coaster ride of a trip in Vegas which ends ambiguously enough. Since the Pelicans drafted Anthony Davis their trajectory has been all over the place. The initial high of realizing how good he is has been squashed with injuries and just plain bad luck. The Pelicans added Buddy Hield in the draft and bolstered their depth with Terrence Jones and Lance Stephenson. Ultimately this team runs on Davis and if he stays healthy I’m penciling them into the playoffs.
Houston Rockets: “Incomplete” Backstreet Boys- Now 19
The Rockets have James Harden, Eric Gordon, two Louisville players, and a guy names Bobby Brown. They have a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni which means that they will be even worse defensively than they have been. They should be able to put up enough points to be in contention for a playoff spot, but with so many young up-and-coming teams on their heels I expect them to be on the outside looking in.
San Antonio Spurs: “MMMBop” Hanson- Now 1
The Spurs, not surprisingly, are one of the other teams tied for oldest average age so they too get a Now 1 song. “MMMBop” is a song about lasting relationships and flowers and I don’t really know what else. My interpretation is that this song is about the secret of life and if there’s one person who has that answer it’s Gregg Popovich. The Spurs replaced an aging Tim Duncan with an aging Pau Gasol, perhaps got the steal of the draft in Dejounte Murray, and still have an improving Kawhi Leonard (he’s only 25!) as their centerpiece. They’ll be near the top in the West and in the event of a Warriors self-destruct I like the Spurs’ chances. The Spurs are classic, just like this song.
Memphis Grizzlies: “Don’t Forget About Us” Mariah Carey- Now 21
I could’ve left the Grizzlies off this preview and I doubt anybody would bat an eye. Sure, Andrew Harrison is there which gives BBN a reason to care but that’s about it. The Grizzlies do have something only two other teams can claim: a player who played in the ’90s. Vince Carter showed last year he still had plenty left in the tank and at 39 is currently the oldest active player on a roster. He’s joined by Grizzlies mainstays Mike Conley, Zach Rudolph, and Marc Gasol and a bevy of young players. The Grizzlies were the seven seed last year and unceremoniously swept by the Spurs. I expect them to take a step back this year and miss the playoffs.
Playoff Seed Predictions
- Golden State
- San Antonio
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Oklahoma City
- New Orleans