Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 11/7/14
Golden State Warriors PG: Stephen Curry SG: Klay Thompson SF: Andre Iguodala PF: David Lee C: Andrew Bogut I would like to think that this is that last year the Warriors can be considered underrated. Many people were forced to recognize the greatness of Steph Curry and the potential sniper qualities of Klay Thompson last year. Beyond the excellence at the guard positions, David Lee led the league in double-doubles. On the other hand, injury-prone center Andrew Bogut only played 32 games for Golden State last year and didn’t average even six points per game. He did, however, average almost eight rebounds and two blocks, and over his career he has averaged 12.2 points and 7.7 rebounds. I still haven’t mentioned the addition of Andre Iguodala, who averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game last season with the Nuggets. For some reason, Iguodala only shot 57.4% from the free throw line last year, but he has averaged 72.4% over his career. Provided he gets back to decent form from the free throw line, Iguodala should be a dependable veteran presence for Golden State. As long as the injury-prone Warriors can stay healthy for the most part, their lineup is one of the most impressive in the league. Minnesota Timberwolves PG: Ricky Rubio SG: Kevin Martin SF: Chase Budinger/Shabazz Muhammad PF: Kevin Love C: Nikola Pekovic The strength of the big men in Minnesota is ridiculous, both literally and figuratively. When Kevin Love is healthy, which hasn’t been often, he is one of the most impressive players in the league. In his absence last season, Nikola Pekovic emerged as a similar type of stud. When Rubio is healthy, he’s one of the most electric players in the league, consistently making pleasantly unexpected passes while leading his team. Kevin Martin has proven his shooting skills over the years on a number of different teams and though his defense usually leaves something to be desired, he is a good addition to the team as his young backup, Alexey Shved, continues to develop as a guard. Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad will be an interesting position battle throughout the year. I, personally, don’t think Muhammad is a very attractive prospect as a pro, but he does seem to have some good raw talent. New Orleans Pelicans PG: Jrue Holiday SG: Eric Gordon SF: Tyreke Evans PF: Anthony Davis C: Jason Smith/Greg Stiesmsma/Jeff Withey The major issue with the Pelicans is the center position. You can’t tell me that either Jason Smith or Greg Stiesmsma is an NBA starter, and Jeff Withey is an unproven rookie. Other than that, the Pelicans have three extremely athletic and talented guys in Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, and Eric Gordon who can score like crazy and push the ball. Hopefully these three don’t end up falling into a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation because they are sort of interchangeable in the PG/SG positions. If I were the Pelicans’ coach, I think I would try to play small-ball as much as possible with Davis at center and sharp shooting big man Ryan Anderson at power forward, and only play a more traditional lineup when facing a team with a chubby center like Kendrick Perkins. One would assume Anthony Davis will continue to improve his game and, if so, the Pelicans should be a pretty talented, young, quick team. Cleveland Cavaliers PG: Kyrie Irving SG: Dion Waiters SF: Earl Clark/Anthony Bennett PF: Tristan Thompson/Anthony Bennett C: Andrew Bynum Now, by no means am I suggesting that the Cavs are title contenders, but I do think they have the potential to surprise some people. We know Kryie Irving (22.5 ppg and 5.9 apg last season) is great and Dion Waiters (14.7 ppg last season) is the perfect support player for him. Speaking of support, I love the Earl Clark signing. In Clark’s fourth season last year he showed flashes of a very dependable starter, plus he’s 6’10”, which means increased rebounding numbers at the SF position. I’m a huge fan of Tristan Thompson and I think the Cavs will be thrilled if he repeats his almost double-double averages from last season. However, expect first overall pick, Anthony Bennett, to steal some of his and Clark’s minutes. The real variable here is obvious and he has terrible hair, Andrew Bynum. The Cavs will be solid whether or not Bynum performs or even plays, but if he can get back to the potential he showed with the Lakers, the Cavs could be scary for the next five years. -Pearce
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