Tha Sports Junkies 101

Top 5 Hot Takes for the 2016-17 NBA Season


Let’s get the #HotTakes rolling.


My favorite aspect of NBA Twitter has to be the #HotTakes. From scorching hot takes that will melt your face off to lukewarm takes that feel like bath water, I love and appreciate every single one of them.

I could make this a Top 100 list with just absolute nonsense that will most likely never happen in the existence of the NBA. Instead, I’m going to trim my list down to 5 where I’ll unload my hottest takes that I think are somewhat plausible.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook will both average triple-doubles.

Wow, what a way to start this list… Now at least give me a chance to back this up, I’ll start with my case for Russ. If you hadn’t heard, Kevin Durant is no longer teammates with his old “friend” Russell which leaves him as the sole captain of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Russell and KD were both healthy for pretty much the entirety of last season, except for a six-game stretch in November. It’s a small sample size, but it’s the most recent version we can get of Russell Westbrook as “The Guy”. Over the course of those 6 games, Russ averaged 32.7 PPG/9.3 APG/7.7 RPG.

Stretch that out over an entire season where Westbrook knows that for his team to win, he has to put up numbers very similar to the ones just mentioned. Russ recorded a triple-double 18 times last season, including 54 double-doubles; he’s always a threat to beat the opponent from all areas of the court.

Here’s where the hot takes get going. Giannis will be the primary ball handler on a Milwaukee Bucks squad that will expecting him to get the job done each and every night, especially now that leading-scorer Khris Middleton will miss a large chunk of the season.

Jason Kidd moved Giannis to point guard after the all-star break and his stats were as follows: 18.8 PPG/7.2APG/8.6 RPG. He also recorded all 5 of his triple doubles in this half of the season. Pretty impressive for a guy who was thrown into point guard duties halfway through the season (Wasn’t Giannis suppose to be a work in progress?). Giannis will miss being able to pass the ball to an incredible shooter like Khris Middleton and he’ll unfortunately have to rely on guys like Michael Beasley to help his stat sheet.

Giannis’ size will be the key in helping him stock up assists and rebounds, passing around smaller defenders and using his 7 foot 4 inch wingspan to snatch any rebound. A whole year at the point guard position will only improve his awareness and playmaking, don’t be shocked if he is constantly flirting with a trip-dub.     


2. Rodney Hood will win Most Improved Player 

Rodney Hood came into this league out of Duke yet he wasn’t exactly highly touted. Even being picked at #23 didn’t seem to help his credibility and an okay rookie season (averaged 8.7 PPG) did him no good. Last year is where fans started to understand why Hood was picked so high, when he increased his scoring average to 14.5 PPG. Hood managed to improve his shooting percentage while taking 5 more shots per game than the season prior.

Hood got his shine due to the injury bug biting the Jazz throughout the season and now he’s going to be a key factor in what is expected to be the Jazz’s best season in the last 6 years. Hood will be known as the “X-Factor” for the Jazz this season and another leap in production could put him in the MIP conversation.

Hood will most likely find himself in the starting rotation this season. With George Hill as the new ball handler, he’ll be looking for Hood and Hayward constantly. While Favors can hit the mid range jumper, he and Gobert are not reliable scoring options in the starting 5 like Hood will be.


3. The Pacers will finish 2nd in the East, Celtics finish 3rd and Raptors 5th.

This one is pretty straight forward, the Celtics and Pacers improved and the Raptor remained rather stagnant.

Kyle Lowry’s struggles in the playoffs and the Olympics don’t give me much hope for this team moving forward. If Lowry can pull it back together, this team should be near the top, but at 30 years old I’m not too sure Lowry hasn’t already reached his peak as a player.

A backcourt of Derozan and Lowry just isn’t going to win championships in 2016. Mix that in with losing Biyombo, a guy who was the sole defensive force in the paint when Jonas Valanciuanas went out with injury, and the Raptors are left with a giant gap in rim protection. With the Pacers, Celtics and Pistons all expected to improve from last season, it should be a battle at the top.

MVP candidate Paul George and the young, second year phenom Myles Turner, will look to improve on last year’s 45 wins. The addition of power forward Thad Young, a guy who can score inside and step out and hit the jump shot, should help stretch the floor for not only PG, but Turner as well. Trading for Jeff Teague will add agility and consistent scoring in the backcourt. Plenty of bench scoring and a top 10 defense will make this team tough to beat all season.

Boston will take a 48 win team from last season and add four-time all star Al Horford to join an elite defensive backcourt. Horford is a guy who can play on any team for any system and now he gets to work with Brad Stevens, who took a team filled with mid tier players and molded them into a 48 win playoff team.

Also the Celtics let go of Jared Sullinger who was, quite frankly, an insanely ineffective player last year. So where did Sullinger decide to sign in the offseason? The Raptors. Sullinger, who recorded 27 total rebounds in last year’s playoffs, might be the literal opposite of what the Raps lost in Biyombo, who recorded 26 rebounds in a single ECF game.

What separates Boston from Indiana is the star power. Paul George is a bonafide superstar and while Horford and Isaiah Thomas are excellent players, George is a giant step above both of them. George will be able to win games for the Pacers by himself if things get rough, something the Celtics don’t necessarily have at their disposal. Brad Stevens will have Boston in a position to win every game, but they don’t have a guy who can save them if things go sour.


4. Karl-Anthony Towns will make First Team All-NBA

KAT truly is something we have never seen in this league before. Every single night the Wolves play you’ll find videos of him contorting his 7-foot body like a point guard to finish a fast break layup. He’ll dance on the three-point line and spin away from a defender to hit a fadeaway jumper, he can do everything and he’s 7 feet tall, its remarkable.

Karl averaged 20.8 PPG/11.8 RPG along with 1.9 BPG in his rookie campaign last season. Deandre Jordan, who was named to the All-NBA first team last season, averaged 12.9 PPG/14.6 RPG and 2.4 BPG. Towns ability to stretch the floor and dribble like a point guard put him ahead of Jordan in my eyes. If you had to start a team with Towns or Jordan, you pick Towns 100 times out of 100, no question. Only Shaquille O’Neal put up the same numbers as Towns at 20 years old (O’Neal would follow up his rookie year by making 3rd team all NBA).

If the Wolves can be a competitor in the West, it will only help Town’s case for making the first team. Anthony Davis made first team All NBA at age 21 (Karl will turn 21 in November) averaging 24.4 PPG/10.2 RPG/ 2.9 BPG. Towns is more than capable of averaging those numbers this season and if he does, he will be a First Team selection.


5. Brandon Jennings will score (another) 50 points in a single game. 

This one’s my favorite. Remember when Jennings scored 55 points not even 10 games into his rookie season? It seems like so many years ago. 7 years, to be exact. Nonetheless, Jennings is now the backup point guard on the New York Knicks and he should some opportunities to break that 50 point threshold yet again. For Jennings to break the 50-point mark, a few things need to happen.

First off, Melo has to be out, whether it be rest or an injury (no,I’m not wishing an injury on Melo) he will have to sit some games out. Melo has yet to play an entire season’s worth of games since his rookie year and if he misses 10-15 games, Jennings will have his shot.

Whether or not Derrick Rose can stay healthy all year will also contribute to Jennings scoring 50. Rose has missed over 100 games due to injury over the past 3 seasons, will he be able to get it done for an entire season playing 30+ minutes?

If you have followed Jennings throughout his career you know he loves the spotlight. Imagine Jennings being the sole ball handler in front of the bright lights and excited fans inside Madison Square Garden. He is one of the streakiest shooters in the league and once the first couple shots fall, he sees that rim as 10 times larger than anyone else. Now imagine a team like the Pelicans or Kings come to NY, there isn’t a player on those team’s backcourt that could stop Jennings once he gets going. I honestly hope this one happens the most, solely because NBA Twitter will be at an all time high.


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