Miller and Webber look ahead to new season

Chris Webber
"NBA on TNT" by Keith Allison https://flickr.com/photos/keithallison/26509864627 is licensed under CC BY-SA

TNT analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber discussed the upcoming NBA season on a Turner Sports conference call on Wednesday evening.

Miller and Webber took questions on a range of issues, from players using marijuana to being in the building for LeBron James’ NBA debut.

The pair were asked about a number of different teams, and where they think they stand ahead of the new campaign.

The Houston Rockets, who finished number one in the West last season, were one of the first topics.

Miller said, “Rockets will be hovering like they did last year. I don’t think they’ll have #1 record. I love the pickup of Melo, but I probably would’ve loved it two or three years ago. I think they’ll probably take a step back having lost Trevor Ariza and Luca Mbah A Moute.

People tend to forget, this team was really good defensively. That was why they had the number one overall seed, losing those guys is obviously going to hurt a bit. They’ll win their 50+ games and get the number two seed, but I don’t think it’s enough to beat Golden State. I don’t think anyone will beat GS, they’ll probably lose in the WCF again.”

Webber added, “I love the Melo acquisition, I think he’ll prove a lot of people wrong. Your scoring and jumper doesn’t get old, he’s been one of the best scorers in the game… he’s going to get open shots all day.”

Miller was particularly optimistic about the Dallas Mavericks, who added Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan in the offseason.

He said, “Dallas is my surprise team in the West. I do have Dallas making the playoffs this year, and it starts with Rick Carlisle.”

The Nuggets, led by the skilful Nikola Jokic, received plenty of praise from Miller too.

“I have Denver as high as five in the West. With no injuries this year, they’ll be five or six and making noise in the playoffs”, he said.

Miller followed up by naming Jokic as the ‘second best big man in the game’ behind Joel Embiid and noted the importance of Denver resigning their young talent. Miller also claimed that the Nuggets are in the ‘same category’ as LeBron and the Lakers in the West.

Webber was less forthright in his season predictions but spoke highly of one of Phoenix’s summer acquisitions.

“I’m not sleeping on IT (Isaiah Thomas). I’m gonna keep believing in him until the end”, he said.

The Eastern conference received less attention during the call after discussing Jimmy Butler’s potential trade to the Heat.

Philadelphia, Boston and Toronto were recognised as the three strongest teams as expected. Miller mentioned that the Celtics have the second-best roster in the league and thinks the East will have ‘a new lease of life’ post-LeBron.

He said, “Ding dong the witch is dead! Bye LeBron! It’s a new lease of life for the East. He’s held it down obviously, that’s what the greats do.”

Miller is a Pacer legend, who has a mural in the city, and unsurprisingly has high expectations for Victor Oladipo and co. He stated that anything other than a top four berth for Indiana would be disappointing.

Webber was asked about how Brad Stevens’ Boston will cope with the pressure of being favourites after flourishing as underdogs last season. The five-time All-Star is confident it’ll bring the best out of the Celtics.

He said, “Bullseye on their back will be great for them. Their coach is one of the best in the game.”

Fans in the UK can watch the upcoming NBA season live on NBA League Pass

About Sam Cox 75 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play. Twitter: @SamRCox_