2009-2010 NBA Mini-Preview

The NBA season is here with lots of new players on new teams. Vince Carter is a Magic, Ron Artest is a Laker, Rasheed Wallace is a Celtic, and Hedo Turkoglu is a Raptor. Here are my predictions for each league with a short description of each team.

Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics

You take the Big Three and add on Rasheed Wallace and Rajon Rondo and that’s a great team. They have a deep bench and great leadership, so its hard to pick against these guys.

Orlando Magic

The defending Eastern Conference champs swapped versatile Hedo Turkoglu for former All-Star Vince Carter and a deeper bench. They still create huge miss-matches on both sides of the ball and have tons of super-stars.

Cleveland Cavaliers

After LeBron James, the Cavs don’t have much. Shaq may want to be the alpha-dog again, so he could clash with the King to cause major problems. Mo Williams is their second leading scorer, and that tells you a lot about the team.

Miami Heat

The Heat have MVP-to-be Dwayne Wade who makes any team great along with big man Jermaine O’Neal. You also take young Michael Beasley and former Knick Quentin Richardson and that is a deep team, especially with 3-point shooting champ Daequan Cook off the bench.

Chicago Bulls

Like Miami, the Bulls have tons of talent, but in Chicago’s case it is really young. Derrick Rose, Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah create a great nucleus for the future. With veterans like Brad Miller, John Salmons, and Kirk Hinrich added into the equation, they are a team to look out for.

Detroit Pistons

Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups are gone, but the Pistons added Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace, and Ben Gordon to their core of Richard Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince. They are a very veteran team, but they have loads of experience and talent.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have a lot of players on the brink of stardom, but no great players. Sure, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford, but no legitimate big guy to bang down low. That is, unless you count Zaza Pachulia.

Charlotte Bobcats

The Bobcats have one of the top five coaches in the league and two very underrated players, Gerald Wallace and Tyson Chandler. They will really miss Raja Bell, who will possibly miss the first four months of the season, and should’ve signed Allen Iverson as a big time scorer.

Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers will miss Andre Miller, so they will have to go with either rookie Jrue Holliday or Lou Williams at the point. They have two solid but aging big men in Elton Brand and Samuel Dalembert and a great young scorer in Andre Iguadala.

Washington Wizards

After compiling only 19 wins last year, the Wizards will get back Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, and DeShawnStevensonfrom injury and have added proven scorers in Randy Foye and Mike Miller. But even with all of those stars, there’s a reason they won that little last year.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors will score a ton of points this year with All-Star Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and DeMar Derozan, but they won’t play very much defense. Denver and Phoenix have proven that you need defense to succeed, so don’t expect much from Canadian basketball this year.

Indiana Pacers

After Comeback Player of the Year Danny Granger, the Pacers have no one. Troy Murphy? Mike Dunleavy? Really?

New Jersey Nets

The best new for the Nets this year is that they may be on their way to play in Brooklyn and possibly land LeBron James this summer, when he hits free agency. They do have two up-and-coming stars in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez.

New York Knicks

The Knicks are in big trouble. They are depending on Al Harington and David Lee for scoring and hoping and praying that LeBron will come to play in Madison Square Garden next year. There is very, very, very little talent on this roster.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks may be the worst team this season after dumping Richard Jefferson for three role players. They have Michael Redd as their only legitimate scorer, and they may trade him during the season.

Western Conference

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs may be aging but they have the most talent in the league. All-Stars are everywhere between Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson, Manu Ginobli, and many others. Their bench is as deep as anyones’ and they have a great coach in Gregg Popovich.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers won it all last year but hurt themselves when they essentially swapped Trevor Ariza for Ron Artest. Artest will take the last second shots that Ariza would let Kobe Bryant take. The Lakers have tons of talent but their playerswill eventually get tired from playing so many games over the past two years. Two fun questions are will Andrew Bynum actually stay healthy and will Lamar Odom be more hurt by his candy fetish or his marriage with Khloe Kardashian

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs added super athletic  forward Shawn Marion for a small price and inserted him into a talented starting lineup that includes All-Stars Dirk Nowitski and Jason Kidd. They also have several more talented swing men including Josh Howard and Jason Terry.

Portland Trailblazers

Portland is one of the best young teams with superstar Brandon Roy and big men LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden. If their young players can mature and Andre Miller can live up to his free-agent contract, they will be a team to reckon with.

New Orleans Hornets

It was only two years ago that the Hornets were a game away from the Western Conference Finals. Now, with one less Tyson Chandler and one more Emeka Okafor, the quick Hornets could be a Western Conference power. They should also flip one of their many small forwards for another quality big man.

Utah Jazz

Utah has solid players across their starting lineup, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer leading them. The Jazz certainly have the talent to play well, but will they stay healthy enough to compete. Mehmet Okur, Andre Kirilenko, and Boozer’s health will be the key.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets, lead by new acquisition Chauncey Billups to the Western Finals last year, and look to repeat. Unfortunately, they didn’t make any improvements except drafting Ty Lawson. If you don’t make any improvements, you are taking a step backwards.

Phoenix Suns

Gone are the Suns of the past: Shawn Marion, Shaquille O’Neal, Raja Bell, Boris Diaw, and Joe Johnson. They still have Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire to run their fast paced team, but they are aging quickly. They’ll need Leandro Barbosa and Channing Frye to show up in order to make the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Look for Kevin Durant to put up MVP-type numbers with at least 30 PPG

Look for Kevin Durant to put up MVP-type numbers with at least 30 PPG

The youngest team in the leauge has one of the brightest futures in the league. They have four lottery picks from the past three years starting: Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Imagine if the trade that would have landed them Tyson Chandler would have gone through last year, that would be a great team.

Golden State Warriors

Don Nelson continued his small guard love when he drafted Monta Ellis look-alike Stephen Curry and did not trade for Phoenix big man Amare Stoudemire. There are problems in the locker room, but the good news  is that the bottom of the Western Conference is not very good.

Memphis Grizzlies

Although they have been as dysfunctional as the Washington Nationals and Oakland Raiders over the past few years, they have a ton of talent on this squad. They took their young nucleus of Rudy Gay, O.J. Mayo, and Mike Conley and added lottery pick Hasheem Thabeet and problematic high-scoring veterans Zach Randolph and Allen Iverson. If the locker room doesn’t explode, this could be a great sleeper team.

Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers have also been dysfunctional over the past decade, but they also have a solid young team. Baron Davis is a top-10 point guard and Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin will soon develop into All-Stars. Big men Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman are also solid. Don’t laugh, but LeBron could sign here to rival Kobe Bryant and complete a very good young team.

Houston Rockets

After losing Yao Ming for the year and Tracy McGrady for most of it, the Rockets are looking pretty awful. Think about what Houston’s announcer has to say: “NOW STARTING FOR YOUR HOUSTON ROCKETS…TREVOR ARIZA, AARON BROOKS, AND LUIS SCOLA!!!” Doesn’t sound to good does it?

Minnesota Timberwolves

The T-Wolves looked solid at the end of last season with everyone healthy, but now they blew two lottery picks when they took two straight point guard, one of whom won’t leave Italy to play in Minny. They are too young and untalented to win 20 games.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings make every other team look incredible. Its just that simple. At least they can look forward to draft John Wall number one next year to have a solid young starting lineup of Wall, Tyreke Evans, Kevin Martin, Jason Thompson, and Spencer Hawes next year.

Playoffs:

Boston (1) over Charlotte (8)

Orlando (2) over Atlanta (7)

Cleveland (3) over Detroit (6)

Miami (4) over Chicago (5)

Spurs (1) over Phoenix (8)

Lakers (2) over Nuggest (7)

Utah (6) over Dallas (3)

Hornets (5) over Blazers (4)

 

Celtics (1) over Miami (4)

Orlando (2) over Cleveland (3)

Spurs (1) over Hornets (5)

Lakers (2) over Jazz (6)

 

Celtics (1) over Orlando (2)

Spurs (1) over Lakers (2)

 

Celtics over Spurs in 6

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