Saturday, November 1, 2008
1. Boston Celtics: The defending NBA champions. They should have no problems finishing at the top of their division again. The loss of James Posey won't hurt this team as much as experts predict. They have a cluster of young players waiting in the wing and eager to prove themselves. Tony Allen and Leon Powe should benefit the most from Posey's departure. While Glenn Davis will put up the occasional big night. The success of the team will lay on the shoulders of the Big 3 once again. They are a year older, however, and it will be interesting to see if they can match the intensity and hunger that they brought the previous year. Rondo and Perkins have an extra year under their belt and should be even better this year. If Rondo can develop a consistent jump shot that will help elevate his game to the next level. There are some concerns about depth at PG and C. Eddie House is not a true PG, and they don't have a reliable backup C anymore with PJ Brown retired. Regardless, I like the Celtics chance of reaching the NBA Finals once again and defending their crown.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: The addition of Elton Brand should elevate this team to the top of the conference. While I don't think they are on the same level as Detriot or Boston, they should be able to win home-court advantage through the first round of the playoffs. Adding Kareem Rush and Donyell Marshall (to a lesser extend) are underrated moves and gives the squad some much needed outside shooting. Thaddeus Young looks primed to make a leap in his sophomore year. Lou Williams looks like a stud in the 6th man role. It will be interesting to see how Iguodala can adjust to being a complimentary player. Will he be able to hit those open jump shots consistently? Also will Dalembert be able to adjust to playing with Brand in the post? Will he be able to maintain his torrid rebound and block shot pace? Andre Miller should have a field day with all of this talent at the PG spot. The rookie Speights has interesting potential. They have all of the ingredients necessary to be a successful team; but they are lacking in experience. This young team has a bright future ahead of itself.
3. Toronto Raptors: This team's success is pending on the health of Jermaine O'Neal. When healthy, he forms a lethal duo with Chris Bosh. Don't be surprised to see Bosh's # takes a jump like Amare's did when he got to play alongside Shaq. He should get more single coverage and be able to score at will. Calderon gets the full-time starting job with TJ Ford out of town and should be able to flourish. He is baby Nash in the making. He is extremely efficient with his passing and scoring. The SG and SF spots are a little iffy for this team, however. Anthony Parker is a solid, but not exciting scorer. Moon has huge defensive potential, but can't score well. While Kapono is a great shooter, but can't defend well. If only they could combine those two together. They will miss Delfino who returned back to Europe. Can Bargnani step up and be a reliable player off of the bench? He should get more open shots playing with O'Neal and Bosh and his versatility will be key for this team off of the bench. I'm not ready to call this guy a bust yet. They should be much improved from the last season.
4. New Jersey Nets: They have a ton of new faces, so it'll be interesting to see how everything plays out. Vince Carter is still one of the best SG in the league when he is motivated. Devin Harris is an up-and-coming point guard. Yi could be a great fit for this team at the PF spot. He has a nice jumper, can block a few shots, is very athletic, and can contribute all around. Brook Lopez could surprise some people at the C spot. I think they need to get him as many minutes as possible. I'm not a huge fan of Josh Boone or Sean Williams. The SF spot is a bit iffy, however. I'm not sold on Bobby Simmons as being the answer. Jarvis Hayes or Najera are solid role players, but nothing else. Will they give Douglas-Roberts enough minutes to be successful? I don't expect this team to make the playoffs, but they could be better than predicted as they make a run for the 2010 offseason. Expect to see a lot of ups and downs for this team. It will be fun to watch this team and see how their young talent develops.
5. New York Knicks: This team could possibly outplay this position, but the New York franchise has such a bad reputation for losing. I'm glad to see that D'Antoni is not afraid to to bench Curry and Marbury and give them DNP. That's a start. Duhon and Nate Robinson at at the PG spot is a nice combination. Nate is high energy and a bit careless at times, but has potential to put up better numbers. While Duhon is steady and boring but consistent. Crawford could have a huge year under the D'Antoni system. Chandler and Q-Rich look to get minute at SF and both should be productive. Q-Rich with his outside shooting, and Chandler for his great energy, hustle, and his defense. At PF and C they have Randolph and Lee who can both be double-double machines. Both will score at a nice clip, but can't defend particular well. They seem like ideal players for the D'Antoni system than. Hah. I expect this team to score a lot of points, but also give up a lot of points. And be lots of fun to watch, for a change.
Posted by Kay at 4:01 PM