Ten NBA Questions and Answers on Hot Topics

Yama Hazheer@Yama_HazheerCorrespondent IIJanuary 19, 2009

Questions by Erick Blasco.

1) The Boston Celtics have lost seven of nine, including to their top competitors (the Cavs and Lakers), to solid, but crippled opponents (the Blazers without Brandon Roy, and the Rockets without Shane Battier and Tracy McGrady) and to the league’s bottom feeders (the Bobcats and Warriors). What’s gone wrong with Boston?

Without P.J. Brown and James Posey, the Boston Celtics' bench is now thin. It was deep last season with experience of Brown and Posey, without them there really isn't anyone on the bench that can out and give them that boost off of the bench other than Leon Powe and an inconsistent Eddie House. Their intensity is gone.

2) The defending Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Lakers have cruised to the top spot in the West, while the Cleveland Cavaliers have been exceptional for the better part of two months. Which of those teams is the best in the league right now, or is it someone else?

I think both teams are great, the top two in the league. But in the end, I still think the Lakers are a better team. They have more depth, and when Jordan Farmar comes back their recent struggles will come to an end.

Point guard position isn't looking great for them, but they have Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol who are both players that can help each other when one is having a bad game. LeBron doesn't really have the sidekick right now that Kobe does. But it might change depending on what I see from these two teams on Martin Luther King Jr. game day.

3) Conversely, which team is the very worst in the NBA?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are the worst team in the league. They will be a good team in the future, but as of right now they are pretty bad. They have their nights where the upset their opponents, but in the end, they only really have Durant and Green for now.

4) Which team has been the most disappointing team?

Phoenix Suns. Shaq is the only player on the team right now that is playing well, but he sits out for some games just because he isn't the same young Shaq he once was. Nash and Amare are both struggling without the run-n-gun tempo of Mike D'Antoni.

5) The Spurs, Rockets, Mavs, and Hornets all boast winning percentages above 60 percent. Which of them is the best in the Southwest, either now or come playoff time?

Spurs. They have the experience, a point guard that can take over games and make everyone around him better. A perimeter threat that either starts or comes off of the bench. The best power forward of all time, and possibly even in the league right now. And they have one of the best coaches in the league.

All they need is the fourth player to step up, and Roger Mason Jr. is doing a great job with his clutch shooting. He and Matt Bonner spread out the floor nicely.

6) How good are the Orlando Magic?

Overrated by fans, underrated by the media. They will be a threat in the playoffs, but being a three-point shooting team may hurt them if they aren't hitting their shots. They are a top three team in the East for sure, and top five in the league as a whole.


7) Mike D’Antoni, Michael Curry, Scott Skiles, Vinny Del Negro, Eric Spolestra, Larry Brown, Rick Carlisle, and Terry Porter. Which of those coaches has done the best job with their new teams?

Mike D'Antoni. Who would have expected the Knicks to not be at the bottom of the league this season? They are playing good basketball considering all the off court troubles they have with Stephon Marbury. Chandler, Robinson, and Lee are three players that this team needs to keep.

8) What’s been the difference in Miami’s turnaround from last year's disaster?

Dwyane Wade. He is a top three player in the league and can take over games like only a few other people in the NBA. He is making players around him better, and the additions of Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers are turning the team around.

Health in general is the key. They won't be anything special in the playoffs though, if they make it, unless Beasley or Marion steps up.

9) Assuming Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Detroit, Atlanta, and Miami are good enough to make the playoffs, which other two Eastern Conference teams fill out the postseason bracket?

New Jersey Nets. Brook Lopez is playing amazing these past few games, Yi was looking good until the injury, Devin Harris is playing like a star, and Vince Carter is playing like the type of Vince we have never seen before. He is showing great playmaking skills, effort on defense, and leadership.

Philadelphia 76ers. Too much talent on this team to not make the playoffs. Elton Brand will have to step up though when he comes back from injury and Andre Iguodala will have to play like he has been doing since Brand has been injured.

10) List your top three Most Improved Player candidates and why you chose them.

1. Devin Harris—No. 1 for sure. Isn't letting Mark Cuban get any sleep.
2. Danny Granger—Improved in every aspect of his game this season.
3. Marco Belinelli—Has played great defense and great in general since Don Nelson has given him minutes.



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