The 2012 NBA Training Camps started earlier this week, and the season is just a few weeks away. Over this past offseason, some teams got better, as expected, and some teams had some surprising changes that few predicted. The Steve Nash Era in Phoenix ended, Mark Cuban kept getting screwed by big-name free agents and the Dwightmare finally ended. It'll soon be time for some preseason power rankings, but for now it's time to preview the season with a quick thought or two about each team.
Atlanta Hawks: My sources seem to be thinking that this is finally the year that Josh Smith stops shooting long twos. Pssh. Same old story.
Boston Celtics: Darko said he'll do anything necessary to win, even "kill". Hey Darko, how about just playing some good basketball?
Brooklyn Nets: Expensive but solid off-season. Now that he has some talent around him, look for Deron Williams to compete for "best PG" title.
Charlotte Bobcats: I wonder if NBA 2k13 has empty stands for when you play in Charlotte ...
Chicago Bulls: These guys (minus Rose due to injury) just need to stay in the playoff race long enough to sneak in. Imagine Rose coming back near the end of the season for the No. 8 Bulls just as they're gearing up to face the No. 1 Heat.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters ... solid backcourt in the making, but lack of talent elsewhere makes it tough for the Cavs to compete.
Dallas Mavericks: I'm noticing too many season previews that leave Dallas out of the playoff picture. Nowitzki has led the Mavs to 12 consecutive NBA Playoffs (2001–2012), and it'll be the same story this upcoming season.
Denver Nuggets: NBA League Pass alert! Who doesn't want to watch this potential lineup: Lawson, Iggy, Gallo, Faried, McGee.
Detroit Pistons: On the one hand, I'm excited for Monroe and Drummond. On the other hand, it's practically torture for someone like Tayshaun Prince to still be on that squad.
Golden State Warriors: With some health issues finally being taken care of (for now), the Bay Area is once again hopeful for a playoff spot. They Believe!
Houston Rockets: With international voting allowed for All-Star Weekend, I won't be surprised one bit when Lin becomes the starting PG for the Western Conference.
Indiana Pacers: Paul George and Granger make the Pacers one of my favorite teams in the league. They've got to use Hibbert better, mostly because of the lack of size in the East now. Get Hibbert going each and every game, watch how the floor opens up for everybody.
LA Clippers: Blah blah deepest team in the league blah blah more chemistry than the Lakers blah blah ... too bad the West is stacked and the coach is Del Negro. Solid squad, sure, but Griffin and Jordan need to develop some post-moves.
LA Lakers: Last season, Kobe was first in player usage and Dwight was no. 44. If Lakers want to win it all in Year 1, Dwight needs to be used much more, and Kobe much less.
Memphis Grizzlies: With Bayless coming in, they finally get some depth behind Conley, and even behind Tony Allen at the 2. I doubt the loss of Mayo hurts them too much, but Gay needs to be a lot more aggressive offensively to help this team reach another level.
Miami Heat: The best team in the league adds some (legendary) sharpshooting off the bench, and says bye to Eddy Curry. Well done.
Milwaukee Bucks: Exciting backcourt with Jennings and Monta, but need better production at the SF spot. Delfino is gone, Mbah a Moute is healing from injury and Tobias Harris might be too inexperienced. Dunleavy to the rescue?
Minnesota Timberwolves: The number of white players on this team distracts me from making a productive statement. (Seriously though, Minny will compete for the seventh spot in West.)
New Orleans Hornets: Excited to see what Monty can do with Unibrow, a healthy EG and Rivers.
New York Knicks: Everything about this team can be summarized by: "Sheed back!"
Oklahoma City Thunder: If Perk can contain Dwight Howard one-on-one like he has very well in the past, the Thunder make a repeat trip to the finals.
Orlando Magic: The magic has completely vanished from Orlando. To top it all off, Hedo is STILL on the roster.
Philadelphia Sixers: For the first time since 1996, there is no "A.I." in Philadelphia. The "I" became a "B", and fans are hopeful that Bynum is the answer.
Phoenix Suns: If Dragic turns into the player some think he is, the transition out of the Nash Era might not be as difficult as Phoenicians once thought.
Portland Trail Blazers: Licensed to Lillard. Not impressed by the squad in PDX, but Lillard will absolutely be a monster at this level and is my preseason choice for ROY. Him or Anthony Davis, but this is the more fun pick.
Sacramento Kings: I want to see the opposing team's rebounding numbers vs. the Kings; it'll be a nightmare to grab a board against a duo of DeMarcus Cousins and Thomas Robinson.
San Antonio Spurs: Pop deserves a lifetime achievement award if he somehow turns Eddy Curry into even a halfway decent player.
Toronto Raptors: Lowry went under-appreciated last year in Houston, and continues to be underrated. If Jonas Valanciunas is as good as he's being made out to be, and Bargnani can stay healthy, hoops in Canada would be well on its way to becoming popular again (assuming the NHL stays in a mess).
Utah Jazz: Is there such a thing as too much talent and potential in the frontcourt for a team? Utah has to trade one of their guys (Jefferson, Millsap, Kanter, Favors) to open up some playing time.
Washington Wizards- Assuming Wall's knee holds up just fine, I'm expecting a breakout season for him. He finally has talent around him (ex. Beal, Nene), and a part of me thinks we could see Washington fight for that last playoff spot in the East.
Do you have any bold predictions or thoughts for the upcoming season? Let's discuss on Twitter.