The top seeded teams are always the most feared; but some of the bottom seeds look poised to give the favorites nightmares. Traditional beasts like Detroit and Phoenix are non-factors this year, and fans are witnessing a changing of the guard in the NBA. Here is a brief look at the top three most dangerous teams not seeded in the one, two, or three seed. Upsets are in the making!
The Miami Heat have clambered back into relevancy after finishing dead last in 2008 and appearing about as likely to bounce back as our economy. The Heat have abandoned the Shawn Marion experiment and added athletic young swing man, Jamario Moon as well as seasoned center, Jermaine O'Neal. Still on the roster from the championship year is Udonis Haslem and the ubiquitous maestro of the Miami symphony, Dwyane Wade himself. Rookie PG Mario Chalmers has provided stability and defense at the guard spot, while incumbent star in wait, Michael Beasley, will add depth and energy off the bench. This team plays Atlanta in the first round, meaning a series win will place them in the spotlight against Cleveland, where they will push the Cavs harder than many could expect. With the game on the line, I give the ball to Wade over Kobe or LeBron, and I give this team the title of No. 3 most feared team in the NBA in this year's playoff picture.
Something strange happened tonight as I sat down to write this little piece.
I had two entirely different teams slotted in the top two spots prior to these mystical occurrences. As the short-handed San Antonio Spurs finished off the slumping Hornets in O/T, and Houston coughed up a division title, I realized two things.
The first realization was I was right to predict the Spurs would have topped this list as the No. 1 team other teams don't want to face had they finished lower than fourth.
The second is the New Orleans Hornets' slump is for real. I guess there was a third realization, too. Dallas is going to give San Antonio pretty much everything they can handle. Last year together... expect something interesting from this team in the 2009 playoffs now that the burden of a finals appearance and 60 wins is behind them.
The second best game winning shot of the year belongs to Dwyane Wade's runner from the three-point line against the Bulls earlier last month.
Any other season, that shot would have taken top honours. It would have this year too, had it not been for Brandon Roy's game winner against the Houston Rockets from halfway between the center line and the three-point line. Roy's second all-star appearance in a row signifies the undeniable fact that he has arrived. No team wants to play the Blazers this year, who have won nine of their last 10, and have depth at every position imaginable, least of all the aforementioned Rockets, who have a recent history of hard fought first round exits. Portland will have every opportunity to show that they are for real this year.