As NBA fans anxiously await the start of the new season (which, unfortunately, does not begin for close to two months), NBA Primetime is here to present the 2009-2010 season predictions for the upcoming year.
Best in the West?
The Lakers enter the new season quite differently than they have in recent years. For the first time since the Kobe/Shaq era, L.A. steps foot onto the court as the defending champions of the NBA.
And with the offseason acquisition of defensive phenom Ron Artest, who brings more to the table than arguably any other free-agent signing, is there any doubt that the Lakers are in for a repeat this season?
With a healthy Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom, the Lakers once again rank amongst the elite as the strongest overall organization in the league.
Beast in the East?
Since the East has clearly risen above the West throughout the last few seasons, the answer to the question in bold is obviously not as easy.
While ESPN placed Cleveland as the top overall team in the East, NBA Primetime ranks the Orlando Magic as this season's beast in the East.
With the signings of F Matt Barnes, F Brandon Bass, G Jason Williams, the re-signing of C Marcin Gortat, and the acquiring of G Vince Carter and F Ryan Anderson, the Magic bring something to the table that Cleveland simply does not.
If you want to be the best, you must beat the best.
To beat the best you must have two key components: depth and insurance.
After the season-ending injury that point-guard Jameer Nelson suffered last season, GM Otis Smith headed into this offseason with one thing in mind: secure backups for his stars in the event of another devastating injury.
So while Cleveland inevitably classifies itself by the saying, "If one falls, we all fall down," Orlando can simply rely on its elite bench to save them from another catastrophic injury.
Most Valuable Player
While everyone is expecting LeBron James to literally turn into an immortal this season, NBA Primetime predicts another star to win his second MVP award this year.
At the age of 31, Bryant has nothing other than winning another championship on his mind. And if it takes him dropping another 81-point game—or two or three—every NBA fan knows that Bryant is more than capable of doing it.
Since his determination, mindset, and ability to step on the court and do what is needed to win games is unmatched, Bryant is set to be this season's MVP.
Sorry Wade fans, the Heat's overall record will prevent Flash from winning the MVP award this season once again.
Defensive Player of the Year
Predicting the Defensive Player of the Year is just as simple as forecasting who will be the best in the West this season.
Dwight Howard, people! Being just 23 years of age, Howard is in for another scary season, both offensively and defensively.
After averaging league bests in rebounds per game and blocks per game, Superman heads into next season with every intention on getting his once again and emerging as the most defensively dominant player in the NBA.
Rookie of the Year
Another obvious prediction? You betcha.
Blake Griffin separates himself from the rest of the 2009 NBA draft for two reasons.
One, because he is more than physically prepared to step into a starting role, and two, because he already has the abilities and mindset to become a leader for his team.
Standing 6'10" and weighing 250 pounds, Griffin is the predicted rookie to capture this season's Rookie of the Year Award.
Coach of the Year
Nate McMillan takes the Coach of the Year prediction for the upcoming season because of Portland's massive potential to rise into serious contention for success in the postseason.
Shooting guard Brandon Roy, power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and center Greg Oden each have the upside to take this Blazers team and turn it into NBA champions.
Last season's record: 54-28
This season's predicted record: 59-23