It has been one exciting summer in the NBA. Many teams in the NBA made some big changes which has been making fans impatient for the regular season to start. Well wait not more, today is the day. Today is the day the most exciting NBA season in recent years starts. With many teams in both the Eastern Conference, and Western Conference have made some big changes, and many teams are out to prove they can compete to get to the finals.
But the question is, who in the East and West have put the pieces of the puzzle together enough to take the championship this year. The following ten teams, are who I believe are the top five teams of the East and West, who seem to be most likely to be able to compete for the championship, starting with the East.
(1) - Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs made a great move over the summer adding Shaq into the mix. With still having Ilgauskas still behind Shaq, their defense in the paint is unstoppable, but will have some trouble defending long range jump shots. But with still having a great defensive team, and great offensive players like Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, Delonte West and of course Lebron James, they still seem to be the powerhouse of the East. If Shaq can play a better roll with Cleveland than he did with Phoenix, you may see these Cavs going to the finals this year and have a better chance of winning.
(2) - Orlando Magic: The Magic also made a big move this summer, picking up Vince Carter. Vince Carter averaging 23.5 points per game for his career, and putting him alongside Dwight Howard who has averaged 17.3 points per game for his career, and a dominate threat on defense, already makes this team one of the best of the East. Still having their great defensive presence, and having Jason Williams, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson who are a major threat behind the arc, and play fast paced offense, adding Carter in, probably gives them just about the best offense in the East. Expect both Carter and Howard (both of which are slam dunk champions) to provide a lot of excitement and scoring throughout the season.
(3) - Boston Celtics: Also being able to be put in the argument as one of the best teams in the East, Boston made a great pick-up adding Rasheed Wallace into the lineup. Playing backup for Kevin Garnett will provide this team with the offensive threat they were missing last year. Still having their great defense, which just got better adding Wallace into the mix, and with a great deal of scorers, this team is a huge threat. With Rajon Rondo continuously improving his game running the offense, alongside with Eddie House and Glen Davis, if Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce can stay healthy, and Wallace can provide a major threat on Offense and Defense like he did in Detroit, they will likely make the Eastern Conference Finals, and possibly progress into the Finals.
(4) - Detroit Pistons: The Pistons made the biggest changes in the NBA in the off-season. Acquiring new coach John Kuester, picking up Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Wilcox, Ben Wallace, Chucky Atkins, and making three rookies active. The Pistons biggest weakness this year is their defense. Wallace is coming off a leg injury, so while everyone expects him to play like he did in 2004 when he led Detroit to a Championship over the Lakers, he won't be that Ben Wallace this year. Kwame Brown, Chris Wilcox, CV, and Prince provide a good threat of defense, but not enough. It is the offense that will get this team rolling. With Stuckey and Hamilton starting as guards, and Bynum and Gordon behind them, probably gives the Pistons the best guard lineup in the NBA. All of them are quick and capable of making their own shot, and can take it behind the arc with ease. Detroit also has Prince, CV, and rookie Austin Daye who all have a long range shot as well, and all provide a huge spark on offense. This team will provide a lot of excitement and a lot of scoring. If then can work together, not quit, and have much better chemistry than last year, Kuester and the Pistons have the potential to surprise the nation and contend for the championship.
(5) - Washington Wizards: I'm sure everyone sees this as a surprise to see them as a number 5 seed. But the Wizards are looking to have a great team. Picking up a new coach, one of the best in the league Flip Saunders, who remember led the Pistons to 64 wins just a few years ago which surprised everyone in the NBA. They have great talented players on both offense and defense. With Caron Butler, Mike James, Antawn Jamison, Fabricio Oberto and Gilbert Arenas, Flip Saunders will be able to play his fast faced offense, and hard defense he likes to play. If Arenas can stay healthy this year, they won't be a team that will be pushed around this year.
The Western Conference, still seems to be a huge powerhouse almost anywhere you look. My top 5 are as followed:
(1) - Los Angeles Lakers: Still probably the best team in the NBA and probably likely to run for another Championship. Still having their amazing offense, and defense, adding Ron Artest and re-signing Lamar Odom almost makes this team unstoppable. With so many talented players like Fisher, Gasol, Vujacic, Farmar, Odom, Bynum, Artest, and of course Kobe Bryant, this team is the biggest powerhouse of the NBA, and will be hard to stop from winning back to back titles.
(2) - San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs made a big pick-up bringing in Antonio Mcdyess who is playing the best he has in his career and itching for that Championship. The Spurs still have all their great players like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson, and Manu Ginobili, but adding in Antonio Mcdyess gives them a big spark on the offense in the paint, and will provide even better defense.
(3) - Dallas Mavericks: Dallas can be right up there with San Antonio at the number 2 spot. Picking up Shawn Marion was a huge pick-up for them. Dallas already has a great offense and defense, but putting Marion alongside with Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Drew Gooden, and Dirk Nowitzki, will make this team a major scoring threat. With their fast paced offense, and great defense, they will put up a fight in the West and are great contenders this year.
(4) - Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets didn't make many changes since Chauncey Billups came to town, which is why they have dropped a couple spots. Yes they are still major contenders and will put up a huge fight to try and make it to the finals. They still have great defense, especially with Chris Anderson defending the paint, and still have an unstoppable offense with Chauncey Billups, J.R Smith, Anthony Carter, and Carmelo Anthony that will keep them major contenders.
(5) - Golden State Warriors: This was between Golden State and L.A Clippers. But I think Golden State still provides a lot of offense and defense, and can move the ball well, and have a lot of scoring threats to make them a little bit of a better contender.