I've been too busy to write lately but I wanted to get something in, particularly my Finals picks before the first game is played. So here is the official Curly Morris 10 NBA Guarantees this season.
#10. Clippers Rookie Blake Griffin will injure his knee and will never be the same player: Oh this already happened? Well, come on, who didn't see that coming?
#9. Kevin Garnett is officially "done": KG is still good enough to average about 17 and 9 per game and he'll watch his assist total go up as he passes out of more and more unnecessary double teams, but I watched him in the pre season and know for a certainty, that the 'lift' isn't there anymore. His basketball I.Q. and sheer will power will allow him to be competitive for the 50 or so games that he may suit up this season, but he days as a dominant low post and defensive stopper are long gone and so are any chance the Celtics had of returning to the NBA Finals. Kudos to Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale for orchestrating one shining moment for Boston. Enjoy this last good playoff run and then it's back to the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
#8. The Pistons are the fourth best team in the Eastern Conference: Okay who else is supposed to sit at #4 this season? Chicago? Time to come back to earth Mr. Rose. As good as I think that John Salmons is, if he's penciled in for 25 shots per game then you must be a 6th seed or lower. Wizards? Do you really believe that Arenas will be back to form? This team is built to dominate at Rucker Park not the NBA and they realize that they absolutely must avoid the Cavs for as long as possible in the post season. Hawks? The last time I saw Atlanta they were following the yellow brick road with Dorothy, a cowardly lion and brainless scarecrow (figure that one out). Ben Gordon, Charlie Villenueva, Rip Hamilton, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshawn Prince, Jason Maxiel and Chris Wilcox can run circles around anything the Bulls, Wiz or Hawks can throw at them.
#7. This is Dwayne Wade's last season in Miami: Chicago seems the most likely destination for Wade since they can actually offer Miami some quality young talent in exchange. I figure the Bulls will offer everyone except Rose in exchange for Wade ( I envision a 2010 - 11 lineup of Chalmers, Salmons, Deng, Beasley, Thomas in South Beach) and then all D.W. has to do is convince one other superstar caliber player to join him and Rose for a run at the title, and that should'nt be too difficult of a task.
#6 Bye, bye Larry Brown/Bird: Charlotte will disappoint again, Ray Felton and Gerald Wallace will both be trying to leave the day after Knicks guard Nate Robinson posterizes Tyson Chandler, only Brown will probably beat them to the exit. This team has gotten progressively worse ever since His Airness decided to step on the scene, which is sad because Charlotte has a great fan base. As for the Pacers, quick, name three starters from this year's team.....okay, two starters...one?
#5. Stephen Jackson's Marburyesque web site: Like Stephon Marbury, Jackson has held it together for about as long as he possibly could before completely losing it. All we need is one good suspension/trip to Vegas/chance meeting with T.O.(or) Pacman Jones (or) Marbury to give us the lunatic sports story of the year. It's coming, trust me.
#4. The Phoenix Suns will not make the playoffs: Okay maybe this is not that big of a surprise, I mean think about it (Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, Hornets, Blazers, Nuggets, Jazz) and one more between the Suns, Warriors, and maybe Thunder, I don't see Amare, Nash and/or Hill putting too much energy into the homestretch of a season that will most likely be the swan song for each of them in Arizona, (certainly for Amare). Considering the fact that the Knicks have seven expiring contracts on their roster and Mike D Antoni as their head coach don't be surprised to see Stoudemire in MSG by the trade deadline, seriously.
#3. The New Jersey Nets will make the playoffs: Devin Harris, Courtney Lee and Chris Douglass Roberts together form a scoring trio that very few Eastern Conference teams can either match or defend. Combined with an underrated Sean Williams and an improving Brook Lopez, the Nets have a solid young starting five and a pretty decent bench, they'll finish second in the Atlantic Division behind Boston and ahead of Philly.
#2. The Lakers will repeat as Champs: Too deep, too strong at every position, too big, too much Kobe, too many match-up problems, one sneaky trade before the deadline (Rudy Gay?, David Lee?), no Artest to play defense against Kobe. The Spurs, did a great job retooling, but Antonio McDyess will not be enough to help Duncan against Gasol and Bynum and Artest, and more importantly still, who guards Odom on the second unit? At first glance the Lakers don't seem to resemble the dominant teams of the Magic era, or even the Shaq era, but if they even make it to the Finals this season that will be three trips in a row, while Duncan is still playing and Shaq is long gone. Maybe it's time to recognize their greatness. Kobe gets ring number five and the only this is not my number one guarantee is because in order to get it he must first defeat...
#1. The Orlando Magic: Will repeat as Eastern Conference champs. Okay so between Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard who do you decide to leave open so that you can double team...ummmm, double team... ummm. The Magic dumped three starters (counting Alston) from last season's Finals team and vastly improved their roster as well as their depth. This team reminds me of the Lakers in that they have depth, size on the wings and really no weaknesses. Although Reddick is penciled in as the second string SG, with Carter, Pietrus and the newly acquired Jason Williams and Matt Barnes the Magic are scary deep from the 1-3 position and as if Macin Gortat didn't show that he was a more than capable backup for Howard, Orlando brought two PF's with completely different facets to their game. Ryan Anderson can light it up from anywhere on the floor and Brandon bass can defend three positions. I don't see how Shaquille O'Neal changes the fact that Orlando is younger, stronger and has more depth than Cleveland and they have a better center.
Lakers over Magic in seven.