With all the changes that happened during the offseason in the NBA, and those still to happen, there will be plenty of new faces taking the next step in the NBA.
The "power elite" of the NBA will look drastically different next season with several teams going from zero to great.
You can expect division champions to look quiet different from last year. Here is a look at the teams that will likely win their division title in the upcoming 2010-2011 NBA season.
Probably the weakest division in the NBA will not be looking any different this coming year. Teams like New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey will be on the rise and certainly topping their 29-win, 27-win, and 12-win records, respectively.
Regardless, all these teams, as well as the Toronto Raptors are in rebuilding mode and we will not be seeing them at the top of this division for at least two more years.
The Boston Celtics should have another easy road to the division championship, especially since they as well, did not change their roster much at all. And no, Jermaine O’Neal is not a major roster change. Nevertheless, the pick here is Boston.
It is pretty obvious that the Central Division will be seeing a new champion next season. The odds of Cleveland making it top are as close as it gets to zero. On the other hand, this can end up being a division whose championship goes down to the very last game.
The Chicago Bulls, with all their roster changes and existing talent, are the favorites to win the Central Division. But it won’t be an easy fight.
The Milwaukee Bucks finished last year’s regular season with a 22-8 record in their last 30 games. At that pace, they would have been a 60-win team. They have added significant pieces to the roster, and should put up fight against any team every night. Expect them to grind it out with the Bulls for the division championship.
At the end of the day, after an ugly fight, the pick here is Chicago.
The Southeast Division will be the toughest division in the Eastern Conference, and probably the NBA this coming season. This division consists of three perennial playoff teams, and two young teams on the rise. There is no dud here, and at the end of the season, the team’s records will show that.
Now, as far as championship contenders, two teams jump out first. Sorry Atlanta, but with the talent level of Orlando and the “Three Kings” down in Miami, your chances of contending for the division championship are very slim.
The LeBron-Wade-Bosh experiment might work wonders for Miami or it might create problems and take a while to develop. On a positive note, the chances of it working are far greater than it failing, especially since this is what these guys wanted to do (probably since 2008).
At the end of the day it will be Miami overwhelming almost every team in the NBA on a nightly basis. By a comfortable margin, the pick here is Miami.
This division is another division with perennial playoff teams. In this division, experience is what keeps teams going. Teams like Dallas and San Antonio are proven teams that although getting old, can still show why they have been successful for a decade.
On the flip side, Memphis, New Orleans, and Houston are all young teams that have the right mix of veterans and youngsters to be successful. Houston will have Yao Ming back, and New Orleans will have Chris Paul back. The Dallas Mavericks went from no big men to the team with the most seven-footers. Memphis kept their young core intact, while San Antonio, well, kept their old core intact.
Expect plenty of rivalries to develop throughout the season, and some teams to go for yet another 50-win season. Although this division will see plenty of ups and downs, at the end of the day the standings will look very similar. The pick here is Dallas.
The most competitive division last season will not disappoint come November. No team in this division downgraded through the season, although none really upgraded either. Minnesota will be a lottery team for the next few years, and the only team clearly not contending for the division championship. As for the other four teams, it really is a coin flip at this point.
Denver will have George Karl back. Utah replaced Boozer with Al Jefferson, Portland will have a healthy Roy, and Oklahoma City will have a beefed-up front court to go with star youngsters Durant, Westbrook, and Green.
Expect this division championship to probably go into tie breakers once again. Many teams will have a legitimate shot, but at the end, talent and health will reign. Extrapolating the success a team in the recent past and their ability to stay on the court, the pick here is Oklahoma City.
Welcome to Lakers territory. While there are teams in this division that will be fighting to stay relevant, as well as fighting to become relevant, no team can math the Laker’s talent and experience.
There might surprises here and there like Phoenix last season. Young guys like Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, among others may guide their team to a more successful season. However, they will post no threat to the Lakers.
When things are set and done, the unanimous pick here is the Los Angeles Lakers.