This Article Courtesy Of Rip City Report
In the Dog days of summer, there is little for basketball fans, and writers alike, to feast on.
With all of the big name free agents secured by their respective teams, the only things fans can speculate about is the future of their hometown organization.
So, in order to feed the speculation, I introduce to you my 10 bold predictions for the 2010/2011 NBA season.
The Miami Heat will sputter from the start but finish strong
This is just how the NBA works. Every team that acquires the services of a big name free agent starts slow, bringing about questions of the acquisition.
Is he really all that? Was he worth the money? Is he becoming a cancer in the locker room?
These are all questions that will surround the Miami Heat over the first few months of the season. Except they can magnify the problem by three, if not more considering that none of the players on the current roster have played together.
Even though the Heat will finish the NBA season strong, they will not hold the best record at the end of the season.
The Los Angeles Lakers will be the Favorites Heading Into The Playoffs and Will Hold The Trophy At The End Of The Tournament
This may be my least bold statement in this article. The Lakers, whom have made excellent offseason, have kept themselves in contention and in the picture while other teams have gotten worse.
With the additions of Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Character, and Matt Barnes they have addressed their needs. Adding veteran leadership, young prospects, and solid role players will make them the team to beat throughout the NBA season.
Look for Kobe Bryant to regain his role as the best player in the NBA.
The New York Knicks Will Fail To Make The Playoffs
I will not believe that a team who loses its best player and sole rebounder, and obtains a solid offensive player will suddenly become a playoff team.
The Knicks won 29 games last season. Ramond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov, Kelenna Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf will not catapult this team to 40+ wins.
It just wont happen.
Amare Stoudamire is a good player. But he isn't good enough to pull off a 10 win improvement by next season.
He is very athletic, allowing him to look good on defense even when he isn't moving his feet but David Lee is a better player than Amare Stoudamire.
His rebounding abilities are not the result of his (lack of) athleticism. He knows how to box out and do the dirty work.
David Lee is an old school style player and I like that.
Look for the Knicks to sit right around the 10th seed at the end of next season.
The Los Angeles Clippers Will Make The Playoffs, Phoenix Suns Will Be On The Outside Looking In.
While we are on the topic of Amare Stoudamire, we might as well talk about how his former team will fare without him.
The Phoenix Suns have done little this offseason to replace their former stars production.
The additions of Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick will do little to help their weakened front court.
At this point, the Suns will have to start Channing Fry at the Power Forward Spot and will feature a very weak defensive lineup.
If you can get any weaker defensively than last years Phoenix Suns.
On the other side of the ball, you have the Clippers.
Yes The Clippers.
The ones that have been cursed since their inception into the league.
So Clipper fans, get ready. You will actually get to experience winning next season.
and for some of you, this may be a first.
The Clippers are loaded offensively and if Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman can stay healthy for the entire NBA season, they will have a very solid rebounding core that might even be able to play defense for stretches of some games.
Sure, the Clippers wont be winning the NBA championship next season, but Clipper fans, this is as close as you will get.
The New Jersey Nets Will Make The Playoffs
A year ago, the No Good Nets were really, really bad. So bad that they were risking history.
On the verge of Breaking into the record books as the worst team to ever play the game (Read: Most Unbreakable Records ).
But with a few key additions to the offense and a good draft, the Nets will be in a good position to add a tremendous number of wins to their end of season total.
Try 30 wins.
It may not be as hard as you would expect because of the weak division they play in.
With Toronto, New York, and Philadelphia all missing the playoffs with sub- .500 records they should have an easier time dominating the division play.
Boston is their only real threat, but don't expect them to surpass the Celtics anytime soon.
The Nets will finish second in their division and eighth in their conference.
In The Western Conference, The Portland Trail Blazers Will Finish with the Second Best Record
For all of the NBA insiders that believe the Blazers shot themselves in the foot this offseason, you are wrong.
Sure, they had a PR mishap with the firing of fan Favorite Kevin Pritchard. An event that caused much of Blazer nation to panic .
But guess what? The Blazers still have their all-star guard, Brandon Roy .
LaMarcus Aldridge, a guy that averaged 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists while playing completely out of position as the teams only big man due to injury.
Everyone tends to think LaMarcus is a soft player, but forgets that he banged around in the paint for much of last season once both centers (Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla) to season ending injuries.
LaMarcus went through the season pulling down rebounds at the pace of 10,11,12, and even 15 a game.
Sure, LaMarcus doesn't remind us of Brian Grant or Buck Williams.
and yeah, LaMarcus does tend to gravitate towards the perimeter.
But he has some killer post moves and when he is facing a bigger, more powerful forward, he uses those post moves to get to the foul line.
LaMarcus is just fine.
The Blazers are just fine.
They've added a young defensive specialist with Wesley Matthews, who, when paired along side Nicolas Batum , will form a formidable defensive lineup that will challenge the likes of the best offensive threats.
A tag team between Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews is sure to slow down Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Paul.
Combine that with the length of Marcus Camby, Greg Oden, or LaMarcus Aldridge and you have a very solid lineup both offensively and defensively.
But most certainly defensively.
Again, the Blazers are just fine.
Brandon Jennings Will Have A Very Off Year
The Milwaukee Bucks young potential star is going to disappoint next season.
The combination of more offensive responsibilities and increased scouting from opposing teams will prove that a year of experience isn't always a good thing.
As a rookie, Brandon averaged 15.5 points and 5.7 assists while shooting a dismal 37% from the field.
He even shot better from three point range, than he did from the field.
Most of his struggles began later in the season and were mostly due to hitting the rookie wall and intensified scouting from opposing teams.
That will only get worse next season.
Chicago Will Bring Back Memories By Making It To The NBA Finals
The new and improved Bulls have opened the eyes of many with their offseason acquisitions.
Once plan A went down the drain (Signing LeBron James to a long term deal), the Bulls went for plan B.
First they signed Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver.
Now they are in talks with shooter Rudy Fernandez .
The front court of the Bulls is very good. Noah is the type of player that every single great team has had (not saying the Bulls are a great team).
He does the dirty work, he pulls down rebounds, tips out rebounds, takes hard fouls when he needs to, and he is a tireless worker.
Noah may be undersized at the center position, which could give the Bulls trouble when they face the Orlando Magic. But the lack of size at center is made up for by the height of the rest of their lineup.
Greg Oden Will Play In 65 games Next Season, Be A Candidate For The All-Star Team
This is a feat that the former number one pick has never accomplished. He came close in his first NBA season (not his first year) but was sidelined because of a chipped kneecap among other injuries.
Greg played in 62 games that season.
The Portland center has been very good while he is on the court.
Averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in just 23.9 minutes a game.
Plotting his per 48 numbers at just around 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks.
Again, Greg Oden is dominant when he is on the floor, he just needs to get one healthy year under his belt to build confidence in his body. (read: Former Golden Boy Looks To Return To Golden Form )
That will happen next season.
John Wall Will Win The Rookie Of The Year Award
In the most crowded and talented draft class in recent years, John Wall will prove to be the best decision the Washington Wizards have ever made.
It's not a lock that the number one pick will win the Rookie Of The Year Award.
Out of the past 12 first overall selections, only two won the award outright.
That gives John Wall only a 17% chance to win the award.
John Wall will beat out former teammate DeMarcus Cousins for the award, along with other notable draft picks Evan Turner and Derrick Favors.
This Article Courtesy Of Rip City Report
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