Well here we go again. Just a couple of days until training camp and that NBA fever is heating up once again. Will the Heat "click"? Will the Lakers get a threepeat? How will Yao do in his return? Well I can't answer those questions for you but I'll do my best to predict who the best and the worst teams will be in the NBA this season. So here we go.
Yes, unfortunately T-Wolves fans you guys are in for a long season. You know it's going to be a long season when your GM rights a letter to the fans in the paper about how they won't be winning a championship this season. No offense to Kevin Love I think he is a great player, but if he's your best player you know it's going to be a long, long season.
Here is the letter David Kahn wrote to the fans: http://mn-sz.com/2010/09/kahn-writes-a-letter-to-timberwolves-fans/
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=min
Well they lost "The King" and Big "Z" and "The Shaqtus". It's going to be a tough year for the Cavs. I mean Mo Williams was contemplating retirement because of LeBron leaving. Well JJ Hickson is going to get his chance to shine, he is a supposed star in the making and will get minutes and a chance to show the Cavs what he's got this year. So while it may not be very productive win wise, the Cavs have a bunch of young players that will showcase their talent to the Cavs front office.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=cle
Seeing as they weren't even that good with Chris Bosh, you can imagine how bad they will be without him. I really like Jose Calderon but he isn't a guy who can carry a team. Getting rid of Turkgolu and getting Barbosa will help them out. But don't have high expectations for this Raptor team.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=tor
Well Larry Bird finally did something good for the franchise. I really liked the moves they were able to pull off this offseason, Darren Collison and James Posey are really going to help them a lot. Danny Granger is a beast and I think will be an all star this year and Roy Hibbert has been working very hard to improve his game. Pacers fans should be very excited to see what the future holds for them.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=ind
The Pistons have a surplus of solid guards: Stuckey, Bynum, Hamilton, Gordon and McGrady. All of these guys have good talent but nothing spectacular. So with solid talent you can expect solid results from the Pistons. A playoff berth is probably far fetched but who knows. Maybe Tracy McGrady can return to at least an above average player. I would presume they would trade one or two of their guards because they have so many but they haven't been talked about in trade talks. Don't expect too much from them.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=det
Well Michael Jordan is experimenting with Kwame Brown again, that can never end in anything good. They lost Raymond Felton and do not have a deep bench. Sure Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace are great players but not enough to keep this team a contender. Though it will be nice to see what D.J. Augustin will do. Who knows if he performs at a high level this team may be back in the playoff race.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=cha
Having the worst record in the NBA is never fun, but getting Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors should brighten the spirits of Nets fans. They definitely have a bright future ahead of them, so much young talent. It won't be this year but in a year or two the Nets are going to be a very good basketball team. Having a billion dollar owner certainly isn't going to hurt either (neither would getting Carmelo Anthony).
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=njn
Alright now the Kings are interesting. They got Demarcus Cousins in the draft who could be anywhere from the next star to a huge bust, mainly because of work ethic. Tyreke Evans is definitely a top point guard and Carl Landry can score it in the post. But other than that their roster is pretty bland. Samuel Dalmbert was a nice addition. I wouldn't expect anything too big from the Kings even if Cousins has a ROY type season.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=sac
I'm really hoping the Clippers have a good year, but i just don't think it's going to happen. Sure getting Blake Griffin and Al-Farouq Aminu is nice, but it's just not enough to improve them to be considered a contender especially in the West. They definitely do have the talent to be a good team, just when they progress and they get chemistry that's when the Clippers will make things happen.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=lac
I like Gilbert Arenas a lot, but I don't know how he and John Wall will play together. JaVale McGee is a guy who might have a breakout season and really help. Getting Kirk Hinrich is definitely a good move, he has a great work ethic and is just a good solid player. Really this all depends on how Wall and Arenas click, if they do watch out NBA the Wizards are coming.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=was
Getting Evan Turner obviously really helps their team. Look for Jrue Holliday to have a breakout season and play very well. Getting Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni for Samuel Dalmbert was a good trade, Nocioni can shoot it and Hawes has some talent and potential in him. I think they'll make the playoffs.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=phi
The Knicks got A'mare Stoudemire. Contrary to popular belief he is not good because of Steve Nash, no he was good before Steve Nash got there. The Knicks got significantly better getting S.T.A.T. and point guard Raymond Felton. Felton has a lot of potential and is a very solid player. Then you got sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari who has the sky is the limit type potential. Knicks still have improving to do but should have a solid year and might even make the playoffs.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=nyk
Now the Warriors are a team I really like. Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee are their mini version of Miami's big three. All of them are all star caliber guys and have tremendous talent. But defense has been the problem for them, that and turnovers. If they can fix that they can be a very good team.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=gsw
Yes getting Chris Paul to be healthy the whole season will definitely help them. But also getting Trevor Ariza will help. Ariza is an extremely athletic forward who can throw it down and step out and shoot the three if you need. Then you got David West and Marcus Thornton who are very good players. Probably the playoffs if Paul is healthy the whole season.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=nor
The Suns lost A'Mare Stoudemire and that really hurt. But they did do a good job of getting their team some more depth. This will be Steve Nash's last season in the league. I'd expect probably either a 7th or 8th seed playoff berth or them barely missing the playoffs. One of the best three point shooting teams in the league but will they be able to get their shooters open without a good post player?
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=nor
The Grizzlies really have a pretty good starting lineup. Gay, Mayo, Randolph and Gasol all have all-star potential in them. They did a bad job in signing Gay to a max contract though, he's not worth that. Don't get me wrong he's a fantastic player and maybe in a couple years will be worth that contract. The Grizzlies are a up and coming young team, if their bench can perform they might be able to find a spot in the playoffs.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=mem
Bucks are a really good team, they got Chris Douglas-Roberts and Corey Maggette this off-season. Definitely could be a surprise team, they have lots of talent especially with Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut getting another year under their belts. Michael Redd is coming back after a season ending injury, but how good is he going to be? Most people think he's just about down, only time will tell though. Definitely put the Bucks in the playoff picture.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=mil
Yeah loosing Boozer hurts, but hey Al Jefferson isn't all that bad. He has so much potential and can hit shots from basically any angle you can think of. Then you add in one of the best point guards in the league who knows how much better Jefferson will get. Gordon Hayward will help them with depth and maybe be a key part to their team this season. Playoffs should be in the Jazz' future.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=uth
Obviously Brandon Roy is one of the best players in the league, there is little question about that. But the big question for the Blazers is can they stay healthy. I mean besides Greg Oden of course who you can just write down as being injured for most of the season. But last year they had so many players injured that it was unbelievable, I mean even their coach got injured! They have the talent it's just all about staying healthy for them.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=por
Carmelo Anthony will be traded by the Febuary deadline, sources say probably by next week so that's set in stone. But none the less while he is still on the team we'll do the rankings like that. Really no major weaknesses but at the shooting guard position, Arron Afflalo is not the type of player you want starting on a championship caliber team. Then they have some injury problems with Nene and Kenyon Martin, so they need to watch out for that. Overall a very good team with lots of scoring and pretty good defense.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=den
Overall a pretty talented team but I don't know how seriously I can take them after seeing them get thwomped by the Magic. But they will forget about that and have a very good year like they normally do. But they do have a problem in that Jamal Crawford wants out, so they might have to trade him. But if they don't your looking at a very good Atlanta Hawks team. Oh and they have Pape Sy, not sure how good he's going to be, but who cares with a name like that.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=atl
The Spurs have an old team, I mean Tony Parker is the only starter under 30. But they still find a way to win. I think father time finally catches up to them and slows them down a little bit. But hey they will still be a great team, maybe just not as great as last year.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=sas
They are another aging team, they do not have a starter under 30. I think it will affect them a little bit less than the spurs but still makes them not as good as they were last year. Obviously they are one of the most deep teams in the league and don't lose to much when they go to their bench. Still expect good things from the Mavericks, just not as good as last year.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=dal
I'm not quite sold on the Thunder just yet. I know Kevin Durant is one of the best scorers in the game and that Russel Westrbrook is a beast. But they are just so young I'm not sure how far they can go. The talent is there without a doubt. But maybe just another year of learning the ropes and just becoming a little more familiar with the NBA then they can be talked about as a serious contender.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=okc
The Rockets had a 6 foot 6 center playing all of last season and won 42 games. Imagine what they could do with a more talented 7 foot 6 center. Yao Ming returns to the NBA after missing a season due to foot surgery. He will determine the Rockets season. His health determines sink or swim.
Depth Chart: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=hou
The Bulls got Carlos Boozer this off season, that puts them in a very good position. Boozer is an elite post scorer with a bevy of moves at his disposal. Ronnie Brewer was another guy who they got who will really help at the shooting guard position. The Bulls are going to be a very fun team to watch and will have an outstanding season thanks to their off season moves.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=chi
Dwight Howard is the reigning defensive player of the year. He changes shots and blocks them. The Magic rely on an inside outside game of getting the ball inside and then popping it out for three. This has been very effective over the years and has gotten the Magic all the way to the finals. This year they are hungry and ready to strike.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=orl
The Celtics did a lot this past off season. They signed Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal adding to their depth at center. Got Avery Bradley in the draft and acquired Delonte West from the Cavs. They will certainly make one last effort to win a championship. You know Boston's big three wants to do it one more time.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=orl
The big questions for Miami's big three are will they be able to click? Will they be unhappy with their touches? Do they have enough depth to win a championship? The Heat will try and prove critics wrong. I am certainly not sold on them and will not put them ahead of the reigning champs.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=mia
The Lakers are the reigning champs for two years now and only got better this off season adding Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff and Matt Barnes. They are the best team in the league until somebody beats them in the playoffs, until then there is not much argument in my mind.
Depth Chart: http://espn.go.com/nba/teams/depth?team=lal
Well I'm sure some of you disagree with my rankings so feel free to post why you disagree. I'll be glad to discuss with you why some teams are where they are in the rankings. Looking forward to an awesome upcoming NBA season! Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it.
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