New York Knicks, Thanks: 2011 NBA Playoffs Will Be Best Since...Well, Forever
The hot topic of the NBA this year has become "super teams."
Never have NBA fans seen so many good teams in one season. Think about it: About 14 of the 16 teams (in the playoffs as of Mar. 11) have a shot at winning the 2011 NBA Finals. Let's take a look at each of these ballclubs and express their excitement individually.
The most frequently mentioned team in the last month of the NBA, the New York Knicks, have their own version of the three-headed monster in the rejuvenated Chauncey Billups, the creator of the buzz in Carmelo Anthony and the Beast of the East in Amar'e Stoudemire, the last of whom will be put up to the lead role of the Big Apple symphony despite being a first-year Knickerbocker. It will be really interesting to see if all this hype is going to pay off.
The Los Angeles Lakers of course have the tools to win it all since they have done so the past two seasons. With a starting lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and a viable sixth man in Lamar Odom, how can you not be in contention?
Everyone surely knows the saga of the Miami Heat, or shall I call them the "Cryami" Heat as a clever correspondent on this website put it. They are still 44-21, but for all the general public knows they could be .500. No one seems to be up on this team right now, but with improved bench play they could go far this summer.
A seemingly endless plethora of stars, the Boston Celtics are a team that is primed to return to the NBA Finals, a place where they have made their mark repeatedly. However, age might become an issue, as we are all witnessing the declination of superstars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.
Another power in the East, the Chicago Bulls, led by the 2011 Most Valuable Player at this moment, Derrick Rose, are on a tear, destroying everything in their path. Guys like Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Rose will lead the Windy City surge come summer.
Nobody wants to mess with the San Antonio Spurs come playoff time, and this year it isn't mostly because of Tim Duncan as it has been in years past. Other ballers like Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, DeJuan Blair and George Hill are chipping in.
The Orlando Magic can be a dangerous team and easily sport one of the league's best frontcourts. Dwight Howard and the crew are out to make sure that everybody remembers that there is another team in Florida worth mentioning.
Dirk Nowitzki, the greatest European to ever play basketball, has helped lead the Dallas Mavericks from mediocre to a mainstay in the playoffs in the past decade. In order to go far this postseason, the Mavs need to display that confidence that they have because of their experience.
Call me crazy, but the Portland Trail Blazers could make it to the NBA Finals this season. They have a fierce frontcourt, led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby, and coupled with an experienced point guard in Andre Miller and the talented Wesley Matthews, the Blazers could go far.
Will the 2011 playoffs be the best one yet?
This might just be the year for Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. They now possess both offensive and defensive greatness after the acquisition of Kendrick Perkins. I am looking forward to seeing how they do now that they have all the pieces they need to ultimately contend for a championship.
I know this will come as a surprise to all you readers, but I honestly believe the Memphis Grizzlies have what it takes to make a deep run come crunch time. Once Rudy Gay returns to the lineup full time it will be safe to call them contenders.
Look out, world! The Atlanta Hawks are soaring into an arena near you! Seriously though, the Hawks have a fantastic roster loaded with five guys who are averaging better than 15 points per contest, something no other team in the league can boast. I am looking forward to them becoming perennial contenders sometime in the near future.
Now that the Carmelo Anthony saga is over in the Rockies, the Denver Nuggets are looking forward to a bright future in Colorado, and why shouldn't they? Young talent is spread out amongst the squad, and amidst all the 'Melo drama people seem to forget that they are still holding the fifth-best record in the Western Conference.
I would like to apologize to all you Sixers and Pacers fans out there for having your teams work hard this season to earn a berth, but realistically I don't see any of them making any noise come crunch time.
"Joseph, you're crazy! There is no chance that 14 teams have a shot to win the Finals!"
You might be thinking this right now, but all of these teams mentioned can and will make this the best postseason ever.
I would also like to thank the New York Knicks for making this possible. We couldn't have done it without you.
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