The NBA’s current landscape is in a period marked by a perpetual state of flux. A progression that was initially triggered by LeBron James and last season’s blistering Miami Heat wave that enveloped North America from coast to coast.
The ensuing aftermath caused an ongoing continental shift that is forcing big market NBA franchises to transform themselves into super teams.
But as the Dallas Mavericks proved last season with just one superstar in Dirk Nowitzki, super teaming is not a required blueprint for success.
Bleacher Report’s debate team that includes Allen Kim (Deputy NBA Editor) and Rich Fernandes (Featured Columnist), will cross analyze the top 10 teams as projected for NBA 2011-12.
We will provide individual extrapolations that (in most cases) will reflect opposite perspectives of these teams in an endeavor to label them as either pretenders or contenders.
For the purpose of this debate, a pretender is defined as a team that in our individual and contrary opinions, have little hope of winning a championship next year, despite being good enough to make the playoffs.
What makes this debate compelling is that Allen Kim and I agree on only a few of these pretenders and contenders as our in depth arguments will illustrate.
Where do your opinions lie?
Teams that did not make this list but who will probably also make next season’s playoffs include the Clippers, Wizards, Celtics and Nuggets.
The super talented L.A. Clippers and Washington Wizards will be tremendously exciting to watch next season as they visibly continue their maturation processes towards greatness, but the young Blake Griffin, John Wall and friends are still far too raw to make it to the NBA’s endgame.
The dominant days of Boston’s Big Three are over as the inevitable retirement window closes in on them. That will leave the Celtics to face the gargantuan task of rebuilding around their lone superstar, Rajon Rondo.
It’s puzzling, however, that this team and their Big Three formation was not able to win at least two championships.
The Denver Nuggets have surprised most critics after the infamous Carmelo Anthony trade but still have much to prove before making a list like this including resigning a number of key free agents or effectively replacing them.
While we realize that the NBA lockout may impact the entire season without a single game ever being played, it’s most likely that the year will be saved in the form of a shortened season.
So without further ado, let the debate begin!