Here we go...another NBA season underway.
Last year the Boston Celtics lived up to the hype and expectations as they won the NBA championship, defeating Kobe Bryant and archrival Lakers in six games. It was impressive. The Celtics ended the season with the NBA’s best record and finished strong in the NBA playoffs winning both of the first two rounds in seven games.
Funny how they were a few Hawks plays from not even being in the Finals; the Celtics took less games to win the third and fourth round than it did for them to win the first and second rounds.
But let's take a look at their challengers:
With Allen Iverson going to Detroit, the Pistons are going to be even more loaded this year. Iverson without a championship is even more desperate and Detroit’s the team to get it done; it has gone to the Eastern Conference title so many times already.
With Billups and McDyess gone, the Pistons open up a brand new hole in their budget hoping to achieve every NBA team’s dream of landing LeBron on their roster in 2010, but this is 2008-2009 season and Lebron’s two years away. At age 33, it’d be wise if Iverson started competing now instead of waiting for that magical touch of LeBron James landing in Detroit when he’s 35.
Another contender is the Houston Rockets. Acquiring Ron Artest was a pretty good move actually. He hasn’t been ball-hogging the ball and they’re spreading the scoring around pretty evenly. If Yao and T-Mac can stay healthy there’s no doubt in my mind that the Rockets will break the curse and actually get out of the first round of the playoffs this year.
So far the Spurs aren’t looking so good. Going 0-3 in their first three games and then winning 129-125 against a poor Minnesota team really shows how age can come into play. Last year the main concern with the whole Spurs team was whether they were able to overcome the age barrier in the playoffs. They lasted...until this season. Being the oldest team in the NBA doesn’t help when you’re playing against guys like Chris Paul and LeBron James who are both superstars at such a young age.
Will the Suns be able to bounce back from a coaching change? With Mike D’Antoni in New York trying to desperately find themselves back in the spotlight, can the Suns maintain that level of intensity that we’ve seen throughout the years.
Meanwhile the Lakers are doing just as expected...winning games. This is not surprising considering Phil Jackson and Kobe at it again at a second shot to redeem themselves for losing to the Celtics last year. There’s no doubt in my mind that Kobe’s ever going to score 81 again.
As for LeBron James, the Cavs have got to start giving him some help if they want to keep him past 2010. The Cavs right now are a one-man team with LeBron leading the way.
So, all in all, with James Posey gone off to the Hornets, the chances of a Celtic repeat is very unlikely, yet not impossible. Still keep in mind that the Celtics have three superstars with Ray Allen, KG, and Paul Pierce, but the West is getting better each day. It’s good to see AI back on the East side.