NBA Preview 2005-2006

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NBA Preview 2005-2006
My first NBA preview... written to a group of friends in November 2005... even before I had a blog... from here on out it's new material for the site... 
 
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 02:14:14 +0100 Ok, I'm not a top 5 guy, so I'll do my best to distribute knowledge for Hutch's benefit...I can't believe I'm going to waste my time writing this, but I'm pitiful. Waddell, just click on that button that says delete.

Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics - The last time the Celtics had a guy with hops like Green, he died of a cocaine overdose before the season started. Young team with Paul Pierce as its leadership sounds like a ship that's sinking.
New Jersey Nets - Vince Carter playing basketball like he enjoys it means big things. Would be much better with Shareef, Marc Jackson isn't the answer in the middle.
New York Knicks - The team that once seemed doomed now rests its future on a 5-foot backup PG and the heart, literally and figuratively, of Eddy Curry and Jerome James... ok, they're still doomed. Why is there so much optimism in New York?
Philadelphia 76ers - Webber and AI combine for 67 points, 16 boards and 14 assists and they lose to the Bucks? Uh, sounds like an early vacation.
Toronto Raptors - Do they play NBA basketball in Canada? The Raps lost to the Euro league champions (without their MVP, the guard for the Pacers)...sounds like a high draft pick.

Central Division
Chicago Bulls - A young team that made the playoffs as a five seed by coming out of nowhere seems to signal good things. When your PG is as reliable as Kurt Heinrich, it means really good things, with or without Eddy Curry.
Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron with a Larry Hughes playing second fiddle, a resigned Z and essentially a team that should have made the playoffs the last two years without nearly the talent level... sounds like a top 4 team.
Detroit Pistons - One title and another NBA finals appearance... add some Darko, shake and serve... see you in June, or late at least late in May.
Indiana Pacers - The best team in the East... if they can keep the muzzle on Artest and S.Jackson. Apparently Danny Granger is the truth and I know Jasikevicious is the truth... expect them to be in the Eastern Conference finals.
Milwaukee Bucks - I'm sorry, I don't know how to react when a small market team gets the 1 pick, signs a respectable free agent, keeps a superstar and gets the gift of a back from the dead point guard in TJ Ford. Given the quality below the top 4, this team is in the playoffs.

Southeast Division
Atlanta Hawks - Joe Johnson better be REALLY good... because his team sucks. He wanted a chance to play the point, but the fact that this team didn't already have one should have led him to look elsewhere. His teamates will fill the old Grinnell stat sheet with "Blown Assists" and he will get the Ricky Williams (salvaged the future) treatment by the AS break.
Charlotte Bobcats - Give them time, Omeka can play, Gerald Wallace can play and they have one year left on the three year plan. My guess is they end up like the Hawks and have cap money that nobody wants.
Miami Heat - I love White Chocolate... for the highlights. They took a sure Eastern Conference finalist and added volatility... I prefer the Pistons technique, if the cars got high performance, no need for an overhaul...could be trouble if Policeman Shaq doesn't whip some ass.
Orlando Magic - Grant Hill plays 70 games and they are a playoff team... if not, well wash, rinse and repeat... lottery. Dwight Howard may put up ridiculous numbers... like 20 - 17 some day.
Washington Wizards- Larry Hughes didn't get the respect he deserved, the Wiz will fall a little, but expect them in the playoffs because Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels can ball as well.

Southwest Division
Dallas Mavericks - Somehow the Mavs just stick around, not going to win any titles, not in jeopardy of missing the playoffs... But they do have Mrs. Christie this year, which should make things interesting when he doesn't get any run behind Daniels and Howard.
Houston Rockets - Apparently Stromile Swift is the answer, but my question is who rebounds for this team? Yao can't be bothered and to my knowledge Stromile would prefer to get out in the fast break lanes. Could be a disappointment, but they make the playoffs.
Memphis Grizzlies - See you guys in the lottery. Damon Stoudamire, Eddie Jones and Bobby Jackson do not make teams playoffs contenders anymore.
OKC / New Orleans Hornets - Waxed my Kings last night on the back of PJ Brown... Doomsday scenario... I say they're 1/20th of the way to their season win total.
San Antonio Spurs - Finals bound. Getting Finley was simply unfair.

Northwest Division
Denver Nuggets - Still looking for a decent shooting guard... how about Earl Boykins? He kills teams. If Kenyon Martin wakes up to the Mountain time zone, they could be as good as they were at the end of last year. I suspect they are 3 to 6 seed.
Minnesota Timberwolves - I'm sorry KG, but unless you put up 30-18-8-2-2 each night, your team is not going to the playoffs.
Portland Trail Blazers - Supposedly young and exciting, that gets you to the playoffs in the East, not in the West.
Seattle SuperSonics - Wild card. They lose a mediocre center and a backup point guard, doesn't sound like much, but I thought they would win 30 games last year and they haven't improved. Ray Allen will have to pull some shit out of his hat to get this team back to the playoffs.
Utah Jazz - AK47 for a whole season makes the Jazz a fringe playoff team.

Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors - If Baron stays healthy they have a shot of shooting up the playoff charts because he makes J Rich and the gang better. If he doesn't they struggle. What the hell were they thinking giving Dunleavey 9 mill a year?
Los Angeles Clippers - A line up with Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell plus Brand and Maggette sounds pretty solid actually... this team could fight for an 8 seed if they can figure out a way to satisfy all of their 20 point scorers.
Los Angeles Lakers - I saw a highlight the other day and the Lakeshow appears to be moving the fuck out of the ball. If they can run the triangle and get 15-10 from Kwame they make the playoffs as a 6 seed.
Phoenix Suns - Steve Nash will carry the scoring load without Amare and Raja Bell and the gang will make up for JJ and Q's departure. But if Nash has this team anywhere near where they were last year when they get Amare back around the AS break, he has just taken the title of the NBA's Brett Favre...it simply doesn't matter who he's throwing it to...the results are always positive.
Sacramento Kings - Aaah, the team everyone wants to write off. Arguably the league's best starting five has a bench with certified role players. All signs point to them getting a 2-4 seed in the West.

Predictions
MVP - LeBron. If the Heat square things away, Shaq. If the Suns float without Amare, Nash. Dark horses are Barron Davis, Ray Allen and Gilbert Arenas

Finals - Spurs vs Suns (with Amare) and Pacers vs Pistons
NBA finals - Pacers over Spurs
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