Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sportz' NBA Preview and Predictions

I love the NFL and dedicate a lot of time to it. But the NBA may be the league I'm most in tune with for some reason. I feel that the NBA, more than the NFL and MLB, is a league that I can follow everything with better clarity.

So, the 2009-2010 season will begin soon. There's questions everywhere (which I'll get to) and a race for another championship by the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs ... and Shaq.

First off, check out my individual division predictons here: Atlantic, Southeast, Central, Southwest, Northwest and Pacific.

Now a more in-depth look:


EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS: 1-Cavaliers, 2-Celtics, 3-Orlando, 4-Washington, 5-Atlanta, 6-Philadelphia, 7-Chicago, 8-Miami

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS: 1-Lakers, 2-Nuggets, 3-Spurs, 4-Blazers, 5-Mavericks, 6-Hornets, 7-Jazz, 8-Suns

NBA FINALS: Lakers beat Cavaliers, 3-2


WILL RON ARTEST SCREW UP THE LAKERS? I don't think so. He respects Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson enough not to be the cause of the problem. He pretty much was on his best behavior last year. Most importantly, this is his best chance at a championship and he doesn't want to be the guy who ruins that.

WILL SHAQ HELP OR HURT LEBRON? This is the one I'm interested in. I've been on record saying that Shaquille O'Neal will muck up the lane a bit for LeBron James. The Cavs' best play was having LeBron blow past his man and attack the rim. Now, Shaq and his defender will be there in the way. Having said that, Shaq will keep the defense from zeroing in on LeBron and should leave guys like Mo Williams and Delonte West wiiide open.

IS SAN ANTONIO STILL A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM? They can win the title but I'm not as enamored with the Spurs as others seem to be. Yeah, Parker, Manu and Jefferson form an awesome athletic bunch ... I don't like when Tim Duncan is a center. He seems to play better at the power forward spot.

ARE THE CELTICS TOO OLD? This is a great question. I think they are old but not too old. Ray Allen is 34, Kevin Garnett is 33 and Paul Pierce will be 32. That's not too old to win a championship.

WHAT PLAYER WILL BE THE GUY TEAMS GO AFTER AT THE TRADE DEADLINE? Carlos Boozer. The Jazz didn't think he'd be coming back. Boozer didn't think he was coming back to Utah. But with the economic climate and the open market down, Boozer didn't opt out of the final year of his deal and stayed put. Utah just broke the bank for Paul Millsap and he needs starters minutes. For teams that need an inside scorer, Boozer would be a smart bet. You aren't bogged down with a bad contract.

WILL THE KNICKS EMBARASS NEW YORKERS? This isn't a playoff team, but it's close. I think this Knicks team will be relatively quiet. They have some talent and most of those big mouths are gone.

WHAT TEAM WILL BE AN EMBARASSMENT? I'm picking Golden State. They have some players there but it seems as if no one is getting along. You have Stephen Jackson demanding out, Monta Ellis whining about Stephen Curry and questions about the future of coach Don Nelson. This thing could get out of hand quickly.

WHAT WILL IVERSON BE IN MEMPHIS? The Grizzlies will be an interesting social experiment. Iverson ... who cares about starting, shooting and scoring ... joins O.J. Mayo in the backcourt. Are there enough touches to go around? Mayo is the future so he needs to gain experience. Of course, Iverson always sees himself as the man on the court at all times. Iverson will get his points, but it will be plain to see that he isn't the same player anymore.

CAN ORLANDO WIN THE EAST AGAIN? No. They are good but they won't punk the Celtics or Cavaliers again. The C's will the healthy and the Cavs will be hungry. Vince Carter adds more excitement and scoring, but losing Hedo Turkoglu will really hurt come playoff time.

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