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2008, October: My 2008-09 NBA Season Preview

November 18, 2008

 WEST:
1. Lakers: Should be salty that we saw a Gatorade bath in the finals… Kobe will have a shot to win back to back MVP awards… Gasol and Bynum – new twin towers… will miss Turiaf… what will happen with Lamar Odom – starter? sub? extension? trade?

2. Hornets: Sad note to opponents – Chris Paul is no where near as good as he will be… Scary! West and Chandler are legit… Peja and Peterson shoot the 3's… Posey will do the intangibles.

3. Jazz: Sloan sets the tone (crazy he has never won coach of the year)… Williams (pts/assts) and Boozer (pts/rebs) are both 20/10 guys… AK will guard multiple spots and needs to be in it emotionally… Okur makes big shots…Millsap brings production and energy.

4. Rockets: Wow if this team can stay healthy (and Artest can mix), don't be surprised if they Win the West! Yao and TMac are All Star starters… (Do the fans still vote?).                                                                                          

5. Suns: Regular season wins have never been a problem… Amare will be off the charts… Nash is still one of the top PG's… Shaq will fit in better under Terry Porter… Barnes will be a pleasant surprise… this team must play some sort of consistent defense to make the finals.                                  

6. Spurs: Cannot write this team off especially when they still have a championship core… Duncan, Manu, Parker, etc… keep the beard Coach Pop!                                      

7. Trailblazers: This team is loaded with young talent led by All Star Brandon Roy and if Greg Oden is anything as advertised… watch out.                           

8. Clippers: Yes, they did lose Brand and Maggette and it will work out for all involved… Baron Davis is coming home and wants to show he is the best PG in the game…. Camby and Kaman will have All Star credentials… squad loaded with scorers.

9. Mavericks: It will be very important for this team to get off to a fast start – especially with so many changes made and distractions this off season… led by Dirk/Kidd/Howard… Rick Carlisle has proven to be a great coach.    

10. Nuggets: AI and Melo will be All-Stars and All-NBA… will Nene and Kenyon be healthy?… who will anchor the already poor defense without Camby?… JR Smith starts to really make a name for himself… team may score 170 pts in a game.                              

11. Warriors: Missing Monta Ellis for 30 games will hurt the running game… Turiaf and Maggette were good pick ups… Stephen Jackson will get a new deal.   

12. Timberwolves: Jefferson is a force and Kevin Love will surprise many… Mike Miller can shoot with the best of them… lottery bound.     

13. Kings: Reggie Theus is a good and promising coach this season and roster won't really give him the chance to show it… Martin will light it up… Brad Miller will play at a high level.
                                             
14. Grizzlies: Lots of highlight plays from Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo… lots of growing pains in the West standings.                   

15. Thunder: Congrats to OKC… Durant is worth the price of admission.

EAST:

1. Celtics: The defending champs lost key role players in Posey and PJ Brown… the bench will need to cover those holes but they still kept their starting five in tact… that includes Pierce, Garnett and Allen… Rajon Rondo really emerges… Rivers among coaching elite.                        

2. Pistons: Every key player is still here and playing at a high level but obviously older… Stuckey and Maxiell will be ready to play big minutes… Tayshaun Prince has to play like a go-to-guy every night.                                     

3. 76ers: Elton Brand will be a huge problem for opponents and an all star… Andre Miller is the most underrated PG in the game… Iguodala has developed into a star… will need Dalembert to anchor the paint on defense… will be a tough out for any East team in the playoffs.                                            

4. Magic: Dwight Howard should lead the league in rebounds and blocks (the next few years!)… 3pt shooting of Turkoglu and Lewis will be there… having Battie will help a lot… both backcourt spots will have to pull their weight.                                            

5. Cavaliers: The mobility of Ilgauskas and declining production of Ben Wallace will hurt the interior on both ends… Lebron will have the chance to win his 1st MVP award… Mo Williams ability to create off the dribble and shoot it will be a different but much needed look at the point.                                                       

6. Raptors: Jose Calderon takes care of the ball and plays well on both ends… Raps will shoot the 3 very well w/Kopono, Parker and Bargnani… Bosh will be an All-NBA pick… Jermaine Oneal is hungry to show he can still play at an all-star level… and just like all teams below this point – have yet to prove to be a true contender for the East crown.                                       

7. Hawks: Josh Smith is probably the best all-around athlete on both ends of the floor in the game… Joe Johnson will be the an All-Star… Al Horford averaged a double/double as a rookie… team will miss Josh Childress.                                 

8. Wizards: Eddie Jordan has done a great job of keeping this team together and keeping his system operating…. this year, the multiple player injury bug takes its toll with Butler, Arenas and Jamison healthy come playoff time – will have the chance to play spoiler to a top seed.

9. Bucks: Micheal Redd will be an All Star… Jefferson will be a welcomed addition with his scoring and defense… Bogut keeps improving… Coach Skiles will create a working attitude… bench is suspect.                    

10. Bulls: Talented but crowded backcourt will create confusion… young bigs (Noah/Thomas) are still developing… Gooden will have a strong season.                           

11. Heat: Wade will be dominant… Beasley will contend for Rookie of the Year… Shawn Marion if not re-signed will put another team over the top in a trade.                                         

12. Bobcats: Wallace and Okafor (when healthy) play hard and tough defense… J-Rich can score it… still not ready for playoffs.                                   

13: Pacers: This team is in total rebuild mode – roster, image and fanbase… Ford and Jack will push the tempo to go with the scoring of Granger and Dunleavy… Tinsley trade?                           

14. Nets: Devin Harris and Vince Carter will make plays but the young fellas will need time to learn and grow.                    

15. Knicks: Who are the Free Agents in the summer of 2009?