Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NBA Preview 2007-2008

Big Baby wants predictions, he wants them now!

So as I was relaxing after another productive day down at the new Gramercy Estate and it hit me that I needed to get my predictions done and up ASAP as the season, thanks to that witty NBA television schedule starts tonight.

So with the Oden-less Trailblazers taking on the champs in San Antonio to start things off tonight, here's the Coach's Take on the upcoming season.

The league will rebound nicely despite the following:
-An uneventful (as nice as I can put it) Spurs sweep of the Cavs in the Finals last June.
-The worst scandal to hit the Association since the cocaine days of the late 70's and early 80's.

-The joke which is the Knick organization (doesn't New york deserve better than a Coach/GM and an organization who was found guilty of sexual harrassment and the wrongful dismissal of a female employee?)

This is going to be the most exciting regular season in years, thanks to the Celtics ressurgence and the conitnued rise of teams like Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver and Utah. Star power is strong but the attention will hopefully continue to shift back towards teams not just individual talent. Kobe might be the best in the game but that ain't putting a smile on his face or another Chip on his mantle. What the Celtics did will not only be important for the team, city and league for the obvious but for how the game is looked at, analyzed and appreciated moving forward. Team basketball will now be in the spotlight because of the Celtics (yes the Spurs have been doing it for years) and hopefully others will take notice that is how the game needs to and should be played. With the Suns on a mission, the Mavs looking to rebound and the Spurs out to defend what is theirs the best of the best will not disappoint this season. Out West Denver, Houston, Utah and the Hornets all should be improved.

4 Questions Out West

Will the Warriors be as affective?
They have the guns but the suprise element and momentum from last season was a big help. Stephen Jackson being named a captain still has me searching for some answers.

How will Dallas respond after last years playoff collapse?
They will be strong and pissed off. Problem is Phoenix is just as angry with a better team and Steve Nash leading them.
Coach Johnson and the Mavs must, must get off to a hot start.

Will the coaching, personel and style of play changes in Houston get them to the next level?
The Rockets will be an exciting and improved team as Coach Adelman will have them running at every traansition opportunity and dumping it into Yao at every opportunity in the halfcourt. Tracy McGrady must stay healthy and realize he has to attack the hoop as well as play off of Yao, not the other way around.

Will this finally be the year of the Sun?
The third time had better be the charm for Phoenix. With Nash still at the top of his game, Marion seemingly willing to keep quiet and continue his production and the addition of veteran Grant Hill the Suns will challenge again for the Western Conference crown. As good as Nash is it is about the unit and the paint which needs to be owned by Amare Stoudemire and Marion for them to break through to the Finals.

4 Questions Back East

Is Jason Kidd on borrowed time? The guy was a machine for Team USA this past summer but he has a lot of miles on those tires. Jefferson, Carter and 2nd year guard Marvin Williams are going to have to do enough to keep Kidd fresh come Spring.

What is Cleveland thinking?
We all witnessed the same conference finals last year when LeBron officially became KING JAMES, but Cleveland really thinking they are getting back to that stage with what they look like right now is crazy. Even if Varejao and Pavlovic return from their holdouts there is no way they are better than Chicago, Detroit, or Boston. The Cavs will be a playoff team but a trip back to the finals is far from a reality.

Will Chicago keep this group together?
With the Kobe rumors swirling and the Bulls clearly having the best package to offer, Chicago faces the choice of whether or not to breakup this blossoming team of young talent to acquire one player. It would be great for the sake of team basketball if Chicago said thanks but no thanks if the asking price from the Lakers is to high. Deng, Gordon, Thomas and Noah is to much in the Coach's opinion for Kobe. He has to be moved, the Bulls have all the leverage in the world here, and the talent to be very successful this season without him.

Will Boston's supposed lack of depth hold them back from winning the eastern conference?
Plain and simple. No. Great players, truly great players bring out the best in their supporting cast and that is already beginning to happen in Boston. While Garnett was trapped in Minnesota for so long all many saw were his highlights and stats, not the profound desire to win, his passing ability or his intensity with each posession. Teamed with Pierce and Allen we know about the trio and what their goal is. What many are realizing is that the entire team and oraganization seems to be completely on board. Look for Rajon Rondo to improve with each game at the point and for Tony Allen once healthy to be one of the best all around bench weapons in the game.

The East
Surprise Team: My collegues and I have been talking about the Hawks, specifically their growth and improvements. With teams like the Knicks, Raptors and Wizards all in the hunt for the postseason the Hawks will have enough talent and depth to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 when Steve Smith was tearing hearts out with his jumper and Deke was in his 40's. Josh Smith and Joe Johnson are long, versatile and explosive. Rookie forward Al Horford, southpaw guards AC Law IV, Salim Stoudemire, and bigs Zaza Pachulia, Marvin Williams and Sheldon Williams give them depth, rebounding and enough scoring options to be a playoff contender this spring.

The spotlight: All attention is on Boston and rightly so. If last week's final dress rehearsal against Cleveland is any indication this team is going to be a nightmare to deal with on a nightly basis. Kevin Garnett's name will return to the best player in the league conversation and Paul Pierce will be once again appreciated as the great player he is. Will it take a few weeks for them to get completely in sync? Sure it will. But with Ray Allen, Garnett and Pierce combined with a mix of hungry vets and talented youth who are all on the same page this team will rise to the occassion and be the best in the East. Hats off to Danny Ainge for bringing the Celtics back.

The Jump: Dwight Howard will officially make the leap this season from potential stud to STUD, and it will happen quickly. Much has been made of his off-season work on his left hand around the hoop and jump shot away from it. Add Rashard Lewis to the mix in Orlando and suddenly opponents can not game plan just for Howard any longer. Point guard Jameer Nelson will also be on a mission as he is playing each night with the memory of his father driving him. Howard will benefit from all of this as he will become the new low post beast of the east.

Eastern Conference
1. Celtics
2. Bulls
3. Pistons
4. Nets
5. Cavs
6. Heat
7. Magic
8. Hawks

1st Round
Celtics over Hawks
Cavs over Nets
Bulls over Magic
Pistons over Heat

Celtics over Cavs
Bulls over Pistons

Conference Finals
Celtics over Bulls

The West

Surprise Team: The Sonics received much praise for rebuilding their team for the future with this year’s off season. But what they may not realize is that they are in playoff contention right now. Durrant, Green, West, Wilcox, Wally World, Ridenour and Co. are a talented and versatile group. Coach Carlisimo loves the challenge of teaching and growing his team and this group will give him everything they got. A late run by the Hornets and a Kobeless Laker team will challenge for that final playoff spot with Chris Paul leading the Hornets to the postseason but the Sonics will turn lots of heads this season.

The Spotlight: The Phoenix Suns

As stated above the Suns window to win a championship is open, but how long it stays open is the question. Steve Nash has been playing the best ball on the planet and is putting his historical stamp on how the position of point guard should be played offensively. He has a versatile, experienced and hungry supporting cast around him that will certainly use last years loss and controversial decision by the league to motivate them this season. This is year three that the Suns are good enough to break thru to the finals. The road has never been tougher with the champion Spurs, Mavericks, Jazz and Nuggets in the fold. Stoudemire, Marion, Diaw, Hill, Barbosa and Bell along with Nash is as strong as it gets on paper, whether or not it takes them to the promised land remains to be seen. If history holds true the Suns will finally break thru and represent the west in the finals.

The Jump: Deron Williams

With a ton of young talent that is only getting better out west this was a tough choice but Deron Williams is hard to overlook. He is a young version of Jason Kidd with a jump shot. With the emergence of teammate Carlos Boozer last season they formed a lethal guard/forward combo that exhibited power, speed and the ability to face off against the best of the west. Williams will look to lead the Jazz back deep into the playoffs like last season as his hunger for post season success must be building by the day as the season arrives. At his size his ability to shoot the ball, distribute and get into the paint at will make him one of the most feared guards in the league for a long time. His time to jump is now.

Western Conference
1. Suns
2. Spurs
3. Mavs
4. Nuggets
5. Jazz
6. Rockets
7. Warriors
8. Hornets

1st Round
Suns over Hornets
Nuggets over Jazz
Mavs over Rockets
Spurs over Warriors

Suns over Nuggets
Spurs over Mavs

Conference Finals
Suns over Spurs

NBA Finals
Suns over the Celtics

In a thrilling postseason the Suns and Celtics will battle their way threw the playoffs and into the finals. The star power and hunger of the players will make this one of the best finals we have seen the Jordan days.

1 comment:

ybloc said...

coach, how can you even post the celtics LOSING to the suns?!?!?!?