30 Thoughts On the NBA Season pt. 1 (Eastern Conference)

In honor of the NBA returning, TSX will put thoughts on all 30 NBA teams and how they may fare this season. These thoughts are all rhetorical, so feel free to express your thoughts as well.

We’ll start in the Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics: This could be the final run for these Celtics, they are slowly turning into the San Antonio of the East (in terms of becoming the retirement home of the NBA). Signing Rasheed was a plus, but Kevin Garnett MUST be healthy for this team to think NBA Finals again.

New Jersey Nets: This team is completely uncertain. From the move to Brooklyn to the team itself. The only two sure things on this team are Devin Harris and Brook Lopez. Courtney Lee can be a factor if he changes his attitude, but expect this team to be at the bottom of the Atlantic Division.

New York Knicks: The de-Isiah process is a long and tough one, but as Donnie Walsh continues to pick apart this sheer mess that Isiah Thomas made of this once-proud franchise, expect them to have a long season (yes, another one of those), but at least they will be looking better than the guys across the Hudson (see above)

Philadelphia 76ers: The bad thing this team could’ve done for this season was get rid of Andre Miller, who was a dependable point guard. They really don’t have nobody initiating the offense. Louis Williams is not a full-time point guard, meaning that Andre Iguodala will have to be the point forward of this team. The good news is that the rest of the division is going to be bad, so they shouldn’t finish no worst than 3rd place

Toronto Raptors: This team really was under the radar, and signing Hedo Turkoglu was huge in shoring up the front court. The Raps now have Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, and Turkoglu as a front court. If Jose Calderon can stay healthy, and with a decent bench, the Raptors can be as high as second place. The real questions are with this team are: 1.) Is Jay Triano the right man for the job?, and 2.) Will Chris Bosh stay despite the efforted improvements by Bryan Colangelo?

Central Division

Chicago Bulls: You want a schizophrenic team? You got one in the Bulls. Despite losing Ben Gordon, the question is, are they going to be good without him, or are they going to be bad without him. Just like with Jay Triano and Toronto, is Vinny Del Negro the right man for this job and this team in getting them to the next level? The Bulls have the potential to be dangerous, but who knows what you will get out of them.

Cleveland Cavaliers: This team won 66 games without Shaquille O’Neal on the team. Now with the Big Shaqalier in town, Cleveland will still be among the elite, but the only problem for them is that the rest of the East is getting more competitive as well. They won’t win 66, but they will have another great season, and of course when the season starts, it will be countdown to LBJ2010: Will he stay in Cleveland or leave?

Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars is revamping this team without completely dismantling it, which makes him one great executive. He got rid of Billups, ‘Sheed, Big Ben (only to bring him BACK), and expect him to shop Richard Hamilton around for an expiring contract (like he did for Iverson) to create cap space for 2010 (similar to adding Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, and Chris Wilcox) when the big(ger) names come around. Don’t expect the Pistons to be among the NBA elite, but don’t write off Joe D and his decisions, because they will pay off in the long run.

Indiana Pacers: While Joe D does his revamping one way, Larry Bird is doing it another way. The only way the Pacers are going to get back to the levels of the 90s and early 2000s is: 1. Bring back Reggie Miller and Rik Smits, and 2. Have Bird be the coach again. The huge losses of Marquis Daniels and Jarrett Jack (say what you want, but Jack was a good backup) means that T.J. Ford MUST stay healthy, and Troy Murphy, and Danny Granger need to avoid injuries, and possibly, with a healthy Mike Dunleavy, Jr., we could say the Pacers are— never mind. Another long season for Indiana.

Milwaukee Bucks: Losing Ramon Sessions was not a good move for the Bucks, as it took away their point guard player. Carlos Delfino is not an adequate replacement, and rookie Brandon Jennings will need to prove that going pro in Europe was the best thing for him. Do not be surprised if Michael Redd gets traded from Milwaukee during the season, as the Bucks try to clear up more cap room. They started by unloading Richard Jefferson to the Spurs.

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks have experienced a revival in Atlanta over the past couple of seasons, but as good as they are, they need one more piece of the puzzle to get over the hump and into the second round. Joe Johnson has help in Jamal Crawford, and Josh Smith is explosive and can change the game, but he’s too tempermental. Mike Bibby has been a phenomenal point guard for the past year and a half, but if the Hawks don’t get a marquee name, they are only going to be a second round team. Head coach Mike Woodson has done a good job staying through the storm, and getting these guys to play, but just one more piece to this puzzle, and we can put the Hawks among the East’s bests.

Charlotte Bobcats: Trading Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler is a gift and a curse. It’s a gift because, the ‘Cats get a player who’s passionate about the game in Chandler, but he’s never healthy. Chandler can get offensive rebounds, something that was non-existent throughout the franchise, but how is the toe going to hold up? It’s a curse because Okafor was very consistent, but he never really got fired up, and if you’re going to be the face of a franchise, you have to have intensity, and he has none. Boris Diaw’s out of shape, Raja Bell’s hurt, so where are the points going to come from. Charlotte is known for squandering 4th quarter leads, w/ no go-to-guy, and have been fortunate to escape the cellar in all their years of existence. Too bad it will change this year.

Miami Heat: Too much uncertainty here. Wade has not signed past this season, and nobody knows what will this team be like for next year. This is a season to keep their star player on South Beach. Michael Beasley needs to be utilized as a power forward and not a small forward. He has superstar quality, but he is not used to being the #2 guy, or the sidekick, because everybody knows that Dwyane Wade is the main attraction. If Erik Spolestra can get Beasley more involved and run plays for him and through him, he can really be special, and so can this team which, in trun, can entice Wade to stay, and for Pat Riley to sign a big name to make this team dominate in 2010 and beyond. But keep Wade happy this season if they want those goals.

Orlando Magic: Say what you want about this team not deserving to be in the Finals over Cleveland, but this is a loaded team that can go all the way to the deepest part of their bench (12 deep) and they have really upgraded despite losing Hedo Turkoglu, who was huge in the playoffs. Vince Carter is a major upgrade, and of course they have Superman (Dwight Howard). This team had the Cavs’ number in the playoffs, and even with the Big Shaqalier in town, the Magic have their number due to their depth and matchups, and they are younger than the Celtics. Do not be surprised if Orlando makes a return trip to the NBA Finals.

Washington Wizards: This team is healthy again, and if Gilbert Arenas can stay healthy and with Antawn Jamison already out, the pressure is off Caron Butler to lead this team. They have a new coach in Flip Saunders who knows how to make teams play well, and if the Big Three are healthy, plus a few players that can step up away from them, the Wiz will make a return to the playoffs. They won’t be at the Orlando Magic level, but it will be good enough for possibly third place.

TSX will preview the Western Conference later tonight.

  1. October 26th, 2009
  2. October 26th, 2009

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