With the start of the NBA regular season just a couple of days away, I figured I would chime in with my thoughts on each NBA club starting with the Eastern conference. So sorry but you will not find 1,000 words of analysis on each club; nope, I keep it short and sweet. And, I will not predict how many games each team will win, just playoff playa’s! By the way, I’m happy to see the officials are back even though I thought the replacement refs did a solid job. (BTW, my love for the NBA has grown so much over the past couple of years, I really enjoy watching the greatest basketball players in the world perform. You’ll see more and more material written on this blog pertaining to the NBA. I’m thinking of asking my wife if I can get the NBA League Pass)
Definite Playoff Teams:
Boston Celtics: I hope the addition of Rasheed Wallace doesn’t blow up in their faces. I hope KG is healthy and I hope Ray Allen shoots it well. I really like the Marquis Daniels dude they picked up. Will Rajon Rondo be a distraction or not? I wish he would eliminate that fake ‘behind-the-back pass’. C’s still have a bad taste in their mouth from losing to Orlando in the play-offs last season. Hard to believe Doc Rivers is starting his 6th season-he’s one of the good guys in the business. Like most places, a lot of questions in Boston this winter.
Cleveland Cavaliers: LBJ, LBJ…I love watching him play; the cat can do it all. Can Shaq help him win a championship like he helped D-Wade in Miami? I hope Delonte West makes it back. Hopefully Mo Williams found his jump-shot because he was invisible back in the Spring. Does Big Z come off the bench? The playoff loss to Orlando was a shock to many. Hopefully if they go down in the playoffs again, LeBron shakes hands and congratulates the winner. Assistant coach Mike Malone is a New York guy.
Orlando Magic: Just like the C’s, will the addition of Vince Carter work? I like Jameer Nelson and will Dwight Howard take this game serious? I like that guy from France, Mickael Pietrus he’s tough and plays the right way. Matt Barnes will help. I like Jason Williams backing up Nelson. Don’t sleep on the Magic. You may see them back in the Finals.
Strong Possibility of Making the Playoffs:
Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose is a star. I like Vinny Del Negro. Joakim Noah brings it every night. They are young and play with a ton of energy. I like John Salmons, he has a nice game and is multi-talented. Whatever happened to the P.A. guy they used to have? I wish WGN would televise more games.
Miami Heat: D-Wade and Co. will win some big games. I think he’s going to really step it up. Michael Jordan-type step up. Jermaine O’Neal needs to stay healthy. I like Mario Chalmers. I hope Michael Beasley has licked his problems; I’d hate to see him become the next Walter Berry or even Chris Washburn. Health will be a key issue with this club, can’t afford injuries.
Philadelphia 76ers: Hmmm…World B. Free. George McGinnis, Harvey Catchings, Bobby Jones, Caldwell Jones. Nah, just kidding. Fast Eddie Jordan entering his first season as head coach. I wish they still played in the Spectrum. I miss Zink’s voice behind the Mic. Elton Brand needs to improve on 13 and 8. I can’t forget Dr. J stating, ‘mail in the stats’ before their playoff series with the New Jersey Nets.
Atlanta Hawks: Can head coach Mike Woodson gets his club the last Eastern conference play-off spot? He enters his 6th season as top guy in Atlanta. Joe Johnson will not be a Hawk next season. Will Jamal Crawford hurt the team chemistry? Do they have any chemistry? Will Crawford help? We all know he can score. Do they have a guy that can step up in crunch time and get them past the first round?
Toronto Raptors: Jose Calderon is the man. I enjoy watching him run the club. The addition of Hedo brings them a guy who can score late in the game. Chris Bosh is a free-agent, will he think about his future address too much? Head coach Jay Triano is a good dude. They may sneak in the back-door for the 8th spot.
Washington Wizards: Gilbert Arenas appears to be focused; hopefully he stays healthy. Flip Saunders will show people he can coach; they won 19 games last year-so you’re probably wondering how are they going to make the playoffs, just watch. Mike Miller will help and I like Oberto. Do people realize how good Caron Butler is? I hope former Michigan State Spartan Paul Davis can make the club. If they share the ball and play hard, look out. But that’s a big ‘If’.
Detroit Pistons: I love Ben Gordon. Ben Wallace is back in town and they sell Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream at the Palace. Who starts at the ‘2′, Gordon or Rip? Watch out for Will Bynum. Greg Kelser, a former MSU Spartan does color for Pistons television. New head coach John Kuester once coached former Xaverian Clipper point guard Mike O’Reilly at George Washington.
Probably Not Going to Make the Playoffs:
Charlotte Bobcats: Larry Brown can coach-can he get his guys to listen to him preaching to play the right way and to defend? They have energy-type guys. Additions of Tyson Chandler and Flip Murray help big-time.
New York Knicks: Will they be cheering on 33rd and 8th or will they be booing? Is Nate Robinson the answer? Is Darko? How about that cat Danilo Galinari, who someone said is the best shooter they have ever seen? The Garden deserves a winner. Don’t be surprised to hear the “We Want Steph” chants. I grew up a huge Knickerbockers fan; I haven’t worn their cap I own in a few years-I try and stay loyal but it’s tough. Come on Mike D, turn it around, please. I like the uptempo style, I’m sure the fans do too, but ya gotta stop someone at the defensive end of the floor.
New Jersey Nets: L-Frank works his tail off; he’s entering his 7th season! Do they have enough firepower? I love Devin Harris. Skip-to-My-Lou is back in the metropolitan area where he starred as a high school player; he’ll have all his homeboys in the stands. Are they moving to Brooklyn? Newark? Heck, I’ll take a move back to the Nassau Coliseum. Piscataway even?
Milwaukee Bucks: My main guys Charlie Bell and Scott Skiles are in Milwaukee. I like the way rookie Brandon Jennings plays; he’s got a bounce! Michael Redd is a gunner. Hakim Warrick should help them. Kurt Thomas brings toughness. I miss their former home arena, The Mecca. Will they have a Paul Mokeski Night? How about a Randy Breuer or even a Brian Winters Night?
Indiana Pacers: Did they really fire Mel Daniels? I’m not a big Jim O’Brien fan. I like Danny Granger though. Rookie Tyler Hansbrough will play hard every night. Will he be a success in the NBA? I’m looking forward to watching him this season; he plays the right way. I think Larry Bird enjoys having him around. I like their arena, is there still a Starbucks on the Lower Level?
Coming next: The Western Conference
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