The NBA season opened on Oct 30th, and basketball junkies can begin to get their
fix. There are two exciting times during the NBA season: the start of the
season and the start of the playoffs. This year is no different. As I begin to
write this, I am watching the NBA season opener between the Spurs and Blazers,
my NBA preview edition of Sports Illustrated came today, and my favorite
websites all have their bold predictions and pre-season commentaries on-line.
Before I taint my mind with any of these picks, I thought I would take a stab a
few predictions and comment on "da league."

Eastern Conference 



What was by far the League’s worst division last year is much better. Like
the predicted winners, the Atlantic has no depth but
real good talent at the top.

Predicted Winner: Boston

Obviously, the big 3 are very big. Get use to seeing this stat line out of the big ticket: 20/17/5/2. That could be typical night. Garnett is legit MVP candidate
(remember the only year he played on a good team, he won it), Pierce and Allen
can still flat out play. The big question is depth. I am not sure if they even have
12 guys under contract. Word on the street is two guys named Adam and Jeremy
are working on waving the towels, carrying the bags, and making conversation with
the good looking girls' friend to make the roster.

Watch Out for: New Jersey

J-Kidd can still play and Vince is Vince, at least until crunch time.
The return of a healthy Kristic is huge. Maglore will be a better playoff
player than Mikki Moore and is a good pick up. 

Sleepers: Toronto- Kapono and Delfino are good fits but they still do
not have enough stoppers. This team can score enough to look good and win some games
during the season, but they don’t defend well enough to play deep into the


Central Division

Predicted Winner: Detroit

They really should have made it out the east last year if it weren't for one
the two worst defensive coaching jobs of recent memory when Lebron scored 28 of
29 last year. (The other was the Raps giving up 81 to Kobe).
Still, they have 2 of the key ingredients to winning big games in the NBA. 1.
Someone to make big shots (Chauncey and Rasheed) and 2. Plenty of big, physical
forwards to rebound and defend.  If they falter, look for super exec. Joe
Dumars to fire Flip Saunders and maybe start coaching the team himself.

Watch out for: Chicago

Still have lots of talent and solid coaching but have not added enough to
put them over the hump. Joakim Noah could be a solid role player and Deng
should continue to get better. This is also the most likely place for Kobe
to be traded to which would start the inevitable Jordan
comparisons and changing all my East predictions.

Sleepers: Cleveland

In this case, I mean comatose and dieing fast. Don't be fooled by one lucky
playoff run, this team is not good. It is Lebron, a washed up center, a hold
out power forward, a bad coach and not much else. They are one year wonder that
might just make the playoffs then fade into a few bad years and Lebron going to
New York or LA.


South East Division


Predicted Winner: Orlando

Dwight Howard is due for break out year, and could move into an elite group
of NBA superstars this year. The Rashard Lewis pick is a nice fit to replace
Grant Hill. His shooting will help spread the floor and open things up for
Howard. They should win this weak division going away, unless...

Watch out for.: Washington.

The Wiz have good talent, but were hit hard by the injury bug last year.
They are also a possibly place for Kobe
to be traded to (Arenas), which could help them to challenge for the division this


Any team with Dwayne Wade has a chance. However, Shaq has not been in shape
in 4 years. He will play for a few weeks, get an injury and then sit out until March
and try to play his way into shape for the playoffs. All you Shaq fans out
there: His day has come and gone. Reminds me a lot of Jordan's
last year with the Wizards. Kind of hard to watch. For them to win, they will
need Dwayne Wade to score 40/game get to the line 25 + times/game and make
every big shot in all the big games. Oh, wait... he did that in '06 to win the
title. OK, we can't count them out yet.  


Western Conference


Southwest Division

From the worst to the best, this division is good, very good. Any of these
teams could win or be a top 4 seed in the East. Someone has to survive the
grind and come out on top and that is...

Predicted Winner: Dallas

Yes the Mavs choked last year, but they faced a bad match up with a hot team
and were severely out coached. They still won 67 games and are loaded with
talent. They can play up tempo, half court, great D and rebound. They are deep
and experienced at every position. After last year, only one of two things can
happen here: They completely tank and have to blow the team up at the end of
the year, or they are pissed off and play inspired ball fro the next 100+
games. I am betting on the latter.

Watch out for: Houston.

This team is deep and talented, two legit stars and great complimentary
players. The pick up of Francis will prove to be meaningless, but the additions
of Mike James, Luis Scola and Coach Rick Adleman (which will help the resurgence
of Bonzi Wells) could lead them to the promise land. They have not seen a team
like this in Houston since they won
back to back during Jordan’s
baseball retirement.

Sleepers: Spurs

Although still the favorite to win the title, and probably the best team in
the league, the Spurs will sleep through the first half, win 55 games and then
be ready for a deep run into June. 

North West Division

Predicted Winner: Denver.

This is a very tough choice. I gave the Nuggets the nod because of their
depth and size in the front court.  Kenyon Martin returns with Camby,
'Melo, Nene, and Najara among others. Big, athletic forwards win games in the
NBA. Iverson is slowing down a little but can still make things happen. My
worry is with Iverson running the point; people tend to watch him dribble
around in the half court offense. Even though this is their most talented line up
(AI, Smith, Melo, Martin, and Camby). He is not always the creator that they
need. I also thing George Karl is the most overrated coach in the league.

Watch out for: Utah

We go from an overrated coach to an underrated coach. Amazing in all that
Jerry Sloan has done, he has not won a coach of the year award. Carlos Boozer
is a very tough match up and Deron Willams is a budding star. Okur is a tough
match up for anyone. I just don't think they have quite enough perimeter
shooting to go to finals.

Pacific Division

Predicted Winner: Phoenix

The Suns were a couple of tough breaks away from winning the NBA
championship last year, and return the same core group. The addition of Grant
Hill should help. He is a solid wing defender and will play back up point at
times when Nash goes out of the game. I wonder though if his lack of a 3 pt.
shot will allow teams to sag and help inside. They traded Kurt Thomas for
salary cap reasons and that could be a big loss. D'Antoni needs to play Brian
Skinner throughout the season and see if he can come in to fill the role post
defender because unfortunately Amare is as committed to defense as Lindsay
Lohan is to rehab.  In reality, D'Antoni needs to go deeper on the bench
to keep the guys healthy for a playoff run. You just can't play 100+ games with
guys in their 30's if you are only going 7 deep. Watch for the Suns to pick up
some one like a PJ Brown or Kurt Thomas off the waiver wire in February, it
will help them make another run at a title.

Watch out for:

Really no one. This division is very weak outside of Phoenix.
I can't see the Warriors carrying over their late season success to this year.  If you were to put Memphis
or New Orleans in this division,
they would make a run at 50 wins.


End awards

Winner (Runner up/Sleeper Pick) 

Rookie of the year 

Kevin Durant (Juan Carlos Navarro)

Coach of the Year

Marc Ivaroni, Memphis (Rick Adelman,


Kevin Garnett (Tracey McGrady, Tim Duncan)



Semis: Rockets over Suns, Dallas
over San Antonio

Finals: Dallas
over Houston in 7



Semis: Boston
over New Jersey, Detroit
over Chicago

Finals: Boston
over Chicago in 6


Dallas over Boston
in 5


Think I don’t know what I am talking
about? Are you a big Shaq fan? Think Dirk will choke again? Want to help me actually
edit some of these Blogs? Write your comments below.

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