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Whos taking the NBA crown?

Well we are only a week into the season and there are some interesting teams that could be in the mix come the end of the year. Here are my picks for who will be around and why, but I may have to re-evaluate this as the season goes on – We are only in week 1.
1. Lakers – Not because I am a Laker Fan but this team are the reigning champions, back to back champions, have been there 3 straight years and could actually be better this year than the last 3 years. Why, they have arguably the best starting 5 based on offensive ability and defensive ability, they have one of the best coaches ever, one of the best players ever and arguably the best in the league right now and have one of the best and deepest benches. They have upgraded their bench with the addition of Blake and Barnes, have Bynum coming back and only a lack of interest could stop this years Lakers. The rest of the Western Conference seems the same if not weaker with the departure of Boozer and Stoudamire to the East and their biggest challenge may come from the Oklahoma Thunder who are a dark horse to make some noise with the best scorer in the NBAKevin Durant.
2. Celtics – Well they have been there 2 of the last 3 years and have added some nice pieces with the O’neals but they are already old and got older and their durability comes into question as already Shaq is on the shelf and the other Oneal could go down any minute now. Having said that they too have the defensive ability to shut teams down inside and out, have the basketball iq to make up for what athleticism they have lost and also have an excellent coach. However this team is not as good as the team that won it all 3 years ago and need someone that can step up like James Posey and Eddie House did when they won it all, Big Baby  now seems to be their biggest contributor off the bench but they need more than that and I am not convinced they have what is required to take it to the Lakers. The emergence of Rondo as a premier point guard in the league has been impressive and his ability to create shots for his teammates is likely better than any other pg in the league, including Nash right now.
3. Heat – The Miami hate are the sexiest team in the league and the team everyone wants to see win and everyone wants to see lose. We may even question if it would be good for the NBA if this team won? However a team with 3 players of the calibre of Bosh, Wade and King James have to be thrown in the ring and they will only get better as they all learn how to play with one another. The thing that is impressive is that these 3 players can also play good defense, more so James and Wade, but its the other pieces that will be the detriment to this team. 3 players can not win it all no matter how good they are and their bench does not have enough tools to help them go all the way. Mike Miller is a great pick up for the heat but it will depend on the ability of the others to grow with the team for them to challenge at the top.
4. Magic – This team is capable they have the depth, they are one of the best shooting teams in the league and their 3 point bombing will also give them a chance to compete. If Dwight Howard can live up to his potential he could be unstoppable inside. In addition Van Gundy is a great coach. However this team needs to not rely on its talent and play smart. They got beat down by the Celtics last year but they need to play to their strengths and know when to change it up. This team also is not as good as the team that made it to the finals 2 years ago and Vince will never do what Turkolu did that year. Actually no one will do what Turkolu did that year not even Turkolu himself if he came back. And that’s the problem for the Magic, which is what they will need this year a little bit of magic.
5. I have stopped here as there is a crowd of teams and I can not rate one above the other. Thunder have the potential to be here, but are still too young although they have they gained some knowledge from last years taste of playoff ball. San Antonio, seem to be a poor mans version of the Celtics, I think the glory days in San Antonio are over. Denver have the talent and depth to get there, but is Carmelo focused on winning in Denver or New York? And last year with George Karls sickness we learned the importance of a good coach. In the East after the top 3 you have Atlanta who have the talent but just for some reason seem like something is missing, not sure what it is but it’s not there in Atlanta. The team that will give teams something to think about will be the Bulls. They had a good core last year and losing Hinrich will hurt but the addition of Boozer will more than offset that and they should be able to challenge teams with Noah, Boozer and Rose in Chi Town, they will be the Utah of the East.
Having said that, my hope is that the Lakers meet the Heat in the final. (Stern might like that too) Kobe gets ring number 6 and Jordan comes out of retirement to stave off Kobes claim to surpass him as the Lord of the Rings. Oh yeah a trade between the heat and Celtics to exchange Shaq for Ilgauskas would add to the drama of this dream final and Kobe and Shaq could do a freestyle rap battle for additional bragging rights on a live version of Shaq vs.
  1. November 10, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Very interesting thoughts. I agree for the most part but you may have left off some teams worth mentioning. From what I saw recently, Golden State may be one or two moves away from contention. They need more scoring from others not named Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry but the addition of David Lee will be HUGE.

    The other team I’d mention is Utah. Why? because they are Utah and are one of the best coached teams in the league. From the east there’s not much to chose from. Milwaukee is a borderline team but last year they proved they can play.

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