Monday, September 1, 2008

NBA Teams to Watch Out For

Boston Celtics- The reigning NBA champions held onto their Big 3 throughout the offseason, and with Rajon Rondo maturing into a great pointguard, there is a strong chance for a repeat of last year. However, they still have a relatively weak center position, and the depth of the roster is questionable. But that didn't stop them last year. Now, their superstars have had a whole season of experience together, so you can bet on seeing them at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers- The biggest change the Western Conference Champions have from last season is Andrew Bynum is back. The 7-foot center was injured early last season after an amazing (and very surprising) start. Only 20 years old and mentored by one of the all-time greats, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, there's no doubt he's going to keep getting better. With a lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Bynum, it's hard to find a weak point, but let's see if they can work as well together as the Celtics.

Detroit Pistons- There's little doubt that the Pistons have the most depth in the league. Adding Aaron Afflalo, the 6-5 guard from UCLA could be the boost they need to bring them back to the finals. Aside from Rasheed Wallace's temper, everything about the Pistons has been consistent from their defensive focus to their balanced scoring. Although they don't have the superstar power of many teams in the league, they arguably play better together than anybody else because their starting lineup has been relatively unchanged throughout the years with the notable exception of Ben Wallace to the Bulls. Don't be surprised to see the Pistons up there with the Celtics in the East.

New Orleans Hornets- The clear underdog last season because of their inexperience, the Hornets put together an absolutely spectacular season with a lineup that few could have guessed would finish 2nd in the west. Chris Paul finished second in the MVP voting behind Kobe Bryant. Paul, who is only 23, obviously has superstar potential. With a young team enables them to play the fastbreak offense better than anyone in the league, the Hornets are just going to keep getting better. We'll just have to wait and see if the other teams can keep up.

The 5th spot is pretty close. With Ginobli out, the aging Spurs are looking slower than ever. Adding Shaq to the Suns was clearly a big mistake since a halfcourt offense is not their style. Dallas hasn't seemed to recover from their shocking loss to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs a couple years ago. The Rockets and the Cavaliers have been very inconsistent, their success dependent on the performance of Tracy McGrady and Lebron James, respectively. I'll give the 5th spot on this list to the Jazz because when they are at their best, their strong offense led by Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer is nearly unstoppable. They'll have to step up their game to compete with the best in the west though.

The NBA season opens on October 28th.


Amit said...

Hard to find a weak point on the Lakers? Are you kidding me? Bynum has yet to prove himself over the course of a full season, and Odom and Co. showed how truly inadequate they were against the Boston Celtics this summer. Derek Fisher might be a decent role player, but compare him to Tony Parker, Chris Paul, and Steve Nash, and he's clearly one of the weaker point guards for playoff teams in the west.

Watch out for the Hornets. I watched the Hornets play against the Warriors in person, and Chris Paul was absolutely dominant. With the game close with 5 minutes to go in the fourth, Chris Paul was responsible for every single point by either scoring or assisting. He is still underrated, and three years from now he will be known as one of the best pure point guards of all time.

Santiago said...

Personally (I'm not the author of the article but a writer on SportsTalk) the Lakers are a solid team - probably number 2 in the league right now. Bynum (before he got injured - I went to the Warriors/Lakers game December) has potential. No doubt he should reach it with the guidance of K. Jabbar. He is relatively agile around the bucket, and he has a solid body to maneuver his way through defense. He's shown steady improvement over the last 3 years.

No doubt the Hornets are an amazing team...Chris Paul is probably the best PG in the league. They do have a solid post game w/ Chandler and West. HOWEVER, if anything were to happen to Paul, I promise you this team would collapse.

Anyways I'm going for the Celtics this year.