Happy Holidays to all obviously. With the holidays come the network’s first view of the NBA, and in this lockout shortened season, we get the season opener. Obviously, given the attention we have given to the Association before in past years, I would be remiss not to at least give a few quick thoughts on the races.
- Thumder: Expectations galore. Best returning team, and the compressed schedule and short preseason help here.
- Clippers: More excitement, more depth. They should win the Pacific.
- Spurs: Someone has to win the hyper competitive Southwest. Spurs did a year ago, and the roster has better balance than the Mavs and Grizzlies still.
- Nuggets: Team best equipped to thrive on the compressed schedule. Team has more legit NBA players than any other, and team has best chance to improve.
- Mavericks: Lack of beef up front a real problem. But they have Dirk and quality depth.
- Lakers: Kobe will not be healthy all season with the wrist. They are desperately thin up front, and the betting here is that Dwight will not go anywhere.
- Grizzlies: Wish they could make an outside shot. Lot of career years last year which will come back to earth, but Rudy Gay’s emergence will offset a lot.
- Blazers: A good team without much upside, especially with Oden still hurt. But a bit more than the others.
- Rockets, Jazz are fun upside plays, especially the Jazz who are going to be very good very soon.
- Heat: Best team in the league, and their big 3 will have more chemistry. They also have a near NBA level supporting cast
- Bulls: If Hamilton gives them scoring pop, they will be really good, better than even this.
- Magic: They will keep Howard for one more rodeo. It is the best thing for the franchise.
- Celtics: Old bones being creamed by the schedule. But the division is so flimsy that it won’t matter.
- Knicks: Close race with Boston, but defense is soft and not sure the talent is matched for what they want to do.
- Pacers: Lot of good pieces and depth. Will help with this schedule.
- Sixers: Doug Collins might wear out his welcome here, but the team has good chemistry.
- Hawks: A mediocre team in a mediocre conference.
- Who cares, unlike the West, the list ends at 6.