Season Preview: Wrap-Up

» November 3, 2009 11:34 AM | By xphoenix87

Well, that’s it for our season previews. If you missed any of the forecasts, the links to all of them are listed below. In addition, I’ll have a few final thoughts on the season.

Western Conference

  1. L.A. Lakers
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Portland Trailblazers
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Utah Jazz
  6. New Orleans Hornets
  7. Dallas Mavericks
  8. Phoenix Suns
  9. Oklahoma City Thunder
  10. Houston Rockets
  11. LA Clippers
  12. Golden State Warriors
  13. Memphis Grizzlies
  14. Minnesota Timberwolves
  15. Sacramento Kings

Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Orlando Magic
  3. Boston Celtics
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Chicago Bulls
  6. Philadelphia 76ers
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Washington Wizards
  9. Toronto Raptors
  10. Indiana Pacers
  11. Detroit Pistons
  12. Charlotte Bobcats
  13. Milwaukee Bucks
  14. New York Knicks
  15. New Jersey Nets

Final Thoughts

- First of all, stop freaking out. We’re 3 or 4 games into the season for most teams. We haven’t seen nearly enough games to start saying anything about any team in the league. It happens every year that the season starts and suddenly such and such a team is in trouble , or so and so is gonna’ dominate this year. Seriously, stop it. This isn’t the NFL, they play 82 games in this league. Patience.

- Your short list of award candidates.

  • MVP: LeBron, Wade, Kobe (and I’d say it’s about 85% that LeBron wins a 2nd MVP)
  • DPOY: Howard, KG
  • 6th Man: Terry, Manu, Barbosa, Sheed
  • ROY: Griffin, Curry, Blair
  • MIP: Gallinari, Lou Williams, Aaron Brooks, Bargnani (always the toughest category to call, but these guys should all see their point totals spike, and voters love that)
  • COY: Who cares, it’s a complete crapshoot.

- We got spoiled by the last couple rookie classes, which came from two of the strongest drafts in the least 20 years. Last year’s rookie class had a ton of players who came in and were immediately effective. Don’t expect to see that this year. This was a much weaker draft than the previous two, and other than Blake Griffin, there are no sure things. Don’t be surprised when there are only a handful of useful rookies in rotation this year.

- Remember when the East was the Leastern Conference? Well, that’s shifted drastically in the last 2 years. The East has 3 elite teams to the West’s 2, and there are a lot more crappy teams at the bottom of the West. The West still has more “good but not great” teams, but the East’s middle group of average teams is like 7 or 8 deep. All-in-all, there is a lot more parity between the conferences now than we’ve seen at any time in the past decade.

- Speaking of those elite teams, there are only 5 teams with a realistic shot at the title. San Antonio, LA, Boston, Orlando and Cleveland. You could almost throw Portland in there, but that would be a stretch. It’s pretty much a crapshoot to try and pick the winner at this point. The teams are all pretty close, and a lot of it is going to come down to seeding and matchups in the playoffs, which we can’t possibly predict. However, I lean towards Cleveland, because so often in a close playoff series it comes down to who has the better star, and when push comes to shove, Cleveland has LeBron, and you don’t.


6 Responses to “Season Preview: Wrap-Up”

  1. Basketballogy Says:

    xphoenix87,

    I HAVE to tell you that these were the most worthwhile season previews I have ever read in ANY year, much less for this year. I hope you do these on an annual basis.

    I didn’t always agree, but I always thought they were extremely well researched and written, and I read many insights about teams that I had not thought about.

    I’ll be looking out for your articles in the future.

  2. Basketballogy Says:

    BTW, you are right that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and the race is just started…

    — MVP

    But I think Carmelo Anthony is a legit MVP candidate this year. I’m not saying he’ll get it, but I do think he’ll make a lot of people think and get a respectable amount of votes.

    I don’t think Kobe cares enough about the accolades now to make any kind of a push for them. He appears to be all about the rings right now.

    — Elite teams

    I agree with your top 5 teams, however, watching how much the Lakers struggled in last year’s playoffs against the Yao-less, McGrady-less Rockets, and seeing how they’ve matched up with the Blazers, depending on seedings, there could be surprises in the west.

    The rise of Rajon Rondo, coupled with the additions of Garnett, Wallace and Daniels, this team is scary good defensively, as in record setting scary.

    Yes, the Cavs have LeBron, but they’ll have to be in the game for LeBron’s big plays at crunch time to matter, and the Celtics have the capability to squeeze the life out of teams.

    Another x-factor for the Celtics, by the way, is Tom Thibadeau, the assistant coach credited with the Celtics’ defensive game plan. I can see him getting calls to interview for head coaching positions, and if he decides he doesn’t want to wait around for another ring, that could shake up what the Celtics have got going as well.

    I don’t make predictions, and I’m not predicting Boston as 2010’s NBA champions, I’m only saying I can’t see yet who can stop them.

  3. Tsunami Says:

    “I don’t think Kobe cares enough about the accolades now to make any kind of a push for them. He appears to be all about the rings right now.”

    He’s taking 25 shots a night right now…

  4. xphoenix87 Says:

    Basketballogy – Don’t be holding your breath for future articles, I don’t have nearly as much time to write these days as I have the past couple of years.

    For Melo to jump to MVP-caliber would be a major leap, and beyond playing at an MVP level, you have to be recognized for playing at that level, and it typically takes voters a year to notice how good someone really is. Regardless of how they play, Kobe starts with a big edge over Melo because a) his team is better and b) he’s already recognized as an MVP-caliber player.

  5. Basketballogy Says:

    Tsu,

    I hear you, but I don’t think it is because he’s trying to keep up with Melo in the race for the scoring title. The Lakers had a very low scoring game going on, and he was trying to get points on the board for the team.

  6. Basketballogy Says:

    X,

    I was amazed at the time you poured into this year’s review. I know I couldn’t do it for time reasons alone.

    BTW, I agree with the reasons you gave for Melo to not be considered, still, I wouldn’t count him out. Like Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich hardly ever win coach of the year, especially for how surely they’ve proven they deserve it, people just get tired of heaping honors on the same ole people. Maybe Melo’s day in the sun has come.

    On a different subject, I am EXCITED to see the Suns success in the post D’Antoni era. Moreover, that zone in the second half of the Heat game was really something. Until Gasol comes back, the Suns look like they’ll be leading the Pacific for a bit.

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