Like the last edition, the team previews will be short and sweet but will give some insight on what the teams did in the offseason, and where they should be going this year. Here we go:
Starters: Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, Al Horford
Rotation Players: Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, Mo Evans, Zaza Pachuilia
- Jordan Crawford(only because of the Lebron Nike confiscation incident). In other words, the Hawks didnt do anything.
The Hawks decided to become a treadmill team by re upping Joe Johnson to a huge contract. They're not in that bad of a positon, but they aren't going anywhere but down. They had a tough choice to stand pat and be mediocre and maybe win a round a year or just blow it up and be in danger of having to move the team due to the lack of fan support, so logically they made the right move. The only difference this year is the starting point guard position being there for the taking with Bibby getting older. If Teague can show progression and maturity expect him to take the starting reigns from Bibby early in the season.
SEEDING: 6TH IN EAST
Starters: Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Quentin Richardson, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard
Rotation players: Chris Duhon, JJ Reddick, Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass/Ryan Anderson, Marcin Gortat
- Chris Duhon, Quentin Richardson
The Magic added 2 solid rotation players who fit the style they play. Duhon is an upgrade from Jason Williams because of youth, and defence. Duhon can run the offence better at this point consistantly than JWill can as JWill turned it over a lot last year when teams pressured him. And QRich provides the consistant 3 pt shooting Barnes did not provide last year with the same rebounding numbers, but the downside is Q isnt as good of a defender as Matt is.
Although they added 2 solid rotation guys, the Magic still sit in the same position as last year really, with their hopes and dreams on VCs shoulders. With VC proving last year he couldnt carry them to the promise land, their only hope, yet again, is that Dwight improved his post game to a point where he's near unstoppable and needs to be double teamed even when going up vs the toughest teams and defenders. So essentially, they're going to win a round, and from there it's unlikely they go further unless they face a team besides Boston or MIA.
SEEDING:2ND IN EAST
Starters: DJ Augustin, Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, Nazr Mohamed
Rotation players: Shaun Livingston, Gerald Henderson, Tyrus Thomas, Kwame Brown
The Bobcats stood pat and are hoping that DJ Augustin with the opportunity will turn into a starting level PG. Their defence is good, but their bench is very shaky and their frontcourt is still awful. I can see this team blowing it up by the deadline and looking to deal Jackson and or Wallace(unless their GM goes in the opposite direction and makes a horrible mistake in trading draft picks to try and possibly win 1 round in the playoffs which isnt happening unless they can somehow get CP3 or something) They, like Atlanta, are on the treadmill, but Charlottes treadmill is of worse quality due to the lack of talent.
SEEDING: 9th IN EAST(if they keep the team together the entire year)
Starters: John Wall, Gilbert Arenas, Josh Howard, Andray Blatche, Javale Mcgee
Rotation players: Kirk Hinrich, Nick Young, Al Thornton, Yi Jianlian, Hilton Armstrong
- Kirk Hinrich, John Wall, Yi Jianlian, Hilton Armstrong
The Wizards quietly re tooled their team and have one of the more interesting new lineups in the NBA. Their starting lineup looks promising, and their bench looks like one of the better benches in the NBA. The question will be the chemistry, with both Wall and Arenas in the backcourt, as well as having so many players playing together for the first time, and 8(9 if you count Yi which I dont yet) legit players who need minutes. Their best option is to deal Arenas early in the year after he shows his value, and hand the reigns over to Wall completely whichll also free up minutes for other people. I like the look of this team though and I think if Wall does show hes the real deal, and Blatche and Mcgee continue their improvement, then they have a very good shot at making the playoffs and being one of the more exciting teams to watch in the NBA. Their core is very very good.
SEEDING: 7th in East
Starters: Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony
Rotation players: Eddie House, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
- Lebron James, Chris Bosh, Eddie House, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Expect them to be the most hated team in sports, and to create a new worldwide known chant of BEAT THE HEAT. They're also going to win a lot of games and be scary good. Their biggest question is defence and rebounding come playoff time as their center position is a big question, and if the centers dont play well its going to put a ton of pressure on Bosh
on that end which he hasnt proven he can be that defensive anchor as of yet. But with others carrying the offensive load maybe he'll develop in to that kind of player, he certainly has the tools.
SEEDING: 1st in EAST
Starters: Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Rotation players: CJ Watson, Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson, Kurt Thomas
- Ronnie Brewer, Carlos Boozer, CJ Watson, Kyle Korver, Kurt Thomas
The Bulls made some very nice offseason moves getting Rose a very very good 2nd option in Boozer, as well as some solid complimentary pieces with Brewer, and the new bench pieces. The Bulls biggest questions going in to the year will be if they can keep themselves in the top 5 seeds until Boozer can come back, and obviously their perimeter shooting. Although I like Brewer, I dont like the fit with both him and Deng on the wings. Rose needs shooters around him so they can fully exploit teams on offence, and I think with both starting it really shrinks the floors with team being able to zone in on the pick and roll without any consequence on kick outs. They're going to be one of, if not the best rebounding teams in the NBA and they're pretty deep so they'll be a tough out come playoff time.
SEEDING: 4th IN EAST
Starters: Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace
Rotation players: Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Austin Daye, Greg Monroe, (Jonas Jerebko)
- Greg Monroe, (Tracy Mcgrady)
I think Joe Dumars has lost his damn mind and the Pistons are going to trade Rip and Prince finally this year. Theyre going to be awful.
SEEDING: 15th IN EAST
Starters: Maurice Williams, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varajao,
Rotation players: Ramon Sessions, Daniel Gibson, Joey Graham, JJ Hickson
- Ramon Sessions, Joey Graham
The Cavaliers lost their best player and now have a former Raptors
duo manning the 3 spot. Yeah, they're not in good shape. Mo Williams and Jamison will shoot their way to some wins and their defence should still be decent, but they dont have enough talent and scoring in the halfcourt to win a lot of games.
SEEDING: 11th IN EAST
Starters: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Luc Mbah a Moute, Andrew Bogut
Rotation players: Keyon Dooling, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Jon Brockman
- Corey Maggette, Keyon Dooling, Drew Gooden, Jon Brockman
The Bucks had one of the more confusing offseasons of any team in the league. The additions of Dooling and Brockmanmade sense because they're hard nosed defensive players who will fit in the system and style that Skiles likes to play, then they went out and got Maggette and Gooden, two players that are well known for their selfishness, lack of defence, and erratic play. This is definately one of the harder teams in the NBA to predict, because if
Skiles can somehow make it work and make those 2 new additions to play within the system, then they'll be an extremely tough out in the East, and one of the deeper teams in the NBA. I think by mid season, they'll have Maggette coming off the bench because I think it's unbalanced with too many guys needing the ball in the starting lineup as of now, and whether Maggette accepts that role will determine the fate of the team. I think Skiles is a good enough coach to make this work.
SEEDING: 5th IN EAST
Starters: Darren Collison, Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert
Rotation players: TJ Ford, Brandon Rush, Paul George, James Posey, Tyler Hansbrough
- Darren Collison, James Posey, Paul George
The Pacers improved their outlook by picking up Collison(and George in the draft, assuming he pans out), now he has a great chance to prove he's one of the better young point guards in the NBA. The problem is they didnt improve their frontcourt talent or depth at all and their wing positions are still very mediocre at best. Expect another long season in Pacer land, and after this year it wouldnt surprise me to see Grangers agent looking to have him shipped elsewhere.
SEEDING: 13th IN EAST
Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal(Kendrick Perkins)
Rotation players: Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Von Wafer, Glen Davis, Jermaine O'Neal
- Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, Delonte West, Von Wafer
Boston took a big risk in adding both O'Neals, as their season rests on the health of their bigs and adding 2 guys whohave had well documented injury pasts especially lately may blow up in their faces. If it does work they have the size to give any team in the league a ton of problems, and if it does work, they'll also have an issue with minutes as one of Shaq/Jermaine/Baby isnt going to play much. It'll be interesting to see who gets the shaft. I can see Doc Rivers using the O'Neals in small doses until the playoffs though to save them, which will be huge for them as long as the chronic problems dont occur anyway. I think with giving their old bigs rest during the regular season it may put their seeding down 1 to the 3rd spot instead of the 2nd spot, but come playoff time they'll be really tough to beat if they've gelled and can stay healthy yet again. There's the big variable of health with the Celtics, but they made it work last year and I think with their improved depth and their ability to integrate anyone into their system they'll be extremely dangerous come playoff time.
SEEDING: 3rd IN EAST
Starters: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes
Rotation players: Louis Williams, Andres Nocioni, Thaddeus Young, Marreese Speights
- Evan Turner, Andres Nocioni
The Sixers made some small moves and got a top pick in the draft. They have some nice young talent but the parts still don't fit. They still can't figure out if they want to be a quick up tempo team or halfcourt team, and in both styles of play they're not even that good. This will be a transition year for them, hoping that the Holiday/Turner backcourt works, and if it does, they can re tool next offseason around it because it has the potential to be one of the better backcourts in the NBA for a long time. They're going to have to make a decision on Iguodala and Youngs futures with the team and soon.
SEEDING: 10TH SEED IN EAST
New York Knicks
Starters: Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Amare Stoudemire, Ronny Turiaf
Rotation players: Toney Douglas, Roger Mason Jr, (Kelenna Azubuike), Bill Walker, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov
- Raymond Felton, Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, Roger Mason Jr, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov
I like what the Knicks did in the offseason acquiring a lot of solid role players(Turiaf, Azubuike when healthy, Mason) and some young talent with a lot of potential(Randolph, Mozgov). And of course Amare and Felton. I think the Knicks will come to find that they should start Randolph with Amare once Randolph proves to DAntoni hes ready and just play uptempo. I like the overall depth of this team, but I think them taking the first step in making the playoffs will come down to Randolphs progression and health. If he becomes the Lamar Odom clone everyone expects him to be and they can play DAntoni ball, I think
the Knicks will make their first appearance in a while in the playoffs.
SEEDING: 8TH IN EAST
Starters: Jose Calderon, Demar Derozan, Linas Kleiza, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Rotation players: Jarrett Jack, Leandro Barbosa, Sonny Weems, Ed Davis, David Anderson
- Linas Kleiza, Leandro Barbosa, Ed Davis, David Anderson
are in a rebuilding year with a big identity crisis. They're going to be awful this season, but we all hope they can show flashes, and that Demar Derozan can take his first step to superstardom, and Weems and Johnson as well as Bargs
can take the next step in their careers as well. Improvement throughout the year is what we expect, and hopefully they'll be able to make it exciting along the way. Hopefully the defence isnt near last in the league again, and they play up tempo to keep it exciting as I expect we'll be one of if not the worst halfcourt teams in the NBA.
SEEDING: 14TH IN EAST
New jersey Nets
Starters: Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw, Troy Murphy, Brook Lopez
Rotation players:Jordan Farmar, Terrence Williams, Derrick Favors, Johan Petro
- Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, Johan Petro
The Nets added a good core of solid players and a promising rookie. With Troy Murphys expiring deal and already available cap space they have put themselves in a good position to make a big move for a key player at the deadline or in the offseason. Until then though, they'll be better than last season but they're still going to have a tough time on defence though their offence should improve a lot with the outside shooting they brought in. If Favors proves to be the PF of the future and they can get a key player at the deadline they could turn out to be a playoff team, but unless that happens they should still be on the outside looking in.
SEEDING: 12th IN EAST