[media-credit attachment_id=3352 name=" " align="alignright" width="88"][/media-credit]The NBA season is about to kick off with the regular season and I need to get this off my chest before the season starts. We had one of the most entertaining off-seasons in the history of the NBA. From “The Decision” to the movement of some of the biggest names in the game to the F.I.B.A. World Championships, we had it all. If you are a true NBA fan, you didn’t really have an off-season. I’ve loved every minute of it and I’m more excited about this season than I have been for any other in many years.
So who had the best off-season? Many will quickly say that the Miami Heat pulled off the impossible and made the best moves. I strongly disagree. Miami pulled in Lebron James, and Chris Bosh to play wingmen to Dwayne Wade. But in the act of doing this they really depleted their team, on the bench especially. Having Bosh and James will help Wade, IF… and this is a huge IF… Lebron can keep his enormous ego in check all season and understand that he is not the key to winning. It is not his team and it will not be his team. I actually love that he made the choice to leave the Cavs. I honestly feel the Cavs will be a better team in the end. I don’t think the Heat will be the powerhouse everybody thinks they will be.
Miami will have to beat out some very good teams in the East. Boston will compete, with Shaq going to the Celtics, they just added some size and a ton of experience to an already seasoned team. Orlando was pretty quiet in the off-season, but they have a solid team. The team that I am picking to win the East is the Chicago Bulls. With the addition of new coach Tom Thibodeau, Carlos Boozer, and Kyle Korver the Bulls will battle for the Eastern Championship. The only downfall to the Bulls at this point is that Boozer injured his hand and may miss the month of the season. But Having Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah in shape when Boozer does return, will be a great site for Bulls Fans.
We also saw the Knicks unload just about everything they had in hopes to grab Lebron. Instead they shelled out a ton of cash to sign Amar’e Stoudemire and a decent supporting cast in Raymond Felton and Ronny Turiaf. I have a real dark horse that I actually think will be a major surprise this year. The NEW JERSEY NETS… I know they had the worst record last year, and I know most people have them in the bottom of the mix, but let’s talk about some major off-season moves; a new owner that just happens to be a Russian billionaire – and he loves to spend money, a new coach in Avery Johnson, and a star in the making with Derrick Favors, adds to what I think is already a pretty good young team. Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, Anthony Morrow, and Terrence Williams will help Favors be the key to winning.
The West looks like this: the Spurs are getting old and need to reload. The Jazz lost Boozer , and Carmello really doesn’t want to be in Denver anymore. So where is the power at? Well Oklahoma has, in my opinion, the next MVP in Kevin Durant. So that alone says volumes for such a young team and a team that will be a powerhouse in the West for years to come. Westbrook and Durant are simply electrifying to watch. They almost knocked off the Lakers last year in the playoffs. With the Jazz and the Spurs in a rebuilding type mode, I see the Thunder moving up in the ranks of the west this year. They really need to add size, as do most teams that will face the Lakers. Another team to look out for in the West will be the Minnesota Timberwolves… yes, that’s right. With the addition of Michael Beasley and Luke Ridnour they instantly improved their shooting. If they can finally get overseas star Ricky Rubio to commit, they will be a force.
The defending Champions actually had the best off-season, in my opinion, and here is why: they already have a sick starting line up with Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Fisher and Kobe, but what they did with their bench is almost illegal. They went out and signed Matt Barnes, who started for the Magic last year, Steve Blake and Veteran big man, Theo Ratlif. The Lakers bench looks like a starting team. Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Sasha Vujicic and Theo Ratlif… and let me also mention the Rookies; Derrick Caractor and Devin Ebanks who destroyed people in the summer league, will continue to grow under the best coach in the NBA.
So how will this all play out? This is how I see it.
Atlantic Division: Southeast: Central:
1.Celtics 1. Heat 1. Bulls
2. Nets 2. Magic 2. Cavs
3. 76ers 3. Hawks 3. Bucks
4. Knicks 4. Wizards 4. Pistons
5. Rapotrs 5. Bobcats 5. Pacers
Eastern conference finals: Bulls Vs. Heat
Northwest: Southwest: Pacific:
1. Nuggets 1. Mavericks 1. Lakers
2. Thunder 2. Rockets 2. Suns
3. Trail Blazers 3. Spurs 3. Clippers
4. Timberwolves 4. Hornets 4. Kings
5. Jazz 5. Grizzlies 5. Warriors
Western Conference Finals: Lakers Vs. Mavericks
NBA Finals Lakers Vs. Bulls: Lakers win in 6 games for the 3rd straight year.