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Opening night features Shaq-LeBron vs. Big 3
Posted on Oct 27
Are you really buying the notion that only five teams: Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Magic and Cavs can win the title?
Don't tell that to the Mavs or Nuggets or teams like the Bulls who have hopes of playing the "good but not great" role going in to the campaign. I am NOT predicting the Bulls will be playing in June but how many, myself included, thought the Bulls would capture 41 games a season ago?
So here are some opinions about each club for 2009-10.
1. Cavs: The only way the Cavs don't win the division is LeBron's absence for a considerable period of time. Will Shaq and LeBron share the wealth? At this stage of O'Neal's career the answer is a resounding, "Yes." At the end of his run , should the Cavs win the NBA, he can claim titles with Kobe, D-Wade, James and a Finals appearance with Penny Hardaway. Not too shabby.
2. Bulls. I'm predicting 43-45 wins but fans I ask one thing. Please be patient with the early season schedule. It will help big time if Taj Gibson and James Johnson take some pressure off the vets. The starting backcourt must stay healthy. I've said all along the two keys: Tyrus Thomas and Luol Deng.
3. Pistons: Rookie head coach and a change in philosophy. Not sure this is going to work.
4. Indiana: Can this team play defense?
5. Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings is super quick. Scott Skiles will get the most out of this unit. They have some solid players but not enough stars.
1.Boston: A year-maybe two left in the tank. 56 wins for the green.
2.Toronto: Bryan Colangelo spent a ton of money. He did his job. Now it's up to the players and Head Coach Jay Triano. If the Raps fail to make the playoffs something is seriously wrong.
3.NY: I think the Knicks are going to surprise some people. I'm serious.
4. Philly: They'll go through a transition year with a new offense. No playoffs this year.
5. NJ: I'm a big Lawrence Frank fan but this team is moving towards a high 2010 lottery pick and will have enough cap space to secure two top tier free agents in July.
1. Orlando: The Magic retooled and the ownership is spending a fortune with a new arena around the corner.
2. Atlanta: Why is Mike Woodson on the hot seat?
3. Washington: Could be the most improved team in the NBA but must stay healthy.
4. Miami: Not impressed. Wade deserves better.
5. Charlotte: A few pieces, just not enough.
Eastern Champion: Boston
1. San Antonio: Tim Duncan admits that time is catching up with him but to the Spurs credit they went out and spent money to acquire Antonio McDyess and Richard Jefferson. DeJuan Blair looks like a steal.
2. Dallas: My dark horse in the Conference.
3. New Orleans: The Hornets are really good but not good enough to win the West. Byron Scott is reportedly hanging on.
4. Houston: No Yao. No playoffs. My advice to the Rockets: trade T-Mac.
5. Memphis: Odd collection of players. If it works they could be a great story. If not, same old Grizz.
1. Portland has a ton of talent and depth. Should I have concerns about team chemistry?
2. Denver: Last year was NOT a fluke. They have talent and are very well coached.
3.Utah: I'm very intrigued to see how underrated GM Kevin O'Connor handles Carlos Boozer.
4. Oklahoma City. A year away from doing some damage trust me.
5. Minnesota: Whatever.
Lakers: 63 wins and a trip to the Finals.
2. Phoenix: Who else am I going to pick?
3. Golden State: Only a matter of time before the Warriors make a blockbuster trade.
4. Clippers: Early season loss of Blake Griffin sets the tone for the year.
5. Kings: A long, long season ahead.
Western Conference Champion: Lakers
NBA title: Lakers in six over Celtics