The Jason Kidd trade killed them last season, and there’s no denying it was a big mistake. Dallas is going to need an enormous year out of Dirk Nowitzki if they can do anything in the playoffs, or even make the post-season dance at all. Best case scenario is Josh Howards and Gerald Green get their acts together and play the ball we know they can. Worst case scenario is if they don’t.
Word is they have some money woes coming up, which is why they got rid of Marcus Camby and tried to tell Nene that he might be as good as Camby was. And he clearly isn’t the leader Camby was. But remember this team still has international star-turned-semi-letdown Carmelo Anthony who was drafted the same year as LeBron, remember? And they have the self-proclaimed MVP in Allen Iverson, depending on whether or not he shows up to practice. Then its Kenyon Martin. A little over rated but can still play ball. I predict an eighth place finish by Denver just because the West is even better than last year.
Golden State Warriors
…are going to be very good. But then again, so is almost every team in the West. Keep in mind that they have a young group of guys, four of which averaged over 20 per game in the preseason, and are that much older and more experienced. This is Stephen Jackson’s year to prove that he’s not over rated, Al Harrington’s year to live up to the praise he’s recieved, and Brandon Wright’s year to establish himself.
One of the most controversial moves in the summer was Houston picking up the still ghetto Ron Artest, the former defensive player of the year. Let’s not forget that Houston has yet to win a playoff series in a long, long time, and needed a shake-up without giving up Tracy McGrady or Yao Ming. With that trio, combined with a finally established Rafer ‘Skip to My lou’ Alston and the yet to emerge Joey Dorsey, added with Shane Battier, looks pretty damn deep.
This is probably the single most jinxed franchise in the NBA. Combined with Elton Brand’s pulling of a Steve Miller Band (Take the Money and Run), they’re not going to have a very good time. Remember, Eric Gordon is my darkhorse to win the Rookie of the year award, and we have seen Baron Davis do big things with a bombed up and depleted rosters. So, as interesting as they will be to watch, I’m keeping with the current theme of how good the West is, and it’s no playoffs for the Clips’.
My pick to win it all. Their depth is amazing, as they can go two-deep, at least, at every position, and don’t have to at two of them. Oh, they kind of have the MVP on their team, too. You know, the most talented player in the world? Kobe? If his pinky really doesn’t need surgery, this team has championship written all over it. They have two stud seven footers who can both get the job done in different ways. Finally, Kobe might get one without Shaq.
The last place team in the West. Although, everyone is very excited for the Gay-Mayo era down in Tennessee. Those two are good players, but not good enough, yet, to lead their team into a playoff berth. You want a player to watch? How about Marc Gasol, Pao’s brother. He is a very big boy and it will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets and what kind of damage he can do. Another interesting tidbit will be to see how many hookers Darrel Arthur can cram into his hotel room if he’s bunking with Gasol, and how much pot his toilet can hold. Ouch.
Talk about a franchise that has gone downhill. Let’s just say Kevin Love would have liked it better in Memphis.
New Orleans Hornets
The bumblebees are most likely destined for the top three in the West. Will travel hurt them, being stuck in New Orleans? Probably not. If it does, I’m not taking it as an excuse. This is a very good-looking team, and the sexy pick of 08/09. Chris Paul will get the job done, and with four guys shooting over 40% in the preseason, Paul won’t have to worry about who’s hands he’s putting the ball in. He’s got the power forward in Tyson Chandler, the three-ball man in Peja, the proven clutch shooter in James Posey, and last season’s NBA X factor David West. Probably the only team in the West that can beat the Lake show.
Oklahoma City Thunder
I don’t even want to talk about the Sonic stealers. Karma is a bitch. Remember that. (p.s., never name a sports team without an S on the end. “I’m proud to be an Oklahoma Thunder.”)
The window for a championship is coming to a close very quickly on the Suns. If they want to surprise anyone, they’ll go out and finish in the top four. Next season, they won’t even have the chance to surprise anyone. Not with the rising star point guards in the west and an aging Steve Nash. I think he should take little-to-no money and go play for the Lakers when his contract is over. You know they liked it when Gary Payton was around. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Shaq, their starting centre, will average no more than nine points a game while Shawn Marion, the guy he was traded for, will flourish in Miami.
Portland Trail Blazers
Another sexy team coming into this year. but without Greg Oden, they have little to no inside presence. Whatever the results are on his foot are going to be huge in what this Blazers team can do this year because they have a very young, gifted offensive club that has proven they can put up points, along with a Rudy Fernandez who is out to prove that he deserves starting minutes.
I’m sorry, but am I the only person who remembers that building being the loudest, wildest joint in the league? When Peja was dropping bombs, Bibby was hitting clutch shots and C-Webb was getting it done down low? I honestly just had to look at Sacramento’s website to find out who they even had on that team. Bobby Brown and Bobby Jackson. No one else is worth mentioning. Move on.
San Antonio Spurs
I’ve said that this is their year to drop off. Tim Duncan is coming up on 1,000 games, Manu Ginobli still has a hurt wheel, and there isn’t much depth to speak of. But, I say this every year. And every year they’re good. So this paragraph is probable good news to Spurs fans and good news to Spurs haters. There is nobody in between that group of people. But one think I can say they won’t do is be able to beat the Lakers, or the Hornets. Chris Paul is just as fast as Tony Parker and will probably be the first guard in the west that can finally guard him, too. The Lakers will wear them down. Fifth in the west.
Looking pretty good. Another safe bet to have them in your top four. But, are the expectations too high for this young squad? The poll on the team website asks how many wins the Jazz will notch this season, and the lowest option is 45-50. Deron Williams showed at the Olympics that he can deal with pressure, But Andrei Kirilenko has showed that he can’t He’ll come off the bench this year, and better be shooting for a sixth man of the year award. I’m picking them in the top five, but the amount of white guys scares me.
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