Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Eastern Conference Predictions 2008/9

The big Qs- Can Boston repeat? Will Detroit rebuild? Does Lebron leave Cleveland? Does Marion get traded? Why did D'Antoni take that job?

Boston Celtics (55-27)

Losing James Posey will definitely hurt. Don't forget that throughout their march to the ring, Doc referred to Posey as 'the fourth member of the Big Three', whatever the fuck that means. I'm also expecting slippage due to post-title complacency and the Limberger effect of Darius Miles. No repeat here.

Toronto Raptors (48-34)

Did you know that Jermaine O'Neal makes twenty million dollars this year? That's a lot of scratch for a guy who plays the same position as Chris Bosh. I know, I know, it's the East, 'Jermaine can play center.' But he's not a center, right? He's a power forward, and a brittle one at that. Underrated Anthony (Don't Call Me Candace) Parker and Jamario Moon will continue to compensate for the overall suckiness of former #1, Andrea Bargnani.

Philadelphia Sixers (43-39)
Don't get me wrong, I like Elton Brand. I do. But Philly got to the playoffs last year by trapping and running off of turnovers. Not exactly Elton's forte. Also, I can't help but think that having EB down low on offense means less open floor for slashers like Iggy, Thaddeus Young and Andre Miller.

New York Knicks (25-57)
OK, here's where it starts to get ugly. D'Antoni wants to play uptempo but he's got a roster full of slugs. Only Jamal Crawford, David Lee and Wilson Chandler are good fits. Everyone else is available for sixty cents on the dollar. On the bright side, those slugs will get plenty of shots to pad their stats, making them easier to deal.

New Jersey Nets (23-59)

Is Vince Carter really the guy you want around your young, impressionable players? Expect VC to get moved when the Nets drop out of contention...by the third week of the season.

Detroit Pistons (57-25)

Joe Dumars has a reputation for recognizing talent. I'm quite certain that Kwame Brown has absolutely no talent whatsoever. Fortunately, this squad still has Rip, Chauncey, Rasheed and a strong crop of emerging youngsters on the bench, led by Maxiell and Stuckey. If they underachieve, look for Joe D to trade Sheed or Billups and build around Tayshaun. More likely is a return to the Finals, where they'll lose to the Hornets.

Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32)
Nervous days ahead for Danny Ferry. With Lebron's momentous stay/go decision looming, the GMs big signings lately have been Mo Williams and Lorenzen Wright. Eeesh. And it's difficult to picture getting much more mileage out of Big Z. The guess here is that James stays put but not without seriously considering his options first (think Kobe and the Clips a few years back).

Chicago Bulls (42-40)
Ben Gordon's got a legit gripe. Larry Hughes is making twelve mil a year. Nocioni's getting eight. Pax finally paid Luol Deng (smart move) but appears to be content letting Gordon walk, forgetting that two years ago, Gordon scored more points in the fourth quarter than anyone not named Bryant or James. Rookie Derrick Rose should be good enough to make Kirk Hinrich expendable.

Indiana Pacers (33-49)
Jim O'Brien's offense requires good three point shooters. So the team acquired TJ Ford and Jarrett Jack, neither of whom can shoot a lick. Genius. Danny Granger continues to look amazing next to the plodding Dunleavy and Murphy. The Pacers boast the worst pivot platoon in the league with Foster/Nesterovic/Hibbert/Harrison.

Milwaukee Bucks (24-58)
Where to start? Overpaid for Bogut. Obtained Luke Ridnour to be the starting PG. Drafted Joe Alexander way too high. Additionally, I don't see Skiles and Redd getting along. This front office consistently makes awful decisions.

Orlando Magic (47-35)

Despite another growth spurt by Dwight Howard, the Magic will discover they can't rely on PG Jameer Nelson. Hedo and Rashard Lewis will do what they do- make threes in bunches and play porous defense. Stan Van can coach, though, and that ensures them another division title, if nothing else.

Miami Heat (46-36)
With DWade back at full-strength, the Heat will be competitive once again. Beasley will do just fine on offense but struggle to match up with power forwards, infuriating Riley. Props for the James Jones signing- shrewd move. Not so much with Jamaal Magloire. Hey, Riles- how about Marion for Odom?

Washington Wizards (44-38)
Is Gil Arenas healthy? Butler and Jamison will do their thing, as always. The real problems lie with the less-than-stellar bigs (Haywood and Thomas).

*Note: Arenas just had knee surgery AGAIN and will miss the first month of the season- ouch.

Atlanta Hawks (40-42)
Continued progress by Al Horford means they'll vie for that 8-spot again. Losing Childress makes their bench wafer-thin, however. Seriously, name someone on Atlanta's bench.

Charlotte Bobcats (30-52)

Why exactly is Michael Jordan a GM? Expect a bumpy first year for Larry Brown as he discovers that few of the fellas on MJ's roster 'play the game the right way.' Could be some more crying from Adam Morrison on the horizon.

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