Lostradamus' NBA Preview Part 1: Questions and Honors
An amazing time of
year is upon us. Halloween is on Friday. The NFL is at midseason, the playoff
race is about to begin, and the World Series is about to wrap up. What could
possibly make this time of year any better? How about the NBA season kicking off
tonight? Itís a painful summer wait for me, and through the fall I have football
to hold me over, but itís just not the same. Now, weíve got 82+ games and almost
8 months to figure out some of the tough, hard-to-answer questions that have been
lingering all summer.
'''Will the Celtics
repeat for the first time as a franchise in 40 years?''' More on that
'''Will Kobe and the Lakers come back with a vengeance?''' The
NBA should hope so.
'''Are the Spurs too old?''' Absolutely
'''Has the window closed on teams like Dallas, Phoenix, and
'''Can Ron Artest not explode, and carry a
Houston team once stars #ís 1 & 2 go down with their inevitable injuries?'''
Itís a tough west.
'''Are the Hornets for real?''' CP3 will make sure
'''Will Mo Williams be enough to help LeBron win a Game 7 in
Boston?''' Probably not.
'''How will the Wizards manage without the
$111 million dollar blogger?''' Better than with him.
Knicks run and gun with DíAntoniís 7 Seconds or Less system?''' Sure, but it
'''Whoís getting moved at midseason or before?''' I say
Sheed, Iverson, and Bibby will be in new threads by midseason with their expiring
contracts. Throw Shawn Marion in for good measure if he is
'''Will this be one of the greatest rookie classes
ever?''' Remember these names: Gordon, Beasley, Rose, Augustin, Love, Lopez,
Mayo, Bayless, Fernandez. Oh, and you already know Oden. Thatís right, heís
technically a rookie.
Now, for the awards predictions:
Improved:''' Detroitís Rodney Stuckey seems to be the Pick Du Jour, but Iím
going with the Lakers Andrew Bynum assuming a healthy return. He would have
gotten it last year until he blew up his knee. Will he be enough to get the
Lakers hoisting the Larry OíBrien?
'''6th Man:''' With Ginobili out
until late December this comes down to which former starter will stay on the bench
longer, the Lakersí Lamar Odom, or Utahís AK-47. Kirilenkoís a stat stuffer whoís
sad and frustrated in Utah, and I donít think a bench role will help him. He
could be a great player on a championship contender in a better system, but the
Jazz doesnít work for him. Odom will shine with less pressure on him now coming
off the bench. But I still think heís a great fit to start for that
'''Coach of the Year:''' This is interesting. Jerry Sloan
deserves it every yearand he doesnít have one. So does Pop, but he does. If the
Lakers are dominating, why not Phil Jackson? If DíAntoni works wonders, heíll be
up there. Spoelstra is going to have a huge jump in the wins column after Miamiís
15 last year. Nate McMillan will have a talented young playoff team. Doc Rivers
and Rick Adelman have a talented big three each. This toss-up goes to McMillan
for the playoff jump.
'''Rookie of the Year:''' Itís going to come
down to Beasleyís offense versus Odenís defense and Roseís leadership. First year
PGís tend to struggle at points, and Odenís numbers wonít be as gaudy on an
already talented Portland team. Beasley will get it because heíll put up good
numbers (Think 18 and 9) on a playoff team, but when itís all said and done Eric
Gordon (Or [[link|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117705/fullcredits#cast]]little
MJ,[[end-link]] from ''SpaceJam'') will be the best player from his class once
he leaves the Clippers. And
[[link|url=http://wvbr.com:9010/index.php?page=sportsblog&id=153]]I said this is
'''Defensive Player of the Year:''' Oden might get
it as a consolation prize if he doesnít win the ROY. Garnett would be the
favorite to repeat, but I think a healthy Ron Artest is going to make big noise
once Houston gets hurt.
'''MVP:''' Kobe, LeBron, or Chris Paul? Kobe
got his lifetime achievement last year. CP3 got robbed, but New Orleans will sink
slightly this year. LeBron finally has help with Mo, but it wonít be enough. The
real answer is secret choice #4, Dwyane Wade. Back healthy and with a vengeance,
heís going to carry a Miami team back with a vengeance.
'''First Team ALL NBA:''' Wade, Kobe, Bron, KG,
'''Second Team ALL NBA:''' CP3, Roy, Duncan, Amare,
'''Third Team ALL NBA:''' Iverson, T-Mac, Butler, Melo,