By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
No Sudden Impact
PHILADELPHIA> — While the 2007-08 NBAseason was undoubtedly one of the most thrilling in recent memory, the 2008-09 season promises to be just as exciting for many teams that have improved their respective team rosters either through the 2008 NBA Draft or via offseason transactions.
However, several other teams have failed to address their needs properly and will enter the 2008-09 regular season in worse shape than the way they finished out the ’07-08 season, either because of poor front office decisions or just plain old bad luck.
Either way, several NBA teams took a step backward this offseason and will pay for it dearly in 2008-09. Here then, is a look at the NBA’s biggest offseason losers heading into the 2008-09 NBA regular season.
Los Angeles Lakers
Surprised? Don’t be! I’m the one that is actually shocked. Shocked that the Lakers failed to upgrade their roster at all despite getting the ‘smackdown’ laid on them by the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Every team in the league — and particularly those in the powerful western conference — saw the Celtics ‘punk’ every member of the Lakers with the exception of superstar Kobe Bryant, sniper, Sasha Vujacic, blossoming point guard Jordan Farmar and aging veteran Derek Fisher.
One stiff elbow to the chest showed every western conference contender that Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol can be ‘Punk’d’ better than Ashton Kutcher ever could on his popular television show. Remember BASN basketball readers, you heard it here first — the Lakers will not even reach the Western Conference Finals in 2008-09 despite their fine season last year.
Surprised again? Humph. While I don’t think of the Celtics as big offseason ‘losers,’ I have to admit that my beloved Celtics are going to miss the services of James Posey immensely. Lest we forget, it was Posey who helped to ‘punk’ the Lakers, not to mention, several other Eastern Conference opponents en route to the finals. Boston’s loss will be the New Orleans Hornets’ gain. And speaking of the Hornets, they are one of my preseason picks to reach the Western Conference Finals in 08-09 with Posey continuing to ‘punk’ opponents and drain ‘threes’ on a nightly basis.
When we last saw the Hawks, they looked like one of the best up-and-coming teams in the league as they nearly ‘fastbreaked’ the Celtics out of the playoffs in the first round with waves of young high-flyers with huge upsides. Now after low-balling sixth-man Josh Childress, a player I’ve always liked since he came out of Stanford a few years back – and athletic forward Josh Smith, the Hawks look like they could be in trouble again.
Childress shocked the bird-brained Hawks front office by bolting to take big bucks in Greece and Smith will be an unhappy camper for as long as he remains in Atlanta after getting disrespected by the Hawks front office. While I think the Hawks have hit the jackpot with power forward Al Horford and point guard Acie Law IV, I sense this team is going to take a step backwards in 2008-09.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers lost Elton Brand after signing point guard Baron Davis, a stroke of genius for this inept franchise! After making a smart move to get defensive-minded center Marcus Camby, the team decided to part ways with swingman Corey Maggette. However, the straw that broke the camels’ back for me was the addition of head case gunner Ricky Davis, a careercancer in the locker room. Way to go Clippers!
I’ll trade my blossoming young point guard, (Devin Harris) for an aging former all-star who can’t shoot straight, (Jason Kidd) while failing to address my main problem, (someone who can score in the low post or slow down Tim Duncan). I’ll also hold on to my ‘weed-smokin’, drag-racing’ small forward, (Josh Howard) who sold my team out in the postseason by not showing up for a single game — genius!
Let’s see … I’ll get rid of the only guy on my team who plays any defense at all, (Marcus Camby) while holding on to my two high-priced gunners, (Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony) although they both act like they’re allergic to actually guarding someone in an opposing uniform. I say head coach George Karl quits by mid-season due to migraine headaches caused by Iverson and Anthony.