SAVED FROM SHAQTIN’ By Arthur George-Special to BASN JaVale McGee is reclaiming...
BASN’s NBA Previews: Part One
That’s right; the NBA is going to go through shades of yesteryear (circa the 1980′s) when the NBA Championship trophies would be flip-flopped between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.
Sure, the Philadelphia 76ers broke up the rotation once early on and the Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars led Detroit Pistons grabbed the bull by the horns in the latter part of the 1980s.
But, make no mistake when it came to the domination of the NBA in the 1980′s, it was really a two-horse race: Magic vs Larry. Those two one named legends had been going at it since that historic 1979 NCAA Championship which was won by the Magic Johnson led Michigan State Spartans.
Does this version of the Celtics vs Lakers own the same sex appeal as their forefathers? Gracious no! Albeit there is at least one sure fire and first ballot Hall of Famer on both sides of the ledger, ala Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.
Paul Pierce and Ray Allen should eventually get in or have very strong cases to make such. Likewise with Pau Gasol, if indeed he has at least another strong 5 more seasons and wins another title. He wouldn’t make any argument from his days as a Memphis Grizzlie that’s for sure
This version of the Celtics are humble and hungry and with the addition of Rasheed Wallace as a free agent, Garnett would be able to play more free safety and wreck even more havoc on the defensive end.
They could be down right scary with the squad that they have. Sure Shaq went to Cleveland to team up with LeBron but, will he be able to run on a consistent basis with LeBron and does he really have the staying power lift needed to be the second banana.
The Magic are the reigning Eastern Conference Champions and have added serious firepower in Vince Carter. But, something about Carter on the defensive end and being aggressive during church time leaves a lot to be desired. Besides the offensive ran and flowed very smoothly when Hedo Turkoglu ran it.
He’s now in Toronto with Chris Bosh.
Hoping and assuming that all stay healthy here is a predicted order of finish:
Boston Celtics 64-18
Key additions – Wallace, Marquis Daniels and a healthy Garnett
Key losses – Leon Powe
Player to watch – Glen “Big Baby” Davis
Thought: If Gang Green can stay healthy and Wallace doesn’t implode another crown could be in store in Beantown.
Philadelphia 76ers 38-44
Key additions – Coach Eddie Jordan and a healthy Elton Brand
Key losses – Andre Miller
Player to watch – Louis Williams
Thought: Will the Princeton offence work well with Brand? And will losing Miller come back to hunt them?
New York Knicks 37-45
Key additions – Rookie Toney Douglas and a healthy Danilo Gallinari
Key losses – Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson
Player to watch – Wilson Chandler
Thought: Will this be the year that the Playoff drought ends and LeBron finally says, “yes to New York?”
Toronto Raptors 37-45
Key additions – Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, Marco Belinelli
Key losses – Shawn Marion
Player to watch – Jose Calderon
Thought: Will this team finally put the package of talent all together and make a serious Playoff run?
New Jersey Nets 31-51
Key additions – Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston
Key losses – Vince Carter, Ryan Anderson
Player to watch –
Thought: This team will be dreadful and Coach Lawrence Frank will be the fall guy.
Orlando Magic 62-20
Key additions – Vince Carter, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson, Matt Barnes
Key losses – Hedo Turkoglu
Player to watch – Rashad Lewis
Thought: If this collection of talent and firepower doesn’t get it done this year, will Coach Stan Van Gundy take the blame?
Washington Wizards 42-40
Key additions – Mike Miller, Randy Foye and a healthy Gilbert Arenas
Key losses – Etan Thomas
Player to watch – Brendan Haywood
Thought: Can Coach Flip Sanders keep Gilbert on the court and flourishing?
Miami Heat 41-41
Key additions – Quentin Richardson
Key losses – Mark Blount
Player to watch – Mario Chalmers
Thought: Will this Heat team do enough to compel Dwayne Wade to stay?
Charlotte Bobcats 36-46
Key additions – Tyson Chandler
Key losses – Emeka Okafor
Player to watch – D.J. Augustine
Thought: Maybe this team will make the Playoffs if MJ suits up?
Atlanta Hawks 35-47
Key additions – Jamal Crawford, Joe Smith
Key losses – Acie Law, Speedy Claxton
Player to watch – Marvin Williams
Thought: Looks like Crawford could miss the Playoffs another season.
Cleveland Cavaliers 59-23
Key additions – O’Neal, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker
Key Losses – Joe Smith
Player to watch – Mo Williams
Thought: Can Shaq pull off another miracle and get LeBron a title?
Indiana Pacers 39-43
Key additions – Dahntay Jones, a healthy Mike Dunleavy, Jr.
Key losses – Jarrett Jack
Player to watch – Roy Hibbert
Thought: Will this team finally put it all together and bring goodwill back to the state of Indiana?
Detroit Pistons 38-44
Key additions – Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva
Key losses - Antonio McDyess, Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, Amir Johnson
Player to watch – Rodney Stuckey
Thought: Will the glory days come back to MoTown with the new additions, or will Rip Hamilton or Tayshawn Prince be next to exit?
Chicago Bulls 36-46
Key additions – Rookies James Johnson, Taj Gibson
Key losses – Ben Gordon
Player to watch – Joakim Noah
Thought: Who’s going to score in the fourth quarter now that Gordon is in Detroit?
Milwaukee Bucks 33-49
Key additions – Rookie Brandon Jennings
Key losses – Ramon Sessions
Player to watch – Michael Redd
Thought: How patient will Coach Scott Skiles be with Jennings to run his show? NEXT: BASN’s Wesley Chism Jr. previews the NBA’s Western Conference.