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2010-11 NBA Preview

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Predicted Order of Finish for 2010-11 Eastern Conference

Rank Team Finish Comment

1

Miami Heat

63-19

1st in Southeast

I’m not as high on the Heat as many are; which means I have them only winning 63 games. On paper this team is one of the best ever assembled and talent level alone will make them tough to beat on any night. Injuries, uncertainty at center, and an Orlando team that looks incredibly hungry are three possible obstacles to their ascent.

2

Orlando Magic

56-26

2nd in Southeast

Orlando is a team that looks like they are ready to steamroll their way through the regular season.  They have the best big man in the game with a newly remodeled offensive arsenal, solid team defense, scorers, a nice point guard in Jameer Nelson, and depth for days. Their question mark is if an aging Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis can hold up and will be ready to show up when it matters. If they don’t, they are doomed. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit.

3

Boston Celtics

53-29

1st in Atlantic

Expect Boston to sleepwalk their way to 50 wins through the regular season again and turn it on when the playoffs arrive. All of their stars except Rajon Rondo are on the wrong side of 32. Can all of those old bodies hold up well enough to beat Miami or Orlando in a best of seven?  I think that the Celtics window is nearly closed, and getting another year of health at the right time is too much to ask.

4

Chicago Bulls

48-34

1st in Central

Boozer’s injury will hurt their win total a bit, but won’t change their final outcome. The Bulls aren’t very deep, but their 1-5 are good enough to win a weak Central division. They are a year or two away from being the Knicks during the Jordan era: Legit title contenders playing in the wrong conference at the wrong time.

5

Atlanta Hawks

47-35

3rd in Southeast

The Hawks are bringing back the same team that got embarrassed in the playoffs last season by Orlando. That alone should speak volumes to their status as a non-contender. Don’t get me wrong, they will be good, and cruise into the playoffs. I just don’t see them approaching their win total of 53 from last year, and I don’t see them getting out of the first round this season.

6

Milwaukee Bucks

47-45

2nd in Central

The Bucks have the most talented roster of guys that casual fans have never heard of.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t good, in fact Milwaukee is solid at just about every position. Without a doubt, Bogut’s health is a 15 win swing. A healthy Bogut could mean 55 wins a Central division title and a 3 seed, with him out, that could mean a 40 win season. I have them right in the middle at 47.

7

Cleveland Cavaliers

37-45

3rd in Central

First things first, the Cavs aren’t the worst team in NBA history as a lot of previews seem to be portraying.  Don’t get me wrong, there will be ugly nights, but not 60 of them. While they won’t be close to winning 50 anymore, if things break right, 40 isn’t out of the question.  I think they fall short, but do have them at 37 wins and grabbing a low playoff seed. Sessions is a guy to watch, and the Cavs have a 14.5M trade exception to play with.

8

New York Knicks

37-45

2nd in Atlantic

Don’t look now Knicks fans, but this could be the year that the once proud franchise returns to the playoffs for the first time since 03-04. Like any D’Antoni coached team, the Knicks lack defense, although it will be improved. Their lack of depth shouldn’t stand out much in their awful division. I do like Felton in that offense, and Amare himself is good for a 5 win upgrade.

9

Philadelphia 76ers

34-48

3rd in Atlantic

The 76ers have some good pieces, but they don’t fit into Doug Collins’ puzzle. The team is all over the place, and Collins will be pulling out his hair watching them neglect ball security. Evan Turner has looked overmatched to this point, but I think he’ll be fine. The 76ers need to decide if they are trying to win now, or rebuild.

10

Charlotte Bobcats

33-49

4th in Southeast

The Bobcats made the playoffs last year, but I don’t see them getting back this season.  They lost their point guard and center and didn’t get better.  They do have Larry Brown, which is good for a few wins, but in the end, I have them falling just short.

11

Indiana Pacers

32-50

4th in Central

I am a fan of Darren Collison. Adding him was big to a team that needed his type of upside. Danny Granger will get his numbers, but beyond these two, it gets dicey. If Hibbert steps up that will help, but they need some of their projects to start to develop otherwise this 11 seed might be generous.

12

Washington Wizards

32-50

5th in Southeast

John Wall can play, but he still can’t shoot. This should help Arenas immensely, who won’t have to deliver the ball. He should have a big year if his body holds up, but he sounds like a guy just going through the motions. If he just starts chucking up shots, that won’t help the young guys at all. Playoffs? Not this year, but soon.

13

Detroit Pistons

30-52

5th in Central

Much like the 76ers, this team just doesn’t seem to fit together. The Pistons roster is much better than a 13 seed, but is the complete opposite of their years as a perennial contender, this team as a whole is less than the sum of the parts. T-Mac could put them in the running for a playoff bid, but more likely the Pistons will be watching from home.

14

New Jersey Nets

25-57

4th in Atlantic

The Nets don’t seem all that interested in competing this year as much as they want to gear up for the future. That said, they installed a very good coach in Avery Johnson, but he can only coach the pieces that are there. The Nets have some talent in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez, but need a lot. Luckily they have an owner that wants to make them great.

15

Toronto Raptors

24-58

5th in Atlantic

Well, they haven’t been contracted yet. Aside from that, there is very little to look forward to if you are a Raptors fan. Their defense will be terrible, they have some decent rotation guys and I’m expecting a good year out of DeMar Derozan…someone has to get numbers.

Predicted Order of Finish for 2010-11 Western Conference

Rank Team Finish Comment

1

Los Angeles Lakers

55-27

1st in Pacific

The only thing that will keep the Lakers from the Western Conference finals, at a minimum, is Kobe’s knee.  Aside from that, the rest of the team would literally need to fall apart. They are clearly the best team in the west, and even if they don’t get the #1 seed, will show up when it counts. This team is deeper than last year and motivated by the perceived anointing of the Heat.

2

Okla. City Thunder

53-29

1st in Northwest

Kevin Durant is already a superstar and he continues to improve. Paired with Russell Westbrook the Thunder have a fantastic pair and length that will create a matchup mess for just about anyone that they play. They also have the pieces to make a big splash via trade if they so choose. A really dangerous threat to the Lakers.

3

Portland Trailblazers

52-30

2nd in Northwest

The Blazers have been bitten by the injury bug that last couple years. If healthy they have an immense amount of talent and the pieces to make a serious splash. Here’s hoping that Greg Oden can stay healthy and produce like the #1 pick, or at least provide a solid level of play. They could easily take the Northwest division, but will have to prove that they can stay healthy.

4

Dallas Mavericks

50-32

1st in Southwest

Dallas has been one of the best regular season teams over the past few years. They are in the same boat as the Spurs and Celtics with regards to old age of their roster. They could finally put it all together and find themselves in the mix for a title, especially if the Thunder and Blazers show their youth, but that might be too much to ask

5

San Antonio Spurs

50-32

2nd in Southwest

The sun is hot, water is wet, and the Spurs are good. They have 11 straight 50 win seasons, and that’s right where I have them this year. Their window may be closing, but they are a talented squad and the Spurs are the best in the league at replenishing talent. Tiago Splitter will be the next in the line of great success stories for the Spurs.

6

Utah Jazz

48-34

3rd in Northwest

Deron Williams is the best PG in the league and, as you can tell, one of my favorite players. Normally losing a guy with Boozer’s ability would hurt, but with his injury concerns, and adding Al Jefferson and Raja Bell gives them a better roster. If Millsap plays like he did in the playoffs, and he will, this makes the Jazz dangerous, but will be even more dangerous in a year or two.

7

Houston Rockets

47-35

3rd in Southwest

Yao Ming’s health is a big question mark. This team proved that they could win without him, but with him, even with his 24 minute limit, they could be a top 4 seed. I am not buying just yet, but their depth will keep them afloat and in the playoffs even if he can’t stay healthy.

8

Memphis Grizzlies

41-41

4th in Southwest

The Grizzlies took heat for signing Rudy Gay to a max deal. I’m not sure he’s a max player, but I do like this starting lineup. Tony Allen will add toughness on defense. I predict Mike Conley steps up this year and becomes the player they thought they were drafting, and the Grizzles will make the poststeason for the first time since 05-06

9

Phoenix Suns

40-42

2nd in Pacific

It might be tough to picture Steve Nash and a bunch of role players making any noise in the west, but they still are not a fun matchup for anyone. I can’t see Turkoglu as a great fit for this team, but will be anxious to see if they go with a 5 small forward lineup at any point in the season.

10

New Orleans Hornets

40-42

5th in Southwest

A team with Chris Paul always has a chance to sneak into the playoffs, but is his heart really in it? They have no frontcourt depth, and there is far too much uncertainty to be bullish on the Hornets. I do think Trevor Ariza will excel and David West will bring his scoring and average rebounding, but anything more than a short playoff stay would be a big surprise

11

Los Angeles Clippers

40-42

3rd in Pacific

I want to pick the Clippers to make the playoffs solely on because of Blake Griffin. Griffin is a monster, and if healthy will run away with the rookie of the year vote. If Griffin keeps them legitimate, Baron Davis may show interest and this team could make some noise.  I have the 8-12 seeds separated by 4 games, so anything is possible.

12

Denver Nuggets

38-44

4th in Northwest

With Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets, despite their lack of depth are probably a top 5 team in the west. Without him, as I anticipate, they will struggle to make the playoffs and ultimately blow up the roster. If Anthony stays, their ceiling is a 50 win season, but they aren’t a title contender.

13

Golden St. Warriors

30-52

4th in Pacific

I like the David Lee signing quite a bit as he will pair nicely with Stephon Curry. They really need to find a taker willing to give them equal value in a frontcourt player for Monta Ellis. His contract isn’t terrible and if they could do that, they would have a nice core of players. As of now they have two guys playing one position and no depth at all.

14

Sacramento Kings

26-56

5th in Pacific

The Kings have a terrific duo to build on with DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans. Unfortunately, they presently don’t have much to contend with. They struggle with fundamentals, but they won’t be as bad as their record. Kings fans should be excited for the future. Whether or not the Kings remain in Sacramento much longer is another question.

15

Minn. Timberwolves

22-60

5th in Northwest

The Timberwolves are by far the worst team in the league. I don’t have any idea what David Kahn is doing with this roster; unfortunately he doesn’t either. Kevin Love will be a 20-10 guy this year. Michael Beasley will now play the 3 and have the opportunity to put up the good, albeit meaningless numbers that he desires. Martell Webster needing back surgery is insult to injury. I don’t feel worse for anyone than Wesley Johnson, the unlucky soul drafted into desolation.

Playoff Matchups:

Eastern Conference:

1st Round:

#1 Miami vs. #8 New York

#2 Orlando vs. #7 Cleveland

#3 Boston vs. #6 Milwaukee

#4 Chicago vs. #5 Atlanta

Western Conference:

1st Round:

#1 L.A. vs. #8 Memphis

#2 Okla. City vs. #7 Houston

#3 Portland vs. #6 Utah

#4 Dallas vs. #5 San Antonio

Eastern Conference Semis:

#1 Miami vs. #4 Chicago

#2 Orlando vs #3 Boston

Western Conference Semis:

#1 L.A vs. #5 San Antonio

#2 Okla. City vs. #3 Portland

Eastern Conference Finals:

#1 Miami vs. #2 Orlando

Western Conference Finals:

#1 L.A. vs. #2 Okla. City

NBA Finals:

Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Champions:

Los Angeles Lakers

Discussion

3 Responses to “2010-11 NBA Preview”

  1. Other than the L.A. Clippers and Denver Nuggets previews being mix-matched this is a high quality review. Though, nowhere in this preview do I read the words that need to be in the Cavaliers preview….QUALITY DEPTH!!!!!!

    Posted by Dubba | October 26, 2010, 10:35 am
    • Thanks Dubba, good catch on the mix-match. I made a last minute change, and which is probably the first time in history, that meant moving the Clippers UP in the rankings.

      Posted by Jason Marlo | October 26, 2010, 10:56 am
  2. Great Work!

    Posted by Bobby Digital | October 26, 2010, 3:28 pm

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