Who are your top five favorite teams in the eastern conference and your top five in the western?
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Boston Celtics
3. Orlando Magic
4. New York Knicks
5. Philadelphia 76ers
1. Dallas Mavericks
2. Sacramento Kings
3. Minnesota Timberwolves
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Houston Rockets
If you can't name five name as many as you can and you like.
Those words were spoken by Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle earlier this week as he sat alongside the majority of his new players for the 2012-13 NBA season. On his right were Dahntay Jones, Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and Elton Brand, all lined up at a table with microphones in front of each.
“Playing with a player as talented as Dirk Nowitzki, Chris and myself are used to having the best defenders guarding us and that’s no longer going to happen,” said Brand. “Dirk is one of the greatest, so we’re looking forward to exploiting match-ups, taking advantage in the low post or wherever Coach has us. We expect to be able to exploit those match-ups with Dirk out there with us at different times. … Chris and I played for five or six years together and some of the sets we had, he would pass me the ball and I would score (laughing). I’d like to continue that tradition here.”
The Lakers' fans shouldn't worry. Their big stars expect to be out of street clothes and back in uniform very soon - and for much bigger games than an exhibition in the Inland Empire.
"There's really nothing else to say," Bryant said with a smirk. "I said what I had to say."
Bryant said plenty as he sat at his locker Wednesday before the Lakers' exhibition against the Portland Trail Blazers in Ontario. Although he nursed a strained right shoulder that has since healed, Bryant remained in a jovial mood. He joked that he's pestered new teammate Steve Nash for winning the 2005-06 MVP with Phoenix, which eliminated the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.'ip[9
Lillard added: ''It doesn't take long, just because I'm a willing passer, and so is he. As long as we're willing to work off each other and keep it simple - and we're not trying to force it or make it go one way or the other - I feed it to him, he's the All-Star. It's as simple as that.''
Normally, even the teams that make major changes have one or two veterans to lean on as the new identity starts to set in. The Rockets don’t have that advantage. Kevin Martin was expected to wear the label, but he’s now playing alongside Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook a little further north.
Beyond Green, though, the Celtics look like the deepest team in the East. They are able to go two and sometimes three players deep at literally every position, which means despite being an older team, they’ve got plenty of backup plans should things go wrong. Not all the backups are ideal, but they’ve certainly got more talent in the wings than most other teams in the league. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce only have a couple more shots at this, which makes it a really good thing that they improved upon the group that lost in the Conference Finals last year.