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Western Conference Predictions Pt 1

Mr.Knick 32
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Western Conference Predictions Pt 1

1. Los Angeles Lakers (Projected W-L: 60-22)

You add Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff and Matt Barnes. You steal two rookies in the draft in Devin Ebanks and Derrick Character and you lose....Jordan Farmar? Josh Powell? Even with some potential "Kobe slowing down" this season, NO way the Lakers aren't the #1 seed in the west.

2. Dallas Mavericks (Projected W-L: 52-30)

Dallas is what I would say: Stagnant. They finished 2nd last season and yet, I don't see much improvement. Since I love looking at those expiring contract players, both Caron Butler and Tyson Chandler are in there final years. Both could step up ( So far, Tyson isn't doing so hot at the FIBA games). Dirk should be Dirk again (24-8 with several clutch moments this season). Jason Kidd should be Jason Kidd ( 10-5-9-2) and continue to run the offense. The only thing for me is: This is the team who need to make a move. Call me crazy, Dallas needs a Vince Carter. They need another guard from what I see.

3. Portland Trail Blazers (Projected W-L: 50-32)

I almost put Portland as my #2. The idea of Greg Oden, Marcus Camby, Joel Pryzbilla ( mid season) and LaMarcus Aldridge is a huge reason why there at 3. Brandon Roy is clutch and if he remains healthy, should be able to keep Portland up right. Nicolas Batum is reaching that "elite defender" status and the bench is LOADED. Rudy Fernandez will most likely be traded. With the loss of Rudy, they have Oden, Pryzbilla, Jerryd Bayless, Wes Matthews, Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham off the bench. If they can get some scoring from rookie Luke Babbitt, that would be a huge boost.

I have Portland as my projected #3 seed but if they remain healthy: They could push and (dare I say) beat the Lakers.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected W-L: 49-33)

I'll be the first one to say: Oklahoma City is getting a little overrated. Someone on ESPN gave them a vote to win the west AND win the title this upcoming season. Let's get another thing out the way, I'll write it in Italics to show how serious I am:

Kevin Durant is not a top 5 player in the NBA. He has not played in any big game in my eyes. Unless you count game 6 last season vs Los Angeles, Durant needs to earn some of those stripes all the all time greats did. Durant has shown me nothing to believe: Next season could be "The Season" for him and lead OKC to a title. With that being said, this man has endless potential. I don't know who to compare him to but he's going to be winning MVP's and racking up All-NBA's when it's all said and done.

There, now it's get to the team. The Thunder have a couple players I would love to shadow. We know Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook but are we familiar with Serge Ibaka and James Harden. Ibaka posted 6ppg, 5rpg and 1.3bpg....in 18 minutes of play. If that's not something to look at, I don't know what is. Harden, a rookie last season, impressed me with his slashing ability. He really didn't do tons of it at Arizona State. With a great jumpshooter like Durant getting even more pressure from defenses, slashers like Westbrook and Harden should be able to get tons of basket attacks next season. Overall, don't be surprised they're the 2nd best team in the West.

5. San Antonio Spurs (Projected W-L: 49-33)

Everyone is discounting the Spurs which confuses me. I still think Tim Duncan is a top 10 player in the NBA. Manu Ginobili is back as the sixth man, Richard Jefferson is back to prove he could suck less and San Antonio made some nice moves in the offseason. Adding Tiago Splitter for 3 years/10 million could be the steal of the summer. Let's say this: Go watch some highlights of Splitter's game for Brazil and ask if he's a steal. Yet, there is a undertone here: Tony Parker is a potential free agent next season. If Parker and San Antonio cannot agree to terms on a contract: Who says they don't look to move him?

6. Utah Jazz (Projected W-L: 48-34)

Jazz fans will look and go "What?!?!" "Just 48 wins??!?!?!" Hear me out: You lost Carlos Boozer and replaced him with Al Jefferson. That's going to change up the offensive a little bit ( when I mean a little, I mean alot). Plus, Memhet Okur is out until December recovering from surgery. Looking at Utah's first 30 games- They might go 10-20. It remains to be seen but, I expect Utah to struggle a bit before pushing in the second half. Might it blow up in my face? We will see.

7. Denver Nuggets (Projected W-L: 46-36)

Denver is a risk at this point. I might be right about them ( making the playoffs, staying relevant) or they could trade Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, decide it's best to start that rebuilding process and have a 15-50 record. Who knows. If the season started today? They have a very nice team. The only thing that scares me: Nene has something wrong with his legs, he's had injuries in the past but that's something to look out for.

8. Houston Rockets (Projected W-L: 44-38)

This could go either way. Best case: Yao plays 82 games, completely healthy. Kevin Martin shows he can score as a #3 AND rebound. Aaron Brooks shows more improvement and the young role players make strides. Worst case: Yao has to shut it down for a couple games mid season, Kevin Martin just shoots and Aaron Brooks has a step back season. The variable in all this? They have the best pieces to get Carmelo Anthony.

9. Los Angeles Clippers (Projected W-L: 43-39)

It was tough. The Clippers just miss the playoffs. Oddly enough, the Clippers added some nice reserves in Randy Foye and Brian Cook. Ryan Gomes was brought in to start and rookies Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Bledsoe will be coming off the bench as well. Blake Griffin SHOULD will be a impact player from day one. Baron Davis had a good season last year, Chris Kaman made my top 50 and Eric Gordon was one of my first 5 out. Maybe if the Clippers go after a Andre Iguodala or even Carmelo Anthony: We might have to move them up.

10. Memphis Grizzlies (Projected W-L: 41-41)

Put up or Shut up time for Memphis. The Grizzlies have all there players back, 4 top 50 players (at least to me) in Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and O.J. Mayo. The Xavier Henry contract dispute still an issue so they decided to give Tony Allen his job. Memphis could leap into the playoffs if Mike Conley can show that he's making another leap going into his 4th season.

11. Phoenix Suns (Projected W-L: 40-42)

The Amar'e Stoudemire loss is huge for the Suns. Phoenix did make a couple moves adding Hedo Turkoglu, Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress. Resigning Charlie Frye was solid and should at least be first in line for the starting PF position. The Suns have tons of wings ( Hill, Richardson, Dudley, Childress, Dragic, Clark) and will need another big man to make a playoff push.

12. Golden State Warriors (Projected W-L: 35-47)

Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Both are the main reason the Warriors move over the Hornets here. The Warriors also added David Lee who is a pick and roll machine. Those 3 plus Andrens Biedrens have me believing GSW is going in the right direction. Brandan Wright in his 4th season will have to put up or shut up. He has been hurt but hasn't contributed when healthy. If only they could get a legit wing player above 6-6...

13. New Orleans Hornets (Projected W-L: 33-49)

Yes, Chris Paul should be healthy but other then that? New Orleans took a huge step back to me in exchanging Darren Collison for Trevor Ariza. The Hornets have a new coach and still are looking to run. I question if this team could be even worse. If Chris Paul and David West can create the magic, they should live up to this ranking.

14. Sacramento Kings (Projected W-L: 25-57)

The Kings have the current rookie of the year in Tyreke Evans and possibly, the next rookie of the year in DeMarcus Cousins, who could be a force right away. The Kings are looking to develop the team and only made one real move this offseason sending Andrea Nocioni and Spencer Hawes to Philadelphia for Samuel Dalembert. Unless the young talent really steps up, expect more of last season Kings fans.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected W-L: 22-60)

How bad is it in Minnesota? Expect another losing season. Even though you add another top 5 pick in Wes Johnson and you stole Micheal Beasley (who could have a breakout season), Minnesota still have tons of holes. The T-Wolves have some young players to look out for next season ( Kevin Love, Jonny Flynn, Corey Brewer) but there's too many holes and not enough experience to believe Minnesota is nothing more then a rebuilding team.


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Great List.. The West will be

Great List..

The West will be tough again..Houston,Kings,Memphis,Hornets and Phoenix will be battling it out for the last 2 spots...

Memphis should be higher..And those fools Heisley and GM Wallace are making a big mistake..by waiting to sign Xavier Henry...

Clippers have great talent..but no chemistry...

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I know I'm going to receive a

I know I'm going to receive a lot of flak for this (or negatives) but I seriously think the Grizzles are making the playoffs.

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Love the list the only thing

Love the list the only thing I disagree about is Portlant and OKC should be switched. OKC owned Portland last year in the season series and they're two best players only proved in FIBA they are ready for a couple clutch games. Not only did Durant own the rest of the world we all know that but he proved time and time again he will take and hit the clutch shots. Westbrook proved his belonging. Look for Ibeka to have a breakout season. He had 7 blocks one game against the Lakers in the playoffs and if he gets more minutes he could be one of the league leaders in blocked shots. They also added Cole Aldrich who should get some burn and steadily increase as an anchor in the middle.

Oden from what I hear might not be ready for the season opener so that means either way they will be taking it slow with him. But if he does get healthy he is the X-Factor.

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Just 2 issues...

I pretty much agree overall except for 2 things on this list. I think the order is ok except what about Sacramento? You don't think they will get any better? I am not a Kings fan but I notice when a team is on the rise and this is one of them. Paul Westphal is a solid coach continuing to mold a young team. Tyreke is a year wiser and better and now add young, talented rookies Demarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside and they will continue to rise.

I'm not calling for contender status on 'em or heck even playoff status for them cuz the West is so competitive. All I am saying is I can tell you that they WILL get more than 25 wins.

Also, I think the Win-Loss records you posted are off substansially. Everyone knows you can't knock on the door of the playoffs in the West without at least 45 wins. Golden State couldn't get in with 48 2 years ago, but now you got 5 teams with less than 50 wins in the playoffs?

Last year every playoff team had at least 50 wins. Expect the same this year.

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This list is way off

This list is way off unfortunately.
How has dallas not improved? Last year they were 2nd and they didnt get haywood and butler until more than halfway through the season. not saying theyll be better than LA, but they are far from stagnant and VERY deep. We have yet to see them completely gel as a team. Not to mention when they subbed dampier (who is much slower and way less agile than haywood) they instantly became alot slower on both sides of the ball. Now when they sub chandler for haywood or vice versa they wont be losing anything on either side of the ball. As a matter of fact with jason kidd at point and chandlers athleticism expect to see an improvement both offensively and defensively.Utah will not be worse than last year at all. With the addition of raja bell and al jefferson, theyve gained height and perimeter defense. They added hayward who could become a slasher/shooter off the bench, they still have millsap and will be add okur to the equation once he gets back from injury. And even though he's not as effective as he used to be, ak 47 will be big for them as well. Also last season, the spurs were 7th in the west and unfortunately the addition of tiago splitter isnt going to propel them 3 spots up. Duncan is obviously not the same, ginobli has slowed down, and george hill will be great but he isnt the breakout guy many would like him to be. As a starting PG, he averaged something like 2 assists... OKC has virtually the same team as last year. The additions of daquean cook and cole aldrich will be good but not enough to get them from 8th to 4th. Theyll be 5th or 6th. I think it will look like this:
LA Lakers (59-23)
Dallas Mavericks (55-27)
Utah Jazz (52-30)
Portland Trailblazers (50-32)
Oklahoma City Thunder (50-32) Portland wins by way of tiebreaker
Denver Nuggets (48-34)
Houston Rockets (47-35)
San Antonio Spurs (46-36)

Mr.Knick 32
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I think Memphis could make

I think Memphis could make the playoffs.

Sacramento added DeMarcus Cousins and that's it...gotta add more

OKC is good but Portland ( if healthy) is 100 percent better then OKC

Dallas is tough to rate for me. They added some good players but I don't know if there any better or worst.

Utah is good but I doubt there the 3rd best team in the West.

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Mr. 19134

Love the list the only thing I disagree about is Portlant and OKC should be switched. OKC owned Portland last year in the season series.

No they didn't. they lost 3-1.

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You lost me at

Warriors 35-47.

Mr.Knick 32
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Too High? Too Low?

Too High? Too Low?

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i think new orleans will be

i think new orleans will be better then you are giving them credit for. CP3 is a top 5mvp candidate if at full strength. And ariza should fit perfectly becasue the hornets need slahsers who can open up lanes for paul to pass and get him some easy assists which is exactly what ariza can bring. Thornton should improve, peja might actually be healthy and pondexter can contribute right away. The bigs are still solid. I think they are defenitely in the playoff mix and better then 33-49

Mr.Knick 32
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What's NO's bench?

What's NO's bench?

Jlv2012
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No

New Orleans ranking is just about right. Time for them to rebuild.

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well starting 5 is: pf-david

well starting 5 is:

pf-david west
sf-trevor ariza
c-emeka okafor
sg-marcus thornton
pg-chris paul

that is a very solid starting 5. None of those guys are in their 30's so not sure why they need to rebuild when you have a top 5 player an all-star big man and a young wing.

as for the bench:

peja stojakovic, quincey pondexter, darius songaila, craig brackins, marco bellineli, aaron gray, jason hart, mustafa shakur

not a very good bench but not horrible either. Songaila, peja and bellineli can all shoot it great.

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I dont see how the thunder

I dont see how the thunder get a worse record than they did last year. they went 50-32 last year and its going to be hard to get much better than that but they did get better and another year of experience.

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If only they could get a legit wing player above 6-6...

Dorell Wright is a great defender and solid shooter, he's 6'9

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Dorell Wright is NOT a great

Dorell Wright is NOT a great defender by any stretch of the imagination. He's very inconsistent on that end, often not putting in the effort to be as good as his physical ability would make him. He's like Nick Young on the defensive end, to give an example.

Mr.Knick 32
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That NO bench is

That NO bench is TERRIBLE

Also, I agree with Ohcanada- Wright is terrible.

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Kevin Durant I believe is a

Kevin Durant I believe is a top 5 player. Though, I don't think saying he is not a top 5 player is ridiculous because he has had only 2 great seasons of 3, but if he does great in the upcoming season (which he will) then he is a top 5 player. You didn't say where he is ranked I would assume you have him in the 6-8 range, or top 10 at worst. I don't agree with you on the wins and loss totals, I think you're giving the top teams too little in wins, and the bottom teams too many wins. I don't think Minnesota wins more than 20 games by any stretch. I think they finish something like 15-67 at worst and 20-62 at best. IMO they are more a 15-17 win team. The Thunder barring injuries will surpass last season's win total winning between 50-55 games. That's all I have to say.

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Some big issues here with

Some big issues here with me.

In your East predictions the average team averaged 40.8 wins. In this West predictions you are averaging 42.5 wins as the average teams total. There has to be an average of 41 W and 41 L amongst all the teams because for every win there is a loss. So how did you get an extra 1.3 Wins per-team. 1.3 may not seem like a big deal but it is 39 wins uncounted for. Youre either wrong in your own predictions within the Eastern Conference, wrong within the Western Conference or, the popular belief, wrong about both.

Also how is trading a Darren Collison for Trevor Ariza gonna make New Orleans worse? NO desperatly needed a wing who is versatile, athletic and can defend. They gave up a young PG with potential but they do not really lose much in that because they have the best PG in the league (when healthy).

Only 3 teams under 35 wins in the West is a joke.

LA winning 43 games is a joke.

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And when did I say Wright is

And when did I say Wright is terrible. He is a good energy player, young and an okay shooter. He is intense and can be a really good defender. Reminds me a bit of Ariza.

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Lol I can't see the Warriors

Lol I can't see the Warriors winning 35 games. Adding David Lee won't make them a better defensive team.

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You're definitely underrating

You're definitely underrating GSW. If healthy, that team is winning more than 35 games. Wirh Biedrins and now Lee as their bigs, they will be greatly improved on the glass.
& all you guys are sleeping on Dorell Wright...the guy IS a damn good defender. Its kinda hard to just come in cold and lock up top-notch 3 men. I'm gonna give you the perfect comparison for the guy. Trevor Ariza...remember Ariza in Orlando and NY, people raved about his athleticism & defensive capabilities, but complained about inconsistency. When he got on a team that had guards who could score the rock and 2 bigs that rebound at a high rate(8+ per gm) he was able to do what he does best, play strong defense & create turnover, shoot the OPEN 3, and get out in transition and show off his athleticism. If GS starts Dorell, he''ll have the same kind of breakout season as Ariza did with the Lakers.
I hoop with both of these guys over the summer at the HAX & Dorell is just as good of an on-ball defender as Ariza, doesn't get as many steals but blocks more shots, and offensively I think he's better. Give him a starting spot and 25-30 minutes and the guy will show you what he's about.

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They're STILL a horrible

They're STILL a horrible defensive team.

Wright is an OK defender, but you're overrating him if you think he's as good as Ariza at that end.

I can't see Golden State winning more games than NO.

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Agreed

Warriors are horrible.

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i think the warriors are

i think the warriors are improved and can be competitive. But you have to look at the whole conference. Clippers and kings are improving too and pretty much everyone not named the wolves probably think they are gonna be better next year. The west teams arent gonna sweep the east and the wolves arent gonna go 0-82, so somebody has to lose these games.

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Double L to the

Double L to the P!-E-R-E-Z!

LL-PEREZ HANDIN IT TO YOU SUCKAAAAAAAAAAAAS

TAKE THAT! AND THAT!

I agree with my colleague LL.

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1. Los Angeles Lakers

1. Los Angeles Lakers (Projected W-L: 62-20)
They got depth so number is their spot to lose

2. Dallas Mavericks (Projected W-L: 57-25)
They are a team that is built to put up good season win totals and could get the number one spot but will not be the number on team

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected W-L: 54-28)

They got 50 last year and Durant and Westbrook or better and they have depth in the front court

4. Portland Trail Blazers (Projected W-L: 52-30)

If they can stay healthy watch out

5. San Antonio Spurs (Projected W-L: 50-32)
They use their veteran savy to continue to win games

6. Utah Jazz (Projected W-L: 49-33)
Will be a tough team to play come playoff time but they have injuries and chemistry issues early on

7.Houston Rockets (Projected W-L: 48-34)
How good can this team be who knows it depend on Yao's legs

8. Phoenix Suns (Projected W-L: 44-38)

They win at least half their games just by outscoring people

9. Denver Nuggets (Projected W-L: 42-40)
Injuries and Melo's departure may cause them to miss out on the playofffs

10. New Orleans Hornets (Projected W-L: 40-42)
A healthy Chris Paul and David West plus Ariza to catch lobs is good enough to almost get in the playoffs don't sleep on that New Orleans' magic

11. Golden State Warriors (Projected W-L: 39-43)
They will be good but defense will be the reason they don't make it to the playoffs

12.Los Angeles Clippers (Projected W-L: 39-43)
Lots of talent but will underachieve again

13. Memphis Grizzlies (Projected W-L: 38-44)
Will lightning strike again for them

14. Sacramento Kings (Projected W-L: 30-52)
They will be much improved but so are the rest of the league and these guys are still young. They will be like OKC and the year after this be ready to get 40 something wins

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected W-L: 18-64)
they will suck

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Why do people think Phoenix

Why do people think Phoenix will be a under .500 team and not make it into the playoffs. I like Denver but people forget about the injuries and Melo possibly leaving. Also this is a contract year for Smith and K Mart meaning the team could suffer if guys are just trying to get their numbers. Even Chauncey may want to leave. Phoenix does not need a big man to get over 40 wins in the regular season but they will be hurt in the playoffs though.

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LLPerez when are you doing

LLPerez when are you doing your NBA draft fantasy thing

Mr.Knick 32
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How is OKC better then

How is OKC better then Portland? SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN

Also, I see more wins split between the bottom and the top. The 50 wins this is rare so I see some teams falling back. I'm just being realistic.

Also to Knicksfan

Disagree: Minnesota could pull out 20 wins. There a young team but I sorta like some of the parts. OKC will not win 55 games to me IMO because there just going off " we're another year older" without adding ANYTHING. I don't like that at all. They added no legit pieces where I can say that they will make a difference.

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sheltwon, i believe it is sat

sheltwon, i believe it is sat oct 16th at like 3pm est. You can always go onto espns fantasy page and check it out and get your draft order ready. Ill send out a reminder via email before the draft.

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"OKC will not win 55 games to

"OKC will not win 55 games to me IMO because there just going off " we're another year older" without adding ANYTHING. I don't like that at all. They added no legit pieces where I can say that they will make a difference."

What are you talking about man? They added Cole Aldrich, who will fit the one hole the team really had. And yes that one year does make a difference. Durant and Westbrook have shown that they are only getting better, Harden and Ebaka won't be rookie's, and on top of that they will only get better with chemistry. The Thunder are for real, and I think you need to stop sipping that Portland koolaid that has somehow lasted a couple years now.

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OKC will still get pounded by

OKC will still get pounded by Houston, Portland, LA and other teams with legit C's if they are healthy.

Mr.Knick 32
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What are you talking about

What are you talking about man? They added Cole Aldrich, who will fit the one hole the team really had. And yes that one year does make a difference. Durant and Westbrook have shown that they are only getting better, Harden and Ebaka won't be rookie's, and on top of that they will only get better with chemistry. The Thunder are for real, and I think you need to stop sipping that Portland koolaid that has somehow lasted a couple years now.

That's what I said....they expect the guys to improve even more and didn't add anyone who can step in right away and be really good. Cole Aldrich is 6-9, he's gonna be a backup at best. The biggest variables for OKC are James Harden and Serge Ibaka. If they take the step up, OKC will be a better team.

As for Portland, they were a injured team ALL season and still were a better team then OKC. There a better overall team.

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im A thunder fan, but right

im A thunder fan, but right now portland have a better team on paper. they won more games last year despite having a ridiculous run with injuries. though thats why they play the games.

OKC has enough depth with solid bigs that they should be fine. their depth chart includes vying for minutes at C includes. Legit 7 footers, Nenad Kristic, and Longshot Byron Mullens, who looked improved in summerleague action but is probably a year away. Nick Collision, Cole Aldrich. Finally there is serge Ibaka who is poised to have a massive breakout year, not yet 20 he is apparently now a legit 6'11 after growing an inch over the break, while also putting on some added muscle.

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Hmmm

"Looking at Utah's first 30 games- They might go 10-20"

Yes. If Deron Williams, Paul Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko all spontaneously combust, the Jazz might go 10-20.

sacphil_08
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Just to clear the air..

Just to clear the air.. Golden state will be awful. They are retooling the entire franchise. David lee doesnt help them as much as youd like to think. Ekpe udoh was an awful decision and he wont even be available for awhile. Biedrins cant stay healthy, they dont have very much depth up front. Curry is not the guy to propel your team to win alot of games. He'll score alot because of the style of play but it'll be how kevin martin averaged 26 a game in 09 for the kings and they still only won 17 games. Golden state will have more wins than that, maybe 25-28 but even thats pushing it.

NYK2010
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1. Los Angeles Lakers

1. Los Angeles Lakers (Projected W-L: 58-24)
Fisher's age, Kobe and Bynum coming off injuries and Phil resting some guys late in the year are all factors.

2. Dallas Mavericks (Projected W-L: 56-27)
They should do well with Chandler, Haywood defensively at least only thing this team is lacking is a big time low post scorer. Might win the top seed if all goes right.

3. Portland Trail Blazers (Projected W-L: 55-27)
Team make some offseason moves lets see if they pay off, Oden, Camby, Przbilla at Center that could be a big help. Time for Aldridge and Batum to shine as well, sky is the limit for this team.

4.Houston Rockets (Projected W-L: 53-29)
They have maybe the best GM in the league, also if Yao is healthy they could challenge for the Finals. KMart for the whole season he should be very productive and Brad Miller is a nice backup C. Plenty of young talent too with Brooks, Hill, Budinger, Lee.

5. Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected W-L: 52-30)
Will be tought to improve from 50 wins with a similar team but they their young players should improve. Not sure how they'll defend against elite big men inside.

6. San Antonio Spurs (Projected W-L: 48-34)
1st time the Spurs will win less than 50 with Duncan, the injury bug will hit Parker or Ginobli once again. The Richard Jefferson signing was a head scratcher and can this team really challenge the top teams for a title I don't see it.

7. Utah Jazz (Projected W-L: 45-37)
Team will gel sooner than later and the coach will always have them competing. Contract year for AK, they had to let Boozers walk as they couldn't win with him it was time for a change. Okur, AK must be healthy for this team to make the playoffs.

8. Denver Nuggets (Projected W-L: 44-38)
I don't see Mello being traded as most teams have long term contracts to offer and Denver doesn't seem to be interested in that deal. With Billups, Laywson, Mello, Bird Man, Nene they have plenty of talent and Kmart, Smith are in contract years and the Nuggets can score with anyone still.

9. Phoenix Suns (Projected W-L: 44-38)
Not the same old Suns as only Nash remains from the past teams with Amare leaving. Any team with Steve Nash and Jason Richardson will score a lot of pts. Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress are nice additions but they need Warrick and Robin Lopez to play at a much higher level if they are going to challenge for a playoff spot.

10. New Orleans Hornets (Projected W-L: 43-39)
Chris Paul and David West are 2 solid All Star players, the rest of the team is a question mark. Dynamic rookie Darren Collison was traded foolishly for an overrated Trevor Ariza who will have to produce for the Hornets to be competitive.

11. Los Angeles Clippers (Projected W-L: 40-42)
Will they stay healthy and gel as a team. Blake Griffin is key especially now that Camby, Zebro are both gone. The other young players Gordon, Aminu, Jordan, Bledsoe will help decide how far this team goes. They some underrated role players in Gomes and Butler.

12. Memphis Grizzlies (Projected W-L: 38-44)
The team did not make many improvements in the offseason, they have plenty of talented bigs. Might be time to trade one for a upgrade at PG

13. Sacramento Kings (Projected W-L: 32-50)
Another young team that will struggle at times but with young talent like Evans, Cousins they have a bright future. They need a PG in the worst way as Beno Udrih isn't the answer. The big men Dalembert, Whiteside, Cousins, Landry and Thompson will help the defense.

14. Golden State Warriors (Pojected W-L: 24-58)
The defense will be weak but this might there last awful season. Nelson maybe on his way out and the team moved a lot of players in the offseason as well. C.J. Watson, Kelenna Azubuike, Corey Maggette, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Raja Bell are all gone. They added Charlie Bell, Dorell Wright, Jeremy Lin, Dan Gadzuric and David Lee. Only 3 long term contracts remain unfortunately one of them is Andres Biedrins who has missed more and more games each year.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected W-L: 15-67)
too young, no star player either, trading away Al Jefferson for nothing was a terrible move esp. for this year.

jdstorm
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1. LA Lakers. For All the

1. LA Lakers.
For All the Obvious reasons, interested with what they will do at the trade deadline. can they turn Vuyachick ( i know the spelling is wrong but it just looks funny) into a better wing shooter?

2. Portland.
Are Almost as deep as LA, if slightly worse at most positions. If they could find a penetrating PG who can Shoot Acceptably they might be level With LA. Won 50 Games last year with everybody injured, then added Utah's best SG

3. OKC
i have definate fan bias, which means nothing i say can really be impartial, but they have a definate to 5 player in durant,( i rank him much higher) a top 10 PG, the best wing defender in the league, and 3 guys coming off impressive rookie years that should make a significant sophomore jump.

4.Utah
i wasn't very high on them, and had them missing the playoffs, but gradually i am talking myself into them. Especially Al jefferson, his Added Size compared to Boozer means that Utah matches up Fine with LA if they are healthy. I also bileave that playing with DWill will help improve his offensive black hole potential. his defense will also be much better as sloan and the playoff team around him will demand it. I am Also high on Gordon Haywood. call it the stephen curry effect, but any player that can lead that big an underdog that close to a title will do well playing with NBA players. especially D Will.

5. Houston
Was a 500 team last year with a 6'6 Center. now has 2 7ft guys not including yao, who will greatly improve the defense, that already has some good to great wing defenders. flexable contracts and lets not forget louis Scola, and Yoa Ming playing a few minutes per night. woud really benifit from a Combo/scoring PG. that could play with or infront of brooks.

6.Dallas
will probably finish with a bette regular season record then one or more of the teams above, however i honestly believe all of the above teams could win the title if they play to their potential, and have some luck. dallas would need to make a pau Gasol level steal at SG to have a chance.

7. San antonio.
to good previously to write off, though most likley to slip out.

8. Denver (as of now)
if they trade melo it becomes NO v Memphis for the final spot

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