1. Miami Heat - They are going to cruise through the regular season and kill all the low hanging fruit in the NBA. People think they'll get more tough games because they are a target, but I disagree. Most of the contending teams are older and saving some gas for the playoffs.
2. Orlando Magic - They still have a lot to prove. Howard needs more offense and the Magic need more toughness from somebody besides Dwight. A nice regular season cruise results.
3. Atlanta Hawks - They have a lot to prove too after another disappointing playoff run. Many of their young players now have more seasoning and the roles are well defined except for how much Bibbies minutes will drop off. But playoff disappointment looms again.
4. Chicago Bulls - We know the defense will be even better because of Thibadou as the head coach, and the offense will be somewhat improved with Boozer on board. The big question to me is how much better does Derek Rose get. I think a lot.
5. Boston Celtics - Old, but showed in the playoffs last year that it doesn't matter. The regular season is about staying healthy, and that's it. They would probably like one home series in the playoffs, and then don't care. This team is built to beat the Heat and Lakers.
6. Milwaukee - Fear the Deer indeed. It remains to be seen if Bogut can recover, and that's the key to everything. He still hasn't' regained full motion in his elbow, and since he is clearly their best player it makes sense that they make no noise without him. The Maggette trade is puzzling at best, he's never been a part of anything good.
7. New York - Looks like the Knicks had a big whiff on the Lebron sweeps. Amare is a nice consolation prize and will probably result in a high flying, playoff bound team, that will do nothing when it counts because there are no defenders on this team.
8. Charolette - Larry Brown is out by the All-Star break. He is not going to like coaching this bunch since they seem due for regression after the questionable player moves they made. But it was nice to make the playoffs last year and this year.
New Jersey - Actually has some good players, but not enough.
Philly - What a fucking mess. Igudola has been miscast as a star for years now.
Toronto - There is nothing left here post Bosh. Probably killed NBA ball in Canada.
Cleveland - Speaking of nothing left. Lebron's teammates were not good and we'll see why.
Detroit - Joe Dumars really fucked up this team with the Villanueva and Gordon signings. Bad, bad, bad.
Indiana - I get that Larry Bird likes corn fed white boys, but this is not how to make a team.
Washington - John Wall is going to be on the highlight reel at least once a week, but things with Gilbert will get ugly. Fast.
Miami over Charolette - Most lopsided sweep since I don't know when.
Orlando over New York - Dwight Howard looks good offensively because Amare and Garngnari can't play defense.
Atlanta over Milwaukee - I think Bogut is not coming back 100% this year. If he does and Jennings continues to improve I would pick MWKE.
Boston over Chicago - And we get to see why Boozer does not make a good power forward. He won't score on Boston's lineup, just like the problems he had with the Lakers.
Boston over Miami - I think the crunch time offense for Miami will lead to strife with these guys. Also, Chris Bosh is an overpaid punk. He is not a good defensive force and not a banger at all.
Orlando over Atlanta - Dwight Howard gets to destroy another team with no big men.
Boston over Orlando - Howard gets challenged by Boston's size and once again responds poorly. Rondo eats the magic alive yet again, and Pierce abuses Lewis at SF. Basically last years thing with Shaq being extra angry and breaking Howards nose with an elbow at some point.
1. Lakers - It's the best team top to bottom with the only question being how does Bynum hold up.
2. Utah - I think the trade for Big Al was the best possible move for these guys. He can go against Gasol and Bynum on the block where Boozer could not. But can he stay healthy?
3. OKC - Durant is clearly a top five player and showed it in the playoffs and world championships. His teammates are okay, not enough to beat the Lakers.
4. Houston - A team of nice parts, but no real alpha dog hampers their ability to jump to the next level. Ming is pretty much in the Sabonis phase of his career and needs better teammates to be very effective.
5. Dallas - Dirk is very consistent and keeps things solidly in the 50 win area. Is Kidd done this year? Who knows, but their championship window shut a while ago.
6. San Antonio - Low player movements after last years flops, this team is all about arriving at the playoffs as healthy as possible.
7. Portland - Greg Oden, Branden Roy, the brittle PacNW!
8. LA Clippers - predicated on Blake Griffen remaining healthy all year, a big iff.
Also rans -
Denver Nuggets - Should be better, but Carmelo trade demands weigh down whole franchise.
New Orleans - Should be better, but Paul trade demands weight down whole franchsie.
Memphis - Overpaid Gay. Gritty team, but not good enough in this conference, though I could see them in the 8th playoff spot.
Phoenix - I figure Nash has to break, and a team of Small Forwards can't possibly keep winning.
Sacramento - They really have a few nice young pieces, but Cousins won't transform them overnight in his rookie year.
Golden State - New owner, new coach, same old Warriors.
Minnesotat - This is the NBAs worst team. The GM should be fired for trading away Jefferson for nothing and taking in the talented, but underperforming Beasley in exchange. And for not sending the Celtics anteing to win the title, that's the MN GM's job after all.
Lakers over Clips. Fun intracity rivalry is only fun for Lakers fans.
Utah over Porltand. Jefferson and Williams set to make a run.
Spurs over OKC - tough draw in my imagined world for Durant. Duncan is the kind of post player they have no answer for.
Houston over Dallas - And the Dallas blow up plan begins.
Lakers vs Spurs - A battle royal of epic proportions is one the Lakers are easily equipped to win with a healthy Bynum. He is the key to everything for them.
Utah vs Houston - This is an easy win for Utah with their new low post stud and array of big ment to toss at Houston's undersized lineup.
Conf. finals - Lakers over Utah - Same old same old for the Jazz. Can't beat the Lakers.
Finals - Boston over Lakers. Two things. Apparently Allen was injured in the finals and that's why all his shots were off. And the Celtics just needed some more rebounds to win the ttitle last yea.r ONce Perk went down they were doomed. HOpefully the new O'Neal brothers can insure that at least one seven footer is out there at PF/C and we don't have Baby guarding Bynum. Hopefully. Because though Shaq is slow, he still fucks with Bynums shit because of his size alone. And though he can't play pick and roll, since when are the Lakers a pick and roll team? Triangle and Bryant is what they run. Boston in six games and exacting revenge for last year.