I feel like the upcoming NBA season is a
totalchanging-of-the-guard season. It’s a turning point: We are
in transition between the last generation of superstars and the new
generation of superstars. This will be the last season where Kobe, Tim
Duncan, Shaq, and KG (which I will call the millennium generation,
because it’s been ten fucking years since that term was used so
extensively) really contend for titles. Hell, it might even happen this
season, where the new generation (who I will refer to as the Darko
generation) finally wins a title aside from Dwyane Wade, Shaq, and Tim
Donaghy’s 2006 title run.
The 2006 Miami Heat can suck it
Just look at the top contenders this year, and you’ll notice there are
millennium superstars and pseudo-millennium superstars (Vince Carter)
on each squad. I believe that the top contenders this season are San
Antonio (Tim Duncan), Los Angeles (Baron Davis… alright I couldn’t say
that one with a straight face, Kobe Bryant), Orlando (which is an odd
combo of the pseudo-millennium and Darko superstars, Dwight Howard and
VINCANITY), and Boston (Korpse Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce).
The ones that seem to be on the sleeper contender’s list are where the
Darko superstars reside, which include Denver (Carmello), New Orleans
(Chris Paul), Porkland (Brandon Roy), and last but not least, the
Let’s also not forget the whole disparity between young and old teams.
Just look at some of the teams that tried to overhaul this past summer:
Dallas resigned Jason Kidd and picked up Shawn Marion to add to their
graveyard of players. If Dirk was not in the middle of a contract
season, I would have written this team off years ago.
The Maverick's Cheerleaders are probably young enough to be the
In a way, Pheonix got younger (and lighter) by ridding themselves of
the Cancer Formally known as the Big
Aristotle/Superman/Steel/Kazaam/Diesel. No wonder why the Suns were so
eager to get rid of this guy, who the fuck needs that many nicknames?
Even Ron Artest goes only by one nickname, which is OJ. Well, that’s
the nickname I’m giving him, for I think he will murder the Lakers’
playoff run come May, 2010.
Oh yeah, the Suns. I cannot help but feel that they are still old with
guys like Steve Nash and Grant Hill still gimping around.
The Lakers are upping the odometer by adding OJ Artest, while keeping
Derek Fischer and Kobe on hand. Kobe isn’t that old, but he is
definitely inching past his prime. Jordan was still winning titles at
34. Kobe is 31. However, Kobe has been playing professional basketball
since he was 18, which is a much bigger toll on the legs than NCAA.
The Celtics didn’t get any younger by adding Rasheed Wallace, who I
have witnessed first hand decline every season since 2006. And now
there’s speculation that Rajon Rando, Boston’s biggest hope at having a
legitimate future, might get traded.
And finally we come to the Cleveland Lebrons, who added the Cancer
Formally known as the Big Aristotle/Superman/Steel/Kazaam/Diesel.
Congratulations Cleveland, your core frontcourt players (Verajo, Shaq,
and Zeek) have an average age of 34. And everyone thought Shaq was
sucha great addition. Good luck getting past Orlando, Boston,
and [insert Western Coinference Champion] with the tread on those
Those are five teams that seem to be banking on post-prime millennium
superstars. I know that Cleveland is counting on Lebron more, but as we
saw in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, he cannot do it by
himself. The man was putting up 40+ points per game at ease, and
Orlando ran them out of the gym every time.
I mentioned the disparity because there seem to be younger, hungrier
teams that might make things interesting by ousting some of these
Senior Citizen forces (namely Dallas and Phoenix) for a playoff spot.
And when it happens, all of these morons like Tim Leigler and Bill
Walton will be all shocked because they couldn’t analyze an NBA season
if it meant rejuvenating their dead careers.
The main focus is obvious: The Oklahoma City Thunder. They draft James
Harden, who draft experts said would make a tremendous “glue-guy”, to
add to an already young core of talented players of Kevin Durant, Jeff
Green, and Russell Westbrook.
The other obvious choice is the Los Angeles Clippers, who managed to
rid themselves of Fat Randolph and won the Blake Griffin lottery. The
only major question about the Clippers is coaching, and whether or not
the same players who showed little respect for Mike Dunleavy in the
past will get over their differences and come together as a team.
As a basketball fan, wouldn’t it be awesome if the Clippers and Thunder
got to the playoffs, just to show the world how fucking ridiculous
sports GM’s are when they overpay some aging veterans in effort to win
a title? When has that ever worked? The New York Yankees used to do it
all the time, when they added Randy Johnson and Jason Giambi. The
Portland Jail Blazers were the worst with this practice, when they
added Steve Smith, Scottie Pippen, and Dale Davis, at a time when all
three were past their expiration dates, only to get beat by
the Lakers every year.
Anyways, aside from the entire “Young vs. Old” theme that we will all
see this upcoming season, I guess I better make some fucking
First of all, and I’m not sure when it will happen, but I’m willing to
bet that we will see at least three “blockbuster” trades. With all of
this suspicion of a lockout coming, and teams continuing to bleed from
economic hardships, don’t be surprised if the Houston Rockets get some
young, upcoming players for cents on the dollar when they have Tracy
McGrady and Yao’s contracts coming off the books. However, it may be
difficult to tell with some teams, for players may not exercise their
early termination option knowing full well that they may not get a
raise, as seen this past offseason with Carlos Boozer.
The main players on the trade market to look for are Chicago (Brad
Miller, plethora of young players), Charlotte (Tyson Chandler, Nazr
Mohammad, Raja Bell, Raymond Felton), Houston (T-Mac, Yao (ETO)), and
the New York Knicks (Al Harrington, Larry Hughs, Cuttino Mobely, and
David Lee). If there are teams looking for cap relief come trade
deadline, you’d better believe that the four teams mentioned will
control the trading power.
Coaches to be fired:
Between the four sports, coaches seem to have the shortest life span in
the NBA. If I remember correctly, seven coaches were fired last season.
That’s nearly 25% of the league’s coaches axed. As a Pistons fan, I
have seen three coaches get canned after winning division titles and
consistently making it past the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Anyone who watched the playoffs last season probably remembers all of
the talk about Stan Van Gundy and Mike Brown getting their pink slips
if their teams underachieved. More assert that had Chauncey Billups not
rescued the Nuggets, Geroge Karl would probably be in line at
unemployment. It’s ridiculous. I cannot think of many coaches in the
other leagues that get fired after having consistent success with their
Two big possibilities come to mind. The first one is Lawrence Frank.
The New Jersey Nets have progressively declined (what an oxymoron) ever
since he took over. And now that the metrosexual Joseph Stalin has
taken the reins, I cannot see Lawrence Frank making it past this
season, considering that he’s
A) Not a good coach
B) Has minimal talent on his team
The other coach in the hot seat is Byron Scott. I think the New Orleans
Hornets have the talent to really make a move in the Western
Conference. Looking back at how their season ended, I cannot help but
think that anything less than a conference title means Scott’s
departure from the
City of Atlantis New Orleans (too soon?).
Other high possibilities of getting canned: Erik Spoelstra, Vinny Del
Negro, Mike Woodsen, Mike Brown, Rick Carlisle, and Don Nelson.
Which by the way, can I point out how absolutely absurd Golden State’s
front office contiues to be? They finally get their shit together in
2007, and create the most exciting team in basketball. They trade one
of their key players (Jason Richardson) for an unpromising power
forward. They draft Anthony Randolph, who is better than Brandon
Wright, and barely play him. On top of everything else, they let the
most essential piece of a Nelly-ball style of play (Baron Davis, i.e.
elite point guard) walk out the door. They make up for it by overpaying
a scoring swingman (Corey Maggette) when they already had Stephen
Jackson. And now their best player, Cappin’ Jack, wants out. They are
almost like the Detroit Lions of pro-basketball: a team with a
consistent supportive fan base combined with a consistent atrocious
As for how the season will play out…
The Los Angeles Lakers will claim the Western Conferences top spot by
winning the Pacific Division. With their frontcourt, featuring arguably
the games’ greatest guard, the Lakers are built for regular season
success. Even when their starting center is hurt for extended periods
of time, this team finds ways to truck along.
The second and third seeds will come down to San Antonio and New
Orleans. I really question San Antonio’s ability to stay healthy. Both
teams added great pieces, with the Spurs adding San Antonio McDyess (I
love that nickname), and Richard Jefferson. The Hornets added Emeka
Okafor, who is miles ahead of Chandler is basketball IQ, skill, and
maturity. Personally, I’m pulling for the Spurs. I have always admired
their style of traditional play, and seeing San Antonio McDyess get a
ring after longing for one in Detroit would be nice to see. On top of
that, Richard Jefferson became one of my favorite athletes over the
summer when he dumped his fiancé just days before their wedding.
I also think Denver could make a run at a top three seed, considering
the run they made on the fly after getting Billups. Having him prepared
for an entire season could boost their record. I cannot see Denver
falling from the top four.
Rounding out the Western Conference playoff picture should be Porkland,
Utah, and a combination of two of Dallas, Phoenix, OKC, and Los
I think the real site to see in the Western Conference this season is
Lionel Hollins, the coach of the Memphis Grizzlies. Watching him try to
win with AI, OJ Mayo, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph should be funnier
The Eastern Conference should be up in the air. It will likely be a
rerun of last season, with Orlando, Cleveland, and Boston duking it out
as the East elite. I say Orlando claims the top seed, for they don’t
really have any older legs potentially dragging from game-to-game.
Cleveland may have lost a step by adding Shaq and losing John Kuester
(several Cavs fans are dreading a season without a Kuester-run
offense). And the verdict is still out on KG’s knees.
The only other lock I see in the East is Washington. Even if Gilbert
Arenas’s knee explodes nine seconds into the regular season, which is
entirely possible, this team got a lot better by adding Randy Foye and
Flip Saunders as coach. Flip Saunders does have control issues at
times, but if you see his track record, the man rarely misses the
Atlanta should make the playoffs. The only two things I’m unsure of are
Mike Woodsen’s coaching and Josh Smith’s ethic. I know Horford had
injury troubles last year, but this could be the season that he hatches
from his shell and becomes a legit big man in the NBA.
The other five spots are up in the air. Many of the potential playoff
teams have too many questions marks. The Bobcats took a step back by
losing Okafor, and still don’t really have a solid bench. The Sixers
really fell off by losing Andre Miller, when the team probably needs a
point guard more than anything. The Bulls and Pistons both
lack frontcourt power, the only difference being their guard problems.
The Bulls have an overabundance of point guards, where the Pistons have
an overabudnance of shooting guards.
In fact, the two closest things the Pistons have to point guards are
Tayshaun Prince, who plays the 3, and Will Bynum, who may see limited
time with Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon, and Rodney Stuckey playing in front
The Raptors also added Heo Turkoglu, who might help the offense run
smoothly if he can gel with Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon. I still
question Toronto's defensive intensity, thus it is difficult to pencil
this team into the playoffs.
So, in a nutshell, here's what the playoff picture will look like:
1) Los Angeles Lakers (Pacific Division Champions)
2) San Antonio Spurs (Southwest Division Champions)
3) New Orleans Hornets
4) Denver Nuggets (Northwest Division Champions)
5) Porkland Trailblazers
6) Phoenix Suns
7) Los Angeles Clippers
8) Dallas Mavericks
1) Orlando Magic (Southeast Division Champions)
2) Boston Celtics (I fucking hate the Celtics)
3) Cleveland Lebrons (I hate spellling out Caviliers)
4) Washington Wizards
5) Atlanta Hawks
6) Chicago Bulls
7) Detroit Pistons
8) Toronto Raptors
San Antonio trumps Boston for the 2010 World Championship.
I really don't think it matters anymore. Especially with the Most
Valuable Player. The player who deserves it never gets it. I'm not
saying that Lebron James did not deserve the award in 2009, but
Cleveland's emergence was more of a result of John Kuester's offensive
schemes and the addition of Mo Williams. Dwayne Wade carried a terrible
Miami Heat team to the playoffs with terrible coaching. In the defense
of Lebron James, Lebron is the only othe player in the league that
could have carried that Heat team to the playoffs. However, Wade still
had the more impressive season, and got snubbed. Bottom line.
I think if New Orleans emerges back to the top, which is possilble, it
should definately go to Chris Paul, who actually deserved the award in
2008, but lost it to Kobe based on the "we owe him one" factor. The NBA
really needs to cut the bullshit with the MVP award.
Coach of the year should definately go to Lionel Hollins if he manages
to not slit his wrists heading into All-Star weekend. I should
mentioned that the Coach of the Year award is another award that really
does not matter. Don't believe me? Since 1999, six coaches who have won
the award (Mike Dunleavy - '99 Blazers, Doc Rivers - 00 Magic, Rick
Carlisle - '02 Pistons, Mike D'Antoni - '05 Suns, Avery Johnson - '06
Mavericks, and Sam Mitchell - '07 Raptors) were all fired within the
following three seasons. This either means that they were not good
coaches, meaning they did not deserve the trophy, or that there is some
sort of curse. I would not rule out the latter, considering that two of
the other coaches (Larry Brown - '01 Sixers, Hubie Brown, -04
Grizzlies) left their respective teams within the same time span. The
only coach who has won the award that is still with their team is Greg
Popavich. The last two coaches to win the award? Mike Brown and Byrson
Scott. Two guys who are considered by many to be on the hot seat this
season. Watch out!
Want a sure way to lose your job? Just accept this trophy!
Rookie of the Year? Thomas Ian Nicholas.
Defensive Player of the Year will probaqbly go to Dwight Howard again,
because he will swat another bagillion shots and people will continue
to say "OMG DWIGHT HOWARD IS SO AWESOME LOOK AT ALL OF HIS STATS HE IS
THE NEXT SHAQ!". By the way Dwight Howard fans, if you need any shred
of evidence that Dwight Howard simply is not mature enough to lead a
team to a championship, click
here, and tell me with a straight face that you
would be comfortable with this guy as your team's leader.
Most Improved Player will probably go to Anthony Randolph if Golden
State hires a compitent head coach.
I see Rasheed Wallace, Ben Gordon, James Posey, or Lamar Odom taking
the sixth man award.
That's the NBA 2010 season for you. I will probably have an exclusive
Pistons preview coming up, and will probably have an additional
half-season analysis and playoffs preview as I always do.