It almost time for Halloween, so you know what that means? No, it’s not time for candy corn. No, I’m not getting together a list of scary movies I want to marathon on Wednesday. And no, I’m certainly not dressing up as Bane from The Dark Knight Rises (although if I were to dress up this year that would be my costume). What I’m looking forward to is much more important to my daily life.
IT’S BASKETBALL SEASON!!!!!!!
Oh dear sweet Lord how I’ve missed you so. It’s been a rather uneventful summer, being that the Giants pretty much coasted to the division title. I am enjoying our playoff run right now, but sadly, win or lose, that will be coming to an end soon. Basketball on the other hand, will just be kicking into gear. This is my favorite time of the year. The weather starts to get colder, but the gyms across America, from local YMCA’s to Cameron Indoor Stadium, to Madison Square Garden, heat up with the passion of the round ball.
So where will everybody land in the NBA this season? Let’s take a look.
1. Miami Heat.
The East is still the Heat’s to lose. They’re the defending champions, and until someone beats them, right here is where they’ll remain. I like the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the bench, and Erik Spolestra is going to keep his NBA Finals starting five in tact. With Derrick Rose out the majority of the season, I see no one in the east taking them down.
2. Indiana Pacers
I look for the Pacers to make a big step up this year with the absence of the Chicago Bulls in the top 4. Roy Hibbert played well in the playoffs last year and will look to continue on that momentum. Look out for Paul George; we could see an emergence from here this season.
3. Boston Celtics
I love Boston’s resiliency. It seems like they’re one or two plays from a championship each year. Just when we’re ready to count them out, they come roaring back in April and May. This year is this group’s last shot at glory, and they’ll be extra motivated with Ray Allen moving to Miami.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are a good, young team, with a lot of potential, and a great head coach in Doug Collins. People forget that this team led the Atlantic Division last season for two months before sliding to 7th without Andrew Bynum. Now that they have a valuable center (barring injury), I think this year the Sixers can sustain a top four pick.
5. New York Knicks
Linsanity is over, and Melo is out of excuses. The time to win is now. Sadly, it won’t come to pass this year.
6. Chicago Bulls
Chi-Town got a raw deal in game 1 of last year’s Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Derrick Rose will likely be on the shelf until April. Unless Boozer, Deng, and Noah can really hold it down, this season is a wash.
7. Brooklyn Nets
Derron Williams will finally get back to the playoffs and the Knicks-Nets rivalry will intensify. Nothing else to see here.
8. Atlanta Hawks
Clearly, this team is trying to start over and grab some quality draft picks. Their front office is inept at everything they do though, so they’ll still sneak in the playoffs, even when they purposely try not to.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder.
I don’t care what the Lakers did this off-season. The Thunder is still the best team in the Western Conference. I’m not saying they’re destined for a rematch with the Heat though. They will have to work for it. This means you, James Harden.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
I would feel unprofessional putting the Lakers lower than 2 on this list with the recent acquisitions they’ve made this summer. I still think they have a lot of chemistry issues to iron out. Just think about it. Pau, Kobe, Dwight, and Nash can all shoot 20 times a night. They better get their egos in check FAST, or this could be 03-04 all over again.
3. San Antonio Spurs
Just like in the Eastern Conference, I’ll put the resident old guys of the NBA in the third spot. Tim Duncan is going to be there come playoff time. Gregg Popavich will make sure of that by limiting his minutes during the regular season. Tony Parker is in the prime of his career (thank God Drake didn’t ruin that for us), and Manu Ginobili should continue to provide quality minutes off the pine.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
I’m still getting used to considering the Clippers as a playoff team. Nevertheless, they will be a title contender this season. If Blake Griffin can stay healthy and Grant Hill ans a motivated Lamar Odom can work their way into the rotation, this team can make noise. Oh yeah, there is this guy named Chris Paul too.
5. Memphis Grizzles
This team needs to make something happen this year. They’re quickly becoming the Western Conference’s version of the Atlanta Hawks. I have a feeling that if the Grizz have the same result as the last two years, Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph could be gone by next season.
6. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets came up with the acquisition of Andre Iguodala. Too bad they’re playoff position won’t.
7. Dallas Mavericks
This team looks completely different. Only reason why I have them here is Dirk Nowitzki, even if he is starting the season injured.
8. Golden State Warriors
I had the Timberwolves here last week until Kevin Love broke his hand. So I suppose I’ll insert the league’s most underachieving team at number 8. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, please give Oakland something to cheer about.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
10. Utah Jazz
11. Sacramento Kings (obviously biased)
12. Phoenix Suns
13. Portland Trailblazers
14. Houston Rockets
15. New Orleans Hornets