The wait is over...It's going to be someone's coming out party this year, we'll soon know who... A new star will be born this year and old stars will continue their quests for redemption. The West remains wild and the East is out for respect... Showtime is back.
We are just 24 hours away from the tip off of the 2008-2009 NBA season, a season that promises to be one of the most exciting seasons to date.
More so this year than in recent years, the NBA will be about one thing...Winning. For some teams, this was a foreign concept, and individual development trumped it, but this year, I think we will see all of that change. There are veteran players on veteran teams that are looking to establish their legacy and there are young stars looking to carve their names in the rich history of NBA superstardom. It will be on from JUMP this year.
The beginning of the regular season is usually a bit of a joke, teams don't go full tilt and at times the game play appears unspirited. It's terrible to bet on, if you do that sort of thing...Regardless, I think this year will be different. It certainly will be in the West.
Last year, winning 50 games in the West was a prerequisite to just have a shot at getting into the playoffs. And the West hasn't gotten any easier since then. Western teams are going into this season knowing there is no time to waste, every team will be trying to get out to a good start, a sloppy first half of the season could BE THE SEASON.
Don't slip on the East. While I don't think they have caught up to the West, it certainly has improved over the offseason... The top two draft picks, Beasley and Rose went to Eastern teams and D-Wade is back, healthy and plugged into the Matrix. Brand has a new turncoat on and is now part of a dangerous 76er team. Bibby and Joe Johnson will be playing a full season with a ridiculously athletic and raw Atlanta Hawks team, Calderon teams up with Bosh and Jermaine O'neal in the T-dot and King James got himself a scoring and playmaking Pg. Rip, Mr. Bigshot and Sheed along with the rest of the Pistons will be trying to make one last push as Superman and the rest of the Magic look to improve upon last years campaign.
It will be interesting to see what D'Antoni can do with the mess that was the Knicks and how quickly the former Spur teamates "Red Beans and Rice" Vinny Del Negro and Avery Johnson, can turn the Bulls around. Last but not least, can anyone see the Celtics?
In the West, it's the same old story with new characters. While everyone is jumping on the Lakers Bandwagon, there are a number of teams that might be contenders.
The Rockets should be legit if they remain healthy. The addition of Artest is huge and a healthy Yao makes them playoff bound. But for once, just once T-Mac, please tell me you worked out in the offseason, tell me your not made from glass this year... If he stays healthy and he should because he won't have shoulder the entire scoring load on his weak back... The Rockets are a dangerous and hungry team.
What about Phoenix? I caught a glimpse of Shaq in training camp and he looked in shape, yeah, I was shocked too, I thought it was old footage...Shaq in shape to start a season? What year is this?
But it shows that he's out to prove something, if not to his critics, then maybe to himself this time. And you have to believe that the clock on how long Kid Canada's body will hold up is ticking. Nash's ring finger is ready NOW.
We can't slip on CP3 and the Hornets, who only got better with the addition of the championship journeyman, James Posey. And then there's Denver, if they decide to play defense, which from watching their training camp, was a big focus for Coach Karl, they could also be dangerous with the offensive firepower they possess in Melo, AI and an emerging complimentary scorer in JR. Smith.
Sloan and the Jazz will be in the mix and so will the Spurs. It's an odd year 2009, and the Spurs tend to win championships on odd numbered years. That's the best I can do Spurs fans.
What about Portland? That is a team that we all can't wait to watch. IS Oden legit? Can he score? Can he play defense? I saw him getting posterized by Kevin Martin and the Kings in the pre-season, he looked a little slow, and was often out of position. He will have to learn to be an intelligent defensive threat and avoid fouling out every game, but I guess that type of experience comes with age... He should be good then... Right? How old is he really? Watched a game in HD and I swear I saw liver spots on this cat.
There's so much talent on that Portland team it's just a question of when.
For all the Lakers supporters coming out of the woodwork, I'l say this:
"The Lakers winning the championship is about as likely as America electing a black president..."
Ok, It's a little early, but make your calls now. Who's your sleepers, favorites?... Which team will tank? What players will have ridiculous years?
My team is Denver. I support the Nuggets. I'm hoping they learned a little from last year and they start stronger and play real team defense, but with that group of guys I can't call it.
My sleeper team is Atlanta. They are at 30/1 odds to win the Eastern Conference Championship. I think they are filthy. I love Bibby, always have since he was a Wildcat and Joe Johnson is one of the more under-rated stars in the game. Horford is probably going to average a double- double and so might Josh Smith. I even think Smith could be an allstar this year if he worked at all on his outside game and offensive skills in the offseason...
I'm not going to make any reckless championship calls till a little later in the season...
But that shouldn't stop ya'll.
Just so you know where Vegas stands on your team, here are the future odds for every basketball team according to Bodog Sportsbook, including college hoops.