2004 / 2005 NBA Basketball Preview
Wunderdog's Pre Season NBA Preview
It looks again as is the Spurs have what it takes to win the NBA Championship this season. The combination of Parker and Ginobli in the backcourt with Duncan in the middle makes this team a tough one for anyone in the league. If their defense is able to hold up in the postseason, they should win the NBA championship next summer. Detroit will be hard pressed to repeat this season. Everything, and I mean everything, fell in place for their championship team of one year ago. They'll be there again in the East, but no one in the East should be able to beat the top three out West in a best of seven series.
Best in the West
1) San Antonio – Until someone beats them, this is the team in the West. They can score from anywhere on the court, and can defend as well. They're my early season choice to get the trophy this summer.
2) Phoenix – Keep an eye on this basketball team. They have all kinds of talent in Nash, Stoudamire, Marion, and Richardson. They'll go very deep in the playoffs and could be really on to something. They are deep and can flat out play offense and defense. If there is a darkhorse in the West, it resides in Phoenix. This team could easily end up winning the West this season.
3) Minnesota – Say what you will, but the Wolves still have great talent in KG, Cassell and Spree. They have too many egos to be taken seriously as a contender, but they'll be hanging around throughout the season. They'll bow out in the semis of the Western Playoffs. I hope that they face the Nuggets again this postseason. That would be a series I wouldn't miss.
4) Dallas – Again, lots of talent, but they'll disappear late in the season. Missing out on Shaq in the offseason really hurt the Mavs, but their core is very good on the offensive side of the court. The team just does not play enough defense to be taken seriously come the playoffs. The offense of Nowitski, Harris, and Stackhouse will keep them in the playoff mix throughout the season, but they could fall if they experience injuries and do not imporve their team defense.
Best in the East
1) Detroit – The Pistons are the defending champs here so they get the nod here, albeit a slightl oneover the rest of the weak Eastern Conference. Billups and Hamilton form a tough backcourt here and Prince is a great clutch scorer for this team. The key will be the health of Ben Wallace. He has missed some games already this young season and will now miss six more due to his role in the fracus on Friday. The Pistons will need him to be a key player down the stretch in the East.
2) Miami – Shaq's era in South Beach has commenced, and the reviews are a mixed bag thus far. The Heat have been good at home and have gotten off to a nice start, but they are just 3-2 away from Miami. As the season wears on, Shaq is sure to get hurt as he always seems to, and the question we have is how will the Heat handle the games that he'll miss. They play in the East so they'll be fine and they should get very far in the playoffs. The fact is, however, that this is a very average basketball team, and would be lucky to be the fifth or sixth place playoff team in the West.
3) Cleveland – Lebron will get his first taste of playoff basketball this year. The Super Soph is off to a great start in his second season and the Cavs have been a tough bunch thus far. James and Gooden form a tough duo, and Coach Paul Silas is one of the better at handling young players in this league. Cleveland will continue to get better and better throughout the regular season, and this team could be a real darkhorse in the East come playoff time.
4) Orlando – Grant Hill is healthy for now, and he is reminding everyone in the basketball world why he was one of the top players in the league when he is healthy. Dwight Howard has been a pleasant surprise thus far and is showing that he is ready to start right now. Throw in a healthy Steve Francis and this team has many ingredients in its favor. This team will go as far as Grant Hill. If Hill stays healthy, they are as good as anyone in the East and should be a force throughout the regular season. If Hill gets hurt, and there is no reason to think he won't, this team will suffer.