Tuesday, October 27th, 2009


Basketball picksOctober 27, 2009

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Phoenix
4. Golden State
5. Sacramento

LOS ANGELES LAKERS
COACH: PHIL JACKSON
LAST YEAR: 65-17
BEST ADDITION: F RON ARTEST
BIGGEST LOSS: F TREVOR ARIZA
 

OUTLOOK
The Lakers won it all, and what do they do? They go out and add Ron Artest to the mix. Artest is a top defensive player and can score as well. If the Lakers aren’t fat cats after winning last year, they certainly will be every bit as good as a year ago, if not better. If the hunger is still there, this team stands a good chance to win again.
 

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
COACH: MIKE DUNLEAVY SR.
LAST YEAR: 19-63
BEST ADDITION: F BLAKE GRIFFIN
BIGGEST LOSS: F ZACH RANDOLPH
 

OUTLOOK:
This team has a lot of holes, and Zach Randolph is gone as he was a very good player, but considered a cancer. He will be replaced by Blake Griffin who could put up similar numbers, but a much different work ethic and attitude, which is a gain. This team has a long way to go, and Griffin is a nice player and may help down the road, but there just isn’t enough talent here to be much better than a year ago.
 

PHOENIX
COACH: ALVIN GENTRY
LAST YEAR: 46-36
BEST ADDITION: C/F CHANNING FRYE
BIGGEST LOSS: SHAQUILLE ONEAL
 

OUTLOOK
The Suns brought in Shaq to try to push them over the top, but their style is just not suited for what Shaq brings to the court. They will go with Channing Frye in the middle and he has a world of potential, but just never seems to bring it, and maybe the running style here triggers something. Shaq’s departure should help Amare Stoudamire as he will own the paint again. The Suns look like a team that if they somehow get Frye to step up, could produce a 50-win season.

GOLDEN STATE
COACH: DON NELSON
LAST YEAR: 29-53
BEST ADDITION: G STEPON CURRY
BIGGEST LOSS: G JAMAL CRAWFORD
 

OUTLOOK
Don Nelson loves the run-and-gun, up-tempo game. Although that makes for entertaining basketball, it isn’t producing wins, and nothing was added here to make me feel that this team will be any better. Stepon Curry fits in nicely to an offensive style as he can really shoot, but so could Jamal Crawford, so they’re just replacing one scorer for another. If they stay healthier they might add a few wins, but I don’t see them making the playoffs with this group.
 

SACRAMENTO
COACH: PAUL WESTPHAL
LAST YEAR: 17-65
BEST ADDITION: G TYREKE EVANS
BIGGEST LOSS: NONE
 

OUTLOOK
The Kings have all the parts back from a poor team, so they should at least improve from that alone. Tyreke Evans will run the offense and he could be a good one, although not a natural PG, he is big and will be able to get in the lane and cause problems, something missing from the Kings a year ago. Overall, maybe more is expected, but there is still not enough talent here to threaten for a playoff berth. Top upside is 25-30 wins.

 

Basketball picksOctober 27, 2009

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

NORTHWEST
1. Portland
2. Denver
3. Utah
4. Oklahoma City
5. Minnesota 

PORTLAND
COACH: NATE McMILLAN
LAST YEAR: 54-28
BEST ADDITION: G ANDRE MILLER
BIGGEST LOSS: C/F CHANNING FRYE
 

OUTLOOK:
The Blazers turned the corner last year and are definately heading in the right direction. They return their key players, starters and bench. They have added Andre Miller who is very steady at the point, although he can’t play mega minutes anymore. Their top players are gaining experience, and getting better. If that continues, this team could advance over 55 wins this season, and at least a mild threat in the playoffs.

DENVER
COACH: GEORGE KARL
LAST YEAR: 54-28
BEST ADDITION: G TY LAWSON
BIGGEST LOSS: G DAHNTAY JONES
 

OUTLOOK:
The Nuggets made great strides last season. The offense is solid, and they get good complimentray minutes off the bench. The problem is that the playoffs are about defense, and they can only get so far with their high-octane offense. Billups had his minutes held down, and he asked for more of the same, so they need Ty Lawson to stay healthy and contribute. This looks like a 50-win team again, but may slip a few games from a year ago.

UTAH
COACH: JERRY SLOAN
LAST YEAR: 48-34
BEST ADDITION:
G ERIC MAYNOR
BIGGEST LOSS: NONE
 

OUTLOOK
The Jazz decided to stay pat and bring back the same team. There is a potential that they have issues with Carlos Boozer who swore he would opt out of his contract, but a bad market made him decide to stay. It is likely he will be traded at some point, so this is a hard team to gauge right now, depending on how hard Boozer plays, and if/when the Jazz trade him. Until then the 48 wins they put up a year ago are certainly in reach, up or down depends on Boozer, or who they get for him. Stay tuned!
 

OKLAHOMA CITY
COACH: SCOTT BROOKS
LAST YEAR: 23-59
BEST ADDITION: G JAMES HARDEN
BIGGEST LOSS: F/G DAMIEN WILKENS
 

OUTLOOK:
The Thunder have a good young core of players with Westbrook, Green and Durrant, and the addition of James Harden should help. They appear to heading in the right direction, and they just need a lot more experience. Their biggest problem is that the dropoff is severe after their core players, and the team depth definetly isn’t there, and as injuries occur, they struggle. They could make it to 30 wins this year, but they are not a playoff team yet.

MINNESOTA
COACH: KURT RAMBIS
LAST YEAR: 24-58
BEST ADDTION: G JOHNY FLYNN
BIGGEST LOSS: F/G MIKE MILLER
 

OUTLOOK:
The Timberwolves had some big draft picks and surprisingly took all guards. This roster is going to potentially have seven new players – never a good thing in the short run. The Wolves have been rebuilding since the departure of Garnett, and three years later, they seem to be starting all over again. Jeferson is back and healthy and should be good for a few wins, but this team still has a long way to go.