Alright, this post isn't about that nonsense. I'm just excited that the NBA is on again. I'm a Bulls fan, and I can't wait to see if Derrick Rose can prove himself this year. What I hope is that he shows the rest of the league that he can be the best point guard in the game. If he can do that, we'll have big men knocking the United Center's door down next season.
That's how the NBA works these days. Once the team proves it's capable of going all the way, the superstars want to come to them. Shaq to the Cavs. Rasheed to the Celtics. Vince Carter to the Magic. Artest to the Lakers. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. This is the NBA. This year, the Bulls are middle-class. They're a 6th seed in the playoffs. Not championship contenders. But it's an important year for them. A year to grow and prove just how threatening a team they'll be.
What will the playoffs look like this year? After a week of games, I've made some very hasty predictions. A lot will change, injuries will befall superstars and trades will turn tides. But regardless of what's possible, this is what I'll expect to happen half a year from now:
Eastern Conference Playoffs:
#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Toronto Raptors
#2 Orlando Magic vs. #7 Washington Wizards
#3 Cleveland Cavs vs #6 Chicago Bulls
#4 Miami Heat vs #5 Atlanta Hawks
Western Conference Playoffs
#1 Denver Nuggets vs. #8 New Orleans Hornets
#2 LA Lakers vs. #7 Phoenix Suns
#3 Portland Trailblazers vs. #6 Dallas Mavericks
#4 Utah Jazz vs #5 San Antonio Spurs
Alright, let's break this down. Best teams in the NBA:
1. Boston Celtics
This team is nasty. I'm definitely not going to root for them, but I don't think anything can stop them this year. What's worse is they're a bunch of barking assholes. Rondo's already talking trash. Garnett is as Garnett as ever (mothah fuckah!). Ray Allen is 100 percent ditry. And the newly acquired Rasheed Wallace is just as intimidating as a Celtic as he was during his championship days with the Pistons. Nothing's stopping them this year.
2. Orlando Magic
I hate everything about Florida, and my hate is strongest for Orlando. Even though I want these guys to lose, I can't deny how strong their basketball team is. They were unbeaten all the way through the preseason and just tonight finally lost to Detroit (really?). They're not perfect, but this Dwight Howard/Vince Carter combo looks REALLY good. The best playoffs series we'll see this year will be the Magic and Celtics.
3. Denver Nuggets
Melo got a taste of blood last year, and now he's going for the full course. This will be the Western conference team we see in the Finals this year. A full year of Billups and Anthony is going to be tough to beat. Even for Kobe.
4. LA Lakers
Just because they're not going to the Finals doesn't mean they suck. They don't. Kobe is gonna defend it like you won't believe. Luckily, LA has also gotten some help in Ron Artest. They're going to put up a hell of a fight this year, but they won't make it past Denver this time. And even if they did, the Celtics would sweep them.
5. Cleveland Cavs
They're out to a rough start, but adding Shaq into the mix means things are shaken up longer than desired. But things will fall into place, Lebron will be amazing, and the Cavs will become a dominant force within the next few weeks.
6. Portland Trailblazers
Another team having a shaky start (a lot of the West is for some reason), but the Blazers are going to keep basketball sick. They're one of the most enjoyable teams to watch, and they're only going to get better with experience.
7. Utah Jazz
Their early play has been interesting. They've lost a few games, but it's hard to count Utah out when you watch Deron Williams play. This team just has fundamentals. And as the Spurs have showed us multiple times this decade, sound basketball can win championships.
8. San Antonio Spurs
Speaking of the dynasty, they're not done yet. The guys are getting old, but they've still got what it takes to cause some damage in the NBA. There's not much new to say about the Spurs, but that only means good things for the legendary organization.
9. Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki. One of the best players in the league, he'll prove it again this year. And with Kidd still around for fun, the Mavs are going to be one of the peskiest teams ANYONE will play this year. These guys are competitors who refuse to give up until they have a championship. They just won't be able to withstand the immense talent on teams like the Nuggets and Celtics, but they'll be sure to take it to 7 anyway.
10. Miami Heat
Dwayne Wade isn't fooling around. All of the MVP talk from last year wasn't loud enough. With the staff he has to work with, Wade does way more than what he should have to do. If he found himself on any of the teams below, they would be a shoe-in for a ring. Alas, he's on the Heat, and they probably won't make it out of the first round again.
11. Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are an exciting team to watch. They're young and athletic, and know how to win games. This certainly isn't their championship year. And in fact, who knows how they'll ever get there. But fun basketball is usually better than barking Garnetts anyway. So the Hawks are alright.
12. Phoenix Suns
A few of their pieces have scattered around, but they still have their core in Steve Nash and Amare Stoudamire. As a result, they're one of three teams who are still undefeated after the first week (along with the Celtics and Nuggets). This Suns team is actually better than it was last year, and that might have something to do with old man Shaquille saying bye-bye.
13. Chicago Bulls
They'll be lucky to get out of the first round this year (they will not if they end up playing the Magic or Celtics), but the Bulls are a team with the most to gain in the league. Derrick Rose will prove himself this year, and then they'll reel in a free agent who will turn the Bulls into serious contenders for next season. It's all about the growth this year folks.
14. New Orleans Hornets
The only reason the Hornets are making the playoffs is because of Chris Paul. He's arguably the best point guard in the league (if Deron Williams isn't around), and he's one of the best players in basketball, period. If only he had more to work with.
15. Washington Wizards
These guys are turning things around, mostly because Arenas is healthy this year. They're threatening in 2009, but the Wizards still won't get out of the first round (if they can indeed make it that far). They're another team who has a lot of growing to do, but shows promise.
16. Toronto Raptors
Chris Bosh is awesome. Maybe even underrated. He gets better every year though. And if the Raptors can figure out how to use Hedo efficiently, they'll invoke a lot of upsets during the season this year.