As the New Season Finally Approaches: Where Do The Nets Land?
With ESPN analysts weighing in with highly varied and contrasting predictions of the Nets (along with all NBA teams for that matter) at http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/preview2010/news/story?page=Predictions1011-Nets, how do you size up what's in store for this upcoming season? As the team stands right now (unfortunately Melo-less with five days until the opening tip against Detroit), how effective will the Nets be in proving last year a complete aberration? Are the Nets indeed ready to make a push for the playoffs?
This post is not to debate whether it would be better to accept and/or sacrifice this year and improve in the long run, nor is it intended to incite another deabte about why or why not Melo must be persued. This is simply to flat out get a feel of where Nets fans see the team winding up this year amongst the other teams in the East.
Here is my up-to-date prediction, what is yours?
1 - MIA 71-11 (Yeah I said it - and you're welcome to call me ludicrous. Best Big 3 [including 2 of the top 3 players in the game today] in NBA history is enough to do this if healthy together. Remember, LeBron's Cavs won 61 last year. Can one really say this Heat team isn't 10 games better with Wade + Bosh as the 2nd and 3rd guns vs. Mo Will + Jamison/Hickson?)
2 - CHI 58-24 (Even w/ no Booze to start the year, Thibodeau's crew of the most dominant PG in the East, Rose, paired with Deng, Noah, Boozer and potent bench shooting is oh-so-serious)
3 - ORL 55-27 (Dwight will try to emulate Hakeem this year, and he is the ultimate NBA center of today, but is supporting cast mentally and physically tough enough?)
4 - BOS 51-31 (Doc will defintely keep the Old 3 and the other former all-stars plenty rested throughout the season, but they will still be a force)
5 - ATL 46-36 (PG is a huge concern as Bibby is coming off a 9 ppg 4 assist campaign, Horford, Joe Cool and Smoove will still rack up wins though)
6 - MIL 45-37 (Bogut is the HUGE X-factor here. If he plays 70+ games and shows no signs of lingering injuries, they can easily win 50+ games - also the crowded and super deep team will prove to be a good and bad thing alike)
7 - NYK 43-39 (Yeah, this is going to offend some people but I think Amare is that amazing on offense- pencil him in for 25 ppg and 9 rebs a night - add a real NBA starting PG/faciliator in Felton and devloping talents of Randolph, Chandler, Gallo, Walker, Douglas and they are set to make a legitimate run at the 7th or 8th spot - they will not be crying over Harrington or D Lee - whose numbers both will substantially decrease with their new teams - I all but guarantee it)
8 - WAS 40-42 (Not a typo - sure its a hunch and a sleeper pick, but Wall is most likely gonna steal the ROY from Big Blake, Gilbert has needed to play the 2 his whole life, and Blatche (mini-KG) + McGee is more than formidable up front. Guys like Thornton, Yi, Heinrich and J Howard (when healthy) round out a very exciting and potentially successful team.
Teams Out, Looking in:
CHA 37-45 (The loss of Felton and the thin front court will negate S-Jax and G-Wall from repeating a trip to the offs)
CLE 36-46 (Yep the Cavs! Hickson will be MIP of the year, Antawn can still play and Varejao has been waiting for this opportunity his whole career - Don't forget Mo Williams has A LOT to prove and Sessions was a great pick up - Byron is a great coach who will definitely put up a fight)
PHI 34-48 (This one is tough actually: Great amount of talent and possibly could sneak into the 8th spot if Jrue Holiday is everything that Collins says he is - Also Evan Turner and Iggy will have to prove they can co-exist. Additionally, Brand will need to stay healthy and Hawes is another wild card that could be a flop or productive. Don't foget their other guys that can score in a hurry - Thaddeus and Lou-Will for example.)
NJ 32-50 ( A tremendous turn around in the wins cat... + 20 wins from last year... looks great on paper and will definitely carry over in a good way for the following season when we really make a true push for the playoffs. Of course pairing Melo with Brook puts us in the driver seat to take the 8th spot if it happens early enough this year, otherwise Morrow and Outlaw will prove not to be worthy of starting gigs, and the chemistry with all of our new players, namely Murphy gelling with Devin, T-Will and Brook will simply take too long to bring us the 40+ wins necessary to make the offs. T-Will is the real X-factor to me - he needs 30+ minutes a night; Favors will obviously be brought along extremely slowly and will not have an impact on this team until they are removed from playoff contention at the end of the season.)
Pacers - Too early to tell, But the core of Collison, Granger, and Hibbert could potentially form a team almost good enough to steal a playoff spot - the holes outside of these three will presumably be too large for them to be that competitive. In the dark and nowhere near contention: Pacers, Pistons, Raptors.
Best Chance to replicate or actually have a worse record than the Nets 12 win season from last year:
HOW DO YOU SEE THE EAST SHAPING UP? WHERE ARE THE NETS?