NBA Season Preview

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By Peter Christian

In the first of numerous articles leading up to the NBA season tip-off on the 28th, Pete goes in-depth on his preseason picks.

Eastern Conference Finals
: Sixers over Cavs – The Sixers will be the surprise team in the East and will have possibly the toughest road to travel as the four seed and having to beat the five seed (Pistons) the one seed (Celtics) and the Cavs (two seed)

Western Conference Finals: Lakers over Hornets – The rivalry begins. In Kobe’s last bunch of great seasons against CP3’s first bunch, these two teams should get used to each other in May.

NBA Finals: Lakers over Sixers – Much like the same match-up in 2001, the Sixers might steal an early game, but the Lakers win their 14th NBA Championship in the franchise’s history.

Finals MVP: I foresee a scenario where it should be Lamar Odom but it will be given to Kobe because he’s Kobe. How many times did Jordan win a title and not win the Finals MVP? 0

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Regular Season MVP: Unfortunately we have gotten into a cycle where players are rewarded the MVP award for getting robbed in years past, Baron Davis will have an MVP like F-U Season but the award will go to Chris Paul, New Orleans

Rookie of the Year: Greg Oden, Portland – Yes, he is still a rookie and if he would have been in the 2008 draft the Bulls would have had an orgasm in getting him instead of Rose or Beasley.

Defensive Player of the Year:
Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers – People forget that Kobe can play shut down defense and will do so when he is happy with his team. Since his team is head and shoulders above the rest of the league, he will take on the challenge to shut down the opponent’s best perimeter scorer every night.

Coach of the Year: Maurice Cheeks, Philadephia – Mo’s team was already considered a rising unit before they signed Elton Brand. He will take them from a 40 win team to a team that will challenge the Celtics for the Atlantic division title.

6th Man of the Year: Shane Battier, Houston – Coming off the bench will be something new for Battier behind Artest, but like Manu Ginobili, he will get plenty of PT and plenty of good stats.

Most Improved Player: Al Thornton, LA Clippers – Thanks to the help of B-D, Thornton will expand his successful rookie season into an even better sophomore campaign.

Best Off-season Acquisition:
Baron Davis, LA Clippers – While this acquisition would have been given much more praise had Elton Brand not given the Clippers the finger and snuck off to Philly, but Baron is going to play like a man possessed. He is going to go out and prove that it didn’t matter if Brand is there or not.

Worst Off-season Acquisition: Jermaine O’Neal, Toronto – While it was imperative that O’Neal get out of Indiana, it makes absolutely no sense that the Raptors take him on.
His fit with the team is almost as questionable as his ability to stay on the floor.

Player to make “The Leap”: Rodney Stuckey, Detroit – Many analysts think that Chauncey Billups is the most important piece in the Pistons success, but Stuckey has shown the ability to lead the offense in Billups absence. He will be a household name by next April.

Player to take a major step back: Ray Allen, Boston – While he stepped up huge in the NBA Finals, his game isn’t anywhere near where it once was. As long as he is on a winning team he is going to make sure he keeps something in the tank for the play-offs which means his regular season contributions are going to be tapered even farther.

First Coach Fired: George Karl, Denver – This has to be an even money bet. The only real question is whether or not Karl will be on the bench when the Nuggets become the first team to fight each other in the middle of the game.

First Superstar Traded: Vince Carter, New Jersey – Within 20 games it will be clear that Vince is mailing it in. Look for Nets GM Rod Thorn to give up Vince for a young player, a draft pick, and a rack full of used basketballs.

Biggest Impact from 2nd Round Pick: Bill Walker, Boston – With Ray Allen settling into the role of spot shooter in limited minutes, Walker will definitely be the player to step up.
Biggest Rookie Bust: OJ Mayo, Memphis – I thank the Basketball Gods as we near the 2008-09 season that OJ will not be destroying my hope in Minnesota basketball for the next three seasons.

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  1. Baron Davis’ beard belongs in the Hall of Fame

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