Toronto Raptors should be one of most improved teams in NBA

raptors cheerleaders

The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders.  There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.

The Toronto Raptors added four quality pieces in the off-season and should be one of the most improved teams in the Eastern Conference; certainly possessing enough talent to earn a spot in the playoffs.

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Another NBA season, another mediocre Milwaukee Bucks team

bucks cheerleaders

The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders.  There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.

With just one winning season in the past eight years, mediocrity is considered success for the Milwaukee Bucks.  Getting to the five hundred mark this season would be a win and might be enough to get the team into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

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Minnesota Timberwolves Will Be the Worst Team in the NBA

David Kahn Ricky Rubio

David Kay begins his 2010-2011 NBA previews with the worst team in the league.  The Minnesota Timberwolves are giving new meaning to the phrase re-building behind oft-criticized general manager David Kahn who is the opposite of Benjamin Linus when it comes to having a plan.

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NBA Power Rankings: #3 Orlando Magic

dwight howard

By: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:
This past season was a magical one in Orlando, as the Magic emerged as one of the elite teams in the league, advancing to the NBA Finals for just the second time in the franchise’s brief history. Despite the fact that Orlando was defeated by the Lakers in five games, the team cannot be disappointed with their ’08-’09 campaign.

The success of the Magic directly correlates with Dwight Howard continuing to develop into one of the most dominant big men in the NBA. What put Orlando over the top though was the effectiveness of the players around Superman. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu came up clutch in late-game situations, providing outside threats to compliment Howard’s presence inside. Even though Jameer Nelson missed the final two-plus months of the regular season, and pretty much the entire playoffs, the Magic didn’t miss much of a beat as the trade deadline acquisition of Rafer Alston helped fill the void. Courtney Lee seems like he will prove to be a steal of a late first round draft pick and should be an important piece of the puzzle for years to come. If Orlando can keep this core together, they should remain in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.

Check out the complete Magic preview and other NBA team previews.

NBA Power Rankings: #8 Atlanta Hawks

josh_smith2_0

By: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:
Hawks management doesn’t get near the credit it deserves for re-building Atlanta into a respectable NBA franchise. They pretty much stole Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby in trades, and while a couple of their draft picks have back-fired (i.e. Shelden Williams and Acie Law), selections like Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Marvin Williams have been solid. Still, Atlanta is a far way from being an elite NBA team as demonstrated by them getting swept by the Cavs in the second round of the playoffs. With a move or two this off-season, the Hawks could take the next step to compete with the big dogs in the Eastern Conference.

Check out the Hawks season preview and other NBA previews.

NBA Power Rankings: #9 Denver Nuggets

carmelo-anthony

By: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:
The Nuggets have to be happy with their 2008-09 season. They started the year with a volatile roster that was more likely to become the first team to ever fight each other on the court than come together and succeed. The obvious turning point of the season came less than a week in when the Nuggets traded Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups (and some other pieces). After Chauncey took his spot on the roster the Nuggets gained some instant chemistry and floor leadership as they ran to a 54-win season and the second-best record in the Western Conference. They parlayed that second seed into a bid into the Western Conference Finals where the Nuggets were realistically just a notch or two below the Lakers.

Check out the complete Nuggets season preview and other NBA previews.

NBA Rookie of the Year Race

Warriors Clippers Basketball

By: David Kay

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at the The Sports Bank where we break down the top rookies in the NBA and who has the edge to win the Rookie of the Year Award.  The draft class of 2009 was considered one of the weakest in recent years, but it looks like several newcomers will have a chance to contribute right away.  Check back every Thursday for an update.

With number one overall pick Blake Griffin expected to be sidelined until mid-December, the Rookie of the Year race is officially wide open.  The former Oklahoma Sooner was expected by most “experts” to run away with the award.  Here are the first rankings, predicting how each newbie will perform in his first year in the assocation:

1. Tyreke Evans, Kings (4th overall)

’09-’10 Prediction: 17.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 6 apg, 2 spg
This is about the 1,263, 914th time I’ve said this; Evans is going to be an absolute stud.  He is playing for one of the worst teams in the league and will have every chance to chuck up at least 20 shots a night especially with the injury to Francisco Garcia.  His size allows him to crash boards.  His handles and slashing abilities will give him plenty of assist opportunities.  His length and quickness will get him a good amount of steals.  If Evans can develop a consistent jumper, he will eventually hover around the 30 point per game mark in the NBA.  Yup, I just said that.

flynn608

2. Jonny Flynn, Timberwolves (6th overall)
’09-’10 Prediction: 15 ppg, 7 apg, 1.75 spg
Ricky Rubio’s decision to not come to the NBA helped his cause, but the signing of Ramon Sessions does not.  Even with Sessions in Minnesota, Flynn is expected to run the show for the T-Wolves.  His ability to score, assist, AND defend should earn him more minutes than Sessions and be a top candidate for the ROY award.

Check out the rest of the Rookie of the Year race.

Need more NBA info?  Check out our team previews or Andy Weise’s Western Conference Preview.