New York Knicks have enough pieces to contend in Eastern Conference

carmelo anthony amare stoudemire

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 resurrection of the New York Knicks hasn’t been an as accelerated a process as management would have hoped.  They invested a ton of money in signing a big three of their own but haven’t been able to get the job done on their own just yet.  That’s why the Knicks added some veteran pieces this off-season that should help them contending in the Eastern Conference.

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Detroit Pistons unlikely to break playoff drought

pistons 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 Detroit Pistons are still suffering from some recent poor financial decisions made by general manager Joe Dumars that has held back the franchise (i.e. the Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva off-season along with the fact that Richard Hamilton still accounts for $5.5 million of their cap this year.)  Like the past three seasons, Detroit figures to fall short of the playoff picture.

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Rebuilding Atlanta Hawks unlikely to make playoffs

atlanta hawks dance team

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.

Having failed to get past the Eastern Conference Semifinals with their previous core, the new Atlanta Hawks front office made the bold decision of entering a rebuilding mode by dealing their star player, Joe Johnson.  As a result, the A-T-L should take a pretty steep drop in the standings as they undergo some transition.

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Washington Wizards: 2012-13 NBA Season Preview

john wall wizards

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 Washington Wizards training camp began with a sour taste as news came out that John Wall suffered a minor setback to his knee injury and could miss the first month of the regular season.  That is not the start that a franchise which has suffered through four straight brutally bad years was hoping to hear as they try to turn the corner and inch towards becoming a playoff contender.

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Will the Chicago Bulls be a Factor when Boozer Returns?

carlos boozer bulls

Chicago Bulls fans and management were hoping to start a new era of basketball by teaming their young superstar Derrick Rose with LeBron, Bosh, or the hometown boy, Dwyane Wade.  Instead, Chicago settled for Plan B or more likely Plan E.  Still, they should rise from mediocrity to one of the better teams in the NBA Eastern Conference this season.

By: David Kay
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NBA Power Rankings: #5 San Antonio Spurs

Spurs Basketball

By: David Kay

In a critical off-season for the Spurs franchise, San Antonio made all the right moves to make sure their recent run of success did not come to a sreetching hault this season.  They should once again be one of the elite teams in the Western Conference and compete for another NBA ring.

2008-09 Season Summary:
The Spurs played up to par last season but it was obvious that their run under the Duncan/Parker/Ginobili era is close to coming to an end. San Antonio won 54 games and took the Southwest Division title but lost for the first time in the opening round of the play-offs since 2000. Duncan’s dominance began to fade and without Ginobili in the post season it was apparent Parker can’t be the number one scoring option on a team that will be a title contender. Roger Mason stepped up to be one of the bright spots of the season as a reliable clutch situation shooter.

Check out the complete Spurs preview and other NBA previews.

NBA Power Rankings: #6 Dallas Mavericks

kidd and dirk

By: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:
The Mavericks quietly put together a decent season on their way to a ninth straight play-off appearance. They helped themselves reach that mark by developing some solid team chemistry and a defined pecking order. That combination helped Mark Cuban’s team win 50 games and advance past the first round of the playoffs since 2006. Jason Terry embraced his bench role and won the NBA 6th Man of the Year Award while providing that needed scoring punch off the bench. Even the ultra scrutinized Josh Howard was able to fight through his early season struggles to be very reliable down the stretch. The first round win over the Spurs opened many people’s eyes to the fact that the Mavericks still have some options and hope in the years to come.

Check out the complete Mavs preview and other NBA previews.

NBA Power Rankings: #7 Portland Trail Blazers

brandon_roy

By: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:

The Trailblazers made their expected jump into the elite of the Western Conference but they didn’t take the planned route to get there. After drafting Greg Oden two years ago and then losing him for the year and still improving by 9 games, the addition of two elite rookies to their already young team was enticing. However, Oden was nowhere near the impact player he was expected to be and Jerryd Bayless was less than influential. Rudy Fernandez was the impact rookie to go along with Brandon Roy’s leap into one of the league’s best players and LaMarcus Aldridge’s continued progress that led the Blazers to a 13 game improvement and a return trip to the play-offs for the first time since 2003.

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

NBA Power Rankings: #10 Utah Jazz

deron-williams

By: David Kay and Paul M. Banks

2008-09 Season Summary:
In financial terms a “correction” is defined as a sharp, relatively short decline that temporarily interrupts a persistent upward trend in the market. The Utah Jazz experienced a “correction” in 2009. After back-to-back Northwest Division titles, the Jazz had a much tougher season with siginifcant contributors like Deron Williams, Andrei “AK-47” Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer missing large amounts of time due to injuries. Despite a locker room resembling an infirmary, they finished the season with a 48-34 record and 8th seed in the playoffs.

They were eliminated in five games by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1st round. Other than Williams’ clinching fadeaway jumpshot in the final moments of game 3, the lopsided series provided very little excitement for Utah fans. After the breakthrough Western Conference Finals appearance in 2007, the Jazz were eliminated by the Lakers in the second round of ’08 and then a round sooner this past season.

The Jazz play in the league’s smallest market, but a 2008 Forbes.com study ranked the team No. 16 in NBA team value at $342 million. A new ownership regime will seek to maintain this efficiency. On February 20th, Jazz owner Larry H. Miller died of complications from diabetes. During his final months as team owner, his family, led by son Greg Miller, ran the day-to-day business operations. The younger Miller inherited a team with a roster in transition.

Check out the entire Jazz season preview and other NBA Previews.  Don’t forget to take a look at Andy Weise’s Western Conference Preview.

NBA Power Rankings: #11 Toronto Raptors

Thunder Raptors Basketball

By: David Kay and Paul M. Banks

2008-09 Season Summary:
Last year was a rough one for “Canada’s Team.” The Toronto Raptors front office thought they significantly improved a playoff team this last off-season when they made a blockbuster trade for Jermaine O’Neal. Despite O’Neal’s arrival and much improved play from former #1 overall draft choice Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors were bad. They started 8-9 which cost Coach Sam Mitchell his job. Replacement and long-time assistant Jay Triano (who was already given a three-year extension since the season ended) tweaked the starting line-up, but the Raptors fell to 21-34 by the All-Star break. In a move mainly to help Toronto shed some salary, the dealt O’Neal and Jamario Moon to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Still, the Raptors were eliminated from playoff contention with seven games left.

Check out the complete Raptors season preview, other NBA previews, and power rankings.

NBA Power Rankings: #12 New Orleans Hornets

CP3 and West

By: David Kay

2008-09 Season Summary:
Coming off the 2007-08 season the Hornets were the Belle of the Ball in the NBA. They returned to play in New Orleans full time for the first time in three years, won a franchise record 56 games, had one of the future stars of the league in Chris Paul, and were one game away from playing in the Western Conference Finals, making expectations this season even higher. However, a couple of crucial injuries marred the season and led to the Hornets regressing by seven games and getting trounced in the first round of the playoffs (including an NBA post-season record 58-point home playoff loss to Denver.) All injuries aside, head coach Byron Scott added to the dismay as he seemingly lost control of his squad as well.

Check out the complete Hornets season preview and other NBA previews and power rankings.

NBA Power Rankings: #13 Chicago Bulls

Bulls Celtics Basketball

By: David Kay and Paul M. Banks

2008-09 Season Summary:
When the magical Bulls-Celtics first round playoff series started, most of Chicago just wasn’t very excited. I mean who gets all warm and tingly about a 41-41 team sneaking into the playoffs? This was the same squad that resided in the bottom rung of the league in February, and had a head coach who wasn’t coaching and an ugly home loss to the OKC Thunder on their resume. But the Bulls transformed themselves after the John Salmons/Brad Miller trade, and that transformative process continued into the postseason in where the #7 seeded Bulls took the #2 seeded and defending World Champion Boston Celtics to 7 games. The numerous extra sessions effectively made it the best playoff series of all time.

It also further accentuated the only true positive of the regular season, that #1 overall pick, hometown hero, and now NBA Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose is a true superstar in the making. Despite the loss, the playoffs made Chicago care about the Bulls because it told us, “hey the Bulls are truly back.” Even though it was the longest series in NBA history, it went by too quick. Moving forward, everything starts with stability in the front office as GM John Paxson’s successor will have plenty of questions.

Check out our complete Bulls season preview and other NBA previews and power rankings.