Sunday, October 26, 2008

2008-09 NBA Season Predictions

kobe bryant nba lakers
(Is it time for Kobe to shine another trophy in 09?)

As the season is starting this week, it's time for 2008-09 predictions!

A friend of mine was preparing for his NBA fantasy draft just a few nights ago, and asked my thoughts about several players. "How bout Beasley?" "Is he still with the team?" "Didn't he go to Europe?" It's amazing that now we have that final question factoring into NBA discussions. Earl Boykins and Josh Childress were amongst two big name NBA ballers to defect over to Europe for a nice paycheck. Another surprise I noticed when scanning the pages of the ESPN Magazine's NBA preview was that Marcus Camby is no longer with Denver. I frantically searched for his name in other lineups and wasn't seeing it. Goes to show how busy I've been, that Camby was traded to the Clippers about 3 months ago...

With all that said, the new season will be quite interesting. We have a "brand new" team in Oklahoma City, and no more bball in Seattle. There's several promising rookies. Greg Oden hopefully gets his first full season in what could be a great run for Portland. There's exciting new inside-outside combos in Philly, Portland, Los Angeles and Minnesota. The Celtics are looking to repeat against all odds, and without James Posey. Kobe has a new sidekick in a healthy Andrew Bynum. And Lebron remains hungry for that NBA title that eluded his grasp two years ago.

All that said, here's my predictions for this season. I'll be the first to admit I was way off on last year's finals, as I expected the Celtics to take about a year to gel. I had a Bulls-Suns finals which we all know is a far-fetched notion this season!

2008-09 NBA Predictions:

NBA Champs - LA Lakers - ESPN the mag has several analysts favor Kobe and the gang this season. Barring another bad injury to either Bynum, Kobe or Gasol, this squad is stacked with the talent to do what Boston did last year. Expect a hungrier than ever Kobe to show Shaq just how it's done, minus the battle rap. With Phil Jacks at the helm, they'll take out Kobe's main competiton, runners-up...

Runners-up - Cleveland Cavs - Cleveland was just a game away from a return trip to the title series. However, Lebron ran into 3 superstars who held their ground, including a determined Paul Pierce. This season, Lebron's hunger will take him and the team to new levels, but he'll run into the mega-star, Kobe Bryant. As for the Celtics, losing James Posey is a big deal, and they have even bigger targets on their backs.

(On a side note, taking a look at ESPN the magazine it was interesting to see how little respect fans give Ray Allen. Analysts, GM's, scouts, fans and fantasy bball players all got to choose their pick for several categories. In the "Best shooter" Ray Allen was selected by the analysts, GM's and scouts but fans/fantasy ballers decided on Steve Nash..Show Ray some love, he got game!)

MVP - Lebron James - Kobe had his last year, now it's time for King James to pull in a trophy. The young phenom is bound to do it one of these years, and you gotta figure he hates losing and believes he's the best. He'll put up impressive stats, and carry his team to the NBA Finals in a nice NBA campaign this year. And don't be surprised if Brandon Roy is mentioned up in the candidates along with Chris Paul and Kobe. Roy has Oden this season and a shot to put up a ton of assists and shots.

ROY - Greg Oden - The big man finally gets to show the world what he's got..well in Portland at least. While he's not on the grandest stage of them all, he'll easily earn the nod for ROY as most big men do. (Yao, Amare, Shaq) Portland should be in the bottom half of the West's playoff teams, and this could be an exciting season to be a Portland fan. OJ Mayo, Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose will also rank amongst the top rookies this season, with a European import most likely also getting on the All-Rookie 1st team.

Fading Fast - San Antonio Spurs? - It seems they never get their credit due, even in championsip runs. However, you gotta admit they are aging and not really bringing in too much promising young talent. Duncan has had some injury issues in the past few seasons, and although Ginobli and Parker still hold their own, the new up and comers will be bringing it to this team night in and out.

On the rise - Portland Trailblazers - Many analysts say the Sixers here, and with good reason, but Portland has the promise of a mega-squad and potential new NBA dynasty. You've got Roy on the outside and Oden inside, two talents capable of carrying this team to many, many titles in Portland.

So there you have it... As for coach of the year, why not choose Portland's Nate McMillan? He's fresh off a nice gold-medal run with Team USA and the coaching talent Coach K. Now he's headed into a very promising season with his big O man in the paint. Can you tell I think good things are coming to Portland this season?

And the season is coming very, very soon. This year's season has an earlier-than-normal start date of October 28, 2008 with a great double header on TNT. First up, the NBA Champion Celtics face Lebron and the Cavaliers. In game 2, it's Kobe and the Lakers meeting up with Mr. Oden and the Portland Trailblazers!

See's 2008-09 Must-See NBA Games!

Note: Special thanks to an Anonymous fan for offering correction on Brandon Roy's name above and for understanding mistakes happen! Enjoy the season! ;)

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