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superkegger
08-26-2008, 05:12 PM
Western Conference Breakdown
* denotes division winner

1. Los Angeles Lakers*
Projected Starting 5
C: Andrew Bynum
PF: Pau Gasol
SF: Lamar Odom
SG: Kobe Bryant
PG: Derek Fisher

Key Reserves:
Trevor Ariza, Luke Walton, Vlad Radmanovic, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic,

Key Losses:
Ronny Turiaf

Key Additions:
None

Why:
It’s tough to put a healthy Lakers team anywhere lower than first. If they’re not the best team, they’re damn close, and they have depth. I don’t know how that frontline will work out, but its long, athletic and talented. There is probably going to be constant speculation around LO and whether or not he’s going to be moved, but whether he’s traded or not doesn’t really matter, because whatever they get for him will probably be pretty damn good, and even if they don’t I think they’ll be just fine with what they’ve got.


San Antonio Spurs*
Projected Starting 5
C: Kurt Thomas
PF: Tim Duncan
SF: Bruce Bowen
SG: Manu Ginobli
PG: Tony Parker

Key Reserves:
Michael Finley, Ime Udoka, Fabricio Oberto, Roger Mason

Key Losses:
Brent Barry

Key Additions:
Roger Mason

Why:
So everyone doubts the Spurs last year, and what do they do? They go to the WCF. Now it's an odd year for the championship, and 2 years since they last won a championship. I'm not saying they're going to win it all, I'm just saying they've showed repeated success, and I'm not going to bet against them. I think they'll be right back up their at the top of the West.

3. New Orleans Hornets
Projected Starting 5
C: Tyson Chandler
PF: David West
SF: Peja
SG: Mo Pete
PG: Chris Paul

Key Reserves:
James Posey, Julian Wright, Hilton Armstrong, Mike James

Key Losses:
Jannero Pargo

Key Additions:
James Posey, Devin Brown

Why:
I like this team, and Posey makes them better, though they still lack depth. I think maybe they crept up on some teams and surprised them last year. And I think their will be better game plans against Paul this year. They're still talented enough to win a lot of games and go deep though. I just wonder if they'll sustain their success at that high of a level. Once you're at the top, people come gunning for you, and that's not a position they've been in before. So while I think they will still be a good team, I wonder if they'll continue to thrive at the top when everybody is prepared for them.

4. Utah Jazz*
Projected Starting 5
C: Mehmet Okur
PF: Carlos Boozer
SF: Andrei Kirilenko
SG: Kyle Korver
PG: Deron Williams

Key Reserves:
Ronnie Brewer, Paul Milsap, Kosta Koufos, Matt Harpring, CJ Miles

Key Losses:
None

Key Additions:
Kosta Koufos

Why:
Didn't lose anything and didn't gain anything. They need to learn how to win on the road. No one in their division will challenge them for the division this year, but they will in a few years. But for now, the Jazz are still a top dog. Deron Williams is underrated in my opinion. I think he's right there with Paul, but doesn't have the flash or the publicity. The Jazz are a dangerous team, and if they can get Korver and Brewer platooning that SG spot well enough, they're a very complete and deep team. They could be a dark horse in the playoffs.

5. Houston Rockets
Projected Starting 5
C: Yao
PF: Luis Scola
SF: Ron Artest
SG: Tracy McGrady
PG: Rafer Alston

Key Reserves:
Shane Battier, Carl Landry, Luther Head, Brent Barry, Chuck Hayes

Key Losses:
None

Key Additions:
Ron Artest, Brent Barry

Why:
Yeah, go ahead and curse me for this one. But I’m not buying Ron Artest putting the Rockets over the edge. Sure he’s a good player. But he’s also insane. I’m just not buying it. If they all stay healthy all year, which hasn’t happened in some time, they will be a force to contend with. But I’m just not buying Artest being the piece that puts them over the top. Will it get them into the second round? It very well might. But is that really what its all about, making it to the second round?

6. Phoenix Suns
Projected Starting 5
C: Shaq
PF: Amare Stoudemire
SF: Boris Diaw
SG: Raja Bell
PG: Steve Nash

Key Reserves:
Grant Hill, Leandro Barbosa, Robin Lopez, Alando Tucker, DJ Strawberry, Matt Barnes

Key Losses:
None

Key Additions:
Matt Barnes, Robin Lopez

Why:
Gosh, this teams looks very good on paper. I think there’s a possibility that they get things together, figure out how to make it work with Shaq and make a serious run. There’s that possibility, or there’s the much more likely possibility that Shaq is a $20 million anchor holding this team down. Who knows though. I personally just don’t see this team winning it all. It might give you glimpses every now and then of some excellence, and Suns fans will be like, “Why can’t you do that all the time?” But when it comes right down to it, I don’t think this team has enough left in the tank.

7. Dallas Mavericks
Projected Starting 5
C: Desagana Diop
PF: Dirk
SF: Josh Howard
SG: Jason Terry
PG: Jason Kidd

Key Reserves:
Jerry Stackhouse, Brandon Bass, Erick Dampier, Gerald Green,

Key Losses:
None

Key Additions:
Diop, Green

Why:
So this is their chance to prove that the Jason Kidd deal wasn’t a big mistake. They couldn’t figure it out last year, and much like the Suns, it all hinges on their block buster deal from last season. Is Kidd also a $20 million anchor holding them down, or are they going to figure it out with him and make a push. I used to really admire what Cuban did with the Mavs, and I still admire his willingness to take chances and to spend money. But this team is just too thrown together, and just not the right collection of talent in the right way to do very much. There will be regular season success, but it will be followed once again by playoff failure.

8. Los Angeles Clippers
Projected Starting 5
C: Chris Kaman
PF: Marcus Camby
SF: Al Thornton
SG: Cuttino Mobley
PG: Baron Davis

Key Reserves:
Eric Gordon, Ricky Davis, Jason Williams, DeAndere Jordan, Tim Thomas,

Key Losses:
Elton Brand, Corey Maggette

Key Additions:
Baron Davis, Marcus Camby, Eric Gordon, Jason Williams, Rickey Davis

Why:
Losing Brand and Maggette was bad, but they got baron and camby, so its not all bad. Plus Al Thornton should be better this year, and Eric Gordon should be a nice spark off the bench. But they’re spending money for the first time in a long time, which is odd. But it should land them the 8th seed, which will land them in an all LA playoff series vs. the Lakers, which won’t be fun for them. But hey, when we’re talking about Clippers and Playoffs and them making it to the Playoffs, it’s a good thing, so take what you can get.



The Bubble Teams

9. Denver Nuggets
Projected Starting 5
C: Nene
PF: Kenyon Martin
SF: Carmelo Anthony
SG: JR Smith?
PG: Allen Iverson

Key Reserves:
Linas Kleiza, Chris Andersen,

Key Losses:
Marcus Camby

Key Additions:
None

Why:
Well, they’re cheap. They sold a draft pick for cash and Camby for nothing. Maybe giving Nene 10 mil a year wasn’t a great idea? Maybe they’ve got something up their sleeve, maybe not. I doubt it. But maybe Nene will finally play up to that contract. But their depth is questionable at best, and I still don’t see this team playing defense. How does that make the playoffs? It doesn’t.

10. Golden State Warriors
Projected Starting 5
C: Andris Biedrins,
PF: Al Harrington
SF: Stephen Jackson
SG: Corey Maggette
PG: Monta Ellis

Key Reserves:
Anthony Randolph, Marco Bellinelli, Ronny Turiaf, Brandan Wright,

Key Losses:
Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, Mickael Pietrus

Key Additions:
Corey Maggette, Ronny Turiaf,

Why:
Well like they were last year, this team will score a lot of points. A lot. But its probably weaker defensively even though it should have better depth. But I’m just not convinced that this all offense no defense style works, since it doesn’t. Ellis is a great player, but he’s not a pg, and I think that adjustment will be tough, since its all on him now. This team will be exciting and they’ll break a couple hearts during the season, but they’ll break they’re own hearts at the end of the year when they look at the standings and they’re out of the playoffs.

11. Portland Trail Blazers
Projected Starting 5
C: Greg Oden
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
SF: Martell Webster
SG: Brandon Roy
PG: Jerryd Bayless

Key Reserves:
Travis Outlaw, Channing Frye, Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez, Steve Blake, Joel Pryzbilla

Key Losses:
None

Key Additions:
Bayless, Fernandez, Greg Oden, Nicolas Batum

Man, so much talent. I don’t really need to elaborate on how incredibly talented and how much potential this team has. They could really probably take that 8th seed. I don’t know if they’ll be able to fit all the new pieces together though in order make it. They’ll for sure be a force to reckoned with in years to come, so teams should get their lumps in on them now, because they’ll be pushing people around in a few years. For now though, they’ll be at home during the playoffs. But the oodles of talent in Portland, especially if Greg Oden turns out to be the Stud he’s all hyped up to be. Man, if I weren’t a fan of a team and I was going to jump on a bandwagon, this one would be it.

Lottery Bound

12. Minnesota Timberwolves
Projected Starting 5
C: Al Jefferson
PF: Kevin Love
SF: Ryan Gomes
SG: Mike Miller
PG: Randy Foye

Key Reserves:
Rashad McCants, Craig Smith, Corey Brewer, Sebastian Telfair, Rodney Carney

Key Losses:
Antoine Walker, Marko Jaric

Key Additions:
Briand Cardinal, Kevin Love, Jason Collins

Why:
You gotta like the moves they made. Even if you don’t agree with trading Mayo for Love, unloading Walker and Jaric was brilliant, Plus they got the guy they wanted in Love to begin with, and Mike Miller. Al Jefferson is turning into a beast, and I think if these guys continue to grow and develop, Minnesota could be back in the playoff picture soon enough, especially with the help they’ll get from the lottery this year. But this team could surprise some people, I think they’ll be much improved this year over last year, and they could almost approach the 40 win mark.

13. Sacramento Kings
C: Brad Miller
PF: Mikki Moore
SF: Francisco Garcia
SG: Kevin Martin
PG: Beno Udrih

Key Reserves:
Donte Greene, Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, John Salmons, Shelden Williams,

Key Losses:
Ron Artest

Key Additions:
Jason Thompson, Donte Greene

Why:
Well when they finally decided to blow this team up, and unloaded Bibby and Artest, they did the right thing. It’s got to be tough to be a Kings fan, but this team is headed in the right direction. They just haven’t gotten lucky like the Bulls or Blazers in the Lottery to severely to aid their rebuilding efforts. Slowly but surely, they’re making the right moves to rebuild.

14. Oklahoma City
Projected Starting 5
C: Chris Wilcox
PF: Nick Collison
SF: Jeff Green
SG: Kevin Durant
PG: Russell Westbrook

Key Reserves:
Earl Watson, Devon Hardin, Joe Smith, DJ White, Damien Wilkins, Desmond Mason

Key Losses:
Luke Ridnour

Key Additions:
Russell Westbrook, Devon Hardin, Serge Ibaka, Joe Smith, DJ White, Desmond Mason

Why:
A team in transition. No Name, no real collusion to the team. Just a hodgepodge of talent that is hard to see where it all fits. They’ve got some pieces that will be studs in a few years, but man in the mean-time, it will result in some bad losses. OKC won’t have a ton to cheer for other than just having a team.

15. Memphis Grizzlies
Projected Starting 5
C: Darko Milicic
PF: Antoine Walker
SF: Rudy Gay
SG: OJ Mayo
PG: Mike Conley

Key Reserves:
Hakim Warrick, Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, Javaris Crittenton, Darrel Arthur

Key Losses:
Kwame Brown, Brian Cardinal, Jason Collins

Key Additions:
OJ Mayo, Darrel Arthur, Marko Jaric, Antoine Walker, Marc Gasol

Why:
I understand trading for Mayo. But really, taking on Walker and Jaric? Ugh. That backcourt though should be explosive even this year. Gay, Conley and Mayo. Whew. Some extreme athleticism there. Maybe in a few years they’ll be fun to watch as a whole team, if they don’t **** it up, which it’s the Grizz, so they probably will.

lakers4sho
08-27-2008, 12:00 AM
I'm not sold on the Clippers being the 8th seed. Pretty good analysis overall though.

JordansBulls
08-27-2008, 12:08 AM
Great analysis, but I disagree of course. I actually think Houston will take the #1 seed. This will be their year like last year was Boston's.

superkegger
08-27-2008, 01:20 PM
Great analysis, but I disagree of course. I actually think Houston will take the #1 seed. This will be their year like last year was Boston's.

Yeah, they look great on paper for sure. I'm still just not sold on them staying healthy for an entire season. Call that unfair if you want, but to finish where they did last year, they had to have that ridiculous 22 in a row or whatever it was. Even with Artest I don't see them making that kind of run, that was one for the ages that doesn't get duplicated easily. I'm not saying decisively they won't be at or near the top, because the top 7 teams could easily be seperated by 5 games. I think the West will probably be just as, if not more competitive as last year.

Westbrook36
08-27-2008, 02:03 PM
3. New Orleans Hornets
Projected Starting 5
C: Tyson Chandler
PF: David West
SF: Peja
SG: James Posey
PG: Chris Paul

Mo Pete will probally come off the bench as a 6th man behind SG/SF with Wright behind Peja I see alot of mins between Mo and Posey

superkegger
08-27-2008, 02:29 PM
3. New Orleans Hornets
Projected Starting 5
C: Tyson Chandler
PF: David West
SF: Peja
SG: James Posey
PG: Chris Paul

Mo Pete will probally come off the bench as a 6th man behind SG/SF with Wright behind Peja I see alot of mins between Mo and Posey

Yeah, I don't really know who's going to start, but I don't think its really all that big of a deal, as Peja, Posey and Pete will all share a good deal of time at those 3 spots. Whoever isn't starting will get starters minutes...not a big deal really.

DreamShaker
08-27-2008, 05:31 PM
Yeah, they look great on paper for sure. I'm still just not sold on them staying healthy for an entire season. Call that unfair if you want, but to finish where they did last year, they had to have that ridiculous 22 in a row or whatever it was. Even with Artest I don't see them making that kind of run, that was one for the ages that doesn't get duplicated easily. I'm not saying decisively they won't be at or near the top, because the top 7 teams could easily be seperated by 5 games. I think the West will probably be just as, if not more competitive as last year.

I don't see it being as competitive as last year because i've had all this time to talk myself into teams like thec Suns, Mavs, and Warriors taking a step back this year....I think the Suns and Mavs made desperation moves that backfired and then backwardsly fired their coaches to make up for the GM's folly....

As far as the Rockets go....Artest is exactly what we needed because he is A. Tough B. Scary C. A 20PPG scorer and D. Under Addelman again....he might have had his best behaivior ever under Addelman....so I take comfort in that and have confidence....plus....the Rockets have NEVER had a reliable third scorer in the Yao/T-Mac era....Artest can destroy other teams offensively when he gets on....he's done it to the Rockets countless times....and Yao and T-Mac don't have to be healthy the entire season....65-70 games out of both of em and good health in time for the playoffs will suffice....

DreamShaker
08-27-2008, 05:38 PM
Oh and I see the Blazers making it over the Clippers....the Clippers like.....poached through other people's garbage to make up for the loss of Brand and Maggette....they did get Camby....but he's playing out of position and is an offensive liability....but Ricky Davis, Brain Skinner, Jason Williams....c'mon now!!! Skinner will be decent....but he's like a poor man's Camby and Davis and Williams....just yuck!!!

Jay22Redd
08-27-2008, 07:41 PM
I disagree with alot of it. Portland and Rockets should be higher and Utah, Clippers, and Spurs should be lower.

Iodine
08-27-2008, 10:10 PM
Lakers homer :P

Nice list again keegz

x_notorious
08-28-2008, 07:40 PM
Nice blog.

Rockets, IMO would be the 3-4 seed in the West. They look like a good team on paper, yes, but they added Ron Artest. A well known element of well..you don't know. He can play like an All-Star but he acts like a total idiot at times. You can't put them at the 1-2 seed just because of that. They are a unknown. Yao hasn't should that he can stay healthy a full season and T-Mac can't buy himself out the first round.

alexander_37
08-31-2008, 06:18 PM
i love that artest is a bit insane in the membrane we need some attitude on our team

NO LAYUPS * pounds chest *

kev383
09-03-2008, 09:57 PM
I predict the clippers sneak up on some people with camby/kaman frontline and ricky/baron/jwill/eric gordon backcourt....dont forget deandre jordan was projected as top 5 pick last summer......all this is possible if baron keeps his act together and doesnt go off and aprty his tail off like this

Baron parties a bit much? (http://www.yournobody.com/2008/08/12/fear-the-beard-whybaron-davis-looks-friendly/)

rhino17
09-04-2008, 12:42 PM
Yeah, they look great on paper for sure. I'm still just not sold on them staying healthy for an entire season. Call that unfair if you want, but to finish where they did last year, they had to have that ridiculous 22 in a row or whatever it was. Even with Artest I don't see them making that kind of run, that was one for the ages that doesn't get duplicated easily. I'm not saying decisively they won't be at or near the top, because the top 7 teams could easily be seperated by 5 games. I think the West will probably be just as, if not more competitive as last year.

WEll, they were th 4th seed last season and won 55 games without Ron Artest and Yao Ming, I assume they will do even better next season

And just ask Ron Artest, he's already predicted that the Rockets are winning the championship :)

superkegger
09-04-2008, 07:00 PM
WEll, they were th 4th seed last season and won 55 games without Ron Artest and Yao Ming, I assume they will do even better next season

And just ask Ron Artest, he's already predicted that the Rockets are winning the championship :)

yeah, but they also had a 22 game winning streak to get to 55. You really see that happening again? I don't. Not that they won't be good, but they had a run for the ages, they won't tally wins off like that again. They'll still be good, but that run made their record perhaps look better than their team was at the end of the season...

rhino17
09-05-2008, 12:04 AM
yeah, but they also had a 22 game winning streak to get to 55. You really see that happening again? I don't. Not that they won't be good, but they had a run for the ages, they won't tally wins off like that again. They'll still be good, but that run made their record perhaps look better than their team was at the end of the season...
their team at the end of the season had also suffered more injuries than they had during the streak. Tmac was playing with an injury, rafer, the starting g was out, and Landry was banged up as well.

Chronz
09-08-2008, 03:17 PM
yeah, but they also had a 22 game winning streak to get to 55. You really see that happening again? I don't. Not that they won't be good, but they had a run for the ages, they won't tally wins off like that again. They'll still be good, but that run made their record perhaps look better than their team was at the end of the season...

They wont start off 22-23 or whatever it was again either. They'll have another slow start because they always have the toughest early schedules, still the point remains they wont need to win 22 in a row. But they will go on several large winning streaks.

IversonIsKrazy
09-08-2008, 08:56 PM
swap blazers and clippers, and i totally agree,

Manifesto32
09-08-2008, 10:43 PM
I wouldn't rate Spurs at 2nd place.
With ginobli having a surgery and their whole team are getting old, unless they get more new players, their tanks will be not filled when playoffs come.