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daleja424
09-30-2008, 03:12 PM
Preseason Rankings (updated 9/30)

1. Boston Celtics:
They’re the champs! We can't take them out of the first spot until someone knocks them down a notch.

2. LA Lakers:
With Bynum back will he disturb chemistry? … I think not. Will the Lakers be able to find enough minutes to keep Odom happy? …That could become a problem.

3. NO Hornets:
Good young team that will only continue to grow and improve with Chris Paul at the helm. This team will be able to build off the success of last year. Look for another MVP caliber season from Chris Paul and another all-star appearance for David West.

4. Detroit Pistons:
Didn’t do much this offseason to upgrade the team… but they won 59 games last year. That trend should continue.

5. Utah Jazz:
Like the Hornets, this young team will only continue to improve. Utah could be a factor this year.

6. Philadelphia 76ers:
Is Elton Brand 100%? If so the 76ers might just be one of the favorites in the east.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers:
Lebron got some help this offseason with the addition of Mo Williams… but will that be enough to get him a title? Not this time… but Cleveland will still be a tough team to beat.

8. Houston Rockets:
Is Yao going to stay healthy? Who knows??? But with the news that T-Mac is suffering from arthritis in his shoulder that will require surgery next off-season things are not looking bright for the Rockets, even if they have Artest suiting up for them next year.

9. SA Spurs:
The first half of the season will be about surviving for this team. Manu is very much the heart and soul of the Spurs, and they will miss him dearly. TD and TP should be able to keep them close enough until Manu gets back though. SA will stay right in the hunt like they always do.

10. Portland Trailblazers:
Their time is coming fast. I think they could sneak into the playoffs this year behind strong play from their youngsters.

11. Phoenix Suns:
One big problem in the desert… and it rhymes with hack. Phoenix will get exposed this year.

12. Toronto Raptors:
Nice move to get JO if he is healthy. I just don’t know how JO and CB are going to mesh. This is a real toss-up here. The Raps could be a top 4 team in the east or they could miss the playoffs the way I see it. My money is on a 5-6 seed though.

13. Orlando Magic:
Huge summer for them. They added… oh wait they didn’t do anything all summer. The Southeast Division just got a lot tougher and they still have the problem of having no PF’s or decent SG’s on their team. Orlando and Dwight Howard will get exposed a little this year.

14. Dallas Mavericks:
J-Kidd is old, Dirk is soft, and Josh Howard can’t keep out of trouble… nothing seems to be going well in Dallas right now.

15. Miami HEAT:
The HEAT are hard to predict too. Sure D-Wade is back and looking amazing and they have Marion and Beasley (pretty sick big-3)… but they have some real question marks at center and PG. If Chalmers shows maturity on and off the court and Magloire proves serviceable at center the Heat make the playoffs…maybe even challenging Orlando and Washington for the division.

16. Washington Wizards:
Gilbert’s out. That hurts. This team might squeeze into the playoffs, but they are not a contender.

17. Denver Nuggets:
The worst defensive team in the league last year lost their best defensive player… that can’t be good.

18. Milwaukee Bucks:
Another tough team to place. Milwaukee could be pretty good… or they could be Milwaukee again. I am not sure I understand the move from Williams to Ridnour… but maybe they know something I don’t. The Bucks will probably battle the Wizards and Heat for the last couple playoff spots.

19. Charlotte Bobcats:
Intriguing team here. They have an outside shot at the playoffs. The talent is there. The question now becomes can Larry Brown bring the team together ad convince them that team ball wins games. If he can, the Bobcats further complicate the SE division.

20. Atlanta Hawks:
The surprising Atlanta Hawks of last year are now the worst team in the division this year. They lost Childress which hurts a little. What hurts even more is that a sub .500 record isn’t good enough to get into the playoffs this year, not with the talent that has entered the East.

21. LA Clippers:
plus Baron, minus Maggette/Brand is a move in the wrong direction…

22. GS Warriors:
minus Baron Davis minus Monta Ellis is an even bigger move in the wrong direction...

23. Chicago Bulls:
Derrick Rose will be a stud one day. That day will not occur this year though. Gordon still hasn’t signed. Deng didn’t progress like we all expected last year. Thomas is still a bust. And the Bulls have next to nothing up front. This is not going to be a pleasant year for the Bulls.

24. Sacramento Kings:
They have Martin... Miller…. And…ummm…ummmm…

25. NY Knicks:
Talented group of players. Unfortunately almost every one of them attracts losses like they don’t even care. Maybe Dantoni can change the attitude in the Garden… I just don’t see it happening.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves:
Another long year for them. Mike Miller is a nice piece for a good team, but he isn’t a guy that should carry any kind of workload (just ask Memphis). Kevin Love had better lay of the cheeseburgers if he wants to play in the NBA.

27. NJ Nets:
We all know what they want to win…the Lebron sweepstakes. They clearly have no interest in actually winning a game this year.

28. Memphis Grizzlies:
Lots of decent guards, Rudy Gay, and nothing in the front court. Mark Gasol could help a lot… but they still lose 60 games in the west.

29. Indiana Pacers:
Addition by subtraction is not going to work. You don’t trade your best player, freeze out your PG, and then suddenly become good. This will be a long year in Indy. Danny Granger will see double teams a lot this year and the Pacers will end up in the cellar of the eastern conference.

30. Oklahoma City Thunder:
Kevin Durant is a nice piece. Now they just need 14 more…

Chronz
10-01-2008, 06:12 AM
Good write up just a few contradictions, you put the 76'ers up above the Rockets citing health issues as the primary concern but Brand is the one with the most uncertainty about his play, that and the fact that they have no shooters to surround him with should be enough to place the Rockets above them and your severely underrating the Pacers.

They were almost in the playoffs last year and they regularly played better without Jermaine. Im sure they would be better off with him healthy but facts are TJ Ford can provide them with more, sure hes as big of an injury risk but if hes healthy the Pacers are NOT the 2nd worst team in the league, not with Granger, Dunleavy and Foster next to him.

daleja424
10-01-2008, 09:34 AM
Good write up just a few contradictions, you put the 76'ers up above the Rockets citing health issues as the primary concern but Brand is the one with the most uncertainty about his play, that and the fact that they have no shooters to surround him with should be enough to place the Rockets above them and your severely underrating the Pacers.

They were almost in the playoffs last year and they regularly played better without Jermaine. Im sure they would be better off with him healthy but facts are TJ Ford can provide them with more, sure hes as big of an injury risk but if hes healthy the Pacers are NOT the 2nd worst team in the league, not with Granger, Dunleavy and Foster next to him.

I don't think it is a contradiction at all. Here's why:
Philly
-Brand has suffered 1 bad injury in his career. With the exception of last year Brand played 81, 74, 80, 62, 69, 81, 79, and 80 games the past 9 seasons. Brand is not injury prone. Brand had an injury. There is a huge difference to me. Also Brand came back an played a little last year and will be 100% healthy at the beginning of this year.
-The 76ers have a strong veteran PG, a solid interior defender at C, and a stud up and comer at SF. None of those players are at all injury prone.
-I don't think we should put Philly in the category of likely to fall apart due to injury. So their best player had his first serious injury ever last year... that doesn't diminish their chances this year.
Houston
-Yao Ming on the other hand is INJURY PRONE. In his past 3 seasons Yao has played 57, 48, and 55 games. He has 3 major injuries in the past 3 years. At 7'6'' he will likely continue to get injured as well...
-Then you have Tracy McGrady who has severe arthritis in his shoulder that will force him to have surgery next offseason.
-Yao Ming, unfortunately, has become unreliable lately. He is a best on the court, but he has spent half of each of the past 3 seasons on the bench. That hurts this team. Plus who know how long it will take Yao to get back to 100% (another downside of being 7'6''). Then there is the health problems of Tracy McGrady to consider. IMO if this team didn't go out and get Ron Artest this summer I would probably have been predicting them to miss the playoffs entirely. I don't see the Rockets as being any better then the 76ers...

And for the Pacers:
Im sorry you feel that the Pacers are a decent team. But I don't even know where to start with that one. I don't think there is a single team in the east that has less talent then the Pacers. Danny Granger is the only above average talent on that whole team, and I guarantee he takes a step backwards this year b/c he will be the guy teams send double teams at. Can you please name one starting lineup in the eastern conference worse then Ford, Dunlevy, Murphy, Foster and Granger??? b/c I can't think of one right now...

Chronz
10-01-2008, 03:33 PM
I don't think it is a contradiction at all. Here's why:
Philly
-Brand has suffered 1 bad injury in his career. With the exception of last year Brand played 81, 74, 80, 62, 69, 81, 79, and 80 games the past 9 seasons. Brand is not injury prone. Brand had an injury. There is a huge difference to me. Also Brand came back an played a little last year and will be 100% healthy at the beginning of this year.
Im saying he has the least certainty about his play not his health, trust me Im not expecting him to miss an entire season again, I dont see why you would think that. I was there live when he came back and he looked decent but clearly not the same. Im expecting him to rebound but to put them above the Rockets citing health as a concern is contradictory because the Rockets even when they were extremely unlucky with health concerns still won way more games than the Sixers.



-The 76ers have a strong veteran PG, a solid interior defender at C, and a stud up and comer at SF. None of those players are at all injury prone.

I never said they were, but part of Philly's success was that Thad could play the 4, with Brand there now he moves back to the perimeter where he wasnt as productive and the team cant run the same way. Obviously Brand helps but the Sixers took 1 step back to take 2 steps forward, the Rockets have taken nothing but leaps forward so how do you justify putting the Sixers ahead of them?


-I don't think we should put Philly in the category of likely to fall apart due to injury. So their best player had his first serious injury ever last year... that doesn't diminish their chances this year.
Again thats not what I was saying, obviously I dont expect Brand to suffer another injury to his achilles just that we know Yao and Tmac can come back from injuries to play at an elite level, we havent seen that from Brand. Especially not to the point where you put them above a team that has PROVEN capable of winning even with their stars out for extended stretches and that was BEFORE adding a former DPOY.


Houston
-Yao Ming on the other hand is INJURY PRONE. In his past 3 seasons Yao has played 57, 48, and 55 games. He has 3 major injuries in the past 3 years. At 7'6'' he will likely continue to get injured as well...

And how many games have the Rockets won in those years? Also I doubt he gets injured again, remember Big Z. All the Rockets have to do is limit his minutes and now they have the depth to do so.


-Then you have Tracy McGrady who has severe arthritis in his shoulder that will force him to have surgery next offseason.

Tmac with an arthritic shoulder is still better than any player the Sixers have so how exactly does that help your argument? He played hurt all last year, had the worst year of his career and he still helped lead a team to 22-wins in a row.


-Yao Ming, unfortunately, has become unreliable lately. He is a best on the court, but he has spent half of each of the past 3 seasons on the bench. That hurts this team. Plus who know how long it will take Yao to get back to 100% (another downside of being 7'6''). Then there is the health problems of Tracy McGrady to consider. IMO if this team didn't go out and get Ron Artest this summer I would probably have been predicting them to miss the playoffs entirely. I don't see the Rockets as being any better then the 76ers...

Predicting them to miss the playoffs isnt very sound, even without Artest they had a solid foundation to build on. Obviously not having Yao hurts, but it hurts in the way that it costs them 60+ wins, not to the point where they miss the playoffs altogether.

Point blank, the fact that the Rockets have won so much without their stars is a testament to their depth and cohesion. The players around Tmac and Yao are no joke, so I wouldnt be thinking they are going to fall apart in the unlikely even that either sustains a significant injury.



And for the Pacers[/U]:
Im sorry you feel that the Pacers are a decent team. But I don't even know where to start with that one. I don't think there is a single team in the east that has less talent then the Pacers. Danny Granger is the only above average talent on that whole team, and I guarantee he takes a step backwards this year b/c he will be the guy teams send double teams at. Can you please name one starting lineup in the eastern conference worse then Ford, Dunlevy, Murphy, Foster and Granger??? b/c I can't think of one right now...
That same lineup almost made the playoffs last year, so start with that please. Also I never knew you considered TJ Ford to be below average????

Chronz
10-01-2008, 04:28 PM
Also if your trying to predict health concerns then why are the Hornets so high? Look at the injury history of West and Chandler, then look at the backups if those guys were to miss any time they are pretty much done with being at the top.

daleja424
10-01-2008, 06:01 PM
-Sorry I must have misunderstood what your point was about Brand. I thought you were saying he was a risk to get hurt again.

-As for the Rockets... they win a bunch of games every year... but every year when the playoffs come around Yao is hurt and they lose. That is really my major point.

-I didn't predict the Rockets to miss the playoffs. I listed them at 8... My only point is that it wouldn't be out of the question for them to miss the playoffs if Yao and T-Mac are unable to perform. I am a pretty big Rockets fan. Last year what T-Mac did for that team was incredibal. But consider that once the streak finally ended that they went 11-11 the rest of the year. They got really hot last year b4 Yao went down, stayed hot for a while, and then cooled off. They then entered the playoffs once again, and got bounced in round 1.

-As for the comment on Indiana. They had basicaly the same roster... I agree. Do you not think that the east is significantly better this year? B/c I really do. Toronto got a lot better, Philly got a lot better, Miami is healthy and better, MIlwaukee is a lot better. A lot of average and below teams from last years east have made significant upgrades. That means that teams like Indiana and Atlanta who did nothing are going to get passed by. It is possible that Indiana could wind up better then NY or Chicago maybe... but that still means they aren't very good.

-And I didn't say TJ Ford was below average. I said that Granger is the only one above average. I would tend to say that TJ Ford is abour average in the NBA from a talent standpoint.

daleja424
10-01-2008, 06:02 PM
Also if your trying to predict health concerns then why are the Hornets so high? Look at the injury history of West and Chandler, then look at the backups if those guys were to miss any time they are pretty much done with being at the top.

IMHO... I could be playing with Chris Paul with the Hornets and be an all-star. The Hornets are not an insanely talented team. Paul is just plain insanely talented... That's just my perspective on the issue...

DenButsu
10-01-2008, 10:40 PM
You are badly underestimating the Nuggets.

Chronz
10-02-2008, 03:13 AM
-Sorry I must have misunderstood what your point was about Brand. I thought you were saying he was a risk to get hurt again.
No Problem, I shouldve been more clear on that.



-As for the Rockets... they win a bunch of games every year... but every year when the playoffs come around Yao is hurt and they lose. That is really my major point.
Yea I know what your major point was, just saying it doesnt sound like much of an analysis to me.



-I didn't predict the Rockets to miss the playoffs. I listed them at 8...
IMO if this team didn't go out and get Ron Artest this summer I would probably have been predicting them to miss the playoffs entirely.


Thats what I was referring to...


My only point is that it wouldn't be out of the question for them to miss the playoffs if Yao and T-Mac are unable to perform.
Exactly how many games are you expecting them to miss in this hypothetical scenario? Theyve proven capable of winning without either for extended stretches and were only getting better as the season progressed, the players adapted the system and the youngsters matured.


I am a pretty big Rockets fan. Last year what T-Mac did for that team was incredibal. But consider that once the streak finally ended that they went 11-11 the rest of the year.
I can already tell your not much of a follower, simply because what T-Mac did for them last year was NOT incredible, what he did for them in the playoffs was but not during the regular season. He had the worst year of his career, I do recall mentioning that. How good they were was the result of the improved supporting cast, and they can only improve from here on out. Again thats my point about you not having any reason to put the Sixers above them. They simply arent as talented or versatile.


They got really hot last year b4 Yao went down, stayed hot for a while, and then cooled off. They then entered the playoffs once again, and got bounced in round 1.
Thats a very simplistic way of looking at it but ok, still doesnt change anything.



-As for the comment on Indiana. They had basicaly the same roster... I agree. Do you not think that the east is significantly better this year? B/c I really do. Toronto got a lot better, Philly got a lot better, Miami is healthy and better, MIlwaukee is a lot better.
Thats alot different than saying the Pacers are the 29th best team in the league. I never said those teams werent better, Im saying the Pacers are alot better than you have them rated.



A lot of average and below teams from last years east have made significant upgrades. That means that teams like Indiana and Atlanta who did nothing are going to get passed by. It is possible that Indiana could wind up better then NY or Chicago maybe... but that still means they aren't very good.

Atlanta lost its 3rd best player and by far the only spark off the bench.
Indiana traded 40 games of Jermaine for possibly 65+ of TJ Ford + that softie, whats his face from Toronto. I wouldnt be calling that nothing.


-And I didn't say TJ Ford was below average. I said that Granger is the only one above average. I would tend to say that TJ Ford is abour average in the NBA from a talent standpoint.
Hes better than Mo Williams Ill tell you that much, and on a per possession basis his numbers stack up with those of any elite PG. Granted he hasnt been a full-time starter in years but if healthy there is no reason to suggest he couldnt handle that roll.

Chronz
10-02-2008, 03:18 AM
IMHO... I could be playing with Chris Paul with the Hornets and be an all-star. The Hornets are not an insanely talented team. Paul is just plain insanely talented... That's just my perspective on the issue...
I know your exaggerating but Im being serious, if either Tyson or West go out for extended stretches they will end up right where they were before this year, ok not as steep of a drop due to CP3's brilliance but in the West its significant enough to drop them a few more notches than where you have them listed.

Obviously Im not saying its a dumb pick, you cant go wrong with a team that almost won the West but they did so with the MOST amount health luck of anyone in the league. That doesnt bode well for the future but its by no means a certainty that either gets hurt.

Chronz
10-02-2008, 03:26 AM
You are badly underestimating the Nuggets.
You do realize thats a direct result of the conceptions surrounding the Enver mystique right.

People have simultaneously overrated and underrated both Camby and Denver.

People think they have a great offense and no defense, and that Camby was either grossly overrated or the teams irreplaceable defender when in reality the Nuggets were pretty average on both sides of the court, though when healthy showed promise. And as for Camby, he had his uses but only in dictating how the Nuggets played (lax D, leaking out), they can adapt without his presence and may even bring more of a defensive focus to the team, but their entire season depends on JR Smith IMO. I used to think it was Nene but JR seems like the biggest wild card of the 2.

DenButsu
10-02-2008, 03:41 AM
You do realize thats a direct result of the conceptions surrounding the Enver mystique right.

People have simultaneously overrated and underrated both Camby and Denver.

People think they have a great offense and no defense, and that Camby was either grossly overrated or the teams irreplaceable defender when in reality the Nuggets were pretty average on both sides of the court, though when healthy showed promise. And as for Camby, he had his uses but only in dictating how the Nuggets played (lax D, leaking out), they can adapt without his presence and may even bring more of a defensive focus to the team, but their entire season depends on JR Smith IMO. I used to think it was Nene but JR seems like the biggest wild card of the 2.

I agree with pretty much all that, yeah. But I do think Nene is just as critical as J.R. - you're right not to overlook Smith's importance, though. If you look at Nene (absent last season) as Camby's replacement, then the big frontcourt question becomes who replaces Najera, who was arguably an even more impacting defensive presence than Camby was, especially in terms of everything that happened up to the release of the shots taken by the Nuggets opponents. And I think the FO has done a commendable job with the Balkman pickup from NY and the signing of the Birdman. Both of those guys, like Najera, bring great energy off the bench, and can do pretty much all the things Eddie did (b-ball IQ notwithstanding). There will surely be a period of adjustment to Camby's departure, but when it's all said and done I think we'll have a frontcourt that's as strong if not better. And with J.R.'s ascension I don't think our backcourt is doing anything but improving, either. A true - and legit - pg is the obvious missing piece, and the Atkins injury especially stings because of that. But it's not as if that's anything new or different compared to last season.

daleja424
10-02-2008, 09:11 AM
You are badly underestimating the Nuggets.

How do you figure? Last year Denver finished 8th in the western conference. I have them listed as 9th in the conference b/c I think that Portland will jump over them and into the playoffs. I don't see how moving them down one spot in their conference is badly underestimating them... but that is just MO...

The Nuggets did not get any better this offseason (I even think they got worse... but thats not important to this point) and so I have a team passing them by. I don't think that is an insane theory. Im sure it is possible that they could take a spot away from Dallas or Portland... bu on paper I feel that the Nuggets are the 9th best team in the west...

DenButsu
10-02-2008, 09:38 AM
How do you figure?

Read my most recent blog (6 reasons...), where I break down my take.

And I think everybody is really overestimating Portland, since you bring them up. I'm feeling very confident at this point, unforseen injuries and/or mid-season AI trade notwithstanding, that the Nuggets finish 2nd in the NW.

And also, I know you're a Miami fan, but Denver's still better than them, even with a healthy Wade - until Beasley proves me wrong, which I don't discount the possibility of. But not yet. And I definitely wouldn't put Washington the Nuggets, either, with Arenas out of the picture.

So that's 3 spots at least I'd bump the Nugs up for sure. And keep in mind, they got 50 wins in the much tougher Western Conference last season, to Cleveland's 45, Washington's 43, Toronto's 41 and Philly's 40. And while of course offseason developments absolutely must figure into pre-season power rankings - and it's hard to know how those will translate into reality until we're watching the games being played - I'm just absolutely certain that everybody who's convinced that Denver is that much worse (or even worse at all, really) due to the Camby dump is going to be in for a rude awakening.

Maybe I'm wrong, time will tell, but the signs are very good in Denver right now.

daleja424
10-02-2008, 11:10 AM
Read my most recent blog (6 reasons...), where I break down my take.

And I think everybody is really overestimating Portland, since you bring them up. I'm feeling very confident at this point, unforseen injuries and/or mid-season AI trade notwithstanding, that the Nuggets finish 2nd in the NW.

And also, I know you're a Miami fan, but Denver's still better than them, even with a healthy Wade - until Beasley proves me wrong, which I don't discount the possibility of. But not yet. And I definitely wouldn't put Washington the Nuggets, either, with Arenas out of the picture.

So that's 3 spots at least I'd bump the Nugs up for sure. And keep in mind, they got 50 wins in the much tougher Western Conference last season, to Cleveland's 45, Washington's 43, Toronto's 41 and Philly's 40. And while of course offseason developments absolutely must figure into pre-season power rankings - and it's hard to know how those will translate into reality until we're watching the games being played - I'm just absolutely certain that everybody who's convinced that Denver is that much worse (or even worse at all, really) due to the Camby dump is going to be in for a rude awakening.

Maybe I'm wrong, time will tell, but the signs are very good in Denver right now.

Sorry. Maybe I should have been more clear in my initial post. I tend to see power rankings a little different then most people. To me I often consider the question who has the best chance to win a title. In that respect I felt I had to place Miami and Washington ahead of Denver b/c I have the Heat and Wizards projected as playoff teams and I don't have Denver (I have them as the 9th seed out west as I said). Denver is 17 in my book b/c they are the best non-playoff team next year. Is Denver better right now then Miami and Washington... yup... but the way I set up my rankings is so that the top 16 teams are the ones I feel will be in the playoffs with a chance at the title.

I find Denver to be very entertaining and would love to see them in the playoffs, I'm just not sold on Nene and Carter full time yet... That may very well change by week 2... but I just don't see the Nuggets as the same team right now. That's just MO though. You have every right as a fan of Denver to be optimistic. I am just trying to call them like I see them...

Chronz
10-02-2008, 07:50 PM
Without Camby does Denver become one of the worst shot blocking teams this year? If so how often do teams like that maintain a decent defensive efficiency despite losing their only anchor from the year before and what kind of defenders did they have if they were effective in doing so. Thats how I would try to find out how impactful Camby was for the Nuggets defensively. I have no doubt that the Nuggets improve offensively this year with JR and Melo inching closer to their primes and AI shouldnt slip that bad.

DenButsu
10-02-2008, 11:22 PM
Without Camby does Denver become one of the worst shot blocking teams this year? If so how often do teams like that maintain a decent defensive efficiency despite losing their only anchor from the year before and what kind of defenders did they have if they were effective in doing so. Thats how I would try to find out how impactful Camby was for the Nuggets defensively. I have no doubt that the Nuggets improve offensively this year with JR and Melo inching closer to their primes and AI shouldnt slip that bad.

Good question. I think part of the answer for Denver needs to lie in the notion that they won't need as many blocks because they will play a better on-the-ball defensive game in which more shots are better contested away from the basket, and better trapping and pick-and-roll defense allows less penetration to the rim, etc. Without Camby to fall back on, they just have to improve in that way. But there's another reality about Camby that most people don't really know, which is the extent to which he's been a stat whore. One argument I've consistently made over the last few years as to why Melo's rebound numbers seem less impressive than they should is that not only did he not need to be an aggressive defensive rebounder with Camby back there (and in fact Karl had him leaking out on nearly every possession possible), but Melo, K-Mart, Najera, and Nene have all experienced the Camby-block-out when it comes to grabbing those boards. Marcus was notorious for positioning his own teammates out of the way in order to snatch them up for himself (one reason I'm skeptical of his ability to work well alongside Kaman, with their defensive skill sets so closely overlapping). So it will be interesting to see how the numbers shape out... I have no doubt that overall team blocks, and probably team rebounds as well, will decline. But I think there will also be a better, more even distribution of blocks and rebounds among a larger number of players, and by getting each others' backs they can largely compensate for Camby's absence.

But none of this even addresses the offensive side of the court, where Nene is a legitimate low post threat who can run very effective pick-and-rolls with Melo, and is far Camby's superior when it comes to scoring. I think Denver's overall pace will probably slow because their offense will diversify. Nene's return will facilitate better half court sets so that they don't absolutely have to get out and run on every possession. (Nene's 270 pounds will also necessitate this, I'm sure). But I think offensive efficiency will increase significantly as a result of having a legitimate inside game. And ultimately defensive efficiency should be a wash, or possibly even improved. So I think the margin between points per possession made and allowed will increase in accordance.

Chronz
10-23-2008, 01:40 AM
I thought you would find Chad Fords chat transcript interesting:

Cory (South Bend, IN): Who are you siding with Chad? Hollinger picks the Pacers to surprise and make the playoffs, but David Thorpe says they are headed for the worst or 2nd worst record in the league.

SportsNation Chad Ford: Hollinger. I think the Pacers will be a 7th or 8th seed in the East. They don't have star power, but I think T.J. Ford and Danny Granger are very under rated. So is Mike Dunleavy, who's coming off a really stellar season last year. I think Brandon Rush is showing he's going to be able to contribute right away. If they can get something out of their bigs -- Troy Murphy, Jeff Foster, Roy Hibbert and Rasho Nesterovic -- they'll be solid. They remind me a little of Joe Dumars Pistons' team in 2001. No stars, but great chemistry and depth. I think Larry Bird and David Morway have done a great job of rebuilding this team quickly. Next year they'll have some cap room going into the summer if they don't get an extension done with Granger this fall.

Its funny, I didnt think any analyst I had respect for would side with you on the Pacers being so bad but I got the 2 nerds on my side.

l GeArs l
10-23-2008, 07:52 PM
Nice Ranks.