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Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 1:37 pm  |  142 responses

Links: SLAM’s Official 2008-09 NBA Preview

10 burning questions, 10 red-hot answers…

(You may not have your copy of SLAM 123 yet, but here’s the NBA Preview I wrote for the mag. If you want to save it to read it when you get the magazine, feel free to hit the “back” button on your browser. Otherwise, enjoy the preview.)

by Lang Whitaker

1. Are international leagues catching up with the NBA?
Those darn internets were buzzing all summer with talk of hoops leagues from Europe — suddenly flush with Euros thanks to the recession in the US — making a run on NBA talent. Even a source close to LeBron James allowed that Bron would “consider” flying across the pond for a deal worth $50 million a year. (No kidding! If someone offered me more than double my salary to move to Europe, I’d be at the Rosetta Stone kiosk at the mall so fast your head would spin.) Still, a handful of solid NBA players (Josh Childress, Carlos Arroyo, Jannero Pargo, Nenad Krstic) joined high school star Brandon Jennings in taking the money and heading to Europe. Does a cluster of NBA role players leaving the League constitute a mass exodus of talent? Not even close. While it should raise the level of play in Europe, the NBA remains the world’s gold standard in pro basketball, to play against the best talent and find the most endorsement cash. (Unless something crazy happens like the US stock market dropping 500 points in one day. But that would never happen.)

2. Which team will surprise the League this season?
There are several teams entering the season with low expectations: for instance, nobody expects much from the Oklahoma City Thunder except that they’ll look like they’re wearing WNBA uniforms. But if I’m selecting a darkhorse team this year, they’re definitely coming out of the Eastern Conference, which despite improving still remains a notch or two below the West. And if there’s one franchise nobody’s talking about, it’s the Charlotte Bobcats. They’ve been addled by injuries and poor coaching for years, but this season they add rookie DJ Augustin, defensive stopgap free agent Shannon Brown, plus a healthy Sean May and Adam Morrison. Most important, Charlotte GM Michael Jordan inked his UNC blood brother Larry Brown as coach. Brown won an NBA title just four years ago with Detroit, but since then presided over a terrible USA Basketball team and a disastrous season with the Knicks. With his legacy tarnished, LB ain’t going out (to the Hamptons) like that. And as bad as the BETcats were last year (32-50), they still finished just five games out of the Playoffs.

3. Which team will be the biggest disappointment this season?
Was it really just 16 months ago that the Golden State Warriors fans in The Bay were filling up Oracle Arena in Oakland like Google was handing out free source code as the Warriors shocked the world (and the Mavericks) in the Playoffs? At the time, I wrote on SLAMonline.com that “there’s a certain feeling of fatalism to watching the Warriors play right now. They’re not building something for the long term, they’re not developing their young guys, they’re just trying to win that game on that night.” Since then, the Warriors have lost their two best players—Jason Richardson and Baron Davis—and lavished all their free agent cash on a reserve swingman from the Clippers (Corey Maggette) and an undersized back-up center from the Lakers (Ronny Turiaf). And with Monta Ellis on the chilling list for the first half of this season with a mysterious ankle injury, the Warriors don’t look like they’re going to be coming out to play this season. I don’t think it’s beyond believability to assert that Don Nelson will be on the beach in Hawaii long before the Warriors go fishing.

4. Which team has the most to prove?
A few years ago, the Dallas Mavericks were one quarter away from being the NBA champs, and then it all fell apart. But the tension might be even more palpable in Phoenix. When Suns GM Steve Kerr traded for Shaquille O’Neal last season, it sent shockwaves through the desert. Mike D’Antoni tried to sprinkle some of his magic offensive dust on The Big Cactus, but despite winning 55 games in the regular season and getting big years from Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, the Suns hit their usual post-season speed bump and were sent home before the Conference Finals began. With D’Antoni now gone to NBA purgatory (the Knicks!), Terry Porter comes to Phoenix and gets a shot at making this roster not only fit together but contend for a title, which is really all this current group has left to accomplish. Adding Matt “Fishbone” Barnes and Robin “Sideshow” Lopez should give the Suns the depth D’Antoni could never seem to find, but until someone on that staff explains how defensive rotations are supposed to work, the Suns will remain eclipsed.

5. Which player was the most important addition to a team this summer?
When the Celts added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett last summer, many people immediately bumped them atop the Eastern Conference. They had experience (Allen), interior defense (KG) and scoring (Pierce). To me, however, it wasn’t until they added James Posey that the Celts truly became Championship contenders. Just as he did with the Heat in ’06, Posey hit big shots from long range and took more charges than Visa. Boston won a banner…and just like that, he’s out: With Boston unwilling to commit to Posey long-term, the N’awlins Hornets ponied up the dough and inked Posey to a four-year deal. The Hornets managed to sting the NBA last season, but adding Posey to their already-simmering nucleus (including CP3, Tyson Chandler and David West) should make New Orleans a Conference title contender this year. Now if we can just get Byron Scott to start acting like he’s taking the games seriously while he’s on the sideline…

6. Which team needs an extreme makeover?
For many years, the San Antonio Spurs were the NBA’s model franchise. They signed their big players to long-term deals, found complementary starters who didn’t burst their budget, got veteran guys who bought into Gregg Popovich’s philosophy, all while fostering continuity in their front office and coaching staff. (Also, they were really boring.) But after winning 56 games during the 2007-08 regular season and advancing to the Western Conference Finals, the Spurs too often looked like a team undergoing an energy crisis, as though someone had spiked their Red Bull with Ambien. By the end of the season, the only way they could’ve looked older would have been if Hume Cronyn started at the 3. Rest might help, but Ginobili balled in the Olympics and then had surgery, and Tony Parker played for France in Eurobasket gaulification. While Duncan, Ginobili and Parker are all under contract though 2010, the only vet the Spurs added this summer was reserve swingman Roger Mason Jr, while their best defender, Bruce Bowen, turned 37 years old. They may have been the closest thing to an NBA dynasty since the Lakers of the early millennium, but the Spurs are going to need serious sharpening if they want to maintain their crown as the best the NBA has to offer.

7. Which NBA superstar will be traded this season?
It doesn’t happen often, but adding the right honest-to-goodness NBA star to your franchise can either lead to a championship (see: KG to Boston) or create a lot of buzz but no hardware (see: Shaq to Phoenix). While many franchises are clearing cap space for the summer of 2010, when Bron and DWade hit the open market, there are a couple of big-name guys who might be calling the moving trucks in February. As their contracts near expiration, if their teams feel like they could lose them for nothing in the off-season, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Allen Iverson or Shawn Marion traded when their teams are out of contention at the trade deadline. And if you want at least one fearless prediction, I say Carlos Boozer is wearing a Miami Heat uniform this time next year.

8. Who will be the Rookie of the Year?
Just last month in SLAM, we used our cover to highlight OJ Mayo, Michael Beasley and Derrick Rose, three rookies who all have the tools to cop an Eddie Gottlieb trophy as the NBA Rookie of the Year. HOWEVA!, the leading contender for this season’s ROY is in Portland next to (Brandon) Roy: Greg Oden. Even though big Greg hasn’t played an injury-free season since high school, missing last season as he recovered from microfracture surgery gave him a chance to get accustomed to the frantic NBA lifestyle while studying the Blazers up close and figuring out where he’ll best fit in this season. He’ll enter the L not only as the most-seasoned rookie (and the oldest looking), but also the biggest, most athletic big man in recent memory. And word out of Portland is that Oden doesn’t intend on finessing his way to any interior buckets—he’s looking to go through and over everyone else. If he can stay healthy this season, Greg Oden will be the runaway ROY winner, with Michael Beasley and his double-double points and rebounds averages finishing second.

9. Who walks away with the MVP?
Steve Nash had his run with Phoenix, and Kobe won it last season, but this year the award has LeBron James’ name written all over it, mostly because the Cavs are going to be just as bad as they were last year. Counter-intuitive? Maybe, but I think the Lakers will be more comfortable playing this strange new style of “team” basketball than they were one year ago. And with Andrew Bynum returning to the Lake Show, Kobe will be asked to do even less offensively than before; whether or not 24 accepts this assignment is anyone’s guess. What I do know, however, is that adding Mo Williams does not make the Cavs a contender for the NBA Championship, much less an Eastern Conference title—they still have too many holes, not enough experience and Wally Sexyback projected as a key player. That doesn’t mean they won’t put together a winning season, though, and I think if the Cavs finish five or six games over .500, and Bron continues growing his averages, it’ll be more evident than ever that LeBron James is the most valuable player in the NBA.

10. Who wins the Finals?
Last season’s appearance in the Finals by the Boston Celtics wasn’t such a surprise. They were obviously talented and, just as importantly, motivated. Now that they’ve won a nice set of commemorative rings, expect The Cs desire to flicker a little, at least during the regular season. Once we get to Playoff time, though, Boston will turn things up and hold off the Pistons to return to the Finals, where their age will finally catch up to them. This year, the Champs are coming out of the West. I’m keeping an eye on Houston, who won 55 games last season despite missing chunks of time from Yao and T-Mac. Adding Ron Artest will give them a tough rotation, but Yao, T-Mac and Adelman have to convince me they can win when it’s elimination time. New Orleans will be the second-best team out West, though they’re still an athletic swingman and backup big man away from being a Championship team. Which leaves us with the Los Angeles Lakers. We know that Kobe can get the big baskets, that Gasol, Bynum and Odom should be the best frontcourt in the NBA. But more than anything, I just trust Phil Jackson to get it done. Over the long haul, PJ knows how to motivate, when to crank it up, when to turn it down, how to manage late-game situations and how to win Playoff games. (Oh, and he’s also won a ring or two…or nine.) Boston may be back, but Phil and the Lake Show didn’t come so far last year just to get knocked out of the hunt. The Lakers are ready for their close-up.

BONUS: PREDICTED FINISHES
In the magazine, I go through team-by-team with some thoughts on each franchise and why I’m picking them where I’m picking them. Here online, I’m just going to run through my predicted order of finish. You want more? Buy a magazine, ya cheapskate!

EASTERN CONFERENCE
ATLANTIC DIVISION
1. Boston
2. Philly
3.Toronto
4. New York
5. New Jersey

SOUTHEAST DIVISION
1. Orlando
2. Washington
3. Atlanta
4. Charlotte
5. Miami

CENTRAL DIVISION
1. Detroit
2. Cleveland
3. Milwaukee
4. Chicago
5. Indiana

WESTERN CONFERENCE
SOUTHWEST DIVISION
1. New Orleans
2. Houston
3. San Antonio
4. Dallas
5. Memphis

NORTHWEST DIVISION
1. Portland
2. Utah
3. Denver
4. Oklahoma City
5. Minnesota

PACIFIC DIVISION
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Phoenix
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Golden State
5. Sacramento

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  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    I just read that in the new ish’; great job Lang! by the way i juust saw you on some vh1 show. I was like OH ITS SLAM MAGAZINE! haha

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    The Southeast is the most up in the air. I support the Heat coming in last (especially with its sorry three-man roster), but I can see the rest in several combinations. Oh, and the Magic are a lock for first as well.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Yeah, I might have flip-flopped the Hawks and Wizards if I’d known Gilbert and Haywood were going to be out so long. Then again, I wrote the preview about six weeks ago.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    You are way overrating Washington (no Gil, no Haywood) and Charlotte (Larry Brown plus a bunch of non-Larry Brown style players) and way underrating Miami (no depth maybe but three very good to great players is enough to be decent in the East).

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Work is officially not getting done today.

  • http://www.nbagauntlet.com Harris

    Everyone is underrated the Pacers. What do they have to do to get some respect?
    http://www.nbagauntlet.com

  • Boing Dynasty

    The bobcats will surprise the league by finishing in that same spot they did last year?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Lang you and Scoop should just hope the Rockets get out of the first round. I am not of the thinking they are going to go from an inability to make it into the second round to NBA Champions, especially not with their always ailing one-two punch.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Also it’s not necessary when speaking of the rocets to say “Houston, who won x amount of games last season despite missing chunks of time from Yao and T-Mac” We all already assume that. :)

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    First and foremost, fu*k Lang and Ryneocerous for their Heat hate. Secondly, I would check this sh*t out a) if my issue was delivered already and b) if I could find this at any place around the way to buy a copy. Distribution is shi*ty, at best.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    My issues with the Northwest are not with the Nuggets rather the top two. Flip ‘em in my opinion. I’m not sold on the Blazers suddenly being better than BOTH of the two 50-win teams in their own division.

  • neaorin

    Damn straight Wally Sexyback is a key player! His contract will be key in getting Michael Redd at the deadline. At least, he better be.

  • Rasheedionics

    Where’s Gilbert Arenas NBA preview??? and I didnt know Thunder is in Eastern Conference. When did that move happened?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Neaorin Cleveland has to clear cap space so they can make a run at LeBron in 2010….

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Rasheed: ?

  • Boing Dynasty

    Co Co, didnt you know? Lebron will be playing for the Dallas Cowboys in 2010.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @Cub: I’m not buying that either. Not this year, anyways.

  • neaorin

    Co Co, I believe they’d still have his Bird rights even if he did opt out. Since he’d be unrestricted he would be free to sign anywhere he wanted but the Cavs could still go over the cap should he choose to resign. That’s what I think anyway.

  • Tommy Patron

    I think we should wait until he plays more than zero regular season games in a row before we can list “a healthy Sean May” as a reason the BETcats may surprise.

  • rvr

    oh man, your purple-colored glasses are showing my man. the lakers having the best frontcourt? i’ll grant you that getting bynum back will help them, but did soft-serve-gasol and where’s-odom look like they were one inexperienced big man away from being the best front court in the league? hello? if boston and l.a. meet in the finals, and both teams have healthy starters, i don’t see how the fakers walk away with the hardware. you say the celtics desire will flicker some, but i don’t see it. i think they may dial it back to conserve energy during the regular season, but once they’re in the playoffs they’re on the warpath to prove that they were just one and done, but that they are good enough to repeat, the hardest thing to do in team sports. they’ll be just as hungry as the fake show, twice as unified, and three times as tough.

  • rvr

    that they *weren’t* one and done.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Lang wears red and yellow colored glasses, rvr.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I love Tough Juice, but there ain’t no damn way Washington is making it to the playoffs this year.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    CoCo is in rare form today.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Btw, go Sixers and i have one word for the Rockets and the kool-aid drinking fans who support them. OVERRATED! (insert hand clap sound,*dap-dap dapdapdap) OVERRATED!

  • scott

    @khalid…The same can be said for Philadelphia. Overrated.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Heat win 47 games this year.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    B: Washington still can make the playoffs, mark my words.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    The Sixers are just as overrated. Yeah, I said it.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Ben with the “out there” prediction.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Damn you Scott.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Can we start referring to Ben as “The Godfather”?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Hawks win 50 games!

  • AB_40

    wow this just hit me. if the lakers don’t make it to the finals or win the finals this season and AB17 averages 13 and 10 he will go to chicago sign&trade. for everyone except D.Rose.

    There will be no such thing as a dynasty involving the player kobe bryant

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Who trades for Iverson?
    Unless the Nuggets shock me, I expect him to be traded. So, which team comes to the table for a bonafide 25 point per game scorer who can also get you 7 assists? I think Cleveland should do it, but that’s just me. Get rid of Mo Williams and get them some Iverson. I’d just like to see what would happen with that duo, even if I don’t think it would work.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Nobody is saying that the Sixers are going to the Finals. Who exactly is overrating them? How can anyone with a straight face say the Rockets are a true championship contender? What makes you think that a team without a true offensive identify can just jump ahead of everyone else? How can the rockets not be overrated? Yao is, Tmac is, Artest is and Adelman is. the 3 best players and the coach are but somehow the team isn’t? U guys are fooled easily i see. You guys are voting for mccain right? admit it

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Khalid hates Dirk, the Rockets, ignorance, and bubblebaths.

  • scott

    Nobody is saying that Houston is going to the Finals either but they have a better chance of coming out of the West then Philadelphia has of coming out of the East. By the way Brand, Iguodala and Miller are all overrated.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Scott: Um no, they don’t.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Scott=rockets employee

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    yall crazy if you think the Wizards will have more wins than us. Bobcats will be 3rd behind only Orlando and Atlanta in our division.

  • http://www.myspace.com/hemantsbeats what

    Does this mean all Rockets fans are Republicans? Or all Republicans are Rockets fans? Did Yao donate to McCain’s campaign?

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I am a bit crazy BET.

  • scott

    Has anybody seen Brand play in the preseason? Brand looks horrible.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    Scoop jumped on that Rocket-bandwagon too…I’m not buyin’ it!!!First time T-Mac get’s out of the first round and goes sraight to the Finals…?Nah,first you walk then you run!

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Yao is a good player and occasionally plays like an all-star. yes he’s on the best centers in the league but right now he’s not one the 10 best players. he is not a consistent dominant force. he slows up the team imo etc… McGrady is still a good player but the injuries have taken their toll. He’s played well enough in his career to have gotten out of the 1st rd. i don’t put that all on him. that being said. he’s an underwelming talent who because of his injury history avoids contact even when him going into the lane is the right play.reg season i get it but playoff games? not good..artest is an emotional bomb waiting to go off. its sad really. yes he brings physicality but he take away team chemistry. and he forces shots too often…adelman is not a championship level coach. i think he’s proven that.

  • JE

    Regardless of where AI ends up, I predict he signs back with Philly when his contract expires, for the veteran’s minimum.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    MC Serch, your boys big pickup was Kwame. Your Coach is unproven, ours is Larry Brown (who brought the Pistons their bling) so hush.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    this is too easy

  • RV

    Khalid, must have never heard of defense before.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I’d definitely say that the Sixers have a better chance of coming out of the East than the Rockets do coming out of the West. I just don’t see Elton Brand as the type of player who can really raise the Sixers to that elite level. The Sixers have some talent but so did alot of the Clipper teams Elton played on and he has one playoff appearance to show for it.

  • scott

    I’m just curious to who is “the man” in Philadelphia? Who is going to get a bucket when you need a score? They don’t have a crunch time scorer. For example James in Cleveland or Pierce in Boston or Hamilton/Billups in Detroit.

  • Ryan.T.

    Everybody is so confident in the Lakers this year, rightfully so. But for some odd reason I don’t see them getting to the Finals again. I’m leaning towards Houston & New Orleans in the West. In the end, I think Boston will prevail for the 2nd straight year.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    I’m on the Rockets bandwagon along with Scoop. They’re the best team when healthy…obviously, they’re not so the season’s not going to be a smooth ride. That makes some serious drama. If the pieces fall into place, the Rockets can be a real underdog. They’re also fun to back because their fans are excellent. Target Center is always so electric (the *new* Oracle Arena).

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Isn’t the Target Center where the TWolves play?

  • RV

    Ryne, Target Center? I’m disappointed!

  • RV

    Yeah, Houston plays in the Toyota Center.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    yeah Khalid, by bringing the Blazers to the finals 2x and the Western Conference Finals 4x Rick has shown he is not a Championship level coach. I get it completely.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    BET: Charlotte has a ton of unproven or underperforming talent. If the old Jason Richardson is back this year, then you may surprise.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Yeah, Ryne it’s the Toyota Prius Center or some sh!t. GOSH.

  • AJ

    Miami last in their division? Seriously

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I miss Golden State Jason Richardson. If he comes back I might actually wanna see a Bobcat game.

  • scott

    Houston > Philadelphia.

  • RV

    Thy are actually going for a Guiness record on opening night for face painting, i know its done regularly in college ball, but should be cool to watch if 90% or more of the arena does it.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @AJ: One of the girls in Beasley’s hotel room at the pre-draft camp was Lang’s little sister, hence the Heat ranking. J/K

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    “TADOne says:
    BET: Charlotte has a ton of unproven or underperforming talent. If the old Jason Richardson is back this year, then you may surprise.” So the one the Bobcats had last year, the one who led the NBA in three point shots made, the one who lead the team when Wallace was out, the one who dropped 40 about 6-7 times, the one who averaged 21.ppg, and the one who had some SICK dunks wasnt good enough? I am completely fine with that one.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I liked the Jason Richardson that gave the Mavs the buisness every time he played them. He was my favorite.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    B: Go straight to ‘banned’. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.00

  • AB_40

    what team chemistry?
    their best players can’t stay on the court together. Artest has no chemistry to ruin cuz it will feel like there’s a new team on the court every 15/20 games. Let’s hope they do well going into the playoffs. If this was 2 years ago and the rockets woul’ve added ron artest everybody would be on the bandwagon now not so much.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Obviously not, BET.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I hope Lang really doesn’t have a little sister.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    i actually like Houston’s chances this year. Yao might stay healthy, TMAC might stay healthy, Rick Adleiman is a better coach than you might suspect, Ron Artest finnaly likes his coach and his teammates, Rafer Alston is still Rafer Alson, Scola had a beastly Olympics preformance, and everybody else on their team can do a particular skill well. But, arguing with Rockets fans is way more fun, so i will never admit any of that.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    B, he does, and she is 3 years old with several learning disablities. Dont you feel like sh!t.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    I’m still bitter that the Rockets killed Stevie Franchise.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    sarah palin > scott

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    MVP= Bron, MIP= Aldridge, COY= McMillan, 6th Man= Stuckey, ROY= Beasley, DPOY= Josh Smith

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    BET: Your comment actually scared me for like 2 seconds.

  • RV

    B long, what do you mean?

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    B that was my point, but wouldnt it be even worse if it was true?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    RV: I’ll assume you mean the Steve Francis comment since it was Rocket related. Steve Francis was one of my favorite Non-Laker players and I always hit up a Rockets game when I was in Houston while he was there but after Van Gundy and Yao arrived it was like his basketball soul was sucked out of being. Very sad.

  • RV

    Really? Maybe it was a bad stretch for him or something. JVG did mess him up a bit, but i think he still was the same for the most part. Even his first year in Orlando he was still Stevie Franchise. I blame NY.

  • RV

    anyone read the story about tmac and his sleep? Basically said tmac has always slept a lot, on the bus, after practice, etc. Once he had his first kid and didn’t get as much sleep, his FG% was like 40%, before it was 45%. Prior to the kid he shot well even on short rest. After the kid, he didn’t. Obviously not the only reason, but i thought it was interesting.

  • http://si damascus

    i dont care what anybody say.. kobe will repeat as mvp… lebron is always the favorite to win mvp..media pick him the last three years..nash,dirk,and kobe got it

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    TAD, i agree with all your picks besides Oden will ROY not Beasely

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Stevie Franchise lost his soul when his “union” with Cuttino Mobley was ended by the Rockets. The Ambigously Gay duo haven’t been the same since.

  • RV

    oh yeah, forgot about that, I don’t think Cat visits Houston much anymore….

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    I’d attend Stevie and Cuttino’s wedding.It’s be adorable.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com H to the Izzo

    It’d be*

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    I better get some some props for that last comment.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    any prediction for tonight’s TNT double header? the home teams kinda have to win right?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    For sure, Allenp.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    the jazz will not trade booz for matrix. trix and ak together? were not even sure if theyre not the same person

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Portland over Utah! I like that!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    albie, we got it. Don’t worry, Bron’ll drop 30, but PP is gonna come right outta the gate like he left, after shedding 15 (!) pounds this offseason.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Hold on, he lost 7. But whatever, he lost a lot of weight.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Allenp how was your 5:12 comment in ittalics?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Well kind of a lot . . . enough. He didn’t have to lose a lot anyway. He’s quicker, now.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Yeah, how’d you get that, man?

  • slamfan4life

    no way bucks are gonna be better than da Bulls

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    New Jersey worse than NY? Well, I have yet to get the issue . . .

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I’ma gonna do this thing this year after all the Celtics games; I’m gonna post Leon Powe’s Stat Line up every day so I can make sure y’all keep track of him. Get excited!

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    ^buzz killer

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Bet

    I used HTML code in my comment

    Like this one

    Same thing you do on a blog.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    BET, whatchu mean by that?

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    type in the same code you use for italics on your blog.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @B.Long may have just lost his Noyz privileges.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    And I have gained them, Lang?

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Give them to a creative genius like me Lang. I will use Spell Check for them too!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I’d vote for BETCATS in Noyz. But don’t spell check it, it makes it more interesting.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    Lang that is 2 votes

  • Bruno

    thanks LANG!
    its good to see a nice written article again here… reminds me why i had a subscription for so many years…
    although, i don’t agree that the Spurs should be considered the most needed of an extreme makeover.
    obvious reasons… they are not a team for the future, but they re still title contenders.
    it doesn’t matter what happened in last year finals, but they were there again, and, well, they still have TEAM Duncan, Manu and TP…
    they would be way better if Splitter was playing with TD, but he was seduced with Eurpe money and decided to stay with Tau Ceramica.
    the Spurs could really use a young motivated big to go along Tim… too bad.
    - don’t agree also with everything said about Lebron, but i’m not even gonna explain that again. i’m just too tired of talking about the “marKetING”.
    - i think N’awlins are gonna be real tough this season after they added Posey. He is a very good role player and it gives MoPete less court time… both adds to the Hornets… i just wouldn’t put my money on them cause its gonna be hard to CP3 to do what he did last year. it was incredible.
    i do think like you and i expect Kobe to relax through the season and just wait for the playoffs, so, if CP3 repeats last season, MVP has an EASY owner, cause last year, there was NO ONE close to those 2.
    LAKERS have the better team in the nba right now… easy, but Bynum have to stay healthy and i dunno, i always loved PJ, but he had some stupid mistakes last year that really bothered me.
    GREAT PIECE.
    oh, and almost forgot… i don’t think Mia is gonna be #5 southeast… but just a guess.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/betcats BETCATS

    and they were sober votes too!

  • http://joebasketball.blogspot.com Not-so-average Joe

    The blazers are a very talented team, Oden’s my pick for ROY this year as well, but i think everybody’s expecting results from them too soon. For now, Utah will win the division and Portland second, with Denver missing the playoffs.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    For me, yes, for you, maybe, BETCATS. I’ll call the Raleigh police and see if you done anything lately. ;)

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Come on Lang, admit you’ve been enjoying the Noyz contributions. I’ll buy three copies of your book. I promise.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I have, B. They ain’t paying you, right?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Hey guys, nobody’s been reading our stuff on Hibachi. Read up y’all, we feel like we’re writing for an empty audience.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    As long as there is a lengthy chapter on Chipper Jones getting a hooters waitress pregnant I’ll even read the books too.

  • The Black Clark Kent

    +10 for B. Long’s last comment.

  • scott

    Scoop Jackson > Khalid Salaam

  • Bruno

    oh ow…
    “scott says:
    Scoop Jackson > Khalid Salaam”
    controversy????
    i would agree with scott here…

  • ArmoPimp

    Lakers 4 Life

  • Bruno

    hahahahahaha
    America’s #1 is a JOKE!
    nice show tonight. got schooled by pierce the whole night, almost hurt his ankle being humiliated on defense…
    but the game is still tough… cavs needs a basket
    well, than better have somebody that can score under pressure… Mo Williams hits a 3 and brings the cavs back.
    * another cavs possesion. lebron goes in, garnett stops him… lebron gets the “lets-keep-trying to-make-him-the-next-one-foul”
    * FT… hahahaha, if he can’t dunk, he can’t make it. 1 of 2
    * boston could finish the game here, but Rondo is so stupid… 2 more FT to… oh… its James, game is done…
    exactly. he shoots a brick under pressure and than makes the 2nd. thats repetitive.
    one more time, COULDN’T DELIVER WHEN IT MATTERED.
    .
    A LOOOOOOOOONG (and very doubtfull) way to be number 1 NBA (forget al time guys… lets wait something like 10 or 15 years…)
    haters. appreciate Kobe while he is on court… you don’t know the kind of player you are missing.

  • scott

    Little quick to judge after one game. LeBron for 09 MVP.

  • Bruno

    i’ve just a lot of thing explaining a lot of things.
    it didn’t went through and i’m not gonna write it again…
    but just to resume, this wasn’t his 1st game in the nba, its not the 1st time i watch lebron playing and it was mostly the same as everytime before…
    won the muscle plays, lost when he needed some “different” skills… like, game reading, guts and reliable shot.
    anyway… lets watch the reigning MVP against the Blazers… that should be a nice game.

  • Bruno

    * line 1 – i’ve just wrote …
    * line 3 – just to sum it up, this wasn’t his…

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…GREG ODEN IS COMPLETELY OVER-RATED…He will not amount to anything other than a second tier centre at best…
    San Antonio will barely show a pulse this season but do enough to get into the playoffs and establish a run straight at the Lakers and New Orleans…only to meet the Suns in the WC finals…

    Boston will still remain after the smoke clears…Mo Williams will not help the Cavs get anywhere further this year than in years prior…

    Watch out for Miami…they have put together the kind oif team that can flourish in the Eastern Conference.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Somewhere along the track this season, Kobe will get injured….this knee/finger thing will be a target for some stupid ‘defensive orientated player’…
    Houston have got the best team on paper to replace the Lake Show in the finals but how do you distribute RonRon’s single heart (regardless of how big it is…) between a roster of 15 players…?
    Orlando need a PG still…
    Washington need their money back…
    Milwaukee, New Jersey and Ney York will struggle simply for the fact that everyone else will be better than them again…
    Golden State are the basketball equivilent of skydiving without the parachute (waving your arms wont make that much of a difference at the end of the day…)
    It doesn’t matter where Camby or BDAVIS go….injuries will still follow you home boy.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    EASTERN CONFERENCE
    ATLANTIC DIVISION
    1. Boston
    2. Philly
    3. Toronto
    4. New York
    5. New Jersey

    SOUTHEAST DIVISION
    1. Orlando
    2. Atlanta
    3. Miami
    4. Washington
    5. Charlotte

    CENTRAL DIVISION
    1. Detroit
    2. Cleveland
    3. Milwaukee
    4. Chicago
    5. Indiana

    WESTERN CONFERENCE
    SOUTHWEST DIVISION
    1. New Orleans
    2. Houston
    3. San Antonio
    4. Dallas
    5. Memphis

    NORTHWEST DIVISION
    1. Utah
    2. Denver
    3. Portland
    4. Oklahoma City
    5. Minnesota

    PACIFIC DIVISION
    1. Los Angeles Lakers
    2. Phoenix
    3. Los Angeles Clippers
    4. Sacramento
    5. Golden State

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I switched up something things…
    Miami will get the 3rd spot in their division.
    Golden State will have slipped to the bottom of the PACIFIC division.
    The log jam for a run to the playoffs could see Mavericks get pushed out (again) and miss the 8th seed.
    Philly just need to hold on that 2nd seed in the ATLANTIC division…but 4th is the best they can do, seeded for the playoffs. Same with PHX this year.

  • http://where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    So lets go ahead and get this out of the way. Eboy is gonna bitch and say Andrew Bynum sucks and isn’t anything close to as good as all of the retarded Laker fans thought he was. Then he’ll disregard that Kobe and Lakeshow had a solid game against the Blazers and talk about the 5 turnovers Kobe had. There, now we don’t have to do this tomorrow.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    The Knicks and Rockets both have games tomorrow!!!!!!!! Er, tonight!!!!!!!!

  • tealish

    Lang: I stopped reading when you wrote “T-mac has convinced me he can win in elimination time”. Just kidding, but I did have to read that thrice.

  • tealish

    I guess it takes me a fourth time to get it right, sorry.

  • Froggiestyle

    Lang – “gaulification” niiiiice . Khalid the rockets are sooooo winning it all – they just need to find a way to get Hakeem back instead of Oww – I mean Yaoww. Eboy – you should be happy if you get the Boozerster in MIA that would be a nice fit n’est-ce pas? I just hope the Hornets stay healthy enough to have some good games and a great season.

  • http://www.basketballjerseyworld.com NBA-JERSEY-KING

    miami last??? no way

  • jaywhy

    portland over utah? JOKE

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  • http://www.myspace.com/everybodylovesmush Mush

    Bulls 4th? no way

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  • Miguel Ferreira

    Great Job SLAM (once again), although i think the Heat can go higher rather than 5th overall in SE division. Though GOOD JOB! I like your thoughts about Europe, and “accross the pool” where i’m from has plenty of good players to come into the league.
    ;)

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