2010-11 NBA Preview
The Fanalysts give the news!
The Spurs are fighting the rumors. They hear the quiet opinions around basketball. They know people think the magical run is over. They had 50 wins for the 11th-straight season before being swept by Phoenix in the conference semifinals. Down the stretch, age and injuries seemed to prevail. The Spurs have gone from winning 63 games in ‘05-06 to a low of 50 last season. I’ve heard some jokers say they won’t even make the Playoffs. Not so fast, says The Gambler. Tim Duncan is healthy. So is Tony Parker. So is Manu Ginobili. Ginobili and Parker rested this summer and didn’t play on their national teams. Parker only played 56 games last season and was hampered with injuries. With their core players back at full tilt, and Richard Jefferson better understanding Pop’s system, look for The Spurs to make one last run.
The return of Yao Ming and his fragile left foot is a great thing. Yao will be limited to 24 minutes per game, but his presence will help Houston tremendously. Houston faithful will be holding their collective breaths every time The Great Wall steps on the court. Even Yao at 70 percent is better than most centers in the League, so it’s a risk The Rockets will take. Houston is already one of the league’s deepest teams. So having Yao, who has missed 173 games in five seasons, is a blessing. Houston added veteran Brad Miller, who was an All-Star under Rick Adelman in Sacramento. The addition of the versatile Miller will allow Houston to move Yao away from the basket and utilize his passing skills.
Houston’s a dangerous playoff team. A healthy Yao also enables players like Courtney Lee and Aaron Brooks to continue to shine. Scoring guru Kevin Martin is healthy and will be killing dudes. Louis Scola has proved he has grit and game. Houston has a chance to win a lot of game this season. If Yao Ming is healthy come Playoff time, watch out!
3. Dallas Mavs
It’s the same ole song for The Mavs this season. They have a veteran team and one of the most talented in the NBA. Nowitzski just anted up for $80 million more. Jason Kidd can still dish it. With the addition of Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler, Dallas should snatch 50 wins again. It will also be interesting to watch the development of Roddy Beaubois, who showed flashes of brilliance last season, including a 40-point outburst against Golden State.
A few years ago, The Hornets and Chris Paul were the toast of The NBA town. Sort of like Durant and OK-City now. Just three years removed from a Western Conference finals appearance, a battered and bruised Hornets team dipped to 34 wins in 2009. Chris Paul missed 37 games and then had left knee surgery. Losing the best point guard in the game had devastating effects on The Hornets. David West has still not regained his ‘07-08 form. Coach Byron Scott was fired early in the season and replaced by Monty Williams. Scott is a good coach, but the ship was sinking. Williams’ first job will be to find some real answers regarding the future of CP3.
The Grizzlies went 40-42, slumped at the end of the season and missed the Playoffs. Memphis is expecting Rudy Gay to take his game to the next level and get them to post-season play. The 24-year-old baller is an established 20 ppg scorer. He should benefit from Tony Allen, who was brought in from Boston to add veteran leadership.
Gay signed a max contract for five-years, $82 million in the offseason and played for USA basketball in the FIFA World Championship in Turkey. He has the big money. Now he has to help propel Memphis into that 50-win bracket and higher. I doubt it will be this year. First round pick Xavier Henry is a talent. Zach Randolph was a 2010 All-Star. He is also the veteran leader on the team. That’s a bit scary.