The Better Half in the NBA: Day 1

And, so … it begins:

1 Los Angeles Lakers [W1] … A Legendary season awaits
2 Boston Celtics [E1] … Still the Champs
3 Detroit Pistons [E2] … Bad Boyz II, under MC [Hammer]
4 Phoenix Suns [W2] … Sunrise, Sunset, under TP
5 Utah Jazz [W3] … Tried & True
6 Houston Rockets [W4] … Combustible on any given night
7 Dallas Mavericks [W5] … letting Freedom Reign, under RC
8 Orlando Magic [E3] … holding strong with new additions
9 New Orleans Hornets [W6] … due for a small slip backwards
10 Portland Trail Blazers [W7] … The 2nd Coming begins
11 Cleveland Cavaliers [E4] … The King is in the house
12 Philadelphia 76ers [E5] … major moves this off-season
13 San Antonio Spurs [W8] … a struggle without Manu
14 Denver Nuggets [W9] … re-tooling their defense
15 Chicago Bulls [E6] … expect big things from VDN & ‘Mr. Rose’

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7 Responses to “The Better Half in the NBA: Day 1”

  1. Dave Says:

    That’s a big endorsement for Chicago. Why have they impressed you so?

  2. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    The 2006-2007 Chicago Bulls won 49 games and finished 3rd in the East, 4 games behind the conference-leading Detroit Pistons.

    The 2007-2008 team won 33 games and finished 11th in the East, 33 games behind the conference-leading Boston Celtics.

    Last year’s Bulls were hurt by the off-season decisions of Ben Gordon & Luol Deng to turn down lucrative contract extensions. When they got off to a rough start, they were then distracted even further by the way Ben Wallace did not fit in with the remainder of their team, considering the young bigs they were trying to bring along at the same time, i.e. Ty Thomas & Joakim Noah. Then they tuned out their tight-fisted head coach, Scott Skiles. Then they traded Ben Wallace and fired Scott Skiles. Then, their replacement head coach Jim Boylan proved to be an even worse fit with this team and grossly mis-used their young players through to the end of the season.

    Given all that, it was a wonder they managed even 33 wins.

    This off-season, the Bulls got lucky, twice.

    One … Mike D’Antoni decided he wanted to coach the Knicks instead of the Bulls, which allowed Jim Paxson to hire Vinny Del Negro to coach this team, after his time with the World Champion San Antonio Spurs.

    Two … Chicago moved up several spots and won the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery, and selected Derrick Rose [PG] with the No. 1 [overall] Pick.

    It says here that there are several teams that might be able to slide quite easily into that #15 slot in the NBA this season, e.g. LA Clippers, Indiana, Atlanta, Toronto, Washington, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Minnesota, etc. … but of those the Bulls might just be the best team which under-achieved far below their actual ability last season, felled by an unfortunate set of circumstances.

    In all likelihood, the Bulls will finish this season with somewhere between 33 and 49 wins. Based strictly on numerical averages … if they middle those numbers it will give them 41 W’s this year. Then, if you account for the additions/upgrades of Rose [a quality young PG with good size, top notch athleticism, sound decision-making ability and a fine basketball IQ] and VDN [who has played for and worked for/with a slew of top notch coaches over the course of his hoops career] the Bulls might be able to reach 43-45 wins this season which would put in the neighbourhood of the #15 spot.

    Of course, I could easily be wrong about this. :-)

    PS. VDN is not like Mike Brown. ;-)

  3. Dave Says:

    Yeah, that 15th seed is a tough choice. So many teams in the hunt.

    I’m not as optimistic over the Bulls. I’m worried about their big men. That steel, the defense/rebounding/toughness/leadership, that was contributed by PJ Brown and Ben Wallace … I’m not convinced the present Bulls big men can provide that at a high enough level. The Bulls badly need a breakout season from Ty Thomas, that could change a lot of things.

    Little concerned about Deng and Hinrich too. Kirk had an iffy start to the preseason playing off the ball. Deng was downright horrible. I’m sure he’ll be better once the regular season gets underway but will he breakout or just repeat the past performances?

    Difficult decisions on the rotation with that crowded backcourt. There’s still a lot of concerns on the offensive end, far too many jump shots.

    I have more questions than answers on the Bulls. A lot of things need to go right for them.

  4. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    I share each of your concerns regarding the Bulls this season.

    If pushed … I’m pretty sure I could make a plausible case for 10 different teams, or more, as legit contenders for the #15 spot in the League this season, e.g. even going as far down the list as, say, the Milwaukee Bucks, beaten on the road tonight by the Bulls, or the formerly sad-sack Minnesota T-wolves, who actually have a more talented roster of players than a ‘generally-thought-to-be-solid-contending-team’ like the Toronto Raptors, or the Indiana Pacers, etc., etc., etc., …

    There are just SO many decent-to-average-to-good teams on paper this season … it is going to be a terrific year of hoops across the whole League.

  5. Travis Outlaw Says:

    I would put the Raptors over the Nuggets or the Bulls.

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  7. khandor Says:

    Travis,

    IMO … there are a number of teams across the League that could easily slide in the #16 slot, or even higher …

    [for example]

    LA Clippers, Minnesota, Indiana, Toronto, New Jersey, New York, Golden State, etc.

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