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V2M
12-07-2006, 03:37 PM
Taking stock
By Steve Kerr, Yahoo! Sports
December 7, 2006

Steve Kerr
Yahoo! Sports
The first month of the NBA season has resembled a wild swing in the stock market.

Teams' respective fortunes have been so up and down already that it's tough to get a read on what's really happening out there.

Are the Warriors good or bad? Are the Suns' troubles over? Which L.A. team is for real?

With that analogy in mind, I give you my very own NBA stock tips. (By the way, I operate an honest operation there is no insider trading going on here).

BUY

Orlando Magic Yes, you're getting them at a high price right now, and you should have bought them a month ago. But the Magic are for real, particularly playing in the East. They have shot blocking, perimeter shooting, a point guard who loves big shots (Jameer Nelson) and a healthy Grant Hill (knock on wood). Mark down the Magic for 52 wins and the Southeast crown.

Phoenix Suns Amare Stoudemire is putting up big numbers, Steve Nash is playing like the MVP that he is and the Suns have overcome their early season troubles. They're crushing teams again and look to be on the rise. It's difficult seeing this club win fewer than 54 games.

Atlanta Hawks That's right, I said it Atlanta. The Hawks play in the East, so if they can stay near .500 they'll be in the thick of the playoff race. And with Joe Johnson emerging as an all-star, Atlanta's young talent can grow around him. Josh Smith is playing well, Marvin Williams returns soon, and Tyronn Lue and Speedy Claxton are getting the job done at the point last season's problem area. The Hawks are not bad, and in the East being "not bad" is good enough. Thirty-six wins and the East's final playoff spot.

New Jersey Nets They're 7-10. Why buy? Because the rest of the Atlantic is so bad that New Jersey would have to completely implode to not win the division. Despite the Nets' interior deficiencies and the erratic play of Vince Carter, look for New Jersey to win 45 games and back their way to the Atlantic crown.

Chicago Bulls Yes, the Bulls have had problems, but those troubles appear to be in the past. The schedule gets much easier now, and after a horrendous 3-9 start, Chicago finds itself in the Central Division hunt. The Bulls may lack interior substance Phil Jackson called them "lattes" last week, as in "all froth" but they play hard, they're deep on the perimeter and they defend. Mark Chicago down for 46 victories.

Miami Heat This one's obvious, so I'm not sure you'll get a good price. The Heat are 7-10, which is good enough to hang around in the putrid East. But take a look at the conference. Can you tell me who will represent the East in the NBA finals? Neither can I. When Shaquille O'Neal comes back, Miami will have as good a shot as anyone. Forty-four wins and a scared opponent in the first round of the playoffs.

SELL

Sacramento Kings For years, the Kings sold widgets that enabled you to score tons of points. Now the company is attempting to change course, and they're inventing a new widget that keeps your rival from scoring points. The problem? The R&D guys haven't come up with the right technology yet. Eric Musselman is a defensive-minded coach, but he has no shot blockers and only one guy on his roster who is a defender of note (Ron Artest). The Kings are allowing opponents to shoot almost 46.5 percent and they've given up 100 or more points in eight of their last 11 games. Thirty-nine wins and no playoff berth.

Golden State Warriors The Warriors are a Silicon Valley tech stock from the late 90s hot, popular and in for a big fall. Don Nelson's team has shown flashes of brilliance, but it is in a terribly difficult division. Also, the Warriors are young, injury prone and still learning. They've lost four in a row, including the last two by a total of 68 points. I see a 35-win season ahead.

Minnesota Timberwolves I know. I touted them as a possible surprise before the season began. But I just don't see it happening for this club, particularly in the Western Conference. Kevin Garnett can't do it alone, and he's not getting as much help from Mike James and Randy Foye as I had hoped. It looks like another year in the lottery. Thirty-seven wins.

HOLD

San Antonio They're a blue chip stock. You buy them and hold them forever, and then pass them onto your kids. The Spurs are the most solid franchise in the NBA, performing at a high level year after year. With Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and a deep bench, San Antonio will be there all season. Fifty-eight victories and the usual deep playoff run.

Dallas Mavericks They're Google. They were a fad a couple of years ago, a curiosity of sorts, but they now look like they're here to stay. There is more substance to this team than ever before. The Mavs defend, are well-coached, have a superstar in Dirk Nowitzki and have terrific role players. Sixty wins and the No. 1 seed in the postseason.

Los Angeles Lakers If you've already bought the Lakers, don't sell. Hang onto them. But I'm not ready to label L.A. as a "buy" just yet. Let's see what happens at the end of the month, when the Lakers head out on the road. Sixteen of their first 20 games are at Staples Center, and while the Lakers are off to a great start, they haven't proven what good teams have to do win away from home. For now, though, I'll throw out a less-than-educated guess: Forty-eight wins.

Steve Kerr is Yahoo! Sports' NBA analyst. Send Steve a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Updated on Thursday, Dec 7, 2006 11:12 am EST

fluid.forty.one
12-07-2006, 04:37 PM
I like the analogy

V2M
12-07-2006, 04:57 PM
If Mavs are Google... Spurs must be Microsoft :)

TheBlueVan
12-07-2006, 05:23 PM
the mavs should have made a push for joe johnson a couple of years ago...

capitalcity
12-07-2006, 05:23 PM
Ah, yes. The spurs are the smartest guys in the room.

Ready for the crash Bexar County?

V2M
12-07-2006, 05:56 PM
All the key smart guys from Microsoft have moved to Google

MavsX
12-08-2006, 07:55 AM
i still hate steve kerr