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MavsWiLLHaVeRinGs
10-28-2007, 09:32 AM
1 Spurs · Trends -
The defending champs are going to skip home shootarounds again. Consider it another of the spoils of success.

2 Suns · Trends -
Amare Stoudemire has become the model for coming back from knee surgery after knee surgery. His powers of recovery defy medical logic, but then again, he's always said he's a special athlete. No lie there.

3 Mavericks · Trends -
With Erick Dampier out all preseason, Avery Johnson has gotten a good look at some small lineups while also taking advantage of seeing what young acquisitions Brandon Bass and Nick Fazekas can do. It will be interesting to see if either makes a significant dent in Johnson's rotation.

4 Rockets · Trends -
Tracy McGrady says his goal isn't to get past the first round this season, but rather, his "vision is going all the way." As long as he stays away from making guarantees, talking tough and shooting high won't come back to bite him. He's towing the line with the "control our own destiny" talk. November isn't even here yet.

5 Nets · Trends -
Don't forget how good Nenad Krstic looked before a knee injury ended his season 26 games in. The big Serbian has added a 3-pointer to his arsenal and may be the driving force that pushes the Nets to the top of the Eastern Conference.

6 Bulls · Trends -
A bum left ankle has kept Ben Gordon from finding his rhythm during the preseason, which could trickle into games that count these upcoming first few weeks.

7 Pistons · Trends -
The loss of rookie Rodney Stuckey for a several weeks (broken hand) looms larger than you may think. The Eastern Washington product looked capable of big things as Chauncey Billups' primary backup and strengthened the team's chances of continuing as the Eastern Conference's most potent regular-season team. Now that Stuckey's suffered this setback, it's going to be tougher for him to sustain the progression he had been showing.

8 Celtics · Trends -
Point guard Rajon Rondo will lead the NBA in steals this season, and it might not even be close. He'll be pushed in practice by hungry rookie Gabe Pruitt, who enjoyed a strong preseason.

9 Nuggets · Trends -
One of the more interesting decisions George Karl would love to potentially face is handling the doling out of minutes between a healthy Nene and a healthy Kenyon Martin. Martin has looked good returning from his latest knee escapade, while Nene is just working himself back from a calf strain.

10 Jazz · Trends -
Ronnie Brewer looks like he's ready to hit his stride in his second season. If he can give Utah a legitimate option at shooting guard, a return trip to the Western Conference finals isn't out of the question.

11 Cavaliers · Trends -
With Anderson Varejao's holdout expected to cut into the regular season, Drew Gooden has a major opportunity to step up as LeBron James' top lieutenant. Gooden's done it in flashes over the years, but must hold down the paint consistently while staying out of foul trouble since he'll have to log major minutes.

12 Raptors · Trends -
Although Chris Bosh's knee concerns have Raptors fans fretting the worst, he's already proven his resiliency with last year's season-long bout with plantar fascitis. The cautious approach that was taken with him all summer will prove to be the right move.

13 Warriors · Trends -
Monta Ellis' neck injury has kept Don Nelson waist-deep in lineup variations. Now that Ellis is back, the third-year guard, hands down the team's second-most dynamic player behind Baron Davis, will command minutes and allow all the uncertainty to fade into the background.

14 Heat · Trends -
The acquisition of Ricky Davis takes some of the heat off Dorell Wright and Daequan Cook, but Pat Riley is still hoping both will be ready to make contributions by the time Miami is ready to make its postseason run. Both will be scrutinized continuously.

15 Magic · Trends -
Rashard Lewis' ankle issues were a major letdown, but Orlando does have room to be encouraged by developments beyond Dwight Howard's continued transformation into the game's best big man. Jameer Nelson and Carlos Arroyo pushed each other nicely, Hedo Turkoglu looked to be in great shape after his stint playing for Turkey and Keith Bogans and Pat Garrity have been energized by opportunities to carve out roles under new coach Stan Van Gundy. All in all, October could've been a lot worse.

16 Hornets · Trends -
Hands down, the most improved player in the NBA this preseason has been second-year center Hilton Armstrong. Hopefully he keeps it up when the games count, because he could become a major factor in New Orleans returning to the postseason.

17 Wizards · Trends -
Etan Thomas' heart problems aside, the Wizards had a marvelous preseason, which includes the center's successful surgery and encouraging prognosis. Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas have nursed themselves back to health, while 21-year-old Andray Blatche looks like he might be ready to make a significant impact in his third season.

18 Lakers · Trends -
This just in: All the Kobe Bryant talk was secretly a ploy to keep the pressure of his young teammates while they quietly develop in solitude. He's a genius and we've all been puppets. And the bad mouthing of Andrew Bynum? Strictly prodding, -- signed, a devoted Lakers fan. Sadly, I've seen more than one of those.

19 Bucks · Trends -
Milwaukee's entire frontcourt, from how ready rookie Yi Jianlian is to center Andrew Bogut's aggressiveness to Bobby Simmons' health is loaded with question marks. Fortunately, Larry Krystkowiak doesn't have much to worry about from his guards, with Mo Williams and Michael Redd set for strong seasons provided they stay healthy.

20 Grizzlies · Trends -
With shooters Mike Miller and Juan Carlos Navarro certain to command heavy playing time, Marc Iavaroni might have to carve out a Shawn Marion-type role to get the most out of second-year forward Rudy Gay, who definitely has the athleticism to pull it off.

21 Knicks · Trends -
It was amusing to see Allan Houston golfing the morning after he ended his comeback. That's what a few of his would-be teammates will likely be doing the day after the regular season ends.

22 Bobcats · Trends -
Big strides are expected from Emeka Okafor, especially since he'll have to help make up for the absence of Sean May. If Okafor stays healthy, he's got a shot at his first All-Star appearance. If he doesn't, the Bobcats will be in for a world of hurt.

23 Trail Blazers · Trends -
OK, since you're going to hear all about Greg Oden and how we'll all miss him come opening night, I figure I'd drop my only comment about him -- barring some unforeseen setback or unlikely comeback -- in these preseason rankings. We will miss him. Good luck getting well.

24 Clippers · Trends -
There's going to be a lot of competition for playing time on the wing, perhaps spilling over into small lineups with under-sized fours. For that to work, Mike Dunleavy has to hope he can count on Chris Kaman, who has returned slimmer and ready to go at center. He's put last year behind him, starting with the Caveman look.

25 Hawks · Trends -
Mike Woodson might have to get creative to get his best players on the court, which could include trying out Joe Johnson at the point and playing Marvin Williams at shooting guard. If they're in the lineup for stretches, they would become the biggest backcourt in the league.

26 Kings · Trends -
Ron Artest's two-week absence should open the door for Francisco Garcia to start the season strong. Garcia's shown flashes of ability early in his pro career, but having been the star at Louisville when new head coach Reggie Theus was an assistant, he should get an opportunity to be a major part of Sacramento's retooling.

27 Pacers · Trends -
You can run down the players who can keep Indiana in the playoff hunt simply by reaching their potential. Danny Granger, a popular pick to break out this season, heads the list, but Marquis Daniels, Ike Diogu, David Harrison and Kareem Rush should all get a chance to play major roles. There has to come a time where youth stops being an excuse.

28 SuperSonics · Trends -
It's understandable Kevin Durant doesn't want to disappoint anyone, but he needs to be careful not to overdo it in coming back from a nasty ankle sprain. He doesn't want it becoming a recurring issue and will be made to understand why everyone calls the season a marathon.

29 76ers · Trends -
Samuel Dalembert is a notoriously slow starter, so even if he is healthy enough to start the regular season, don't expect huge nights from him. The stress fracture of his right foot suffered while playing for Canada at August's FIBA Championships could be an ominous sign for a Philadelphia squad that can't afford to have one of its veterans not on point.

30 Timberwolves · Trends -
Sebastian Telfair sure must be growing tired of trying to carve out a role on young, rebuilding teams. From Portland to Boston to this bunch, his career has been filled with more disappointing nights than the old Washington Generals.

http://www.sportsline.com/nba/story/10431746

Wolves are dead last lol. And the Nets 5? I don't know about that.

alby
10-28-2007, 12:04 PM
Dang, the Nets above Bulls, Celtics, Pistons?

nowhereman
10-28-2007, 01:07 PM
barkley has them winning the east. and honestly, it's there for the taking.

i'd put the grizz much higher, the nuggets lower, and the bobcats more near the bottom.

alby
10-28-2007, 01:28 PM
grizzlies because of conley jr? meh

nuggets = is stacked with kmart being healthy again
bobcats = felton/richardson/wallace/okafor/brezec = playoff caliber starting 5

fluid.forty.one
10-28-2007, 02:14 PM
weird list

DevinFuture
10-28-2007, 03:30 PM
grizzlies because of conley jr? meh

nuggets = is stacked with kmart being healthy again
bobcats = felton/richardson/wallace/okafor/brezec = playoff caliber starting 5

I am betting the bobcats go with felton/richardson/wallace/herrmann/okafor as the starting 5. Their bench will miss May and Morrison, but I agree I would rank them higher than these rankings do.

nowhereman
10-28-2007, 05:25 PM
grizzlies because of conley jr? meh

nuggets = is stacked with kmart being healthy again
bobcats = felton/richardson/wallace/okafor/brezec = playoff caliber starting 5

No, the grizzlies because of Pau Gasol being back for an entire season, Conley Jr, and improvement from Gay. Certainly higher than they are currently ranked.

Getting back kmart is hardly enough to call them "stacked". Remember how much better these guys did without him 2 years ago?

And no, that Bobcats lineup doesn't inspire me whatsoever. They lost their best big man for the year, have Wallace not playing in a contract year, and Richardson has made the playoffs exactly once in his career. They are still cellar dwellars in the east.

horse900703
10-28-2007, 07:28 PM
bullshit, spurs cant do anything this season...

alby
10-28-2007, 08:18 PM
I think a full season of AI, Melo, JR, Kleiza, Najera, Nene, Camby, Kmart is pretty stacked

but the injury to chucky atkins should not be overlooked.

StackAttack
10-28-2007, 09:23 PM
Now that I think about it, the Grizz are pretty damn stacked.

Conley, Darko, Pau, Miller, Navarro, Lowry, Warrick, and Gay's a pretty damn good team on paper.

fluid.forty.one
10-28-2007, 09:35 PM
Now that I think about it, the Grizz are pretty damn stacked.

Conley, Darko, Pau, Miller, Navarro, Lowry, Warrick, and Gay's a pretty damn good team on paper.


yeah but denver and houston have taught us that you can look really stacked on paper and still be not very good

nowhereman
10-28-2007, 09:35 PM
i'm honestly not impressed by denver's lineup - not sufficiently to put them ahead of utah or the hornets this year. Maybe they needed a training camp together, but I wasn't impressed by AI/Melo together last year.

Martin's production over the past 3 seasons, not counting last year (his first year in denver was 04-05):
03-04- 34.6 mpg, 65 games: 16.7 - 9.5 - 2.5, 1.5 stl, 1.3 blk
04-05- 32.5 mpg, 70 games: 15.5 - 7.3 - 2.4, 1.4 stl, 1.1 blk
05-06- 27.6 mpg, 56 games: 12.9 - 6.3 - 1.4, 0.8 stl, 0.9 blk

there's definitely a downward trend, and missing an entire season does have an effect on your ability to perform when you come back. Especially when the team has taken such a dynamic transformation. I just don't see getting K-Mart as anything that puts this team into another level.

JR is lost in the shuffle, Kleiza has to show he can take another step (he came on strong, but he scored 8 points in 66 minutes of playoff basketball last year), eddie is.. well, as much as we love him, a bit limited in his contribution, camby is amazing but has to stay healthy..

Also, this team relies too heavily on fast breaks but was only 18-17 last year when they has 6+ points more than their opponent on the fast break... they actually have a better record when their opponents outscored them on the break.. they have an incohesive unit that still has much to prove. I can't see them being ahead of Utah or New Orleans or the Heat or the Warriors or the Raptors this season. They might finish ahead of some of those teams based on sheer talent (Melo is undeniable), but they definitely don't have a formula for advancing until they figure some stuff out

Flacolaco
10-28-2007, 09:43 PM
The rich get richer. The west is so scary.

How many wins can the mavs realistically expect....

Dirkadirkastan
10-28-2007, 09:53 PM
^That's what many thought last year.

ty
10-30-2007, 10:27 AM
Yipes, Nets as the top East team...