Monday, October 26, 2009

2009-2010 NBA season preview and predictions

The NBA season tips off Tuesday with four games, two of them broadcast nationally. The Celtics head to Cleveland to battle the Cavs at 7:30, followed by a Clippers-Lakers showdown at 10:30, both on TNT. The Wizards also take on the Mavericks in Dallas at 8:30 EST while the Rockets and Blazers go at it in Portland at 10:00 EST.

There were a lot of shake-ups this offseason, mostly involving the power teams in the Association. The Cavs added Shaquille O'Neal, Boston brought in Rasheed Wallace, the Spurs got Richard Jefferson, the defending-champion Lakers added Ron Artest and the Eastern conference champion Magic traded for Vince Carter. Meanwhile Detroit tried to return to its previous prominence by acquiring former UConn standouts Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon. It should be interesting to see if the gap between the elite teams and those below widens even further.

Without further ado, let's get to the predictions. Playoff teams are indicated by an asterisk (*).

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Atlantic Division
Boston Celtics*
Toronto Raptors*
Philadelphia 76ers*
New York Knicks
New Jersey Nets

Central Division
Cleveland Cavaliers*
Detroit Pistons*
Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks
Indiana Pacers

Southeast Division
Orlando Magic*
Miami Heat*
Atlanta Hawks*
Charlotte Bobcats
Washington Wizards

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Northwest Division
Denver Nuggets*
Utah Jazz*
Portland Trail Blazers*
Oklahoma City Thunder
Minnesota Timberwolves

Pacific Division
Los Angeles Lakers*
Phoenix Suns*
Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings

Southwest Division
San Antonio Spurs*
New Orleans Hornets*
Dallas Mavericks*
Houston Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies

2010 NBA FINALS
LA Lakers defeat Boston Celtics

I think we see a rematch of the 2008 Finals. The Lakers are undoubtedly the best team in the league with the addition of Ron Artest, if he can keep his head on his shoulders. The same could be said of Rasheed Wallace, who brings a lot to the table for the Celtics if he can keep his act in check. If Kevin Garnett is healthy all season, Boston will be poised for one more (perhaps final) serious run.

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