Overtime: 2K10 Season Predictions

source: NBA.com

By Ronald P. Clark and Vince Gatling

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks

Vince – Two seasons ago, the Celtics eliminated the Hawks from the first round in seven games. Last year, they were swept by the LeBrons in the second round. So the question is: Can they take another step forward? The answer is yes… a baby step. With more progression from their young frontline of Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford, they will still finish fourth in the East, with more than the 47 wins they had a year ago. Adding veterans Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith to the bench won’t get them out of the second round, but will keep them from being swept.

Ronald – The Hawks have always been one of my favorite teams with their current makeup. But that makeup is starting to run down the face of the organization and this chick is ugly. Joe Johnson has been underrated so long that now he’s overrated, and better suited as a second-best player than a franchise guy. And Josh is too inconsistent to be relied upon. But I like the additions of Crawford and Joe, which will still make them a top-five seed in the East, but nothing more.

Charlotte Bobcats

Vince – This team probably has more than enough talent to win the ACC. But the only way you can compete in the NBA with Boris Diaw and Raja Bell as starters is if your other three starters are two All-Stars and a MVP. So since Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash will be getting dressed in Charlotte’s visitor’s locker room, the Bobcats are going to suck.

Ronald – The Bobcats are like that unattractive person with a really good personality. You wish good things for them, but they just might not have the right ingredients to pull anything off. The Bobcats have a litany of good character guys but nobody you can put on a billboard and say ‘come watch him, this dude is dope.’ It’ll be another ho-hum season where Larry Brown tries to trade everybody in sight and they flirt with the playoffs.

Miami Heat

Vince – Any Miami Heat preview starts with Dwayne Wade. Although he is one of the best players in the NBA, he has only played more than 61 games three times in his six-year career. After playing most of the last two seasons, will he be durable enough to stay on the floor this year? Jermaine O’Neal hasn’t played 70 games since Bush’s first term in the White House. Michael Beasley spent his summer in a drug-rehab facility. If your top three scorers are injured, hurt, and high that doesn’t usually help. Look for this team to take a step backwards and miss the playoffs.

Ronald – I will never doubt Wade. He’s better than LeBron in my book and my book has sold millions of copies in my head. And I honestly believe that Beasley is going to have an 18 and 8 type season and finally show serious glimpses of what made him such a devastating force in college and the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft. If anything, they’ll make the playoffs based on Wade’s brilliance alone.

Washington Wizards

Vince – If you can only watch one team in the East this season, watch the Washington Wizards. They have the two ingredients that you need to be exciting in any sport. A great offense (this team has six players with career ppg averages of 13 or better) and a horrible defense (the last time a Wizards team gave up less than 99 ppg, the Southeast Division didn’t exist.). For a little more flavor in our excitement stew sprinkle in a dash of a healthy Gilbert Arenas. This team is destined for a first-round exit.

Ronald – Agent Zero is back and oh how I have missed him so. This team is going to score buckets, and Arenas, who already plays with the biggest shoulder chip in the league, will play with something to prove. He has more weapons around him with the additions of Randy Foye and Mike Miller. This team will be the fourth-seed in the East – if they stay healthy.

Orlando Magic

Vince – I look at this team like the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. It was a good show with a good cast. They changed the mother, and we all acknowledged the change, but it didn’t make the show any better or worse. Just different. Having Hedo Turkoglu leave and Vince Carter arrive isn’t going to make a big difference. What will make a difference is Dwight Howard’s development. He’s like Whitney Houston before the crack. An immense talent but has no moves (we’ve never seen Whitney dance). This team can only win a title if he learned a few low-post moves in the off-season.

Ronald – Playoff performances tend to be overrated. So the entire league seemed to forget that Turk shot 41% from the field during the regular season and wasn’t all that consistent. But like any other reasonably talented player in a contract year (i.e. Tim Thomas), he went off in the playoffs and earned a big payday. The Magic will be fine, maybe even better with Carter, Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes added to the mix. They just have to realize that it may take awhile before the blood gets flowing.

Central Division

Chicago Bulls

Vince – Everyone is giving the Celtics so much praise for how hard they played in last year’s playoffs without Garnett. Can we all remember that the Bulls pushed that series to seven without Luol Deng? Deng being healthy, along with the expected improvement of Derrick Rose should land Chicago another spot in the playoffs.

Ronald – The Bulls could easily be a top-five team in the East or out of the playoffs completely. Their run in the playoffs was quite a show but who is to say it translates into this season? Last time they had expectations, they bombed under the pressure and didn’t even make the playoffs. Rose’s maturity in year two will be the driving factor, but if they don’t get consistent play from young bigs Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah, this season will be a year wasted on thinking about the past.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Vince – Do we care about LeBron and the 2010 talk? No. Do we care about Shaq’s effect on the team? No. We only care about Delonte West. Delonte snuck up on us this summer because we didn’t know he was crazy. Then he decided to get on a motorcycle with three of the guns T.I. got caught with and ride around Maryland. Then we find out he’s on anti-depressants. Next, he skips a few practices. What’s next for Delonte? Could he strangle Mike Brown Sprewell-style? Could he hop in the stands like Artest?  Could he eat Vasilene like Marbury? I don’t know. But we will all be watching.

Ronald – If LeBron doesn’t win a title this year, with easily his most talented team since his arrival in ‘03’, maybe the world needs to finally slow down his crowning as King James. Is it just me who has realized that this cat STILL hasn’t won anything at this level? He’s been in the league for six years and here is the recap: no playoffs, no playoffs, lost in second round, swept in finals, lost in second round, lost in conference finals. Where in there does it say we should be calling this dude the King? Win something Prince James, then come talk to me. Until then, long live Bernard King.

Detroit Pistons

Vince – I’m convinced that Joe Dumars has been taking advice from Isiah Thomas and Matt Millen. He traded his best player, Chauncey Billups, to clear cap space. But then took away cap space by giving Rip Hamilton a contract extension. Then he paid Ben Gordon more money than Hamilton to back up Hamilton. For good measure, he’s paying Kwame Brown four million dollars (this is $3,999,999.99 more than what he’s worth) and gave Charlie Villanueva a big contract. Maybe Joe thinks Obama will put the Pistons in the bailout plan. This team is like a Bentley with no gas. It cost a lot, but it ain’t going nowhere.

Ronald – One of the Pistons players needs to go into the stands to fight their own fans so they can be distracted by just how bad they are going to be. Can we even still call this team the Pistons? I’m saddened by this turn of events. So sad, I’m not writing anything else. Except this: Rodney Stuckey, you are all types of overrated. Good day sir.

Indiana Pacers

Vince – This team has more white guys than any team in the league. You can call it racial profiling if you want to, but you wouldn’t put money on this team to make the playoffs either.

Ronald – I saw the Pacers the other day. They played in a Caucasian All-Star Game. They won. Too bad 85% of the NBA is black.

Milwaukee Bucks

Vince – Miami Vice was a horrible movie. How much worse would it have been if they took away Colin Ferrell and Jamie Foxx? Well, the Bucks missed last year’s playoffs and then let Richard Jefferson and Charlie Villanueva leave. So if you live in Milwaukee, enjoy the Packers games now and remember the Brewers start spring training in March.

Ronald – Brandon Jennings is the truth. And Michael Redd is still an idiot for not signing with the Cavaliers the year he was a free agent. I’m going to stop here because it is against my religion to write more than three sentences about the Bucks.

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics

Vince – The same starting five from the 2008 championship team returns with the addition of Rasheed Wallace as the sixth man. This is not only the best team in the East, but the best team in the league. The only thing that can separate this team from a title is injuries. (Lakers fans should thank Kevin Garnett’s knee for their 2009 championship.)

Ronald – My boy Vince can never pass on the Lakers hatred. It’s understood. He likes the Clippers. Anyway, I do agree that the Celtics scare the Lakers more than any other team in the league. When healthy, this team is a beast and the signings of Wallace and Marquis Daniels were brilliant. They are older than Bill Russell’s knuckles, but they have at least one more run in them. A little birdie tells me, Lakers vs. Celtics for the 2009-10 NBA Championship.

New Jersey Nets

Vince – When your best player has been crossed up by an English guy on YouTube, your team isn’t very good. All we can hope for is that their new Russian owner will do something odd because otherwise this team is going to suck and be boring while doing it. There is nothing to see here. Treat Nets games like commercials and just change the channel.

Ronald – Rod Thorn has given up on life. He traded away everything that made the Nets relevant again. And now, he has Devin Harris, Brook Lopez, a mad Courtney Lee and a bunch of scraps. Fortunately, for him, he can always watch Knicks games. Wait, did I say that out loud?

New York Knicks

Vince – If the NBA season came with a remote control, all Knicks fans would push fast forward. They don’t care about this season, so I refuse to talk about it. It’s all about whether or not they get LeBron next summer. Expect them to attempt to make trades that clear more cap space.

Ronald – The Knicks are not getting LeBron. Who would be dumb enough to leave the Cavs to play with an army of borderline NBA players? It would not be a sound business move on LeBron’s part, and Business LeBron is actually a pretty impressive dude. So sorry Knicks fans, you guys are going to be terrible for a VERY, VERY LONG TIME.

Philadelphia 76ers

Vince – Elton Brand screwed my Clippers last summer and then hurt his knee and was out for the year. Is this a coincidence? I think not.  If the curse remains, then the 76ers will have to try to make the playoffs without him again. The moral of the story: don’t screw with the Clippers.

Ronald – I’m not even going to touch the screw with the Clippers analogy. But I will say that this is one of the most awkwardly assembled good teams in the league. Andre Iguodala is not a franchise player but is asked to act like one and now, he thinks he is one. Louis Williams is a good guard, but can he run a team? No. But he doesn’t have to because Eddie Jordan runs the Princeton offense. Elton Brand should give them at least his old 18 and 9. And Thaddeus Young is a stud in the making. With that said, Andre Miller was their most consistent player last year and will be sorely missed. First-round exit, carve it in stone.

Toronto Raptors

Vince – America is a great country because it’s a melting pot. This same concept is going to bite the Raptors in the butt. This team has talent but I think their diversity is going to kill them in the end. They have black guys, Italians, Irishmen, a dude from Turkey and a guy from Slovenia. How many of their players can even spell Slovenia? How are these guys going to communicate? Chemistry matters in this league.

Ronald – This team is funny. Decent players all around and a franchise player better served as a dominant no. 2 (see Pau Gasol) in Chris Bosh. No one knows if Bosh is coming or going and this year will determine the answer. But outside of possibly making the playoffs, the Raptors are not going to make much noise this season. Fortunately, they can definitely provide a plethora of meal choices from a variety of locales without leaving the comfort of the arena.

Ronald’s Standings   Vince’s Standings

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers   Boston Celtics
  2. Boston Celtics    Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Orlando Magic    Orlando Magic
  4. Washington Wizards   Atlanta Hawks
  5. Atlanta Hawks    Washington Wizards
  6. Chicago Bulls    Philadelphia 76ers
  7. Philadelphia 76ers   Toronto Raptors
  8. Miami Heat    Chicago Bulls
  9. Toronto Raptors   Miami Heat
  10. Detroit Pistons    Detroit Pistons
  11. Charlotte Bobcats   Charlotte Bobcats
  12. Indiana Pacers    New York Knicks
  13. New York Knicks   Indiana Pacers
  14. New Jersey Nets   New Jersey Nets
  15. Milwaukee Bucks   Milwaukee Bucks

Next up: The Western Conference

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