October 31, 2008

The beginning

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

It’s only been a few days and games into the NBA season put there’s already been enough to write a post about, notes style.
So should the Blazers just replace Oden’s name in the locker room with Sam Bowie’s? The old man just cannot stay on the court. Now he’s out for 2-4 weeks? I’m feeling a bit less sure about Portland and with such a big body combined with the incredibly high expectations piled on those worrisome legs, I wouldn’t doubt seeing another “breaking news” report on Oden being sidelined again this season.
You might not have noticed this because the Raptors beat the Sixers, but Samuel Dalembert had nine rebounds in the first quarter. The whole off-season, Toronto worked on their rebounding and then get killed like that? Better go back to the drawing board.
I think the 17-8 that Jermaine O’Neal got with Raptors will be around the high end of his potential for this season. The 27-11 Bosh got is — shockingly — where me might be around all season too.
The Intern pried himself away from Fallout 3 to give us his picks for the NBA season and there’s still hope that he’ll contribute his thoughts in column form every so often. His predictions look like this:
Atlantic: Boston
Southeast: Orlando
Central: Cleveland
Southwest: New Orleans
Pacific: Lakers
Eastern conference champ: Cleveland
Western conference champ: Lakers
NBA champ: Lakers
MVP: Lebron James
Rookie of the year: Michael Beasley
And as promised, some explanations towards my small east look-in. Boston’s a certainty at the top and I shouldn’t have to even go into why … LeBron teaming with Mo Williams and an inevitable deal for more help will help them in the playoffs but I still can’t get over how this team would be screwed if King James went down — and after spending all summer with team USA, I think he’ll miss some time … Detroit’s still got talent there and I see no reason to write them off other than age, which they always defy … Orlando’s the best team in an awful division … Philly and Toronto are neck-and-neck but I’ll take the depth-deprieved Raptors over the poor-shooting 76ers … After the teams that look like certainties, I like the Wizards, who have done it before without Gilbert Arenas and can do it again. Then, the Heat have a healthy D-Wade back and enough pieces around him to beat out teams like the Bulls, Hawks and maybe event the Pacers for the eighth spot … The East will be greatly improved over last year and you WILL hear about everywhere. But really, it couldn’t have gotten worse … My award picks go like this: I’m tired of people picking LeBron James and don’t want to be bunched in with the Intern there. I’ll take Tim Duncan to lead the Spurs with a sub-par bench and Ginobili out for a while. Next in the line are Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and then LeBron … If I was writing this yesterday, my rookie of the year pick would’ve been Greg Oden. Now, I’ll take Derrick Rose over Beasley.
In the Finals, we’ll see the Jazz against the Celtics with Boston repeating. The Lakers have too much pressure on them while the Hornets aren’t quite deep enough. The Jazz have all the right tools to win the West in a tough season.

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