Friday Fire: The Starting Five NBA Preview

The NBA season kicked off this week and it’s that time to pick who wins what, where and how. The two bad boys of bang above figure prominently in my post season picks. Who ya got?

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Celtics              Jesus + Black Pharaoh = The Truth
  2. Toronto Raptors           Too much talent not to be in this spot
  3. Philadelphia 76′ers       Iggy is key on a team with no shooters
  4. New York Knicks          That ish don’t work in the East
  5. New Jersey Nets           Vince mark your legacy

Central Division

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers       LeBron goes higher and is still risin’
  2. Detroit Pistons              Grizzled wisdom still gives it to them
  3. Chicago Bulls                How good will Pooh be?
  4. Milwaukee Bucks           Michael Redd starring as George Gervin
  5. Indiana Pacers               Who?

Southeast Division

  1. Orlando Magic               Magic run away with it
  2. Miami Heat                    Flash does his thing, but who is pg?
  3. Atlanta Hawks               Co Co if you think this is too low, I’ma…
  4. Washington Wizards      Too much good cookin’ in Chocolate City
  5. Charlotte Bobcats          Man quit playin’!

Western Conference

Northwest Division

  1. Utah Jazz                           Maturity is fun to watch
  2. Denver Nuggets                 Contender or gate attraction?
  3. Portland Trail Blazers         Mr. Oden, whatcha gonna do bruh?
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves    Jefferson needs to move on up
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder      Fans will provide the love but is it enough?

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Lakers       Jackson, Kobe and Andrew Bynum?
  2. Phoenix Suns                Terry Porter will have the Suns ready
  3. Los Angeles Clippers    The Boom squad
  4. Golden State Warriors   Can Jax lead the crew?
  5. Sacramento Kings         What is going on here?

Southwest Division

  1. New Orleans Hornets    The story is just beginning
  2. Houston Rockets           Ron Ron and Battier D up the Lig
  3. San Antonio Spurs         Hack a Shaq jokey jokes is all they got
  4. Dallas Mavericks            Dirk stars as Glass Joe
  5. Memphis Grizzlies          In the wrong division

Eastern Conference Semis

Boston over Toronto

Cleveland over Orlando

Eastern Conference Finals

Boston over Cleveland

Western Conference Semis

Los Angeles Lakers over Houston Rockets

New Orleans Hornets over San Antonio Spurs

Western Conference Finals

New Orleans Hornets over Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Finals

New Orleans Hornets over Boston Celtics

Postseason Awards

MVP

  1. Dwyane Wade
  2. LeBron James
  3. Kobe Bryant
  4. Dwight Howard
  5. Chris Paul

Rookie Of the Year

  1. Derrick Rose
  2. Michael Beasley
  3. OJ Mayo
  4. Greg Oden
  5. Bill Walker

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Marcus Camby
  3. Kobe Bryant
  4. Ron Artest
  5. Bruce Bowen

Most Improved Player

  1. Vince Carter
  2. Sean Livingston
  3. Rashard Lewis
  4. Ron Artest
  5. Al Thorton

Coach of the Year

  1. Sam Mitchell
  2. Stan Van Gundy
  3. Rick Aldelman
  4. Mo Cheeks
  5. Terry Porter

Scoring the Rock

  1. LeBron James
  2. Kobe Bryant
  3. Tracey McGrady
  4. Dwyane Wade
  5. Amare Stoudemire

Gettin’ them Mo Malones

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Elton Brand
  3. Kevin Garnett
  4. Marcus Camby
  5. Al Horford

Dishin’ with a Magic stick

  1. Chris Paul
  2. Deron Williams
  3. Derrick Rose
  4. Steve Nash
  5. Andre Miller

Get that ish out of here!

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Josh Smith
  3. Marcus Camby
  4. Sammy Dalembert
  5. Derrick Rose

28 Responses to “Friday Fire: The Starting Five NBA Preview”

  1. Patrick says:

    As an Atlanta Hawks supporter, I see the Hawks making that true breakthrough in 2008-09. Some experts have the Orlando Magic running away with the division, and it may happen. However, the Hawks opened the season on the road and handed the Magic an opening-day loss. The Hawks are still a flawed team and doesn’t have that true center in the mold of a Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal. Question marks include Marvin Williams, who needs to emerge as a franchise player and will Josh Smith be able to duplicate last year’s individual success after getting his new contract.

    The Hawks’ win versus the Magic was impressive. They lead virtually from beginning to end. The Hawks showed focus, and their defensive intensity was there as well. Last year, the Hawks were one of the worst perimeter defense teams in the league.

    However, the Hawks are an athletic team that may be coming into their prime. Joe Johnson will continue to put 20 plus a night and providing versatility from the guard position with his superior height and ball handling skills. Also having a ‘healthy’ Mike Bibby for the year is a dynamic that many prognosticators haven’t factored in as well. Additionally, NBA swingmen veterans Maurice Evans and Flip Murray have the ability to make timely plays when Joe is double teamed or in foul trouble. I have given up on the injury-prone Speedy Claxton who is still collecting a NBA check.

    I need to see Acie Law, last year’s second first round choice for the Hawks, be more of a force this year and become less timid in taking outside shots and start MAKING OUTSIDE SHOTS. Law should receive more playing time this year and it may rival Mike Bibby’s time at point guard. Law’s progression as a guard is important in the Hawks ascension in the NBA’s Southeast division. And of course, Al Horford, who had more double-doubles than any rookie last year , provided an emotional spark during the playoff run in 2007-09 … He is an emerging player and I would like to see him expand his offensive game…and if that happens, the Hawks may be a surprise team in the Eastern Conference (Top 4)…

  2. Patrick says:

    Other Eastern Conference teams that I am impressed with…

    Toronto– If Jermaine O’Neal can stay injury free and Chris Bosh can maintain his All-Star play and combine the solid perimeter game the Raptors, this team can be a legitimate threat…

    Philly– Iggy has to maintain is All-Star play, but this defensive-minded, fast break team can give a lot of teams trouble.

    Cleveland– The Mo Williams acquisition is solid and if Daniel Gibson can ‘raise his game’ and stay off the injury list, LeBron’s Cavs will be there in the end..

  3. Co Co says:

    Michael Tillery! Are you kidding me with the Heat ahead of the Hawks?? LOL You know I love my Hawks, but there are some things that we just have to wait and see about. For instance Acie Law’s development is going to greatly decide whether or not Mike Bibby is still a Hawk after the trade deadline. It’s not all Acie’s fault, his playing time was mismanaged last season when he was actually healthy enough to play, which brings us to the coach. Ya’ll know how I feel about Coach Woodson and his abilities. He’s gotta be better in all aspects. Josh Smith is the pulse of the Atlanta Hawks and he will make the All Star team this season (yeah I said it). When he’s flying around doing what he does, the team is better. I’d also like to see more touches for Al. They need to develop some sort of inside out game because 85% of the time they rely too much on the j and as we all know the j will not always fall. Anyway, it’s waaaaaay too early to make post season predictions. The only thing I will say is I fully expect the Hawks to be there. :)

  4. Co Co says:

    In the playoffs!

  5. Okori says:

    How exactly would you like Vince to cement his legacy playing on a last-place team? If history is any indication he’ll start tanking it and asking to get traded to a contender.

    And I’ll tell you exactly what Mr. Oden’s gonna do: get hurt again.

  6. Mizzo says:

    What in the Buckhead Y league? Nah, I’m kidding. I’m not sold on the Spirit front office. You know that. It has nothing to do with the players. I see Bibby on the Heat in February.

    Vince will get his wish and play for a contender.

  7. Patrick says:

    For Greg Oden, I willing to withhold judgment. I am not ready to call him Sam Bowie just yet or slap the label ‘injury prone’ or bust.

    Oden may need another year or two to grow into his body and become more accustomed to NBA contact. For some guys, it just takes a little time. Lebron was already physically and mentally ready at 6’8/245 when he entered the league.

    Jermaine O’Neal started in Portland and it took awhile for him to get it together.

  8. Patrick says:

    Mike Woodson is trying to keep his job and if Mike Bibby is healthy and productive, I just don’t see the Hawks sending him to another team.

    Acie Law will receive considerable playing time at both guard positions, but this is a transition year for Acie. I want to see some production from him in crunch-time situations and exhibit the big shot ability he had in college.

    Law and Bibby can co-exist for the 2008 season, along with Flip Murray taking his share of shots.

    The Miami Heat is not a lock for the playoffs. Michael Beasley is an immense talent, but as a 19 year old rookie, I see him progressing, but if he gets to the line will he leave points on the proverbial table with missed FT’s…I think he will be a consistent FT shooter, but he hasn’t been tested yet and this will affect the Heat’s chances–Beasley’s growth as a first year player. D-Wade is bigger and stronger, but an injury risk as well. So goes Wade, so goes the Heat.

  9. Okori says:

    yeah but Mizz does not the fact that he’s going to start tanking it more adversely affect his legacy than anything? I mean who was the last legitimately great player you heard of that tanked it for his team?

  10. Okori says:

    and the Jazz are a serious championship contender. not flashy at all, but rugged, strong, and they have another one of those Jerry Sloan teams. That dude is a truly underrated coach.

  11. Mizzo says:

    I don’t see Vince tanking it. He has a lot to prove.

    If Ron Artest keeps his head I see them hopping over the Jazz.

    When I covered the USA Basketball in Vegas, Flash was the best player on the floor. Dude was falling from the ceiling with mad strength. That’s all I had to see. If Marion does what he does and Beasley gives them 15, 9 and 5 they will make the playoffs.

  12. GrandNubian says:

    ***** THE EASTERN CONFERENCE *****

    I think Toronto is overrated. Chris Bosh is a very good player but he’s not that “guy” on your team that can take over a game when need be (Kevin Garnett FINALLY did this in the Finals last year).Also, Jermaine O’Neal is getting “old” as in he has too many injuries and his body is beginning to break down. I see Toronto finishing behind Boston and Philly.

    Don’t make this mistake of writing off Detroit. They still have a good team and veterans who’ve been there before and know how to win. If their new coach can get the young guys to play defense they should be right back in the hunt.

    I like the Magic to win the SouthEast but Atlanta will make some noise ONLY if they keep BIbby. I like what I saw from the Hawks the other night. Miami will make a run but they have too many youngsters who haven’t been there before.

    Atlantic Division

    1. Boston
    2. Philly
    3. Toronto
    4. New Jersey
    5. New York

    Central Division

    1. Detroit
    2. Cleveland
    3. Chicago
    4. Milwaukee
    5. Indiana

    Southeast Division

    1. Orlando
    2. Atlanta
    3. Miami
    4. Washington
    5. Charlotte

    ***** THE WESTERN CONFERENCE *****

    Look for New Orleans to make a run for the title this year but don’t count out the Lakers. If Bynum can stay healthy and play like he was playing before he got injured, the Lake Show will be in the mix. Unfortunately, their achilles heel is their european players. Those guys have to play “tough” and be consistent. How much more gas does Derek Fisher have in his tank? Will Lamar Odom continue to disappear in big games?

    I think Tracy McGrady will FINALLY get out of the 1st round of the playoffs with the help of Ron Artest. If Yao can stay healthy, the Rockets will give teams problems. I like how D-Will and Utah played last year in the playoffs. They’re going to surprise a lot of people this year.

    Phoenix didn’t really do anything to make them favorites. Shaq is on his last leg as is Grant Hill. Nash will have a good year but unless they play team defense they won’t be beating anyone come playoff time. The Spurs are getting older and if Manu can’t stay healthy, they don’t have a chance.

    NorthWest Division

    1. Utah
    2. Denver
    3. Portland
    4. Oklahoma
    5. Minnesota

    Pacific Divsion

    1. LA Lakers
    2. Phoenix
    3. LA Clippers
    4. Golden State
    5. Sacramento

    SouthWest Divsion

    1. New Orleans
    2. Houston
    3. San Antonio
    4. Dallas
    5. Memphis

    East Finals

    Boston over Detroit

    West Finals

    New Orleans over Houston

    NBA Finals

    Boston over New Orleans

    MVP

    Chris Paul

    ROY

    Michael Beasley

  13. Co Co says:

    I wouldn’t count on the Hawks keeping Bibby. He is in a contract year. And, if I’m not mistaken ownership goes back to court in February. I don’t know what the long term future holds, but this season I think they’ll make the playoffs.

  14. Mizzo says:

    You go Co Co! Stand by your men. That’s whassup!

    I picked Toronto over the Sixers because of the match ups. Read the piece on Slam. As a Sixers fan, it was hard to watch. I caught myself a couple of times expressing myself not too objectively.

    When they double the post, they get shot out by any team that has a three point shooter in the corner. It’s known across the league. Moving Thaddeus to the three might help guarding against that wing shot (if he’s not the double man) because of his length and athleticism, but he’s still learning.

    It’s fun watching him up close. One of the best kids in the league.

  15. Temple3 says:

    CoCo:

    How could you possibly be mistaken about goings on with the Hawks or any ATL franchise?

  16. Temple3 says:

    1 – Vince Carter is a buster. He’s done. The Nets are done. The facilities deal to Brooklyn is on life support.

    2 – I’ll admit to not keeping up with the league. I’m not sure why Washington isn’t getting more love. They did some nice things last year and were a healthy Zero away from beating Cleveland. You were at the White Out Game in DC — that team should be better than last year even without that big slow space-eater.

    3 – I’m with Coco on the Heat/Hawks thing. With that said, Wade will have to carry this team to a 50-win season to snag the MVP. Chris Paul is going to the captain of a 60 win team that may very well win the West. With the advanced pub that he is sure to get, I don’t think anyone short of LeBron or Kobe can keep him from that award. Without the W’s, Wade has no chance. I believe he’ll play like a man possessed, but he’ll need help. Game 1 – 9 of 24 from the field. HELP!!!!

    4 – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mario Chalmers crack that ROY top 5. He’s a very heady player who has tremendous physical abilities. I tend to like guys who can make big shots from solid programs (Sorry Keith Smart). The guys who come to mind are mostly legendary, but I believe Chalmers has a chance to be very, very good.

    5 – Ron Artest – 4th in DPOY voting? If that happens, the Rockets are going up in flames. Kobe is a shadow-box defender and if he outpoints Ron Ron here, it will mean the Rockets have imploded.

    6 – No love for Al Jefferson, Tyson Chandler, Emeka Okafor or Carlos Boozer on the rebound tip? Aiight. I like your list, but don’t be surprised if these guys are right up there behind Howard.

    7 – Like that Coach of the Year list. If Wade’s the MVP though, the dude in Miami is gonna get a whole heap of media love.

    8 – Since Derrick Rose is Top 5 in Blocks Per Game, you might as well put the youngin’ on every list – including the Unattainable, Unfair, Unbelievable High Expectations List. And, he still might make the list. He is that talented. Scary stuff.

    Nice work Mizzeroni!!

  17. Mizzo says:

    Thanks bruh. That Ron Ron placement was based on media scrutiny.

    I’m pulling for Vince to make that last push. I can’t believe how much he’s fallen off. Divorce wreaks havoc on athletes–not making excuses.

    Chalmers is good but he’s on punishment and he’s toeing the line.

    Wade in my opinion is just as talented as anyone in the league. If LeBron can carry Cleveland, so can Flash.

    I had to mix it up a bit on the rip list ;)

    Stability is the key with the Wiz. I tell you what though. It’s the best place to cover a game bar none.

    AG tell em’! The women are magnificent.

  18. Okori says:

    and you do realize that you called the nets the knicks right?

  19. Patrick says:

    Can Artest and McGrady co-exist over the course of a season?

    After many years of McGrady’s teams (Houston/Orlando) exiting the first round, will this be the year that the Rockets take that step forward and challenge for the Western Conference crown and NBA finals berth.

    A healthy Yao, a more humble McGrady and a more mature Artest may the recipe for playoff sucess in Houston.

  20. Patrick says:

    The Wizards are a dangerous team that I forgot to mention. Jamison, Butler and a healthy Arenas is a very formidable trio.

    …And in the West, Chris Paul has been downright spectacular and they turn back Phoenix last night on the road which was impressive. Half the games that Paul has played in his entire NBA career thus far, he has had TEN OR ASSISTS… that’s an impressive feat..I wish Atlanta would have drafted him instead Marvin Williams…LOL

  21. Patrick says:

    …ten or more assists in a game (sorry for the typo..)

  22. Mizzo says:

    Fixed Okori. Thanks.

  23. Temple3 says:

    On Chalmers, I know it’s one game, but he played 35 minutes, scored 17, shot 7 of 13, including 2 threes, had 8 assists and 7 rebounds…and he can defend. I didn’t see the game — so I don’t know if he guarded, but I know he was the ONLY person (other than Q. Rich) under 6’8″ who shot better than 50 percent from the field. Only 1 turnover.

    As for his last game, before the league, you know how that went down.

    Mario may be on punishment, but cats who take him lightly are gonna feel some pain – no doubt.

  24. Mizzo says:

    The truest…

  25. Temple3 says:

    The Southwest is looking an awful lot like the NFC East. (Imagine if the Arizona Cardinals were still down.) Or better yet, the OLD AFC NORTH with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

  26. Okori says:

    re Derrick Rose: When I read his scouting report before he got drafted there was one thing in there that really made me happy. That he knows how to run a team. He’s a true PG who can get off when he knows he HAS to, not when he WANTS to. big and very important difference.

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