John Galsworthy the English novelist and playwright who won a Nobel Prize in literature in 1932 said “Beginnings are always messy”…
The NBA 2010-2011 season is just around the corner. With all the hoopla for the past months with “The Decision”, rookie draft and key free agents signing the fruition of it all will start in a few weeks from now. Let’s try to evaluate each team from each conference and try to look at their new acquisitions going through the next season. And let’s start with the Eastern conference.
Shaquille O’neal, Jermaine O’neal, Von Wafer, Delonte West and Tony Gaffney
Erden Semih, Avery Bradley and Luke Harangody
The Celtics got the two O’neal’s and added veteran guard Delonte West into an already formidable line-up. Fresh from the game 7 finals beating, Boston needs to boost their center position when Kendrick Perkins got injured going to the final game of the finals. Semih Erden played very well during the FIBA World Championship and his youth and versatility can really help the Celtics. The only problem is with the rigid 82 games how well the Celtics legs fair up with Ray Allen at 35, Kevin Garnett at 34 and Paul Pierce at 32 and adding up the two Oneal’s with Shaq at 38 and Jermaine at 31. The Celtics maybe an old team but they are battle tested. You can go to war with that lineup.
New Jersey Nets
Jordan Farmar, Eddie Gill, Stephen Graham, Anthony Morrow, Troy Murphy, Travis Outlaw, Johan Petro, Quinton Ross and Joe Smith
Derrick Favors, Damion James, Ben Uzoh and Brian Zoubek
This is not the same team who only won 12 out of the 82 games last season. They have a new coach in Avery Johnson, a new owner and a new arena to be located in Brooklyn. With only 4 players retained on their previous roster the Nets have something to look forward to. Derrick Favors who led the Nets on an exhibition game recently have proven to be a good pickup by the Nets. This is a clear rebuilding team which means expectations are lesser. Unless the Carmelo Anthony trade materializes the Nets will still be a lesser value team for now but certainly two steps higher than the previous season.
New York Knicks
Kelenna Azubuike, Raymond Felton, Roger Mason, Anthony Randolph, Rony Turiaf, Shawne Williams and Amare Stoudemire.
Patrick Ewing Jr., Landry Fields, Jerome Jordan and Andy Rautins.
The Knicks were highly favored to get Lebron James during free agency but instead got Amare Stoudemire as their consolation prize. They didn’t get the best player but instead they got a stronger and a playoff contender team. I like the way how the Knicks signed Turiaf to give them muscle and defensive power in the paint and signing key shooters (Roger Mason and Kelenna Azubuike) to knock those long threes when Amare and Randolph are in the post. Raymond Felton can give them the point guard responsibility which they direly needed. The Knicks also got lucky in signing rookie Landry Fields who went beyond the first round in the recent rookie draft. Landry led the Pac 10 in scoring and rebounds and yet came over as a second round draft pick. Overall the Knicks will be a team to look forward to, this coming season. But as far as meshing, they still have a lot of work to do with 11 new players on the team.
Tony Battie, Spencer Hawes, Andres Nocioni, Chris Quinn and Darius Songalia
Craig Brackins, James Florence, Trent Plaisted and Evan Turner
Aside from Doug Collins deciding to play rookie Evan Turner as a backup point to Louis Williams and Elton Brand ask to come at 255 pounds in training camp there isn’t much fuzz to talk about. Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni are good players but they are more of a role player than a leader. This is still Andre Iguadala’s team but the question is always having been his consistency as a leader. But this isn’t about individual greatness this is all about team play and Collins preaches ball movement and team involvement best. Philadelphia is still a playoff contender team but the question would be how far this team will go in the post season.
David Andersen, Leandro Barbosa, Ronald Dupree, Linas Kleiza and Julian Wright
Solomon Alabi and Ed Davis
The Toronto Raptors came up just a win short in going to the playoffs last season. They went second in the Atlantic division with the eventual Celtics winning the Eastern Conference. Losing two key players in Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglo it seems like the Raptors are in for a bigger challenge this season.
Leandro Barbosa and Linas Kleiza can give the Raptors instant offense this season. Coach Jay Triano has made a lot of options this year with mainstays Bargani, Calderon, Jarrett Jack and Amir Johnson. The Raptors can still be a playoff contender this season but it will highly depend if the team came out healthy most of the time.
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