2014-2015 NBA Season Preview

The NBA season is upon us!

We are set to embark once more on a  journey to find the next NBA Champion. Last season was a season of redemption for the San Antonio Spurs. They defeated the Miami Heat to claim the NBA throne and now they are looking to defend the crown. The question is, are they up for it? While San Antonio is still in contention, Miami might have to take a step (or five) back this season. They lost their main man LeBron James who left South Beach for his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers. Many players changed their address this past off-season and we will see how it affects the overall picture as the pretenders and contenders are set to emerge this season.

I am a huge fan of pre-season rankings. I read them voraciously. However, most rankings start from number 1 then all the way down to 30. I don’t like it! I love the thrill that as you scroll down, you find out who the heavyweights are, it’s more exciting that way. (For me at least)

So without further ado, here are the rankings:

PING-PONG-PANG! (The nadir of the NBA)

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30. Philadelphia 76ers

ADDED: C Joel Embiid (first round, 3rd pick overall); F Dario Saric (Draft rights acquired from Orlando); F K.J. McDaniels (second round, 32nd pick overall); G Vasilije Micic (second round, 52nd pick overall); G Pierre Jackson (one year, $500,000) 2015 NBA Draft top 4 pick (a certainty)

LOST: James Anderson (waived), respect for the game of basketball

This team is blatantly tanking this season, that the NBA tried to change the lottery system. Yes, it’s that bad.

They will be horrible on the court, so horrible that they might break the all time record for lowest wins in a season. (Currently held by… the 76ers). This team is full of inexperienced players, D-Leaguers and washouts from other teams. The bright spot this season will be the debut of Nerlens Noel. The defensive demon will finally make his way to the NBA courts and we will be watching as to how good (or bad) he can become. They will be looking forward to the ping pong balls bouncing their way and landing them studs like Jahlil Okafor, Emmanuel Mudiay and Karl Towns.

m2leygieeoy40t46n1qqv055029. Utah Jazz

ADDED: G Dante Exum (first round, 5th pick overall); G/F Rodney Hood (first round, 23rd pick overall); F Trevor Booker (two years, $9.7 million); F Steve Novak (acquired from Toronto); G Carrick Felix (acquired from Cleveland)

LOST: F Marvin Williams (signed with Charlotte); G Brandon Rush (signed with Golden State); F Richard Jefferson (signed with Dallas

Hmm. I am intrigued with this team. Are Favors and Kanter any good? Or is Gobert better? Who will be the Point Guard? Exum or Burke? Are they content with Gordon Hayward as the cornerstone for the franchise? So many questions will be answered this season. This could be a turning point for the franchise because whatever happens this season will determine what they will do with their roster. Jazz fans will have to be patient this year but you never know. I feel the kind of vibe that Phoenix gave off last year and that team almost got into the playoffs. They have talent but to see how that talent meshes, we will have to wait and see.

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28. Orlando Magic

ADDED: Evan Fournier (DEN), Channing Frye (PHX), Aaron Gordon (R), Ben Gordon, Willie Green (LAC),Devyn Marble (R), Elfrid Payton (R), Luke Ridnour (CHA).

LOST: Arron Afflalo (DEN), Doron Lamb, Jason Maxiell (CHI), E’Twaun Moore (CHI), Jameer Nelson(DAL), Ronnie Price (LAL).

The mix of the players on this team is great. They have talent that, if developed properly and wisely, can contend and hang with the big, bad boys of the league. They are welcoming the uber-athletic Aaron Gordon and the steal of the draft Elfrid Payton. Both young guns are raw but they show great promise and will definitely form the core of this franchise along with Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and whoever they will add from the 2015 NBA Draft. It will be magical in Orlando, not in the near future though.

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27. Boston Celtics

ADDED: Will Bynum (DET), Erik Murphy (UTA), Dwight Powell (R), Marcus Smart (R), Marcus Thornton (BKN),Evan Turner (IND), James Young (R), Tyler Zeller (CLE)

LOST: Joel Anthony (DET), Chris Babb, Jerryd Bayless (MIL), Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries-Kardashian (WAS), Chris Johnson (PHI)

They lucked out in the draft by getting two guys that will be awesome players in this league. Marcus Smart and James Young will be featured this year as the Celtics will be trying to get these rookies their playing time to get their feet wet. The big question in Beantown will be the status of Rajon Rondo. I am most certain that he will not want to be a part of a rebuilding process and if that is so, it looks like he is on his way out. Time is not on the side of Rondo as he is hitting his prime. He will not want to waste his remaining years in the league especially given his injury history. Look for the Celtics to move Rondo this year, perhaps to an Atlantic Division rival? Stay tuned.

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26. Los Angeles Lakers

ADDED: Carlos Boozer (CHI), Jordan Clarkson (R), Ed Davis (MEM), Wayne Ellington (DAL), Jeremy Lin (HOU) & Linsanity, Ronnie Price (ORL), Julius Randle (R).

LOST: Kent Bazemore (ATL), MarShon Brooks, Jordan Farmar (LAC), Pau Gasol (CHI), Chris Kaman(POR), Kendall Marshall (MIL), Jodie Meeks (DET), Championship Aspirations

Let me take a deep breath first… Okay. The Lakers will be bad this year. They have been torched this preseason by teams playing them because they have no defense whatsoever. Boozer and Lin are turnstiles while the other additions to this squad have yet to prove that they can play D. Kobe Bryant will make his return and will undoubtedly try to climb further atop the NBA all time scoring leaders list. He will be gunning for his points and will most likely relax on defense to save his old, weary legs. This season will be frustrating for Laker fans :'(, but there is always hope. Julius Randle looks like a stud. Clarkson, the Fil-Am combo guard and Ed Davis will be players to watch this year as we will see what they can bring to the table. Worry not Laker fans, the worst will be over soon and Los Angeles will be reclaimed by their rightful owners.

Update: Randle just broke his leg. Tank mode on please.

NOT QUITE THERE YET (Teams that will make the playoffs..in a year or two.)

zq8qkfni1g087f4245egc32po25. Minnesota Timerwolves

ADDED: Anthony Bennett (CLE), Zach LaVine (R), Glenn Robinson III (R), Andrew Wiggins (R), Mo Williams(POR), Thaddeus Young (PHI).

LOST: Dante Cunningham, Othyus Jeffers, Kevin Love (CLE), Luc Mbah a Moute (PHI), Alexey Shved(PHI).

They did the best they could. They tried. They succeeded. Congratulations to the Timberwolves! They are now officially one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. I am betting that they will make  national TV appearances (note the plurality) this year, a rarity during the time of Kevin Love. This team is loaded to the gills with athletes that will make this team a force to be reckoned with in the future. Along with the additions, the development of players like Rubio, Muhammad and Dieng will play a big role in the success of this franchise for years to come. If I were a Wolves fan, I would be investing on season tickets.

0295onf2c4xsbfsxye6i24. Milwaukee Bucks

ADDED: Jerryd Bayless (BOS), Jared Dudley (LAC), Micheal Eric (R), Damien Inglis (R), Kendall Marshall(LAL), Johnny O’Bryant (R), Jabari Parker (R). Jason Kidd, Cupholders for Jason Kidd

LOST: Jeff Adrien (HOU), Carlos Delfino, Miroslav Raduljica, Ramon Sessions (SAC), Ekpe Udoh (LAC),Chris Wright.

The Greek Freak! Jabari! They will be headlining this year’s Bucks team who got a new coach (J.Kidd) and new owners. They will try to make sense of their roster and will be in flux this year. Kidd will test this roster and will mix and match lineups like he did last year with the Nets. Let’s hope that this time there will be no spilling of drinks.

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23. Atlanta Hawks

ADDED:  Kent Bazemore (LAL), Adreian Payne (R), Thabo Sefolosha (OKC).

LOST:  Gustavo Ayón, Cartier Martin (DET), Louis Williams (TOR), Respect of their fans

The only news worthy thing that the Hawks were featured on this off-season did not involve the Hawks players. Their owner and GM made headlines for making racist remarks. Racism has no place in our society and the NBA has been trying to make amends due to its recent string of controversies involving race. This will be an interesting scenario because they have alienated their fan base and will now feel the consequences of a few words that should have not been uttered. This team is one of the prime candidates to relocate as Seattle is waiting in the wings, trying to catch an NBA team for their city.

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22. Indiana Pacers

ADDED: C.J. Miles (CLE), Damjan Rudez (R), Rodney Stuckey (DET), Shayne Whittington (R).

LOST: Rasual Butler (WAS), Andrew Bynum, Lance Stephenson (CHH), Evan Turner (BOS).

LOST TO A DEVASTATING INJURY: Paul George (#13)

Pacer fans cannot catch a break. Just when it seemed that they will be on top or near the top of the Eastern Conference year in and year out, Paul George breaks his leg during the USA Scrimmages. Tsk tsk. Their main playmaker also left them for Charlotte and now they are left with players who will not be even sniff the court for the championship contenders this season. They will now try to reestablish the confidence of their big man Roy Hibbert, who after making the All-Star team went into a tailspin that turned the Pacers from contenders to roadkill for the Miami Heat. Let us hope and pray for George as he recovers. David West will probably be traded and this will be their best move going forward. That core will not beat the Cavaliers and Bulls but if they decide to rebuild and maybe get a lottery pick this year. Then they could retool quickly and contend again for the top dog status on the East.

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21. Sacramento Kings

ADDED:Omri Casspi (HOU), Darren Collison (LAC), Ryan Hollins (LAC), Eric Moreland (R), Ramon Sessions(MIL), Nik Stauskas (R).

LOST: Quincy Acy (NYK), Jared Cunningham (LAC), Aaron Gray, Travis Outlaw, Willie Reed, Jason Terry(HOU), Isaiah Thomas (PHX).

The Kings are a few moves away from making some serious noise in the NBA. Boogie Cousins has shown vast improvement which can be attributed to his Team USA stint at the FIBA World Cup. Maturity (and sanity) will be the main issue with Cousins if he is to break the barrier from being a good player into one of the most dominant centers in the game today. Gone is spitfire Point Guard Isaiah Thomas, who vowed to make the Kings pay for their decision not to retain him. In his place is Darren Collison and Ramon Sessions, two veterans who will hope to provide an upgrade in that position. They also got the 2014 NBA Draft Handshake of the Year winner Nik Stauskas, 

a sweet shooting guard who will definitely battle for minutes with another sweet shooting guard in Ben Mclemore. It all hinges on Cousins now. The Kings will only go as far as he is going to.

hsuff5m3dgiv20kovde422r1f20. Brooklyn Nets

ADDED: Bojan Bogdanovic (R), Markel Brown (R), Jarrett Jack (CLE), Cory Jefferson (R), Jerome Jordan,Sergey Karasev (CLE).

LOST: Andray Blatche, Jason Collins, Shaun Livingston (GSW), Paul Pierce (WAS), Marquis Teague,Marcus Thornton (BOS).

Anything is possible. The most famous words from Kevin Garnett’s mouth. What’s not possible though is to beat Father Time. He is, thus far, undefeated. KG is on a steep decline and this might be the last year we ever see The Big Ticket show his wares (whats left of it) on a NBA court. One of the best players of his generation is on his last legs (literally) as he tries to become the leader for the Brooklyn Nets. Iso-Joe and D-Will will still be there (although D-Will might be shipped as soon as his ankles are okay), Kirilenko, Plumlee and the oft-injured Brook Lopez. They lost Filipino Andray Blatche (yeah, Filipino) to China and Shaun Livingston went away to be the back for Steph Curry. Paul Pierce left Barclays for the Verizon Center. This team will not make the playoffs unless they make a move. But for now, we should all sit back and appreciate Kevin Garnett. Damn, I will miss his scowl.

PLAYOFF TEAM? (The East is this bad)

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19. New York Knicks

ADDED: Quincy Acy (SAC), José Manuel Calderón (DAL), Samuel Dalembert (DAL), Cleanthony Early (R),Shane Larkin (DAL), Jason Smith (NOP), Travis Wear (R), Phil Jackson (babysitter) Triangle Offense, Derek Fisher (Coach)

LOST: Shannon Brown (MIA), Tyson Chandler (DAL), Raymond Felton and his lovehandles (DAL), Kenyon Martin,  Toure Murry(UTA), Lamar Odom, Lamar Odom’s issues, Jeremy Tyler.

Carmelo stayed. That is the best thing that happened to the Knicks this offseason. They will now try to incorporate the Triangle Offense and I have a feeling that it might work better than what most people think. Carmelo Anthony is an underrated passer (He has no one to pass to in NY), he will certainly benefit from the system. Also, Andrea Bargnani along with his very shaky defense might benefit from the Zen Master. He can slide into a Toni Kukoc type of role in NY. Until then, lets watch Bargnani and his masterpieces.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE (Teams that cannot get in because the West is so stacked)

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18. New Orleans Pelicans

ADDED: Omer Asik (HOU), Jimmer Fredette (CHI), John Salmons (TOR), Russ Smith (R), Patric Young (R).

LOST: Al-Farouq Aminu (DAL), Melvin Ely, Anthony Morrow (OKC), Brian Roberts (CHH), Jason Smith(NYK), James Southerland.

Melvin Ely? Wow.

Anyway, the Pels, Cans, Pellies, whatever you wanna call them, they will be a team to watch this season. Anthony Davis will probably break some fantasy league records this year (26-17-9 blocks in his season debut). Too bad though that they traded Nerlens Noel and this team would’ve been a beast. Although Jrue Holiday is a solid player. That is all he is, solid. He will never quite reach the ceiling that Noel has and the Pelicans will regret ever making that trade. They did not add much. They got Asik from the Rockets to serve as the rim protector and bodyguard for Davis. They also got Jimmer Freddette who is hoping to recreate this:

The Pelicans will try and sneak into the Western Conference playoff picture but that will be an ardous task. I see them finishing 10th in the West unless someone from the incumbent West playoff teams suffer a major injury (e.g, Pacers) or they get a game-changing player before the trade deadline.

xeti0fjbyzmcffue57vz5o1gl17. Denver Nuggets

ADDED: Arron Afflalo (ORL), Alonzo Gee (CLE), Erick Green (R), Gary Harris (R), Jusuf Nurkic (R)

LOST: Aaron Brooks (CHI), Evan Fournier (ORL), Quincy Miller, Anthony Randolph, Jan Vesely.

Four words. Jusuf Nurkic, old school.

Denver will tire their opponents due to the location of the city. High altitude makes it tougher to breathe. They will try to outrun every opponent with Ty Lawson leading the attack. Brian Shaw has yet to get his groove as a coach, but the Nuggets can sneak into the playoffs with consistent play and toughness. Shaq’s boy, Javale McGee will be back this year and hopefully he is not out there to reclaim his Shaqtin-a-fool throne.

The Manimal, Kenneth Faried, fresh from his tour with Team USA will be one of the leaders of this young team along with the returning Aaron Afflalo. Look for the Nuggets to play with a chip on their shoulder and knock out some heavyweights along the way.

LEGITIMATE PLAYOFF TEAMS (Sorry, New York)

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16. Detroit Pistons

ADDED: Joel Anthony (BOS), D.J. Augustin (CHI), Caron Butler (OKC), Spencer Dinwiddie (R), Cartier Martin(ATL), Jodie Meeks (LAL).

LOST: Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum, Josh Harrellson, Peyton Siva, Rodney Stuckey (IND), Charlie Villanueva (DAL).

DEEETRROOOOIIIT BASKETBALL is back! They have a solid team this year and they are one the teams I will watch out for this season. Stan Van Gundy, one of the most winningiest coaches in NBA History is back manning the sidelines for the tenants of The Palace and he will try to mold Andre Drummond into a better version of Dwight Howard (Hopefully, he will be loyal to SVG). Greg Monroe returned for a one year deal and he will try to boost his worth as he hits free agency next season. He will certainly try to assert himself especially on the offensive end. The problem now is, what are they going to do with Josh Smith? He is a piece that doesn’t belong there. He will probably be moved. Rudy Gay for Josh Smith, what can you say about that?

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15. Phoenix Suns

ADDED: Zoran Dragic (R), Tyler Ennis (R), Isaiah Thomas (SAC), Anthony Tolliver (CHA), T.J. Warren (R)

LOST:  Leandro Barbosa (GSW), Dionte Christmas, Channing Frye (ORL), Emeka Okafor, Ish Smith

For the first time in NBA history, two sets of brothers will be playing for the same team. The Morris twins and the Dragic brothers will all be playing in the Valley of the Sun when the season tips off. This team lost shooter Channing Frye but they have brought in 3 rookies who will learn a lot under coach Jeff Hornacek and a proven scorer in Isaiah Thomas. They will try to improve upon their success last season in which they shocked the league by winning 48 games in a year where they were predicted to win 19. Another Western team on the outside looking in, but a team that definitely will be watched by the other 29 teams this year.

burm5gh2wvjti3xhei5h16k8e14. Miami Heat

ADDED: Shannon Brown (NYK), Andre Dawkins (R), Luol Deng (CLE), James Ennis (R), Danny Granger (LAC),Josh McRoberts (CHA), Shabazz Napier (R), Shawne Williams. Dwyane Wade’s angst

LOST: Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Michael Beasley, Toney Douglas, LeBron James (CLE), James Jones(CLE), Rashard Lewis, Greg Oden. Championship hopes.

They say that comedy is tragedy + time. Well, this is comedy:

The tragedy is this video and now that LeBron has moved on, this makes it 123987451 times funnier. I would like to see a show of hands, where the Miami Heat fans at? Well, I’m guessing they moved to Cleveland as well.

This season, we will be able to see how much talent does Erik Spoelstra really have. We will see if Dwyane Wade can fight off father time (undefeated) and we will see Chris Bosh ascend to main man status for the Miami Heat. Luol Deng is onboard, he is going to try to ease the pain of losing LeBron and McBob is here as well.

Interesting times for the 317 legitimate Miami Heat fans. I think LeBron got the idea to leave from the fans, leave if you are losing. Truth be told, Miami did not deserve LeBron.

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13. Charlotte Bobcats Hornets

ADDED: P.J. Hairston (R), Jason Maxiell (ORL), Brian Roberts (NOP), Lance Stephenson (IND), Noah Vonleh(R), Marvin Williams (UTA), Hornets name

LOST: Bobcats name, McBob (Josh McRoberts)  Chris Douglas-Roberts (LAC), Brendan Haywood (CLE), ), Luke Ridnour(ORL), Anthony Tolliver (PHX), D.J. White.

Buzz city is back! Owners of one of the most gorgeous courts in the League.

160426_court_13They will try to replicate their success last year hoping to get into the top 4 of the Eastern Conference. They got playmaker, ball handler, ear blower extraordinaire Lance Stephenson from Indiana. They also got Noah Vonleh in the draft, a young, athletic, tall forward who is currently injured, but has tremendous upside. They also got North Carolina alum and local hero Marvin Williams who is coming home to the state that made him famous.

They will definitely be a strong team this year, with Dr. Al Jefferson holding clinics on the low block and the steady improvement of Michael-Kidd Gilchrist and Kemba Walker will prove to be invaluable to this team especially if they have hopes of making noise (BUZZ) in the playoffs.

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12. Washington Wizards

ADDED: DeJuan Blair (DAL), Rasual Butler (IND), Kris Humphries (BOS), Paul Pierce (BKN)

LOST: Trevor Ariza (HOU), Trevor Booker (UTA), Al Harrington, Chris Singleton

Hustle and Flow, the nickname Jalen Rose gave the backcourt of the Wizards is a very apt one. They will be missing the services of Bradley Beal though due to an injury, but look for the Wizards to be in the conversation for the top 3 in the East.

Is that why he is here? Paul Pierce will bring his championship pedigree and experience to this ball club as he tries to inject winning culture into this young team. He will be one of the leaders in the locker room and John Wall will definitely benefit from the veteran.

The Wizards will go as far as Wall can take them, hopefully he is not yet done improving and will realize his full potential that made him the No.1 draft choice for the Wizards.

79311. Memphis Grizzlies

ADDED: Jordan Adams (R), Vince Carter (DAL), Jarnell Stokes (R)

LOST: Ed Davis (LAL), Jamaal Franklin, James Johnson (TOR), Mike Miller (CLE)

Not much movement on this side of town as the Grizzlies basically retained their roster from last season. A welcome addition though is, half man-formerly amazing, Vince Carter. He will bring a go-to guy for the Grizzlies on the offensive end. He may not be the player he once was, but he will definitely bring his experience to this team and will try to push into the upper echelon of the Western Conference. I do not see it happening though. I have a bad feeling that this team has already peaked. All the Western teams are continously improving but the Grizzlies have not. Unfortunately, they are stuck with the guys that they have and that core will not win a championship. Expect a first round exit from these guys, unless they trade for another wing guy who can give them solid minutes at the SF spot.

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10. Toronto Raptors

ADDED: Bruno Caboclo (R), James Johnson (MEM), Lucas Nogueira (R), Greg Stiemsma, Louis Williams(ATL)

LOST: Dwight Buycks, Nando De Colo, Steve Novak (UTA), John Salmons (NOP), Julyan Stone.

Drake’s team got what they wanted when Kyle Lowry re-signed with them. This team will be a tough out in the East and will try and take the position Indiana left vacant. They expect a breakout season from their big man Jonas Valanciunas who played very well in the FIBA World Cup. Demar Derozan also played in that tournament and will try to up his game a notch this season. What I do not like though is that they do not seem to have a defensive stopper on this team, unless Kyle Lowry turns into one. They will hang with the big boys of the East. However, this is the 3rd best team in the East and they are only at number 10 on this list.

The run of the Western powers starts now.

8xe4813lzybfhfl14axgzzqeq9. Houston Rockets

ADDED: Trevor Ariza (WAS), Tarik Black (R), Clint Capela (R), Joey Dorsey, Nick Johnson (R), Kostas Papanikolaou (R), Jason Terry (SAC)

LOST: Omer Asik (NOP), Omri Casspi (SAC), Robert Covington, Jordan Hamilton (UTA), Jeremy Lin(LAL), Chandler Parsons (DAL), Josh Powell

That is how their season ended. They lost Chandler Parsons, but they brought in Trevor Ariza. I think they had that play in mind when they signed him. James Harden and Dwight Howard will still carry the burden for this team. The emergence of Terrence Jones is a welcome addition to their weaponry along with acquiring Jason Terry. This team will be tested this season and hopefully they have moved on from their painful defeat last year from the team I ranked above them.

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8. Portland Trail Blazers

ADDED: Steve Blake (GSW), Chris Kaman (LAL)

LOST: Earl Watson, Mo Williams (MIN)

Lillard and Aldridge will be the show up at Portland as they will try and sustain the momentum they had from last season. They were spanked by the Spurs in the Second Round of the playoffs last year but hopefully they learned their lesson and improve. They will be welcoming two veterans in Steve Blake and Chris Kaman. They will provide a scoring punch that their second unit lacked last year. Terry Stotts has now more weapons at his disposal and now he will have little to no excuse if his team fails to win playoff games.

ifk08eam05rwxr3yhol3whdcm7. Dallas Mavericks

ADDED: Al-Farouq Aminu (NOP), Tyson Chandler (NYK), Raymond Felton (NYK), Richard Jefferson (UTA),Jameer Nelson (ORL), Chandler Parsons (HOU), Greg Smith (CHI), Charlie Villanueva (DET).

LOST: DeJuan Blair (WAS), José Manuel Calderón (NYK), Vince Carter (MEM), Samuel Dalembert (NYK),Wayne Ellington (LAL), Bernard James, Shane Larkin (NYK), Shawn Marion (CLE).

A very different Dallas Mavericks team will be seen this year as only 7 players from last year’s team were retained. Tyson Chandler returns to the place where he won a ring, bringing with him Raymond Felton (and his lovehandles). They also have Jameer Nelson, a veteran point guard who played in the NBA Finals 5 years ago. They also got Al-Farouq Aminu, a former lottery pick who has upside but his game has not translated well in the pros. If there is anyone who can help his career, it’s coach Rick Carlisle. He always gets the most out of his players and Aminu should maximize his chance here and not let it go to waste. Chandler Parsons will bring versatility and another scorer for the Mavs. He will also bring his penchant for all things Hollywood. Expect the Mavs to be one of the best teams in the league.

While we are here, let us appreciate this:

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6. Golden State Warriors

ADDED: Leandro Barbosa (PHX), Justin Holiday, Shaun Livingston (BKN), Brandon Rush (UTA), Steve Kerr (Coach)

LOST: Hilton Armstrong, Steve Blake (POR), Jordan Crawford, Jermaine O’Neal

Splash brothers stay together as they refused to trade Klay Thompson in the Kevin Love deal. Both men represented the United States in the FIBA World Cup and the team should greatly benefit from the experiences they gained during their time there. Steve Kerr is now the guy who will be calling the shots in G-Town and they will benefit from his championship pedigree and getting schooled by two of  the best coaches of all time, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. Let’s just hope that the injury bug does not bite them this year as I am curious to see this team at full strength. They did not have that luxury last year, hopefully this year will be different.

More games like this from Curry please:

khmovcnezy06c3nm05ccn0oj25. Oklahoma City Thunder

ADDED: Mitch McGary (R), Anthony Morrow (NOP), Sebastian Telfair, Lance Thomas.

LOST: Caron Butler (DET), Derek Fisher, Thabo Sefolosha (ATL), Hasheem Thabeet

Losing Kevin Durant was painful, what’s more painful was the inability of the front office to get a game changing player for the Thunder. All they got from this offseason was Anthony Morrow, a streak shooter who will definitely help, but not someone they can rely on to take them to the crown. They failed to upgrade their frontline and get depth. Now, Russell Westbrook will have freedom to explore his abilities without KD and the Thunder front office better make a move soon because what I saw last year during the playoffs was disturbing. Let me say it, I do not think Westbrook and Durant’s game mesh that well. Coming home is all the rage nowadays with LeBron going home. Could KD be coming home to D.C. anytime soon?

CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS

bvv028jd1hhr8ee8ii7a0fg4i4. Los Angeles Clippers

ADDED: Jared Cunningham (SAC), Chris Douglas-Roberts (CHA), Jordan Farmar (LAL), Spencer Hawes (CLE),Ekpe Udoh (MIL), C.J. Wilcox (R), Steve Ballmer (Owner)

LOST: Darren Collison (SAC), Jared Dudley (MIL), Danny Granger (MIA), Willie Green (ORL), Ryan Hollins(SAC). He who shall not be named (Owner)

After the turmoil last year, the Clippers can now focus on basketball. Blake Griffin has steadily improved, adding a mid-range jumpshot to his arsenal of moves.

Chris Paul is playing with a chip on his shoulder the size of California as he has yet to have post-season success in his career. They added support players who will fit specific needs for them. Spencer Hawes will be a floor spacer for them, Farmar as Paul’s backup and Ekpe Udoh as the energy guy off the bench. Look for this team to make a serious push for the NBA Finals this year.

hj3gmh82w9hffmeh3fjm5h8743. Chicago Bulls

ADDED: Cameron Bairstow (R), Aaron Brooks (DEN), Pau Gasol (LAL), Doug McDermott (R), Nikola Mirotic(R), E’Twaun Moore (ORL), DERRICK ROSE.

LOST: Louis Amundson (CLE), D.J. Augustin (DET), Carlos Boozer (LAL), Ronnie Brewer, Jimmer Fredette(NOP), Mike James, Greg Smith (DAL).

I had this team at number 4. But then I thought about it because I saw this:

Derrick Rose is back. (No injuries please, I like it when there are more great players to watch.) He will be carrying this Bulls team and have already re-ignited the rivalry between them and the Cavs. He embarrassed Kyrie Irving and flew by 3 Cavs defenders on one play. Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic are great additions to the squad. Doug McDermott will provide outside shooting and again Derrick Rose is back.

They will be a favorite to win it all. The only reason I ranked them at third is because of Derrick Rose and his health. If healthy, they are assured a ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals and I have them beating the Cavs if they jell quickly and Derrick Rose regains his MVP form.

e4701g88mmn7ehz2baynbs6e02. Cleveland Cavaliers

ADDED: Louis Amundson (CHI), Joe Harris (R), Brendan Haywood (CHA), LeBron James (MIA), James Jones(MIA), Alex Kirk (R), Kevin Love (MIN), Shawn Marion (DAL), Mike Miller (MEM), A.J. Price.

LOST: Anthony Bennett (MIN), Luol Deng (MIA), Carrick Felix, Alonzo Gee (DEN), Spencer Hawes (LAC),Scotty Hopson, Jarrett Jack (BKN), Sergey Karasev (BKN), C.J. Miles (IND), Tyler Zeller (BOS), Andrew Wiggins (MIN)

The day LeBron James went back to the Cavs, the number one trending topic in that area was probably this:

#HOWTOUNBURNAJERSEY

Many Cleveland fans were devastated when LeBron left Cleveland and now he is back. The fans couldn’t be happier as they cannot wait for their season to start. Cleveland historically has not had the best of times. Many tragedies struck their city and along with their sports teams, they have failed to make their mark. Now they get a chance to exorcise all those demons of their past as LeBron not only affects the Cavs on the floor, but the whole city of Cleveland and the state of Ohio. Businesses will be flourishing, players will want to go to Cleveland just because of LeBron, (NFL, MLB) and the general morale of the area has already been lifted. Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron form their own Big 3 and will try to win the crown on their first year. The only question mark here is Dion Waiters, is he going to be a headache? Or is he going to play along nicely? He is going to be the wildcard this season. Happy days are back in Cleveland and the fans deserve every second of it.

8271. San Antonio Spurs

ADDED: Kyle Anderson (R)

LOST: Damion James

The Champs are number one until someone beats them. They only added and lost one player on each side. Wow, talk about continuity.

The Spurs are the same team as last year albeit a year older. Never count them out though, as they have shown last year as they eviscerated the Miami Heat in 5 games. Kawhi Leonard will continue to improve and the old guns (Parker, Ginobili, Duncan) are still game. They will be very tough to beat and whoever beats them will be deserving of the championship.

At full strength, they are still the title favorites. They will repeat for the first time in Tim Duncan’s career.

I mean, just watch this:

Game over.

So there we go, the NBA Season has already started and I am so excited for this year. If you made it here, thank you for reading this and I will be doing blogs as the season goes along.

Credit goes to the NBA for the videos and to their respective owners as well.

A big thank you to http://en.hispanosnba.com/transactions 🙂

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Sayang.

Just a thought:

What if PNoy, instead of spending on upgrading the military (which has not improved much by the way), used the money on Agriculture?

Think about it, ASEAN integration is coming, cheap imports will be coming in massive amounts, why not equip the farmers to be able to compete?

The main reason why imports are cheap? Their governments have subsidized their production! They have programs and they had the common sense that high production and then afterwards, exportation, will lead to more economic stability for their country which will then lead to a higher quality of living for their citizens.

If PNoy really wanted to improve the AFP, he should have invested in other things first, IMHO.

Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska.

Let my first post be an ode to my favorite team of all time. The Alaska Aces.

As a kid, I did not look healthy. I was an asthmatic kid who was so thin, a stiff breeze could knock me over. I was not like the other kids who can go out and play after school because I was very frail and my parents were worried that I might die just by playing outside and I’m not exaggerating.

I was in and out of the hospital, getting confined because of frequent attacks of asthma. If there was a frequent visitor card for patients, I might have a gold membership already because I was there a lot of times that the staff already knew me. I basically grew up in the hospital.

My home.

My home.

My mom told me one day that we were going to watch the PBA. I said: “Ano yung PBA?”. I had no clue what the PBA was. All I remember was my mom scored tickets to a game and we were going.

Before we went to the game, my parents bought me a book about the basics of basketball. I was not interested at all. I did not read it and was wondering why my parents bought me that book. Probably because, they wanted me to get into sports, to help me cope with the condition that I have and maybe have a chance to improve my health.

So we went to venue of the game, Cuneta Astrodome. It was the first time I have seen an arena although I have been to Araneta Coliseum as a 3 year old. (I was six when we watched the game.) I thought to myself..”Ang laki ng building!” (This building is huge!). We went in and I did not know what to expect or what were going to watch.

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Cuneta Astrodome. The biggest arena in the world (for me in 1996)

So we went in with my mom’s officemates. I was looking at the court and then the lights went out. I was scared, I had flashbacks about a traumatic experience that I had before. Disney on Ice at Araneta.

Before the show (Disney on Ice), lights went out at Araneta as well. Then a booming voice from the PA system said “THE SHOW WILL START IN 5 MINUTES.” I cried like a baby. In my defense, the announcer’s voice wasn’t the most child-friendly voice out there. I wanted to go home and up to this day, my parents joke about this incident. Bring me to another Disney on Ice show today and I promise you I won’t scream like I did before, Ma and Pa.

After the lights went out at Cuneta, the announcer said that the game was the PBA Finals. Wow, thinking back, my first basketball game ever, was a Finals game. Amazing.

The players came out to intros and, to say the very least, I was hooked, hooked for life. It was Alaska vs Purefoods, 1996 All-Filipino Cup finals.

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Champions!

I can barely recall what happened on that game, though I know that Alaska won. (Duh.) But right after that game, I fell in love with basketball. It’s has been a one-sided love affair that has lasted 18 years (basketball has not loved me back 😦 ). I read the book my parents gave me, I studied it, memorized it by heart. I went to the local court trying to practice what I have learned and the rest is history.

My favorite player at that time was Jojo Lastimosa. I think I had good taste and picked the right guy because he was the Finals MVP that conference. He was a Shooting Guard, a marksman from the three point line and a big time player. He was Mr. 4th Quarter, a player who rises in the clutch when his team needs him the most.

Up to now, I have always wanted to play the two guard position. I want to hit three pointers like JoLas did back in the day, hit shots when it matters, when it counts the most. That is the dream.

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JoLas! Mr 4th quarter!

Since 1996, I have always been an Alaska fan. They were called the Milkmen then and they were coached by, in my humble opinion, the greatest coach in PBA history, Tim Cone.

A master of the triangle offense, he steered Alaska to multiple championships over the years, on his way to becoming the coach with the most PBA Championships with 18. He was, to the PBA, what Phil Jackson was to the NBA.

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Tim Cone!

I was shocked when I learned that Tim Cone was no longer with Alaska. Ironically, I only learned of it watching a game San Mig vs Alaska, Cone’s first game against Alaska. I was emotional because Tim Cone had always been synonymous with Alaska. He was Alaska, literally and figuratively, and now he was gone.

He is still continuing his winning ways while Alaska has yet to regain prominence. Tim Cone won grandslam championships 18 years apart and his last one was his 8th title. Lucky 18.

My heart is still with Alaska, up to today. They have not been winning as much as they used to back in the day but the fan in me always thinks that the next conference will be Alaska’s. Players have come and go, Abarrientos, Lastimosa, Hawkins (the original big 3), Cariaso, Juinio, Duremdes, Peek, Arigo..and now Casio, Thoss, Baguio and Banchero.

As the PBA season starts again this Sunday, I am claiming that the championship will go to Alaska, because that is what fans do. They always think that their team will win the championship even if it doesn’t make sense.

I have only watched one PBA game live. Alaska vs Purefoods, Game 1 1996 All-Filipino Finals, and  I will not watch a game live unless Alaska is in the finals.

So Alaska, I hope to watch another Game One soon, because I believe, wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska.