Archive for the ‘2011-12 NBA Previews’ Category

This Monday through Friday, I’m going to give my season predictions in a countdown from worst to first. The format will be three teams per post, one post in the morning and one in the afternoon. Whichever team you’re a fan of, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like I’m disrespecting them. I understand this, and I promise you I won’t take your insults personally.

27. Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving is the favorite to win the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year award, but I expect him to have the standard growing pains that come with being a rookie point guard in the NBA, including a high rate of turnovers and a low shooting percentage. He has top-five point guard potential when he hits his prime years, but he’ll struggle along with his young supporting cast this season.

That supporting cast includes rugged rookie power forward Tristan Thompson, who will provide a much-needed boost to the Cavs’ interior defense and rebounding. Unfortunately, Thompson will be competing for minutes with Antawn Jamison and his $15 million expiring contract. Jamison’s presence makes no sense on this team, but Cavaliers GM Chris Grant would be wise to hang on to that expiring contract for the cap space it will create after the season.

The Cavs are in the same boat as the Raptors this season, as both teams need to develop their young talent and preserve their cap flexibility going forward. The Cavs have the edge, for the moment, because they have a potential franchise player in Irving. During what should be another challenging season, there will be reason for hope for the future.

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This Monday through Friday, I’m going to give my season predictions in a countdown from worst to first. The format will be three teams per post, one post in the morning and one in the afternoon. Whichever team you’re a fan of, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like I’m disrespecting them. I understand this, and I promise you I won’t take your insults personally.

30. Detroit Pistons
Seven years after the Pistons won their last NBA championship, I think the grace period for President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars is over. He is a terrible GM and I have to wonder how much nostalgia for that title and his playing career in Detroit is keeping him employed in his current job.

Does Joe even understand that his team needs to rebuild? And if he knows this, does he know how to do it properly? Based on the contracts he just approved while re-signing Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, I have a hard time believing that. Even if the Pistons improve their talent level with high draft picks, the cap-clogging contracts of Prince and Stuckey will hold them back for at least the next two seasons.

Optimistic Pistons fans might point at sophomore center Greg Monroe as a beacon of hope, but he’s an average rebounder and a poor defender and that combination will always sour me on a big man’s potential. There just isn’t a lot of upside on this roster, unless you think Brandon Knight has Rookie of the Year potential, which I don’t.

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At 1:00 AM last night, NBATV returned to it’s normal programing and NBA.com started featuring actual NBA players once again. Though it isn’t official yet, it is obvious that there will be an NBA season this year, with camps opening on December 9th and games starting on Christmas. With the season set to come back, it is time that we leave the EuroLeague and get back to the NBA, previewing this upcoming season by looking at each coach’s best play when coming out of a timeout. Keep in mind, this is coach, not team, so when we get to the Lakers, we will be looking at Mike Brown, not recently retired Phil Jackson.

I’ve always said that playcalling during timeouts might be the best way to evaluate a coach’s Xs and Os ability, so I thought it would make sense to look at those situations and pick the best one from each coach. With five of these on deck before the season gets going, we’ll be looking at six teams every post. Today, we are starting with the Hawks, Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Cavaliers, and Mavericks.

Atlanta Hawks

When looking at the Atlanta Hawks, Joe Johnson is such an important piece for them. When Larry Drew took over, he promised more movement and less isolation from Johnson, and here is an example of what Drew meant.

The play starts with Jamal Crawford bringing the basketball up and getting the ball to Marvin Williams, who came off of a downscreen set by Joe Johnson.

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