I thought why not better to talk some NBA. Football is in full swing but before you know it basketball will be right upon us. Lets look at three teams right now for this upcoming season with the most to prove.
#3) New York Knicks
2012-2013 season- 54-28 2nd in Eastern Conference. Lost in Conference Semi’s to Indiana Pacers.
For most teams last season would have been a great step in the right direction. Too bad Carmelo Anthony doesn’t have a great track record in the playoffs. He’s never been to the Conference finals and his window of being the big dog is closing. With the highest payed front court in NBA history how can you not make it to the finals. They add a former #1 pick in Andrea Bargnani to this front court that has more talent than any front court in the leauge right now. One problem is that Melo has thrived at the 4 spot and that would mean four starting caliber players would have to share two spots. Possibly Melo can play the 3 more this year and then the paint would be very much clogged up. This could be solved if the Knicks can hit 3’s this year very efficiently. But bottom line Melo. You need to bring this team to the Eastern Conference finals or this was a waste. In my opinion they wont make it there. The Heat will end up there against either the Nets, Bulls, or Pacers. Melo will be looking to either team up with Lebron next summer or any superstar in the same boat as him.
#2) Brooklyn Nets
2012-2013 season 49-33 4th in Eastern Conference. Lost in 1st round to Chicago Bulls.
A few off seasons ago the New Jersey Nets were in shambles until Mikhail Prokhorov bought the team. The Russian Billionaire has showed he isn’t afraid to spend money. He payed for half of the new one billion dollar Barclays Center that is the house of the renamed Brooklyn Nets. Slowly but steadily the Nets made improvement and now they find themselves in Title or bust town right now. They traded for Deron Williams, signed Joe Johnson and drafted Brook Lopez to make the building pieces of a winning team. The team around them had an early exit in this years playoffs but now this team has to win because of what they have done. The Celtics decided to blow up their team and this might be an understatement. The Nets acquired Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry (which people seem to forget but last time i checked is a 38% 3 point shooter for his career and has made the 4th most 3’s of all time and was an influential part of the 2011 Mavericks run to the title). That was just for everyone that forgets the Nets got 3 Celtics not two future hall of famers but probably 3. These three guys can flat out ball still even though they are getting “old”. I still trust them and say that a starting line up of Deron Williams at the 1, Joe Johnson at the 2, Paul Pierce at the 3, KG at the 4 and Lopez at the 5 is the best starting five in the league hands down. Now lets look at the bench that already has Terry but has pieces there like rebounding machine Reggie Evans, versatile big man Andrey Blatche and a promising looking rookie Mason Plumlee. Oh wait there happens to be a Russian Gem the Nets also got Andrei Kirilenko (AK47). How the Nets got this guy for the bargain they did we don’t know. He can really be a game changer coming off the bench and really can be a catalyst for the team. With all these moves made by the Nets it really is win now time. Not even win now, these moves were made to win a championship or bust.
#1 Houston Rockets
2012-2013 season 45-37 8th in Western Conference. Lost in 1st round to Oklahoma City Thunder
Two years ago the Rockets missed the playoffs by two games in the shortened season by the lockout. Then right before last season started the Thunder shocked the basketball world by trading James Harden to the Rockets. The Rockets also signed Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik and drafted Chandler Parsons to make a good foundation. They gave the Thunder a little fight but the Rockets clearly needed more to contend with the best. Dwight Howard had a forgettable season in L.A. and with this being his third team in three years the pressure on him to win is enormous. He is paired with a great young and athletic shooting guard in Harden and they have nice 3 point shooting around them but they really are going to rely on the backs on Harden and Howard. Now people might look at the Nets to be in more pressure to win but the Nets don’t have one of the most scrutinized players in the league on their team. Yes, Dwight Howard is an amazing player and I would love to build a team around him just with all the media pressure he has to win now. He has a great head coach in Kevin McHale and pretty much another coach in arguably the greatest big man in NBA history Hakeem Olajuwon. These are two great people to work with and this team should benefit. The Rockets at least this year need to make the Western Conference finals. The Spurs are a year older but will be good that is a given. The Thunder are very unpredictable this year and the Clippers are the same in my opinion. The West will be a dog fight but I see the second coming of Shaq and Kobe (i know that is a lot of praise) but it can happen. Don’t be surprised Dwight but you really have to win and I believe you can.