Saturday, October 18, 2008

Questioning the 08-09 Season - Part I of VI

The Eastern Conference: Atlantic Division

The Knicks have no where to go but up, Right? I would love to think that, but I also said that approximately seven times last season and was wrong every time. Will the Knicks show some respectability this year? Can Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni right the ship? Let’s just hope so, since the best franchise in basketball, playing at the world’s most famous arena, has the potential to bring an extraordinary amount of popularity to the game. The Knicks are playing to improve, while Donnie is playing to get some cap space. When will the damage from Isiah go away? They’re still the highest salary in the league, and they’re still in cap trouble until 2011, so something needs to happen. David Lee, and Nate Robinson would be nice contracts to sign long-term, but if they can’t shed some of the Isiah-made mess, then they might have to pass on that grass.

This off-season, the Nets unloaded some big contracts and the seemingly century-long services of Richard Jefferson. They picked up the Chinese star, Yi Jianlian, which will bring about 100 million or more viewers to what projects to be the one of the worst teams in the East. Rod Thorn is going into LeBron for President, er, I mean, LeBron-for-the-Brooklyn-Nets-in-the-2010/11-season mode. That is, if they even move to Brooklyn. A story that hasn’t been touched on often…How long can Lawrence Frank last? We know he’s highly regarded as one of the best, and definitely the hardest working coach of the league. But, similar to Scott Skiles in Chicago, How long can the students listen to the same teacher? Hopefully he can make it through the growing pains, to LeBron coming into town. If so, we’ll be talking about Lawrence Frank like we talk about Jerry Sloan. If not, there will be a very high quality coach available to the highest bidder.

Surprisingly enough, one the hottest stories of the Northeast, is north of the border. The Raptors made the biggest trade of the off-season, getting X-Pacer Jermaine O’Neal, but, Can he stay healthy? Is losing TJ Ford making the backcourt too thin? If Jose Calderon avoids an injury, they’ll be fine. Most of last season, Calderon had one of the best Assist to Turnover ratios in the league, and his stats, if repeated, will land him in the All-Star Game. Pushing CB4 to his natural position will definitely improve his numbers. We also must mention, he was one of the best players/surprises in Beijing. You know what that’ll do to confidence, and you know what confidence can do to your game.

Ed Stefanski is clearly making his mark quickly in Philadelphia. The Sixers picked up Elton Brand after he walked out the back door of a Los Angeles signing. This was the perfect pickup at the perfect time. This season they have essentially the same exact team, plus EB. Does that make this former 7-seed, an instant contender? With the abnormal agility/ability of A.I.v2, Andre Miller’s experience running the point, Dalembert constantly improving on both ends of the court, What will stop them? At first you’d think an Andre Miller injury at the point, will slow this team down, but don’t forget about the Rondo-like abilities of Lou Williams.

Oh yea, I know what will stop them….The 2008-2009 World Champion Boston Celtics. When the season started, they weren’t losing; we wondered how did they pull it together so quickly and When will they stop winning? The playoffs started, and we thought the pressure would be too much for Game 7 after Game 7, but they just kept winning. Finally, taking it to the Lakers and getting the ring. The only thing we play for; rings. Can the Celtics keep up the fire, the intensity, and the motivation, to do it again? Repeating is usually the hardest thing to do, because you’ve gotten to the top of the mountain, and you've accomplished your goal. However, they have the single most intense basketball player to ever play the game. KG won’t let them slow down, no way. If that’s the case, there’s only one question to be asked: Can these old legs (or ankles, in Ray’s case) carry the weight of every team looking to take down the champs?

Soon, we’ll get some answers...



David said...

David Lee will MVP averaging 20 and 20..However the Knicks will only win 34 games.