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NBA Basketball Matchup Analysis
The Dallas Mavericks embarrassed themselves in the playoffs last yearand are looking forward to another chance at the Title. Mark Cuban feltthe need to keep the majority of the team together, minus a couple players.Gone are Austin Croshere, who was a perimeter shooter off the bench,and Anthony Johnson who added depth at point guard. The Mavs pickedup Eddie Jones who can play both roles of perimeter shooter and pointguard. Also draft picks Nick Fazekas and Reyshawn Terry may play a rolein the Mavs season. The Mavs won’t have another record seasonbut will make it into the playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets didn’t make a lot of offseason moves sincetheir roster and payroll are already stacked. Point guard Steve Blakewas bought by Portland and his position will be filled by veteran ChuckyAdams. Backup center Kenyan Martin will have to stay healthy if theNuggets want to get back into the playoffs. The Nuggets will still haveMarcus Camby, Allen Iverson, Nene Hilario, Carmelo Anthony and J.R.Smith. There was some talk about Camby wanting out of Denver but nothing’shappened yet, if he goes there screwed.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors made the playoffs for the first time since1994 and made playoff history by defeating the top seeded Dallas Mavericks.The mainstay to the Warriors success last year was veterans Baron Davisand Jason Richardson. Richardson was traded away to the Bobcats whilethe Warriors picked up Marko Belinelli and Brandan Wright. Belinelliwill backup shooting guard Monta Ellis and Wright will come off thebench for Al Harrington. Mickael Pietrus tested the trade market andwas unsuccessful, he may resign.
The Houston Rockets were still a disappointment this year failing toget past the first round in the playoffs. Yao Ming and Tracy McGradywill be back along with new teammates Mike James and Steve Francis.Francis will backup point guard Rafer Alston. Dikembe Mutombo will bereturning to backup the big man Yao Ming. Juan Howard was traded awayfor M.James. The Rockets have landed a couple power forwards. JackieButler will start and Luis Scola. This lineup hasn’t been setin stone yet and there may be some more trades to come.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers have lost one of their key players, Elton Brand,due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. It looks like he’ll be outfor several months. This will hurt the Clippers big time. Good newsfor the Clippers is that rookies Al Thornton and Jared Jordon are doingvery well in the NBA summer league. Thornton’s looking to backupsmall forward Corey Maggette. There have been some worries over SamCassell’s age and injuries so the Clippers decided on pickingup a veteran point guard, Brevin Knight. Rookie Jared Jordan will alsocompete for a chance at point guard.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant isn’t happy that the big bossesaren’t doing enough to get him some help. There were rumors ofJermaine O’Neal joining the team but that hasn’t pannedout yet. The Lakers lost Smush Parker to free agency, but with DerekFisher still on the team it will work out just fine. Other additionsto the Lakers are rookies Marc Gasol, Coby Karl and Javaris Crittenton.Backing up Derek Fisher at point guard will be rookie J.Crittenton.Luke Walton joins the team for another season as well as Lomar Odomand Kwame Brown.
The Memphis Grizzles may well be one of the most improved teams in theNBA. The Grizzles picked up point guard Mike Conley Jr, who will bebacked up by Juan Carlos Navarro. Paul Gasol was reportedly lookingto get out of Memphis but with the recent signing of friend and Olympicteammate, Navarro, Gasol’s more than happy to stay. Darko Milicicwill be their new center and Casey Jacobson will play backup small forwardto Mike Miller. Some key losses for the Grizzles were Chucky Atkinsand Eddie Jones, also it’s rumored that Damon Stoudamire wantsout of his contract. Memphis will be a much more improved team thisyear.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have let their franchise superstar, KevinGarnett, leave for another team. Garnett was traded to Boston for numerousyoung and talented players. New to the Timberwolves are power forwardAl Jefferson, point guard Rady Foye, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, JuwanHoward, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair. Coming off the bench forJefferson will be Howard and backing up Blount will be Ratliff. TheyWolves are taking a more long term approach instead of a quick fix.If they can get a high lottery pick in 08’ they might be ableto land a big power forward.
New Orleans Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets were riddled with injuries last season and shouldreturn the same team they had before. Peja Stojakovic only played in18 games, after signing a large multiyear contract. With the additionsof shooting guard Morris Peterson, along with last year’s breakout superstar Tyson Chandler, the Hornets will do better than last yearbut nothing playoff worthy.
The Phoenix Suns are stacked with the same offense they had last seasonand their ready to get it on. One problem they had in the playoffs wasthe lack of defense. When their superstar starters couldn’t hitany baskets the Suns defense was letting their opponents bang back baskets.This would eventually lead to their demise. The biggest addition theSuns made was to pick up Grant Hill to back up power forward Shawn Marion.The biggest loss was Kurt Thomas who was the Suns best defensive stopper.If the Suns don’t make the finals look for the coach to lose hisjob.
The Portland Trailblazers were dealt a devastating blow after learningrookie sensation Greg Oden will be out the entire season after havingsurgery. It looks like Joel Pryzbill will take his position at center.The Blazers have added point guard Steve Blake into the rotation. Thekey loss for the Blazers will be Zack Randolph who was the teams’highest scorer and best free throw shooter. It’s going to be acouple years before they can compete, plus Oden needs to be in the lineupfull time.
The Sacramento Kings will have a lot of veterans returning along withsome new young talent. Point guard Mike Bibby will be back, but it mightnot be for long as he’s got value in the market. Small forward RonArtest returns. Brad Miller will be back at center but he may be on hislast legs so look for back up Spencer Hawes to get a lot of play time.The biggest addition for the Kings was the signing of Miki Moore fromthe Nets. Don’t be surprised to see Bibby and Artest gone by theAll-Star break.
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs didn’t make any major moves over the breakbut they did lose forwards Jackie Butler and Luis Scola, which is no bigdeal they hardly used them. The only addition to the Spurs was forwardIme Udoka from Portland. They say Udoka plays like a Bruce Bowden. TheSpurs are once again favorites to win it all with proven veterans anda stacked bench.
The Seattle Supersonics stunk it up last season with Ray Allen and RashardLewis. Now they’ll be without those two and they’ll stillstink it up. Allen and Lewis combined for the majority of the teams points.They did manage to get some good players in the Allen trade though. Theypicked up Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and lured Kurt Thomas from Phoenix.There’s uncertainty in Seattle as whether to move the team to Oklahoma,better do good this year boys. A bad season might be a blessing for ahigh lottery pick.
The Utah Jazz didn’t feel the need to change up their roster aftermaking it into the third round of the playoffs. Their biggest additionwas top draft pick Morris Almond. Forward Carlos Boozer brings his toughnessback and point guard Deron Williams will be back to run the offense hisway. Center Mehmet Okur fit in nicely last year by opening up underneaththe basket for Boozer and Williams. Look for the Jazz again in the playoffs.
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