Im not much for predicting the final standings for any sport so what I feel would be a more productive use of my time before I catch this 9:50 am flight to san jose is to consider certain matchups and why they are important for both the regular season/playoffs and plausible scenarios that could ruin a teams chances of being successful.
Lakers - reigning champs have a few big BIG question marks that will most noticeably ruin their chances of another three peat:
1. Kobes knee - he can play through the finger and shoulder problems but that knee is what he uses to elevate on that all so difficult to defend fade away jumper and if he doesnt have that he cant set up the limited dribble drive finishing moves he still possesses.
2. Andrew Bynums knee - same shit with this guy every year it seems like bounced back tremendously for the latter half of the season last season and the playoffs but if things dont over swimmingly for this season you could see this team not being able to match up well with pau at C and Lamar Kardashian at the 4 spot.
Heat - these guys are like KISS live, something you have to see before you die (I had the opportunity to do so in Kansas City's sprint center earlier this month) but they're not as invincible as some would like to believe.
1. A true C - I know Chris Bosh put on some weight in an attempt to play more C this year but hes going to have to pack in a few more double cheeseburgers before hes able to prevent true centers like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bogut, and Shaq from dropping double doubles on him. Joel Anthony got a monster contract this year for some reason, not quite sure why because for every block this guy gets it seems as if
happens just as often.
2. A healthy Mike Miller - thats right, Im not as concerned with the health of D Wade of even lebron for that matter its Mike Millers thumb that will dictate how well they do this year. This team doesnt have a whole hell of a lot of complements to the big threes inside dominance so they need this guy specifically not so much eddie house but Millers ability shoot and length at the two spot to both make outside shots AND lock down longer shooting guards.
Celtics - This is a team that is obviously on its last legs as far as the number of titles it can attain so they have to make sure a lot of things fall into place this year to win it all.
1. Doc Rivers - he's cancer free but there are seemingly a ton of distractions on his end, his son austin moves on to college he's beginning to miss his family more and more since they're all the in FL and he doesnt get a chance to see them much during the reg season. If he does have any further complications with his cancer battle (god forbid) that could a complete downer especially since assistant tom thibodeau moved on to chicago.
2. Shaq - there should be no excuses with his play being detrimental to this teams style as it was in Cleveland last year, this team will not have explosive athletes that want to take the ball of the dribble down the baseline where Shaq will ultimately be clogging the middle with his slow big ass. If hes not productive offensively his acquisition will had been a complete bust and he should retire (fuck is he this year anyway, the big leprechaun or something? Cant remember)
San Antonio - Love this team and this coach but they're suffering from the Boston complex also, old men playing a young mans game but the good thing is they have reinforcements which leads me to my next point
1. George Hill/Dejuan Blair- really here Im referring to all of their young guys that come off the bench but these two in particular have the kind of game changing potential to bring the spurs back in the conference finals discussion again. There still has to be a target on Tony Parkers back which in my personal opinion is ridiculous but George Hills emergence has made his starting job a lil suspect as of late and if they get early double digit points from this highflyer from small IUPUI he could be the long term replacement by mid season but that wouldnt necessarily be a bad thing. Same for Dejaun Blair who happens to be a double double machine. Not the tallest guy for his position but he has a strong wide base when hes playing D/grabbing boards and he's quick on his feet which the spurs are desperately in need of if theyre going to compete with Phoenix LA and Portland.
2. Timmy - I hate to say it this way but it looks like Tims knees just wont last him for 82 games this year, he might be headed for the bright light at the end of the tunnel this year...Im offically writing him off after this season as a legitimate threat in this league. If he's doing what he did last year like averaging 5 points over three and four game spans throughout the season the spurs will be missing that dynamic that made them good for so long which is a great post up AND face up guy, the ultimate match up problem.
....digest all this bullshit for now because more will come later...