If you missed it, here is Part 1 from Thursday, now on to the new hotness...
16. Philadelphia 76ers
Dish: I think they got new uniforms again. Remember those terrible ones during the Shawn Bradley era that looked like a star shooting across the front? Those were terrible. This team on paper has looked good for a couple of years now with Elton Brand and Andre Igoudala. Unfortunately Brand has yet to really live up to the hype of his deal but new to the fold is second overall pick Evan Turner. That could be a really solid top three, and Louis Williams is a nice piece also. Doug Collins is back on NBA sidelines which is good for Doug, but I like him as an NBA announcer so a minor loss there.
Wish: Jodie Meeks breaks out. Guy was a flat out scorer at Kentucky, you’ll recall his 54 point game a few years back. Came to Philly late last year and didn’t average a ton of points but maybe he could be a good role player. Also since Doug Collins is gonna coach, why not have a good run, he got dumped in Chicago before things got great, had to kind of preside over the Wizards during Jordan time, he’s due for some good times.
17. Cleveland Cavaliers
Dish: Let’s let Mr. Cheeks tell it
“Renee (LeBron) is gone
I'm pouring beer out for my shorty who ain't here
I'm from the ghetto (Cleveland)
This is how I shed my tears”
Yep, he left. On cable television also. This is just not a fun time to be involved with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now that all the hate has settled down, the large fonted emails and tweets have subsided the final deal is that this team is just not going to be very good. LBJ is out so is Big Z, Shaq Daddy and what is left is Mo Williams and new Head Coach Byron Scott. Credit Scott for walking into this situation, if he can get this group into the playoffs that’s a coach of the year move for sure.
Mister Mister Cheeks
Wish: This team somehow develops some good young talent on their own again, perhaps through the draft or solid free agent moves. If anything not re-upping LBJ will leave them flexible moving forward in the free agent game. It’s gonna be a rough road but perhaps they could eventually get back to being a power in the East.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves
Dish: From one team that probably won’t make the playoffs to another in the T-Wolves. They basically gave away Al Jefferson to the Jazz in a Pau Gasol to the Lakers type deal. A bunch of good young guys on this team like Johnny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, and Corey Brewer but that won’t do a ton in the stacked West. Is Ricky Rubio ever coming to the team? I’m thinking not. Also if you get a chance check out the summer league interview between the Wolves David Kahn and Chris Webber, classic stuff. Kahn compares C-Webb to Darko Milicic.
Wish: People would stop telling us that Darko Milicic is good. It’s not that I have any issues with him being good or bad, but let’s let the guy prove himself. Now I know what your saying, who said this guy was good. Well people, including the Knicks at one point have touted this guy but he continues to get passed around like the Old Maid. Nobody plays that game anywhere so just know that Darko has been on quite a few teams now.
19. Utah Jazz
Dish: The Jazz hoodwinked the Wolves out of Al Jefferson and it may prove to be one of the top moves of the off-season that didn’t happen in Miami. The Jazz are already good and now they add one of the emerging low post threats in the game. There is a reason why the Jazz are never bad, they figure out a way to stay solid and build on their core. Ok to be honest they had Karl Malone and John Stockton for a while. Still you add Jefferson to Deron Williams, one of the best guards going, Memo Okur, rebounding machine Paul Millsap and AK47, that’s a tough mix. Also the Butler star Gordon Hayward joins the mix and this could be the year for the Jazz.
Wish: Well, if you read last year’s preview I begged for the Jazz to bring back the green jerseys with the musical notes. We are there, the musical note look is back, thank you Jazz for reading HHR and so is the alternate green look. Fantastic move Jazz, anytime we can have options other than purple that is a good idea.
20. Milwaukee Bucks
Dish: We can be honest, I’m still annoyed Brandon Jennings is not on the Knicks. That should have happened. I also found it interesting he basically said because he’s not a Nike guy (Under Armour) he’s going to struggle to be a part of Team USA one day. I hope that’s not true. Bucks have some good pieces, Bogut in the middle, John Salmons and Michael Redd on the wing and now Corey Maggette. This is for sure a playoff team but do you see this group contending with Boston and Miami? Probably not.
Wish: More Bucks memorabilia is available nationwide. At first I wasn’t sure about the “Fear the Dear” slogan but now I like it. I also like that Andrew Bogut funds a fan section at the Bradley Center. I’ve never been to Milwaukee, I don’t know if non-football weekends are slow there. If so, let’s get everybody fired up about Bucks basketball. It is also time to retire Brad Lohaus’ jersey and to have Blue Edwards night. Basically I like the mid 90s Bucks. I have a vivid memory of Lee Mayberry, Eric Murdock, and Todd Day, time to search for their highlights on Youtube.
21. LA Lakers
Dish: One area where the Lakers lose to the Clippers, tv announcers. Ralph Lawler of the Clips is classic, he enjoys the opposition as much as the home team. He also yells “BINGO” for important shots. The Lakers are still really good, there is no reason why they can’t repeat and I fully expect to see them representing the West again in the Finals. They have all the pieces from last season minus Farmer, swapped super smartly with Steve Blake, not to mention Matt Barnes who is a great role player guy. That’s what teams like this need to do each year, nothing major, just tweaking those role players, nice job done here by the Lakers. Also, they still have Ron Artest, which is awesome.
Wish: Shannon Brown steps on somebody’s head while dunking a ball. This isn’t too far away from happening. Brown can jump like few others in the NBA. I’m not sure he’s slam dunk contest fun, but just I can jump over parked SUVs fun. It’d also be nice to see Lamar Odom keep up his solid contributions from this summer in Turkey. Guy filled a nice role on Coach K’s team and I think he’s figured out his NBA deal. He doesn’t need a million shots or all the notoriety, perfectly fine to do some dirty work. He is also getting major burn on Keeping Up With The Kardashians, not that I watch.
22. Detroit Pistons
Dish: If I showed you the Pistons roster in 2004 you would likely be very excited about this season, unfortunately it is 2010. So the names Tracy McGrady, Richard Hamilton, and Ben Wallace don’t excite as they once did. Still it’s the East and there is some talent in this veteran mix combined with the younger guys such as Rodney Stuckey. I always thought Ben Gordon was going to evolve into more of an all-star type caliber guy. Seemed to show it at times with the Bulls so I think it is still there. I like the Hoyas grads DaJuan Summers and Greg Monroe.
Wish: A throwback year for T-Mac. I’m a fan of guys showing us they still got it. It’s why I still hope Shawn Kemp will at some point come back for a team and average 20 and 10. While the Kemp dream is just about dead, the McGrady one can still live on. He makes the point that he’s missed a lot of time, think of a nice car kept in the garage, so he’s fresh. I’d have to disagree if it weren’t for Grant Hill who clearly has used his time in the garage or garridge as Elton John would sing to prolong his career. McGrady may not be the guy who can dunk on anybody but perhaps still effective.
23. Charlotte Bobcats
Dish: Just had to double check, yep Larry Brown is still coaching this team, which does surprise me. I thought his patience would have run out along time ago. This is Gerald Wallace’s team which is a dangerous statement to make. They have a few redemption projects in Kwame Brown, Shaun Livingston, and Darius Miles, as well as one fully redeemed guy in Stephen Jackson. Those three previously mentioned men were all once billed as being great, should they all somehow live up to the hype all these years later, look out Eastern Conference, you’ve got a six seed on your hands.
Wish: The NBA installs the Clyde Frazier ill-advised shot. Why Clyde Frazier? Because he loves saying ill-advised. It can only be attempted from beyond the three point line. Should it go in you get four points, however if you miss, you lose two points. This will be for Stephen Jackson who unloads some of the craziest threes I’ve ever seen. Jax scoring average will fluctuate between 41 ppg and -11ppg throughout the year.
24. Memphis Grizzlies
Dish: One of the off-season stories I enjoyed the most was the Grizzlies owner refusing to offer the correct contracts to rookies Xavier Henry and Grieves Vasquez. I won’t bore you with all the details but basically rookies get a standard deal that is tiered based off selection in the draft and the Grizzlies owner was somehow trying to skirt the standard practice. Don’t worry all has been resolved and these two guys are signed, but just a bizarre move. Grizz gave big money to Rudy Gay and also welcome back Zach Randolph so they remain relatively young.
Wish: This may happen in secret but it’d be cool to see matchups between all the active guys from one college against all the other active guys from another college. Say Duke vs UCONN for instance. I really wonder who would win this mini-tournament. It could be a 16 team invite held in Vegas for big money and put on ESPN or CBS, I would likely make the drive to go see this. I thought of this because Memphis has a lot of guys from major colleges, so there.
25. Oklahoma City Thunder
Dish: You’ll read about this a lot but the cover of Sports Illustrated with Kevin Durant is priceless, I can’t wait it for it to hit my mailbox. He is on the cover with Nenad Krstic and Thabo Sefolosha. What? You’ll remember Krstic as the guy who threw a chair during World Championships this year and also wasn’t in the NBA a few years back while Sefolosha is a solid Thunder role player. Really no room for Jeff Green, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, even Scott Brooks holding a clipboard smiling at Durant? I guess not. You know the guy who picked that cover just hears it every day and he has developed a strong argument for why he did it and now is at the point where he just says “Enough guys!”
Wish: This team meets the Lakers in the playoffs again. I thought last year that the Thunder were still a few years away from being real contenders and was of course way off. They are ready, now time to build off last season and it’d be awesome to see the two teams meet up again in the Western playoffs at some point. It’s not a stretch to say they can definitely beat the Lakers and you can bet they are a team that Kobe and Co. hope they can avoid come playoff time.
26. Orlando Magic
Dish: So sounds like Dwight Howard got to work out with Hakeem Olajuwon in the off-season. Not a bad idea for Dwight to try and learn some of the Dream’s awesome low post moves. Cue up the Dream faking David Robinson out of his shoes. I like Howard’s game as is because I enjoy power dunks and swatting shots into the fourth row. Here is something that might blow your mind, Dwight is the third highest paid player on his team behind Vince Carter, and leading the way Rashard Lewis. I know Rashard Lewis is tired of hearing about Rashard Lewis’ contract. Anyway this team will be a tough out. I think Vince has a throwback year in him and they just about kept their team together from a year ago.
Wish: Jason Williams starts throwing some crazy And1 mixtape passes again. Real quick what happened to the And1 mixtape tour? Is that over? I really liked watching those, what are professor and helicopter up to? Back to J-Will. On the Kings he was so much fun to watch and I think he still has that in him. Hopefully he is like John Matrix in the movie Commando. He is trying to just live a normal life but then circumstances force him back into his old ways, which means we get more half court lob passes.
Don't Mess With This Dude
27. Sacramento Kings
Dish: Tyreke Evans worked his way to rookie of the year and is back to keep rising as one of the games up and comers. He beat the Clippers this week in the pre-season on a layup without two seconds to go in a straight assassin mode move. Add DeMarcus Cousins who has the makings of a beast down low and that’s a solid one-two punch. You know with all this youth they are a while from being really good, hopefully Evans hangs around that long
Wish: Evans hangs around that long. When the Kings were good in the early 2000s that Arco Arena was rocking and it was a great basketball city. It would be great to see that environment return. Where are the old Kings uniforms as throwbacks? It’s like they are one of the few teams that doesn’t break out all their old looks. I don’t mean the sky blue Reggie Theus look but the mid 90s Kings “we’re awful give the ball to Mitch Richmond” look.
28. Miami Heat
Dish: The season can’t start soon enough for this circus in South Florida. The media coverage is unlike anything ever seen before and it might all be warranted. This team has a chance to be flat out nasty. My gut instinct is this they don’t win this year because it is a lot to mesh all those superstars – Wade-LBJ-Bosh – in one year, but you never know. The big surprise is the way they filled out their bench. I figured it would be guys from the Coral Gables YMCA but instead they went and got legit players. Mike Miller will be wide open, Big Z is a necessary move to deal with the Celtics, and you have to also like Juwan Howard and Eddie House as solid veterans.
Wish: Coach Erik Spoelstra gets a legit shot with this group should there be tough times early. Some suspect Pat Riley is just waiting for the right moment to jump back in to the coaching seat and lead this team similar to what happened to Stan Van Gundy when Shaq joined the team. I’m not saying this is going to happen or I expect it but it would be a disappointment especially for a Heat lifer like Spoelstra who worked his way up through the organization.
29. Boston Celtics
Dish: The Big Three or is it the Fantastic Four? However you slice it the Celtics are back with KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Add in the Shaq Daddy and Jermaine O’Neal and this team is ready to do some things right now. There is also Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, and the return of Delonte West. That is a real good group right there and don’t forget Kedrick Perkins returns in February. This team is NBA Finals ready and are definitely capable of pushing the Heat. That matchup to open the season is one to watch, I’m very curious to see how the Heat handle the massive size of the Celtics down low.
Wish: More Glen Davis and Nate Robinson antics. The whole Shrek and Donkey thing was fun in the playoffs and it actually adds a new element to this group. It’s an extra layer of excitement off the bench for this group. Oh and please show me Heat-Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. That needs to happen. We need that and Lakers-Thunder in the West and that will be some outstanding playoffs.
30. Chicago Bulls
Dish: The last but not least squad. I thought this was the safest landing spot for LeBron, that is of course before I saw how the Heat filled out their roster. Still the Bulls made a good move and got Carlos Boozer and then he went and had a freak accident and will miss part of the year. So they are pretty much the same team from last year with Rose leading the way and the improbable Joakim Noah doing what he does. This team will be in the mix come playoff time with a healthy Boozer but there just isn’t enough there to overtake the Celtics, Heat, or probably even the Magic.
Wish: Brian Scalabrine does for the Bulls what he did so well for the Celtics, pump people up. Not since Jack Haley has there been somebody out of his seat faster to deliver a high five, a chest bump, or even a fist pound. For reasons nobody knows the Celtics parted ways with Scalabrine, but what is one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Scalabrine lands on the Bulls where let’s be honest, he can also provide some serviceable minutes as a big body as power forward. Let the celebrating begin.
So there it is, a look at all 30 teams. The season starts next Tuesday with the big time, Heat and Celtics, get excited!