THIS IS HOW A HEART BREAKS!
2006-2007 NBA PREVIEW FEVER! CATCH IT!
Atlantic: New Jersey Nets
Central: Detroit Pistons
Southeast: Miami Heat
Other playoff teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic
Underrated: Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks), Mo Williams (Bucks), Marcus Williams (Nets), The Bobcats
Overrated: Ben Wallace (Bulls), Larry Hughes (Cavs), Marvin Williams (Hawks), The Raptors
Conference Finals: Miami Heat over New Jersey Nets
Northwest: Utah Jazz
Pacific: Phoenix Suns
Southwest: Dallas Mavericks
Other Playoff teams: San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers, New Orleans Hornets, LA Lakers, Houston Rockets
Underrated: Leandro Barbosa (Suns), Shaun Livingston (Clippers), Rudy Gay (Grizzlies), The Hornets, The Rockets
Overrated: Tim Duncan (Spurs), Erick Dampier (Mavs), Patrick O'Bryant (Warriors), The Nuggets
Conference Championship: Phoenix Suns over Dallas Mavericks
NBA Finals: Phoenix Suns over Miami Heat
MVP: Lebron James
Scoring Title: Kobe Bryant
Rookie of the Year: Brandon Roy
6th Man Award: Bonzi Wells
Defensive Player of the Year: Gerald Wallace
Playoffs in the East:
1) Chicago Bulls
2) Detroit Pistons
3) Cleveland Cavaliers
4) Miami Heat
5) New Jersey Nets
Analysis: I think every team in the top 4 got better this offseason except for Miami. Chicago added Big Ben and Tyrus Thomas to sure up their interior defense. They have Deng back healthy, and the best depth in the league. With Skiles coaching they won't take a night off. The Pistons will have a bounce back year and they won't miss Big Ben AT ALL. McDyess is a better player for them on that team. Chauncey being an MVP candidate last year was a joke. But look to them to make a statement. The Heat will absolutely coast through the first half of the season. And Lebron is still Lebron. Cavs will finish 3rd. 6 - 10 is really a toss-up. The Sixers needed to package Iverson and get rid of him, because they can no longer defend anyone with Webber, Korver, and Iverson starting. Especially Webber.
Milwaukee is the surprise pick here. Let's see, they upgraded at point guard, power forward, and center in the offseason, and their 2 and 3 are Michael Redd and Bobby Simmons. They should win 45 games and shock a lot of people - especially if Villanueva plays any defense this year.
Playoffs in the West:
1) San Antonio
Analysis: I know a lot less about the Western Conference than the Eastern. So let me talk about players. If Duncan's healthy this year, he'll be the best player in the league again. If T-Mac and Yao are healthy, they'll be one of the best teams in the NBA. I don't think Amare is going to be healthy all year, which will hurt the Suns. Kobe is good enough for the playoffs, especially if he lets Odom shoot this year. And KG HAS to get his team into the playoffs this year, or he's officially off the elite player board. The Clippers are entirely reliant on Livingston becoming a very good player this year; but I'm not as sure as others are. Point guards who can't shoot, don't really last that long.
One more thought: "The best player in the NBA" debate isn't such a worthwhile discussion. But, here's all I can add about Dwyane and Lebron and Kobe. Lamar Odom, Damon Jones, Rafer Alston, Udonis Haslem, James Posey, Jason Williams, Brian Grant, all had career years playing with Wade. All of them have made their money and had their best statistical season with Dwyane. It's what Jordan did with Steve Kerr, Jud Buecheler, Luc Longley, and a host of other stooges who got multi-year deals just by being on the court with him. The greatest players make tons of money for other players - and that's what Dwyane does. Now, if Larry Hughes and Lamar Odom become All-Stars this year, Kobe and Lebron have done their job. . . if not. . . what have they done?
Heat beat Cavaliers in 7 games.
The best regular season game last year becomes the series that comes to define the games two greatest players of our generation. Seeing these guys go head to head for 7 games is more of a hope than a prediction. I give the edge to the Heat just because I think in crunch time, Wade and Posey can get stops on Lebron more often than Hughes and Lebron can get stops on Wade. Sadly, both of these teams best lineups would be without their anchors Big Z and Shaq.
Spurs beat Rockets in 5 games.
The real tough test for the Spurs will be against the Mavs. But a healthy Duncan won't let them off the hook this year. Van Gundy figures out a way to slow down the Suns attack, because Amare never gets back to full strength this year. The Spurs have been their too many times, and Duncan is like Yao-plus underneath.
Spurs over Heat in 7.
Wade again asserts himself as the world's best player, but Shaq doesn't have enough in the tank to deal with Duncan. Wade doesn't get the defensive break he had with Jason Terry having to check Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all series. The Spurs eventually wear down the Heat to collect their final championship of Tim Duncan's prime.
MVP: 1)Lebron James, 2) Tim Duncan, 3) Kobe Bryant 4) Elton Brand, 5) Dirk Nowitzki
A real tough one here. I don't think Wade will be in contention because the Heat will coast, and they are going to try to limit Wade's minutes from his grueling championship run and offseason. Duncan bounces back, Brand will be underappreciated, and Kobe will still be too hated. The Cavs have Hughes back, Varejao gets more minutes, so they should have enough rebounding to stay in games this year. LeBron wins the award with a Jordanesque 35, 8, and 8 on the season.
ROY: Adam Morrison
And that is Anthony Robertson's NBA preview.