2009 – 2010 NBA Previews

May 5, 2010

As you can tell from the posts below, this site is no longer active.  However, if you’d like to see the 2009 NBA Preview list, please check out this link for a full rundown.

In addition, you will find all future NBA Blogger Previews at CelticsBlog.com


March 24, 2008

Check out RazorGator.com for tickets to NBA games including Bucks tickets, 76ers tickets, Cleveland Cavaliers tickets and more.

One Month In – Team by Team Review

December 2, 2006

Typically speaking, NBA writers write their previews and move on to the next set of stories.  Never to return to their predictions or analysis to see how well they fared.  Bloggers don’t really have that option.  We live this stuff every day and rethink it and re-evaluate it constantly.  So I figured with a month under our belts, we could objectively look back and see how our teams are doing and how we did with our previews.  What follows is as many updates as we could pull together in a week’s timeframe.  Not all blogs are represented, but enough to get a feel for the rest of the league.  Enjoy. – Jeff from CelticsBlog

Golden St. Warriors (presented by lowpost.net)

Instead of remembering the loss of one scoring point guard, I should have been getting pumped up (hyphy?) for the new edition. Monta’s emergence, as well as the development of Andris the Giant, has helped to compensate for the fact that J-Rich still doesn’t seem to be 100%. Nellie-ball has the Warriors leading in the league in FG%, and only the Runnin’ Nuggets are scoring more points and pushing it faster. The W’s are fun to watch, and the excitement is returning … but they’re still a game behind last year’s hot start.

Los Angeles Clippers (Presented by Clipsnation)

On November 18, after an ugly win over the Sixers in OT at home, I wrote that the Clippers… um, what was the word I used… SUCKED! At the time they were 6 and 2 and leading their Division. They proceeded to lose 5 straight, equaling their longest losing streak of last season. So what’s wrong? I have many theories, but really they just haven’t been sharp. Particularly distressing is their 0-6 road record. They’ll have to win 2 of 3 the rest of the way, 45-23 in their remaining 68, to reach the 52 wins I predicted for them, but that’s totally doable if they start playing well. If they don’t get sharp, and soon, they’ll miss the playoffs – the West is just too deep.

Sacramento Kings (Presented by Sactown Royalty)

The Kings are sitting just above .500. Where did I go wrong? I forgot this is “The Sacra-f’n-mento Kings,” the team that has multiple major injuries every damn season. I can count Brad Miller’s starts on one hand, and Mike Bibby played through an injury he probably shouldn’t have, negating his offseason work. I was also a bit wrong about Kevin Martin. Actually, I wasn’t right enough. I said he’d break through and score around 17 points on efficient shooting. He’s scoring 25 on “what-the-frick?!?!” shooting. So yeah, demereit for me. There’s still time for the Kings to take it to the next level, though, with the bulk of the East left to visit ARCO.

Denver Nuggets (presented by The Nugg Doctor)

Just What the Dr. Ordered, Kinda
(Boulder-CO) As I look at the Nuggets chart after one month of play some of my diagnosis was right and some of it was wrong. The Nuggets are a respectable 9-5 on the season so far, but did have to overcome a case of the fourthquarteritis after starting the season 0-3.  I was dead-on-balls accurate about J.R. Smith just needing a change of scenery, but was just a little bit off in my foresight about Kenyon Martin coming back… and well, just sticking around a little while. Anywho, you can get all your Nuggets news, insight, and funny at www.nuggdoctor.blogspot.com. Make yourself an appointment with the Dr. today!

Seattle Supersonics (Presented by Sonics Central)

Anyone who looked closely at the schedule knew the Sonics have a
brutal first 2 months of the season.  They have been close in every
loss except for the recent loss to San Antonio.  The loss of Robert
Swift at Center to an ACL was significant, and still has the team
scrambling to make things work.  Ray Allen has been in a shooting
funk, but everyone expects him to work through it.  The Sonics need to
continue to improve on defense, and keep working the pick and roll
until someone figures out how to stop it.

Utah Jazz (Presented by LowPost.net)

How I was wrong: The Jazz has shocked the league, myself included. Fisher has had no problem fitting in, Williams is playing as good as Paul,
Boozer is a frontrunner for MVP, and Okur can peacefully co-exist with
Carlos. How I was right: Despite the wins, Kirilenko has still struggled
to fit in. Modified Projection: This team is currently on pace to win 67
games, which is 24 games better than my projection of 43 wins. They
haven’t won pretty in some cases, though, so I’ll split the difference
and now forecast 55 wins for this squad.

Minnesota Timberwolves (Presented by I Heart KG)

Consecutive road losses and blown fourth quarter leads have dashed expectations for this season.

Coach Casey can’t commit to a consistent rotation from the hot seat. Even the constant starting lineup needs change. Hassell himself suggested the more productive Jaric replace him. Davis and James are struggling, the latter being robbed of minutes by T-Hud. Garnett is having another stellar season. 

The rookies are the brightest hope for the imminent post-KG era. Smith has potential to be the team’s most reliable big man in years. Foye has blossomed, leading the team in recent fourth quarter runs that have kept them in contention, but still leaving fans questioning the direction of the franchise.

Portland Trailblazers (Presented by True Hoop)

I said before that if the Blazers win 35 games it would be like winning the championship, and everyone should shave their heads or something. I’ll be honest: this team is still super-flawed, and will not stand out, in all likelihood, in any statistical categories. That’s what it’s like when you’re rebuilding. But we have an All-Star, two rookie of the year candidates, and despite wicked injuries to multiple starters (Brandon Roy, Joel Przybilla, Darius Miles, etc.), the team is hanging touch in a brutal western conference and is on pace to win 33, with wins against the Lakers, Hornets, and Nets. What’s more, there is the whiff of a “team concept” for the first time in a long time. Keep your razor in one hand, and your optimism in the other.

Cleveland Cavaliers (presented by Cavalier Attitude)

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2006-07 season has been the same old Cavs: inconsistent Drew Gooden. Larry Hughes in a suit. Eric Snow being Eric Snow. Zydrunas Ilgauskas whining about the playbook. And, of course, LeBron James carrying the entire freaking team, organization, and city on his broad shoulders. Although it isn’t that surprising that the Cavs, who continue to grow as a team, have one of the best records in the league, they have been as inconsistent as Gooden himself. How else do you explain following up a win at San Antonio with a loss at Charlotte? Or having your only home loss come to…Atlanta? Or blowing a 16-point lead at Indiana? If this team wants to be taken seriously, they must win the games that they’re supposed to.

Detroit Pistons (Presented by Detroit Bad Boys)

Right on:
We expected that, in Ben’s absence, the Pistons would compensate with increased offense. They have. We screamed that Ben was overvalued both locally and nationally. He was. And we’re happy to report that, thus far, this year’s squad has avoided any embarrassing temper tantrums. (Good luck with that, Chicago.)

Way off:
We expected interior defense and rebounding to suffer, but Blue now outrebounds opponents (unlike ’05-06) and is still blocking shots. Why? Because Sheed finally realized that he’s the wolf, not the bunny, and could average a double-double for the first time in his career.

Detroit Pistons (Presented by Need4Sheed)

Their start was rocky and many questioned their identity but after a month on the hardwood the Pistons are back to their winning ways. Detroit started the season 3-5 and had everyone digging them an early grave.  Most said they were destined to finish at the bottom of the Eastern Conference because of Big Ben’s departure. But Chauncey, Rip, Sheed, Tayshaun and the rest of the Pistons got back in sync and are now sitting on a seven game winning streak with a 10-5 record at the top of the Central Division.

New Orleans Hornets (Presented by Hornets 24/7)

“Given the past medical expenses of several players, durability (or lack thereof) could prove to be the Hornets unraveling this season.” Those were my fears in the season preview, and they’re already coming through. David West, Peja Stojakovic and Tyson Chandler have so far missed a combined 11 games, and it may get worse before it gets better. Add to that, Chris Paul has not been his supernatural self and Byron Scott’s substitution patterns are looking more suspect by the minute. It’s been a strange ride so far, and yet, somehow, the Hornets are above .500. I don’t get it either.

Houston Rockets (Presented by Rockets Blast)

The Houston Rockets had two key goals for this year.  Staying healthy, and merging new personnel into a cohesive unit.  So far, the month of November has seen them accomplish both of these goals on their way to a 10-4 record, including decisive wins over playoff teams.  They are 6-1 at home, and already surpassed the number of division wins from last year’s 1-15 debacle.  TMAC and Yao are off to fast starts, leading the team in scoring as expected and healthy.  McGrady has added to his scoring machine mentality and began being the most expensive distributor of the ball – making his teammates around him better – drawing the double teams and becoming a master of the pass.  Shane Battier has been everything that was expected of him.  Allowing teams to come back in the 4th quarter has to stop and, recently, we’ve seen the Rockets hold on late to close games with a JVG-styled smothering defense.

Boston Celtics (Presented by CelticsBlog)

I knew it would be an up and down year and if they struggled Doc Rivers would feel the heat.  I didn’t know that the team would be so streaky.  Though with such a young team, I probably should have.

The youth has actually progressed quite a bit, so there is reason for optimism amidst the losses.  Still I expect changes to the coach or roster or both.  Danny already offered the farm for Gasol and will purse every other big name.

This year is about learning what we’ve got and making moves for what we don’t.  Stay tuned.

New York Knicks (Presented by Bench Renaldo)

They’re currently 6-11. Most people (those who aren’t Knick fans, anyway) are delighted by this fact. Isiah still has a job—why, of course he does. People are only coming to MSG to see the stars on other teams. The Nate Robinson pendulum is swinging from awesome, to stupid, and finally, to stupidly awesome! I love him. Renaldo is starting from time to time (I’m convinced Isiah is doing it just to spite me). As of this writing, the Knicks are the East’s best road team (5-5), but they also double as the worst home team (1-6). Simply amazing. It’s a traveling circus. Enjoy it. Love it. Embrace the insanity of it all!

Toronto Raptors (Presented by Hoops Addict)

God bless the Titanic Division! Despite starting off the season with a 1-7 record on the road the Raptors are within a game of the top spot in the Atlantic Division because of their 4-2 record at home. I entered the season with tepid optimism about the Raptors upcoming season but it’s been great to see Andrea Bargnani make huge gains and Chris Bosh solidify his status as one of the top young big men in the League. If the Raps can cure their road woes they could challenge for a playoff spot this season.

Blog Preview Superlatives

October 31, 2006

Cheers to Bullets Fever for coming up with some entertaining superlatives.

Previews Wrapup

October 30, 2006

Pacific Division:

Southeast Division:

Northwest Division:

Central Division:

Southwest Division:

Atlantic Division:

Sacramento Kings – Sactown Royalty

October 30, 2006

Website: Sactown Royalty
Author: TZ

Most fans of the Sacramento Kings don’t know what the hell to think. I’m no exception.

The gloomy Gus in me thinks the team’s 2007 path will be blazed somewhat in this fashion. My Pollyanna side dreams of this outcome.

Likely results must fall somewhere in the middle. Those results will be formed as the many questions which surround this collective are answered.

Those 93 questions follow. Your premature assessment of the 2006-07 Sacramento Kings depends on your assumptions as to the answers.

1. Will Mike Bibby’s wrist heal quickly and totally?
2. If not, will Mike Bibby be forced to commission the invention and manufacture of a specialized X-Box controller which can be used by those who have injured their right thumb, in order to play Halo with Team Dime during his off-time on the injured list?

3. Will Mike Bibby make the All-Star team?

4. If so, will friends-of-Mike-Bibby Eddie House and Stephen Jackson be arrested before, during, or after the All-Star game in Las Vegas?

5. Will Eddie House and Stephen Jackson be arrested in front of The Palms, MGM Grand, or Paris?

6. Will Eric Musselman miss games due to enforced jail time or The Mighty Hammer of David Stern following his recent drunken driving arrest?

7. If so, will Scott Brooks literally mess himself on the sidelines while trying to coach Ron Artest, Mike Bibby et al., or will it be T.R. Dunn who is the one who literally messes himself on the sidelines?

8. Will Ron Artest murder an NBA spectator, or any person, this season?

9. Will Ron Artest win his second Defensive Player of the Year award this season?

10. If he does not win his second Defensive Player of the Year award this season, will Ron Artest just say mean things about Ben Wallace or Bruce Bowen, or will he actually do means things to Ben Wallace, Bruce Bowen, and/or their families?

11. Will Kevin Martin break on through to the other side? (Breaking on through in this instance means 16 points, 6 rebounds, 49 percent shooting, 40 percent from three.)

12. Will Kevin Martin, sad due to his reigned-in fade, grow outlandish facial hair resembling that of Scott Spiezio?

13. Will Kevin Martin prove to be one of the brightest young stars in the league?

14. If so, will Kevin Martin find every person who screamed about keeping Bonzi Wells in the offseason and personally bite his thumb at them? Or will he instead strike them across the cheek with a cloth glove?

15. Will Kevin Martin win the Most Improved Player Award?

16. Will Kevin Martin win the Most Improved Hair Award? (This is a no-brainer.)

17. Will Ron Artest get a tatoo on the right side of his face that resembles the facial makeup of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day?

18. If so, will it hurt?

19. Will Ron Artest refer to himself as “The Black Michael Jordan” in an interview this season?

20. Will Ron Artest eat a child this season?

21. Will Ron Artest eat one of his own children this season?

22. If so, which one will it be?

23. Will Brad Miller get a new headband for Christmas? (He lost his old one in Japan with the US national team. Mike Kryzewski might have stolen it and thrown it away.)

24. Will Brad Miller get a haircut before March?

25. If so, will Brad Miller’s haircut be a good one, or will it look just like the typical Supercuts haircuts he has gotten in recent years?

26. Will Brad Miller donate his shorn hair to “Locks of Love,” so some poor young cancer patient is forced to smile when someone hands him a Brad Miller toupee including actual hair from Brad Miller’s head?

27. Will ARCO Arena’s sellout streak continue through the entire season?

28. Will ARCO Arena fall down during the season?

29. Will ARCO Arena be set on fire after the Kings win the championship?

30. Will Iceman come to Sacramento’s aid and snuff out the burgeoning flames after the arena is set on fire after the Kings win the championship, or will Aquaman instead lead a bucket brigade to save the day?

31. Will Quincy Douby be busted for marijuana possession this season?

32. If so, will it be the most hilarious NBA headline of the season? Or will the most hilarious NBA headline of the season involve Eddie House, convincing transsexual hookers, gunrfire, and eventually jail?

33. Will Quincy Douby win the Rookie of the Year award?

34. Will Quincy Douby be invited to participate in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge?

35. If not, will Quincy Douby challenge Francisco Garcia to a game of crap in a corner of the visitors lockerroom at Staples Center?

36. If so, who will win?

37. Will the world (meaning Free Darko) realize during this season that Quincy Douby is of Haitian descent and Francisco Garcia is Dominican and thus discuss the implications of such?

38. If so, will it be an important development in the global consciousness of Caribbean basketball?

39. Will Vitaly Potapenko play in one game for the Sacramento Kings this season?

40. If so, will he die of shock or will he die of heat stroke caused by exhaustion?

41. Will Kings fans drape themselves in Ukrainian flags and mourn if Vitaly Potapenko dies on the court due to shock or heat stroke caused by exhaustion?

42. Will Grant Napear say something absurd during a Kings telecast this season?

43. Will Ron Artest say something absurd in an interview following a Kings game this season?

44. Will Ron Artest’s spoken absurdity be infinitely more entertaining than Grant Napear’s spoken absurdity, or will Ron Artest’s spoken absurdity be finitely but greatly more entertaining than Grant Napear’s spoken absurdity?

45. Will the Capital City rejoice?

46. If so, will it result from a championship or from some other less spectacular accomplishment, such as a home game in which Eric Musselman does not get arrested for drunken driving afterwards or a playoff series in which Ron Artest does not get suspended for a game for elbowing a whiny Argentine in the head?

47. Will Ron Artest elbow a whiny Argentine in the head this season?

48. If so, will it be Andres Nocioni, Manu Ginobili, or Fabricio Oberto?

49. Will the Kings make a trade during the season?

50. If so, will it be a major trade involving actual talented players, or will it be restricted to salary cap considerations and minor, insignificant talent?

51. Will Kenny Thomas be traded this season?

52. If so, will the Kings get anything of value besides cap relief in return?

53. Will Corliss Williamson be traded this season?

54. Will Vitaly Potapenko be traded this season?

55. If so, will Kings fans drape themselves in Ukrainian flags and mourn?

56. Will a long-time Sacramento star, with Mike Bibby and Brad Miller as the only two candidates remaining, be shipped out during this season?

57. If so, will the masses cry or will they cheer?

58. Will notable Dallas-Fort Worth product Ronnie Price show up to practice wearing a grill, or will he show up to a game wearing a grill?

59. If so, will Eric Musselman laugh before slaughtering Price with an axe, or will Eric Musselman laugh after slaughtering Price with an axe?

60. Will Sacramento voters approve Measures Q & R on November 7?

61. If so, will Hell immediately freeze over, or will Hell gradually cool down over time until finally reaching a temperature of zero degrees Celsius by New Year’s?

62. If Measures Q & R do not pass on November 7, will the Maloofs announce their intent to move the Kings to another city within a set timetable, or will the Maloofs announce their intent to move the Kings to another city at some undetermined point in the future?

63. If the Maloofs set a timetable for the moving of the Kings to another city, will ARCO Arena be set on fire?

64. If so, will Iceman come to Sacramento’s aid and snuff out the burgeoning flames, or will Aquaman instead lead a bucket brigade to save the day?

65. Will the Kings ever play a home game in the Yukon Territory?

66. If so, will the headline in the Yukon Bee read, “Kings Ice Cold in Loss”, or will it read, “Snow Job By Refs Means Loss for Kings”?

67. (Did I use the proper syntax for commas, question marks, and quotation marks in the previous sentence, or did I completely botch it, thus showing the value of a state college education?)

68. Will the Royal Court Dancers defeat Miami’s team of skankoid hoebags in NBA.com’s annual Dance Team tournament?

69. Will Ron Artest change his jersey number to “69” in order to promote his club hit “Working the Pole,” off his new album “My World?”

70. (Did I get the punctuation syntax right that time, or by opening myself up to criticism by not immediately knowing the correct syntax for using punctuation marks, have I lost all respect from you, causing you to navigate away from this sad heap of html?)

71. (If not, did something else cause you to navigate away from his sad heap of html, such as an important e-mail from a Nigerian prince or special offer for pills that will give your groin area attributes similar to that of a fire engine, or are you still in fact perusing this sad heap of html despite concerns for the continued viability of the bad jokes therein?)

72. Will Shareef Abdur-Rahim take over the starting power forward spot from Kenny Thomas?

73. If so, will it happen early enough in the season to make a difference, or will it happen only after it is realized that the Kings suck and Kenny Thomas brings nothing to the table?

74. Will Brad Miller rebound from a disappointing season and play at a near All-Star level again, or will continue to edge towards impotence and an eventual career shift into the wild boar farming industry?

75. Will Brad Miller corral more than eight rebounds a game this season, and will his rebound rate recover and again rise above 10.0, the acceptable level for starting NBA centers?

76. Will Mike Bibby again score 20 points per game this season?

77. Will NBA pundits realize that while Mike Bibby’s field goal percentage has fallen over the past few years his efficiency has in fact increased due to the fact that he has taken more three-pointers of late, therefore increasing his effectiveness on offense?

78. How many minutes per game will Mike Bibby play this season?

79. Will Mike Bibby finish the season averaging more than eight assists per game?

80. Will John Salmons make Geoff Petrie look like a fool and Billy King a genius?

81. If so, will Hell immediately freeze over, or will Hell gradually cool down over time until finally reaching a temperature of zero degrees Celsius by New Year’s?

82. Will John Salmons prove to be a worthwile assest off the bench, or will he look extremely overpaid due to muted production and poor efficiency?

83. Will the Kings bench be poor, awful, godawful, or historically godawful?

84. Who will prove to be the key cog off the bench, for better or worse?

85. Will Maurice Taylor justify so much as $5 of his $900,000 salary this season?

86. Will the Kings continue their dominance of the Clippers this season, taking the strike to 17 straight wins?

87. How many games out of 11 will the Kings win against teams from Texas?

88. Will the Kings finish with a better record than the Golden State Warriors?

89. Will the Kings finish ahead of either Los Angeles team, both Los Angeles teams, or neither Los Angeles team?

90. Will the Kings win the Pacific Division?

91. Will the Kings have one of the 10 top offenses in the NBA?

92. Will the Kings have one of the 10 top defenses in the NBA?

93. Will the Kings make the playoffs?

Yes, it is true: If you knew the answers to the above questions, you would know whether or not the Kings would make the playoffs. That is a fact.
I do not know the answers, though I have my guesses.

Prediction: 50 wins

Phoenix Suns – Suns Gossip & Phoenix Suns Rising

October 29, 2006

Website: Suns Gossip & Phoenix Suns Rising
Authors: SunsGossip & Lucas

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

Lucas: The Suns had quite an eventful summer in terms of upgrading the roster. First off, The Suns traded their draft picks to the Celtics in order to wash themselves of Brian Grant’s large contract and to save money for free agent signings. At this point Mike D’Antoni doesn’t want any project rookies on the roster and would rather get solid rotation role players with lig experience and loads of talent. They were saving money and cap space to re-sign Tim Thomas in the offseason but I don’t think they were very content on having Thomas on the roster since they went through the motions, for the fans, and went at Tim with a low offer. The Clippers offered Tim a better deal and off he went. The Suns then courted John Salmons as a backup combo guard to be used as they did Joe Johnson, to handle the ball for short periods while Steve rested. Brian Colangelo soon moved on in, with more cap space, for the same reason, and eventually got burned by Salmons as well. I feel that they were really reaching at this point for such a unique role.

They eventually found Marcus Banks, who is a great talent and solid defender and signed him to be Steve Nash’s backup. Banks really fits in for this team. We lacked a defensive threat at the point guard position and Banks is a major upgrade for this reason. He is also lightening quick for our break-game and, with his solid frame, he can drive the lane and put up shots, make contact, and draw fouls, something we needed sorely last season. We also grabbed Jumaine Jones as another swing who is an athletic shooter who plays defense and multiple positions. He can backup the four or three and will most likely have to fight for minutes with James Jones. We also have the Polish sniper, Eric Piatkowski, who will bring a good attitude and spot up shooting for maybe a few minutes per game.

SunsGossip: As Lucas described, the Suns had more moves than a bowl of jello this offseason. We at SunsGossip feel that LaMarcus (aka Marcus Banks) was the hottest addition – that brother is so fine we’d marry his sister just to get in his family! Of course we also have to give love to the two new white boys, Eric Piatkowski (who seems like a genuinely nice guy) and Sean Marks (who’s got that cute New Zealand accent). Jumaine Jones promises to add entertainment value – if for nothing else than our anticipation of Bill Walton sputtering over the fact there are two J. Jones’s on the team (see: James Jones)… It is also worth mentioning that both Raja Bell and Eric P. were busting their own moves this offseason – the wives of both are currently pregnant. Finally, shout out to Brittany and Whitney, two new additions to the Suns Dance Team who are holding it down for the brown girls in Phoenix. Heyyyy!

2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?

Lucas: The greatest strengths of this team are speed, shooting, and ball movement. Last season we had the top fg%, ft% and top three point shooting. We were also the top average assist team. In addition the Suns are a nightmare for opposing coaches due to all of the match up problems the unorthodox style creates. They are also the best conditioned team and can easily wear out opposing teams who are not used to such a high pace of play. The quick pace is very contagious and many teams can’t help but get sucked into running and by the end of the game they are outmatched. Large dominating centers absolutely cannot play at this pace and are rendered obsolete against our intense attack. Quick ball movement and floor spacing from shooters continually break down defenses from the slash and kick or drive and pass game. If this isn’t working we have the best point guard in the world who is a master at the pick and roll and many athletes who want to get rewarded for their movement.

SunsGossip: Brother Lucas… how can you talk about the Suns’ strengths without mentioning Boris Diaw’s upper body strength? Have you seen this fool lately? Homeboy was working it over the summer! He looks like he’s gained a cool 15 pounds, and that’s all muscle weight, not just the $45 million in his pockets.

3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?

SunsGossip: What? The Suns have no weaknesses. This question is like a broken pencil – there ain’t no point. Lucas?

Lucas: The biggest weakness for this team has to do with their size, SG. They are generally smaller than their competition and this is due to Coach Mike’s preference on having the best athlete on the floor at all times. He would rather have a smaller, more talented player on the floor than a lumbering oaf with height. This also means that we are outmatched in size and give up more rebounds. Yet, our forwards are quicker, faster on the break and pose matchup problems for opposing teams whose big forwards and centers cannot stay with their man in the open floor. For this the system gives up second chances on the defensive end for offensive superiority and the plan is just to get more points and wear out the opponents.

4. How will the young guys develop?

Lucas: This team has many young players but not so young that they are a liability. Amare Stoudemire, Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa and Marcus Banks are all moderately young players who have played enough to have plenty of experience. Most of this Suns team is well post-seasoned, including the young coach (league-wise). They are all perfect fits in this uptempo unselfish system and they should thrive this upcoming season.

SunsGossip: We can only hope that they all age as gracefully as our 30-year-old Raja Bell. Or that once they reach age 32 they start Peter Panning back to adolescence like Steve Nash.

Lucas: That’s right SG, let’s hope he continues to sink his Hook (shot?).

5. What are the goals for this team?

Lucas: After two seasons making the Western Conference Finals the goals for this season include a trip to the Finals and hopefully a title. D’Antoni is adamant on improving on team defense enough to get us that extra edge to push our team over the top. We have all the talent and a deep bench to get us through the long marathon of a regular season and the playoffs. Depending on the condition of Amare Stoudemire and the health of the team we should have enough for a title.

SunsGossip: Eyes on the prize!

6. Predicted record?

SunsGossip: Good grief, Charlie Brown, we don’t know! How do people come up with these? We’ll put our money on something close to 82-0 and let you slice and dice it further, Lucas.

Lucas: Well SG, an 82-0 season has yet to be accomplished but I feel you. I mean we send rugged Pat Burke, the Kiwi Assassin (Sean Marks) and the Polish Sniper (Piatkowski) out there and they can give those hard fouls and take out kneecaps. This group alone can win you a good ten games but that sort of play is frowned upon by the lig. That takes us down ten games to 72 wins but with Amare working on getting back to optimal shape by the playoffs, he’ll have some struggles to work out. We will probably have some other minor injuries. Combined with Amare, these things will be another six games. I’d say we lose another six to brain lapses and complacency issues. The Suns should win 60 games this season.