So I've been reading a few articles concerning the favorites for the 2010 NBA championship. The consensus goes as such: Lakers and Spurs out west, and Cavs, Magic and Celtics in the east. There are a few issues with this group that must be assessed.
1. Celtics/Spurs: Is it at all a sure thing that they're going to stay healthy? I'd be willing to put money on another Manu Ginobili injury, and the whole KG thing for the Celts does not appear to be something that's easily fixed. Not to mention the aging Tim Duncan who has almost become defective on defense.
2. I will say it: the Magic got worse. Not that Vince Carter isn't better than Hedo Turkoglu, but it wasn't simply Vince for Hedo. It was Vince for Hedo and Courtney Lee, a guy who was huge for them in the playoffs. The Magic have no chance against the Cavaliers now. Think about it, the Magic beat the Cavs because they had Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis on the floor at the same time, and LeBron can obviously only guard one person at a time. Now they can simply throw LeBron at Rashard and Anderson Varejo (who did not match up well at all with Lewis in last year's Eastern Conference finals) will guard a guy who's much more his style, Brandon Bass. Shaq may not do a great job on Howard, but if you watched the Cleveland-Orlando series, you saw that big Z did absolutely nothing defensively (or offensively for that matter), so even if Shaq only forces two or three misses, it will make a huge difference.
3. Why is everyone blowing off the Nuggets all of the sudden? Granted, they haven't made any deals, but an improved Carmelo Anthony goes a long way. I still expect to see the Nuggets finish ahead of the re-studded Spurs in the west.
4. Wait until the off-season is over, please. I am still going to wait until this month is over and more deals are made before I make my big pre-season predictions article. Between July and November, not only do more deals go down, but injuries occur. We should all save our breath for now.