nate, your breakdown is great and I'll only comment on where I disagree. It's better than what I could come up with, but of course I have some different opinions here and there.
nate33 wrote:LIKELY TO MAKE PLAYOFFS:
New Jersey - Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Humphries, Lopez is an extremely strong starting 5. Their only weakness is depth. An injury up front could derail them.
There is only one basketball between Williams and Johnson, and Wallace only comes to play when he feels like it. Lopez is going to be a terrible contract IMO. He's overpaid and not a rebounder or a defender. Humphries is decent, but I think the Wizards will fare well against him with Nene, Howard, and Seraphin a well as with speed and length from Booker and Vesely when they come off the bench. I think the Wizards are better than the Nets, possibly.
New York - Added Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer and Marcus Camby while losing Lin and Fields. While Melo and Amare aren't ideal teammates because both are no-D ball-dominators, their chemistry should improve a little with more time together. If Chandler gets hurt, their defense could suck bad enough to miss the playoffs. Otherwise, they'll make it.
I see their chemistry being much worse. Kidd had a DUI and I bet his year does not go well. Camby at best is Chandler's sub and his role will be minimal, as he is older. Felton will run the ball up court to watch it stick between Carmelo and Amare, the latter player being close to done and in the Rashard Lewis stage of his career. I think the Knicks will stink. JR Smith is not good for chemistry and neither is Melo. Jeremy Lin will look better in hindsight. The Knicks will win 32 games, max IMO.
Atlanta - lost Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams and Kent Hinrich. Added Lou Williams and Kyle Korver. They look a bit worse this year, but probably not so much worse that they'll miss the playoffs altogether.
They look a lot worse IMO. They lost long players and leaders and added two gunners. The Hawks won't make the playoffs before the Wizards IMO.
ON THE BUBBLE
Philly - lost Lou Williams and Brand. Added Nick Young, Dorrell Wright, and Kwame. They went just 15-22 over the second half of the season after starting out 20-9.
Nick will help them to start 15-22 this season and Doug Collins will probably remember why he and MJ had problems with Kwame in the first place. I don't think Harkless or Moutrie will help soon enough. This team lost a lot of leadership and identity. Collins will have a tougher time than Wittman IMO.
Chicago - no Derrick Rose for most of the season. Thibs kept the team together with smoke and mirrors, but can he do it another year? Also, the injury prone Deng will endure more wear and tear during the Olympics, and they lost Asik, Brewer and Korver while adding a washed up Hinrich.
I think Morey is going to look really smart for snatching underrated Omer Asik. He and Brewer made this team tougher defensively, and Korver was efficient. Lucas III and CJ Watson made up for Rose being out in ways I don't think another PG will. I expect the Bulls will win 15-20 less games and will not make the playoffs.
Cleveland - Kyrie Irving is good, but nobody else on their roster is.
Charlotte - They're still a long way away.
Irving is a better player IMO than John Wall, because he hits big shots from deep and with efficiency. However, he's not as durable. Varejao is as good as Nene IMO. Tyler Zeller is going to be a solid pro from day one. John Leuer bouncing from Milwaukee to Houston to Cleveland is a mystery to me. He's way better than Chris Singleton or Jan Vesely IMO. Leuer is probably a 15 ppg scorer and near starter in the league. His porous defense will be helped by players like Varejao, Alonzo Gee and Tristan Thompson, who are all strong defenders. nate, I see a lack of quality veterans on the Cavs. They have a lot of talent IMO, but just not proven talent. Zeller in transition will have an easy time scoring in the NBA game. Dion Waiters will struggle for them. He's their Jordan Crawford, however. He can score.
For Charlotte, I've posted about their additions and I know most disagree with me. Sessions started for the Lakers and did well in the regular season. Gordon shoots over 40% from three and is a very reliable shooter. Haywood struggled in Dallas but he is a reliable defender at 7 feet, and he'll be going back to Carolina. Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist is a charismatic, energetic, player who MJ is already comparing to Scottie Pippen. Biyombo is a shot blocker and rebounder. Him with MKG and Brendan gives a very solid defense. Henderson and Mullins have less pressure and both are competitive players. The Bobcats could go from 7 all the way up to 25-30 wins, or more. I also really like Jeffrey Taylor as an athlete and a defender for them. Honestly, I can see Charlotte being by far the league's most improved team if their new coach, Mike Dunlap is good.
I've been studying Charlotte and I LOVE their changes this offseason!http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/2012 ... n_haywood/
http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/80777 ... head-coach
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Brendan Haywood is returning home with a purpose.
Haywood, who grew up in Greensboro, made it clear he's coming back to the Carolinas with the goal of helping the Charlotte Bobcats turn things around after they finished with the worst record (7-59) in the NBA last season.
Claimed off waivers last week from the Dallas Mavericks, the 7-foot Haywood was introduced Thursday at a news conference along with free-agent acquisition Ramon Sessions, a point guard who opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers to sign with the Bobcats.
"Myself and Ramon will be great additions to this team," Haywood said. "We're looking forward to getting this thing started and help this team be better than it was last season."
Haywood still owns a home in Charlotte and has frequently worked out at the Bobcats facility in the past during the off-season.
He called returning to Charlotte "a blessing."
"My family and friends will have a chance to come to the games, and then playing with this organization is great for me, so it's the best of both worlds," Haywood said.
Sessions is also enjoying a homecoming of sorts.
He grew up in Myrtle Beach, S.C., about a five-hour drive from Charlotte.
"After going through the process, we really felt strongly that this is the right guy to take us into the future," president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said.
The Bobcats interviewed 10 candidates for the post and brought back three for second interviews -- Dunlap, Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, and Los Angeles Lakers assistant Quin Snyder.
Dunlap, 54, spent last season as an assistant at St. John's and ran the program while coach Steve Lavin battled prostate cancer.
General manager Rich Cho said that Dunlap's work ethic stood out.
"Really, the three primary things we were looking for were player development, a teacher, and somebody to set the culture for this organization," Cho said. "If you look around the league, the best organizations have a certain culture and the first thing about the culture is to rely on hard work.
"The thing that really jumped out is that he's a big-time worker, the first guy in and the last guy out. He's just a crazy worker. That kind of stuff is infectious among the staff and the players, so that will set the culture for us. Mike's going to be very demanding. I know one thing, they're going to be in shape."
What I saw in the past was new NBA head coaches like Thibs and Volek finished near the top. Mike Dunlap has 32 years of coaching experience and a lot of wisdom. Like Randy Wittman, he's getting an opportunity late in life and I think he's ready to seize it. The Bobcats are going to be a LOT better.
The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. Psalms 37:23