Tuesday, August 14, 2012

9 Most Talented Teams This Upcoming Season

Sacramento Kings

Suprised? If you've been watching Kings basketball at all you're not. The Kings have all the potential in the world, but just cannot put it together due to chemistry and coaching issues. They have the best young center in the league in Demarcus Cousins. He will continue to improve, and will be dominant offensively and on the boards. Tyreke Evans just needs to find his way back to his old ways, because he has been struggling playing positions other than the point, which seems to be his natural position. He can't really shoot the three, so players can play off of him, which hurts his ability to slash.

Isaiah Thomas was one of the biggest steals of last years draft. He came out and put up very solid numbers for a rookie, at about 11.5 ppg and 4.1 apg. He will be competing for the starting role with Aaron Brooks, who has just returned from overseas. He was a quickly improving point guard prior to last season. These two combined will be one of the best point guard rotations in the league.
Marcus Thornton is an underrated scorer. He can fill it up and will, and will be called upon to do so this upcoming season. The team also has scoring off the bench in Jimmer Fredette.

New Orleans Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets will sport a young, athletic roster this upcoming season. After adding Anthony Davis, by far the best college player this season, and Austin Rivers, a dynamic scorer from Duke, they will become much more of a threat on a nightly basis. Davis will be vastly improved after his experience with team USA. With the underrated Carl Landry, Ryan Anderson, and Robin Lopez they will have a very solid and extremely deep frontcourt. Any of those four guys could start on many NBA teams. Eric Gordon is one of the best scorers in the league and will remain so.






Philadelphia 76ers
Watch out for the 76ers this year. Jrue Holiday is one of the best up and coming point guards in the league. Losing Andre Iguodala and Moe Harkless will hurt them, but you cannot deny that Andrew Bynum is the second best center in the league (idiots think he's better than Dwight). If he can stay healthy he will be the focus of the 76ers attack this year. Evan Turner will now be a primary ballhandler for the team as he was at Ohio State, so we may see a jump in numbers for him. Thaddeus Young will now move into the starting lineup, which is good, because honestly he would have a lot of NBA teams. Their athleticism has dropped slightly, but they will still be great defensively, and their size has increased, which will make them a better rebounding team. Doug Collins will turn them into a bunch of bullies this season.

Indiana Pacers
Some NBA analysts seemed astounded that the Pacers were one of the better teams in the playoffs, but ask any Pacers fan and they knew it was just a matter of time before the team broke out. There are a lot of players to talk about, I'll go from inside out.
We'll start off with Roy Hibbert. Hibbert has becoming everything you want in a center over the first couple seasons of his career. He's 7'2" and strong, a solid rebounder, and he also averaged two blocks per game.

He is skilled, and his low post game is really coming into its own. Hibbert is not paint locked like a lot of centers because he has range out to 15 feet. The best part is, you can't just hack him because he shoots almost 73 percent from the freethrow line for his career! Then they have David West, who has been a great scoring power forward during his career. West is extremely skilled, and also has range. He is a solid rebounder also despite being a little undersized. Tyler Hansbrough gives them everything you want out of a bench post player. He will give you a few buckets, a few rebounds, and he is a great freethrow shooter.

The post isn't where the strengths stop for this team. They have Danny Granger, a great all around player, who's numbers have dropped recently. He still is one of the better forwards around, and can put up points at will some nights. Paul George is a 6'10" shooting guard. He has the ability to guard four positions, play 3 offensively, and do so with ease. This will only be his third year in the league, he has all-star potential.

As for the point, they lost Darren Collison, but replaced him with D.J. Augustine. Augustine is a solid point guard, and I think he will fill the role just fine. George Hill will most likely be the sixth man for this team, and he will be one of the best. I can see him competing for sixth man of the year.

Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are the definition of pure talent. They lived off of it, talent is the only reason they made the playoffs or were considered a good NBA team. The Clippers could not execute offensively. Their offense consisted of isolations and pick and rolls, then just hoping that Chris Paul or Blake Griffin would make a play.

Their team will be much better this season. Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups will be returning from injury, and Grant Hill will add a veteran presence that was lost once Chauncey went down. This team will be very deep at positions one through three, which will only help their signature run and gun style.

Chris Paul still may be the best point guard in the league, though that may be up to question. Still, he is a maestro when it comes to getting players shots. He will get the ball into the hands of this team's many scorers. If Chauncey Billups doesn't start, he will be one of the best backup point guards in NBA history. Seriously, Billups is a winner, a floor general, a three point marksman, and a solid passer. He could, and would start for a lot of NBA teams. Then I find it funny that they have Eric Bledsoe as their third point guard! He may have had a bit of a down year last year, but he played well in the playoffs.

Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler will hold down the two and three position. They are known shot takers, though they are not always shot makers. Still, they are 2 of the better second tier scorers in the NBA, and will thrive in the fast paced system the Clippers run. Grant Hill will add defense and a bit of efficient scoring off of the bench.

Blake Griffin. The only guys that I can even think of mentioning in the same sentence as him when speaking of athleticism are probably Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith. He has a longer dunk reel than 90% of NBA players and he's only going into his second season. I laugh at people that say he's not a good player. He may not be very skilled, but he is improving, and averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in your first two seasons in the league is mind-blowing. Kevin Love may be better than him now, but the sky is the limit for Blake.




New York Knicks
The New York Knicks just haven't been able to live up to the hype. They still feature what I believe to be the third most talented roster in the NBA however, and if they could find a way to put it together they could be a top NBA team.

Carmelo Anthony may be the best pure scorer in the NBA, well, either him or Kevin Durant. He scores with ease from anywhere on the floor. His numbers dropped this last season in New York, but they will come back up. He needs help from Amar'e Stoudemire however. Stoudemire was a non-factor this last season after putting up amazing numbers his first year in New York. Expect him to return to form this upcoming season.

Tyson Chandler will remain one of the best defensive centers around. He is efficient on the offensive end, shooting nearly 68% from the field, and 70% from the freethrow line. Iman Shumpert was one of the best rookies last year. He's an explosive player, with the potential to be both a formidable offensive and defensive player. JR Smith is the most inconsistent scorer around. He is capable of superstar type performances because of his great athleticism and great outside jumpshot, but there seem to be times where he's just not focused. His inconsistency and personality issues are well known around the NBA. You also can't forget about Steve Novak, who is the best three point shooter in the NBA right now.

At point, Jason Kidd and Raymond Felton will be veteran leadership for this team. Hopefully they can get the ball moving in the Knicks stagnant offense.


Oklahoma City Thunder

 The Thunder have made zero moves this offseason, other than drafting Perry Jones III, which may or may not pan out. I know they made it to the finals, but they need some more depth to really challenge Miami, and the revamped Lakers squad for the title. Kevin Durant may be the second best player in the NBA, and rightfully so. He is a 6'11" small forward who has a smooth jump shot and a pretty good ability to get to the rim. Russell Westbrook is a top "point guard" in the west, but he struggles with moving the ball and not looking to score first. He is a freak athlete, one of the best in the league, and his defense has always been great because of this. Serge Ibaka was the shot blocking champ this last season. Ibaka has nice touch from midrange and a growing feel for the game, which will most likely have him being one of the better starting fours around.

Their defense is solid due to Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha being two of the best defenders for their position in the NBA. Sefolosha is definitely a top 5 perimeter defender in the league, and his work on Kobe in the playoffs exemplifies that. Perkins has been called one of the best low post defenders since his days in Boston, and he may be. He is a non-factor on offense, but he's not needed to score. He and Ibaka both need to improve their rebounding, Kevin Durant grabs more boards than them, and they are an average rebounding team and best.

Now, James Harden might be the third best player on the team, but he is most valuable to the teams success. Every team needs scoring, and James Harden gives them a legit third option. The best characteristic about him is that he understands his role. He loves coming off the bench and not having to play with Westbrook and Durant, as he should, because when he is in the ball rests solely in his hands. The reigning sixth man of the year's value was shown during their Miami series, because his struggles dragged down the team heavily.


 
Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers went from an over-the-hill team to a title contender in one offseason. The pickups of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Antawn Jamison will improve these team to astronomical levels. Their talent level now has definitely surpassed OKC, and now rivals Miami, and it possibly may be better. Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA. The only player who can compete for that title is Andrew Bynum, but he is not as dominant defensively and has problems with injuries. Steve Nash will fill the point for the Lakers, which was filled last year by Ramon Sessions. Sessions did pretty well, but not well enough in the eyes of LA. Nash will bring in 13 ppg and 11 or more apg this year for LA. Then comes Antawn Jamison. He was one of the primary options for Cleveland last year, and delivered despite his age. He fills a role as a scorer off the bench, he is a Lamar Odom clone in my eyes. Jamison is able to play either the three or the four.

Kobe Bryant may not be the same Kobe Bryant, but he is still a top five scorer in the NBA. He and Howard have both never played with an elite level point guard, so expect the offensive efficiency for each to go up this season. Pau will return to his elite form after a silver medal run with Spain. Him and Howard will be dominant down low, nearly unstoppable for a lot of smaller teams. Metta World Peace will deliver what he has for the past few years in LA, he will give them great defense, and extremely inconsistent offense. Still, this Lakers team will be one of the best defensive teams we've seen in awhile under Mike Brown




Miami Heat
It's fitting that the reigning champion Miami Heat would be the most talented team in the NBA, their talent is the reason they won the NBA championship. They have the best all-around player in the NBA in Lebron James, who went on a rampage in this year's playoffs. He scores, passes, rebounds, plays defense, and is the emotional leader that every team needs. Dwyane Wade still may be the best all-around shooting guard, and is pretty much Lebron in a smaller body. He too does everything on the court, and having two players that can do that is what really makes them great. Chris Bosh gets so much unwarranted hate, because he is a very good player. During his time in Toronto he was a legit superstar, and just because he takes a back seat to two of the best players the NBA has ever seen does not mean that he is bad or soft. Miami struggled when he was hurt in the playoffs, the reason for that is he nearly averages 18 points and 8 rebounds as the third option for Miami. He rarely has the ball in his hands because the offense runs through Lebron and Wade, if anyone else did this for a team like Miami we would call them a great player. Sure, Bosh could improve his rebounding, but he is by no means a bad player.

Miami will be building their team around the Big 3, defense, and three point shooting this upcoming season. Ray Allen will give them a legit fourth option scoring-wise, he could be a sixth man of the year contender. Also, Rashard Lewis will have an improved season, as all he will really have to do is shoot wide open threes off kickouts from the big 3. They would have improved from getting a legit point guard or center, atleast Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole showed they could play under great pressure with their performances in the playoffs.


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