Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant are on a collision course to meet in June.
The NBA is about to begin! If you are not pumped, click here
and skip ahead to the 1:20 mark if you don't want to listen to a blonde buffoon ramble (by the way, how great of a sample could this be for hip hop?!?!). If that didn't pump you up you are clearly under 16 and have much to learn about the great NBA on NBC days.
Also with the NBA season starting tonight, ESPN can now hopefully move away from stories about Brett Favre creepily hitting on very hot 23 year olds
, and we can move onto more relevant sports stories... like whether or not LeBron James' newest commercial
makes him more or less of an asshole. (By the way, when can we all agree that it is more of a story when an athlete doesn't
try to take advantage of his celebrity to get girls?).
But in all seriousness, the build up to 2010-2011 NBA has been great with the most newsworthy offseason since Shaqobe divorced in 2004 and possibly of all time. Sgt. Tibs and I will go over some key questions and issues that we see for the upcoming year in our special preview for GWHH Sports
. Vote in our polls, let us know your thoughts and where you think we went wrong.
Miami Heat: how many wins?
I want to say 51 because I have a sneaking suspicion the karma Gods
are going to punish the Heat and cause one of their big three to go
down with a season ending injury (Miller is already out until
January). However assuming generally good health, I think 63 wins is
about right (they have to be at least a couple of wins better than the
Cavs of last year...right?) . The Heat will start resting their
players (I assume) for the playoffs and will sacrifice wins in the
regular season much like Boston and San Antonio have done. Even with
resting they should be able to land the top spot.
60 wins is a lock if the big 3 are healthy for 95% of the season. There has been a lot of talk in the media about the Heat challenging the Bulls' 72-win record and I think that is absurd. This year at least for sure. A lot of variables have to line up to get to that illustrious mark and the Bulls also had the greatest player in the game, motivated to perhaps the highest degree of his career. But back to the 2010 Heat, I got them plugged right around where the Sage has them - between 60-65 wins. It will take time for the big 3 and the entire team to develop chemistry, no matter what they say. As Sage mentioned, Mike Miller is out already, but my last point is that with a lot of elite teams in the league (plus every other team gunning for them), I just don't foresee the Heat getting past 65.
Who are this season's biggest X-Factors?
When B. Diddy is focused, not eating McDonalds twice
a day, and limiting himself to only taking 2 bad shots a game (you can
never truly get him to stop taking bad shots), this is a borderline
top 5 PG in the NBA with a top 5 Center, one the best young 3 point shooters (Gordon) and maybe the leagues third most athletic big (after
Amare and Dwight). If Baron is on his game, I think the Clippers find
themselves in the playoffs this year. If he is not, his poor shot
selection, and shoddy work ethic could poison the young Clips
(although an argument can be made that by simply wearing a Clipper
jersey you are already poisoned).
He was the second best player on the Eastern Conference Champions two
years ago. He is only 31 years old (not completely ancient). While his
contract is wretched, that doesn't mean he is a bad player. In Toronto
last year he looked lost, confused, sad, and a little bit fat. It is
undetermined if these were permanent changes, or just the result of
living in America North for a year. However, it seems everyone gets
better playing with Steve Nash, and I think Turkoglu has a little of
"eff you" building up inside of him. If this happens, Phoenix may be
able to delay its drop from the Western Conference playoffs.
I am going to throw one more x-factor into the group: arguably the Celtics' best player, Rajon Rondo. With their off-season acquisitions of Shaquille and Jermaine O'Neal, in addition to the Boston 3 Party of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen, there are a lot of big names that Rondo has to keep happy. With Shaq in the fold, the offense will have to revolve around him for stretches at a time, especially in the first half of the season when he will be starting in place of the injured Kendrick Perkins. That responsibility alone will prove to be significant. In addition, Rondo is coming off an atrocious shooting display in the Finals when the Lakers played D on him like he was the last kid picked on the playground. Can he improve his shooting this year enough so as not to leave the rest of his team playing 4 on 5 in the half-court offense? For the Celtics to make a return trip to the finals, Rajon Rondo is going to have to increase his all-star level of play while juggling the team's increased responsibilities as point guard.
Find out what teams (and players) will make the leap this season, who has the greatest chance of getting suspended, and of course, who will win the NBA Championship, after the jump!