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Tony Tucker: NBA Preview

You’ve listened to me jab your ear off since I started my website back in April. It’s time for me to take a break (for the sake of all of us), and let someone else do the work.

I was getting ready to write an NBA preview (reluctantly, because I’m not a huge NBA fan) the other day, but that’s when I ran across Tony Tucker (@TonyGenXXL) on Twitter. He’s a sports writer for GenXXL.com. Instead of hearing my take again, I asked him to write a preview of the upcoming season (games tip-off tomorrow). He happily accepted.

Without further ado…I introduce Mr. Tucker:

 NBA 2010-2011 Season Preview – Predict-A-Ball
 
The 2010-2011 NBA season tips off Tuesday night. It’s time to take a look at what’s on our plate for the upcoming season.
 
There are plenty of great story lines with the most notable being the Miami Heat signing LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and any role player looking to leach on to a championship contender. The Lakers are fighting for a three-peat, Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver like there was a small-pox breakout, and a plethora of aging veterans desperately seek a chance to hoist the Larry O’Brian trophy.
 
The NBA is the most predictable of all the major sports. To pick the majority of playoff teams is the same thing as selecting ten celebrities you think will be involved in a scandal next year. You have your shoe-ins; Lindsay Lohan (Lakers), Paris Hilton (Celtics), Charlie Sheen (Heat) — and then you have your surprises like last year with Tiger Woods (Thunder).
 
The end result will be similar to last year, but the journey will be different because of players aging and changing zip codes from last season. So, who’s in, who’s out, and who’s going to battle for the SHIP?
 
Eastern Conference Cream
 
The top of the East will look a little different with James going prison shank style on the Cavilers fans. For all of you morons out there selling Miami stock on the premises that, “there’s only one ball,” I’ll buy your shares.
 
Apparently you didn’t watch the Olympics when Dwayne Wade, James, and Bosh were all on the floor at the same time. America was like a bad WWF reference, “The Nation of Domination.” Even Coach K said this is going to be scary for other teams.
 
They may not win 72 games, but they will win 63 or 64, giving them the No. 1 seed in the East.
 
As for the Celtics, they got older (if that was possible) by adding Shaq. This is a team that plays the regular season just well enough to secure a top seed in the East. They are all about the playoffs and keeping plenty of Icy Hot handy – which should be easy since Shaq is the pitchman.
 
I’ve heard rumors that Kevin Garnett is looking healthy and ready to go.  If KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kendrick Perkins stay healthy, this is a scary team.
 
The Orlando Magic will have another great regular season with amazing quotes from Stan Van Gundy and impersonations by Dwight Howard. However, when it comes to the postseason I’m just not con-Vince-d Carter that they are a contender.
 
The Eastern standings will finish Heat, Magic, and Celtics at the top.
 
Leftovers
 
I want to put the Chicago Bulls with the cream, but Carlos Boozer’s housekeeper forgot to put away his luggage. Is anyone buying that?
 
The Bulls do have a nice roster and by the end of the year Derek Rose, Joakim Noah, and Boozer will strike fear into the opposing teams come playoff time. Also, Kyle Korver (a.k.a. Ashton Kutcher look-a-like) will remind Bulls fans of someone else: John Paxton.
 
The Atlanta Hawks will take a step back this year. I like Al Horford, but you need a legit center to compete in the NBA. Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Josh Smith are all No. 2 guys. It’s possible that their best player might be on the bench (Jamal Crawford).
 
If Andrew Bogut stays healthy, Brandon Jennings continues to improve, and John Salmons is on fire like the end of last season, they could surprise some people this year. I like their bench, but the jury is still out on the Bucks as serious contenders.
 
The Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers will all fight for the remaining playoff spots. The 76ers success is contingent on the health of Elton Brand. If he can return to the 20 and 10 guy they traded for, they will be mixing it up with the middle of the pack. Sixers fans, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
 
The Bobcats roster isn’t impressive, but they play well as a team. I’d like for D.J. Augustin to step it up this season. Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace will score enough to keep them in the conversation. The funny thing about the Bobcats roster is Michael Jordan can’t seem to escape Kwame Brown – No. 3 center on the depth chart.
 
The Cavs can only run on “I hate James juice” for so long. They will put up a good fight and most likely Cavs owner Dan Gilbert will take some more cheap shots at LeBron.
 
The trash heap at the bottom of the East includes the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, and Washington Wizards. Thanks for coming, please drive home safely.
 
Western Conference Has One Owner
 
The Los Angeles Lakers are clearly the best team in the West. They have the greatest head coach in the history of the game, Phil Jackson, the best player on the planet, Kobe Bryant, and a roster with more talent than a Playboy party.
 
Everyone wants to talk about the additions the Heat made. Come playoff time, and most importantly the finals, we will be talking about the acquisitions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake.
 
Andrew Bynum could sit out until the all-star break and they will still cruise into the playoffs – with his track record of injuries it’s not a bad idea. Barring a lengthy injury to Bryant, this team will be the top seed in the West.
 
2-8 Jockey for Position
 
The West is so highly contested that you could win 50-games and not be guaranteed a playoff spot. I do however have a change as to who’s in and who’s out.
 
The Utah Jazz lost Boozer, but I think they upgraded by gaining Al Jefferson and Raja Bell. The biggest bonus is that Paul Millsap, who may actually be better than Boozer, doesn’t have to share minutes anymore.
 
The Dallas Mavericks are a great regular season team, but I wouldn’t bet a penny to win a million on them winning the finals. One of my favorite things to watch every year is the Mark Cuban playoff meltdown. Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki will get a warm welcome to the Hall of Fame for the greatest losers in NBA history. Please take a seat next to Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Reggie Miller, Allen Iverson, etc.
 
The Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs are like pirates with wooden legs; still effective, but not so dangerous anymore. This will be the season that we really start to see the age of players like Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Steve Nash. With trends like this, we will see the two conferences become a bit more even from top to bottom by next season.
 
Every year some writer or big shot NBA analyst will tell you how the Portland Trail Blazers are going to break through. Please simply respond by exiting from the column or changing the channel to “Two and a Half Men” reruns. Playoff bound? Yes. Doing any real damage? No.
 
The Oklahoma City Thunder will finish in the top four of the West this year. I’m not positive they’ll win a first round playoff match-up against a veteran squad, but they will take another step toward becoming the elite team in the conference. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, along with an array of other young players, have really impressed me.
 
I hate to do this because Chauncey Billups is one of my favorite players and George Karl seems like a nice guy, but the Denver Nuggets will not make the playoffs this year. When your best player wants to leave, and I believe he will get his wish (just not to the team of his choice), you’re not in my playoff picture.
 
This is the biggest “IF” in the world: IF Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, and Baron Davis stay healthy this season, the Clippers will make the playoffs – seriously, no joke. Congratulations Clippers fans, you will be rewarded with a first round thumping by your big brother, the Lakers.
 
Filling in the 2-8 seeds in the West, I have the Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Mavericks, Blazers, Jazz, and Clippers.
 
I don’t think the Memphis Grizzlies will make it to the playoffs, but I won’t be shocked if they come really close. This is an up-and-coming team.
 
As for the bottom feeders in the West, which includes the Rockets, Hornets, T-Wolves, Kings, and Warriors, I would say better luck next year. The lockout could be the best news your fans have heard in awhile.
 
NBA Finals Prediction
 
As I said at the beginning, the NBA is very predictable. That is why I have the Lakers playing the Heat. I am going to reserve the right to change my winner come finals time, but for right now I am going with the Lakers in six games.
 
View the NBA season like watching a suspenseful movie; you’re pretty sure you know who the killer is, but you hope for a surprise and in the end it’s exactly who you thought it was all along.

Again, Tony Tucker is a sports writer for GenXXL.com. You can read more of his work by clicking here. I hope you enjoyed his preview.

As always, I would love to know what you think about the upcoming season. You can leave a comment below, get in touch with me on Twitter @lewissports, connect with me on Facebook, or email me at tim@timlewissports.com.

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