The Loss of Linsanity

The life of a Knick Fan is a roller coaster ride. This season has been nothing different. First, Linsanity emerges and the entire world begins to believe in a miracle. Then, D’antoni quits under the bright lights of Broadway’s media. Then New York starts winning again, and finally New York begins to think they have a contender. Then Amar’e gets injured for 2-4 weeks and Lin gets injured for the rest of the year. So as of now New York is content with their season. They’re just above .500 and after an up and down season, winning is a pleasant antidote for their anxiousness.

To the average fan New York will do great for the rest of the season. The team is responding well to Mike Woodson, Carmelo is back in his groove and Amar’e will be returning just in time for their projected matchup with Chicago in the playoffs. However, being the realist and experienced Knick fan that I am I can see through it all. The Knicks have just hit their peak, I see them finishing the regular season off well, but when they reach the playoffs they don’t really stand a chance. That’s all thanks to the loss of Lin. Image

Jeremy Lin was more then a point guard in New York. He was the player who brought the team together, who encouraged the team to share the ball and play together. He also gave the Knicks much needed depth. Especially if they face a team like Chicago who are 14-7 without Rose on their team, where depth is essential. Without Lin the Knicks have to give Baron Davis huge minutes for the rest of the season, and you have to wonder if he will hold up, considering his injury riddled season. Besides Baron Davis, Shumpert is the only combo guard on the team who can really run their offense. With Lin out, that means more time for Bibby and Douglas players who aren’t used to minutes.

Besides the loss of depth they also have the hardest schedule for the remainder of the regular season and that means other guys are going to have to step up. Never mind Amar’e who has been below average all season will be coming back from injury and will be extra rusty.

I just don’t see things going well for New York anymore. The ride’s been fun but unfortunately it’s time to get off. Maybe next year they will be blessed with a healthy team, because with a fully healthy team. This team is dangerous and can go far in the playoffs when given the chance.

Excuses Running Low for D’antoni

New York anticipated a big season this year, with all their big signings, their good looking rookies and their two superstars. New York being New York expected HUGE things from their team straight out of the gate, which isn’t unreasonable considering the personnel on the team. And when the team began in 10th place in the East everyone looked down the bench at the coach. They look and wonder what the hell is he doing. He has all the pieces, now put them together.

Then as the fire on D’antoni’s seat slowly rised we got this little Harvard Grad who lit up the NBA for two straight weeks. Putting an end to the hot seat. A relief to D’antoni who knows he had nothing to do with Lin’s emergence as a key player on the team. He thought he was okay for the moment, he thought everyone had forgot about his job security.

It was cute in the beginning, the little Linsanity. I mean beating useless teams like New Jersey, Minnesota, Toronto, Sacramento and Utah. They had some big wins against L.A, Dallas, and Atlanta without two stars. But then the schedule turned around and guess what happened.  Linsanity starts to cool down, the knicks blow 3 in a row to playoff caliber teams, all to former champions. As the Linsanity begins to cool down, as the team begins to blow leads like to Boston, and then dig holes like to the Spurs and Mavs you begin to wonder who to blame now. I don’t know how to blame the players, they’ve been playing great. Which leads me to believe D’antoni has to be the one to answer the questions now.

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He has nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, no excuses to make. If you look at the Knicks’ roster you’ll realize they have all the pieces to be a championship team. They have two superstars, a top defensive center, a budding star at the point, two solid rookies off the bench, an intangibles guy at the 2. Then you look to the bench, where you have two guys who can put up 20 every night in Baron Davis and J.R Smith. There’s Steve Novak who is arguably the best 3 point shooter in the league. You have Jared Jeffries one of the best dirty work players in the league. That’s a solid 11 man rotation full of talent and pieces that should win a championship on paper. Or at least compete for one.

The Knicks aren’t even competing for a championship as of now. They’re not even in the running. They’re 8th in the East and don’t seem to be making a fight for 7th right now as the Celtics are on a 5 game winning streak and the Knicks on a 3 game losing streak.

What else does D’Antoni need? He has all the pieces, this is arguably the best team he has coached. What else does he want from a team? He certainly can’t ask for too much patience anymore because this is getting exhausting.  It doesn’t make sense. Here’s a tip for D’antoni. Play the second unit one game as starters one game. Right now their playing better defense by far then the first unit. The first unit are a scoring unit. Get some stops, then bring in the stars to blow open the game. Maybe even teach the whole team to play defense. I mean giving up an average of 109 points in three games is disgusting.  Even in one went to overtime.

There’s nowhere to hide for D’antoni. Especially under the bright lights of Broadway. He’s gotta do something to turn this team around soon or he’ll be out of here before he can say Linsanity.

Why the Knicks Can’t Get it Right

I’ve been preaching this for a while now. I’ve been telling everyone, trying to explain to everyone that the Knicks just won’t be able to do it. It’s not their fault, necessarily and it’s not too complicated either.

The Knicks were on the right track a year and a half ago. They had a superstar in Amar’e and they had a great group of solid role players. Guys like Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Shawne Williams and so on. They weren’t title contenders but in a few years they would be on their way. However, New York isn’t a city that has too much patience. They couldn’t watch their team evolve and their role players evolve like they should’ve. They couldn’t have waited a season when Gallo would put up a career high 37 points at MSG. Instead, they threw their whole team down the gutter in return for Melo. The guy who wanted to come here anyway. The guy who would’ve signed in free agency. But again that word patience isn’t one of their strengths.

The 2nd half of the season went as expected for a completely new team trying to gel with one another. Melo and Amar’e were figuring out how to spread the wealth and the new guys figuring out their roles on the new team. After getting swept in the playoffs, gelling was still the excuse. Here we are, 16 games into the season and still they use “gelling” as an excuse. The reason this team can’t win is because they have two of the same superstar. It’s simple.

If you really compare Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony they are the same player. They even go one after the other in ESPN Rankings. They both love Iso’s they love the mid range game and can get to the basket. They also don’t enjoy passing too much. This explains why Amar’e shot selection, percentage and points per game have dropped since they brought in Melo. So when you add two Amar’e Stoudemires to one team then of course the ball movement will stop. Of course they won’t work together. They’re not compatible.

Take a look at Dwyane Wade and Lebron James. They are similar players as well, love driving to the basket. Aren’t the best shooters in the world. They’re extremely athletic and love to pass. That last aspect is what makes them compatible. They love to pass. If you have two superstars who love to pass then you’re golden. They will work together. But when both stars’ games revolve around one on ones, well don’t be surprised when you have a 6 game losing streak. It was stupid to get Melo through a trade. Getting Melo in free agency would’ve been smarter. They weren’t winning a championship anyway, and they would have a bench and some backups for when the offense got stagnant. They through away their future and now they’re in a ditch.

I don’t see too many ways to get out. I’m not saying they can’t turn it around and become a good team. But they’ll never become a championship contender with the team they have. They are pretenders like no other team. To be honest, I think you have to get rid of Amar’e. It’s definitely sad to part ways with the guy who brought you back in the first place, and is somewhat disrespectful. However, it’s gotta be done. This is no hit on Amar’e’s game I love him. He’s a great talent but it’s the organizations fault for ruining the cast around him. He is also a less willing passer then Melo so I would rather get rid of him. I think trading him for Deron Williams could do the trick for them. Giving the Knicks a willing passer to run the offense and move the ball. Also, getting rid of Melo’s unnecessary twin. That’s just my opinion.

The Knicks are in the presence of superstars. No doubt. But if you really disect their problems, you’ll find they have two of the same player.

Problems in Knick World

If anybody thought the Knicks were going to instantly be a better team, they were wrong. They lost a big lead to Boston and only won because of lucky shots made by Melo. Tonight’s game against Golden State is atrocious. Winning by 8 points in the first half, then losing by 15 in the second. It’s all due to the lack of defense for 48 minutes. A common story in Knick world. Then there is their awful offense. I can’t believe I’d be saying this about a Mike D’antoni team but they can’t do a thing on the offensive end. When Amar’e and Melo aren’t scoring, like tonight, the Knicks have absolutely nothing. They have no flow, they have no playmakers with the ball. They have no passers and they look stagnant. They aren’t going to achieve any of the high expectations or goals set for themselves if they continue to play like this. Their offense cannot revolve solely around two players. They will get you 20 or so but then what? You’re stuck with Bibby shooting an old jump shot, and Bill Walker and Toney Douglas throwing up poor threes.

I realize these two games are just two out of a 66 game season. However, this game really shows the Knicks’ true colors. When their stars aren’t producing then this team is nothing. In a compressed season, they can’t count on two players to score for the whole team, or one player to defend for the whole team. They desperately need Iman Shumpert back, they need Baron Davis to distribute and they need an overall change of attitude. And culture. Ring a bell?

 

Christmas Day Predictions

As the clock hits 12 tomorrow the NBA season officially begins. Let’s take a look at the Christmas day match-ups. The winners and the losers.

Knicks vs. Celtics:

A repeat of the first round of the playoffs from last year. The Celtics swept the Knicks, however this year the Knicks are back with a vengeance. They drastically improved their roster this off season with additions like Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis among many others. This match-up should be very interesting. Or it should’ve been interesting, however recent changes in the Celtic roster have made this game a no brainer. Losing Jeff Green was a huge blow to their depth, and the injury of Paul Pierce just gives Melo more room to score. That means Marquis Daniels will start and that leaves the bench with…. Brandon Bass? That won’t be enough to hold off the Knicks, especially when the Celtics core are all in the mid 30’s and need breaks often. Tyson Chandler will also have whatever he wants in this game. He will most likely be guarded by Jermaine O’neal, a slower and shorter center. Tyson will have his way in the paint, and since Jermain O’neal isn’t an offensive weapon he will be able to play lots of help. Furthermore, Amar’e Stoudemire will play along the elbow and the perimeter causing Kevin Garnett to come out as well. Leaving Jermaine O’neal all alone. The guard play will be vital for the Celtics in order for them to win. Rajon Rondo has a large advantage over Toney Douglas, however Iman Shumpert has shown defensive capabilities as well as quickness and a 6’5 frame. He will need to step up this game, as well as Ray Allen. He will need to do more then just shoot, due to the absence of Paul Pierce. If I had to predict right now, I’d give it to the Knicks.

Heat vs. Mavericks:

A finals rematch, probably the most anticipated game of the Christmas match-ups. After winning the finals, the Mavericks made substantial changes to their roster. Letting Tyson Chandler, Deshawn Stevenson and J.J Barea go made the team softer. However, they added veterans Lamar Odom and Vince Carter. This game will be a test to see if the Mavericks still have the toughness and defense they had last year. Nobody will be able to guard Dirk in this game, because frankly, it’s impossible. He will get his share of points, no doubt. Lamar Odom will also be a threat on the floor, he and Bosh will be a great match-up considering they’re almost the same type of player. Then you have D-Wade and Lebron. It’s very rare that players can guard them. And this game will be no different. There is no way, an older Vince Carter can guard Lebron James. He’s slow, and he’s not interested in playing defense. At the shooting guard position there really is nobody to guard D-Wade except for Jason Terry. Although, the Dallas bench can still out battle the Miami bench, I will give this game to Miami. The loss of Tyson Chandler is bigger then they think, they lost toughness and a defensive anchor. Who’s really going to stop D-Wade and Lebron in the paint? Nobody.

Lakers vs. Bulls:

This game features the Bulls and the second best team in Los Angeles. The Lakers are out to prove that they can still win games, doubt has surrounded this team for weeks. Kobe’s injured, Bynum’s out, Lamars gone, the triangle offense is gone. Everything seems to have gone wrong, well unfortunately tomorrow won’t be the light at the end of the tunnel. I predict a Laker loss. Let me explain. The former MVP is going to destroy this whole team. It’s as simple as that. Derrick Fisher can’t guard him, neither can Kobe. He will get by the first man and Bynum will block him. Oh, wait Bynum is out. Pau isn’t a shot blocker and isn’t as intimidating as a Bynum. I forsee a Derrick Rose takeover tomorrow. Another strength of the Bulls is their bench. Taj Gibson…. 

Ya, remember him? Omer Asik and Kyle Korver are other names among the young bench who averaged around 27 points a game last season. Another weakness of the Lakers is their bench. They lost the 6th man of the year in Lamar Odom, and they lost Shannon Brown. Now that Bynum is out for 5 games, they have to move Josh McRoberts into the starting lineup, which leaves the Laker bench with…. Matt Barnes? Steve Blake? That won’t get the job done. Among all this doubt, there is a strength that the Lakers have. An angry Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the type of player to go off when he is mad, and oh boy does he have things to be mad about. His wife left him, he tore ligaments in his wrist, the front office traded Lamar Odom, and Mike Brown was appointed without any discussion. Even though he might go crazy tomorrow, that won’t be enough to get past Derrick Rose, the Bulls defense and their bench. I’ll give this one to the Bulls.

Thunder vs Magic:

The Magic fans will be happy to see Dwight Howard on the floor in an official game as a member of the Orlando Magic. They won’t be happy to watch their team get beat by the Thunder. The Thunder pride themselves in their defense and their energy. Their young talent and their scoring champion in Kevin Durant. I bet Kevin Durant is smiling somewhere right now as he thinks about the poor perimeter defense he will match up against tomorrow night. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson. What a joke. Kevin Durant will rip them up from all over the floor. As well as his partner in crime Russell Westbrook. Who has no problem being guarded by Jameer Nelson. I bet James Harden is even looking forward to the loose defense of the Magic. However, getting to the basket will be harder then ever. Whenever you’re up against Dwight Howard you know points in the paint won’t come easy. He should have his way in the middle, nobody on the Thunder can really out muscle him. They do have a good chance of constraining him though, considering the depth at the power forward/center position. Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collinson and Cole Aldrich are all very defensive minded players and will try keep Dwight Howard under control, but we all know that’s close to impossible. The depth is also a huge problem with the Magic. Besides Big Baby Davis and Quentin Richardson the bench is pretty empty. Everyone else is inconsistent and won’t be a match for the young and energetic  bench who scored around 30 points a game last season. This game will go to the Thunder. I will also predict that this win against the Magic will be the beginning of their finals run. A win in the finals? Possibly but this could be the beginning of something special.

Clippers vs. Warriors:

The world is buzzing about the Los Angeles Clippers. The most exciting team in sports right now. The “Lob Angeles Clippers,” they’ve been dubbed. The talents of Blake Griffin and CP3 combined seems like something out of a video game. I would say they scored the biggest this off season with the additions of Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler and Chris Paul. They’ve proved they’re no fluke, while beating the Lakers in both preseason games. I could see this game being more of a challenge for the Clippers. The Warriors actually have players who can stay with CP3. Stephen Curry has shown defensive aptitude in his career and although Monta Ellis isn’t a defensive minded guy he can still keep with CP3.  The Warriors bench is also very young and talented. Ekpe Udoh, Klay Thompson, and Brandon Rush are among the bench. They will provide a boost of energy for the Warriors if they need it. Unlike the Lakers, the Warriors are a very young team and I wouldn’t be surprised if they really give the Clippers a run for their money. This match-up is especially interesting because  neither team really plays too much defense. This should be a score-a-thon. Both teams somwhere in the 100’s. The X-factor in this game for me is DeAndre Jordan. Blake Griffin will pound David Lee down low, he isn’t quick or strong enough to guard him. DeAndre Jordan is the key to a Clippers loss or win. It is yet to be seen if he can be a defensive anchor in the middle, if he can man the paint and provide an intimidation factor, then Monta Ellis and Steph Curry will have a harder time scoring. If he ignores the defensive end, then this game will come down to who can outscore the other. We’ll see. I’m going to be spontaneous and give this one to the Warriors. I have to have at least one surprise. I think the Clipper mania will come to a halt when the Warriors come out of nowhere and beat the Clippers.

What do you think? Comment who you have to win each game. Only 13  hours until tip-off. Here we go!

Does New York Have a Contender?

With the unofficial addition of Baron Davis, we begin to wonder if the expectation of a title could be realistic. The Knicks have the best front-court in the NBA with Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler. The rookie Iman Shumpert showed tons of potential in New York’s preseason game in New Jersey. The gap in their roster was in the backcourt and on the bench. Now that they’ve added an experienced veteran in Baron Davis, the backcourt is more experienced and the roster is deeper. If D’antoni decides to start Baron when he is fully healthy, there is an option of Shumpert, Douglas or Bibby coming off the bench. That’s a lot of options, especially when Douglas can play the 2.

How does this team stack up against the elite teams in the NBA? This offseason, they really made a jump from an average team, to an elite team. However, the expectations of winning a championship put a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Let’s analyze their game and see if they have what it takes.

Offense:

We all know the Knicks can score. With Carmelo and Amar’e combining for around 50 points a game, offense is never a concern. Especially when your coach is the infamous offensive minded man that is Mike D’antoni. Surrounding their two offensive stars, Tony Douglas, Landry Fields, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert have all shown they have offensive talent. And the three ball. A deadly weapon. Their backcourt was only concern. They have four options to pick from for point guard. Now that Baron Davis is here, he and Mike Bibby can mentor the younger guards and bring experience. Let’s not forget how dangerous Baron Davis is when healthy. 

Defense:

This is the really big question for the new look knicks this season. Defense has been their weakness every season. The addition of Tyson Chandler filled a hole in the front court, and provided a defensive presence in the paint. He brought wear and tear, and toughness to a “soft” Dallas team last year, and is trying to do the same with the Knicks. Don’t underestimate the perimeter defense either. Landry Fields and Toney Douglas have proven themselves as capable perimeter defenders. Iman Shumpert also showed his defensive aptitude in the preaseason game against the Nets. Iman End to End The team defense, however is the concern. Communication isn’t a problem on this team. They have leaders, and talking to one another won’t be an issue. The issue will be working together as a team and playing defense for 48 minutes. Something Amar’e and Melo aren’t known for. No matter how good Tyson is in the paint, he can’t play defense for a whole team.

Bench:

Depth was a huge problem for the Knicks last season. After giving up practically all of their young talent in the “Melo Drama”, they were left with few assets. They’re depth in the backcourt won’t be a problem. They have four options at the point guard position. The frontcourt depth is a bit of a problem though. Renaldo Balkman won’t put up 20 points every night like he did on Saturday. Jerome Jordan, and Josh Harrelson are young players with little experience. They will have to really step up to help out when the Knicks’ dangerous starting front court takes a break. That might not be enough to win a championship. Depth is everything. It was the difference in the finals last year. The Heat were extremely limited and the Mavericks had J.J Barea and Jason Terry putting up double digits every game.

With all the new assets the Knicks are certainly a contender and a legitimate team for the first time in recent memory. However, the bar may be a bit too high for the Knicks at this point. They will hold their own against the elite but still have to prove themselves as a team. Only time will tell.

Exciting Moments Ahead

Only 22 more days till the most anticipated NBA tip-off in recent memory. The excitement is indescribable, already rumours are beginning, teams are practicing and fans are biting their nails, anxiously awaiting Christmas day. Exciting moments are on their way. In the spirit of Christmas I bring to you the 12 most exciting things to look forward to this season.

12. NBA Tip-Off

Although, the NBA tip-off is only one day of a 66 game season. It will begin the domino effect of exciting games. The match-ups all consist of star players and exciting teams. Boston’s Big Three takes their talents to New York to match up against the Knicks Big Three.  A finals rematch in Dallas. Former MVP’s match up as the Bulls take on the Lakers. Superman is flying to Oklahoma as the Magic take on the Thunder. And Bad Blake will begin the hundreds of mind-blowing dunks as the Clippers take on the Golden State Warriors. Merry Christmas indeed.

11. Celtics Too Old?

After the Celtics lost to Miami’s Big Three in the conference semi-finals last year, a lot of people said they didn’t have the young talent to compete with the upcoming teams in the league. Such as, Miami, Oklahoma, Chicago and so on. The Big Three in Boston have a title and know how to win and what it takes to win. Something that is taken for granted through the eyes of fans. Garnett still has his toughness, and maybe he isn’t as quick as he used to be but he still has a killer shot and knows when to step up. Ray Allen, hasn’t aged at all. His three is still lights out, as well as his mid range jumper. And people can say nothing about Paul Pierce, after all his exciting plays this season. This play in particular….

There is no need to even watch past 0:24. I’m just saying, the Celtics still got it and although they may be looked upon as the old timers in a new generation they have some tricks up their sleeves. The Celtics may play with a chip on their shoulder and that means terror for other teams in the league.

10. KD Not Kidding Anymore

After barely beating the Grizzlies last year and losing to the Mavericks in the conference finals, KD knew he could never go through anything like that again. He was done losing, after getting his heart broken by the Lakers in the 1st round in ’10 and losing to Dallas in ’11 he knew he had to change. This summer he has wasted no time improving his game. Here is proof…..

I cannot wait to see Kevin Durant develop more as a player and as a scorer and bring Oklahoma City their much deserved ring.

9. Grizzlies Back on Their Grizzly

When the Grizzlies defeated the number 1 seeded Spurs in the west I was shocked. Heck, the whole world was shocked. The Spurs had been having a picture perfect season. 60 wins and the 1st seed in the West. They thought they had a legitimate chance at a title. Then the young, scrappy, Grizzlies came along and silenced San-Antonio and the NBA world. Then when they forced a game 7 against KD and the Thunder we began to really take them seriously. Unfortunately, they couldn’t push past the Thunder. However, they exited the playoffs with nothing to be ashamed of. They gave two of the best teams in the West a run for their money. They may have failed in the playoffs but succeeded in imprinting their game in everyone’s mind. Now that Mike Conley, Z-Bo, and Rudy Gay are back, the Grizzlies will enter this season as legitimate competition. I can’t wait to see more of their electrifying game.

8. Rookie Class

This year’s rookie class is nothing special. There are no Lebron’s, no Kobe’s, nobody that is an obvious star. However, that’s what makes it interesting. Anyone of the  rookies can jump out and surprise us, almost like Blake Griffin did with his first  NBA dunk. The favourites for Rookie of The Year are Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams. However, Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette and Ricky Rubio may want a piece of the spotlight. Maybe this rookie class isn’t filled with future stars but they are filled with exciting players.

7. Knicks Gelling

The new look Knicks played 42 games together last season, Melo and Amar’e brought  a glimmer of hope to the one city that needed it most. Now they hope to develop upon that and expand that glimmer of hope into a championship.  Due to Amar’e’s back injury during the 1st round of the playoff’s last year the Knicks didn’t have a chance. I believe if Amar’e had been fully healthy they would’ve played Miami in the 2nd round. The big question heading into this season, is how will Amar’e, Melo and Billups work together. Last season there was definitely some miscommunication on the court, but when these guys learn how to work together. Miami better watch their back.

6. D-Rose 2 Time MVP?

After D-Rose’s breakout season last year and the Bulls surprising success, I’m intrigued by what they will bring to the table this year. Lockdown defense is for sure. But can Derrick Rose match the stellar performance he gave last year.  He clearly has tricks up his sleeve, and if you haven’t seen his highlights from last season then prepare to be astounded….  

 The question is what will he surprise us with this season? A 50 point game? More killer crossovers? Unbelievable hops? D-Rose is unpredictable, but what we do know is that he will be eager to show everyone that last season’s success was no fluke. And that the Bulls and himself are here to stay among the elite.

 5. Lakers Redeem Themselves  

The Los Angeles Lakers suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Conference semi-finals to Dirk and the Mavs. Phil Jackson will try to forget his last series as a coach. He will try to forget Andrew Bynum throwing an elbow of frustration to J.J Barea. He will definitely try to forget being swept by Dallas. Now with a new coach, and a hungry Kobe, the Lakers can start on a clean slate. Everyone knows Kobe is angry and wants back on that throne. NBA fans everywhere, brace yourself for a Kobe overdrive.

4. Miami Back With a Vengeance  

Miami suffered at the hands of greatness last season when losing to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks in the finals. Everyone, including themselves called the season a failure. This summer Lebron, and D-Wade didn’t waste time sulking or lowering their heads. They’re focused on greatness and focused on championships so they’ve been hard at work preparing for this season….

 Now that Lebron, D-Wade, and Bosh have additional criticism and motivation from last season it will be interesting to see how they come back this season. I’m predicting full on domination.

  3. Blake Show is Back  

If you ask any fan what team was most exciting to watch last season I bet you more than half would say the Los Angeles Clippers. This young and talented squad showed true potential last year when the Blake Show came along. They even made the Lakers a little nervous about being the top team in Los Angeles. But, Blake Griffin and the rest of his crew are back with more experience and more flavour this year. I’m eager to see them in action and to see Blake throwing down monster jam’s this season.

 2. Dallas 2-Peat

 After winning a title last year, Dirk and the Mavericks must be careful about their throne. The Lakers will be back and ready to redeem themselves, Miami will have more firepower than ever, and every other team in the league wants a seat on top. Dallas are prime targets this season and the fact that Tyson Chandler hasn’t signed an extension should worry them more. They’re veteran roster must be ready for the new guys in town who will do anything to defeat them. I wonder if J-Kidd, Dirk and Jason Terry will have what it takes this year. It will be more than exciting to see them in the finals once again.

 1. CP3 and Superman

 The best center in the league and arguably the best point guard in the league are free agents next summer. CP3’s agent has released statements that he wants a bite out of the Big Apple and there is speculation the Dwight wants out. We know the Magic and Hornets will try to improve their rosters around their stars before it’s too late. We also know they will trade them to get the most out of them if their stars don’t agree to an extension. This will be the most exciting part of the season due to the impact that these players will make on any team. Imagine CP3, Melo and Amar’e in New York. They’d instantly be best in the East. Or if Dwight went to Los Angeles, the Lakers would instantly be best in the West. After the Melo-Drama and the free agent frenzy of 2010-2011 we have all grown to love stars teaming up. It will be exciting to follow the drama that surrounds these players all season.