The NBA off-season has been very eventful. The shift of key players has turned many teams into instant powerhouses while at the same time decimating others. The moves of big names like Lebron James, Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire have made their new respective teams astronomically better. Here is what I expect this year.
No doubt the Miami Heat are the winners in this year’s superstar bonanza. What the Heat were able to pull off in landing Chris Bosh and Lebron James is nothing short of a miracle and to top it off they were able to pull off the deal by paying 3 of the top players in the NBA bargain basement prices. No easy task. They have instantly become the new favorites to win the NBA championship in the 2010-2011 season. In addition to adding 2 superstars to run alongside Dwayne Wade, they were able to surround them with good role players that complement their skills. The Heat will be good this year, but I do not think they are a lock to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
The Boston Celtics have gotten better this year as well. Remember, they were 12 minutes away from winning the NBA championship last year. They have all their key stars- Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo returning. In addition they landed stars past their prime Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neil. The Celtics have always featured suffocating defense, which will be their staple this year as long as Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins stay healthy. If healthy, the Celtics are poised to make a return trip to the NBA Finals and given the uncertainty of chemistry with the Heat; I would give the edge to the Celtics as the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Other teams that have a made a nice splash this season are the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls. The Knicks have given other players to actually consider coming to New York and play alongside superstar Amare Stoudemire and Danilo Galinari. However, the Knicks are still rebuilding their nucleus and I imagine that they won’t win many more games than last year in the competitive East. The Chicago Bulls, with the addition of Carlos Boozer have become one of the top 3 teams in the East. Playing alongside young stars Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, the Bulls feature All Stars in 3 positions and with the defensive minded Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach they certainly have the talent to some damage in the East.
Of all the teams, I believe the one that will probably win the NBA championship this year really didn’t do too much to tweak their already dominant roster – L.A Lakers. Now the Lakers have kept all of their key players from last year including MVP Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Dererk Fisher and Andrew Bynam. They have also signed good players like Matt Barnes and Steve Blake to fill out their roster. I think you have to give the edge to Lakers to win it again with Phil Jackson also returning. With Phil, there is no one better in getting the most of his players with talent they got. They certainly are a top dog in the NBA and a glamour pick to win the NBA championship.