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NBA AM: Ready To Break Out Of The Basement
Posted By Steve Kyler On September 10, 2012 @ 9:22 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Breaking Out Of The Basement: The top of the NBA has been pretty consistent over the past few years. The LA Lakers, The San Antonio Spurs, The Miami HEAT and Chicago Bulls are among the top tier, but just as the top has its usual faces, so too does the basement of the NBA. After repeated visits to the NBA draft lottery there are some teams from the NBA basement that might ready to break out and maybe sniff at the postseason.
Key Additions: Aaron Brooks and Thomas Robinson
If the Kings were in the Eastern Conference they might have enough talent to challenge for the 8th seed, but because the Kings are going face extremely tough Western Conference teams night in and night out, the road to the Playoffs may be too much for the Kings. The talent is there in Sacramento, but overcoming the better, deeper teams the West has to offer is going to require more than talent. It tends to take 46 wins or more, on average, to crack the postseason in the West. Sacramento hasn’t seen 46 wins in more than seven seasons and won just 33% of their games last season. There could be progress this season but cracking the postseason seems like a stretch unless someone in Kings uniform becomes an All-Star this season.
Key Additions: C.J. Miles, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller
The Cavaliers have the luxury of a very soft middle class in the East. If Kyrie Irving can continue to be elite, the Cavs have a puncher’s chance for the 8th seed. The Cavs offseason additions are not exactly home runs, so if the Cavs are going to make the post season they either need a trade or for their existing veterans to really play big. For stretches of the season last year the Cavs were able to string together some wins. It tends to take 40 wins on average to make the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavs won 31.8% of their games last year. Getting to the 8th seed isn’t impossible, but it’s going to take a great season from Irving and he’ll need some help along the way.
New Orleans Hornets
Key Additions: Ryan Anderson, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick, Roger Mason Jr., Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis
The Hornets will field basically an entirely new team. That’s great for the future of the franchise, but with so many new faces and so many young guys trying to find their NBA groove, expecting the Hornets to challenge for the 8th seed in the West is a little unreasonable. The Hornets should be a better team, and they may win a few more games this season, but expecting them to go from what amounted to the worst to the postseason would require more than just Anthony Davis being great out of the gate. The Hornets should be better and likely more competitive, but to think they are headed to the playoffs ignores how deep the West is. The Hornets likely have another lottery season in them, which means they remain in the basement for another year.
Key Additions: Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Brad Beal
If John Wall can be the guy everyone wants him to be, the Wizards have the talent to be the 9th seed if not better. The offseason additions brought in proven veteran talent and guys that will compete. The Wizards dumped the toxic parts of their roster, so now its about becoming who you really are. If Wall can be the guy, the Wizards are in good shape and should be considered a bubble playoff team. If Wall continues to be plagued by injury and inconsistency, staying in the basement is likely. You hate to pin a season on one guy but where Wall goes, the Wizards will follow. The Wizards won 30% of their games last season. They have the talent to win substantially more than that.
Key Additions: Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Brendan Haywood and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The Bobcats are starting the season in the sub-basement of the NBA so expecting huge improvement might be too much. The Bobcats won a historically bad 10.6% of their games last year. The good news it would be hard not to improve from there. Mike Dunlap looks like the right coach to teach these young guys how to play for 48 minutes, but the talent gap is still real. The Bobcats had a decent offseason sending out a lot of the guys who were problems last year and bringing in veterans who can play. If it all comes together the Bobcats should be better, but to believe they go from historically worst ever by percentage to the NBA playoffs is a little unreasonable. The hole the ‘Cats are in is too great to believe they challenge this year, so there is likely another lottery season in store for Charlotte, but they could get better this year and really start to make progress next year.
We will be kicking off our Season Previews here at HOOPSWORLD with the Charlotte Bobcats and Washington Wizards dropping today. Cleveland and New Orleans will drop on Tuesday with Brooklyn and the Kings dropping on Wednesday. You can expect two teams per day every day as we march towards the opening of NBA training camps at the end of the month. So stay tuned.
What Do You Think?: So let’s put the question to you.
The HEAT Gearing Up: Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald dropped a little note about HEAT forward Chris Bosh adding a little muscle to handle his expected role at center this season.
That’s not the only change to expect. During Summer League in Las Vegas, HEAT coach Erik Spoelstra spent some time with some of the Denver Nuggets coaches and advisers learning the intricacies of the Nuggets dribble-drive offense. Coach Spo has been looking for ways to get his guys the ball in motion and off of action where their clear athletic advantage can be exploited.
The HEAT also told new signees Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to expect to play significant roles this season, so don’t think the HEAT are resting on their championship laurels. They got a ring last season and they are taking getting another one this season very seriously.
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