Cardinal Hoopsters Preview The Upcoming NBA Season
Nov. 10, 2008
STANFORD, Calif.- The 2008-09 regular season kicks off on Friday, Nov. 14, when Stanford travels to Yale in the opener for both teams.
However, the 2008-09 NBA campaign has been underway for almost two weeks and as usual, there is already much to talk about.
Recently, www.gostanford.com checked in with our resident panel of hoops experts as they offered their insight with some quick-hitters as to what they expect for the upcoming season.
Here is a sampling of their thoughts:
I think the Lakers and the Hornets are going to do very well this year ... I see the Lakers winning it all- they're going to win the 'chipper' ... The East should be a lot better, led by Boston and Cleveland. And it will be interesting to see what Detroit looks like now, adding Allen Iverson. It will be one of those three teams ... As for Detroit and that trade, I think it's better for them since Denver is in the West. That's huge for Allen Iverson though, because now he's finally on a good team that can win a championship ... Probably your best players right now are Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul ... But if Gilby comes back, Gilby's got to be No. 3, man. Gilbert Arenas definitely has to be No. 3. That's my favorite player ... For darkhorses, keep an eye on the Hawks. Actually, I think the Magic are going to be really good too. Both of those teams have a lot of potential.
Well, the Rockets and Jazz are my two favorite teams ... I really think the Jazz can pull it out in the West, and then out of the East I'll go with the Celtics. Overall, it's got to be the Celtics ... No surprise to me that Jerry Sloan is still around and having success- he's embedded in that system. He is synonymous with the Utah Jazz. Somehow he's never won Coach of the Year and I know he has never won a championship. But he's been there, been in contention for everything and now with guys like Williams, Boozer, Okur and all the young players there, I think they can do it ... I'm looking forward to watching guys like Chris Paul and Deron Williams this year. I do think Steve Nash is the best point guard in the league but others are taking a step closer ... Oh, and look out for Elton Brand this year; I think Philly is a good fit for him and he definitely makes them better.
I think the Celtics are going to repeat this year. They look like they're playing real well and Paul Pierce is killing it ... I'd look for a Celtics-Cavs matchup in the Eastern Conference finals. The Cavs added Mo Williams, so he should be a good addition as a scorer ... In the East, the Bulls aren't looking too good but I think Derrick Rose is going to win the Rookie of the Year ... In the West, I like the Lakers and the Suns. Shaq is playing well so far and it could be a toss-up between those two teams in the Western Conference finals ... I saw Brook and Robin play against each other the other night; saw the first half of that game. It was funny because I don't think they scored on each other while I was watching but I think Brook had like two blocks. It was fun to see that ... Robin is in a great situation. He can come in and do his thing, create problems on defense. He is a good complimentary guy on that team to Shaq and Nash. Plus I think they like him in Phoenix. I think Brook is going to be a star scorer. It looks like Ryan Anderson is doing well also, so I think those two can play real well together.
I tend to follow whoever Kevin Garnett plays for, so I follow the Celtics. Kevin Garnett is my favorite player ... The only guy the Celtics lost was James Posey so they have their core back in the Big Three. People say they are getting old and they won't be able to repeat, but the East is the East and Boston is a powerhouse ... I think a surprise team might be the Hawks. Just based on what I've seen from the start of this year and what they did last year in the playoffs. Even though they lost Josh Childress, they are a good team that is maturing ... It's funny because I feel like the Spurs and the Mavs are slowly losing that window to win a championship, and if the Suns don't get it together, they might fall back a bit in the standings ... Of course, the Lakers are strong. I thought Portland might be in the mix with them but then Greg Oden went down ... Look for LeBron to pull out the MVP this year.
Definitely the West will be as strong as ever ... Houston, I look for them to come back and if they can stay healthy, I think they can be a contender for the Finals ... Unfortunately, my favorite team, Dallas, is looking a little bleak. Only because the Hornets are back, the Lakers are there and maybe the Blazers too (if Greg Oden can stay healthy) ... Interesting trade with Iverson going to Detroit. I don't think it will really work but we'll see ... Boston is going to be strong but I don't think they can do it again ... Interesting to see what's going to happen with LeBron. I don't know if the Cavs will have as good of a season. LeBron still needs help; they need to get him some new players soon to mix it up a little bit ... Also curious to see what happens with Mike D'Antoni in New York ... And I'll be following the twins, with Brook out in New Jersey and Robin in Phoenix. I missed their first meeting against each other but I did see a lot of Robin in the preseason and have been keeping track of their stats. Hopefully they can both get it going ... If Chris Paul and the Hornets can reach the conference finals, then he's my MVP in the West. As for the East, assuming Boston gets there again, I would go with KG.
Obviously, the team to beat is the Lakers. They are the defending Western Conference champs but I really feel like Houston is definitely right there, with the addition of Ron Artest. So I would say that if the matchups and playoff seeding work out, we'll see LA and Houston in the Western Conference finals ... The Warriors are my local team. I've been rooting for them now the last couple of years. Fun to watch but right now they're without Monta so that hurts them. They're obviously a good team but it's almost like what happened to them last year. With Monta being out 30 games, you just can't make up those early losses. Just like Stephen Jackson being suspended for the first seven games of last year ... The East is definitely the Celtics, although I think the Pistons adding A.I. could help. But the Celtics are the team to beat there, hands down ... For a sleeper, I like Toronto. I think with Bosh and O'Neal- and they have great shooters and guards- Toronto could make a run in the East ... And you can never count out LeBron and the Cavs ... O.J. Mayo had 28 the other night, so he's doing really well. Beasley and Rose are both playing well, so there will be a few rookies to watch closely.