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November 6 - NBA Preview

by Trevor Freeman

For most people, October 31st was Halloween. A day that is dedicated to hooking up with women
dressed like slutty nurses and egging unsuspecting houses. For me……and you can tell I’m pushing
closer to 30, Halloween was on a Tuesday and that meant I had work the next day. However this year
for the first time, October 31st also meant the tip-off of the NBA season. It meant Miami was getting
their rings and Adam Morrison was one day closer to proving to Chad Ford that he is superior as a
basketball player to Andrea Bargnani. It meant that no longer would the big NBA stories revolve
around Sebastian Telfair’s boys possibly shooting Fabolous and it would instead revolve around the
actual game of hoop. With all that mind, I figured it was time for me to throw my NBA rankings
together.

We will begin our countdown in a locale that is used to watching losing professional basketball.
Sadly this locale also doubles as home and this team is………gulp…….the team I was born into
rooting for (shaking my head as I am writing this).

30. Golden State

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Is there anybody against giving Billy Beane an extra $2 million a
year and handing him the controls to the Golden State Warriors? Billy may not know basketball but he
knows how to cobble together a winning team. Watching Chris Mullin make offseason moves is like
watching the drunk guy at the bar keep putting his glass closer and closer to the edge of the table.
Eventually it’s going to fall and it’s going to be loud, slightly humorous, and embarrassing. We suck.
And if you don’t think we suck then you need to lock the Humboldt sally up in your drawer.

29. Portland

Brandon Roy was an outstanding draft pick and he is a heavy contender for Rookie of the Year. That
being said, when the best player on your team is a rookie………things are going to be bad before
they get better.

28. Atlanta

I’m not saying I can do a better job than Billy Knight………..however there’s no chance of me drafting
Marvin Williams over Chris Paul……..you can check my archives if you don’t believe me. At least this
year they are good enough that people won’t be arguing about various college teams being better
than them, so that’s an improvement.

27. Toronto

Andrea Bargnani has played 18 full minutes and has SIX WHOLE POINTS in that time. Although from
what I hear he makes the best fettuccini alfredo for the team picnic, so taking him with the first overall
pick still feels good in Toronto. On the flip side, Brandon Roy and Adam Morrison are each averaging
over 16 a night and seem poised to battle it out for Rookie of the Year. The simple answer if you read
my landmark “Applying Common Sense to the NBA Draft” is yes………I already feel vindicated.

(On a sidenote, everybody should prepare themselves for my landmark “Applying Common Sense to
Baseball’s Free Agent Market” article. Daisuke Matsuzaka over a proven ace like Barry Zito smacks of
Bargnani over Morrison and Roy.

26. Seattle

Let’s put it this way………..you’re not really an NBA franchise if you employ Bob Hill as your head
towel guy……the fact that he is their coach is just mind-boggling. In the words of Brian Dennehy in
“Season on the Brink”, he couldn’t lead a whore to bed let alone this team to a championship.

25. New York

The Knicks are built like a sloppy set of nachos. There’s a lot of cheese, refried beans, meat,
guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. However, instead of layering everything the Knicks just dumped it
all on a pile of chips. As we all know this leads to the chips getting soggy which means you’re
screwed if you don’t have a fork. There is actual talent on the Knicks as their young frontcourt troika of
Channing Frye, Eddy Curry, and David Lee could be very good. The team just needs to add pieces
that can complement this strength.

24. Charlotte

Charlotte is the Minka Kelly of the NBA. You don’t know who she is yet…….but you will. They have a
great, young core in Adam Morrison, Emeka Okafor, Sean May and Raymond Felton. Plus they have a
TON of cap space to play around with at the end of this season. This team will contend for an NBA
championship in the next five years.

23. Boston

With Red Auerbach passing I’m going to hold off on telling you how stupid it was to trade the pick that
could have been used to draft Rudy Gay for Sebastian Telfair.

22. Memphis

Speaking of the man who will have the lowest selling replica jersey in NBA history…….Rudy Gay will
be a star in this league. I said it before the NBA Draft and I will say it again now. He is Scottie Pippen
all over again. That being said, Memphis is going to have huge problems without Pau Gasol.

21. Milwaukee

I hated the T.J. Ford for Charlie Villanueva trade. Ford was a proven guy from his years at Texas and
already in the NBA. In pro and college, Charlie Villanueva has had one season that can be
considered good. I’m not a buyer on him at all. Andrew Bogut’s development will be key to this team. I
like Mo Williams but his game is flawed.

20. Minnesota

Dwayne Casey wins my Wayne Fontes Award for successfully putting a lineup on the floor that will
help waste the prime of a superstar. Kevin Garnett would be better off sitting out this season and
saving his legs for a real team. How Minnesota has Randy Foye lingering on the bench is beyond me.
To have the second best player on your team play a total of seven minutes over your first three games
is just inexcusable.

19. Indiana

With the Jailblazers having been disbanded, the Pacers now step into the role of biggest misfit team
in the NBA. I was honestly surprised Larry Legend didn’t tear the whole thing up and start over in the
offseason. I would be shocked if Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson are members of this team
after the trade deadline. This is the team that most needs to be blown up.

18. Philadelphia

While I have this team ranked 18th…….don’t be surprised if Philly makes the playoffs and keeps
things interesting. We all know AI and C-Webb are in the twilight of their career, however I love
Rodney Carney. If Mo Cheeks is smart, he’ll go with AI, Carney, Andre Igoudala, Webber, and Samuel
Dalembert and play without a true point guard at crunch time. That is his best lineup as Carney and
Igoudala are elite athletes.

No. 17 Sacramento

Rule 17 Section 57 of “Trevor’s Rules of Ranking NBA Teams” states, “Never rank a team whose
head coach picked up a DWI immediately before the season above #17.”

16. Washington

Of all the stories I have read about Gilbert Arenas, this one is by far the best. The Wizards will make
the playoffs and maybe even put a scare into somebody. However this team isn’t built to do anything
more than that.

15. Orlando

A definite sleeper. I’ve been high on Jameer Nelson since he starred at St. Joe’s and I think this is the
year he breaks out as an All-Star performer. Dwight Howard should anchor the inside and he is
developing into a double-double terror. The keys to this team making a deep playoff run are twofold.
The first is that they need Grant Hill to give them a full season. The second and this is not a joke.
Darko Milicic actually showed some flashes last season. He looked like somebody who might not be
a stiff. If he can develop into an actual threat, this season could be special in Orlando.

Utah
The Jazz are off to a 3-0 start and I think this year will be a big step forward for them. Deron Williams
will close the gap on Chris Paul as I see him turning in an All-Star caliber campaign. The only hitch in
Utah’s giddyap could be if Andrei Kirilenko blows his free pass too early in the season.

13. New Orleans/Oklahoma City/Topeka/Fargo/Billings

The biggest Rip Van Winkle in the NBA. In his rookie season, Chris Paul proved what most college
basketball fans already knew. That he is without a doubt one of the best two point guards on the
planet (Steve Nasty being the other one). The presence of Paul made David West look like the David
West of Xavier. The Hornets made one of the quietest best signings of the offseason in picking up
Peja Stojakovic. He gives the Omaha Hornets one of the best threesomes in the entire league.

12. New Jersey

I agree with everybody else who says that Vince Carter will have a huge year in this a contract season.
It wouldn’t shock me if he averages 29-5-4. What will be interesting is the emergence of Laptop Boy. I
have a feeling that he will be doing more than just spelling Jason Kidd by midseason.

11. Denver

No team is more desperate for an outside shooter than the Denver Nuggets. They are an Eric
Piatkowski away from moving up another three to four slots on this list. Unfortunately they have been
one Eric Piatkowski away for three years and everybody else realizes it except their front office.

10. Detroit Pistons

Taking Ben Wallace off Detroit is the equivalent of removing Tony Soprano from “The Sopranos”. Sure
you can still keep the show going around the rest of the cast….it just won’t be as good.

9. Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are like Demi Moore. Glamorous, fresh off of a face lift and possessing a fastball that is
still deadly. The added bonus is if they put together a worthy regular season, David Stern will try as
hard as he can to put them over the top and into the NBA Championship.

(Note: I used to criticize David Stern for this but now I can appreciate his efforts after watching Buddy
Selig let Detroit-St. Louis happen when everyone knows Oakland-Mets would have been 97 times
more compelling.)

8. Los Angeles Clippers

Let’s see, if the Lakers are like Demi Moore then the Clippers are like………….Jenna Jameson.
Likeable, fun to watch and not the one who is coming home to mom.

7. Houston

I loved the move for Shane Battier (although I firmly believe Rudy Gay will be a much better player than
Shane). He is the ultimate complementary player and will make this Rocket team a contender for the
NBA championship. T-Mac and Yao are the second best inside-outside combination in the league.
The key to this team will be getting steady point guard play. If I’m Jeff Van Gundy I go with more John
Lucas Jr. and less Rafer Alston.

6. Cleveland

Memo to LeBron James. Please grow your hair out and act like the guy who jumps off the high dive in
the Nike commercial. That character is quite possibly the funniest character I have seen in a
commercial since Spuds McKenzie.

Cleveland will heavily compete for the Eastern Conference crown. The key to this team will be for
Larry Hughes to step up and be a reliable second scorer to LeBron. This is the team that should have
made the move for Shane Battier as he would be the perfect complement to LeBron James.

5. Chicago

If the Bulls win the NBA Championship they should give a ring to Isiah Thomas and thank him for that
ridiculous Eddy Curry trade. Because of that trade they were able to draft Tyrus Thomas and free up
the money to sign Ben Wallace (people forget Tim Thomas’ expiring contract was in that deal). Not
only that they STILL get to swap picks with New York next season. Incredible. The Bulls might be the
deepest team in the league. Their only discernable weakness is the lack of a post scorer.

4. Dallas

Nobody does a better job of reloading than the Mavericks. Discount their 0-2 start as I would be
absolutely surprised if the Mavericks didn’t win 60-64 games. Dirk Nowitzki is Dirk Nowitzki and that is
nasty. The backcourt is only getting better with Devin Harris’ growth. Josh Howard is the ultimate
“does a little bit of everything” player. Keep an eye on Maurice Ager as I see him getting more minutes
as he gets more comfortable in the NBA.

3. Phoenix

If Amare Stoudamire is healthy and ready to roll then this team might be the best in the Western
Conference. I just question why a team that was lacking depth wouldn’t use its first round picks AND
let Tim Thomas walk. It’s like they didn’t REALLY want to win the NBA Championship.

2. Miami

It’s against my every principle to preseason rank defending champions anything lower than second.
While I can easily see the Heat having a lackluster regular season and getting eliminated in the
second round of the playoffs, they are the champs and hence they remain in my top two preseason
teams. Dwyane Wade is the best perimeter player in the NBA and Shaquille O’Neal is still a dominant
force when in shape.

1. San Antonio

The Spurs are like “Law & Order”. While the cast may change as long as Jack McCoy is the DA you
know the show is in good shape. I am firm in my belief that Tim Duncan is still the best player in the
NBA. He’s healthy which means my money is on the Spurs to win the belt.


If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at
trevor.freeman@realityfanforum.com.