The 2007-2008 NBA Basketball Season is just around the corner. The teams are already back at training camp, and it is just a matter of time before pre-season games are wrapping up and people are dunking, shooting and traveling all over the basketball court.
So is this year’s favorite? What team is the sheik pick of the year? Well, I will let you take what you can from the first of this season’s NBA Power Rankings. Here are the teams, 13-15:
13. Washington Wizards (41-41)
I don’t care what anyone else says, the Wizards would have been a force to reckon with in last year’s playoffs. They were better than at least five other Eastern playoff teams before Gilbert Arenas went down for the season. Their 3-pronged attack will be back in full-force this season, and I expect the Arenas to have one heck of a contract year. The Wizards could reach the Eastern conference finals with the type of offense they have, if they only decided to play some type of defense this season. Nevertheless, I’m sure they won’t, and that will undoubtedly lead to competitive second round exit from this year’s playoffs. But no matter how they finish, Gilbert Arenas will end up with a fat contract come the end of the Wizards’ 2007-2008 NBA season…whether it is or isn’t with his current team.
14. Chicago Bulls (49-33)
I’m not sure who gave the Bulls all of that hype to win the East last year, but they surely did not look like a contender against Detroit Pistons’ team that would go on to lose against Lebron and his cast of characters. While the team thrives on defense, as predicted, they truly struggle on offense. There seems to be no offensive rhythm or strategy whenever they are in possession of the ball. So unless Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich are knocking down outside shots, the offense runs pretty awkwardly. Part of the problem is that their best offensive weapon, Loul Deng, does not touch the ball enough. That task falls on the hands of Coach Scott Skiles who needs to put more structure in the Bulls offensive system. The Bulls’ low-post game is also lacking, which is why making that trade for Pao Gasol would have come in handy. I would agree that trading Deng to get him was at a steep price, but if they are not going to pass Deng the ball anyway, why not get the last piece of the puzzle.
15. Miami Heat
The big question here is whether or not Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade are healthy coming into the season. Well, from reports the answer is inconclusive, which probably means that neither of them is completely healthy. Nevertheless, the Miami Heat is a team full of veterans and they could make playoffs missing one or the other for most of the season. However, a playoff victory would be far from likely if Shaq and Wade are not on the floor at the same time. Wade has proven to be where the Heat turn to in the 4th quarter, and they will not win any close playoff games without this presence. Shaq proved he could still play ball during the last month or so of the regular season, and if he is capable of playing at that level come playoff time, he can be the difference between the Heat team that lost 4 straight games to the Chicago Bulls in the first round, and the Heat team that beat the Dallas Mavericks 4 straight games in the NBA Finals.