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, 16-18:
16. Orlando Magic (40-42)
They finished in 8th place in the East last year, and there is no playoff team in the East that made a bigger splash than the Orlando Magic. The additions of Rashard Lewis and Coach Stan Van Gundy should make for an interesting squad. Pairing Rashard Lewis with Dwight Howard should make Orlando a favorite in the Southeast Division. Furthermore, with Lewis’ stellar offensive play and Howard’s’ growing domination of the paint, I am not sure that the Lewis-Howard combination is not more talented than the Wade-Shaq combo is. The rub lies with experience though, which Howard has none of, and which Lewis does not have in the form of playoff familiarity. However, if Jameer Nelson continues to grow and Hedo Tokurgolu can hold it down on the perimeter, the Magic could see a much higher playoff seed in what is becoming a crowded Eastern Conference.
17. Toronto Raptors (47-35)
The Toronto Raptors are certainly growing into a force to be reckoned with. Chris Bosh probably was the most effective big man in the Eastern Conference before the Kevin Garnett trade. Andrea Bargnani has proven to be a tremendous outside threat, and if he has taken the off-season to work on his post game, he might force a double team (or two!) this season. I hope that T.J. Ford has fully recovered from his neck injury, which would mean that he and Jose Calderon would make for two of the most explosive point guards in the league. The Raptors also stole Jason Kapono after he just had what was probably the best season of his career. I’m not sure what Miami was thinking, but it gives the Raptors a reputable outside shooter and more room for Chris Bosh to operate.
18. Los Angeles Lakers (33-49)
The Los Angeles Lakers, for all of their criticism, did make the playoffs last year. With Kobe Bryant coming back (please explain to me how he is still on this team), they just might be able to make the playoffs again. However, you know how the saying goes, “Different toilet. Same….” They won’t win a first round playoff series against any of the upper-tier teams in the Western Conference, and it’s unlikely that they will do better than a 7th seed to avoid such a fate. So all I can really say is “Get out of there, Kobe!”