Tomorrow the NBA championship 2010/2011 starts. Who are the favourites for the title? Let’s see which teams could be the conferences semifinals.
Pat Riley succeded in the task of putting together the “three amigos” when LeBron James and Chris Bosh arrived and joined forces with Dwyane Wade to win the title. After the announcement of the arrival of the two superstars there was the doubt that they’d have only lousy supporting teammates unable to help them enough but Pat Riley also succeded in convincing some veterans to join the Heat at a minimal salary just to win the title. On paper they’re the favourite team, we’ll see if they can create the right chemistry under the great pressure they’re going to have for all the season.
They already showed they’re a team capable of playing in the playoffs and the management decided to keep on relying on their stars adding just a couple of veterans, though Shaquille O’Neal is a handful under all points of view. Last year the Celtics defeated the favourites Cleveland Cavaliers, this year they surely want to do the same thing with the Miami Heat. Certainly they have a number of bodies to put under the basket and particularly between the basket and LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. If they reached the finals it wouldn’t be such a great surprise.
In the last season they weren’t able to go back to the finals they reached in 2009. The team has a high level roster but what worked so well in their best year wasn’t matched in the last playoffs. Maybe Turkoglu was more important than it was generally thought. This year I can’t see them beyond the conference semifinals.
Last season the Hawks were the conference revelation team. The players are more experienced but against Heat and Celtics they don’t look strong enough to defeat them so they seem destined to be the last conference semifinalist but nothing more.
Los Angeles Lakers
All the great talk about the Miami Heat seems to make many people forget that the Lakers won the last two titles. This year they reinforced with a superveteran such as Theo Ratliff, a good forward such as Matt Barnes and a couple of rookies though their value when things really matter has still to be seen. Recovery time for Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, who had surgery after the last season, is still unclear but a similar situation was seen one year ago with Pau Gasol, who then played an excellent final series. They’re the favourite to go back to the finals and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they won another title.
The Nuggets destiny depends on what’s going to happen to Carmelo Anthony: the ex Syracuse has been on the market for a while and when you read this blog he might have been traded to another team. If the trade gets done we’ll have to see who’s arriving and what’s going to be the new Nuggets adjustment. Depending on what’s going to happen Denver could try again to give the Lakers a good fight in the conference final or go out in the first playoffs round.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The team is growing up under the leadership of Kevin Durant, the great rising star of the league. Various players made first their real high level experience in the last season when they were stopped in the playoffs only by the Lakers. This year they could challenge the champions in the conference finals.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs can never be left out of any predictions because their roster includes great players such as Duncan, Ginobili and Parker with various good level teammates, all led by an excellent coaching staff. Their problem is that Duncan and Ginobili are suffering from phisical issues connected to their age so it’s impossible to say in what conditions they’re going to be in the next playoffs. If the team stars should be in good health the next spring they could defeat the Nuggets or the Thunder to face the Lakers in the conference finals, otherwise they’d have to struggle to pass the playoffs first round.