Tag:NBA Playoffs
Posted on: October 19, 2010 12:30 pm

Each Conferences Biggest Surprise Team

The NBA’s biggest surprise team this season for both the Western and Eastern conference, brought to you by NBAPrimetime’s Brandon Ribak.

Western Conference

Utah Jazz

Although Jerry Sloan has yet to intake a big whiff of an NBA trophy in over a decade, his team has consistently made the postseason for the last four years in a row (winning at least 48 games during the regular season in that span).

This off-season the Utah Jazz obtained center Al Jefferson via trade, providing the team with a much more dominate inside threat on the defensive end as opposed to Carlos Boozer (career average of 1.2 BPG compared to Carlos Boozers’ 0.5 BPG).

Center Mehmet Okur is currently sidelined with an injury and has no timetable for a return. With Okur out, 25-year-old Paul Millsap will once again step into the starting power-forward role.

During the 08′-09′ regular season, Millsap averaged an impressive 18 points and 11 rebounds per game in 19 starts (with Boozer sidelined), achieving a double-double in each game.

The duo of Jefferson and Millsap should uplift the Jazz’s regular season win total up a few notches, but for a deep playoff run the team will look for the league’s top point-guard, Deron Williams, to quarterback the offense (Williams has posted at least 18.8PPG and 10.5 APG in each of his last three seasons).

Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls

Even though the Chicago Bulls were never able to obtain Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Chris Bosh this off-season, they were able to sign key players that should help make the team one of the top in the Eastern Conference this season.

Carlos Boozer (out until December) was a huge signing and will assume the power-forward duties for Chicago once he returns to the court.

Boozer gives the Bulls a stretch four forward who can knock down perimeter jumpers and rebound with the best of them.

Chicago also signed shooting-guards Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver this off-season.

Brewer is known for his perimeter defense and will match up against the top stars in the league for the Bulls.

Korver is one of the best sharp-shooters in the NBA and has the ability to absolutely light it up from downtown at virtually any moment during a game. Last season Korver shot an absurd 53.6 percent from three-point territory and the guard will look to shoot the same for Chicago this season.

Add Chicago’s off-season additions (along with their new head coach Tom Thibodeau) to a team composed of point-guard Derrick Rose, center Joakim Noah, and small-forward Luol Deng, and you’ve got yourself a roster destined to make a splash this season.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:26 pm

Could Miami win a Ship without one of their stars

The Big Three, Miami Thrice, LeBoshade, Miami Vice…the superhero list goes on.

But after watching Dwyane Wade fall to injury during the first three minutes of the Miami Heat‘s (massively over-hyped) first preseason game, it’s time for reality to settle in.

No matter how bad fans would like to convince themselves that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are dispensable immortals, at the end of the day these guys are humans just like each and everyone of us.

What would happen if one of the big three fell short to a season (and playoff) ending injury?

Would the other two superstars be able to carry their team to the promise land and capture a championship trophy?

James and Wade

Without Chris Bosh the Miami Heat would be severely undersized. Udonis Haslemwould most likely slide into the starting four spot (unless LeBron decided to step up and play the power-forward position).

While both James and Wade’s scoring averages would quickly increase, the Heat as a team would struggle on the boards.

Come playoff time, the Magic and Celtics would provide mismatches to their advantage due to the plethora of big men on both of their rosters.

Would the Heat win a championship without Chris Bosh?- No.

Wade and Bosh

Miami would place Mike Miller at the starting small-forward position without LeBron James on the court.

Losing LeBron would instantly put a serious load of work right back onto DwyaneWade’s shoulders (just like in the previous seasons).

Without James around to control Miami’s offensive scheme, Wade and Chalmers would be forced to split time bringing up the ball.

For every turnover Mario Chalmers averaged just two assists last season (good enough for 34th best out of leagues point-guards).

Subtract James from this Miami Heat team and they don’t seem too big and bad after all.

Would the Heat win a championship without LeBron James?- No.

James and Bosh

If the Heat were going to have any chance at winning the championship without one of their superstars it would be without Dwyane Wade.

Sound crazy? Well, it’s not!

The duo of James and Bosh are much stronger than the other two combinations listed above.

While talent-wise James and Wade would create a headache for any team that they match up against, they would also lack the legitimate big man needed to secure the paint on both ends of the court.

Similar to how James never had a top-tier power-forward in Cleveland, it wouldn’t be possible for Wade and James to pass through Orlando, Boston, and the Lakers come playoff time if they lack size.

Without Wade on the court LeBron would still be able to play his game while making his teammates better simultaneously.

With Mike Miller at the starting shooting-guard position, James would have the leisure of attacking the basket and dishing the rock out to various three-point shooting threats.

With Bosh being the versatile big man that he is, James would be able to feed the former Toronto Raptor in the paint and all around the perimeter on the offensive end of the court.

Would the Heat win a championship without Dwyane Wade?- Yes.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:30 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 1:46 pm

Western Conference Q&A's: Lakers To Three-Peat?

The 2010-11′ NBA season is just 17 days, 6 hours, and 54 minutes away, but who’s counting?

With the season approaching faster then it took LeBron to make his “decision” this offseason, NBA Primetime presents to you the second part of a two-part series of Q and A’s, Western Conference style.

Can Kevin Durant lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Western Conference Finals?

Last season the Thunder exceeded expectations, finishing the regular season with a 50-32 record, good enough for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

After an intense battle against the Los Angeles Lakers (which would’ve went to a final Game Seven if LA’s Pau Gasol failed to make a last second tip-in) Oklahoma City’s run ended as quick as it began.

During that first round series the Thunder, led by scoring champion Kevin Durant , officially emerged as an uprising threat in the Western Conference.

Unless the Thunder finish as the fourth, fifth, or eighth seed during the upcoming season (NBA Primetime predicts them to end the season as the two seed ) –in which they would face the Lakers during either round prior to the WCF– they should have no problem making their way to the Conference Finals.

While the team lacks playoff experience, they create mismatch problems against their opponents, ultimately giving them an advantage come postseason time.

Are the Portland Trail Blazers the biggest threat to the Los Angeles Lakers ?

ESPN Insider’s Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard recently debated about who the biggest threat to the Los Angeles Lakers are.

After going back and forth Broussard ended the debate with this statement.

“Everyone besides the Lakers is a long shot to win the West, but if L.A. falls, it’ll be Portland, not OKC, that picks up the torch.”

Is it true?

Just a few seasons ago the Portland Trail Blazers sat in the same shoes of the Oklahoma City Thunder . They were the young team of the future composed of a roster flooded with talent.

After a couple of major injuries and front-office firings, the Blazers sit as the sixth best team in the West (according to ESPN’s Marc Stein ) trailing behind teams like the Jazz and the Spurs.

The Blazers will undoubtedly be a top defensive team this season, especially after extending Marcus Camby’s contract and signing Wesley Matthews this offseason.

In addition, lanky Nicholas Batum will get the opportunity to prove his worth at the small-forward position, while Miller, Roy, and Aldridge will look to carry their team deep into the postseason.

On the flip-side, center Greg Oden has already been ruled out of preseason action (with no timetable for a return), and shooting-guard Rudy Fernandez seems to want out of the league.

If the Blazers could prevent the injury bug from entering the teams locker room this season, and Greg Oden can return to full strength come playoff time, Portland will definitely be a threat in the West, just not the biggest threat to the Lakers.

Will the Los Angeles Lakers make a three-peat this season?

The Lakers offseason signings of Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, and Theo Ratliff vastly improves the teams bench (in comparison to the seasons before).

LA will end the season as the top seed in the West, but injury problems are still a concern.

Andrew Bynum is expected to miss the first month of the season and could be sidelined until December. Although Pau Gasol will switch to the five spot and Lamar Odom will take over the power-forward position, the Lakers desperately need Bynum if they want to win the championship this season.

So will the Lakers make a three-peat this season?

It’s tough to predict right now, but if Bynum can return and stay healthy for the long haul of the playoffs, then there is no reason why they can’t make a three-peat.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com