Tag:Oklahoma City Thunder
Posted on: October 28, 2010 12:28 pm

NBA 2010-11 Season: What we've learned so far

Last night I experienced an overwhelming dose of NBA League Pass for the first time in months, and let me be honest, there were no complaints on my end.

After a mere 48 hours of professional basketball played, I’ve already began to notice fans overreacting, and making stupid predictions based on what they’ve seed thus far.

With the season officially underway, NBAPrimetime’sBrandon Ribak presents questions and gives his first impressions on them for the 2010 season.

Were the Miami Heat over hyped entering the season?

Over hyped isn’t even the word to explain for all the attention that the Heat received once LeBron made his way to South Beach.

During Miami’s first regular season game the team seemed discombobulated at best.

But can you blame them?

Dwyane Wade’s preseason injury put the big three’s “practice time” to build chemistry in limbo. Without a gist of chemistry the team was destined for a loss, especially to arguably the best defensive team in the entire NBA.

The Heat definitely have their work set out for them, but by mid-season we should be seeing a completely new Miami team.

People like NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy are the ones who set the bar ridiculously high for the Heat. Not once did you see Wade, LeBron, or Bosh come out and state that Miami would break Chicago’s historic 72 win record or that they would end the year with the best record in the league.

The Heat were not over hyped entering the season. They were undoubtedly discussed about more than any other team this offseason, but why wouldn’t they be?

Expect a 60-65 win season out of the Miami Heat and a competitive battle (against Boston) in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Will Blake Griffin give John Wall serious competition for the Rookie of the Year Award?

If you happened to miss Blake Griffin’s debut on Wednesday night then that’s unfortunate.

The 6’10″ power-forward quickly made up for lost time within minutes of the first quarter, one handing an alley-oop, slamming down an offensive put-back, and ultimately ending the game with an obnoxious stat-line of 20 points, 14 rebounds (9 offensive), 4 assists, and one steal.

Many seem to forget just how good Griffin was in college and quite honestly, just how great he can become in the NBA.

With John Wall being the general consensus pick for the Rookie of the Year Award, I see Griffin giving him a major run for his money, just as long as he can remain healthy.

By seasons end, if all goes well, Blake Griffin will take him the trophy with averages of around 14-16PPG and 10-12 RPG, while providing fans with some of the craziest dunks ever seen in the NBA.

Is Kevin Durant on his way to his first Most Valuable Player trophy?

Kevin Durant was runner up to LeBron James for the MVP trophy last season when he dropped career-highs in points (30.1 per contest) and rebounds (7.6 per game).

With LeBron now paired up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, it will obviously be more difficult for James to post his career averages on a nightly basis.

Having said that, the 22 year old phenom has yet to reach his peak (scary, I know). With the same team surrounding him as last season, KD will get the opportunity to capture his second straight scoring title, and his first ever MVP trophy.

So is Durant on his way to his first MVP trophy?

Without a doubt.

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

Posted on: October 5, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 12:27 pm

NBA 2010 Western Conference Preseason Rankings

The Western Conference has been the most dominate conference in the NBA for years, but after an off-season filled with transactions, that power has now shifted to the East.

Will the West, and by West I mean the Los Angeles Lakers, be able to make a three-peat this season?

Let’s cut to the chase to find out.

NBA Primetime’s Western Conference Preseason Rankings

1. Los Angeles Lakers- Last season record (57-25)

The back-to-back defending champs just so happened to improve on its only weakness this off-season, the bench. Steve Blake and Matt Barnes should provide the Lakers with plenty of spark off of the bench, keeping LA on top of the West until proven otherwise.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder- Last season record (50-32)

Kevin Durant has officially entered super-stardom in the NBA, but the rest of Oklahoma City’s roster must step up if they want any chance at rising to the one seed in the West. Regardless, the Thunder have a young core with massive upside (which is why they rank where they currently do).

3. Dallas Mavericks- Last season record (55-27)

Dallas is stacked with seven-footers, high-profiled players, and a franchise player who signed a contract extension this offseason. The Mavericks always enter every season as one of the elite teams in the West, but a strong playoff run is never definite.

4. San Antonio Spurs- Last season record (50-32)

The championship core is still intact, although a serious decline is approaching for Tim Duncan. The Spurs have assembled a solid group of youngsters (Hill, Blair, Splitter) over the years and it seems like their opportunity to step up is looming.

5. Denver Nuggets- Last season record (53-29)

With Carmelo Anthony still apart of the Nuggets roster (at least until the trade deadline), Denver will remain as a top competitor in the West. George Karl is back, Al Harrington will fill in for Kenyon Martin, and if everything goes well, the Nuggets should clinch another 50-win season.

6. Portland Trail Blazers- Last season record (50-32)

Both Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge are tippy-toeing into their prime and if 22-year-oldGreg Oden can manage to stay healthy for an entire season (unlikely), the Blazers have the weapons (Wesley Matthews, Marcus Camby, Andre Miller) to make a run for the title.

7. Utah Jazz- Last season record (53-29)

Al Jefferson was a great addition to the team, especially after Carlos Boozer decided to sign with the Bulls. The Jazz have talent, but it seems like its never enough to pass the second-round hump with Los Angeles in the way.

8. Phoenix Suns- Last season record (54-28)

Phoenix will in no way shape or form repeat last seasons performance; but as long as Steve Nash is on the court dishing out the rock the Suns should be in contention for a playoff spot.

9. Houston Rockets- Last season record (42-40)

Yao will return to the court this season but plenty of questions surround the 7’6″ center. With Aaron Brooks leading the way for Houston and Kevin Martin easing into his role the Rockets will fight for a playoff seed, just like Phoenix.

10. New Orleans Hornets- Last season record (37-45)

Trevor Ariza is now apart of the team, Marcus Thornton should continue to improve, and Emeka Okafor could be in for a breakout season. Is a playoff seed a possibility for Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets?

11. Memphis Grizzlies- Last season record (40-42)

Memphis lacks depth since the majority of the team is built up of inexperienced young guns (only five players on the team are above the age of 28). Their starting five is solid with potential to get better, but a playoff appearance is against the odds.

12. Los Angeles Clippers- Last season record (29-53)

Good news is Blake Griffin will be on the court this season. Bad news is head-coach Vinny Del Negro criticized Baron Davis for reporting to training camp out of shape (and already has a few nagging injuries). The Clippers will need B-Diddy at his all-time best if they want to see even a small chance at reaching the postseason.

13. Golden State Warriors- Last season record (26-56)

New ownership + New head coach = better record this season? David Lee will quickly make his presence as one of the best big men in the Western Conference and the Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis duo should uplift Golden State to 30+ wins this season.

14. Sacramento Kings- Last season record (25-57)

Sacramento is another very young squad that has a chance to improve upon last seasons performance. They drafted a few solid big men and acquired seven-footer Samuel Dalembert this offseason. In addition, franchise player Tyreke Evans should be able to elevate his overall game to the next level.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves- Last season record (15-67)

Michael Beasley stated the the Timberwolves are the team to beat this season. After losing Al Jefferson (the teams best player) and failing to win more than 30 games in a season since the 06′-07′ season, it’s very tough for many to believe Beasley. Maybe next year (but probably not).

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