The Denver Stiffs NBA Preview...

Thank you, Carmelo Anthony, for making the 2010-11 Nuggets season impossible to predict.  The rest of the NBA, however, should play out according to plan.

Get ready for an overly comprehensive NBA Preview from the Nuggets' fan's point-of-view.  

Two years ago, I compared the NBA of today to its absolute quality peak 20 years earlier.  Teams were loaded with depth and most had recognizable stars, superstars played like superstars, the Lakers/Celtics rivalry had been renewed and the NBA was teeming with young talent that hadn't yet reached its potential. 

 

Entering a new season I'm no longer feeling as optimistic as I did about the sport and league I love just two seasons ago.  LeBron James' disastrous "The Decision" was far worse than most casual fans realize.  By colluding with his friends to build an NBA superpower in Miami, James single-handedly ruined the competitive balance of the Eastern Conference.  Moreover, James' narcissistic act set the stage for other would-be superstars, such as our own Carmelo Anthony, the Hornets' Chris Paul and others, to jettison their small market franchises in favor of joining forces with their friends in "sexier" locations, thereby putting their current organizations and fan bases in a complicated, no-win situation.  

Prior to James' "The Decision", NBA owners were already headed towards a collective bargaining stalemate with the players resulting in a lockout.  Now, thanks to James, it appears inevitable.  Not only is NBA Commissioner David Stern (rightfully) talking about a 33% across-the-board haircut on NBA player salaries, but he's talking about contracting teams, too, previously a non-starter from the commissioner's office.

So entering what might be the last NBA season for a while, we - the fans - will be treated to a three-team race with everyone else playing for fourth place during a mostly meaningless regular season.  And I'm not the only one who has noticed.  I've talked to a number of NBA season ticket holders both in Denver and elsewhere who did not renew their tickets this season, opting instead to overpay for single-game tickets when the likes of the Lakers, Heat and Celtics come to town and disregarding the rest of the schedule.

Fortunately for the Nuggets and the NBA I, and hundreds of thousands like me, remain a sucker for this team, this game and this league.  Even though I know how the 2010-11 season is going to end, even though the Nuggets shamefully raised season ticket prices and even though the Nuggets own season will likely end in disappointment thanks to the likely departure of Anthony, I'll be watching all 82 Nuggets games and countless others from around the league.  

I can't wait to see James return to Cleveland to a chorus of boos.  I can't wait to see the Celtics take down the Heat in the playoffs.  I can't wait to see John Wall play for the first time.  And Brandon Jennings and Stephen Curry's sophomore seasons.  The story-lines and sub-plots are endless.  

But most of all, I can't wait to watch the Nuggets play on Wednesday night and the greatest comeback of the season begin when head coach George Karl's name is announced before tip-off.  Because even though I'm not bullish on the Nuggets season ahead and don't believe the season will end in fairytale fashion as we saw just two seasons ago, they play these games for a reason: anything can happen.

DENVER STIFFS EASTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW

 

Regular Season Predictions...

 

1. MIAMI HEAT
Outlook:
 It's hard to imagine not having the Lakers be my most hated team, but thanks to James I've found a squad to detest more than any.  But regardless of how I feel about the Heat, they're going to be good.  Damn good.  Making matters worse, I ended up with James on my fantasy team (I was on a plane and did an auto-draft, no lie!) so I can't root for him to get injured until my team is out of the running as usually happens.  I still believe that James will be the NBA's version of Alex Rodriguez: great statistically, but not a winner until he has tons of talent around him.  Look for the Heat to lose to the Celtics in the conference finals. 
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 1/13, at Miami 3/19.
Miami Stiff: I'm admittedly beating a dead horse here, but James has gone from "King James" to "King Stiff."  In one summer, James ruined his hometown franchise (possibly forever), ruined the balance of power in the NBA, ruined his global icon image, shamelessly played the race card and all but assured NBA fans of a lockout next summer.   

2. BOSTON CELTICS
Outlook: Like many Nuggets fans, the Celtics will be my second-favorite NBA team this season as they will likely be the only team capable of taking down the Lakers and the Heat.  They're old and crippled, but it's tough not to root for Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and, most of all, Doc Rivers.  My anti-Lakers and anti-Heat bias has me predicting an 18th championship for Boston.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Boston 12/8, in Denver 2/24.
Boston Stiff: Ever since he helped incite the Nuggets vs. Knicks brawl on December 16th, 2006, Robinson has been one of my least favorite NBA players.  He's lucky to have found a Celtics team that will accept his tired, me-first act.   

 

3. ORLANDO MAGIC
Outlook: The Magic could play the spoiler role with either the Heat or the Celtics in the 2011 playoffs.  You have to love the trash talk directed at the Heat dished out by GM (and former Nugget) Otis Smith, head coach Stan Van Gundy and journeyman Quentin Richardson this summer.  But at the end of the day, it's all talk and will come back to haunt them when the Heat finish ahead of the Magic at season's end.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 12/14, at Orlando 3/18.
Orlando Stiff: For the $20-plus million he gets paid, Rashard Lewis shot 19-for-56 from the field against the Celtics in the playoffs last season.  He's owed north of $20 million for each of the next three seasons.

 

4. CHICAGO BULLS
Outlook: With the Bulls re-signing center Joakim Noah to a contract extension, it doesn't appear as though Carmelo Anthony will be wearing a Bulls jersey anytime soon, or ever for that matter.  Had the Bulls been able to add Melo to a roster including Noah, Derrick Rose and newly-signed Carlos Boozer, the Bulls would contend with the Heat and Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy.  Instead, they'll have to settle for fourth in the conference. 

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 0-2 (remember the Brad Miller fingertip shot??).
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Chicago 11/8, in Denver 11/26.
Chicago Stiff: Brian Scalabrine, the Tim Kempton of his era (except Scalabrine will make over $3 million this season...and that's not a typo).  

 

5. MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Outlook: The upstart Bucks will surprise no one this season, but adding Corey Maggette, Drew Gooden and Chris Douglas-Roberts to a roster already featuring Brandon Jennings, Andrew Bogut, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova should make the Bucks a formidable opponent and a likely second-round playoff participant.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 2-0.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 12/1, at Milwaukee 2/16.  
Milwaukee Stiff: Former all-star Michael Redd is due to make $18.3 million this season and likely won't play until February thanks to another ACL tear that ended his 2009-10 season.  Still don't think the NBA needs a new collective bargaining agreement?   

 

6. ATLANTA HAWKS
Outlook: The Hawks stood pat and overpaid for Joe Johnson while everyone around them atop the Eastern Conference improved.  Bring in inexperienced head coach Larry Drew and the Hawks will be a first round playoff exit in 2011.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 2/28, at Atlanta 3/16.
Atlanta Stiff: Hawks ownership.  All Mike Woodson did was take a dormant franchise to three-straight postseasons and win 50 games for the first time in12 years.  For that he got fired and was replaced by Drew who has no head coaching experience.

 

7. NEW YORK KNICKS
Outlook: It's been 10 seasons since the Knicks won over half their games and they haven't participated in the postseason for seven seasons.  Both dubious streaks should come to an end this season with the arrival of Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike.  Should the Knicks miraculously land Melo before season's end, look for them to finish even higher in the East.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1 (remember Melo's 50-point game??).
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 11/16, at New York 12/12.
New York Stiff: Could it be anyone other than owner James Dolan?  Dolan inexplicably tried to bring franchise-ruiner Isiah Thomas back into the fold this past offseason and who knows what stupid decision is right around the corner.

 

8. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Outlook: I'm not nearly as bearish on the Cavaliers as most entering the new season.  I never believed in the canard that the Cavs organization didn't do enough to surround LeBron James with talent.  A squad featuring Antawn Jamison, Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson and Anthony Parker should be able to squeak into the playoffs...especially with the "we'll prove the world wrong" attitude they're sure to have this season.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 0-2 (the Melo vs. LeBron overtime duel in Cleveland last season may have been the regular season's best game).
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 1/15, at Cleveland 1/28.
Cleveland Stiff: Owner Dan Gilbert.  While everything Gilbert said in his publicly written letter to James after James's departure was 100% true, Gilbert's reaction and tone may have cost other would-be free agents from wanting to join the Cavs organization in the future.

 

9. NEW JERSEY NETS
Outlook: With or without Anthony, the Nets will make great strides in 2010-11.  New head coach Avery Johnson's presence alone could lead to a 15-game improvement and if Devin Harris can stay healthy, the Nets should finish with north of 30 wins thanks to additions like Troy Murphy, Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw and the raw Derrick Favors.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 0-2.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 11/20, at New Jersey 1/31.
New Jersey (i.e. Newark) Stiff: We all loved Johan Petro in Denver, but $10 million for a player with two left feet?  I once saw Petro line up a turnaround mini-hook shot and throw the ball so hard at the glass that he almost broke the backboard.

 

10. CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Outlook: With the Bobcats big offseason acquisitions being Kwame Brown, Eduardo Najera and Shaun Livingston, they're guaranteed to take a step back.  However, the Cavaliers and Nets may be weak enough for the Bobcats to make the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Charlotte 12/7, in Denver 3/2
Charlotte Stiff: Michael Jordan will forever be one of the greatest players, if not the greatest player, ever to wear an NBA uniform.  But his record as a team executive remains suspect and his questionable moves this summer won't do anything to help his reputation in that area.  Throw in MJ's recent proclamation that he'd "score 100 points" if he were to play today, and he's venturing into delusional territory to boot.

 

11. DETROIT PISTONS
Outlook: The Pistons have a fair amount of talent but it overlaps in too many position areas and makes for a bad fit.  In many ways, the Pistons roster resembles the Nuggets in that they are grossly undersized but are deep at several swing positions.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Detroit 1/26, in Denver 3/12.
Detroit Stiff: It's hard to believe that Tracy McGrady is only 31 years old.  It's even harder to believe that no team was willing to take a flyer on the former NBA scoring leader other than the Pistons who already have several players - Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince to name a few - that play his positions of shooting guard and small forward.

 

12. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
Outlook: It will be interesting to see what the old-school Doug Collins does as head coach with this mostly young and inexperienced squad.  Collins might get more out of Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand than have recent 76ers coaches, but it's looking like another long season in Philly.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 12/26, at Philadelphia 1/30.
Philadelphia Stiff: Has to be Elton Brand.  After back-stabbing the Clippers a few years ago to sign with the 76ers, his Philly career has been nothing short of a disaster.  Brand is due to make almost $15 million this season alone.

 

13. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
Outlook: Youngsters John Wall, Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee should make for an exciting season in the nation's capital if the Wiz could just get over their Gilbert Arenas hangover already.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Washington 1/25, in Denver 3/25.
Washington Stiff: If the preseason has been any indication, the aforementioned Arenas could be a season-long distraction for the Wiz.  Hardly worth it for an injury-riddled, $16 million player.

 

14. INDIANA PACERS
Outlook: Team president Larry Bird's multi-season experiment of cloning bad versions of himself continues.  The salary-strapped Pacers look to have another forgettable season before cleaning house at season's end when most of their bad contracts expire.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 0-2.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Indiana 11/9, in Denver 1/23.
Indiana Stiff: Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars would form a formidable roster even if they played today.  Unfortunately, none are particularly good at forming formidable rosters while sitting in the team executive chair.  Bird, like his fellow legends, has squandered many seasons as the man in charge in Indiana.

 

15. TORONTO RAPTORS
Outlook: Egads!  The Raptors aren't just going to have an awful season, but they have no upside looking towards the future.  Not all of this can be blamed on Chris Bosh taking his talents to South Beach, but his departure could be the catalyst that kills the Raptors for seasons to come.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 0-2 (remember Melo's buzzer beater at Toronto??).
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Toronto 12/10, in Denver 3/21.
Toronto Stiff: Unlike what Danny Ferry did for James in Cleveland and Mark Warkentien, Rex Chapman and Bret Bearup have done for Melo in Denver, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo never built a quality-enough roster around Bosh to convince their lone star player to stay.

 

Conference Finals Prediction: Celtics over Heat

 

DENVER STIFFS WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW

 

Regular Season Predictions...

 

1. LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Outlook: We may collectively hate the Lakers, but it's looking like a fourth-straight NBA Finals appearance for the Lakers come June 2011.  Only a healthy Nuggets squad with Melo on-board could threaten the NBA Champs in a playoff series, but I fear the Nuggets won't ever get that chance.  Believing the Nuggets/Lakers rivalry has dimmed considerably, the NBA scheduled only three games between the two for the 2010-11 season.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 11/11 and 1/21, at Lakers 4/3.
Lakers Stiff: Not only will Sasha Vujacic make $5 million this season for doing virtually nothing, but he's going to be marrying Maria Sharapova soon.  Never has so much good fortune been bestowed on such an undeserving flopper.

 

2. DALLAS MAVERICKS
Outlook: Many pundits are running away from the Mavericks.  Not me.  I like the addition of Tyson Chandler (who looked healthy during this summer's World Championships) and having a full training camp with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood should make Dallas better than last season.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 2-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 11/3, at Dallas 11/6 (we're watching this game during our Stiffs Night Out event!), in Denver 2/10, at Dallas 4/6.
Dallas Stiff: Shawn Marion looks to be a shell of his former self, proving that he owes most of his career earnings to Steve Nash.

3. SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Outlook: Tim Duncan is reportedly thinner and in better shape than he's been for years.  Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are healthy.  DeJuan Blair will move to center.  Richard Jefferson will feel more comfortable.  Enter Tiago Splitter and it looks like the Spurs could have one more title run in them.

Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 2-2.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 12/16, at San Antonio 12/22 and 1/16, in Denver 3/23.
San Antonio Stiff: Richard Jefferson stunk last season but may have made a deft move by restructuring his contract to avoid the looming salary cap haircut likely coming in the new collective bargaining agreement.

 

4. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Outlook: I believed that the Trail Blazers would make "the leap" last season and was proven wrong.  This season, the Thunder are everyone's pick to make "the leap" and it's likely they won't disappoint as they don't have the injury issues that continue to nag the Blazers.  That said, I don't foresee the Thunder being much better than the Nuggets should Melo stay in Denver. 
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3. 
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Oklahoma City 12/25, in Denver 1/19 and 4/5, at Oklahoma City 4/8.
Oklahoma City Stiff: Imagine my shock when seeing Thunder Stiff center - and chair-thrower - Nenad Krstic gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated's NBA Preview alongside Thunder superstar Kevin Durant.  Did I accidentally buy the Serbian version of SI?

 

5. DENVER NUGGETS WITH CARMELO ANTHONY
Outlook: With Melo on-board the Nuggets return a roster that won 54 games and appeared in the Western Conference Finals just two seasons ago and followed that up by winning 53 games last season despite losing their head coach to cancer and their starting power forward to injury.  The Nuggets first round playoff loss to an injury-depleted Utah Jazz team was inexcusable, but with head coach George Karl back and an undersized yet talented roster ready to go, the Nuggets could win 50 games for the fourth consecutive season.
Denver Stiff: Does Carmelo Anthony deserve credit for (allegedly) telling the Nuggets ahead of time that he wants out, thus giving the team ample time to trade him rather than being blindsided like Cleveland was?  Or does the mere fact that Melo (allegedly) wants out of a potentially great basketball situation make him a Stiff a la LeBron James?  That we're having this debate puts Melo on the season-long Stiff List and the fans in an awkward position when it comes to rooting for him.

 

5. UTAH JAZZ
Outlook: The Jazz lost four key players to the Bulls but brought in potential All-Star Al Jefferson, veteran Raja Bell, rookie Gordon Hayward and backup point guard Earl Watson.  If superstar point guard Deron Williams and former All-Star Andrei Kirilenko are healthy, the Jazz will contend for the Northwest Division title again.  Oh, and they'll have cool new uniforms that pay homage to the great Jazz teams of the 1980s.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3 regular season, 4-2 playoffs.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 10/27 (opening night!) and 2/4, at Utah 3/3 and 4/13 (final regular season game).
Utah Stiff: Ok, he's not really a Stiff but former Nugget Francisco Elson makes his NBA return in a Jazz jersey this season.  I'm sure the laid-back Dutchman will love playing for Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan.

 

6. HOUSTON ROCKETS
Outlook: Yao Ming is back (sort of) and Kevin Martin should be better integrated into their system this season.  The Rockets could be a surprise team, finishing as high as fourth in the conference at season's end.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-2.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Houston 11/30, in Denver 1/3 and 2/7, at Houston 2/14.
Houston Stiff: Yao Ming's body.  Yao's body has betrayed the Rockets season after season...will this one be any different?

 

7. PHOENIX SUNS
Outlook: Even though the Suns lost Amar'e Stoudemire and stupidly didn't get David Lee back in return, it's hard to sleep on a team that got within a fluke put-back by Ron Artest of beating the Lakers in the conference finals last season.  But as we've witnessed in Denver, just because you make the conference finals one season doesn't mean you'll be back the next season. 
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 3-1 (simply put, the Suns owned the Nuggets last season).
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Phoenix 11/15, in Denver 11/28 and 1/11, at Phoenix 3/10.
Phoenix Stiff: Owner Bob Sarver.  After not bringing back GM David Griffin, Sarver presided over the loss of Stoudemire without getting Lee (whom the Knicks were trading anyway) back in return.  Had Lee come back in place of Stoudemire, the Suns would be back in the conference finals in 2011.

 

8. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Outlook: The Blazers roster no longer does it for me.  Andre Miller looked horribly out-of-shape in the preseason.  Now that he has a new contract, you know Marcus Camby will take nights off (literally).  Brandon Roy is coming off another surgery and the timetable for return of Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla is unknown.  Throw in a pouting Rudy Fernandez and Bernie Bickerstaff on the bench, I foresee the Blazers returning to the playoffs only if Yao misses many games and Melo is traded out of Denver.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Portland 11/18, in Denver 12/28 and 2/2, at Portland 2/25.
Portland Stiff: Fernandez's home-sickness could threaten the Blazers balance while devaluing his trade value.

 

9. NEW ORLEANS HORNETS
Outlook: A healthy Chris Paul and David West look to rejuvenate the Hornets alongside new acquisitions Marco Belinelli, Trevor Ariza and Jason Smith.  I also like second year man Marcus Thornton.  Don't be surprised if the Hornets find themselves back in the playoffs.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At New Orleans 11/29, in Denver 1/9, at New Orleans 3/14.
New Orleans Stiff: Owner George Shinn.  With their small market size and weak economy, the Hornets should be Target #1 on Stern's contraction list.  They only exist in New Orleans because Shinn made a shady deal to get the team out of Charlotte where it had been quite successful.

 

10. DENVER NUGGETS WITHOUT CARMELO ANTHONY
Outlook: Even if Carmelo Anthony is traded, you have to figure he'll play enough games with the Nuggets for them to have a good head start on a playoff spot.  And depending on whom Melo gets traded for, the Nuggets may not be as bad off as many of the pundits think.  But if no good deal is available and the Nuggets settle on a package of expiring contracts, young prospects and future picks, the Nuggets season will sink into the 38-40 win range.

 

11. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Outlook: Blake Griffin looked amazing in the preseason, Chris Kaman appears to be healthy and Eric Gordon had a breakout summer playing for Team USA.  Other than that, the Clippers don't have a lot of depth and you never know what you're going to get out of Baron Davis.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-2.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 11/5 and 12/3, at Los Angeles 1/5 and 3/5.
Clippers Stiff: For his $12 million salary, Davis isn't giving the Clippers near their money's worth and has been petulant to boot.

 

12. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES
Outlook: Head coach Lionel Hollins deserves a ton of credit for remaking the Grizzlies culture last season and leading the team to a surprising 40 wins in the always tough Western Conference.  Unfortunately for Hollins, the Grizz didn't do much in the offseason to improve the team whereas their conference competitors upgraded across the board.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 12/5, at Memphis 2/13, in Denver 2/22.
Memphis Stiff: Hasheem Thabeet - the second overall pick last year - found himself in the NBA's D-League during his rookie season, unheard of for such a high pick.  Will Thabeet be improved this season or the second coming of Kwame Brown?

 

13. SACRAMENTO KINGS
Outlook: Talk about a team with upside.  Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans will be joined by rookie DeMarcus Cousins, and an improved Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson.  The scrappy Kings lost many tight games last season and that may not be the case this year.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 2-1.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 1/1, at Sacramento 1/6, in Denver 4/1.
Sacramento Stiff: The City of Sacramento.  Even with former NBA star Kevin Johnson as mayor, California's capital city can't seem to get a deal together and fund a new arena, thereby guaranteeing that the Kings stay in Sacramento.  I know it's a recession, but when will Sacramento realize that the Kings are one of the few good things going for that city?

 

14. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Outlook: I'm a huge fan of David Lee and Stephen Curry.  Monta Ellis feels like a bad fit with Curry's emergence but may have some trade value.  The rest of the Warriors roster is forgettable and will have trouble putting together a respectable season under their new ownership.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 0-4.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: At Golden State 11/22 and 2/9, in Denver 4/11. 
Bay Area Stiff: Chris Cohan, the Warriors former owner and 2010 Stiffy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, left the Warriors organization in such bad shape that it will take years for them to emerge as an NBA playoff participant.

 

15. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
Outlook: The Wolves lost Al Jefferson for essentially nothing then overpaid to bring Darko Milicic back.  With the exception of Kevin Love at power forward, the Wolves will be out-matched at every position nightly.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2009-10: 1-3.
Vs. the Nuggets in 2010-11: In Denver 12/18, at Minnesota 12/29 and 2/5, in Denver 4/9.
Minnesota Stiff: GM David Kahn continues to unleash his "Wrath of Kahn" on the Timberwolves franchise, a franchise that had no margin for error in the wake of Kevin McHale's disastrous tenure running the team.

 

Conference Finals Prediction: Lakers over Mavericks

 

NBA Finals Prediction: CELTICS OVER LAKERS

 

 

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