2003-2004 NBA Season

Lew Crippen

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My Dallas Mavericks have made a couple of late season trades. We now have five or six players who might average 20–25 points, if they could play with more than one ball.

But as with hockey, I just sit back during the early part of the season. I just can’t get worked up about 82 games that are used to seed the teams for the real season.
 

Hunter P

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I was wondering when someone would finally make an NBA thread. If it didn't happen by Monday then I would have been forced to get off my lazy butt to create one. Procrastination wins again!


What a hectic off-season! It was almost as if the NBA never stopped. Well, there was about a month of inactivity just before camp but that was about it.

To recap:
  • Many significant coaching changes. Among them Larry Bird fires Isiah Thomas (oh the irony) and Pat Riley steps down. Side note: Danny Ainge steps down from the telestrator to run the Celtics.
  • Lots of roster changes. Alonzo in Jersey, Antoine in Dallas, Karl and Gary in LA, Kandi and Spree in Minny, and Brad in Sacto.
  • Rookie buzz: It looks like Carmelo is front runner for rookie of the year and LeBron is finding out that these NBA folks are a little better than the pimply-faced scrubs he played in HS.
  • Yesterday's up-and-comers have another year under their belts. Yao, Amare, Zach, Nene and others showed a lot of promise last year. Are they for real or are they just another Austin Croshere?
  • Comebacks. Vinsanity is healthy, McDyess will try to play this year, Camby actually played at the end of last year, Alonzo is better, and Shaq is actually fit. Out for the season: Jay Williams and Grant Hill (if he's smart.)
  • Off court scandals. Of course there is Kobe, but C-Webb, Stoudamire and others logged in some hours in the courtroom.
  • Can the Jazz make the playoffs with a roster of bench players? Coach of the Year for Sloan if they make the 8 seed. Hell, COY if they don't finish last in their division.
  • Can anyone win the title besides LA or SA? As a Kings fan, it's hard for me to say it but they're on the outside looking in again.
 

Lowell_B

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I was wondering when someone would finally make an NBA thread. If it didn't happen by Monday then I would have been forced to get off my lazy butt to create one. Procrastination wins again!
LOL, I was thinking the exact same thing.

As a Celtics fan, losing Antoine Walker and Tony Delk is going to really, really sting in the short run. On the plus side, more shots for Paul Pierce! I'm predicting a 30 point average season.

Now if only Vin Baker can get his act together this season....

Lowell
 

Chris Farmer

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You knew I had to be here (after my rather frequent and frequently long winded speeches in last season's playoff thread
). The East is once again on the outside looking in as far as a title is concerned. Hell in the East, only the Nets and maybe the Pistons would even make the playoffs if they were in the West. I expect the Nets to take the East again, this goes double if Mourning is healthy. The Pistons will come in second, then Indiana, Hornets, 76ers (loss of Larry Brown will hurt here), Boston (ditching 'Toine was a good long term move, but it will hurt them this season I think), Orlando and Chicago. Sorry LeBron fans, he's good, but needs time to develop, and he won't get the Cavaliers into the playoffs his first season.

Out West I predict San Antonio to win it all (with Kobe Lakers have a better starting five, without Kobe the Spurs do, and the Spurs have the deeper bench), Lakers (contingent on Jackson getting the egos on one court and Kobe's legal woes not being a huge distraction) Sacramento, Minnesota, Mavericks, Rockets, Suns, Trailblazers. The Clippers will be this year's golden State, good, but not quite there yet.

Other interesting stories to watch
This year's Rookie of the Year contest will be impressive, with Carmelo, LeBron, and Darko all legit contenders before the season begins. Barring injury I expect all three of them to be in the thick of it, and we could easily have another rookie or two join the race as well
Chemistry will also be interesting to watch. With four of the top five West teams making huge offseason moves (only Sacramento stayed comparatively still, and they also had some biggies), the Spurs, Lakers, Mavericks, and Timberwolves will all be fielding teams that are drastically different then the teams they had last season. Working all these new faces into the current system will be an ongoing challenge, and one that should be very interesting to watch.
Can the Timberwolves make it out of the first round? I think this is their year, but it's not going to be easy. The Spurs, Lakers and Kings are too good for the Wolves if they're healthy (not a sure thing), but the Mavs I think are vulnerable, due to a weak defense, although their incredible scoring abilities will offset this.

Final predictions, I think the Spurs will repeat. The Lakers have a better starting 5, but I think ego clashes, lack of depth, and Kobe's legal woes will be too great an obstacle for them to overcome. Either team is fielding a collection of talent that if it plays to potential can make a move towards at the Bulls' record 72-10, although I doubt either will make it. It requires too much focus and too much intensity over too long a period of time, with no margin for error. Either way though, there are five teams with a legit shot at the championship out West, Spurs, Lakers, Kings, Mavericks, and Timberwolves will all make a run. eEven the Nets are contenders, although outside ones.

This should be a season to remember.
 

Brandon_T

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Well, after last years playoff thread where everybody predicted the pistons would lose in the first round, then the second round, I expect nothing less than no repsect this year as well.

The stones have added some size with Vin Baker, and a coach that will actually play the best players and let them score on the run instead of stopping fast breaks to waste clock.

I firmly believe that Detroit will win the east, and as Darko progresses you will see that they will be a team to be reckoned with.

As for Boston, ouch, that trade hurts, and I really don't think it helps Dallas all that much. I mean, who is their center that can match up with Shaq or Duncan? Shawn Bradley? Thats funny. They are a fun team to watch and a great regular season team, but not made for the playoffs.

Good Luck to all the teams and look forward to talking to you during the season.

Brandon
 

Andy Sheets

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I was wondering when someone would finally make an NBA thread. If it didn't happen by Monday then I would have been forced to get off my lazy butt to create one. Procrastination wins again!
Heh. Unfortunately, I've never gotten the impression that there are many basketball fans around here


I'm disappointed that I missed the Rockets game last night. Granted, it's only preseason but any chance to see Yao play means a lot to me, especially since I'm following the team from out of town. I think it'll take a while for the team to get with Van Gundy's new coaching style but I hope they'll be on the same page by the end of the season. The new uniforms look better than the pajamas did, but the "R" looks like someone wrote it in blood on their jerseys
 

Steve_Tk

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I'm mildly annoyed that Lebron James will be dominating the air waves on a crappy team. I'd much rather watch some of the West power houses.
 

Jed M

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As a Celtics fan, losing Antoine Walker and Tony Delk is going to really, really sting in the short run. On the plus side, more shots for Paul Pierce! I'm predicting a 30 point average season.
Agreed, but in the long run this is exactly what the Celtics need. They need to build that team around Pierce and with 'Toine taking 50 3 pointers a game its not going to get done. As a KU fan, I'm excited to see Raef and Paul play together again, not to mention, as a Vegas resident, that the celtics drafted UNLV alum Marcus Banks with their fist pick (the guy is as clutch as they come, just played on some pretty bad UNLV teams). Should be a fun team to watch for me.
 

Brett Hancock

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Could be a looong year for my Sonics if James can't figure out how to stay in the game for longer then 10 minutes before fouling out. He has some skills and can score and make plays on defense but he just cannot stop fouling every chance he gets. I look for Rashard Lewis to have another great year as he flourished when Payton left. Ray Allen will put up his normal numbers and look for his assists to get even better.

I hate the lakers with a passion and I really don't see them winning the championship this year. To many shots need to be taken and Payton can be a real asswipe if he feels like it.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I firmly believe that Detroit will win the east, and as Darko progresses you will see that they will be a team to be reckoned with.
The Pistons may win the East, but I doubt that Darko will contribute a great deal this year. Any improvement will come from Okur and Teyshawn Prince getting additional minutes and experience, and improved scoring from a change in coaching and offensive systems.
 

Brandon_T

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Scott,

I didn't mean Darko for this year in particular, just in future years. I think this year will be a take a back seat and learn year for the big fella.

Looking forward to a great year of basketball. The only thing that gets on my nerves is the fact that all year long, we have to listen to how much better the west is, blah blah blah. Lets just watch some good ole competitive basketball.

Brandon
 

Neil M

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I seriously hope the Pistons take the East this season but I'm not totally bought on Larry Brown. They have the depth but the question is will his coaching style fit with the current Pistons, most of who were convinced of Rick Carlisle's defense first mentality last season. It's going to be a big adjustment for them. Ben Wallace looks pretty good so far in the preseason. He's been working on his shot. Hamilton and Billups need to lead the team though. I think Okur will have a great year and Darko will probably not see much playing time. This will probably be a good thing for him seeing as how he's trying to adjust to the NBA style of play. He looks pretty weak in the preseason but I think he'll become a star player in the future.

As for the rest of the NBA, look for Indiana to be a contender. Rick Carlisle is a great coach and he could do wonders for the team. Oh yeah, Artest needs to stop being such a bitch. The West is stacked of course and that's where the battle will be for the playoffs. I don't even want to predict who will win the West. It's pretty much pointless at this time.
 

Hunter P

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He's too slow and overweight. That's why he keeps fouling. The Sonics are going to have a hard time to get above .500 this year.

Anybody buying into all the drama coming from LaLa-Land? Shaq bitching in public about his extension (when his contract isn't even up this year.) Shaq and Kobe bitching about each other (like they do every year.) Phil not getting a contract extension even though he's banging the boss' daughter.

For some reason pro wrestling comes to mind whenever I hear the latest news. I half expect Shaq to bust a chair over Kobe's head in the middle of a game. I think all this is posturing just to draw attention from Kobe's rape trial and get the media focused on basketball related drama.

All of this just seems odd and bad-timing to be arguing about at this point in the season. Just one man's opinion.

(It might seem far-fetched now but when Karl drops a flying elbow on Shaq from the top rope, remember that I told ya so!)
 

Steve_Tk

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Well you can bet the farm that the Jazz are going no where this year.

Lakers vs Mavs tonight (Tuesday).

I'm actually excited, wow.
 

Carlo Medina

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I'm not buying into it, as in following it closely.

But there is *something* about this feud this year that is unlike the public back-n-forth they've had in years past. This really does seem like a true rift that could split the Lakers apart. Kobe's really acting petulant (moreso than in the past, that is) and with his *other* troubles this could really be a make or (more likely) break season for him.

Bottom line for me, as a die-hard Laker fan, is this: if it comes down to Shaq vs. Kobe, I'd rather keep Shaq. Sure Kobe's the high fly act and the perimeter player, and Shaq's only good from 10 feet and in, but Shaq at least tries to get his teammates involved. He tries to distribute when they pack it in on him. Pack it in on Kobe and that just dares him to shoot it up with 3 hands in his face.

So if Kobe is truly going to opt out and go free agent, I just hope the Lakers can get some decent talent to surround Shaq. He doesn't need a superstar like Kobe, just people who will hit open jumpers when the double team collapses.
 

Jack Fanning

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i don't get all the critisism of Kobe's ball hogging, sure, he shoots and scores alot, but a quick look at last years stats shows he was top-15 in the league in assists with nearly 500.
 

Hunter P

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Wow, Kobe really slammed Shaq yesterday. This is my new soap opera.:b Carlo, you're right. This does have a different feel to previous rifts. But why bring this crap up now? The season hasn't even started and they haven't even lost their first game yet. Why act like they're in the cellar? I'm still not counting out my theory.

Did anybody else chuckle at "employee #34"'s whole don't be selfish speech? One minute he's telling Kobe that Shaq is a team player while Kobe is not. The next minute he's reminding everyone that it's Shaq's team. Oooo-kay.




I notice it a lot in the fourth quarter. Shaq could be killing everyone inside for three quarters but Kobe views the 4th as Kobe-time.
 

Hunter P

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Tipoff in less than 6 hours.
I'm pretty pumped up. Good luck to everyone. You're all playing for second place
 

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