2010-2011 NBA Standings Predictions

2010-2011 NBA Standings Predictions
M.D. Wright

I intended to do these last week, but I have been completely swamped with work for school. And it doesn’t stop for another six weeks. However, I’m going to get my stuff done regardless. As I say annually, these records are approximate for comparison purposes only.

Atlantic Division
1. Boston Celtics (56-26).
They are the most complete team in the East. Home ‘n’ homes and back to backs are going to catch up to them, otherwise, they’re a 60-win team easily.

2. New York Knicks (47-35)*.
* – based upon roster as presently constructed
The Knicks have a solid point guard tandem in Felton and Douglas, and Bam Bam Stoudemire now headlines the Marquee outside of Madison Square Garden. With sharpshooter (for now) Danilo Gallinari and Bill Walker in tow, the Knicks will score. But they can’t defend, so they’ll yield just as many most nights.

3. New Jersey Nets (33-49).
20+ wins over last year is generous, considering they’re relying upon rookies and 2nd year guys to do so.

4. Philadelphia 76ers (32-50).
They’re going to take some time to gel, and with micromanager Doug Collins as coach, I don’t see the young guys developing much this year.

5. Toronto Raptors (24-58).
They resemble an European Olympic team. And they’re going to get beaten like one night in and night out.

Central Division
1. Milwaukee Bucks (52-30).
They’re only going to build off last year. If, for ONCE, they can remain healthy, they’re going to be trouble for whomever they face in the playoffs.

2. Chicago Bulls (49-33).
I just don’t think they are that good. Boozer isn’t an improvement; especially with several teams that can effectively defend him.

3. Detroit Pistons (40-42).
They are a run and gun team of 2’s and 3’s. Can’t be more than a .500 constructed that way.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers (38-44).
I don’t think they’ll even be this bad. But I need to see someone step up as a vocal leader for them on a regular basis. Talent-wise, they’re about a .500 team also.

5. Indiana Pacers (28-54).

Southeast Division
1. Orlando Magic (63-19).
They are a good regular season team. As is Vince Carter as an individual player. I just don’t know that without a move to get better at Carter’s position, that they can get back to the Finals with the Celtics standing in their way.

2. Miami Heat (54-28).
Realistic basketball people know they have a HUGE point guard and center problem. They also know that Bosh can be neutralized by every team that will make the playoffs in both conferences. I’m looking forward to the excuses.

3. Charlotte Bobcats (50-32).
They’re going to be good. Jordan has built a winning team now. Their first 50-win season is on deck and in the toughest division in the NBA.

4. Washington Wizards/Bullets (again? – 48-34).
The Wizards will have to work out this Arenas/Wall thing, but they have some decent parts in place. They just feel like they’re missing that ONE guy — not necessarily a star player, but ONE GUY. I can’t put my finger on it.

5. Atlanta Hawks (44-38).
They’re going to regret paying Joe Johnson all that money. They might just submit the most unmotivated bunch of players onto the court this year.

Northwest Division
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (58-24).
They’ve only gotten better since last year, when they won 50 games, by keeping their team together. The playoff experience against last year’s/this year’s champs will only help them mold into a legitimate contender that much sooner.

2. Utah Jazz (55-27).
Regular season wins, postseason failure to the Lakers once again. They are the LeBron Cavs-West.

3. Portland TrailBlazers (53-29).
They win 50 every year seemingly, but injuries derail them every year also. If they can stay healthy, they and OKC are the only real threats to the Lakers in the West.

4. Denver Nuggets (50-32)*.
* – based upon Carmelo Anthony playing at least until February in Denver.

But even if he remains all year, where is this team going, knowing he’s leaving and the talk all season being about him leaving? When he does leave, even if it is midseason, there won’t be much Ewing Theory there. They peaked in 2008-2009 and blew it. It’s all downhill from here with two of their best players well into their 30s.

5. Minnesota Timberwolves (40-42).
They’re going to improve quite a bit this year.

Pacific Division
1. Los Angeles Lakers (55-27).
The Lakers aren’t concerned with best records. The team in the East with the best record may not even make the Finals anyway. They just want to be healthy at the end of the season and be ready to start their season in late April.

2. Los Angeles Clippers (49-33).
Blake Griffin.

3. Phoenix Suns (46-36).
They’re going to miss Stoudemire, but they will play more like a team also.

4. Golden State Warriors (42-40).
Not having Nellie there looking half-drunk might help, but the Warriors still don’t care about playing D. They can score better than anyone in the NBA and pretty much have done so since Sprewell left.


5. Sacramento Kings (37-45).
Evans makes them competitive, but they don’t have much there.

Southwest Division
1. Dallas Mavericks (59-23).
The Mavs APPEAR to be complete, but Kidd is getting old, man.

2. Houston Rockets (55-27).
They look like a complete team as well. And managing Yao will be the big thing for them.

3. San Antonio Spurs (49-33).
One last hurrah. Duncan will be 35 when the season ends, Ginobili nearly 34, Tony Parker (allegedly) 29 — but seems like he’s 34, 35 also. They have a few complimentary players on the team, but I’m not sure if that is enough for a deep playoff run.

4. Memphis Grizzlies (47-35).
They won 40 last year and got better. Why not? Lionel Hollins is a good coach.

5. New Orleans Hornets (44-38).
Just sell the team, Shinn. We all know Chris Paul is coming to New York and you want to go to Seattle. Sell the team to Howard Schulz or something so Seattle Basketball returns to the NBA.

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