Oct 7, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) warms up before the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

2012-2013 NBA Season Preview: Pretenders or Contenders?

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

With the NBA Season just a few weeks away, it’s time to separate who is going to contend and who is playing pretend.  Sure there might be some surprises along the way.  But most people can agree that the Heat, the Lakers, the Thunder among a few other teams are going to be really really good.  Some people have already handed the Heat the NBA Title.  There will be some fight there in the Eastern Conference, and I don’t believe the Heat will have quite the easy path to it.  

In the Western Conference, how the Thunder respond after that NBA Finals loss will be interesting.  Are the Lakers able to haress all that star power into something special?  There’s always the Spurs to contend with as well.  Both Conferences should be dog fights, so I’m very excited for the season to kick off.

Atlanta Hawks  

Pretender

I am not sure about the Atlanta Hawks this coming season.  There are teams like the Sixers and Nets that could jump ahead of them.  The Hawks could contend for a playoff spot since the East isn’t that strong past a few of the top teams. But this Atlanta team won’t do much in the playoffs if they can make it there.

Boston Celtics  

Contender

How will Kevin Garnett play in his old veteran status?  Last post season, he played as well as he could.  Now Ray Allen is gone, but Jason Terry is there to fill the void and I think he’ll do just that.  He might even do more than that.  This is Rajon Rondo’s team now, and he’s always a triple double waiting to happen.  If the Celtics can get their team going, they should be right there for the playoffs, and possibly giving the Miami Heat a dog fight if they happen to meet up.

Charlotte Bobcats  

Pretender

Will the Bobcats even win 20 games?  This is just a bad team, and they didn’t look to do much in the off season.  I don’t know what this team can do to turn things around other than hope the players they have can get going together.  Maybe a few lottery picks and this team becomes more known for winning than losing.

Chicago Bulls  

Contender

If Derrick Rose can come back and be effective, this team is a contender. So I am going to bank on Rose coming back and doing that.  They might be in a fight for a playoff spot though, so the Bulls have to hold their ground during the season, while Rose is out.  Even then, how much rust will Derrick Rose have, and can he carry this team like he’s always been known to do?


Cleveland Cavaliers  

Pretender

Sorry Cleveland fans, I don’t have much faith in your team this season. I think what they can do is play the spoiler role and maybe cost a team like the Pacers a win or two.  But they’re not going to be fighting for top spots in the East this coming season.  Kyrie Irving should continue to grow and put the right players around him, and this team does get back to winning.  But for now this team is a pretender.

Dallas Mavericks  

Contender

If Darren Collison can play the point position the way I think he can, this Dallas Mavericks team should be right in the middle of the Western Conference fighting for a playoff spot and perhaps in the top half.  Dirk Nowitkzi might have to put this team on his back as much as he can.  But he’s done it before, and why not doing it again?  This team can contend in the West, but I am a little leery with this distinction.


Denver Nuggets  

Contender

This team surprised me when they made the playoffs last year as I couldn’t name one guy on their team. But the guys there are doing something together, and it’s truly the team effort.  Ty Lawson is turning into a stud player, and having Andre Iguodala should provide some help.  The West will be tough when the top teams have their big three stars, but maybe the Nuggets can get their game going and spoil one of those teams, like the Lakers or Thunder.

Detroit Pistons

 Pretender

I can’t see any way this Pistons team does much this coming season.  They don’t have any players that scream anything good to you.  It is just a mess of a team, and until they can get rid of some dead weight, like Charlie Villanueva, Detroit won’t be anywhere near where they were just some seasons ago when they were winning championships.


Golden State Warriors  

Pretender

Mark Jackson has some young talent on this team, but can that young talent translate to wins?  Stephen Curry is quite a great player.  There’s Andrew Bogut, who has to turn back into something good if this team wants to contend with the big men in the Western Conference.  I like the draft choice of Draymond Green as he is a guy who can do whatever is asked, but how will he play in the NBA?  It’s a squad that’s probably a few years away from making the playoffs again.

Houston Rockets  

Pretender

When your team gets mocked for overpaying Omer Asik, it’s not going to be a good season.  Sure, the Rockets did bring back Jeremy Lin, who was originally there, but do we even know what kind of player Lin is?  He had a spectacular run for about three weeks, and then got injured.  Now he will get a big shot at showing what he can do, and however he plays this Houston team will go.  But they are still up to par with the Thunder, the Lakers, the Clippers, and even the Spurs.  They might make a playoff push, but I can’t see them capturing a playoff spot.

Indiana Pacers  

Contender

This season has the makings of a great season for the Indiana Pacers.  They have a legit shot at taking the Central Division if Chicago falters without Derrick Rose.  With the starting lineup in tact that gave Miami some fits last season in the playoffs, why can’t the Pacers put it together this season and win a title in a while.  Anything less of at least a second round playoff run would be a failure in my mind for the Pacers.

LA Clippers  

Contender

The Clippers had a great run last season, and adding Lamar Odom should make their team even better this season.  But can they overcome the Lakers in the love of Los Angeles? That’s a question that will remain unanswered.  With Chris Paul leading the way, this team can still have a good playoff run, and maybe overtake the Lakers in that run.

LA Lakers  

Contender

Like the Miami Heat, some people are already handing the trophy to the Lakers.  Yes they have got Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.  Nash is a huge pick up as it gives the Lakers someone who loves playing the point, and plays it so well.  Dwight Howard will hopefully put away all those distractions he’s had while at Orlando and get back to dominating like he should.  Kobe Bryant won’t be going away anytime soon, so this team will fight for a top spot in the Western Conference.  Anything short of the NBA Finals might be called a failure for them.


Memphis Grizzlies  

Contender

I”m a little mixed about the Grizzlies as I  feel they are like Indiana in the way they play. You don’t know much about the players, but you know you’ll get that team effort.  If this Grizzlies team can get the right match up in the playoffs, maybe they can make that run to the Conference Finals.


Miami Heat  

Contender

Just like the Lakers, this team is ready to be handed the NBA title.  But getting there might be tougher as I can see this team losing their focus and sleep walking through the regular season.  You know they’ll hit that bump of a few games where they lose and everyone wonders what is wrong with this team. I would also think anything short of another NBA Finals match up would be deemed a failure for Miami this coming season.

Milwaukee Bucks  

Pretender

I can’t see the Bucks doing anything in the Eastern Conference.  They might sneak in the playoffs like they did last year because the bottom half of the East isn’t that strong.  But getting there, they should be taken out by Miami or Indiana or Boston.  

Minnesota Timberwolves

 Pretender

This all depends on the health of Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.  If those two guys are healthy the whole season, they will be in the playoffs.  We saw how good they got going last season, and then they lost Rubio, and the season faltered.  If those guys are around, this T’Wolves team is there figthing in the playoffs.

Brooklyn Nets  

Pretender

I might get blasted for this, but I don’t see the Nets as contenders.  Sure they should make the playoffs based upon the great play of Deron Williams.  But is the signing of Joe Johnson that significant? He’s a great scorer, but even that has dropped off in the past couple of years.  

New Orleans Hornets  

Pretender

Let’s talk about the Hornets in a few years as that’s when the young talent of this team could really gel and make some noise.  For now, it’s all about the growing process, and they will have to endure some losing before winning happens.

New York Knicks  

Pretender  

If this Knicks team can get to playing defense, maybe they have a shot.  But I am not a fan of Carmelo Anthony, and we all know he’s just a scorer.  Anthony with Amar’e Stoudemire hasn’t seemed to pay off that much. Tyson Chandler goes to the Knicks, and seemed to drop off.  They bring in Jason Kidd, who’s just a year or two from retiring.  Perhaps, bringing him in is the Knicks saying let’s give it a real run.  Maybe I am doubting them, and they prove me wrong.

Oklahoma City Thunder  

Contender

How the Thunder respond from last season’s Finals run will say a lot about this team. I think they will be hungry after putting up a lackluster effort.  With the way Kevin Durant was playing, he didn’t show up enough in that Finals.  Now they will have to put it all together again for another run.  They should be able to do it as they’re bringing back the same team.  Can they get that motivation going to finish the job?  That will be the biggest question.

Orlando Magic  

Pretender

Well at least Dwight Howard is gone, and all that weight is lifted.  What else is left in Orlando though?  A bunch of guys that will make cap room for next season, therefore this season might as well be a wash.

Philadelphia Sixers  

Contender

I am putting faith in Andrew Bynum and his ability.  If Doug Collins can coach him up, then this Sixers team is putting up great fights in the Eastern Conference.   If he’s not playing well, I hate to see what he does to the psyche of this team.

Phoenix Suns  

Pretender

I had to look over the roster to see who’s playing in Phoenix these days.  I know they have a good big man in Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola is there for some guard play. But this team is years away from getting back to where they once were.

Portland Trail Blazers  

Pretender

Maybe if the Blazers can get some good guard play, they can contend.  But I feel like their big men are more known, and in this league, you need those scoring guards to do something to have a shot.  

Sacramento Kings  

Pretender

The Kings are just a bad team, and I don’t know how many words I can spend on them.  They are pretenders in every sense, and they’re probably not even close to being a pretender.

San Antonio Spurs  

Contender

Every year, it feels like people want to put away the Spurs, so I’m going the opposite, and they can prove me right that they are contenders.  They had a great group of young guys that really stepped up in the regular season.  This year should be another chance for them to grow even more.  Tony Parker had a MVP type season that saw him finish near the top in voting.  He’ll have to do that again to give the Spurs a shot at a top spot in the Western Conference.  

Toronto Raptors  

Pretender

When’s the last time the Raptors have been relevant?  This should be another one of those losing seasons for the team up north. I can’t see them doing much of anything in the East.  They’re a few players away from contending.  

Utah Jazz  

Pretender 

There’s some good big men on this Jazz team, but can they carry the load?  Once again, the West is loaded at the top, so perhaps this Jazz team can get their team in the playoffs.  But once there, I would think there a quick out just like they were last season.

Washington Wizards  

Pretender

This Wizards team could be like the Cavs in a spoiler role, but I don’t think they have the fire power to match the Heat or the Pacers.  There’s great talent in John Wall and even adding Nene will give them a great big man.  But overall, there’s not quite the talent that can put them in the playoffs this season.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

comments powered by Disqus