Opening Week Preview for 2009-10 NBA Season

Kobe Bryant jumps in the air, giving a sweet vision back in time to Jordan’s celebration after knocking down the buzzer-beater that put a dagger in the heart of Karl Malone and Jazz fans alike. Watching was a sea of blue and white disappointed fans.

Yes, the Lakers were 2009 NBA Champions as they finished off the Orlando Magic in 5 games. What an incredible season.

A season that included LeBron finally being able to crown himself the best in the 08-09 season with a much deserved MVP award. A season where Dwight Howard showed us REALLY how to play defense, as he stole the 08-09 season’s Defensive Player of the Year. A season where Dwyane Wade put on a show nearly every night in Miami.

Yes, the season was great even for Knicks, Jazz, Hornets and all NBA fans alike…because regardless of how your teams performed, the individual performances were spectacular.

But that season is over.

Then came the 09 NBA Draft, which included numerous potential future stars such as Blake Briffin (1st overall pick), Ricky Rubio (In spain… dammit)  and Taj Gibson (to Chicago).

Then onto the FA signing period, which turned out to be a bonanza (but will be nothing compared to the ’10 off-season). Ron Artest moved to LA hopeing he can help the Lakers go back to back. Rasheed Wallace went to Boston, adding a great, versatile big man to the rotation. Then came one of the most lopsided trades, like Shaquille O’neal to the Cavs for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.

Then came training camp, then the pre-season, where all the young rooks were able to show off their much worked on game.

Yes, that is all over now. The rosters are set, and the players are quenching for a new season just as us fans are. No doubt this will be an incredible year, but will it be one of the greatest of all-time? Well, let me introduce you to my opening article on the NBA’s opening week.

Opening Week

shaq-lebron-cavs-together - nba opening night scheduleYou’re not going to get too many great games like this, as the Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Boston Celtics. This was the same opening game last year, but this one will be much more “fluffed”. Meaning this game will have much more to offer. Such as:

  • Will the Cavs be able to show us they are still the best home team in the NBA?
  • How will the three headed monster of LeBron, Mo and Shaq work together?
  • Will the newly acquired Anthony Parker show us he can still be good enough to help Cleveland in the post-season?
  • How will the duo of Rasheed and KG work out?
  • Are Paul, and Ray still going to be as dynamic as we’ve seen in past years?
  • Have Rondo and Perkins brought more to the table?

No doubt, this game will be a much watched game. I mean, cmon. It’s LeBron vs Boston. Period.

Boston-Cleveland game time: 7:35 PM ET/ TNT on Tuesday, 10/27

Then there’s game two of opening night, as the two Staples Center teams battle it out.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers.

This is a very intriguing game to me as well. Not only do we get to see Ron Ron, but we get to see the number 1 overall pick play as well. [Editor’s note: Oops…not so much on the #1 pick. Late breaking news last night has Blake Griffin out for six weeks with a broken kneecap.]

Here’s a few things to look out for:

  • How will Artest handle the pressure under the big lights of LA?
  • How will he show he is good enough to play with the defending champions?
  • Will Kobe show any signs of rusting?
  • How are Bynum’s knees?
  • What will Blake Griffin bring to the table for the Clips’? [Editor’s note: not much tonight.]
  • How will Baron Davis react to the franchise this year?

Another great game. I mean, it may not be as competitive as the first, but Blake Griffin has [Editor’s note: well, at least he would have had] the opportunity to play his first ever NBA game against one of the Top-10 Greatest of All Time (And yes, Kobe is Top 1o All-Time).

Clippers-Lakers game time: 10:00 PM ET/ TNT on Tuesday, 10/27

A great set of games to watch for any basketball fan.

Kobe and LeBron. Nuff said.

Then the less “bigger games,” as some may call them. But heck, I’m really psyched to see Washington take on Dallas in Dallas.

I’ve heard a lot about Dirk this off-season. Supposedly he’s developed a near impossible shot to defend. Some sort of a sky hook or whatever. Should be a dandy to watch. Here’s a few things to look for:

  • How will Sean Marion play alongside Kidd, and Dirk?
  • Can Erik Dampier give us more now, due to the fact that Brandon Bass is gone to Orlando?
  • Will Kidd showing any signs of aging?
  • How will Gilbert Arenas fare in a long awaited season-opener?
  • How will Foye and Miller compliment the trio Washington already has?

Good game. These teams are pretty close when it comes to skill sets, even though I give the advantage to Dallas.

Dallas-Washington game time: 8:30 PM ET on Tuesday, 10/27

Here’s another good game for you NBA heads. The Utah Jazz pay a visit to the Denver Nuggets. Should be a good Western Conference match up to watch. Look for:

  • Will Melo bring more to the table this year? (like he hasn’t brought enough)
  • Does Chauncey still have the legs to run an offense?
  • How will Denver show us some improvements from last season?
  • Will Carlos Boozer be a distraction for Utah?
  • What’s Deron Williams improved on?

I like this game, as it is a battle of the PG’s. The young gun vs the old chap.

Utah-Denver game time: 10:30 PM ET/ESPN on Wednesday, 10/28

Here’s a game that features a title contender. The San Antonio Spurs take their new look team to Chicago against the Bulls. I personally love the Chicago Bulls. They are energetic, youthful, and have a strong young leader in Derrick Rose. But on the other hand, Richard Jefferson will be able to showcase to SA fans how he can help in a possible Finals run. Here’s what to look for:

  • How will Jefferson look with Timmy, Manu and TP on the court?
  • Will McDeyess be able to overcome his age?
  • Is Tim Duncan still as dominant?
  • How has Derrick Rose improved?
  • What can Taj Gibson bring to Chicago?
  • How will Chicago fair without Ben Gordon?

Great game to watch, even though this is pretty much a lob sided game, I love to watch Rose, and can’t wait to see what RJ can do for San Antonio

Spurs-Bulls game time: 8:00 PM ET/ESPN on Thursday, 10/29

Here’s a game of mediocre teams, but great headlines, as the Oklahoma City Thunder take it to Motown to take on Detroit. Kevin Durant has to show us who he is, and what he will be. Then on the other hand, Charlie V. and Ben Gordon try to reverse Detroit’s recent problems. Take a look:

  • Will Kevin Durant show us more?
  • How will James Harden fit in with Oklahoma City?
  • What about Russel Westbrook?
  • Will the back court of  Hamilton, Stuckey and Ben Gordon work?
  • What will Villanueva bring to Detroit?

Great game for those of you who just want to kick back, and watch two teams battle it out!

Pistons-Thunder game time: 8:00 PM ET on Saturday, 10/31

Welcome back Hedo, or well welcome to Toronto, Magic! Hedo Turkoglu faces off against his former team, the Magic. This should be an awesome game to watch. I, as well as many others are excited to watch the Bosh-Hedo combo. Not only that, have the Magic downgraded, or are they ready to take on the best in the league again? Let’s take a look:

  • How will Hedo and Bosh work out?
  • Will Dwight be even more of a monster?
  • Will Bosh be as committed this year as the rest?
  • How will Carter fair with the Magic’s offensive style?

I’m really looking forward to watching Hedo with Bosh. Also Vincanity playing alongside Nelson, Howard and Lewis.

Magic-Raptors game time: 1:00 PM ET on Sunday, 11/1

Without a doubt, this NBA season is already revving me up. Especially this first week (even though my Finals picks Cleveland and LA won’t play eachother). I’m ready for this season to begin. The only question remaining is:

  • Are you?

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* – Shaq and LeBron image credit: Zuma Press via EveryJoe.com



Comments

  1. Although Artest has a reputation for his part in the Brawl at the Palace, he was an asset for Houston and I see no reason why he won't be an asset for the Lakers.

    I'll be curious to see how well Andrew Bynum holds up this year and I'm eager for Blake Griffin to make his debut.

    In addition to building chemistry with its new players, it's an open question of how well Cleveland's offense will function without Coach John Kuester to direct it. Boston's resurgence won't last if the Big 3 continue to play big minutes.

    Detroit vs Oklahoma isn't a marquee matchup, but Detroit would be more properly classed as a young team with talent and athleticism rather than mediocre. The Detroit backcourt features 4 players who can start and average 20 points with other teams and veteran backup guard Chucky Atkins was signed to give them a fifth and help shave time off the learning curves of Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum. When needed, Atkins can provide floor leadership and 3 point shooting. Villanueva is a young Rasheed Wallace without the emotional hangups.

    This season promises to be a good one.

    • I agree fully with you Boris. Detroit has probably the deepest back court in the A.
      Stuckey, Gordon, Rip are all incredible guards!
      But, this we be a "tryouts" season, to see who will be let go or traded for Detroit.
      But this is my opinion =)

  2. It's conventional wisdom to conclude that Rip will be traded, but at this point redundancy isn't necessarily a bad thing since it lets the Pistons apply starting quality guard play on other team's without a letup. Having, say, Rip and Gordon on the court at the same time prevents opposing defenses from loading on one side of the court and makes them pick their poison.

    Also, Rip continues to be productive and has stated he wants to retire as a Piston, something that Dumars isn't against. And it's the sense among Detroit insiders that Dumars wants to see what he has in the current team at the moment. He is open to a trade that will improve the Pistons, but will not make a trade just to make a trade, nor hurt the team unnecessarily. The Pistons will be in a position also to land a quality free agent next summer in a depressed market when they have their full MLE to spend.

    Time will tell in the end what exactly happens.

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