Jalen Rose's 2009-10 Predictions
Our ESPN NBA analyst forecasts the regular-season outcome for the East
Los Angeles Lakers San Antonio Spurs Dallas Mavericks Denver Nuggets Utah Jazz Por. Trail Blazers N.O. Hornets Phoenix Suns L.A. Clippers G.S. Warriors Minn. Timberwolves Memphis Grizzlies OKC Thunder Houston Rockets Sacramento Kings
Predicted Finish for Western Conference: 2009-10
Every player in the league will still give Kobe the ball at crunch time. Gasol is an All-NBA performer. Odom along with Artest will provide all kinds of post-up and perimeter problems on both ends of the floor. They need Bynum to dominate.
They are motivated and healthy. Pop has his championship-caliber core back in Duncan, Parker and Manu and they added quality depth with the additions of Jefferson, McDyess and Blair.
On the offensive end Dirk is the most gifted all-around PF in the NBA. Marion provides a boost to this team with his speed, scoring, defense and rebounding. Terry is the barometer of the team and makes big shots. Can Josh Howard play at an All-Star level?
Melo and Billups get a full season to wreck havoc. Nene is as efficient and effective as any center in the league. J.R. Smith shows flashes of greatness. Anderson with Martin provide energy and toughness. Karl is in the final year of his deal.
Will Boozer be traded? This team takes advantage of its home court as well as any team around but must find a way to play better on the road. They have great size and depth and Williams is the second-best point guard in the league (Paul).
Oden will need to develop into an anchor that can stay out of foul trouble. He has to contest every shot and go after every rebound. Roy is the third best SG in the game -- behind Kobe and Wade. Aldridge has All-Star potential.
When healthy Okafor has been a rebounding and shot-blocking force. Paul will dazzle and be in the MVP conversation. Will Peja return to his form from a few years back?
This is where the overall balance of the West takes a dip. Will Amare be traded (New York in 2010?)? Nash can still drop dimes and put up numbers on the offensive end. Barbosa gets his game back to his Sixth Man of the Year form. Can the fun-and-gun style win a title?
On paper this team should take the final playoff spot. If it's to happen, Baron and Camby have to lead the way. Kaman is proven. Gordon and Thornton score in flurries and Griffin will provide a workmanlike attitude and fresh face.
They must decide if Jackson is part of the past or the future. Morrow will light it up when he gets going. Will playing the point affect Ellis' ability to score big numbers? Biedrins is productive and efficient. Curry will show a soft touch from 3. Lots of scoring ... not enough wins.
With a healthy Jefferson, don't be surprised if they beat out the Suns and/or Clips to make the playoffs. Sessions is a stud and will be the most improved player in the league. New coach Rambis put together one of my favorite coaching staffs (Laimbeer/Theus). Love will average a double-double.
Gay and Mayo will be the headline performers. Randolph scores and grabs rebounds at will. Can Conley hold down the point? A.I. will have something to prove to all the teams that overlooked him in free agency.
They have a young exciting core in Durant, Westbook and Green. Rookie James Harden will slash to the basket and perform like a top rookie in this year's class.
No Yao Ming possibly for the entire season. McGrady is recovering from surgery and both players will be free agents after the season. Ariza was a good signing, but this season wins will be hard to come by. Brooks will have a breakout year.
Kevin Martin can score with the best of them. Evans will be the Rookie of the Year. Sergio Rodriguez will continue to improve.
Predicted Finish for Eastern Conference: 2009-10
Los Angeles Lakers
San Antonio Spurs
Por. Trail Blazers
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