Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Rise Of The NBA SuperTeam.

[Editor's Note: One of these days, I'll start the Nuthin' But Africans blog and take my sportswriter pipedreams elsewhere. Till then, live with it.]

Yeah, I know NFL camps are starting this week, and it's darn near sacrilege to be talking about any other sport, but what can I say? I'm not a football fan. Sure, I get my fantasy squad on, but that's more about talkin' smack with friends. Simply put, all the NFL is is a 2 month distraction before NBA training camp opens.

It seems like the Lakers just got their rings last week, but reality is, there hasn't been an NBA offseason with this much player movement in ages. And one trend that seems to be evolving is that the rich (much like in real life) are only getting richer. Welcome to the age of the SuperTeam. Here are your contestants.

Boston - The Celtics prolly would have made it back to the Finals had Kevin Garnett not gotten injured. So, to fortify the team's shaky frontline, they add Rasheed Wallace. Sheed gives them a stacked frontcourt, with Big Baby Davis, and Kendrick Perkins. It seems likely that the team will retain Stephon Marbury, and they're about to trade for Marquis Daniels, a guy who can play both guard positions. AB's Odds of Winning It All - 5 to 1.

Cleveland - The Cavs had the league's best record last year, but their date with destiny (and the ratings bonanza of Bron vs Kobe) was derailed when they were outplayed by a better Orlando team in the conference Finals. So, they remedy this by adding Shaquille O'Neal, with the express purpose of getting Lebron and Co. beyond the Magic. Uhhh, apparently they forgot about those Celtics. Additional pickups like Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon will help, but I just don't see a storybook ending here. On the bright side, no way Bron goes to NY. No way. I wouldn't be shocked to see him sign an extension before the season tips off. Odds - 10 to 1.

Orlando - Tasting the Finals (albeit briefly) was motivation enough for the Magic to go all out and add to their shaky depth in hopes of getting another shot at the title. They traded for Vince Carter, signed free agents Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes to reasonable contracts, and made a fatal error by matching a horrendous offer sheet for knock-kneed big man Marcin Gortat, a guy who makes John Koncak look like Wilt Chamberlain. Oh, and they also let their best crunch time player, Hedo Turkoglu, walk to the Raptors. Bad move. Odds - 11 to 1.

Lakers - Picking up Ron Artest is one of those unnecessary risks that can either ruin a team's season or push them over the edge. Essentially trading him for Trevor Ariza is a step up. However, if the team lets Lamar Odom bolt to the Heat over a lousy $2M pissing match, cancel all bets. Since this is still up in the air, I can't give them a grade. Odds - Incomplete.

Portland - A brief playoff run showed them that they needed a point guard to be the glue guy for their ultra talented squad. Picking up veteran Andre Miller fills a bunch of holes and gives Nate McMillan a quarterback who can get them to the 2nd round. Unfortunately, all their young players are going to need to be paid very soon, which means somebody is getting traded. And that Greg Oden over Kevin Durant picks looks worse and worse in retrospect. Imagine how much further along they'd be if they'd gotten that one right. Odds - 25 to 1.

Mavericks - After surprising a geriatric Spurs team last Spring, Mark Cuban and Co. made some aggressive moves to get back to the Finals. Picking up Shawn Marion, Tim Thomas, and Drew Gooden to join the forward tandem of Dirk Diggler and Josh Howard probably means a lot more small ball is coming. They did nothing to address their guard situation other than resigning Jason Kidd, a guy who still couldn't score if he had a pocketful of roofies. Do they even have a guard that's taller than 6-4 on the roster? That's not gonna cut it. Odds - 15 to 1.

Spurs - With Tim Duncan's window rapidly closing, the Spurs made some daring moves to improve their overall talent base. Getting a scorer like Richard Jefferson for a bag of chips and a soda was a steal. Adding Antonio McDyess, Theo Ratliff, and rookie Dejuan Blair to the frontcourt takes some of the pressure off TD. I still think they need some help at guard, where Manu Ginobili is not getting younger, and Tony Parker often looks like he'd rather be on Wisteria Lane than the AT&T Center. Can you say Iverson? Odds - 7 to 1.

Others Considered - Washington (smart trades and health will determine outcome), Atlanta (stacked with guards), Toronto (not deep, but Turkoglu helps), New Orleans (Okafor trade fortifies the front line), Clippers (look awesome on paper).

Question: Which NBA SuperTeam has the best shot at winning the title?

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