Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Sebastian, Mark, Devin, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.
1) Who makes it to the NBA Finals? Who wins?
I still think it is going to end up being the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers (after Ron Artest's dagger last night). The Orlando Magic have too much to overcome to win four in a row, and I think they will have a stretch of bad three-point shooting that will cost them. I think the Lakers will win for the same reasons they have been winning these entire playoffs, Kobe is really good and they are bigger than everyone.
Well, both the Phoenix Suns and the Magic are making their respective series interesting, but I can't see Phoenix knocking off the Lakers and the Celtics, despite the fact that I thought they were an inherently flawed team entering the postseason; they can't possibly lose four in a row to the Magic... can they? I mean, wouldn't that be a kick in the pants for the city of Boston? With that said, I say the Lakers beat the Celtics 4-2 for the outgoing Phil Jackson, who will have vodka with Mikhail Prokhorov and tease New Jersey Nets fans for a few weeks before retiring.
Are you kidding? First I pick Phoenix-Orlando, and the teams go down 0-2 and 0-3. Then I say Orlando has the best chance of coming back, and Phoenix pulls a high school zone out of nowhere and ties the series. Clearly I have no idea what's going on, and anything I say gets completely flipped like we're living in Bizarro World. Honestly though, put a gun to my head and I'd say it's looking like another LA-Boston matchup (although it would be an awesome matchup if the two underdogs pulled it out - Orlando especially, for historical reasons). In a seven-game series between LA and Boston, I think it'd come down to HCA, and because of that I think the Lakers pull it out and Kobe fans get to wax more poetic about how amazing he is and how amazing LeBron isn't. Sigh.
Before the postseason, I was saying it would be a repeat of last year's NBA Finals and I still believe that. Thanks to some instant goat-to-hero antics by Ron Artest, the Lakers find themselves up 3-2 in their series with the Suns and I believe they close them out in Game Six, riding the momentum. I believe the Magic will also ride the momentum and make some history, coming back from 0-3 and take their series with the Celtics. In the finals, it's Kobe time once again as the Lakers repeat and the Artest detractors keep quiet.
2) Forget about LeBron James, where does Chris Bosh end up signing?
I would love for him to sign here in New Jersey. He is the perfect complement to Brook Lopez. Other than that, I don't really have any idea. The Toronto Raptors more than likely want to do a sign and trade, so whatever team offers up the most in return I guess.
I can see Bosh being the New York Knicks' one big "get" in the offseason and let's face it, while I wouldn't scoff at Bosh in Newark and Brooklyn, he comes across as the perfect kind of player for this current generation of Knicks: all numbers, questionable toughness.
Probably not Toronto, my apologies to my second country of citizenship. I sense the Chicago Bulls. Imagine Derrick Rose & Bosh running the pick and roll with Joakim Noah doing the dirty work and Luol Deng providing an added spark. That team becomes an insta-contender. Not a championship team - they're still a piece away - but I think you'll see Bosh there next year anyway. Despite the rumors of Bosh's five-team list, want to hear my darkhorse that I haven't heard mentioned?
Yes, the Dallas Mavericks. If Dirk Nowitzki actually opts out and decides to find another team to play for (as some folks on NetsDaily have been discussing), Mark Cuban will go bananas and look for a way to replace his star PF. Considering that Bosh was born in Dallas, raised in Dallas, and has averaged a 28-11 in the last 3 seasons there, and (I can't stress this enough) Mark Cuban is a lunatic, anything is possible.
It'll be interesting. Bosh, LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Joe Johnson will be meeting before the free agency period hits fulls swing and talk about where they'll be going, so we very well could see a package somewhere. Bosh and LeBron have been the most linked of the four to join the same team, so I'll make Knicks fans half-happy and say they'll get Bosh, but they won't get LeBron, whom I really want to obviously come to the Nets, but think he re-signs with the Cavaliers. So, Bosh should be living large in the big city, but will the team win much?
3) What are the chances of the Philadelphia 76ers skipping on general consensus number two pick, Evan Turner?
Slim to none. Doug Collins runs a typical offense and Turner can play three spots on the court, including point guard (a position that the Sixers need to fill). I think they take him no questions asked.
Well, considering the Detroit Pistons passed on Carmelo Anthony back in the day, anything is obviously possible here. With that said, I don't think you can say that Turner is absolutely guaranteed to be a star, but he is unquestionably the second best talent in this draft, and this just strikes me as bluster from Philadelphia in an attempt to pull off a trade.
Low, but possible. We're in that stretch where people begin to go gaga over the combine measurements and forget about what happened during the season, and Turner didn't measure as an outstanding athlete (which was expected). Just remember this: Evan Turner was the best swingman in the NCAA last year, and it wasn't even close. He was absolutely dominant in almost every single game. If Philadelphia passes on him, it'll be a huge mistake. Maybe not Bowie-over-Jordan huge, but maybe a lite version of Hakeem-over-Jordan; they'll still get a great player, but they'd pass on the better one.
I'd really love to have Turner join the Nets, as some of you may know from my posts/comments here on NAS, but he's too good to pass up. I'm sure Doug Collins will figure out how to play both Andre Iguodala and Turner on the wing. OR Iguodala finally gets traded. OR the pick gets traded, however, if they keep it, they take Turner.