#10 Golden State Warriors
If you want to see offense, the Marc Jackson led Golden State Warriors are for you. Steph Curry and Monte Ellis are young entertaining players who make trick shots and acrobatic buckets. This year they add Clay Thompson who is another pure scorer and will contribute to the high octane offense. I originally had the Spurs in the #10 spot, but really…I can’t stand to watch the “Big Fundamental” do the robot or Manu Ginobili flop and throw his body around anymore.
#9 Orlando Magic
■ PG-Jameer Nelson
Dwight Howard is the star of this team and Franchise; without him there would be a Payton Manning like drop off for the Magic. Howard was 2nd in the NBA in rebounding at 14.1/g, he also led the Magic in scoring at 22.9pts/g on an astounding 59.6% shooting. Freakish dunks and towering ally-oops make Magic games highly entertaining. Jameer Nelson is explosive and exciting, and Jason Richardson is a pure scorer who can still drop 30 any given night. The addition of “Big Baby” Davis should give this team even more energy and tenacity.
#8 Dallas Mavericks
The defending Champion Mavs finally got over the hump and won it all. If you are in to team ball, this is a great team to watch. J-Kidd runs the show, J. Terry lights up the scoreboard, and Dirk Nowitzki rains in balls from the rafters. I must admit I never liked Nowitzki, but he is a legitimate NBA superstar who makes tough and dramatic shots. The Lamar Odom addition helps, but not as much as losing Chandler hurts.
#7 New York Knicks
I’m not a big Carmello fan; the guy just plays zero defense. But this is not an article on the top 10 defensive teams in the NBA. The addition of Tyson Chandler should relieve a lot of the rebounding pressure on both Amar’e and Melo, increasing their ability to put in work on the offensive end. The Broadway Boys were 2nd in the NBA in scoring at 106.5 pts/g in 2011 and could be in the top 5 again this year. The Knicks are officially relevant again.
#6 Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose is the Chicago Bulls. His impact early in his career, on both the Bulls and NBA, is eerily similar to that of Michael Jordan. Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, won the award in his 3rd season in the league. He’s gone from 16.8, to 20.8, to 25.0 pts/g in his three seasons; he also had 7.7 assist and 4+ rebound per game in his career year. His style of play is quicker than anyone in the league and his ability to finish at the rim is unparalleled. If you don’t like watching Derrick Rose play, you’re probably a 50+ year old Spurs or Jazz fan.
#5 Oklahoma Thunder
OKC burst on the scene after being ripped from the clutches of Seattle Sonic fans. The Sonics had put together a solid nucleus, then drafted Kevin Durant #2 overall in the 2007 NBA draft, so it’s no real surprise they have arrived. Durant, R. Westbrook, and James Harden are athletically gifted gym rats, who absolutely love the game. They play with passion and have developed a very close relationship which has led to a fantastic mesh of talent on the court. If you haven’t seen just how good KD is, you are in for a real treat. This year they should get plenty of TV time as I’m not the only one who has taken a fondness to OKC.
#4 Los Angeles Lakers
Full self-disclosure here…I can’t stand Kobe Bryant, and I can’t stand the Lakers. I didn’t like them when Magic and his “Lake Show” were around, and I like them even less now. The combination of their elitist attitude and a seeming lack of enjoyment on the court make watching the Lakers painful at times. However their talent is undeniable. Although Kobe has slowed he still put up 25+ pts/g in 2011 shooting 45% from the floor. P. Gasol is 1a when it comes to centers in the league, just behind D. Howard, and A. Bynum could blossom this year into what many have expected.
#3 Los Angeles Clippers
I know it sounds strange, but the LA Lakers have taken a back seat to the “Clip Joint”, at least at the start of 2012. Chris Paul has been kept a secret playing in New Orleans for so many years, he’s never had the lime light or support to propel him to greatness. In in my opinion he is the most pure PG in the NBA. The addition of C. Paul, C. Billups, and C. Butler to the most high-flying, athletic, and powerful big man in the league (Blake Griffen)…should make for awesome theater. The battle of Los Angeles is on.
#2 Boston Celtics
Two teams are head and shoulders above there rest when it comes to star power; the first is the Boston Celtics. The Celtics Big 3 used to be KG, P. Pierce, and R. Allen, however R. Rondo is an all-pro NBA superstar in the making who has taken Allen’s place in the Big 3 rotation. R. Rondo did just about everything he could in the 2011 campaign, averaging a double-double (10.6pts & 11.2 ast), not to mention his Willis Reid like comeback in the playoffs. Pierce, Allen, and KG are aging veterans but Rondo’s youth and pure speed, in combination with the team’s determination to win, make them really fun to watch.
#1 Miami Heat
I’d pay good money to watch any of the three superstars on the Heat’s roster. Put them together on the same team and you get exactly what has happened…an instant NBA frenzy. Just imagine the Miami Heat didn’t exist, um, on second thought…let’s not. Teams should be trying to replicate what the Heat have done in Miami, as they are the new face of the NBA, and have brought a level of intrigue the league has desperately needed. Love um or hate um, you know who they are, and if they’re on TV (which they will be more than any other team) you will watch.