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NBA 2005

The Haves and Have Nots

The NBA Gods Don't Actually Hate the Bay Area

After seeing the Golden State Warriors now for a little more than a month, it should be obvious that this team is on the climb. I'm becoming a believer. The Warriors have a chance to enter that next echelon of teams is the next goal. They're close.

Top Conferences vs Bad Conferences

There is a disparity between the top three conferences and the bottom three. The Central, Southwest, and Pacific conferences each roll out three high quality teams, while the Atlantic, Southeast, Northwest bring up the rear. Maybe Miami and Minnesota qualify as quality teams, maybe. But the reality is, the NBA Champion will come from Central or Southwest; at least that's my not-so-bold prediction. The Central is a scary conference, where each team is tough.


Top Five

Detroit Pistons - While the Pistons keep rolling, there are a few kinks here and there. But it's hard to be too critical at this juncture. While they're not as dominating as the first couple of weeks, they're still the best of the best.

San Antonio Spurs - Consistent, well-balanced. This team can beat you in so many different ways. Manu's not in the lineup, no problem. Parker can't make a jump shot to save his life, no problem.

Indiana - Surging. The Pacers have it all and are slowing starting to piece together their rotations. Remember that this team didn't have a chance to gel last year. And they still have to prove that O'Neal's health and Artest's mental health will stand up for an entire season. But so far Indy has shown that they can build back up and get themselves in position to go for an NBA championship.

Memphis Grizzlies - This team is the riser of the week. Before Thanksgiving I was convinced the Grizzlies had not really gotten it together; or more exactly that Pau Gasol hadn't gotten it together. But look at the last few games. Pau is becoming the leader and his teammates are responding. He has played with a chip on his shoulder and the new additions of Eddie Jones, Damon Stoudamire, and Bobby Jackson have transformed the Grizzlies into a no-nonsense, hard-nosed team.

Dallas - A last minute loss to Milwaukee and close loss to the Spurs sours an otherwise strong run the last couple of weeks. Dirk has learned how to be a leader and the team is responding to him. Mark Cuban has been shrewd in the way he helped transform this team from an exclusively up-tempo, Sacramento Kings style to a more well balanced, defend the hoop, kind of team.

On the Bubble: Cleveland Cavaliers, LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Phoenix Suns.

Quick Observations

Houston Rockets - TMac's back has me wondering if he will ever be the player we all stand in awe of. Remember what a bad back did to "Larry Legend". If that's the case, it will be a real shame seeing one of the top 5 players in the league go down.

Orlando Magic - The rarely mentioned Magic are putting together a decent season, rebuilding around Dwight Howard. With the return of Grant Hill, a playoff run isn't out of the question.