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This review comes in conjuction with the start of the NBA season, beginning today when last year's champions the San Antonio Spurs face the Portland Trail Blazers.
Basketball is my favourite sport to participate in, and second favourite to watch (after American football). It is the second most viewed spectator sport in the United States, and is played by over 300 million people in 144 countries.
Playing The Game
Essentially, this game is very simple, however many may be put off by the numerous rules, the rules aren't too difficult to understand, and after a few game, it is to work out.
Basketball is competed with five people against five on the other team. The aim of the game is to score points by throwing the ball into the opposing team's basket.
In the international games, the game has four 10-minute quarters, and the NBA has four 12-minute quarters. There is an interval of 15 minutes after the second quater has ended, this is half-time. In half-time, the coaches tend to talk to the players and comment on what has happened so far in the game, they are also able to give them advice on how to improve to win the game in the second half.
Whenever a whistle is blown, the clock stops, this means that the allotted time given to each match will be played, and nothing less than this. The whistle is only blown when rules are infringed, and after each point is scored in the final two minutes of play.
The games never result in a draw, after the set amount of time, an extra 5 will be added, whoever comes out on top wins, if this continues, and then so does this system, until there's a winner.
Timeouts also affect how the time is managed in a game.
Time-outs can be used 8 times during the course of a game in the NBA. These are spread out by having them limited to one 20-second time-out in a half, and 6 others than last 60 seconds. You are only allowed to use 3 in the final quarter and 2 in the last two minutes of play. You can only call for a time-out when in possession of the basketball.
Either the players or the coaches are able to call a time-out during the game. These are used to tell the players to use set-plays in the game and to get their minds in the game if they are starting to create a large point-deficit.
The jump ball (also known as the tip off) starts each basketball game. It happens to give each team an equal chance of gaining the advantage of ball possession from the start of the game. It starts with one player from each team standing in the centre circle; no others are enabled to do so. A referee tosses the ball up between the two players and once it has peaked, it is in-play and either team can go for it. The tallest players are usually used in this, because who ever tips it fastest will usually do so because of their superior height to the other competitor. You are only able to touch the ball once, so if you just hit it up in the air, then you have to exit the circle anyone else is able to get it.
From the tip off, all the other players are able to pass, dribble, bat or throw it wherever they desire.
Most points are worth two points, however when you shoot beyond the three-point line, 6.25 meters you obviously get an extra point for the added difficulty.
After a foul, points shot from the free-throw line are worth only one point. The reason for this is that they are very easy to score and when people first learn the game, this is the first distance they would learn to shoot from.
<<<3 Second Rule>>>
This rule would be most relevant to offensive players, but everyone on the team must be aware of it. It says that a player isn't allowed the opposing team's restricted area for 5 seconds, this doesn't apply when there are attempting to catch a ball mid-air, or if the ball is rebounded. Once the ball hits the backboard, the clock starts again.
<<<24 Second Rule>>>
This is to keep the game flowing, not having long periods of time when there aren't any shot attempts, enabling for high-scoring competition every time.
The rule is that when a team has got the ball in their control, as a team, they have 24 seconds to shoot. A shot will only qualify if it hits the backboard or rim, so if they throw an air-ball, the clock will carry-on ticking.
<<<8 Second Rule>>>
This rule is to keep the pace of the game as fast as possible, it would be used to its limits in the closing seconds of a tight game, one team would be very conservative, making sure that the likelihood of the opposing team gaining possession is as low as possible.
The rule is that you must advance the ball into the other team's half of the court within 8 seconds, if you fail to do so; you forfeit possession, giving it to the other team at the sideline.
<<<5 Second Rule>>>
This rule is used in three different ways, all in different conditions:
The first way is when the ball is to be thrown-in from the sideline. It says that the ball must be released within 5 seconds, or the throw-in will be given to the other team. The only time where this may be difficult to stay to the rules is when all of the players on your on team are marked well.
The second form of the enforcement of the 5 second rule is when a player is being guarded well. He must get the ball away within 5 seconds when he is limited to options, in order to keep possession for his team. If he has a lot of pressure on him for 5 seconds, then it's his fault on not passing, shooting, dribbling or at least rolling the ball, so he has to get rid of the ball in some way to stay within the game's laws.
<<<Out of Bounds>>
This is as any other sport, where there are limits to where the ball can go. The ball must be kept within its 28 metre by 15 metre limits in order for it to be a legal ball, if it goes beyond this and hits the floor, it's out-of-bounds. If a player hits it back into the court before it hits the out-of-bound ground, it will still be in play.
A player can be considered to be out-of-bounds if he, whilst holding the ball has most of a foot outside of the court. This will be judged by the referees, but generally if a part of the foot goes out, they are out-of-bounds.
This makes it illegal to take the ball into the backcourt, your side of the court after it has been advanced past the centre line. You cannot dribble, or pass the ball this way after this time; otherwise the other team gets the ball from the sideline at the half-way mark.
In basketball, traveling is the term used when people do not use the movement restrictions to their correct use. Violating these will result in the ball going to the other team where the violation occurred. If you step more than 2 steps, without dribbling, this goes against the rules.
This is when a player has dribbled. Once this action is complete, legally they are not able to do anything else, apart from pass or shoot. If someone was to hold the ball after dribbling, and dribble again, this would be a double dribble, called this for obvious reasons.
If a player dribbled the ball with two hands, this would also be a double dribble; this is why they only do it with two.
This is to stop a defender standing straight in front of the basket and just batting the ball away whenever a ball comes to the basket. The rule states that you are not able to intercept the path of a basketball once it has peaked, and is travelling downwards after a shot. This could be compared to the off-side rule in football, to stop players hanging around the goal and kicking it, but is for the benefit of the offensive team in this case.
As contact is illegal in this game, the player who perpetrates fouls is sometimes hard to establish, but both players involved will be suspects to this.
These are more common in the game; they are called if the collision between players is after the dribbler, on the offense, has his head and shoulders past the defender, because it isn't likely that the offensive player can fend off a player in this position.
These will be called most commonly when a player charges. In a charge, the offensive player will not put in effort to avoid contact, ignoring the defender's safety. He win run straight at a defender, to make sure that he is past them, making there a clear space to attack the basket.
Result of Foul:
As a penalty for going against these rules, the other team will be awarded with two free-throws, each worth one point a piece. If a defensive occurs and the offensive player shoots, and scores, he will be given these points, but only a single free-throw will be given to him. If he shoots fro three-point range, the same will apply; those points and an extra free-throw will be given. If you miss the shot, then no points will be given, but there will be two free-throws for them. After these free-throws, the team that took the free-throw will be given possession at centre court.
This type of foul won't be committed as a result of an impact or traveling violation, it's a result of not complying with rules with time or doing things like making too much noise when a player is doing a free-throw. It would also be called if someone calls a time-out when there are none left, this is done to stop the clock if the team doesn't have any time-outs left, and they won't be allowed to talk to the coach, but the time will be stopped.
The penalty for such a violation will be a single free-throw and denial of possession after the shot attempt.
History of Basketball
The game of basketball was created intentionally, unlike some sports that are made from adaptations of other games.
Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States of America, is the home of the International YMCA Training School, now Springfield College. It was where the game was created, after the head of Physical Education there, Dr. Luther Galik told one of his teachers to make an indoor game for his class of 18 students (in order for them to keep up their fitness during the freezing climate in Winter in New England). In a two-week period, the Canadian Dr. James Naismith and his pupils created basketball.
The game, initially "Basket Ball" has a few similarities to the game, today, but many aspects of it are different. The Naismith game had 9 per team on a court half the length of a NBA one now, and the ball could only be moved with passes or bats from one to another. The ball would be thrown into a peach basket, which was suspended high above the ground. Play would be stopped after each point, because they had to retrieve the soccer-ball sized ball from the basket with a broom, or a stick long enough. The distance of height the basket is placed is just as now, 10 feet. These were the only things which made it the same as the game today, using only your arms to play, and getting the ball into a 10 foot high basket.
The first rules were written by Dr. James Naismith as follows:
1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands, but never with the fist.
3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man running at good speed.
4. The ball must be held by the hands. The arms or body must not be used for holding it.
5. No shouldering, holding, pushing, striking or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violations of Rules 3 and 4 and such as described in Rule 5.
7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count as a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the meantime making a foul).
8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.
10. The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals, with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
12. The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
13. The side making the most goals in that time is declared the winner.
In my opinion, these look much more like the current rules in netball, that basketball, especially with no running with the ball. It's also important to note that dribbling wasn't found in the game at all, making it even more like the other variation of basketball. Seven of these rules are just as today, but there are many more now than there here.
The first game of "Basket Ball" was played in Springfield on the 21st of December, with the result ending at 1-0. There was a lot of confusion over the rules, so many fouled over the course of play, but it did set us up for this game we have now.
After one month of play amongst these students, the game was quite popular, causing many women to get interested in playing the sport. The did by 1895, where there was a 9-on-9 game at Smith College in Northampton, close to Springfield, in the same state.
The popularity continued, and the rules were altered over time, resulting in the first male 5-on-5 game in 1896 in Iowa City, Iowa. In this game, the University of Chicago defeated the University of Iowa, this shows how it got popular in the East of the U.S.A. within a short amount of time.
In the same year that the creator of the game, Dr. Naismith died, the first national championship game was played at Madison Square, the grandest stage in indoor American sports, and now the home of the New York Knicks.
It has been said that the original idea for the game may have been taken from the tribal Native Americans, who played a game where they threw small rocks at a target on a high post, scoring points, to intercept these; the other team could shoot arrows to deflect the path of the rock to the target. Even if this concept was recognized by Naismith, he was still the first to think to throw the balls into a basket this way.
Another way of interpreting his inspiration for the game could have come from the game "Duck On a Rock", where one person threw a rock at a target on a tree stump, in an attempt to knock it off. This certainly had roots of the Native American game, so it could be said the indigenous Americans formed the roots of basketball.
FIBA (Fédération Internationale de Basketball or International basketball Association) are the highest governing body in the professional basketball world. The "...BA" of the name currently stands for the first two letters in 'BAsketball', but it originally stood for Internationale de Basketball Amateur, as 'amateur' isn't a proper description of FIBA anymore, they simply changed the meaning of the abbreviation, instead of changing the name. It has its headquarters in Switzerland surprising due to the fact hat the game originated in the United States of America.
The role of FIBA is to set out rules for basketball and regulations for things connected to the game. It also assigns referees to enforce these. Many of the international transfers must go through these first, something quite interesting to hear is that there are 213 countries that individually take part in professional basketball competition. These are divided into five regions of the world, Asia, Americas, Europe, Africa and Oceania, each of which compete against each other for continental games and participate in annual global World Championships, many would expect USA to dominate these, but this isn't the case, even last year had the American national team (consisting of star NBA players such as LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Kobe Byrant) lose to Spain.
The National Basketball Association we see today is what was originally the BBA (Basketball Association of America). The BBA merged with the National Basketball League in 1949; it was a rival company at the time. So the NBA created a super force in American basketball once it was formed.
I watch the NBA programming that Five provides. On Tuesday nights during the regular and post-season, it shows two shows two shows per week. One is NBA Action, which has been running since 1990; it's a magazine show that displays some weekly highlights of games and a countdown of the 'Top Ten Plays Of the Week', as well as backstage interviews with players and teams practicing. The second show that is played on Five is a live game each Tuesday night, its always on late at night, but if you have a team to follow, then it will motivate you to watch it. On the day after, a one-hour round-up of the game is always available at 7 o'clock on Five US, (if you can't be bothered to stay up) but I feel that it's not as fun as watching it live.
Since 2000, things have obviously changed for the viewing of NBA Action. Now it comes on during the regular NBA season and post-season of the National Basketball Association (NBA), although it does come on Sky Sports (which I don't have) and on NBA TV in the United States too. The show is presented by Ian Eagle, he narrates throughout. He talks us through is very simply, nothing too impressive to actually comment on.
I have watched this since I really got into basketball, and realised that I would be able to watch shows about it. It lead me to set my alarm for 12.05 am to watch a 20-minute programme (I now understand it wasn't worth it, but I really wanted to see the most I could). This came as part of my regular baketball schedule, prior to having consistant Internet access. Included in this was watching a weekly live game on Tuesday nights. Collectively, they gave me all the basketball information that I required to satisfy my baskeball craving.
NBA Action is a magazine show which primarily shows a variety of things, all connected to the NBA, or the wider world associated with it.
The main purpose of NBA Action is to recap the last week of games during the season. As around 40 games are played each week in the NBA, only the ones which have the most hype surrounding them will be seen. They understand how important it is to fit in as much information as possible, so about 3-5 are seen, with videos of the best plays during the game showed, just to give us an understnding of what it was like to watch it happen, as it happened. The results always roll across the bottom of the screen throughout the show, so you'll be able to get everything from the NBA during the show.
I feel that this section is covered very well. They give us all that we need (when we consider the length of the programme), short clips of the best games, short extracts of notable things which occurred in the week. You cannot complain about this part of the coverage, unless you are looking for clips of games with at least each team (but this is unrealistic.
News from Around the League:
As the name suggests, this has all of the things that we may need to know about what's going on the the NBA in the week. Most of the time, they will tell us about trades, injury information or team statistics.
Top Ten Plays of the Week:
This is my favourite part of the show and is worth waiting until the end of the show to see. This has brief clips of the most amazing examples of skill by players during the week. This could be a long range of things, but is always guarranteed to excite you.
This part of the show is presented by going through the actual plays in reverse order, from what was nominated as the tenth to the most favoured play in the week. These will show the clips a few times from various angles (in order to get the most out of the experience, as sometimes the happen so quick that you just have to see it again to see it happen).
I have seen many incredible acts of skill during this part of the show including:
-A 26.2 meter Hail Mary swish -A half-court winning buzzer beater -Massive dunks -Big blocks -And various other exceptional long jump shots, big blocks and great acts of teamwork with behind-the-back pass assists and alley-oops.
I must say that I often get annoyed with the ordering of many of these clips, but the best one can't be disputed on most ocassions.
They also remind you that you are able to vote for the best of the season online at NBA.com (these will only included the top ones each week.) This intractive aspect makes you feel more a par of the show. As I now have easy access to Internet, I can watch these straight from NBA's YouTube channel, so there isn't really much of an insentive to watch the show. During the play-offs, they even do daily recaps of the 'Top Ten Plays of the Day', so the weekly show doesn't compare to it.
The additinal part to the show are often the most interesting. It is quite unnpredictable as they could give us anything. Sometimes they will take us to a team practice, to find out how the ballers train, and they are asked able how confident they feel about their next opponents. It could be a segment about an individual player, taking a look at what they have gone through and what they aspire to do in the future, or a legend could make an apperance. As I haven't been into it for long, they doesn't seem to excite me much, but it does allow me to see how the game has evolved.
As I did say that I can find my favourite part of the show online, it makes me less likely to want to tune in to watch the show, but it is nice to see this alsong with highlights and extras all in one place (instead of looking through pages and pages online).
NBA Action give you everything you need to know in a consise period of time, they fit in all the information we need, along with some additional sections that allow us to know what happens behind the scenes of the NBA.
I can only assume that NBA Action will return this year at the beginning of the season, if it does it may come on at the same time of 12.05 am on Monday nights, but this varied from week to week. Check long before if you wish to watch it, or you may be disappointed, also as this time (late night/early evening) on Five is often occupied by live sport, so the starting times can be altered at the last minute.
I would recommend that you watch this if you already sacrifise sleep to watch live NBA games, anyone in this position would enjoy watching this. If you only watch basketball casually, then you probably would find this too worth while as it is possible to find a lot of the content online.
The National Basketball Association consists of 30 teams, one of which is located outside of the United States, in Toronto, Canada. There area total of 6 divisions, which have been placed into two conferences.
Achievements: NBA Champions (X16) Conference Champions (X19)
It looks like it may be a good year for the Celtics, they have just got their hands on some very well estbalished talent as they now have both Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, fresh off some trades. These are great players, so it was a good decision to get rid of some of the youngester without a good game, for a Timberwolves legend, 'The Big Ticket', Kevin Garnett was traded for eight other players (including the controversial Sebastian Telfair). Also one of the best best long-range shooters in history is a part of the roster, straight from the SuperSonics. It looks good for the Celtics, let's hope there is good teamwork here.
**New Jersey Nets**
Location: Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Red, dark blue, silver, white
Achievements: Conference Champions (X2)
After last years failure of an even Win/loss; 41/41, the Nets really have to catch up to get to the standard they are capable of. The loss of Jefferson last year must have really affect the team last year, as he injured both his ankle and knee, he is healthy now, and just in case, his back-up, Botjan Nachbar is ther to take over as he sits on the bench this year. With the team of J-Kidd (Jason Kidd) and Half-Man, Half-Amazing (Vince Carter) are still ther, the team really deos have a better chance of adavancing further than last years Conference semi-finals, the ideal situation (which I predict) would have them with the Celtics in the finals.
**New York Knicks**
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Orange, blue, white, black
Achievements: NBA Champions (X2) Conference Champions (X8)
Last year the team came out with a negative record, and I predict that it will not improve from this. Although the team has just got their hands on the ex-Trail Blazer, Zach Randolph, I don't think that they have got much of a chance of even getting close to getting to the standard of competition within their Conference, nevermind the leauge. The 5'9" Nate Robinson has been benched for this season, but with Starbury still out there, we could still see things change in the Knickerbockers' camp.
Location: Wachovia Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Black, white, blue, gold, red
Achievements: NBA Champions (X3) Conference Champions (X5)
I am somehat a casual fan of this team and I was extremely disappointed in last year's efforts, the main reason for their decline will be the fact that both Chris Webber and Allen Iverson left, leaving the team with a minimal winning potential. I feel that the youngster Andre Igoudala, may be a key part of advancing this team past a 35/47 win/loss.
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Red, black, white
I don't rate this team at all, as the only Canadian team in the league, not many do. They do have last years #1 draft pick, the Italian, Andrea Bargnani and a newly signed Maceo Baston, but I don't see how this with heavily effect how this team play the season.
Location: United Centre, Chicago, Illinois
Black, red, white
Achievements: NBA Champions (X6) Conference Champions (X6)
There haven't really been any changes within the Bulls camp, last year we saw ben Wallace join the team, and nothing major has happened since then. They did fairly weel and I hope to see hem do a little better than 49/33. They have a British player on their team Chris Duhon, and this may be a reason for you to supprot the Bulls, (there is only one other in the league from here).
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Wine, white, navy blue, gold
Achievements: Conference Champions
Afer the last year repeated the results of the previous season and avanced a level by getting them the Eastern Conference Championshuip, it seems a though tyhere is only one more step for the Cavs; the NBA Finals Championship.The Cavs don't seem to have any drawbacks for the up-coming season, LeBron still captains the team and the Lithunanian ydrūnas Ilgauskas is still there on his eleventh season for the team as part of the regular roster playing in the center position so I can't see why they won't be able to create another 50/32 or more.
Location: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Red, white, blue
Achievements: NBA Champions (X3) Conference Champions (X7)
As this team followed the Cavs all the way up to the Conference finals, they have shown that they are of high quality and their slighlty higher win/loss of 53/29 shows that they may have a slight advantage over them in terms of regular game wins (of course thre will be a confidence deficit wi the loss to them on the important night. The Pistons till have Billups and Rasheed Wallace, so it seems as though they are looking good for the '07/08 season.
The roster remains to be very similar to last year's Pacers. The '06/07 Indianans had an extremely disappointing record, one of their worse at 35/47. We still have the one-time youngest ever NBA player J.O. (Jermaine O'Neal) still captaining this team, and with such a powerful forward, he could stand a chance at chaging the luck for the team.
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Red, navy blue, silver
Achievements: NBA Champions, Conference Champions (X3)
The Hawks are coming off a very poor season, only managing 30 wins out of the possible 82. This team have been in such a negative tate for around ten years, so it wasn't much of a change and nothig seemed out of ordinary. I don't see how the team out of ATL have any potential to advance, they haven't got any star power in their team, nor do they possess some 'hidden' talent.
Location: Charlotte Bobcats Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina
Bobcat Orange, black, silver, white, blue
Since being founded in 2004, the Bobcats haven't seen any success, not even a single divison championship. I feel that this will continue for this year, because it will always be difficult for new teams, but soon I expect it to suddenly get a boost, possibly once they have a few decent players. at the moment the team possesses two of the tallest centers in the game, both of which stand over 7' (Ryan Hollis, 7' and Primo Brezec, 7'1"), so the stature of their best defensive roles are highly imposing, but they need much more.
Location: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Black, red, orange, white
Achievements: NBA Champions, Conference Champions
After disappointing us last year with 44/38, after two years of success and a NBA Championship in 2006, the Heat have some catching-up to do. The team seems to have a lot more potential this year than many before, one of the reasons is that Penny Hardaway has come from the Magic to re-unite himself with Shaquille O'Neal, as the Shaq-Penny duo from the early-mid 90s Orlando Magic, it seems as though the team can advance with a strong offense. Another reason will be because Shaq is healthy, after missing over 30 games with a bad knee (not surprising considering that 7'1", 325 lb beast is jumping up and falling with so much pressure, so often on them. The first month of the season will be missed by one of the best players on the team D-Wade (Dwayne Wade) as he is recovering from 'jumper's knee', this shouldn't be too much of a loss, because of all the back-up, but they should play hard to make sure that hese four weeks don't produce too many losses.
Location: Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida
Blue, black, white, silver
Achievements: Conference Champions
The power forward Tony Battie will return to this team, who played abysmally last year (only 40 wins. Many would argue that this is the best they have played in 4 years, but really the shouldn't be on negative values. Battie will be part of the active team, as last year when he played every game. Someone who wasn't on the Magic roster last year is Adonal Foyle, who has come from a ten-year stretch at the Wizards. I believe that that he may be able to improve the defencse for his new team, he is a player with experience, so he should be abile to take control in the center position.
Location: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Blue, black, gold, white
Achievements: NBA Champions, Conference Champions (X4)
This team are coming off an equal score sheet last year, 42 wins and losses, agame worse than last year. I'd say that this isn't a bad thing because they have been this way for a few seasons, implying some consistancy in the Wizards camp, I see them coming with some big improvements soon if they really utilise their roster, including Tough Juice, Caron Butler and Agent Zero, Arenas Gilbert.
Location: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Midnight blue, green, white, silver, blue
Achievements: Conference Champions
The Mavs came from the 2006 season on a high, they went all the way to the finals. It changed somewhat in the following season when they began the season by losing four consecutive games, this was later recoverd when the managed to win 55 games in a row, it ended-up as a very successful 67/15, but they weren't ble to translate this into any achievements bigger than the Southwest divisional championship. This year they know that they are capable of more, they showed it in the '05/06 season, so big Dirk Nowitzki and his Mavs are going to have to prove that they can make the best out of the talent in the team.
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Red, white, silver
Achievements: NBA Champions (X2) Conference Champions (X4)
Eventhough the team lost in the first round of the 2006-2007 season we saw them achieve as very good 52 wins last year, if they could have advanced past the Jazz, then they probably would have gone quite far. The team looks even more improed than last year so I do expect big things from this team, the Jazz wouldn't be able to cope now that the 7'6" Yao Ming is healthy, T-Mac retrunrs and (after being juggled around the league) Steve Francis is on the bench, ready to play. This combination must mean a sure success.
Location: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Navy blue, smoke blue, white, golden yellow, light blue
From 2004 until 2006, the Grizzlies were on the height of their success, always getting mid fourties in wins, but last year the lack of talent finally hit the team, making them plummet to 22 wins and 60 losses. I predict that last years flop will carry-on, I can't see anything which stands out to make the team improve.
**New Orleans Hornets**
Location: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Teal, gold, purple
Despite the problems of last year with Hurricane Katrina's destruction of the whole region, the Hornets have now officially returned to New Orleans full time, they will play the whole of this season here. The team maintained a similar record to the year before, despite the problems. I see them improving this year, with their stable home, and the fact that Stojaković is healthy and will start the season. David West should still be hot in the game this year, so I expect something a little better from the team.
**San Antonio Spurs**
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Black, silver, white
Achievements: NBA Champions (X4) Conference Champions (X4)
After coming off the high of winning the NBA Champinship last year, the Spurs should be using this confidence to go into this season ready to repeat last year's success. To be honest, I don't see them going as far this year, but they should manged to at last get to the semis of the Western Conference. we should see some of the same stuff this year with Tony Parker and Tim Duncan starting, the team have also decided to bench Manu Ginobli, as last year, but he came off it for the second half of the season, I expect the same again.
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
Powder blue, gold, black, blue
Achievements: NBA Champions, Conference Champions (X5)
We expected big things from the Nuggets last year, but from December, things took a turn for the worse, when they got involved in a fight at Madison Square, mening that three of the players (including star Carmelo Anothy) putting the team in a tough situation. The following day it seemed as though things were going to improve dramaticaally when AI (Allen Iverson) arrived after a trade with the 76ers. With a star PG likie this it should have meant thhat things were going to change up for the better, it wasn't the case, due to communication issues with thie new player. I hope that this will be resolved this year because they now have had time to get used to him, they should be able to get far in the tournament.
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Forest green, black, blue, silver
With the departure of their star power forward KG (Kevin Garnett) I predict that we will see a decline in the performance of the Timberwolves. Last year's effort wasn't too promising either as they lost 50 games and won 32, with this extra stress on Minnesota, I don't see where they could improve.
**Portland Trail Blazers**
Location: Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon
Red, silver, black, white
Achievements: NBA Champions, Conference Champions (X3)
The Blazers won the oppertunaity to own the number 1 draft pick this year, getting Greg Oden in the process, so you would think that he would be the first choice to use for the center position, a new 7' youngster, but it will not be the case because he fractured his knee in the off-season (unlucky for Portland this year). I'm not sre if the team will be able to produce anything better than last year's overall of 32/50.
Location: KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Green, gold, white
Achievements: NBA Champions, Conference Champions (X3)
The Sonics struggled last year, but tat was nothing compared to what's coming up for them. They lost Ray Allen, one of the best 3-point shooters, in the league when they traded him for four players, including Wally Szczerbiak, who will start for the Sonics as the Small Forward. He did quite well early of last season, but got injured, he's heathly now and could repeat his success from early of the '06/07 season. I don't really see tem doing much though, it's going to be a tough year at Seattle.
Location: EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Navy blue, purple, ice blue
Achievements: Conference Champions (X2)
It seemed as though out of nowhere, the Jazz have come with some big success, the team were struggling, but last year they managed to get all of the was to the finals of the Western Conference and lots to the team who went on to win the tournament (a credible loss). I'm not sure if the same will occur, but I see them coming second in the division, and possibly adavancing just a bit further than this.
**Golden State Warriors**
Location: Navy Oracle Arena, Oakland, California
Golden Gate orange, midnight blue, white, California yellow