Posted on: August 13, 2009 6:14 pm

This year's NBA season might the best in a while

The 08-09 NBA season was great. There were many stories like Kobe winning a title without Shaq, LeBron winning his first MVP, the 7 game thriller of a series between the Bulls and the Celtics, and Denver emerging as a power in the west with Chauncey Billups going to the Nuggets. But the 09-10 season looks to be beyond great. I mean this year is looking so good I'm definitely thinking about getting NBA league pass.

The first thing I would like to see is the Cavaliers vs Celtics opening night. LeBron and Shaq is probably as crazy as it gets, but from a basketball standpoint I desperately want to see the C's come out firing even though I'm a Knicks fan. The Celtics went out and made the team better by adding Rasheed Wallace to the team and adding Marquis Daniels. The may be the deepest team in the league. Whether the C's start Perkins or Wallace, I think there definitely will be time for see Garnett and Wallace screaming and running up down the floor. Right now it looks like the C's are the favorites to win the NBA title, but there definitely some contenders like the Lakers, the Magic, the Spurs, and the Cavaliers.

Seeing Vince Carter and Dwight Howard on the same team will a great sight to see. Howard and Carter are two of the most athletic players at their respective positions in NBA history. Look forward to seeing Jameer Nelson hooking up with Dwight and Vince on many highlight reel alley-oops.

The return of Gilbert Arenas also should be a great sight to see. If watch basketball you know Gil is an attention grabber. According to Flip Saunders Gil's quickness is back. Andre Iguodala and Quentin Richardson also proclaimed that Gil is back. If he is really back get ready to see the Hibachi throw up some borderline half-court jumpshots on a regular basis while twittering with his left. This also should mean the return of the Wizards in the Eastern Conference rankings.

It would've been great to see Ricky Rubio come to the NBA, but right now it doesn't look like that might happen this year. But the 2009 produced many athletes who will a sight to see. Blake Griffin could be a once in a lifetime pick for the Clippers, Hasheem Thabeet may be the next Dikembe Mutombo. Outside of those two there many players in this draft whose names who might hear a lot. Stephen Curry may be the best shooter to come in the NBA in a long time besides J.J Redick and Jason Kapono. DeMar DeRozan has been dubbed as the next Vince Carter by many Raptor fans. Brandon Jennings is an electrifying talent with off the charts potential and a very confident(border-line cocky) attitude.

It will also be interesting seeing so many players in new uniforms. Shaq in Cleveland, Hedo in Toronto, VC in Orlando, Ben Gordon in Detriot, Richard Jefferson in San Antonio, Emeka Okafor in New Orleans, Tyson in Charlotte, and A.I somewhere. With teams looking to make a run for a championship and other teams looking to dump salary, the NBA might become a very top heavy league. Right now there are so many great teams at the top, teams like Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, New Jersey, New York, and Memphis may be struggling for wins unless there is some great internal development by each team.

There are a couple teams that might be looking to return to the playoffs after missing it last year and others at missing the playoffs perenially.

Phoenix - The Suns could look to make a splash with young talent like Earl Clark and Robin Lopez. Also a healthy Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire should bring back the league's best pick and roll combination

Oklahoma City - If Green, Westbrook, and Durant continue to develop the way they have Oklahoma might become very good in short span of time. I'm not a big fan of James Harden but if he becomes a solid player along with big B.J Mullens out of Ohio State. The Thunder should have great nucleus for a long time.

Washington - The return of the Hibachi, the addition of Miller, Foye ,and Oberto alongside the development of Nick Young, Andray Blatche, and my favorite young center JaVale McGee has the Wizards ready to return to prominence in the Eastern Conference.

Memphis - Rudy Gay packed on some pounds of muscle and is up to 240 pounds. If O.J Mayo and Darrell Arthur improve from last year who knows what could happen. The Grizzles also added Zach Randolph which could give them a much needed scorer from the low post. But they are still a longshot.

Indiana - If Danny Granger and company can stay healthy the Pacers should be competitive this year. Drafting Hansbrough ans signing Danthay Jones should bring great intensity to a team that has playoff potential.

I mentioned earlier that the NBA is very top heavy. With all these great teams it should be very entertaining to watch the Finals. Here are some potential finals matchups with great headlines.

Celtics vs Spurs - Two of the best Power Forwards ever stacked with talent around them clashing in a heavyweight fight would be a sight to see.

Celtics vs Lakers - Bryant and the Lakers look to exact revenge on the Celtics from 2007 and the C's look to return back to the top by beating the Lakers again in the NBA Finals.

Cavaliers vs Lakers - The NBA's two best players battling out. Shaq vs Kobe would be the subplot for the first time ever.

All this and more should make this the most entertaining season the NBA has had in a while.

Posted on: August 8, 2009 7:08 pm

Top 10 Small Forwards in the NBA

1. LeBron James 6-8 Cleveland Cavaliers

Analysis: Clearly the best at age 24. Led his team in scoring every year in the league. The current league MVP and arguably the best player in the league. Fills up the stat sheet night after night.

2. Carmelo Anthony 6-8 Denver Nuggets

Analysis: Didn't have his best season statistically. But Anthony improved overall as a player. Anthony became a reliable 3pt shooter, a better defender, and had the best post season of his carrer.

3. Kevin Durant 6-10 Oklahoma Thunder

Analysis: Averaged over 25 pts per game in his second year in the league. Despite people complaining about his small frame, he has become a very productive player. He should've been the #1 pick in the 2007 draft.

4. Danny Granger 6-9 Indiana Pacers

Analysis: Most Improved Player in the league and one the best scorers at the 3. Averaged over a steal and almost a block and a half last season. Can create his own and is an underrated defender.

5. Paul Pierce 6-7 Boston Celtics

Analysis: Would probably be #3 or #2 on many people's list, but is very overrated to me. Yes he is a very clutch player and one the league's best players with the ball in his hands, but when he doesn't have the ball on offense he doesn't do much. Last year in the playoffs he struggled to defend John Salmons and looked the paul pierce of 2005 on the defensive end.

6. Caron Butler 6-8 Washington Wizards

Analysis: A very underrated player around the league. Averaged 20.8 pts, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. Plays the passing lanes well. With the Wizards healthy look for Butler to return to the all-star game.

7. Hedo Turkoglu 6-10 Toronto Magic

Analysis: Awesome postseason performance earned him a big contract with the Raptors. He made clutch play after clutch play. He was Orlando's best offensive player. He shoots the well, is a decent rebounder, and a great passer at the 3.

8. Ron Artest 6-8 Los Angeles Lakers

Analysis: The league's best defender at the small forward position. Shot almost 40% from the 3pt line last season. Will fit in perfectly with Kobe and the Lakers.

9. Richard Jefferson 6-7 San Antonio Spurs

Analysis: Averaged 19.7 points and shot over 39% from the 3pt line. Will propel the Spurs back into the championship conversation.

10. Rudy Gay 6-9 Memphis Grizzles

Analysis: Regressed in the 2008-2009 season, but was still solid averaging 18.9 pts per game. Look for him to improve in his 4th year in the NBA.

Posted on: July 22, 2009 12:43 am

Top 10 Starting Lineups in the NBA

1. Boston Celtics

Rajon Rondo
Ray Allen
Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett
Rasheed Wallace

Notes: The addition of Rasheed Wallace to the starting 5 makes the C's with no holes in the starting 5. Also the Celtics have a top 10 player at each position. Yes, Rondo believe it or not is a top 10 Point Guard.

2. San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker
Manu Ginobili
Richard Jefferson
Antonio McDyess
Tim Duncan

Notes: Ginobili will be able to start this year considering he will not have to attack as much with the addition of Richard Jefferson. This also gives the spurs a starting 5 with players who at one point or another in the career were all stars or borderline all stars.

3. Los Angeles Lakers

Derek Fisher
Kobe Bryant
Ron Artest
Pau Gasol
Andrew Bynum

Notes: Any lineup with Bryant and Gasol will be a top tier lineup. The addition of Ron Artest and the development of Andrew Bynum will be key to the how the Lakers stack up next year.

4. Denver Nuggets

Chauncey Billups
J.R Smith
Carmelo Anthony
Kenyon Martin

Notes: With Danthay Jones leaving for Indy J.R Smith likely will be inserted into the starting 5. The health of Nene and Martin will key if Nuggets plan on contending next year.

5. Orlando Magic

Jameer Nelson
Mickael Pietrus
Vince Carter
Rashard Lewis
Dwight Howard

Notes: The addition of Carter and the loss of Turkoglu will change the look off the Orlando Magic. Look to see a lot of 2-man game with Carter and Dwight Howard.

6.Cleveland Cavaliers

Maurice Williams
Delonte West
LeBron James
Anderson Varejao
Shaquille Oneal

Notes: The addition of Shaq will make Mo Williams and Delonte West look even better. As for James and Shaq? Well i'm sure everyone saw Shaq and Kobe and Wade and Shaq. Doubt it will be any different with Shaq and LeBron. Lineup would be better without Varejao.

7. Dallas Mavericks

Jason Kidd
Josh Howard
Shawn Marion
Dirk Nowitzki
Eric Dampier

Notes: Lineup may look different when the season starts as look to see the Mavs go back to a run and gun offense with Dirk at the 5 and Marion at the 4.

8. Atlanta Hawks

Mike Bibby
Jamal Crawford
Joe Johnson
Josh Smith
Al Horford

Notes: Lineup looks more potent than the offense the Atlanta put out against the Cavaliers. Hawks potentially will look for Crawford to come the bench although he is a more than capable starter

9. Utah Jazz

Deron Williams
Ronnie Brewer
Andrei Kirlenko
Carlos Boozer
Memhet Okur

Notes: Look for the Jazz starting 5 to be solid as always. Boozer may be on the move soon which will not matter greatly as Paul Milsap will fill his shoes nicely.

10. Washington Wizards

Gilbert Arenas
Randy Foye
Caron Butler
Antwan Jamison
Brendan Haywood

Notes: If the Wizards can stay healthy they are sleeper team to go deep into the playoffs. The return of Haywood and Arenas, with the addition of Foye will make the Wizards starting 5 look potent this upcoming season.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com