With the NBA pre-season now in full swing, fans are able to check out their team’s youngsters and some of their new bought talent. Many of the NBA teams have acquired new members, some having put together very competitive squads. It should be interesting to see some of last year’s minnow teams this year having a big crack. I’m a big fan of a few underdogs this season.
I think the Clippers are going to be a lot stronger than last season with Blake Griffin coming back. He has started the pre season really well. Against Sacramento Griffin did not miss any of his seven field goal attempts and pulled down 8 rebounds. Not bad for 22 minutes of play! In his second game he was even better hitting 10 of his 15 shots and pulling down nine rebounds in 24 minutes. If Griffin is to be putting up these numbers and the Clips remain healthy they will hold a respectable record come seasons end. Not only will they have a good record but Griffin will put his hand up for Rookie of the Year honours alongside 2010’s number one draft pick John Wall.
The Washington Wizards will want to improve on last year’s shenanigans. Gilbert Arenas will have a pre season under his belt and have some youngsters that can seriously play around him. Will John Wall take a backseat to Arenas or will there be some tension throughout the season? I think the acquisition of Kirk Hinrich will help get them both the ball. In the pre season it looks as if they are going to start all three of them. That would be interesting as they would be so small. The Wizards will trouble many teams with their speed. The likes of Wall, Arenas and McGee running the floor, teams will have to be playing very good transitional defence. Wall hasn’t been the shining light of the pre season as of yet. Over his two games he has shot 10-28 and dished out 15 assists. He will need to put up better numbers if he is to win the Rookie of the Year honours. The Wizards also acquired Yi Jianlian who will see plenty of minutes at the three spot. This will be a big chance for Yi to show his true ability. He can play a big role in helping the Wizards climb the ladder in 2010.
However if you’re looking for a young team to watch in 2010/11, check out the Toronto Raptors this season. They may not do extremely well after losing Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu in the off season but there is some serious talent left in the squad. Kleiza is coming off a big world championship and will be a solid swing/four man. Another European who is a big talent is Andreas Bargnani from Italy. He will have a much larger responsibility and I think he will shine through it. De Rozan will play more minutes along with Sonny Weems and newly acquired livewire Barbosa. I think this team led by point guards Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack will give a few teams a go this season. Early signs have been good in the pre season beating Phoenix by 41 and losing to Boston in Boston by only four.
I hope you enjoy the pre season and make sure you check out some of the talent on show that you may not see during the season.