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Mini league-wide season preview

I wrote this season preview for SportsFanMagazine.com, off of a list of team and league questions sent to me. You can eventually find it on this page, and if you look around there are previews from other prominent NBA bloggers. But as an exclusive BlogABull.com subscriber (both free and effortless to join) I'll post it here as well:

By the way, next week there will be a full-on season preview and hopefully some Eastern Conference predictions as well...

Biggest off-season move for your team, and why:
Mike Sweetney. While he probably won't score as much as Eddy Curry did, his per-minute numbers suggest that he's a better all-around player. If he cuts down on foul trouble enough to play heavy minutes, the Bulls won't miss Curry as much as people think.

Biggest off-season loss for your team, and why:
Curry. He had his faults but could be counted on to start the 1st and 3rd quarters with immediate post scoring. On a poor offensive team like the Bulls, that's pretty important. Close second is Jared Reiner, who owned the title of worst player to play in a playoff game.

Who is you favorite player and why, either on your own team or in the entire NBA?
Tough to say I am pretty much a cheerleader for the whole league. Andrei Kirilenko would be up there though. He has the hair, the nickname, and does everything on the court. Plus name-dropping him is a good litmus test to find out if someone is an NBA fan or not.

Phil and Kobe: Dynasty in the making, or disaster waiting to happen? Why?
Is it really one or the other? They're awfully young so missing the playoffs won't be a true disaster. Likewise I don't think there will be some Phil-Kobe soap opera, as they both need eachother to save face. Bad for book sales, but I think the whole thing will be pretty tame. The problem, like always, will be Mitch Kupchak, who for some reason gets a free pass despite giving Shaq&Kobe a supporting cast of mainly corpses.

Should the NBA just cut to the chase and give Andrew Bogut the Rookie of the Year award now?
Australian rookie of the year, perhaps. Use your favorite Aussie stereotype as the trophy. I say it'll be Deron Williams. Chris Paul will have the better season but Williams' team will have a larger win improvement, and we know how voters love that.


Who will have the higher attendance this season: Atlanta or Charlotte? And if a tree falls during either of their home games, will it make a sound?
I refuse to answer this because you didn't refer to Atlanta as HOT-lanta.


Who is the NBA player, past or present, that is LEAST likely to be featured on MTV's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" knockoff "Cribs"?
I saw a picture of Kirk Hinrich lounging at his 'crib'. I think it was a couch he brought from college and that was it. Nary a  stripper pole to be seen.


On a scale of 1-10, how tired of the San Antonio Spurs' success are you? (With "one" being not at all, and "ten" being the kind of pain you feel when you see Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on the cover of a magazine at the supermarket.)
2. With 9 being reserved for Yankee-hate, and 10 reserved for Laker-hate. Unlike those two, the Spurs don't have the national following so all of their success has been relatively overlooked.


Over/Under on the number of games Eddy Curry plays this season for the Knicks:
Well tough to put a number on it, but I think that his heart is a ticking (ouch, bad pun) time bomb. Not that he'll die on the court (lord I hope not), but at some point I think it's very possible that he'll feel something he doesn't like, figure it's not worth it anymore, and shut it down. Then Isaiah will be at Eddy's retirement press conference smiling and looking like an idiot. And Jamal Crawford will still say the Bulls mistreated Eddy (and him, of course. And Jordan).


Favorite current NBA uniform:
Eh I like the simple ones. Go with the Celtics. Also I think the Bulls uniforms are underrated, unlike most teams they haven't changed their logo 6 times since 1992.

 Least favorite current NBA uniform:
Those gray Nets (I assume road) jerseys. Close second to the Bobcats, which has the color scheme and a name like an 8th grade girls softball team.


Rank these three in order, from the person you'd most likely be able to take in a fight to the person who'd give you the harshest ass-whupping: Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson.
Can I take this opportunity to get on the soapbox? Ron Artest's antics are not humorous in the least. He's not a thug, he's not even misunderstood. The guy is  mentally imbalanced and needs help. I honestly believe that. So I guess the answer to the question is Artest, especially if he reads what I just wrote.


If aspiring law enforcement officer Shaquille O'Neal had his own television police drama series, what would it be called?
Shaq-fu II - Electric Boogaloo

Will the New Orleans Hornets ever play another game in New Orleans? If not, where will they move?
No way they're coming back. They were having trouble drawing fans and corporate sponsors before Katrina, hard to see where the money will come from to further support an NBA team. They'll go to OKC or KC, whoever makes the highest bid. I think the  league will save Vegas for an expansion team that they can get a huge expansion fee off of.

Word Association time. When I say ______, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Mark Cuban: Sure people say they'd like him as their owner, but would you want your owner thinking he's the ballboy and wearing his team's football jersey? Beyond the theatrics he's great for the league, willing to challenge convention. I guess you couldn't have one part without the other. Plus he's all about taking on the RIAA in the file-sharing war, which is a plus.

Yao Ming:  Historic. Very happy to see that his NBA career wasn't a flop like many predicted.

Allen Iverson: Passion. Not as good as people think but embodies the kind of drive that makes the best how they are. Wow that was a lame answer.

LeBron James: The Cavs are ready to win now, and it'll all be because of him, not their offseason additions. Plus he success metaphorically spits in the face of the age-minimum.

Bill Walton: The most horrific element in the history of human communication. (Get it? he likes to use hyperbole)

Stephen A. Smith: The embodiment of ESPN going down the toilet.

David Stern: May he live forever.


Finally, where do you expect your team will finish, and what do you think its record will be? What one thing will "make or break" your season?
The Bulls won 47 games last year, and a lot of that had to do with luck both on their side and the collapse of other Eastern Conference teams. So it's possible to have a better season than last and yet win the same amount or fewer games, say 43 or so. The key will be the improvement of Gordon and Deng. The defense from last year will be there, but they need to be more consistent offensively. Lastly, let me get it out there to the masses my belief that Luol Deng will be a star.