San Antonio Spurs: Last season, the Spurs had one of the oldest teams in the NBA. It appeared the Duncan-Parker championship era was coming to an end, seeing the teams owner refused to add more talent. But this summer, the Spurs were surpringsly aggressive, trading Fabricio Olberto for Richard Jefferson, as well as signing Antonio McDyess and Theo Ratliff. Not to mention the fantastic NBA Draft back in June. With these dramatic moves, the Spurs are in a totally different league, and it appears a first round playoff exit is near impossible. Manu Ginobili is healthy again, so it looks like the Spurs could have one of the better front courts in the NBA. Look out NBA, the San Antonio Spurs are back.
Dallas Mavericks: Dallas had one of the better summers this off-season, acquiring guys like Shawn Marion and Drew Gooden. The Marion signing will certainly add some flexibilty on the offense and defensive side of the ball. New contractee Jason Kidd may be 36, and may have lost a step, but he still looks like he could play until age 45. I really like the Mavericks in 2009-2010, and the core of the team is basically the same so 50+ wins is certainly possible.
New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul continues to put up MVP type numbers, but he can't do it all. When Peja's shot is off and David West slumps, it's basically a CP3 show. It appeared the Hornets were in complete disarray, and looked like Bryon Scott could be on his way out of the Big Easy. Then something happened...the Hornets got a HUGE steal by trading for Emeka Okafor, who will supply immediate help on both offense and defense in the low post. Okafor will not only lead the Hornets to the postseason, but put up double double numbers on a nightly basis. The drafting of Darren Collision will also help Chris Paul at the point guard position. Hornets fans could be in for a treat.
Houston Rockets: For a team with so much promise in last years playoffs, the Rockets completely fell apart in just 2 months. Yao Ming may miss all off next season, Tracy McGrady will be on the shelf for a good portion of the year, and Ron Artest signed with the Lakers. But on a positive note, Trevor Ariza signed with the organization, who will bring much needed help on the defensive end, while Aaron Brooks' future continues to look brighter. But at the end of the day, injuries have definitely plagued the Rockets and will prove to be very costly when trying to make a playoff push.
Memphis Grizzlies: Much controversy surrounded the Memphis around draft time, but the Grizzlies ended up signing Hasheem Thabeet with he #2 overall pick. Thabeet's offensive game is still very raw, and it will take time for his low post game to develop. Allen Iverson was another addition to the Grizzlies organization, but his play last year certainly showed his age. While I like the core of the Grizzlies, they still appear to be "chuckers", and I think ball distribution will be a problem. Memphis is still in rebuilding mode though, so please be patient Grizzlies fans.
That's it for previews. Now back to Raptor basketball.