10 Questions: 2011/2012 NBA Season

Posted by By at 6 December, at 12 : 05 PM Print

10 Questions: 2011/2012 NBA Season

With the brand new and shortened (66 Games) season approaching us pretty quickly all thanks to an abbreviated off-season (Due to the Lockout) there are tons of questions that need to be answered before opening tip-off on Christmas Day.  As per usual, there are rumors galore and lots of player movement expected once teams can begin making roster moves and courting Free Agents on December 9th.

The Dallas Mavericks start the season as the reigning NBA Champions, but a strong group of teams are breathing down their collective necks.  Let’s take a look at some of the top question marks heading into this season and some possible answers to each:

Q1) Can the Mavs repeat as NBA Champs? 
A1) With a handful of Free Agent players that quite possibly may not return to Dallas (Barea, Chandler, Butler) it’s going to be quite the task for Dallas to repeat.  Compounding to their roster difficulties is their aging roster.  Dirk, J-Kidd, Brandon Haywood and Jason Terry are all getting older (31+) and it appears as if  the league’s younger Stars have already taken the torch and ran.  The aging Mavs window of opportunity may be closing quickly, so it is safe to say this may be their last chance to win unless roster changes are made.

Q2) Who will fill the void in the middle in Houston?
A2) With the retirement of Yao Ming due to foot issues, Houston can now move forward from the Yao-Ming era and look for a suitable replacement down low.  With Chuck Hayes rumored to be on the move once Free Agency opens up, Houston will be very active looking to fill the hole down low.  Rumors of the Rockets interested in Nene, Chandler and Samuel Dalembert are already on the news wire so it looks like the Rockets brass won’t wait to draft a replacement.

Q3) Can the Knicks add depth to their roster?
A3) After trading away multiple players on their roster to secure Carmelo Anthony last season in their blockbuster trade with Denver, the Knicks are now very thin and are in desperate need of help for Carmelo and Amare.  Chauncey Billups is no spring chicken, and aside from last years surprising rookie Landry Fields the Knicks have very limited help for their “Big 2″.  The Knicks have been rumored to be extremely interested in Chris Paul, but have little to offer in return making a 3rd team vital to any sort of move.

Q4) Can Ricky Rubio help the Minnesota Timberwolves grow from Puppies into grown Wolves?
A4) With Ricky Rubio finally making his way to American soil, it’s finally time for Minny to see if all the hype can come into fruition.  Rubio has been playing overseas since being drafted by the Wolves a couple seasons ago and is now primed to make his NBA debut this season.  The Wolves have some quality talent on their roster in Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and rookie swing man Derrick Williams.  With Rubio and his magical hands running the point the hope is that new Head Coach Rick Adelman can take this young skilled team and turn them into a Playoff team right away.

Q5) Is Kobe Bryant past his prime?
A5) This seasons schedule is an abbreviated 66 game season.  There is going to be times when teams will have to play back to back to back games and on many occassions will play back to backs.  The schedule is not conducive to an “older players” body and will test the will of many veteran players in the league.  Kobe included.  No one is questioning Kobe’s talent and will to win, but it’s important to note that the Lakers rested Kobe last season by minimizing his minutes per game in order to save his legs for the playoffs.  With this shortened season ahead they may not be able to do the same.  New Coach Mike Brown will need to manage Kobe’s minutes extremely close as the oft-injured Bryant may not have the legs in him to survive this compressed schedule.  This being said, Kobe is one of the hardest working players in the league and is known for his intense training and workout regimen that should enable him to make it through this season with flying colours.

Q6) Will Greg Oden make it through a full season?
A6) Greg Oden continuously has shown the Blazers that he is incapable of surviving a full NBA season.  With Oden set to be back to 100% in January, Oden is rumoured to get his 1-year option picked up by the Blazers.  Meaning, he will get 1 more chance to prove himself.  Oden has been working out diligently in order to prepare himself for this coming season and again try and prove his worth to the league.  If Oden again gets injured and misses time, it’s a safe bet to assume he may never be offered an NBA contract again. 

Q7) Is this the year The Clippers get over the hump?
A7) Armed with a seriously talented roster, the Clips hope this is the year they finally push through and make the Playoffs.  Always “The Other L.A Team”, The Clips hope Blake Griffin and co. will gel together and share the limelight with the Lakers.  With a young talented squad that includes Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Mo Williams, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu and DeAndre Jordan (FA) the Clippers are as talented as many upper-echelon teams in the league.  What’s been their Achilles heal has been the injury bug.  Major injuries to Griffin, Kaman and Eric Gordon have slowed down their growth and limited their opportunity to play together as a team.  With all players coming into this season healthy, look for the Clips to make a serious push towards the playoffs and NBA relevance.

Q8) Can Miami win it all?
A8) The “Big 3″ came close last year to achieving the reason they joined forces last year, but lost to the Mavs in the NBA Finals.  The Heat were scrutinized all season long and will look to further gel this season as it took them around 40 games to truly blend well last year.  Rumors again are roaring about Pat Riley adding veteran help to their roster.  Word about Samuel Dalembert coming to town to fill the void down low as well as numerous other veterans who will most likely be released due to the league’s new amnesty rule should be all that’s needed to push the Heat back to the Finals and hopefully an NBA Championship.

Q9) Is this Tim Duncan’s last hoorah?
A9) Coming into his 15th NBA season, this all but guaranteed member of the NBA Hall of Fame may be entering his last season.  Last year, Duncan saw his Points and Rebounds per game average dip to the lowest of his career and for the first time since he entered the league played less than 30 minutes per game.  With the Spurs finally making a push towards a youth movement, Duncan may be playing on his last legs as a Spur.  With the shortened season ahead of him, Duncan will have to rely a lot more on his experience and of course Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to help take the Spurs back to the Playoffs.  With age not on his side, this most likely will be Duncan’s last kick at the can as he hopes to go out with a bang and finish off strong. 

 Q10) Will Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have new homes come the end of the season?
A10) Last season we heard multiple stories and rumors about Howard and Paul’s desire to play together and play with a winner and since then the rumors have yet to stop.  If anything, there are more of them now as the season approaches.  The Knicks and Lakers are rumored to be the 2 teams most mentioned when new homes are discussed for these Super Stars, but a betting man should guess no move will be made until the trade deadline.  By then the NBA season’s landscape will be much clearer and teams will know where they sit and how close they are to winning it all.

The Bowse's Word

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