Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's Never Too Early...


The NFL isn't even through it's second week yet and most college football teams haven't even started conference play, so what better time for NBA Preview magazines to start hitting the shelves!

My favorite sports prediction magazine (Athlon, I've bought all of their college preview magazines for the past 5 seasons) has recently released their NBA preview, so I thought I would share it with you.

First of all, as you can see from the cover, they had to go to print before the release of the actual logo. This results in almost all of the OKC pictures in the mag being from summer league play when they were wearing those generic black unis, except for one of Nick Collison, who's doning a Sonics jersey.

They don't have anything out of the ordinary to say about the Thunder. They spent the entire Thunder intro recapping the story of how they moved from Seattle, a story that I'm sure we're all sick of by now. They also grade all the teams' scoring, defense, rebounding, athleticism, coaching, and intangibles on a scale of 1 to 10. The Thunder got a 2 in scoring (up from 1 last season), a 4 in defense, a 6 in rebounding, a 5 in athleticism, a 4 in coaching, and a 4 in intangibles (up from 1 last season). I can't really argue with any of these. The Thunder are far from being any sort of scoring threat and though in the future I think this will be a fine defensive team, for now 4 is probably about right. This also came before they traded for Mason and Smith, so defense probably would get a boost if they had known about that.

The folks as Athlon also picked OKC to not finish in last in their division, better than some might have hoped. They have the T-Wolves (new jerseys and all) finishing below them. I also found it funny that Russell Westbrook was named our top offseason addition in the magazine, by far one of the more pathetic list of transactions in the magazine. Again though, this was pre-trade.

Athlon seems to be optimistic about the future of the team. They say that, "The Thunder will have one of the most vocal crowds in the NBA, giving them a first-rate home-court advantage" and "Have patience Thunder fans, and a lot of it...Endure the present knowing you will only enjoy the future."

Athlon has the NBA playoffs as follows:
Eastern Teams-
Boston*
Cleveland
Detroit*
Miami
Orlando*
Philadelphia
Toronto
Washington
Boston over Philly in Eastern finals
*-indicates division championship

Western Teams-
Dallas
Houston
Los Angeles Lakers*
New Orleans*
Phoenix
Portland
San Antonio
Utah*
New Orleans over Lakers in Western finals
*-indicates division championship

New Orleans Hornets over Boston Celtics in NBA Finals

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