Pulse of the NBA
By Andy Roth, Contributing Editor
New York, NY (Sports Network) - I love a good one liner. With that being said, here's one line on all 30 NBA teams as we look ahead to the 2013-14 season.
NEW YORK KNICKS: Iman Shumpert needs to elevate his game big time this season if the Knicks hope to have more playoff success than last season.
BOSTON CELTICS: The rebuilding process is underway in Boston and it looks like it's off to a good start with the draft-day trade for Kelly Olynyk, who showed off a very versatile and high-level offensive skill set.
BROOKLYN NETS: The trade bringing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn was a no-brainer and highlighted the Nets' offseason, but I'm still trying to find out how many rubles Andrei Kirilenko is getting under the table after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Timberwolves for $10 million and signing with the Nets for two years at just over $3 million per season.
PHILADELPHIA 76'ERS: In less than a one-year span the Sixers have seen the exit of Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum, and Jrue Holiday, and now look forward to a lost season and hope to luck out in what I believe is an overhyped 2014 draft.
TORONTO RAPTORS: A bulked up Jonas Valanciunas played very well in the Las Vegas summer league, and he'll have to carry that over to the regular season if the Raptors hope to be a playoff team.
CHICAGO BULLS: If Derrick Rose can return to his MVP form, the Bulls will be the biggest threat to the Miami Heat's quest for a three-peat.
INDIANA PACERS: The Pacers had the second lowest scoring bench in the league last season (24.1 ppg), but we should see a significant improvement this season with the additions of Luis Scola and Chris Copeland, and either Danny Granger or Lance Stephenson coming off the bench.
DETROIT PISTONS: With Detroit reportedly on the verge of acquiring Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade with the Bucks, team president Joe Dumars better hope that Jennings exhibits a lot better shot selection, shooting accuracy (lifetime 39.4 percent field goal percentage) and point guard skills than he did in Milwaukee.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: The Cavs took a limited risk on Andrew Bynum, but the reward could be a playoff berth this season, and if his health holds up, a key piece to a future title contender.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS: Larry Sanders made huge strides last season and finished third in the voting for Most Improved Player, and I'm looking for the same from second-year power forward John Henson, whose per-36 minute rate last season was 16.5 ppg, 12.9 rpg and 1.8 blocks per game
MIAMI HEAT: The hardest part next season will be advancing to a fourth- straight appearance in the NBA Finals, but if the Heat get there, I think it means we'll see the first three-peat since the Lakers accomplished the feat in 2002.
ATLANTA HAWKS: Josh Smith exited via free agency, and Paul Millsap arrived in Atlanta by the very same route, and all it means is that the Hawks will still be a pretty ordinary team, that, at best, will make the playoffs and get eliminated again in the first round.
WASHINGTON WIZARDS: John Wall finally looked like a top overall pick in the 49 games he played last season, and he'll have to continue to play at that level if the Wizards hope to get their money's worth out the of expected max contract they're expected to sign Wall to shortly.
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS: Cody Zeller, the fourth overall pick in the draft, is my favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award.
ORLANDO MAGIC: After watching the second-overall pick in the draft, Victor Oladipo, in summer league play, I have a feeling the Magic will regret the selection.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER: With the departure of Kevin Martin, the Thunder will desperately need Reggie Jackson to be a significant contributor if OKC hopes to be a true title contender.
DENVER NUGGETS: George Karl is out and Brian Shaw is in as the new head coach, but what hasn't changed is the Nuggets lack the superstar needed to be a championship contender.
MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES: Kevin Love puts up great numbers, but let's see if he's good enough to get the Wolves into the playoffs.
PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS: You could make a strong case that the Blazers had the worst bench in the league last season, but it got a nice boost over the summer with the addition of first-round pick C.J. McCollum and the acquisition of last year's fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson, who will finally get the chance to show why he was a high lottery pick.
UTAH JAZZ: With the departure of free agent center Al Jefferson, Enes Kanter will get big minutes, and I'm looking for a breakout season.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS: I can't wait to see what we get from Kawhi Leonard this season following his terrific playoff showing last season.
HOUSTON ROCKETS: I'm just wondering if a certain free agent center who signed with the Rockets will once again exhibit the athleticism and explosiveness he had prior to his back problems.
DALLAS MAVERICKS: I love how owner Mark Cuban tries to spin another failed offseason in the free agent market after foolishly letting Tyson Chandler walk following the Mavs's championship season to open up future cap space.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: Without a big break like they got last year from Russell Westbrook's season-ending injury, don't look for the Grizzlies to come close to duplicating that kind of playoff success this season.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS: Especially with the addition of point guard Jrue Holiday, I'm looking for an all-star caliber season from Anthony Davis.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS: With Dwight Howard now an ex-Laker, I'm looking forward to Pau Gasol showing Mike D'Antoni how foolish he was last season minimizing Gasol's role and basically disrespecting his talents.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: As far as being legitimate title contenders, all the new additions (J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Darren Collison) won't matter unless Blake Griffin all of a sudden becomes a great halfcourt player.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Keeping Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut healthy and on the court is what comes to mind when I think of the Warriors.
SACRAMENTO KINGS: It's put-up or shut-up time for DeMarcus Cousins as he looks ahead to restricted free agency next summer.
PHOENIX SUNS: It's another cloudy forecast for the Suns, who seem to have a really good chance of finishing with the worst record in the West for the second straight season.
07/31 15:43:40 ET