Welcome to the first NBA Nation Roundtable for season 2012! We’re extremely excited to be back and to bring you new installments of our favorite segment. It’s been a turbulent start to the season and there’s plenty to talk about, so to help us discuss some of the bigger talking points we invited the lovely Jaimee Rogers of TAB Sportsbet along for the ride! Jaimee is a huge NBA fan and an avid Chicago Bulls supporter and you can follow her on Twitter @Jaimee_Rogers. We’re stoked to have you on board, Jaimee. Let’s get into it!
The NBA today unveiled the uniforms teams will be wearing on Christmas Day this year.
Howdy folks! We’re back today with the latest team season preview taking a look at Western Conference favorites the Oklahoma City Thunder, Perennial dark horses the Philadelphia 76ers (or will they be?) and southern giant killers the San Antonio Spurs. Enjoy!
Oklahoma City Thunder
How Will They Do?
Oklahoma City are the NBA’s darlings, rising out of the ashes of the Seattle Sonics. Last year they fulfilled what most predicted – making it to the NBA Finals before being steamrolled by the Heat juggernaut. This season brings another series of high expectations and even more challenges. As the Lakers rebuilt and retooled for another assault on the title the Thunder took stock and made very few changes. Last season was an important moment for this franchise as it gave them the irrational confidence that they can now reach the highest heights. The biggest story line coming out of this camp this season will be can they re-sign James Harden? Currently the team is cash strapped. They hold the contracts of Durant, Westbrook, Perkins and Ibaka in their hands. Harden is the icing on this cake, coming off the bench with confidence, fearless determination and one of the best ball handlers in the league. Harden’s presence cements this team atop the Western Conference, without him there is an air of uncertainty. We really like how the Thunder have built upon their roster and given themselves depth at most positions. Collison & Jones backing up Ibaka & Durant as newest Thunder recruit Thabeet brings size off the bench. Harden, Maynor and Cook act as dynamite off the bench lifting the tempo of the team whenever they are on-court. Sure it’s not the deepest team in the league but it’s one of the most reliable, you know what you will get from your bench. Very similar to Moneyball it’s about working your way to a win any way you can. Coach Brooks knows this, has assembled a squad capable of challenging every team in the league. This team is one of the most explosive and dynamic in the league, a League Pass must every night. There is no doubting they have the talent, if they can just sprinkle in a dash of experience (gained from the 2011/12 Finals & Olympics) this team could destroy the Western Conference. Look for them to pick up 55-65 wins this year.
In what can only be described as an attempt to provide a fresh, youthful look to an aging side, the San Antonio Spurs have unveiled what will be the new clash jersey worn during many of the team’s home games this coming season. The grey kit, has the iconic Spurs logo emblazoned across the heart will be worn 12 times throughout the regular season and the reaction to it has been mixed. Many believe the plain nature of the jersey suggests the team is preparing to make room for advertising and deviates too much from the original, whilst others say it is a much needed change and look forward to seeing the team play in the new kit.
Rick Pych, Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations had this to say:
“We are introducing a new and unique Spurs jersey this coming season. The new design simply features our iconic ‘spur’ logo and it is positioned over the heart as it has such enormously deep roots with our team, fans and the entire community. It’s the first-ever NBA jersey logo without any writing or peripheral design on the front of the jersey and we’re very glad to be introducing this new use of the classic icon of the Spurs to our fans.”
Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were chosen to model the new-look jersey and the first pictures can be seen below.
2012 NBA Semi Finals Preview
Los Angeles Lakers (3) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (2) – Western Conference Semi Finals Continue reading
So….. continuing on from our Eastern Conference Playoffs post, here are the Western Conference match-ups previews and predictions.
The Nuggets are bobbing in and out of playoff contention. With their huge win today their chances firm . They sit at 7th in the West one game clear of 8th placed Houston and one game clear of facing the ferocious Thunder in Round 1. Denver has 6 games in 11 days before the playoffs begin, only 1 game against the East, so each game will be critical.
April 16 @ Houston
The Nuggets spanked the Rockets in Denver today by 15 points after leading by as many as 20 points. Faried dropped a double-double and is emerging as another great draft pick from the post-Anthony era. The Rockets don’t have anyone who matches up against his big body as well as an OKC or San Antonio. It’ll be a tight hard fought game but the Nuggets should eek out a win.
April 18 vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 and this is a crucial game for both teams. The Clippers will want to come to Denver and pick up a win away from home heading into the playoffs just to keep pace with the Lakers. Denver needs to protect home court. Paul could run wild and slice this Denver defence to shreds, even though he is only 26 he commands the Clipper offense like a veteran. Denver cant afford to drop a game against a Western conference opponent here. Continue reading