Denver Nuggets news and live blogs from Rerun SportsCast writer Peter Sherwill @PeterSherwill

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As I wrote in this space many months ago, the top priority for the Nuggets this offseason was to lock up Masai Ujiri to a multi-year extension.  Well, the number one priority has become the number one failure thus far this offseason.  Or has it?

While Masai Ujiri was largely responsible for the restructuring of the Nuggets roster following the Melodrama and its current makeup, let us not forget that he was not acting alone.  Many others worked with Masai on a day-to-day basis since his arrival in Denver, including Josh Kroenke and more notably Pete D’Alessandro.

I have backed D’Alessandro for many years on Twitter, Rerun Sportscast and my former podcast, touting him as the Nuggets secret weapon and the true mastermind behind this front office regime’s success.  I even went so far as to say on a preseason edition of my former show that should the Nuggets fail to sign Masai to an extension, that D’Alessandro would be a perfect replacement.

D’Alessandro might not be a household name amongst NBA fans, but make no mistake - he is very well respected around the NBA. Masai himself even said that he tried not to talk about Pete too much because he was afraid some other team might try to lure him away.  As we all know by now, Masai is no fool and is among the top GM’s in all of sports.  I think that speaks volumes about D’Alessandro’s abilities.

For those that are not aware of D’Alessandro’s background, he is a behind-the-scenes-basketball-lifer.  He served as a video coordinator under Lou Carnesecca for St. John’s men’s basketball team.  This surely gave D’Alessandro a good foundation for scouting talent.  After spending some time in various roles, including as an attorney and at a sports agency, D’Alessandro spent five seasons with the Golden State Warriors.  He served as the Assistant GM during his last two years in the Bay Area.  His time in that role coincided with the W’s first round upset as the eighth seed over the number one seed Dallas Mavericks during Dirk Nowitzki’s MVP season.

D’Alessandro was brought into the Nuggets front office shortly after Ujiri’s arrival.  First on the agenda were many late night strategy sessions with Kroenke and Ujiri to try and hash out a Carmelo Anthony trade.  D’Alessandro proved valuable as a salary cap guru - something that should not be underestimated as the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is very complex.  Notable in this trade was the fact that the Nuggets were able to squeeze every last piece out of the New York Knicks that they could before pulling the trigger.  

Another major trade that shaped the current roster was the one that brought Andre Iguodala to Denver.  D’Alessandro was instrumental in this trade because according to Masai Ujiri on media day, he was working the phones negotiating the deal while Masai and Kroenke were in London for the Olympics.  Because of this, we should hope that D’Alessandro is the one that fills Ujiri’s large shoes.  He clearly has the experience to get the job done.

Should the Nuggets decide to hand over the reins to D’Alessandro, the first order of business may be whether or not to allow the Los Angeles Clippers to talk to coach George Karl.  Personally, I believe that it is time for Karl to move on and this would allow him to exit most gracefully.  Let Karl talk with the Clippers.  Let the Clippers offer him a multi-year contract and let Karl take it.  Karl is not one that likes to be on the hot seat entering a season on the last year of his deal without an extension in place.  However, it is time to turn the temperature on this first round failure - not time to reward pathetic postseason performances.  It is time for a fresh voice and it is time for the Kroenkes to show that they are committed to winning an NBA championship.  In order to do that, they must promote D’Alessandro and get a coach that will institute an actual offensive scheme rather than just “play random.”

Once he is promoted, he can focus on trying to re-sign Andre Iguodala to a reasonable deal.  This may not be an easy task considering the Tweet that Iguodala sent out following the announcement of Ujiri’s departure.  In all honesty, I do not expect to see Iguodala back in a Nuggets uniform next season, in fact, I would not be surprised if he seeks out a situation better suited to winning a ring than the one the Nuggets seem to have in front of them.  Only time will tell.

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Peter Sherwill is an NBA junkie and blogger, never short on opinions.  Has appeared as a guest on Denver sports talk radio and formerly hosted the 5280 Hoops Show Podcast.

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As a new season has dawned, ESPN posted a preview page for the Denver Nuggets upcoming season. On that page is a box with George Karl’s coaching win/loss record for the regular season, which is an impressive 1074-731 and good for a .595 winning percentage. Below that is his post-season coaching record, an underwhelming 78-101 which is a .436 lifetime percentage. I have seen his regular season record a million times and have always been impressed by the fact that he has won 60% of the games in his coaching career, which is now entering its 25th season. As a follower of the Nuggets, I am well aware of his post season struggles since his arrival to the Mile High City. It never occurred to me that his playoff limitations might have existed prior to his stint in Denver. Let’s take a closer look at the coach’s career to see the real story.

George Karl’s journey as an NBA coach began as an assistant in San Antonio after he wrapped up his playing career. From there he landed his first head coaching gig in Montana for the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). Coincidentally, the team Karl coached there was named the Golden Nuggets. He won two CBA Coach of the Year awards in 1981 and 1983. Andre Miller is the only current Denver Nuggets player that was alive when Karl earned these accolades.

The success in the CBA brought Karl opportunity to become a head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While there he got his first taste of the NBA playoffs with a 3-1 first round loss. Karl was fired 67 games into his second season with the Cavs. He bounced back quickly landing with the Golden State Warriors. In his first season by the bay, he lead the Warriors to the second round of the playoffs. He resigned the next year with 18 games remaining in protest to his 3 top scorers being traded. Karl would step away from the NBA for 3 seasons, returning to the CBA and then coaching overseas.

When Karl finally returned to the NBA, his first period of great success as a coach followed with the Seattle Supersonics. He took over the team in the midst of the 1991-92 season, leading the Sonics to a 27-15 record under his guidance. In his six full seasons as head coach in Seattle, his teams won 55 or more games each year with players like Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. The high point was the 1995-96 season when Karl reached the NBA Finals for the first and only time in his career. It just so happened that his best chance to win a championship fell on the same season that Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to an all-time-record 72 wins. Karl’s best prospect to win was against arguably the best player, team and coach in modern NBA history. Nevertheless, Karl’s Sonics pushed the series to six games only to come up short. Karl compiled a 40-40 (.500) playoff record in Seattle bringing his overall playoff record to a respectable 45-49 (.478).

The Milwaukee Bucks offered Karl a lucrative deal to return to the Eastern Conference. Under his regime, the Bucks developed into an elite team in the East with a core of Ray Allen, Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson. Karl continued his reputation of being a fiery coach unafraid to confront his star players or to call them out. Sometimes he would even do this through the media. Eventually, the internal strife caused the team to fall all the way out of the playoffs in 2001-02 after losing in the Eastern Conference Finals the year prior to Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers. After another disappointing season in 2002-03, the embattled coach was fired. Karl’s playoff record with the Bucks was 14-18 (.437), making his career playoff record 59-67 (.468).

Karl took another sabbatical from the NBA and worked as an NBA television analyst. He returned to the NBA on January 27, 2005 to coach the Denver Nuggets. He led the Nuggets to a 32-8 record to finish the season in one of the greatest in-season turnarounds in NBA history. Karl’s career was rejuvenated in the Mile High City. The joy of that feat was short-lived as the Nuggets were vanquished by the eventual champion Spurs in 5 games and Karl was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Karl would defeat prostate cancer and return to the bench in time for the 2005-06 season.

Karl came back even more relaxed than he had been previously. No longer was he living up to the nickname “Furious George.” The Nuggets would again lose in 5 games and the following season this would be repeated despite having Carmelo Anthony and Iverson on the roster. Perhaps some solace can be taken in the fact that they once again lost to the eventual champion Spurs in 2007. However, the next season’s playoff run was even more abrupt with a 4-game sweep by Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. It appeared Karl’s time could be coming to an end in Denver. Fans were calling for his head and there was even a website dedicated to removing him from the bench called FireGeorgeKarl.com (now known as DenverStiffs.com).

Ownership felt that it was time to make some changes and the front office shipped out Marcus Camby in a salary dump. Two games into the 2008-09 season Iverson was traded to the Detroit Pistons for hometown hero Chauncey Billups. This move would revitalize Karl as he now had a coach on the floor type of player in Billups. Finally, he could get his message across to the entire locker room. On December 31, 2008 Karl won his 900th game as an NBA head coach. Denver advanced past the first round for the first time since 1994. Then, they advanced past the second round and found themselves in a rematch against the Lakers. This time it was in the Western Conference Finals. The last time the Nuggets had made it this far into the postseason was in 1985. Karl’s superstar, Carmelo Anthony, was 1 year old the last time this happened. The city was alive and electric during this entire postseason run. The Nuggets would fall two inbounds plays shy of defeating the Lakers and moving on to the franchise’s first NBA Finals. Once again, Karl’s team would fall to the eventual champion.

The Nuggets became the NBA’s darling team and were poised to challenge the Lakers for Western Conference supremacy in 2009-10. The Nuggets were at the top of the standings in the West for the first half of the season leading Karl to be the coach of the Western All-Star team. Following All-Star Weekend, Karl revealed in a press conference that he was diagnosed with throat and neck cancer and took a leave of absence during treatment. In Karl’s absence the team fell apart and lost to the underdog Utah Jazz. The 2010-11 season revolved around Anthony’s imminent departure from the team. Despite this chaos, Karl coached the team to their seventh consecutive postseason appearance under his watch and eighth overall. Once again, the Nuggets were dispatched in 5 games. The front office decided to stay the course with the team first mentality for 2011-12 and it paid dividends by unexpectedly pushing the Lakers to 7 games in the first round.

The expectations are mounting for the upstart Nuggets. Many prognosticators are predicting the team to finish first in the Western Conference. George Karl’s playoff record in Denver is 19-34 (.358) that is his lowest winning percentage of all of his NBA stops. He has dropped the “Furious George” mentality from his coaching style. Seeing the game of basketball as something more Zen-like in a Phil Jackson-lite kind of way. He likes to play unconventional lineups. Often playing small lineups with 2 point guards on the floor at the same time or playing a 6’9 forward as his center for stretches in games against an opponent with multiple 7 footers. Karl has done many things that drive fans crazy, not the least of which has been the lack of winning in the postseason.

Maybe Nuggets fans have become spoiled and forgotten what it was like to root for a team that missed the postseason for an entire decade. It is easy to forget that the last decade Karl-coached-teams have run into superpower teams such as the Lakers with Kobe Bryant, the Spurs with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. This has been the story of George Karl’s entire career. Right place, wrong time. He has been unfortunate to not have the best player in the league at any point of his coaching career. But, also fortunate to be a good enough coach to have advanced into the postseason, often facing the best players in the league on the road toward an NBA title. In his coaching career Karl has had many of the all-time great players block his path to a championship: Jordan, Kobe, Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone and John Stockton.

There are only 7 NBA head coaches in the exclusive 1000 Win Club. Of those 7 coaches, only Karl, Jerry Sloan and Don Nelson have failed to win an NBA championship. Nelson and Sloan are not currently coaching. So that leaves only Karl. NBA titles: 0.

That zero is painful to look at knowing this man has spent 24 years coaching some of the finest athletes on earth in pursuit of a singular goal, still striving to reach it after defeating cancer twice. Perhaps George Karl is content at this point in his career to have a perennial playoff team knowing that in the grand scheme of things, a championship is not as important as one’s own mortality. He’s already beat a tougher opponent than Bryant’s Lakers, Duncan’s Spurs and Jordan’s Bulls. Possibly, those victories mean more to Karl as a man than raising the Larry O’Brien Trophy once meant to him as a coach. Fans can only hope that the coach’s victories as a man will inspire his players to deliver the supreme NBA prize to the ultimate basketball lifer.  


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Peter Sherwill is an NBA junkie and blogger, never short on opinions.  Has appeared as a guest on Denver sports talk radio and hosts the 5280 Hoops Show Podcast.

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We are gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-host of the Rerun Sportscast, Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the Western Conference’s Northwest Division.

Denver Nuggets

What place do they finish in the Northwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – Easy. Into the playoffs as the 2nd in the Division

Peter Sherwill – Second in the division, good enough for the 4 seed. I have them matching up with the Clippers in the first round and moving on for a second round matchup with the Thunder. The Nuggets will best OKC and lose in the West Finals against the Lakers.

Justin Adams –  2nd just behind Oklahoma City and they will finish in the second round of the playoffs.

Who will be the Nuggets most important player this season?

Mark Perez – This is the year of the Law-son! We need Ty to be the motor that makes this fast paced Nuggets team something to be feared, and feared they will be.

Peter Sherwill – Ty Lawson. So much of the NBA game now is based on guard play and Ty needs to prove that he can lead this team on the floor if the Nuggets are going to take that next step.

Justin Adams – Danilo Gallinari. He’s the Nuggets best shooter and unique scorer. Galo will lead the team in scoring and is the player that will need to step up come playoff time.

What will the Nuggets starting lineup look like come playoff time?

Peter Sherwill – Lawson, Iguodala, Gallinari, Faried and McGee

Justin Adams – It’s dependent on who they play in the series due to the way that George Karl wants to set his line up for the opposing matchup. JaVale McGee, Danilo Gallinari, Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried

Mark Perez – I think Javale sneaks his way into the starting job before playoff time. Faried, Gallinari, Iguodala, Lawson all pending injuries

Minnesota Timberwolves

Has the Timberwolves front office done enough to keep Kevin Love happy?

Justin Adams – No, but since he is locked into his contract until 2014-15 with a player option in 2015-16, he should be very comfortable in that Timberwolves uniform. 

Mark Perez –It seems as if they have, Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko are probably two of the noteable additions.

Peter Sherwill – Only if Love is a big fan of the Russian national team. Andrei Kirilenko is not the player he once was and that was one of their marquee free agent signing this summer. Love will be the next big name to hold his team hostage.

What place do they finish in the Northwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – I don’t think the additions will be enough 4th place and no playoff love for Love.

Peter Sherwill – Third in the division finishing just outside of the playoffs at 9th place in the Western Conference. Losing Love to a broken hand to start the season will cost them a playoff birth.

Justin Adams – 4th and will make it to the playoffs as an 8th seed. But they are a first round exit.

What kind of role will Brandon Roy play this season? Can he be the same player he was?

Mark Perez –Points off the bench, over his career he has averaged 19 ppg. If he is healthy, he can be valuable to the Twolves.

Peter Sherwill – It’s unclear whether he can stay healthy through a full season or how his knees will hold up long-term. He will likely be a third or fourth scoring option after Love, Rubio and Kirilenko.

Justin Adams – Roy will be a spot player off the bench. Hopefully he can have performances like he did when he scored 18 points in the 4th quarter against Dallas in 2011.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Is Perry Jones the steal of the draft?

Peter Sherwill – He just might be. He is a low risk/high reward pick for the Thunder. Jones was projected to be a lottery pick and fell all the way to the bottom of the first round. However, it will be tough to crack the rotation on this talented team.

Justin Adams – No, Austin Rivers going to the Hornets is the steal of the draft. Jones will be a nice addition, but I don’t know how effective he will be in the first season with so much talent already surrounding him.

Mark Perez – Time will tell, I would say yes, but why exactly did he almost drop out of the first round, I say he was a steal with cautious optimisim.

Will the Thunder pay the luxury tax to keep James Harden?

Justin Adams – Nope, they’ll just trade him to the Rockets.

Mark Perez –Just received news that the Thunder have traded Harden to the Houston Rockets…so I guess the answer is no.  I think this will end up biting them in the behind later down the road. Harden was huge off the bench

Peter Sherwill – That would have been a question that haunted this team all season. It could have been a distraction all season long and would have been their downfall. Ultimately, I think just saved their team chemistry by making this move now. Kevin Martin is no slouch.

(** Note – the questions for these previews were sent out prior to the James Harden trade **)

What place do they finish in the Northwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – 1st again with a deep run into the playoffs, a showdown with LA for the Western Conference

Peter Sherwill – Northwest Division champs, number 1 overall seed in the West and a second round loss to the Nuggets.

Justin Adams – 1st in the division and will fall in the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers

Portland Trailblazers

What place do they finish in the Northwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – 5th and no post season for the Blazers

Peter Sherwill – Last in the division, 13th in the West and miss the playoffs.

Justin Adams – Last in the division and out of the playoffs

Which rookie will be more important this year – Damian Lillard or Meyers Leonard?

Peter Sherwill – As I said earlier in this preview, the league has shifted toward guard play and as such, Lillard will be more important this year. Big men take a little longer to develop but Leonard will be important to the future of this team as well.

Justin Adams – No doubt it will be Damian Lillard. Anytime that you are already called the franchise point guard by general manager Neil Olshey, then you better believe that you mean a lot to the team.

Mark Perez – Damian Lillard looks to be the  more prominent rookie and seems to be adjusting to the speed of the NBA quite well compared to Leonard. Don’t count Meyers out though, a little rough around the edges but could be good in the coming years.

Did the Blazers overpay to keep Nicolas Batum?

Justin Adams – Let’s see…paying a player an average of 11 million a year who has never average more than 13.9 a year….yeah it seems like a smart move to me. (Man they need help)

Mark Perez – If he can show more consistency, he is definitely worth the money. He is an all around player, however I think he got offered that money cause the TWolves were interested and Portland didn’t want to lose Batum.

Peter Sherwill – Batum has yet to live up to the hype surrounding him, so, yes I do believe they overpaid. He is certainly not deserving of being the second highest paid player on any team.

Utah Jazz

Who do you keep and who do you deal: Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter?

Mark Perez – Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter? Deal Jefferson and Milsap, and Keep Favors and Kanter. Go young this team needs to go young and rebuild after losing Deron Williams

Peter Sherwill – I would keep Jefferson and Favors and deal the others for some value at other positions.

Justin Adams – Keep them all! You have a young nucleus to build your team around. This will be the surprise team of the year.

What place do they finish in the Northwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez –  3rd in Division and one and out in the playoffs

Peter Sherwill – Fourth in the division, 12th in the West - no playoffs.

Justin Adams – Yes they will be 3rd in the division and out in the first round.

Who will be the most important player for the Jazz this season?

Peter Sherwill – Mo Williams is the veteran leader for this team so I guess it would be him. The Jazz are not going to be good this season. Al Jefferson is their leading scorer so I think he is probably pretty important too. They need to make a trade and whoever they acquire is probably truly their most important player this season.

Justin Adams – Alec Burks…no real reason but because he is a former Colorado Buffalo, and that’s my alma mater, then he’s crucial to their success.

Mark Perez –Consulting my trusty “How much is this dude gettin paid” method, If Jefferson stays around he will need to produce for the Jazz in the frontcourt as the higest paid player on the team.

Be sure to join us back here all season long for coverage of the Nuggets and NBA.

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Follow us on Twitter:

Mark Perez: @faceofbass

Peter Sherwill: @RerunNuggets

Justin Adams: @justinadams81

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We are gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-host of the Rerun Sportscast, Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

Golden State Warriors

What place do they finish in the Pacific Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – 3rd and no they don’t make it into the playoffs

Peter Sherwill – Last in the division and 14th in the Western Conference. They will miss the playoffs of course.

Justin Adams – 3rd in the division and out of the playoffs.

How good can Harrison Barnes be?

Peter Sherwill – Draft Express says best case he can be a similar player to Luol Deng. That’s pretty decent but not exactly a franchise changing player. I’m not even convince that he will be that good.

Justin Adams – Harrison Barnes can be one of the better players in the league, but it will take a lot of work and a lot of time. I didn’t like how Barnes didn’t push North Carolina to the next level during the NCAA tournament. He needs some good coaching and seasoning, but Barnes can be an All-Star at some point of his career.

Mark Perez – Well it looks like they have alot of faith in him, starting 6 straight games in the preseason. If they can deal some minutes out his way, and he tightens up his defense he may shape up to be a great pick for the Warriors.

What is the most interesting aspect of this team?

Justin Adams – Will Andrew Bogut come back into full form and how will he gel with the rest of Golden State? If Bogut can play well, then watch out for this team! Look at the potential starting line up: Bogut, David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack. They can be an interesting team that will surprise a couple of folks.

Mark Perez – They recently promoted Bob Meyers to GM and shuffled around some coaching staff, so I think G State will have a hard time trying to find their identity early on. With bright spots like the aforementioned rookie, the most intersting aspect of this team is the wildcards, do the coaching/GM shuffles help their basketball philosophy, does the rookie come thru with a break thru year?

Peter Sherwill – I look at their roster and I do not see a franchise player. They are like the Pacers and Nuggets, except bad.

Los Angeles Clippers

Who is the most important role player for the Clippers?

Mark Perez – Really, just pick one they have two of the last three guys to win the Sixth Man of the year award in Lamar Odom and Jamal Crawford. Then you have Grant Hill, a falling star who is gaining some mileage on the sunset of his career. All of these guys are trying to get their last years of basketball out and may have to  supress their aching for their old superstardom and play the role of 6th man to a well established starting core.

Peter Sherwill – Lamar Odom has to be. He will not have a repeat of last season. He’s back in LA where he prefers to be and has played most of his career.

Justin Adams – Will Andrew Bogut come back into full form and how will he gel with the rest of Golden State? If Bogut can play well, then watch out for this team! Look at the potential starting line up: Bogut, David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Stephen Curry, Jarrett Jack. They can be an interesting team that will surprise a couple of folks.

What place do they finish in the Pacific Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – They will finish a close 2nd after the Lakers but it will be the fight for LA all year. Postseason action for sure but not sure they will break the first round.

Peter Sherwill – The Clippers will finish behind the Lakers for second in the division and 5th in the Western Conference. They will lose in the first round.

Justin Adams – 2nd in the division and they will get beat by the Lakers in the second round

Will Chris Paul stay with the Clippers long-term following the 2012-13 season?

Peter Sherwill – I am not convinced yet. I think it depends on what happens with the rest of the league. If the landscape of the NBA looks similar to what it does at this time, he will sign to stay with them.

Justin Adams – It all depends if they can can resign Blake Griffin. If they can, then it’s and easy YES…If they can’t, then no.

Mark Perez – My guess is he switches locker rooms in 2014 to meet up with Lebron and Dirk in the Lakers side of the gym.

Los angeles Lakers

More important addition for the Lakers, Steve Nash or Dwight Howard?

Justin Adams – Dwight Howard. He is an upgrade from Andrew Bynum. But don’t sleep on the acquisition of Nash. The former 2-time MVP brings clutch three point shooting . Even though he lacks on defense, he is the first true point guard that the Lakers have had in a long time.

Mark Perez – Dwight Howard easily, Steve Nash is as old as dirt! It really is Dwight, Nash is too old to make that much of a difference through out the season. Where Nash will come in handy is if they make it to the playoffs and the amount of veteran experience will make the difference.

Peter Sherwill – For this season? Nash. For the post-Kobe future? Howard.

Will the Lakers look to cut payroll when the harsher luxury tax penalties go into effect?

Mark Perez – Definetly look for them to clear house in 2013 to make room for dream team 2: Lebron, Dirk and CP3

Peter Sherwill – Nash is the only player on the books after next season so it will be interesting to see what happens. Surely they will re-sign Howard to a max deal so he should be on that payroll too. It sounds like the Lakers will target LeBron James in 2014 when he is a free agent again. Could we be in store for “The Decision Goes West?”

Justin Adams – Sure, but not this season or the next season. It’s championship or bust for the Lakers. They’ll pay for it financially later.

What place do they finish in the Pacific Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get? 1st in division and they take it all the way this year to the finals and probably win.

Peter Sherwill – The Lakers will win the division, take second in the conference and advance all the way to the Finals for the long-awaited matchup between Kobe and LeBron. The Lakers will win but at least Nash finally gets a ring.

Justin Adams – Yes and the Lakers will represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.

Phoenix Suns

What place do they finish in the Pacific Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Peter Sherwill – The Suns will nab third place in the division and sneak back into the playoffs as the 8 seed for a first round loss.

Justin Adams – 4th and out of the playoffs

Mark Perez – Rebuilding for the Suns, 4th in Division and no playoffs

What is the one thing that the Suns must do to succeed in the Post-Nash Era?

Justin Adams – Play strong defense and rely on the scoring of Michael Beasley

Mark Perez – Looking at their roster here, they clearly need to get a player whose name I know. I know absolutely no one on this team, they look like they might have some salary leeway so go out and get some ballers man!

Peter Sherwill – They must lure free agents and continue to cultivate the talent they already have. Draft wisely and build for the future.

Who is the most important new player for the Suns this season?

Mark Perez – Going back to my trusty, “How much they gettin paid scale” I see that the 2 most important players are Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat. However I just read the question for real and saw “New” players. I’m gonna go with P.J. Tucker as he will have to step up for Dragic while he gets well from his ankle injury.

Peter Sherwill – There are many intriguing new players this season but Michael Beasley is probably the most important. He will need to mature into their leading scorer this season and playing an uptempo style should help his game.

Justin Adams – Claiming Luis Scola off of wavers will be one of the best offseason moves in the league. This guy is a potential All-Star and he will help the Suns transition from the run and gun offense with Steve Nash, to a controlled half-court dominate team.

Sacramento Kings

With the deal for a new arena in Sacramento apparently dead for now, where could you see the Kings relocating to?

Mark Perez – I hope this franchise materializes as a new Seattle ball club. I feel bad for those guys basically having their team ripped away from them right after drafting their once in a lifetime player.  Seattle SuperKings has a ring to it!

Peter Sherwill – The Kings’ owners, the Maloof brothers and they have ties to Las Vegas. Is there a more fitting team mascot for a Vegas franchise than the Kings?

Justin Adams – St. Louis…I mean they want a team, right? And honestly, does anyone really care about the franchise?

What place do they finish in the Pacific Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Peter Sherwill – Fourth in the division, 11th in the conference and not playoffs.

Justin Adams – Last in the division and not in the playoffs.

Mark Perez – Last and hell no!

What will the starting lineup look like for the Kings on opening night?

Justin Adams – Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Thomas Robinson, Chuck Hayes, Isaiah Thomas…That sounds good to me

Mark Perez – We all know Cousins, Evans, Thornton and Thomas will be starters the question here is, will Thomas Robinson or Jason Thompson start. Which will be tough Thornton looks promising as a high scorer and Thomas is a 5’9” expolsion on the court that was passed up by every team in the draft.

Peter Sherwill – I think they will go with: Thomas, Thornton, Evans, Thompson and Cousins.

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We are gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-host of the Rerun Sportscast, Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the Western Conference’s Southwest Division.

Dallas Mavericks

What place do they finish in the Southwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Peter Sherwill – I have the Mavs finishing 3rd in the division and 7th in the Western Conference, losing in the first round of the playoffs. They are going to have a rough start with Dirk needing knee surgery.

Justin Adams – They will finish 3rd in the division and will be a first-round exit in the playoffs.

Mark Perez –I was just reading about the suspension of Delonte West, with him gone, and a banged up team including Nowitzki recovering from knee surgery I see the Mavs starting slow and ending just about as slow as well. Just hanging around the same place they finished last year 3rd in division no playoffs for Dallas. Causing Mark Cuban to hurtle into depression, a depression that can only be cured by buying a major league baseball team from the Monfort Brothers (fingers Crossed).

Who is the most intriguing addition to the Mavs this season?

Justin Adams – Darren Collison is a great replacement to Jason Kidd who left to the Knicks.

Mark Perez – Move along now…nothing to see here, and if I have to scrape for somebody O.J. Mayo. Mainly cause I’m a big fan of the condiment and with Dirk receiving the brunt end of whatever defenses can throw at him, Mayo may end up coming out a leading scorer looking at some big minutes at shooting guard.

Peter Sherwill – I am most interested in seeing how Darren Collison does this season. During his rookie year in New Orleans, he stepped in for an injured Chris Paul and did a pretty close imitation of CP3. In fact, there was talk of Paul being traded and the Hornets moving forward with Collison as their point guard. He has not really lived up to that hype of his rookie season. Perhaps a fresh start in Dallas with O.J. Mayo and Dirk Nowitzki could change that. It should be fun to watch those guys play together either way.

Does Dirk Nowitzki finish his career in Dallas or does he pursue another ring elsewhere?

Mark Perez –At this rate, No. Cuban disassembled his championship team, and I think it will take too long to get the new additions to have the same fire that the veteran core possesses currently. I predict him linking up with LeBron as a Laker in 2014.

Peter Sherwill – I think Dirk and Mark Cuban have a better relationship than most team owners have with their players. I also think that Cuban wants another championship as bad as Dirk does and will do whatever he can to make that happen. So I do not see any way that he lets Dirk get away unless the wheels completely fall off of the Mavericks.

Justin Adams – Dirk will finish his career with the Mavericks.

Houston Rockets

Did Houston overpay for Jeremy Lin?

Mark Perez –Look Jeremy Lin can ball, even if his success in NY was a “fluke” I believe a healthy Jeremy Lin is worth every penny. The key word in that last sentence is “healthy” in the preseason he has failed to show us if his knee is really healthy enough to hold up to the rigors of a full season at point guard. In the end he will be a bust but injury will be the underlying factor.

Peter Sherwill – Three years, $25 million for a guy that has only had about 2 dozen “good” games? I’m not convinced yet that Lin is a legitimate NBA star. The sample size last season for the Knicks was not big enough for me. Factor in the Mike D’Antoni effect – his offense revolves entirely around point guard play and a fast break offense – and this makes me think that it could be a fluke. Houston does not have the same level of talent that the Knicks do and it will definitely be interesting to watch what happens this season. All of that said, the Rockets will probably make plenty of money from the NBA fans in Asia to more than make up for Lin’s salary. So from a purely basketball standpoint, the Rockets absolutely overpaid for Jeremy Lin. From a financial standpoint, the return on their investment will be large enough that it is worth it for Houston no matter what happens in the standings.

Justin Adams – Yes they did, but in the end it was worth it. The impact that Lin will bring dollar-wise to the Rockets organization will be priceless.

What place do they finish in the Southwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Peter Sherwill – Last in the division, last in the conference. This team is a mess and it does not look good for them until they get some roster balance.

Justin Adams – The Rockets will finish 4th and will be out of the playoffs.

Mark Perez – I don’t see the Lin gamble paying off (not hoping against it, just don’t see it) so I put Houston as 4th in the division and here is the silver lining, New Orleans won’t get it together enough to challenge you for 4th.

Does Daryl Morey have a plan for the Rockets roster?

Justin Adams – Rockets executive does have a plan — it was to sign Dwight Howard. Since that fell through it’s down to Plan B which is to develop their first-round draft picks in Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones.

Mark Perez – If I was Daryl Morey, I’d leave moneyball to baseballers and stay in line with what David Stern has made the league what it is now, a superstar league.  You suck, you win the lottery, get a good draft pick and fill in role players/steal other superstars and win championship. Plain and simple Mr. Morey threw this team under the bus unless he comes up big with the round ball version of moneyball.

Peter Sherwill – I think that he did have a plan, but that plan ended up in a Lakers uniform. I do not think Morey had formulated a plan B in the event that Dwight Howard did not come to Houston. Rockets fans better hope that Morey still has some tricks left in his moneyball bag.

Memphis Grizzlies

How much will the Grizzlies miss O.J. Mayo?

Mark Perez – Ibelieve the Grizzlies were preparing for his departure with the addition of Jerryd Bayless. Whom by himself would be an ample replacement. Enter, Tony Wroten who basically was drafted be groomed as a combo guard much like Mayo and Bayless. No they will not miss OJ Mayo.

Peter Sherwill – They will miss his scoring punch off the bench at times. He was not an important part of what they did last year and the Grizzlies tried to trade him several times so they will miss having him to dangle as trade bait, but that’s it.

Justin Adams – They will miss his scoring and overall impact on the game. But the move makes sense with the new ownership coming into view.

Justin Timberlake is part of the prospective new ownership group, cooler celebrity owner: Timberlake, Jay-Z (Nets) or Will Smith (76ers)?

Mark Perez – I’d say Jay-Z but Timberlake teamed his ownership up with Ashley Manning, wife of a proven winner Peyton Manning. So that alone makes Justin Timberlake the coolest celebrity owner of an NBA franchise.

Peter Sherwill – Only one of these has any pull with the players and attracts players to their team and that is Jay-Z. If the celebrity owner does not help the team, then their ownership is irrelevant.

Justin Adams – Justin Timberlake because he is also combined with Peyton Manning’s wife Ashley Manning.

What place do they finish in the Southwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Peter Sherwill – Second in the division, good enough for the 6 seed and a first round loss to the Spurs.

Justin Adams – They will finish 2nd and will also be knocked out in the second-round of the playoffs.

Mark Perez –I say 2nd in the division unless this new flopping rule really wrecks the Spurs win percentage. Look for these guys to maybe even make it to the 2nd round of playoff action.

New Orleans Hornets

What place do they finish in the Southwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – The Hornets will finish last and will not make it to the playoffs.

Mark Perez –Last place, even if the offseason makeover pays off they are battling Houston for last place. No Playoffs, No way.

Peter Sherwill – Fourth in the division, tenth in the West. No playoffs.

Who is the most interesting new player for the Hornets?

Mark Perez –It’s between 4 year vet Robin Lopez and Brian Roberts. Robin has a chance to see more playing time but I’m a little cautious hoping to get more out of him than in the past. Brian Roberts is coming here after a season playing in Germany. He’s putting up hot numbers in the preseason and will be interesting to see how well he fares in the NBA.

Peter Sherwill – For me it is Eric Gordon. He’s coming back from injury, he is freshly extended and said his heart was not in New Orleans. It will be interesting to see if that was just talk and if money re-directed his heart. I am also interested in seeing whether he is worth the contract extension.

Justin Adams – I love the pickup of Austin Rivers! In Rivers they have a big time shooter. It will be interesting to see how he will gel with fellow guard Eric Gordon.

The Hornets were recently sold to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. Does his track record give this franchise hope for the future?

Mark Perez – Winning a Super Bowl is a lot different than winning an NBA Final. It’s a whole ‘nother monster but having NFL success in the past definitely bodes well for their NBA counterpart. So long as there are no bounty scandals brewing in the Hornets locker room of course.

Peter Sherwill – I think his track record speaks to the fact that he will do whatever it takes to put a winning team out there. How long until there is a bounty scandal in the NBA?

Justin Adams – Tom Benson loves to win by any means necessary (see the New Orleans Saints). He has a great nucleus to build around in Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis.

San Antonio Spurs

At ages 36 (Duncan), 35 (Ginobili) and 30 (Parker) how much longer can this Spurs core be relevant?

Peter Sherwill – As long as their front office continues to put solid role players around these guys and continue to find gems in the draft, they can probably be relevant for another 2-3 years. They need to find their next franchise guy, hopefully sooner rather than later for the Spurs. I’m not convinced that guy is Kawhi Leonard but he will be a part of that future.

Justin Adams – This group is good enough to make the playoffs, but as shown by losing their last 4-straight games to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals — it seems that their window to win another championship has passed them by.

Mark Perez –Age isn’t the factor here. With the NBA’s new flopping fines as they are, this could render this team hopeless.  I mean if Ginobili can’t flop his way into the conference finals the Spurs may not be relevant for much longer.

What place do they finish in the Southwest Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – They will finish 1st in the division and will be knocked out in the second-round in the playoffs.

Mark Perez –In all seriousness, the flopping rule won’t stop these guys, I see a 1st place finish with a long run into the playoffs.

Peter Sherwill – First in the division, third in the West. They will set themselves up for a second round date with the Lakers and lose.

Who is the most important player for the Spurs this season?

Mark Perez – Whenever I am asked this question in basketball I just look up their salary. In this case it is Manu Ginobili. So he must be the most important player, and make his last couple runs with this team  assembled as is meaningful.

Peter Sherwill – Tony Parker is going to continue to be the most important player for this team. As he goes, so do the Spurs.

Justin Adams – Timmy!!

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We are gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-host of the Rerun Sportscast, Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division.

Atlanta Hawks

What place do they finish in the Southeast Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – At the beginning of every season you could pretty much pencil in the Hawks for a second-round exit. This year will be much of the same. In a division dominated by the Miami Heat, they will finish second and will be ousted in the semis.

Mark Perez – 3rd if J Smoove doesn’t pull midseason contract dramatics, out in first round again either way.

Peter Sherwill – The Atlanta Nets err I mean Hawks, finish third in the division and 11th in the conference and miss the playoffs.

Josh Smith is a free agent following this season, do you think that Danny Ferry has done enough so far to keep him in Atlanta?

Mark Perez – This is a Melo situation waiting to happen. After Joe Johnson (I read up on him finally) was shipped off to Brooklyn, I think J Smoove may be singing a different tune about staying long term in Atlanta. Regardless this hometown hero is now the face of the franchise, and is expected to perform like such. If he does hold the Hawks hostage a la LeBron and Melo, there is definitely a chance of what Lou Williams has offered up as a “restructuring” year, going sour.

Peter Sherwill – So far, yes and no. I think that a lot depends on what Danny Ferry can do with all of that cap room next summer. If he can attract quality players around Smith and Al Horford like a James Harden or Chris Paul then it’s a no-brainer. If Ferry cannot bring in good free agent pieces, Smith will likely have the tough decision of whether or not to leave his hometown franchise.

Justin Adams – Great question since Josh Smith was almost a member of the Denver Nuggets via a trade last year. I see Josh Smith sticking with the Hawks, but the true question is SHOULD the Hawks sign Josh Smith or leave more cap room open for the possibilities of signing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in 2013?

Are the Hawks better or worse after trading Joe Johnson to Brooklyn?

Mark Perez – Worse, These guys are on the rebuild now and will be even worse if J Smoove doesnt get his contract situation worked out and the team has to deal with that distraction

Peter Sherwill – The Hawks had to take two steps back to take one step forward. They had to dump Joe Johnson’s awful contract to be able to move forward in the future. This Hawks team, as it was constructed pre-trade, had gotten as far as they were going to. Danny Ferry basically saw the situation for what it was and took advantage of the opportunity to free up some cap space to make the Hawks relevant in the future. Unfortunately, the East is getting better and it is going to be tight for the last couple of playoff spots. So I believe they may be worse this season after the trade, but they will be better long-term.

Justin Adams – Better off — well unless your a fan of the second-round exit! They have more cap room with the trade. Look for the Hawks to make noise in free-agency in the upcoming years.

Charlotte Bobcats

Can Michael Kidd-Gilchrist become the first legitimate franchise player in Bobcats history?

Peter Sherwill – They definitely need him to. The thing that sticks out in my mind about this year’s crop of rookies is what was said about the 2012 NBA Draft – it was a good draft to get your #2 guy. The Bobcats do not even have a #1 guy. With that said, not every team can have a LeBron James or Kevin Durant type of franchise player. Some scouts have said MKG can be the next Scottie Pippen. Very interesting considering the Bobcats are owned by Michael Jordan. The only full season we saw of Pippen in his prime without Jordan, was the 1993-94 season when MJ was playing baseball and the Bulls finished 55-27. If the Bobcats can get 22 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 5.6 APG, 2.9 SPG and 0.8 BPG (Pippen’s averages for that season) from MKG, he will be not only be the Bobcats #1 player but he will be amongst the upper echelon of NBA players.

Justin Adams – Yes he can, but like all franchise players he will need a descent supporting cast to surround him. But Kidd-Gilchrist has all the tools needed to become a dominate player in the NBA. It also helps that he has one of the best players to ever lace up the sneakers around him to show him the ropes in Bobcats owner Michael Jordan.

Mark Perez – He requires a little more than what his skill set has shown in the pass. If he can sink more midrange jumpers, look for this guy to be an NBA allstar and the first franchise player in Bobcats History.

What place do they finish in the Southeast Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – This is a serious question right? I’ll make it simple to save time. They finish last in the division and will have the worst record in the NBA for the second straight season. The only sniff they will get of the playoffs is by watching old Michael Jordan highlight films.

Mark Perez – 4th unless the Hawks tank…no playoffs this year.

Peter Sherwill – The Bobcats finish 4th in the division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. They miss the playoffs, but at least they are not going to have the worst record of all time again.

Is Michael jordan to blame for the Bobcats woes?

Mark Perez – No I think drafting MKG and Jeff Taylor will be defining moments in the Bobcats history. After the turnaround MJ will be praised for great draft picks, just allow time for development.

Peter Sherwill – Jordan has been a hands-on type of owner when it comes to personnel decisions until recently. The Bobcats have been dreadful so I think there is a corrolation there. Let’s not forget that his Airness was responsible for drafting Kwame Brown with the first pick while he was working for the Washington Wizards. It seems that MJ finally decided to get out of his own way and finally handed the reigns over to GM Rich Cho who spent some time in the OKC front office.

Justin Adams – Yes he is to blame. Just like the Monforts with the Colorado Rockies, Jordan deserves to be criticized for not making the Bobcats into a competitive team.

Miami Heat

What do the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis do for this team?

Mark Perez – I think Ray will be great for Miami off the bench, you get older but his shot will always be as amazing as ever, could be a great spark coming off the bench and someone the defenses will have to respect. I’m not big on the Rashard Lewis deal, he has had some knee issues that have keept him off the court for pretty much 2 seasons. He will be used lightly in the Miami system and could be dead weight this team lugs around on their way to the finals.

Peter Sherwill – It gives them some more depth off the bench for sure. I think it extends both guys’ careers since they should be used in a more limited role than either guy is used to. A very underrated component of the Heat adding these guys is the fact that they played together for the Seattle Supersonics for 5 seasons. These guys know how to play together and I think that is going to be very important as the Heat attempt to defend their NBA crown.

Justin Adams – Make the Heat one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the NBA. The 3-point shooting threat of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis will greatly highlight the Heat’s dribble-drive offense.

How many championships does LeBron James end up with?

Peter Sherwill – I find it very interesting that LeBron is 27 and just won his first ring. You know who else won their first ring at age 27? Michael Jordan. So I guess the bigger question is can LeBron get 6 championships? I am not totally convinced but after seeing him turn the corner this last season, it’s kind of hard to discount the guy. I will say he ends up with 4 NBA championships when it’s all said and done.

Justin Adams – Not 1, Not 2, But 3

Mark Perez – Not one, not two, not three, not four….ok Im kidding one more tops, before the team falls apart and the Zombie Sonics take over the leauge

What place do they finish in the Southeast Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – The Miami Heat will win the Southeast Division easily and find themselves in the NBA Finals for a second-straight season.

Mark Perez – 1st and a Championship run.

Peter Sherwill – I have Miami winning the division and the #1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. I have the Heat defeating the Knicks in the East Finals en route to their 3rd straight NBA Finals appearance and coming up short for the second time in three tries.

Orlando Magic

Did the Magic get enough for Dwight Howard?

Mark Perez – As as Denver Nuggets homer and the proud owner of an Arron Afflalo jersey I think they got plenty. Al Harrington was a big piece here in Denver and will be great for them off the bench barring injuries. As for Arron, I picked him as the most improved player of the year. He is a huge improvement at the position, over an aging Hedo Turkoglu.

Peter Sherwill – In the short-term I say no. Long-term, it should work out better than it did for Cleveland. Orlando got a top 10-15 shooting guard and a bunch of scraps for the best center in the NBA. Even the draft picks they got are conditional, which means should the Magic happen to get lucky enough to see any of the other teams involved in this trade falter, the pick will not go to Orlando if it is a lottery pick. Arron Afflalo is a nice piece for them to add on to, but he is more suited to be a second or third option on offense. The most valuable thing the Magic got from this trade was cap space. That’s what will allow them to try to turn things around quicker down there. That and their own first round draft picks because it will not be pretty in the Magic Kingdom for a few years.

Justin Adams – Nothing against Aaron Afflalo but he was the best player that the Magic got in the trade. Nuff said.

What place do they finish in the Southeast Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – 2nd place and possibly into the 2nd round of playoffs.

Peter Sherwill – Last in the division. Last in the conference. Last in the league. The Magic could very well challenge the Bobcats’ futility mark set last season. This is going to be an awful team.

Justin Adams – They will 4th and will just miss the postseason…by about 20 games.

Newly hired GM Rob Hennigan was previously with the Oklahoma City Thunder. How long will it take for him to build a team in the mold of OKC?

Peter Sherwill – If he handles the rest of his regime in the manner he handled the Dwightmare, it is going to take Hennigan a long time to get the Magic back to winning basketball. Hopefully for Hennigan, he gets lucky and the ping pong balls fall in his favor to the #1 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Justin Adams – If the Magic are patient with Hennigan and if he can draft the likes of a James Hardin or a Kevin Durant with their first-round picks they received in the Dwight Howard trade, then they could be back on their feet. But it will take time.

Mark Perez – If you are trying to follow the same model, he better hope for a couple years of terribleness so he can draft a player as good as Kevin Durant. I don’t think the road to the same kind of team is imminent, he will have to go a different route with this team as it’s not exactly in the dumps after the Dwightmare.

Washington Wizards

What place do they finish in the Southeast Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – Somebody has to finish 3rd right? It will be the Wizards but they will miss out on the postseason.

Mark Perez – Last and no PLAYOFFS!?!? What do ya mean Playoff!?!? Hell i’m still thought these guys were called the Bullets!! Come on!

Peter Sherwill – The Wizards are one of the teams that I think will surprise people this season. I have them finishing second in the division, netting them the 8th seed in the East. They run into Miami in the first round and lose of course.

Who is the most intriguing player on this team?

Mark Perez – He is currently on the Nuggets roster JaVale Mcgee. All kidding aside looking at the roster I know two names, Trevor Ariza and Charmin soft Nene…future looks bleak for these guys.

Peter Sherwill – For me that player is John Wall. It will be interesting to see how his game progresses now that the Wizards have surrounded him with mature veterans and removed all of the players that caused distractions. This should be the year that Wall takes that next step on the path to superstardom.

Justin Adams – Nene. He was injured during the Olympics, but would a change a scenery help the big man finally live up to his potential. It will be interesting to watch.

Is Randy Wittman the right coach for this team?

Mark Perez – This poor guys is never given keys to a finely tuned machine, rather he gets the Chevy Nova all the blame to go with it. After coaching a fat Shawn Kemp in Cleveland his first season and trying to find with the Twolves, he is again given the keys to another clunker. Maybe this time he can win more than 39% of his games this season (his best season coaching, His first in Cleveland) and pull it all together.

Peter Sherwill – Absolutely not. The guy is 118-238 lifetime as an NBA head coach. He coaches bad, disfunctional teams like the Wizards from last year. I still cannot believe the Wizards kept this guy on as their head coach for the upcoming season. There must be something there that they like. Although, the Wiz seem to have been the only team foolish enough to take on that Nene contract. Wittman does not last long as coach in Washington. I will predict he is the first coach fired this season. Someone please tell Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld that Stan Van Gundy is still on the market. He would be the perfect coach for this team.

Justin Adams – I believe so. He took over a team in turmoil after former coach Flip Saunders left the team after a 2-15 start to last season. All Wittman did was guide the Wizards to a 18-31 record as head coach. Hopefully he can keep the momentum going this year.

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We are gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-hosts of the Rerun Sportscast, Matt Diaz and Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the Eastern Conference’s Central Division.

Chicago Bulls

With Derrick Rose sidelined, who is the Bulls most important player this season?

Matt Diaz –More like Players? To be effective in replacing Rose while he is out, I think Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng will have to be on top of their game to keep the Bulls in a good position until Rose comes back from his knee injury. Don’t get me wrong the Bulls have a solid lineup. They will just need Hinrich and Deng to be dominant in the early part of the year to be in a position to have a chance in the latter part of the season.

Mark Perez –Carlos Boozer has to step up cause he is the next guy down from Derrick Rose in the pay chart. Kirk Hinrich will also have to play a part and seems to be fitting in well putting up 15 pts against the Timberwolves in preseason.

Peter Sherwill – Nazr Mohammed. Just kidding. But seriously, how is that guy still in the league? The most important player for the Bulls this season will have to be Kirk Hinrich. It all depends on how well he can get the rest of the team involved in the offense and if he can continue to knock down the threes.

Justin Adams – Until Derrick Rose can get back on the court, Kirk Hinrich is the most important player on the team for the Bulls. Hinrich is projected to be the Bulls starting point guard and it will be up to him to hold down the fort until Rose is back.

What place do they finish in the Central Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez –The Bulls will finish first in the division.

Peter Sherwill – I am picking Chicago to finish second in the division and grab the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. My predictions have them losing to Philadelphia in the first round.

Justin Adams – It all depends on when Rose comes back and how long it will take him to shake off the rust. But I foresee the Bulls finishing second behind the Pacers. They will be a surprise out in the first round for the second year in a row.

Matt Diaz –I have the Bulls finishing 2nd in the central and getting into the playoffs with the 6th seed.

There has been speculation that Rose will be the next player to leave their team to join up with other stars. Do you think this is likely?

Peter Sherwill – I think that it is going to become increasingly difficult for stars to leave their current team to join up with other stars under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Essentially, the players will have to decide between money and playing with other stars. These stars have gravitated toward three markets: Los Angeles, New York and Miami. Chicago is a very large market itself. Why couldn’t stars flock to the Bulls to play with Rose? In fact, if you remember he basically shyed away from recruiting LeBron and Wade and others during the big free agency summer of 2010. For that reason, I am not sold on Rose teaming up with other big names.

Justin Adams – I don’t believe so, but you are never for sure. The player in this division that most likely will leave soon is Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings.

Matt Diaz –I see Rose as the type of guy that thinks, and wants to win on his own. Not leaving to team up with other guys, but perhaps convince a player or two to bring their talents to Chi Town.

Mark Perez – My feeling is Derrick Rose? Based on what I know, it seems like Rose likes Chicago. I’m sure it’s hard living in the Shadow of Michael Jordan, but it really shakes down to what happens with him sitting out another year as he is slated to currently.  What if he is no good after sitting out 2 years? Certainly his knee never gets back to 100% Would Chitown still want him around or is he just an expensive bench side ornament, time will till.

Cleveland Cavaliers

What place do they finish in the Central Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – The Cavs are quickly improving, but not enough to make the postseason. They will also finish 3rd in the division.

Matt Diaz –I see the Cavs as an improving team. There’s still a lot of work to be done here however. Finish 4th in the Central and miss the playoffs.

Mark Perez – I see them battling Detroit for the 4th place. No, and well… No

Peter Sherwill – Cleveland finishes 4th in the division and 11th in the East, missing the playoffs.

The Cavaliers have been at the bottom of the standings since “The Decision,” how long until they return to respectability?

Matt Diaz –I see the Cavs as an improving team. There’s still a lot of work to be done here however. Tristan Thompson HAS to vastly improve his horrific shooting percentage. Kyrie Irving is a good player, but will he improve? I tend to think he  will have a bit of a sophomore slump. That coupled with the fact of adding a new piece to the puzzle with Dion Waiters in the back court it could possibly slow down the Cavs that much more. That being said, this team is on its way. Two years and they’ll be back in the playoffs.

Mark Perez –Soon, Irving and Thompson are promising and with a slurpus in salary cap they have enough money to get a couple more pieces in place for a contending team in the coming years.

Peter Sherwill – Cleveland has collected some nice young assets the past couple of drafts. They are still a few years away from getting back into the playoffs but they are much better off now that they have cap room (about $11 million this season) and can look for some veteran pieces to go with the youngsters.

Justin Adams – This season they will be back to respectability finishing close to .500.

What is the most intriguing thing about the Cavs this season?

Mark Perez –Irving. This guy can ball and shows alot of promise and heart. Over the summer he challenged LeBron James to a charity one on one game. Probably the only reason I don’t have them finishing last.

Peter Sherwill – I am interested to see if Dion Waiters turns out to be a bust or if his summer league performance was just a fluke.

Justin Adams – How will the tag team tandem (say that 3 times fast) of Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving play in their first full season together? One thing we all know about Irving is that he knows how to “get buckets.”

Matt Diaz –Most Intriguing part of the Cavs for me, has to be. Will Kyrie rest on his god given ability, or Really WORK to get better?

Detroit Pistons

Can Tayshaun Prince use his championship experience to help mentor this young team into a playoff contendor?

Peter Sherwill –

Justin Adams – No. The Pistons have too many holes in their roster.

Matt Diaz –Short answer, No. With a career average of less than 13 points per game and less than 5 rebounds per game. Tayshaun was a good player when he had other good/great players around him. I dont see him as a mentor at all. For the sake of the Pistons and Detriot, I hope i’m wrong.

Mark Perez –I just went thru the their roster…I have never heard of any of these guys. Admittedly i’m well versed in many NBA teams but at least I’ve heard of some of them. That being said not many people sound too high on Detroit so I too put them at the bottom like the sports yes-man I am.

How good do you expect thebig man duo of Greg Monroe and rookie Andre Drummond to be?

Justin Adams – This will not be the tandem of David Robinson and Tim Duncan — ok, not even close. But they will be the most underrated big man duo in the NBA after this season.

Matt Diaz –These two really have tremendous upside. If they have the desire to be great together and work toward a common goal they have the ability to be the best big man duo in the league. However in my opinion that’ll take a minimum of three years.

Mark Perez – Reading up on these guys, they look promising. Monroe recently racked up a double double against the best NHL team to play the fine game  of basketball the T-Raptors. Drummond also seems to be shaping up as a nice draft pick with high production in short playing times.

Peter Sherwill – Monroe continues the tradition of excellent big men from Georgetown and has already shown that he is an important piece to this rebuilding Pistons team. Drummond gives them a second near-7-footer to pair with Monroe. However, Drummond is still very young – he just turned 19 in August. Drummond was the 6th best shot blocker in college basketball last season averaging 2.7 blocks per game. Blocking shots is not one of Monroe’s strong points so this could make the two players’ styles complimentary to one another. I would say there is great potential for this duo. However, due to Drummond’s age, he could take a while to develop and could turn out to be a bust.

What place do they finish in the Central Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Matt Diaz –This season will be a tough one for the pistons. I have them finishing 5th in the division and missing the playoffs.

Mark Perez – Last, don’t see them getting it together enough to contend this year. No post season basketball for the motor city this year.

Peter Sherwill – It will be a tough year for the Pistons as they will take last place (5th) in the division and next to last place (14th) in the Eastern Conference, obviously missing the playoffs.

Justin Adams – 4th and out of the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers nearly upset Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring, was it a case of capturing lightning in a bottle or are they a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference?

Mark Perez – These dudes are legit and ready to play ball, I still feel Chicago will ultimately be ahead in the division but look for the Pacers to tug on their shirt the whole way there.

Peter Sherwill – I think the Pacers can be a legitimate threat in the East. They are going to return most of last year’s team with a few nice role-player additions and re-signed Roy Hibbert and George Hill. I think they will look even better if Leandro Barbosa decides to take less money to stay with Indiana. I can kind of see the Pacers as the Denver Nuggets of the East. They do not have any superstars and they are not a flashy team that attracts a lot of attention but, they have some very skilled players that work hard and play together.

Justin Adams – They are a legit threat. So much so that I am predicting them to make a surprising run all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat this year.

Matt Diaz –I don’t see the Pacers as a case of lightning in a bottle at all! I believe this team has a lot of nice pieces and look for them to have a very good year.

What place do they finish in the Central Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Peter Sherwill – The Pacers win the division and nab the 4 seed. I have them beating Brooklyn in the first round and then losing in round two.

Justin Adams – They finish 1st and will be a tough out to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Matt Diaz –I have the Pacers Finishing 1st in the central. I don’t think I’d have them that high if Derrick Rose was healthy, nonetheless I think the Pacers will be a force to be reckoned with. 5th seed in the Playoffs and posing a threat to whomever they face. If I were the Heat this is one of the teams I would hate to run into in the Semifinals again.

Mark Perez – They will finish 2nd in the division. Yes postseason and I say all the way to the Eastern Conference finals making a better push than last year.

Did the Pacers make the right move by re-signing George Hill and Trading Darren Collison to Dallas?

Justin Adams – Yes. Trading Darren Collison will open up more playing time for Hill and should improve his numbers.

Matt Diaz –The Pacers have so many pieces that a choice like this had to be made. George Hill is the future for this Pacers team. Paul George is showing signs this preseason that he is going to be a threat too.

Mark Perez – It looks like Darren was a player who needed a change of scenery. Can George hill be the player he was in San Antonio? He is already out with a thumb injury so we will have to wait and see. Look for Augustin to get his chance to shine while Hill is out.

Peter Sherwill – What’s interesting to me is that Collison actually started almost all of the regular season games and Hill started all of the playoff games. Their numbers are fairly similar across the board except that Collison averages more assists. I think that will change. The Pacers probably realized that they couldn’t afford to pay both of these guys since they just paid Hibbert so they traded the one that will cost more to re-sign. And the one that they traded, he’s from Rancho Cucamonga.

Milwaukee Bucks

What place do they finish in the Central Division? Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Matt Diaz –I have the Bucks finishing the season 3rd in the Central and having the 7th seed in the East.

Mark Perez – 3rd, I have no logic to back this up, just my feeling. Possibly a low seed but gut feeling says no.

Peter Sherwill – Milwaukee finishes 3rd in the division and narrowly misses the playoffs by finishing 8th in the East.

Justin Adams – They will finish 3rd and a first-round knockout as an 8 seed.

Can the Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis backcourt work?

Mark Perez – For how many zeros are after Ellis’s salary I hope he can stay healthy enough to be productive. If Brandon Jennings can stay on his game, he is on pace to play the best basketball of his life.

Peter Sherwill – I think that it can work as long as both guys continue to average 5-6 assists per game. I think that stat is important since both players are known as scorers. That stat indicates that while both Ellis and Jennings are scorers, they are not ball hogs. Unfortunately, the Bucks down-graded from Andrew Bogut to Samuel Dalembert and that might not help them much in Milwaukee. Ellis and Jennings will be fun to watch and it sort of reminds me of when Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson were paired up. They scored a lot of points and were a lot of fun to watch, but that’s about all they accomplished.

Justin Adams – Yes. I am excited to see how this backcourt works out during the season. Both are deadly scores and the Bucks will need all the scoring that they can get from these two guards.

Matt Diaz –I believe this backcourt has the ability to work very well. Its all about having a common goal between these two. Which one would think should be easy. That remains to be seen though.

What do you think Ersan Ilyasova’s ceiling is as a player?

Peter Sherwill – DraftExpress said his worst case comparison was Bostjan Nachbar and best case a Euro Rashard Lewis. I see Ilyasova being a fairly consistent, but not great Euro-type player. Perhaps a better at rebounding version of Toni Kukoc.

Justin Adams – He can be the second best big man in the East behind Andrew Bynum.

Matt Diaz –Can you say, Nikoloz Tskitishvili?

Mark Perez – After finally showing he can be a consistent scorer from the field (51.9 percent) last year I don’t think his ceiling is much more than his averages from last year but a solid production player for the Bucks.

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Over the coming weeks here at Rerun Sportscast, we will be gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-hosts of the Rerun Sportscast, Matt Diaz and Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.

Boston Celtics

Who is the most important free agent addition to this team?

Mark Perez – As an exclusive follower of the Denver Nuggets/Western Conference, I’m gonna say Jason Terry is the most important free agent addition because: 

A) That’s the only name I know.

B) I know that ******* can make it rain 3’s after having to deal with him in Dallas.

Peter Sherwill – DARKO!  Definitely Darko.  Have you guys seen this video?  Now that he’s in Celtics green he can finally complete his transformation into the Hulk.  All kidding aside, Courtney Lee should be a nice addition to this team and could be a solid piece alongside Rajon  Rondo for the Celtics future.  Garnett and Pierce are nearing the end of their careers and the Celtics need to start thinking about life after those guys.

Justin Adams – Jason Terry - The 13-year vet is the perfect replacement to Ray Allen leaving to Miami. 15.1 points, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game last year. Yeah, I think Terry is a good pick.

Matt Diaz – Jason Terry is the most important addition to this aging Celts team. Although he himself is an aging Shooting Guard, I look for him to have a bit of a bounce back year. Essentially, he is replacing Ray Allen, who signed with the Heat, so look for him to hit a ton of 3’s this season.

Did the Celtics reload or regress this offseason?

Peter Sherwill – It seems that they have reloaded with the veterans they added and the rookies they drafted.  They added some depth around Garnett at both post positions.  They added a couple of shooters to replace what they lost with Ray Allen’s departure.  For me it really depends on what happens with Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger.  If they are busts, this sets the Celts back once Garnett and Pierce are finished.

Justin Adams – No other team seems to reload better than the Boston Celtics, but at some point they have to regress, right? This year will be that season. Given that the Celtics were fortunate to play the 8th seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the semi’s of the playoffs last year, I can see the green and white being ousted in the semi’s this year.

Matt Diaz – I don’t believe the Celtics Regressed this offseason. Fab Melo has the ability to be a nice player for Boston.  The question is, does he have the desire to improve as much as he needs to be an effective NBA Center. Will KG be a willing mentor for Fab Melo and Sullinger? That remains to be seen. If KG helps them with the NBA learning curve, the Celtics could be in a really nice spot.

Mark Perez – I think the Celtics are almost there and I half way agree with Peter.  But, even if Fab Melo and Sullinger do pick up the speed of the NBA and KG helps them along the way, I don’t see them getting it together enough to have a solid driving force on the inside game.  Their outside shooters are as good as anyone in the league and Ray Allen won’t be missed. Not exactly a reload in my eyes, but they got the hammer cocked on the pistol.

What place do they finish in the Atlantic Division?  Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – The Celtics will make the playoffs but they will finish third behind Brooklyn and Philly. And what do they get for their playoff appearance? A second-round exit.

Matt Diaz – I have the Celtics finishing 2nd in the Atlantic Division. With Rondo, Paul Pierce and KG the Celtics will make the playoffs. In my opinion, if they get past the 1st round I’d be surprised. The core is too old and the rest of the team is too young.

Mark Perez – Celtics are fighting for scraps with Toronto and possibly Brooklyn while they get it together.

Peter Sherwill – I have Boston winning the Atlantic Division and taking the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.  However, I have them losing in the first round to a team we will come to later on. 

Brooklyn Nets

Did the Nets jump the gun by dealing for Joe Johnson instead of waiting for a Dwight Howard trade?

Matt Diaz – Joe Johnson is a nice addition to the Nets. I don’t think that they jumped the gun on the Johnson deal. Howard was always a questionable deal for this team. The Nets did the right thing making a move. If they waited on Howard they may have got nothing.

Mark Perez – Again, not a huge follower of non-Western Conference teams, so my answer here is: Who the hell is Joe Johnson. If I knew who he was, maybe my instinct would be different, but looking at the trade it appears the Nets overreached on this one.

Peter Sherwill – I am inclined to say no on this one.  While the Nets were offering a better package than the one that the Magic ended up getting, the deal Brooklyn was offering hamstrung the Magic’s payroll long-term.  They were trying to avoid that since the Magic intend to build their team in the style of Oklahoma City.  With all of that said, the Nets had to do something to convince Deron Williams to stay with the team.  It also does not hurt the Nets any to add some extra star power for the move to Brooklyn.

Justin Adams – Brooklyn made the best trade that was available to them. No Dwight Howard, but having possibly the best back court in the NBA is not too shabby. I believe that the Nets will actually be BETTER than what they would be if they have waited for Howard to come to the land where Jay-Z resides. Just wait…

What place do they finish in the Atlantic Division?  Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – I don’t see the Nets just waltzing into the top of this division. If I’ve learned anything new, teams have to have time to gel.  No playoffs or a low seed one and done.

Peter Sherwill – I see the Nets finishing third in the division while grabbing the 5th seed and a first round loss.

Justin Adams –

Matt Diaz – The Nets will be lucky to finish any higher than 4th in their division. They would have to play out of their minds to finish any higher than that. The Division is just going to be too tough this season.

Who has the better New York team, the Nets or the Knicks?

Peter Sherwill – On paper, the Knicks have the better team.  On the court, the Nets likely have a more cohesive unit.

Justin Adams – Numero Uno. Brooklyn has all the elements needed to win the division. A coach in Avery Johnson that loves to preach defense, firepower with Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace and a solid big in Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries. But the only problem for the Nets? The bench. If their bench is better or at least close to the 76ers, then the division is theirs. Also, just like Boston, a second-round exit is what to be expected from the Nets.

Matt Diaz – I hate to say it but I believe the Knicks have the better team. Chandler will continue to dominate on the defensive end and Carmelo will be the Offensive force that he has always been. Couple that with the fact that Amare worked with Hakeem Olajuwon this offseason. If Amare has improved his post moves, the Knicks have the chance to be very good.

Mark Perez – Knicks will probably lead the division early, but my dark horse 76ers will take #1 spot come playoff time.

New York Knicks

What place do they finish in the Atlantic Division?  Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – Yes the Knicks will make it to the playoffs, but they will finish 4th the much improved Atlantic Division. As the 8th seed, the Knicks will be ousted in the first round by Miami.

Matt Diaz – I have the Knicks finishing 3rd in the Atlantic Division. Finishing that low they would have to sneak in as an 8 seed. I don’t think the Knicks have a deep enough roster at this point to be a real threat as a “Contender”. They will be bounced in the 1st round.

Mark Perez – Knicks finish 2nd to the 76ers after leading the division for most of the year. I’m terrible with postseason predictions and honestly would be talking out my ***, so I’ll wait till that time comes

around.

Peter Sherwill – I am picking the Knicks to finish 4th in the Atlantic Division with the 7th seed in the East.  From there, it gets interesting as I have the Knicks beating Boston in round one in a 6 or 7 game series.  I actually have the Knicks going all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals and losing.

Which is a better option at point guard for this team, a Felton/Kidd combo or Jeremy Lin?

Matt Diaz – In my opinion, Jeremy Lin is the better option for this Knicks team. I believe for this team to be the best it can be, they need Lin to lead the team and not defer to Melo on every possession. Anthony is a great offensive player, but as we all know here in Denver once he gets his hands on the ball he won’t do anything but shoot.

Mark Perez – Jeremy Lin cause Felton is a fat loser… can’t stand that dude.  Fatty McFat Fat

Peter Sherwill – This team runs their offense through Carmelo Anthony with isolation plays so I think that a pass-first point guard is a better option for the Knicks to play winning basketball.  Because of that, the Felton/Kidd combo is the choice here.  Jeremy Lin is still relatively unproven as an NBA point guard but we do know that he likes to shoot.

Justin Adams – This question is laced with foolishness. Before Felton was traded to the Nuggets he was a borderline All-Star point guard and even at his ancient age, Jason Kidd is still JASON KIDD. Excuse me, but I’ll take those two over the one-hit wonder now residing in H-Town.

 Can Amare and Carmelo play together?

Mark Perez – Maybe this is the year where Melo matures and worries about team over self interests.  Fat chance. That being said, it’s not like the two totally have an oil and water relationship. I see them getting out to a good start and sputtering out of control.  After building a beautiful relationship, Amare knocks out a fire extinguisher that called Melo fat. All joking aside I thought Carmelo would try to be more of a team player after the Knicks reached to bring him back home, but last season showed us more of the same.  A brilliant scorer that lacks the defense and teamsmanship it takes to win a championship… 

Peter Sherwill – They are going to have to figure it out.  Carmelo is not going anywhere, any time soon and neither is Amare.  The Knicks already used their amnesty on Chauncey Billups and Amare’s contract is uninsurable and pretty much untradeable.  So he’s not going anywhere either.  Although, Joe Johnson did just get traded and he has a worse contract than Amare.  So I guess anything is possible…

Justin Adams – Does water and oil mix together well? Exactly, this team will continue to struggle together. But the free-agent signing of Jason Kidd just might be the solvent that makes it all work. I still say no, but I’m interested to see if Kidd could make this all workout in the end of the season.

Matt Diaz – When the Knicks made the decision to sign Amare and trade for Melo, I wondered how they could make it work. So far they haven’t been able to really pull it together. For the sake of the Knicks fans, hopefully the duo spent some time together this offseason figuring out how best to make it work. As I don’t see either of them going anywhere anytime soon. Now to answer the question, I don’t think they can make it work enough to be eventual champions.

Philadelphia 76ers

How much better did the Andrew Bynum trade make the 76ers?

Peter Sherwill – Bynum gives the 76ers the second best center in the league.  If he has his head on right and stays healthy, they could be a legitimate dark horse in the East.

Justin Adams – Much, MUCH better! Yes they lost All-Star Andre Iguodala, but adding one of the best big men to their team will help this young squad a great deal. Also Jrue Holiday is still lighting up the scoreboard and Evan Turner is getting better everyday. With Bynum now in uniform, they will surprise a lot of teams this season.

Matt Diaz – I believe that the 76ers will be a strong team. This is Bynum’s time to shine and he will be a very formidable force in the middle in Philly. The loss of Iguodala will hurt them but Doug Collins has shown an ability to really coach his teams up.

Mark Perez – Just for the record, I called these guys a dark horse before I read what Peter wrote about them.  I was actually kinda high on them last postseason and If Bynum can keep a clear head, stay

healthy and help out with leadership (did I just say that?), then they could steer themselves into a high seed for the playoffs.

What place do they finish in the Atlantic Division?  Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Justin Adams – The 76ers will finish second in the Atlantic Division and they will fall in the semis just like last season.

Matt Diaz – I have the 76ers winning the Atlantic division, but just barely. I have them with the 3rd seed in the east but losing in the 1st round.

Mark Perez – 1st #DarkHorse.  As a policy, Mark Perez does not speculate/comment on postseason for the most part.

Peter Sherwill – Philly grabs second in the division and the 3rd seed out East.  I have the 76ers losing to the Knicks in the 2nd round.

Does Bynum flourish or flounder in his role as the featured star in Philly?

Matt Diaz – Like I said previously, this is Bynum’s time to shine and show that he doesn’t need Kobe to guide him.

Mark Perez – If he is healthy, he will be a great help to this team.  He is kinda “the man” on this team and will have to act as such to get a playoff run.

Peter Sherwill – I think he will do well in his new role.  He wanted to shoulder more of the load for the Lakers but he was constantly reminded that it was Kobe’s team.  Andre Iguodala was the previous leader in the 76ers locker room and I look for Bynum to embrace that role and thrive.  Also, keep in mind that he is from the east coast and won’t be too far from home in Philadelphia.

Justin Adams – If it was any coach in the world other than Doug Collins then I would say he would flounder. Collins is one of the best coaches in the NBA when dealing with talent like Bynum. I can see the former U.S Olympic ball player getting the most out of the big man not only this season, but for many more season to come.

Toronto Raptors

What place do they finish in the Atlantic Division?  Do they make the postseason and if so how far do they get?

Mark Perez – Didn’t they get the memo on the NHL Lockout???  Last, dead last.  Mainly cause they are not a great hockey team.

Peter Sherwill – Toronto will finish last in the division and miss the playoffs.  I have them finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference.

Justin Adams – Don’t waste my time. If the Raptors win 25 games then they should have a parade down the streets. No playoffs and a lottery pick is in their future.

Matt Diaz – I completely agree with Peter here last in the Division. Last in the Conference.

Does Landry Fields become a star for the Raptors?

Peter Sherwill – Fields showed some flashes before Melo arrived in New York.  I think with the absence of a big name player in Toronto, there is definitely the opportunity for him to step into a starring role. I’m not sure I see him getting to that tier.  I see him becoming a solid player, maybe an Arron Afflalo type.

Justin Adams – Somebody has to, right? But not Fields. The best newcomer for the Raptors will be Kyle Lowry.

Matt Diaz – Good question. Fields did show some ability for the Knicks. If he can make this team his own he will be a star.

Mark Perez – The only Landry I know is the Great Tom Landry. That being said, I’ve never heard of this guy so probably not.

As the NBA’s only Canadian franchise, can the Raptors be relevant or should the look to relocate?

Justin Adams – They can still be relevant, but how does it look like if the Raptors moved to Seattle? At least we can dream.

Matt Diaz – The Raptors have a chance in the future to be relevant. They will probably bring it together once it’s too late for Toronto. Much like what happened with the Sonics/Thunder. The Raptors should look to relocate ASAP.

Mark Perez – They should move half of their home games to London to copy the Jacksonville Jaguars.  I hear they are looking for a good hockey team in London!

Peter Sherwill – Toronto is one of the largest, most dynamic cities in the world.  However, there is just nothing that appeals to NBA players in Canada.  Every time the Raptors have had a franchise player, they have let them slip away - Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Chris Bosh. They will never be able to attract marquee free agents north of the border.  They are building a new NBA arena in Seattle and Las Vegas has been mentioned many times as being a possible destination for an NBA franchise.  I could see the Raptors leaving Toronto for Seattle and becoming the Supersonics.  At the same time, I do not think that David Stern would allow his only foreign franchise to move to the states.

Be sure to join us back here next time as we preview the Central Division.

“Like” us on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter:

Matt Diaz: @therealMDiaz

Mark Perez: @faceofbass

Peter Sherwill: @RerunNuggets

Justin Adams: @justinadams81

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Over the coming weeks here at Rerun Sportscast, we will be gearing up for the NBA season to start by sharing our predictions and breaking down each division.  Our expert panel includes co-hosts of the Rerun Sportscast, Matt Diaz and Mark Perez, our Nuggets blogger, Peter Sherwill and joining us for this series is our special guest, Justin Adams from KNUS 710AM.

This week we will be sharing our predictions for the end of the season awards.

Regular Season MVP:

Justin Adams - LeBron James (Miami Heat) - Forgive me for taking the “easy route” here but honestly, why would I choose differently? After arguably having one of the best overall basketball seasons in the history of the sport, how could I not choose LeBron? But what’s scaring me about “King James” is this, he can still get better! As long as he stays hungry, there will be a 4th MVP trophy in his case by the end of the year.

Matt Diaz - Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers) I see Kobe a little bit in a decline. However with the new additions to the Lakers, Howard and Jamison along with MWP and Gasol. Kobe is set up for a really nice year. He knows he is running out of time so he is going to do his best to facilitate and make sure everyone is where they need to be. Look for Kobe to win his 2nd MVP this season.

Mark Perez - Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder) Matt is going to hate me for this one, but he is one of my favorite players. I’m going with Kevin Durant.  OKC made it to the finals and I don’t think many are looking at this team as a serious competitor. With Durant’s 51 point performance here in Denver last February and carrying his team to the finals, I see him having a big enough year to be league MVP 

Peter Sherwill - LeBron James (Miami Heat):  LeBron just had one of the greatest years of basketball anyone has ever put together.  He finally ascended to the level that everyone has been waiting for and I do not see him slowing down anytime soon.  He should end up tying and maybe even surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record 6 MVP’s when it’s all said and done.

Rookie of the Year:

Matt Diaz - Damien Lillard (Portland Trailblazers) Look For the Weber State standout to have a terrific year. Moving just up the coast and teaming up with LaMarcus Aldridge. I think Lillard will solidify himself as a true up and coming PG, and in the next couple of years be a really good player in the mold of a Derrick Rose. 

Mark Perez - Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets)  After looking at the
2012 NBA Draft I was wondering why no one picked the #1 pick of the
draft. The video I watched of his college highlights in Kentucky
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzhSOfAoTA4 clearly shows this guy
hustles on both defense and offense. A 6’11” power forward that plays
like a center and has clearly enough handles to drive the lane and
make a big splash on a struggling Hornets team.

Peter Sherwill - Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards): I expect the former Florida Gator to form a great backcourt with John Wall and revitalize the hapless Wizards in the upcoming years.  I think Beal will be the upset winner over Anthony Davis.

Justin Adams - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats): It’s sad, but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist might be the best player on the Bobcats, and he has yet to score a bucket. In all seriousness, Kidd-Gilchrist is going to a team that scored the 87 points per game and has won only 7 points last season. With his skill set, Kidd-Gilchrist could have a great year on a team that is starving for star power.

Defensive Player of the Year:

Mark Perez - Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) After garnering enough
votes to be the first Clipper to be named to the NBA All-Defensive
first team last year. I believe CP3 will have a big defensive year
again in LA, with stats from last year like 2.53 steals per game and
152 total steals who’s to say he doesn’t make it in for a 3rd time NBA
All-Defensive team.

Peter Sherwill - Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers): If Dwight returns to his previous form, I fully believe he will reclaim his hold on the NBA’s defensive award.

Justin Adams - Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder): The easy pick here would be to take Dwight Howard, but since he will be starting off the season injured, I’ll take Ibaka who is already one of the most intimidating players in the NBA so far and he’s only 23! Going into his 4th season and under a new contract, I’m expecting Ibaka’s game to take a leap forward. Also, in every season he has averaged a block more than the previous season. Last year it was 3.7 blocks per game, I can’t imagine how good he will be with a full 82 game schedule under his belt.

Matt Diaz - Serge Ibaka (OKC Thunder) Serge will continue to improve and make a breakthrough this year as Defensive P.O.Y. He came in second last season but will surely Breakout this season. As the Thunder will press to get back to the Finals. To get there they will need Ibaka to be D.P.O.Y.

Sixth Man of the Year:

Peter Sherwill - James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder): Harden is in a contract year, which generally in the NBA, means that he will perform even better than he previously has. OKC fans should enjoy him this year as there have been rumblings this will be his last with the Thunder.  Another sixth man award could up his asking price.

Justin Adams - Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs): At some point, this Argentinian’s game will slow down, but it will not be this season. Ginobili continues to be one of the best players to come off the bench and is one of the most underrated players in the clutch. The San Antonio Spurs have one last good run in them and expect Ginobili to be on the forefront of it.

Matt Diaz - Ray Allen (Miami Heat) Allen will be rejuvenated in a new uniform. On a team with a true chance to repeat. There is no pressure to carry the Heat on his back, and with that he will have a vintage Ray Allen season. 

Mark Perez - Jason Terry (Boston Celtics) On the other side of the
Miami/Boston trade I think JT will also benefit from having a change
in scenery, and with a changing of the guard in Boston, if he doesn’t
make the starting roster…look for some 3 pointers off the bench from
this guy.

Most Improved Player of the Year:

Justin Adams - JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets): When the Nuggets traded Nene for JaVale McGee, I wondered what was Denver Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri thinking? And then there was the game 3 and game 5 performance against the Los Angeles Lakers that made Masai look like a genius. The super-athletic center is now paid and has been working out with Hakeem Olajuwon in the off-season. McGee has a chance to make huge strides under the fast paced play of George Karl. Plus, if he doesn’t play up to expectations, Karl can just send McGee’s mom Pam McGee after him. That’s motivating enough to me!

Matt Diaz - Ty Lawson (Denver Nuggets) Lawson is set to become one of the best PG’s in the game. This will be his 4th season and I look for Ty to reach his true ability. In the past Ty has been known to go clubbing while the Nuggets are out on the road. Ty has now matured to the point where I expect him to buckle down and show the league and world what he is really capable of. Also, with the addition of Iguodala and a true defensive mindset. Ty will absolutely SHINE on the fast break.

Mark Perez - Arron Afflalo (Orlando Magic) After being shipped off by
the Nuggets to Orlando, Aaron has to prove that he is not a trade-able
player. With the chip on his shoulder, and an obvious upgrade to
Orlando’s Hedo Turkoglu. I see AAA stepping up his game and making
Denver wish he was never on the trading block.

Peter Sherwill - JaVale McGee (Denver Nuggets):  JaVale is freshly paid after a knucklehead-free spring and a breakout playoff performance against the Lakers.  He spent the summer working with Hakeem Olajuwon and I think that is going to pay dividends in the amount of this award.

Coach of the Year:

Matt Diaz - George Karl (Denver Nuggets) With the addition of Iguodala the George Karl led Nuggets will improve on the defensive end of the court. This is arguably what has been truly holding the Nuggets back for years. I look for a Defensive Minded Nuggets to challenge the Thunder. With former Nuggs Assistant Scott Brooks taking his Thunder team to the Finals last season, George will not take it lightly and have the Coaching Year of his life.

Mark Perez - Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat) I like this guy cause he
worked his way into the organization from the bottom up. Starting with
the Heat as the team’s video coordinator and being named Pat Riley’s
successor, Erik shows a young man’s energy that is well received by his
cast of all stars in Miami. Look for the Heat to be a competitor again
with Erik at the helm.

Peter Sherwill - Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder):  I think that the Heat will struggle with what Pat Riley calls “The Disease of More” this year.  That and OKC should have another strong showing this season and will be even hungrier after making it to the Finals and coming up short.

Justin Adams - Doug Collins (Philadelphia 76ers): Doug Collins unexpectedly took an 8th seed team to being one great quarter away from being in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Nobody gets the most out of his team than from Collins. And now he has acquired a budding superstar in Andrew Bynum. If he can keep the big man motivated and continue to find just enough scoring from players like Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday, we could see Collins holding up the Coach of the Year trophy at season’s end.

Be sure to join us back here next time as we preview the Atlantic Division.

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Mark Perez: @faceofbass

Peter Sherwill: @RerunNuggets

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ESPN’S 2012 NBA Player Rankings (UPDATED 9/30/12)
With the NFL season about to kickoff, you might have missed what is going on over at ESPN.com - unless you are a hoops junkie like myself.  They are ranking the top 500 NBA players.  Since you have 30 teams and a max of 15 roster slots per team, that only equates to 450 players.  So the list includes many players that will not be with an NBA team this season.  It also ranks NBA rookies that have yet to play a minute of professional basketball.  
ESPN did this feature leading up to last season as well.  Basically, they release a few names each day and assign a number on a 0-to-10 scale which represents the current quality of each player.  If you want to see the whole list, head over to ESPN or you can follow along on Twitter @NBAonESPN or #NBArank.  For those that only care about where the Denver Nuggets are ranked, we have you covered here at Rerun Sportscast.
(UPDATE) ESPN now has a feature where you can check the rankings for each team.  Here is Denver’s link 

Also of note with how deep in to the list ESPN is, the Nuggets will have 7 players in the top 100 – including all 5 starters.  I’m not sure how many teams can boast those things, but I’m guessing not many.  
Denver Nuggets on ESPN’s #NBArank:

  • 28 (↑6): Andre Iguodala
    Current Player Quality: 7.65
    2011 Rank: 34 (7.29)
     
  • 48 (↑16): Ty Lawson
    Current Player Quality: 6.68
    2011 Rank: 64 (6.09)

  • 54 (↑14): Danilo Gallinari
    Current Player Quality: 6.55
    2011 Rank: 68 (6.03)

  • 71 (↑260): Kenneth Faried
    Current Player Quality: 6.13
    2011 Rank: 331 (2.96)

  • 77 (↑22): JaVale McGee
    Current Player Quality: 5.98
    2011 Rank: 99 (5.65)

  • 93 (↓18): Wilson Chandler
    Current Player Quality: 5.58
    2011 Rank: 75 (5.98)

  • 94 (↓5): Andre Miller
    Current Player Quality: 5.55
    2011 Rank: 89 (5.76)

  • 203 (↑ 5): Corey Brewer
    Current Player Quality: 4.30
    2011 Rank: 208 (4.26)

  • 220 (↑ 86): Timofey Mozgov
    Current Player Quality: 4.13
    2011 Rank: 306 (3.20)

  • 269 (↓ 49): Anthony Randolph
    Current Player Quality: 3.60
    2011 Rank: 220 (4.18)

  • 274 (↑ 74): Kosta Koufos
    Current Player Quality: 3.55
    2011 Rank: 348 (2.73)

  • 337 (↑ 43): Jordan Hamilton
    Current Player Quality: 2.97
    2011 Rank: 380 (2.54)

  • 395 (-): Quincy Miller
    Current Player Quality: 2.59
    2011 Rank: NR

  • 410 (-): Evan Fournier
    Current Player Quality: 2.50
    2011 Rank: NR

  • 473 (-):  Julyan Stone
    Current Player Quality: 1.94
    2011 Rank: NR

Peter Sherwill is an NBA junkie and blogger, never short on opinions.  Has appeared as a guest on Denver sports talk radio.

.Peter Sherwill @iwritenuggets

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