[In the hope of getting all if not most of these done before the season starts, I'm going to give this a shot, despite the fact I possess about one-tenth of Prada's basketball knowledge. If this is terrible, we'll just pretend it never happened. -Jake]
The season is less than one week away, but most of the rosters are set, barring the requisite Michael Jordan comeback rumor (just kidding, but only a little). We have an idea where our team stands, but we can't really know unless we discuss everyone else. In that spirit, I'm going to throw up a "competition discussion" thread for each of the other 29 teams over the next month or so. We'll go in alphabetical order from A to Z. Today's team: Orlando.
Last year's record: 40-42.
In: Rashard Lewis (free agent), Adonal Foyle (free agent), Marcin Gortat (2005 draft).
Out: Grant Hill (free agent), Darko Milicic (free agent), Travis Diener (free agent). Tony Battie is still with the team, but won't see any action this year due to season ending shoulder surgery.
Projected starting lineup: Jameer Nelson, Keyon Dooling, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Dwight Howard.
Bench (in alphabetical order): Trevor Ariza, James Augustine, Tony Battie, Keith Bogans, Adonal Foyle, Pat Garrity, Marcin Gortat, Bo Outlaw, J.J. Redick.
So how do we feel about this team? Obviously, the Magic had the biggest signing of the off-season locking up Rashard Lewis for what can only be described as crazy money. I could obviously go off on the ramifications of this sign-and-trade ad nauseum, but I'd mostly just be restating the obvious, so I'll just say this: While most of agree that Orlando overpaid Lewis, I think we can also all agree that the signing made Orlando better. Paired together with a young and improving Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, this Orlando team has one of the better starting frontcourts in the East. If one of them goes down, there could be some problems in O-Town.
However, the real question mark with this team is how well the backcourt performs. As the 'master put it:
With all that said, I'll say Orlando finishes 43-39. Enough to make the playoffs, but not enough to put together a serious title run.
Other CDs, with mine and Jake's projected record alongside. Yours, of course, are in the comments of those posts.
Charlotte: 42-40/39-43. Of course, this news changes everything. Now, I say the Bobcats finish 35-47.
Golden State: 36-46/35-47.
LA Clippers: 23-59/19-63.
LA Lakers: 42-40/42-40.
New Jersey: 41-41/45-37.
New York: 34-48/36-46.