Dustin James previews the upcoming NBA season, starting with the Eastern Conference.

Welcome to Dustin James’ 2012 NBA predictions EXCLUSIVE right here only at the MAN-CAVE~! I had some spare time this past weekend so I figured I would devote some time to take a quick peek at what kind of good stuff is expected on the hardwood this year in the NBA (or as cool people call it…..the Association). We had a lot of stuff happen in the off-season as some teams improved tremendously from last year while other teams continued to take a dip. This year is going to be interesting due to all the off-season moves made in the NBA. Will the Los Angeles Lakers be able to pull off another championship victory before Kobe walks away for good (the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash will definitely give him a good shot at that)? Will the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to improve even though they just traded away a very good chemistry piece in James Harden? Can the Miami Heat continue to be the best team in the NBA? Do the San Antonio Spurs have any gas left in the tank? What do you say I stop wasting time and just get to the goods already?

Anyway………

Here it is……………..

Dustin James’ 2012-13 NBA Preview!!!!!

Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division:

1. Boston Celtics
Say Hello To: Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo, Courtney Lee, Jason Collins, Jason Terry, Darko Milicic

Wave Goodbye To: Jermaine O’Neal, Greg Stiemsma, Ray Allen

Projected Starting Line-up: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass

Projected Finish: 49 – 33

2. Brooklyn Nets

Say Hello To: Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, CJ Watson, Mirza Teletovic, Tyshawn Taylor, Tornike Shengelia, Ilkan Karaman, Josh Childress, Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse

Wave Goodbye To: Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Sundiata Gaines, Gerald Green

Projected Starting Line-up: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kris Humphries, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace

Projected Finish: 46 – 36

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Say Hello To: Andrew Bynum, Arnett Moultrie, Nick Young, Kwame Brown, Royal Ivey, Dorell Wright, Jason Richardson

Wave Goodbye To: Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, Nikola Vucevic

Projected Starting Line-up: Andrew Bynum, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Jrue Holiday, Jason Richardson

Projected Finish: 45 – 37

4. New York Knicks

Say Hello To: Raymond Felton, Kurt Thomas, Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Ronnie Brewer, James White, Pablo Prigioni, Rasheed Wallace

Wave Goodbye To: Jeremy Lin, Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Bill Walker

Projected Starting Line-up: Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, JR Smith

Projected Finish: 44 – 38

5. Toronto Raptors

Say Hello To: Landry Fields, Terrence Ross, Quincy Acy, Tomislav Zubcic, Kyle Lowry, John Lucas III, Dominic McGuire

Wave Goodbye To: James Johnson, Gary Forbes, Jerryd Bayless

Projected Starting Line-up: Andrea Bargnani, Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan

Projected Finish: 31 – 51

Atlantic Division Breakdown: The Atlantic Division is actually one of the strongest divisions in the NBA. With the Knicks, Nets, 76ers, and Celtics all expected to be playoff teams, the Atlantic Division is going to be strong all year long. My pick to win the division is the Boston Celtics as I think the Celtics are just more of a complete team than any of the others and even though they are getting up there in age, they still have a little bit of steam left in them. The Celtics added a bunch of new young pieces and if they turn out how the Celtics expect them to, Boston may have already re-loaded for another run with Rajon Rondo at the front of the line……I’m not as high on the Knicks are as other people. I think the team got worse in the off-season by shipping out Jeremy Lin and bringing in Raymond Felton (who was AWFUL in Portland last season). Felton was a cancer for the Blazers and something tells me it’s going to be much of the same in the Knicks locker room. When you throw in Felton with Carmelo Anthony (a guy who will NEVER win an NBA championship as long as he’s the center piece of the team) and Amar’e, that just doesn’t do much to get me excited……The Nets are one of those teams who can either be sneaky good or just a middle of the road team. They were unable to get Dwight Howard to join them in Brooklyn, but the addition of Joe Johnson should at least make this team respectable in their first season away from New Jersey……The 76ers are a mystery to me. I’ve never been a big fan of Andrew Bynum as I believe the guy has all the potential in the world, he’s just way too immature to be the star of a team. If the Sixers can somehow help Bynum mature and play up to his potential, they could end up locking down one of the top four spots in the East come playoff time……The Raptors are garbage and are easily one of the most boring teams in the NBA. Seriously, if I was a fan of this team, I’d kill myself. Who’s their star player anyway? Kyle Lowry? Andrea Bargnani? Landry Fields? Yuck.

Central Division:

1. Chicago Bulls

Say Hello To: Nazr Mohammed, Marquis Teague, Marco Belinelli, Vladimir Radmanovic, Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich

Wave Goodbye To: Omer Asik, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, John Lucas III

Projected Starting Line-up: Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton

Projected Finish: 46 – 36

2. Indiana Pacers

Say Hello To: Miles Plumlee, Orlando Johnson, Ian Mahinmi, Gerald Green, DJ Augustin, Sam Young, Sundiata Gaines

Wave Goodbye To: Lou Amundson, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones, AJ Price, Leandro Barbosa

Projected Starting Line-up: Roy Hibbert, David West, Paul George, George Hill, Danny Granger

Projected Finish: 45 – 37

3. Milwaukee Bucks

Say Hello To: Samuel Dalembert, Doron Lamb, John Henson, Joel Przybilla, Marquis Daniels

Wave Goodbye To: Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman, Carlos Delfino

Projected Starting Line-up: Samuel Dalembert, Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, Drew Gooden, Mike Dunleavy

Projected Finish: 37 – 45

4. Detroit Pistons

Say Hello To: Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton, Kim English, Kyle Singler, Slava Kravstov, Corey Maggette

Wave Goodbye To: Ben Wallace, Ben Gordon, Vernon Macklin, Damien Wilkins

Projected Starting Line-up: Greg Monroe, Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko, Brandon Knight, Tayshaun Prince

Projected Finish: 29 – 53

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Say Hello To: Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, Jon Leuer, CJ Miles, Jeremy Pargo

Wave Goodbye To: Semih Erden, Antawn Jamison, DJ Kennedy

Projected Starting Line-up: Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Alonzo Gee, CJ Miles

Projected Finish: 28 – 54

Central Division Breakdown: The Central Division is basically a two-man race in my eyes. The Bulls and the Pacers will likely be at each other’s throats all season long and both teams are definitely capable of walking away with the division crown at the end of the season. I’ve never really been a big fan of this Chicago Bulls team because I think they rely too much on Derrick Rose and haven’t given the guy a good enough supporting cast over the years. Rumors are that no other NBA superstars are willing to play with Rose due to his selfishness with the ball and that could ultimately be what causes this Bulls team to continue to underachieve every year. I do like the fact that they have pretty much kept the core of their team together and their chemistry will ultimately be the main factor in them capturing the division crown…….The Pacers could surprise some people and come out and absolutely walk through the rest of the division. I liked their offseason moves and if the team can get some outstanding play at the point guard position, they could quietly contend for the Eastern Conference championship. Anyway you slice it, this division will be won by a team from either Chicago or Indiana…….The Bucks are an interesting team. I think they have the potential to sneak into the playoffs as an eight-seed, but as long as Drew Gooden is in their starting line-up, I don’t see them going any further than the first-round. Something tells me this will be Brandon Jennings’ last season in Milwaukee as he’s already expressed a desire to play in a bigger market…….The Pistons and Cavaliers are both dumpster fires at the moment, but at least they have some glimmer of hope with potential NBA superstars in the making on their rosters. Going to once again be a tough year for fans of either one of those teams.

Southeast Division:

1. Miami Heat

Say Hello To: Ray Allen, Justin Hamilton, Rashard Lewis, Josh Harrellson

Wave Goodbye To: No one

Projected Starting Line-up: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers

Projected Finish: 63 – 19

2. Atlanta Hawks

Say Hello To: DeShawn Stevenson, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Lou Williams, Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, John Jenkins, Mike Scott, James Anderson, Damion James

Wave Goodbye To: Joe Johnson, Vladimir Radmanovic, Tracy McGrady, Kirk Hinrich, Marvin Williams, Willie Green

Projected Starting Line-up: Josh Smith, Al Horford, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow

Projected Finish: 42 – 40

3. Washington Wizards

Say Hello To: Bradley Beal, Tomas Satoransky, Trevor Ariza, Emeka Okafor, AJ Price, Jannergo Pargo, Martell Webster

Wave Goodbye To: Maurice Evans, Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis

Projected Starting Line-up: John Wall, Nene, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, Emeka Okafor

Projected Finish: 35 – 47

4. Charlotte Bobcats

Say Hello To: Ben Gordon, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffery Taylor, Ramon Sessions, Brendan Haywood

Wave Goodbye To: Corey Maggette, DJ Augustin

Projected Starting Line-up: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood

Projected Finish: 18 – 64

5. Orlando Magic
Say Hello To: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Gustavo Ayon, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn

Wave Goodbye To: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, Jason Richardson, Ryan Anderson

Projected Starting Line-up: Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, Gustavo Ayon

Projected Finish: 16 – 66

Southeast Division Breakdown: Surprise, surprise. The Miami Heat are once again the dolls of the Southeast Division. Of course, that’s what happens when you have LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh on your team. When you throw in a nice little mixture of Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, and other guys just looking to win an NBA title than you have arguably one of the best squads in NBA history. The Heat have the talent this year to go down as one of the best teams in NBA history and I’m not sure anyone is going to be able to stop them. As much as it pains me to say this, LeBron James is just unstoppable right now and he won’t quit until he’s pegged as the greatest of all-time and that’s just scary for the rest of the Association…….Thanks to this weak ass division, the Atlanta Hawks should have no problem squeaking into the playoffs even though Danny Ferry blew the team up this offseason. Ferry is quietly turning Atlanta into a team that will sneak up and smoke you in the mouth if you don’t give them the attention they rightfully deserve. They had a terrific offseason and will likely continue to show improvement in a division filled with crap…….The Washington Wizards were once the laughing stock of the league, but they continue to build a nice little core down in DC. This could end up being a breakout year for John Wall, especially if he can click with guys like Nene, Bradley Beal, and Trevor Ariza. Will the Wizards sneak into the playoffs as an eight seed? The potential is definitely there to do just that…….The Bobcats and the Magic will likely be in a fight all season long over which team is the worst in the NBA. I’m personally giving that advantage to Orlando. Losing a guy like Dwight Howard will set this franchise back a few years and everyone knows it. I smell another potential #1 overall draft pick for the Magic who seems to collect those things like the Lakers collect NBA titles.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL STANDINGS:

1. Miami Heat: 63 – 19

2. Boston Celtics: 49 – 33

3. Chicago Bulls: 46 – 36

4. Brooklyn Nets: 46 – 36

5. Indiana Pacers: 45 – 37

6. Philadelphia 76ers: 45 – 37

7. New York Knicks: 44 – 38

8. Atlanta Hawks: 42 – 40

9. Milwaukee Bucks: 37 – 45

10. Washington Wizards: 35 – 47

11. Toronto Raptors: 31 – 51

12. Detroit Pistons: 29 – 53

13. Cleveland Cavaliers: 28 – 54

14. Charlotte Bobcats: 18 – 64

15. Orlando Magic – 16 – 66

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS:

First Round:

#1) Miami Heat over #8) Atlanta Hawks

#5) Indiana Pacers over #4) Brooklyn Nets

#3) Chicago Bulls over #6) Philadelphia 76ers

#2) Boston Celtics over #7) New York Knicks

Second Round:

#1) Miami Heat over #5) Indiana Pacers

#2) Boston Celtics over #3) Chicago Bulls

Eastern Conference Championship:

#1) Miami Heat over #2) Boston Celtics

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