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Which team wins the NBA 2006/2007?
Ecobika Sportsbetting Picks by the article of V.I.P. - Who is going to win the 2006-07 NBA Championship? Which team will surprise in the new season? Who will be the first coach to lose his job? Who will capture NBA hardware when the awards are given out after the regular season?
Those are just some of the questions that will be answered in the new campaign. Here are some thoughts and predictions as to what may happen in the NBA circles during the 2006-07 season.
1. THE SUNS WILL RISE TO THE TOP IN 2006-07 - This is the year that the Phoenix Suns win the NBA Championship. They won their second straight Pacific Division crown in 2005-06 and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the second straight year. Phoenix failed to get to the NBA Finals, as it fell in six games to the Dallas Mavericks. In the 2005 conference finals, the San Antonio Spurs dismissed the Suns in five contests. This year is going to be different. Amare Stoudemire, who played just three games last season because of a serious left knee injury, is expected to return to the form that made him an All-Star during the 2004-05 campaign. With reigning MVP Steve Nash, All-Star forward Shawn Marion, a healthy Stoudemire, versatile Boris Diaw, Marcus Banks, Leandro Barbosa, Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas, the Suns have a very deep and talented team. Everything is in place for Phoenix to capture its first-ever NBA title.
2. DWYANE WADE BECOMES THE FIRST OF THE 2003 DRAFT CLASS TO WIN MVP - The 24- year-old Wade has already won a championship ring with Miami and was the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. Cleveland's LeBron James, who was the first overall pick in the 2003 draft, and Denver's Carmelo Anthony, who was selected at No. 3, have both blossomed into superstars, but its Wade who will be recognized as the NBA's best player in 2006-07.
Originally selected out of Marquette by the Heat in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2003 draft, Wade teams with center Shaquille O'Neal to makeup one of the most dangerous one-two punches in the league. During Miami's magical run in last year's postseason, Wade led the squad in scoring (25.7 ppg) and assists (5.7 apg). He made 49.7 percent of his shots from the field, including 37.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. A two-time All- Star, Wade, who led the Heat in scoring (27.2 ppg) and assists (6.7 apg) during the 2005-06 regular season, is ready to add NBA MVP to his already impressive resume.
3. RANDY FOYE MAKES A BIG SPLASH DURING HIS ROOKIE YEAR - He wasn't one of the top five picks in the 2006 NBA Draft, but Foye will turn in this year's best performance of the rookie crop. The Villanova product had an interesting draft night as he was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the seventh overall pick, but ended up with Minnesota after being dealt by the Celtics to Portland. The Trail Blazers sent Foye to the Timberwolves for Washington guard Brandon Roy, who was selected with the sixth overall pick by Minnesota. Foye will fit in very well with new teammates Kevin Garnett and Mike James. The 6-4 Foye can play both guard spots, is a decent outside shooter, drives to the hoop effectively, sees the court very well and is a good defender. He has an all-around game and will get to showcase his talents plenty during his first year in the league. Foye will have an immediate impact and will be this year's top rookie.
4. THE HORNETS AND MAGIC RETURN TO THE POSTSEASON - Reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Paul and sharp-shooting forward Peja Stojakovic will shoot the Hornets back into the postseason after a two-year absence, while rising star Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson will lead Orlando into playoff action for the first time since 2003. The Hornets had a productive offseason, as they acquired Stojakovic and center/forward Tyson Chandler in separate trades, signed free agent guards Bobby Jackson and Jannero Pargo to contracts and added size in the first round of the draft by selecting Connecticut's Hilton Armstrong with the 12th overall pick and Cedric Simmons of North Carolina State at No. 15. The Hornets, who improved 20 wins during the 2005-06 season, finished 38-44 compared to their dismal 18-64 record during the 2004-05 campaign. More wins are on the horizon and a trip to the Western Conference playoffs awaits the Hornets in 2006-07. Orlando is one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA. The 20-year-old Howard is on the verge of becoming an All-Star and being mentioned with the elite power forwards in the game. The 6-11 Howard led the Magic in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (12.5 rpg) and shot an impressive 53.1 percent from the floor in 2005-06, while Nelson, who is entering his third year in the league, averaged 14.6 points and a team-best 4.9 assists. A berth in the 2007 NBA A berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs is the start of good things for the Orlando franchise.
5. ISIAH THOMAS GETS AN EARLY PINK SLIP - Win or find somewhere else to work is what the New York head coach and team president is faced with in 2006-07. Thomas, who joined the Knicks as president and general manager on December 22, 2003, has tough job. The Knicks have too many attitudes and not enough players who think team before their own statistics. Thomas has to figure out how to motivate and get guards Steve Francis and Stephon Marbury to play together, while Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Channing Frye, Nate Robinson and Jalen Rose will need to contribute in a big way as well. Not gonna happen! Thomas could be out of the Big Apple before 2007.
6. BEN WALLACE FITS PERFECTLY IN CHICAGO - A four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Wallace left Detroit in the offseason through free agency to sign a lucrative, multi-year contract with Chicago. Wallace, who is a four-time All- Star, spent the previous six seasons with the Pistons. He averaged 7.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.78 steals and 2.21 blocks per game while playing all 82 regular-season games for the Pistons during the 2005-06 campaign. Signing the 33-year-old Wallace makes the Bulls a tougher and more physical team down low. Like in Detroit, Wallace will be the catalyst for the Chicago defense and his intimidating style of play will benefit Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni. Even though Wallace was not brought to the Windy City for his offensive ability, his mere presence will open up the court and help his teammates to be more successful. Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson hopes Wallace was the missing piece to the puzzle and that he will help Chicago return to the glory days.
7. BULLS/PISTONS RIVALRY BECOMES HOT ONCE AGAIN - In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, Detroit versus Chicago was arguably the hottest rivalry in the NBA. The Pistons knocked off the Bulls in the 1988, 1989 and 1990 playoffs, while Chicago got over the postseason hump and swept Detroit in the 1991 Eastern Conference finals and went on to capture its first of six championships. Every game played between these squads, including regular- season contests, had a Game 7 type of atmosphere. The big names in the rivalry during the late 80s and early 90s were Chicago's Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant , while Detroit was led by Joe Dumars, who is the Pistons' President of Basketball operations, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas. Now its Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace for the Pistons, and Gordon, Deng, Hinrich, Nocioni and Ben Wallace for the Bulls. The names have changed, but with Ben Wallace wearing a Chicago uniform the nasty feelings will return and so will the heated rivalry.
8. ALLEN IVERSON FINALLY ASKS TO BE TRADED - The hot rumor during the offseason was that Philadelphia was going to trade All-Star guard Allen Iverson. Didn't happen and Iverson is back for his 11th season in a Sixers' uniform. In 2005-06, Iverson led the Sixers, who finished a disappointing 38-44 under first-year head coach Maurice Cheeks, in scoring (33.0 ppg) and assists (7.4 apg). Philadelphia had a very quiet offseason and did not make any significant changes that will help it get back to the postseason. The 31-year-old Iverson has repeatedly said he would like to stay with the 76ers. Those days are coming to an end and he will finally ask to be dealt to a contender. As great as the Georgetown product is, he has to know that he is not going to win a championship with the Sixers. Iverson is not getting any younger and if the multi-talented guard wants to help a team win a ring, he is going to have to do it soon.
9. MINNESOTA FINDS A NEW HOME FOR KEVIN GARNETT - Like Iverson, Garnett wants to win a championship. And, it's not going to happen with the Timberwolves, who finished the 2005-06 season with a dismal 33-49 record and did not qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season. Garnett is still the cornerstone of the franchise and Timberwolves' management would like to win with him leading the way. The 30-year-old Garnett led Minnesota in scoring (21.8 ppg) and rebounding (12.7 rpg) last season. He seems to have lost some of his passion and is visibly frustrated with the state of his squad. Even though they want to win with him, the Timberwolves will part ways with Garnett and start the rebuilding process. Look for a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.
10. RAPTORS ARE TRYING TO BECOME THE SUNS OF THE EAST - Toronto team president and general manager Bryan Colangelo seems to have a vision to make the Raptors the Phoenix Suns of the Eastern Conference. Colangelo, who was hired by the Raptors on February 28th, was general manager of Phoenix for 11 years, and team president for seven before taking over in Toronto. He helped build the Suns into a contender and one of the most exciting teams in the league with smart trades and free agent signings. During the offseason, Colangelo added highly-touted Italian forward Andrea Bargnani, who was the first overall pick in the 2006 draft, and lightning quick point guard T.J. Ford, who was acquired from Milwaukee in a trade for versatile forward Charlie Villanueva. Colangelo also made All-Star forward Chris Bosh the cornerstone of the franchise by signing the Georgia Tech product to a lucrative, multi-year contract extension. Colangelo is looking for the Raptors to play an up-tempo style and hopes the lightning-quick Ford can be the catalyst. Bosh is a star, while Bargnani will have to prove himself on the court. Look for Colangelo to add some outside shooters and for the Raptors to improve on their 27 wins of a year ago.
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