Predictions made by Frank Fleming on October 31, 2004 at 12:25 am EDT.
2004/05 NBA PREVIEW
Scoring Champion: Kobe Bryant Lakers
Coah of the Year: Stan Van Gundy Heat
Rookie of the Year: Emeka Okefor Bobcats
Most Improved Player: Joe Johnson Suns
6th Man: Bobby Jackson Kings
Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Wallace Pistons
NBA MVP: Kevin Garnett Timberwolves
New Jersey Nets 44-38
With the departure of Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles, and the sheer unhappiness of Jason Kidd there is potential for a Meadowlands meltdown. However, with Kidd and Jefferson they should be able to make the playoffs.
Detroit Pistons 57-25
The defending NBA Champs will have a tougher road this year carrying a target on their backs, look for them to make allot of noise in the regular season but to meet their end in the Conference Finals.
Orlando Magic 32-50
The Magic begin looking towards Kansas City as they struggle playing in the shadow of the man who a decade ago was supposed to be their entire franchise, as Steve Francis demands a trade every other week.
New Orleans Hornets 35-47
You have to feel somewhat sorry for the Hornets in the East they were a solid playoff team. However now that they are in the West they are about to be smoked as they play in the tough Southwest Division.
Philadelphia 76ers 47-35
After missing the playoffs last year the 76ers will be looking to rebound, under new Coach Jim O'Brien look for a strong season from Allen Iverson as the 76ers battle the Knicks for the division title.
Indiana Pacers 52-30
The Pacers know this will likely be Reggie Miller's last season and they hope they can make a run to the NBA Finals. Look for them to be strong again as well as being a true pest in the playoffs.
Toronto Raptors 38-44
If Vince Carter is able to play and is motivated the Raptors could very well be a division contender. If he is hurt and sitting on the bench they can finish last. Look for it to be in the middle as the Raptors take the 8th spot in the playoffs.
Chicago Bulls 28-54
Seven years ago the Bulls were a dynasty, and then fearing a long losing stretch they broke up their team so they can rebuild quickly through the draft, now they are starting from scratch again... so much for a quick rebound.
Washington Wizards 36-46
The team formerly known as the Bullets continues to shoot blanks as they continue to languish at the bottom of the East. This year they will finish 2nd, but will not make the playoffs as they have another losing season.
Boston Celtics 30-52
The tenure of GM Danny Ainge has been a disaster in Boston as a team that looked like a contender quickly became a pretender and now they are a bottom feeder look for the frustration and losses to mount.
Cleveland Cavaliers 42-40
Last year LeBron James had one of the best rookie seasons in NBA history, look for him to be even stronger in year two as he gets his first taste of NBA Playoff action by guiding the Cavaliers to a winning record.
Milwaukee Bucks 37-47
Every year the Bucks seem to be on the playoff bubble at the end of the year a win or two away from being in or out in the final week. This year look for their bubble to burst as several teams in the East are improved.
Miami Heat 60-22
In the weak Southeast Division the Heat should already be crowned Division Champs, with a motivated Shaquille O'Neal the Heat are gonna burn through the East, as Shaq has an MVP type season for the NBA Finals bound Heat.
New York Knicks 47-35
With Stephon Marburry in the Garden for the full season look for good things from the Knicks as they take advantage of turmoil in the Meadowlands and an overrated 76ers team to capture the Atlantic Division.
Atlanta Hawks 13-69
The Hawks hit rock bottom as they post the worst record in the NBA finishing behind the expansion Bobcats in their own division, a surprise no the Bobcats have more talent as the Hawks redefine Empty Nest at Phillips Arena.
Los Angeles Lakers 43-39
Kobe got his wish the team is all his and he will shine individually winning the scoring title. However team success will be another matter as the Los Angeles Kobes miss the playoffs.
Minnesota Timberwolves 65-17
Last year the Timberwolves learned how to win in the playoffs, this year there will be no stopping them as Kevin Garnett has another MVP season leading the Timberwolves all the way to the NBA Championship.
Sacramento Kings 60-22
Without Shaq on the Lakers there should be nothing preventing the Kings to ascending to the Pacific Division throne. Their season will be judged in the playoffs where it will be Finals or bust.
Dallas Mavericks 51-31
They may be only the third best team in Texas, but they are still one of the best teams in the NBA, with that right piece perhaps they could become a true contender again. However in the end they will miss Steve Nash.
San Antonio Spurs 57-25
The Spurs will be going through the ringer all season as they are in the toughest division in the NBA. Look for them to end up on top of the Southwest, but for it to take a toll on them in the playoffs.
Houston Rockets 51-31
The duo of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming are the new dynamic duo in the West look for them to make a serious run at the division title and to make some noise in the playoffs as they are set to join the NBA's elite.
Phoenix Suns 44-38
With the addition of Steve Nash and Quentin Richardson the Suns will be one of the most improved teams in the NBA, look for them to battle the Lakers for the final playoff spot all season slipping in by 1 game.
Portland Trailblazers 37-45
The Trailblazers have finally began to clean up their act and although they will not contend for the playoffs anytime soon in the long run they will be better as they begin to move forward.
Memphis Grizzlies 46-36
In another division the Grizzlies could win allot more games. However in the Southwest Division they will have a tough time reaching 50 wins again. However they will still make the playoffs.
Denver Nuggets 48-34
With the addition of Kenyon Martin the Nuggets are beginning to shape into a real solid team look for them to approach 50 wins as Carmello Anthony continues to develop into a superstar.
Golden State Warriors 27-55
The Warriors continue to toil as they hope Chris Mullen as the new GM will lead to better things. They will take their lumps again as they battle the Clippers for last place again.
Seattle Supersonics 22-60
It's going to be a long year for the Supersonics, filled with young unknown palyers who will suffer one of the worst seasons in franchise history, at the begging of a long rebuilding process.
Los Angeles Clippers 25-57
The sky is blue, Christmas is December 25th, Green Lights mean Go, and the Los Angeles Clippers will finish dead last in the Pacific Division. Some things are just obvious and never change.
Utah Jazz 40-42
Last year despite the departure of Stockton and Malone the Jazz were in playoff contention to the very end. This year despite the addition of Carlos Boozer they will have a much tougher time in the unforgiving West.
Miami Heat Over Detroit Pistons
Minnesota Timberwolves Over Sacramento Kings
Minnesota Timberwolves Over Miami Heat
Charolette Bobcats 17-65
The Bobcats are taking the court for the first time and they will take their lumps. However look for them to be a strong expansion team that will end up slip past the Hawks and avoiding the cellar.
(Coaches that will be looking for work)
Maurice Cheeks-Portland Trailblazers
Johnny Davis-Orlando Magic
Mike Dunleavy Sr.-Los Angeles Clippers
Nate McMillian-Seattle Supersonics
Don Nelson-Dallas Mavericks
Terry Porter-Milwaukee Bucks