The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Sunday, April 19, 11:08 p.m.

Offseason changes makes for exciting NBA season

Many teams in the NBA made big moves this offseason. Perhaps the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers was the most notable.

However, there were many other teams that made some noise this offseason, including the Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, to name a few. All of these summer signings and trades should make for another exciting year in the NBA.

The Miami Heat have already been named the favorite to win the championship this season, so why not start with them.

The Heat were in the headlines for adding Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, two stout outside shooters. Despite their age, they should add a lot to an already great team and won’t need to play big minutes as long as Allen and Lewis know their roles and don’t forget that they’re not stars.

If any team is going to challenge the Heat in the east, it’s the Celtics. Boston revamped their bench and got significantly better. For a team who took the Heat to seven games with players like Keyon Dooling, Ryan Hollins and Greg Stiemsma getting valuable minutes off the bench, I don’t know why they’re being counted out by so many.

The additions of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee were solid moves. Getting Jeff Green back and healthy should help, especially when guarding Lebron. Plus, if Jared Sullinger and Fab Melo develop, I don’t see why Boston can’t make another run. Don’t sleep on this team.

Although I don’t see Brooklyn winning the championship, the Nets had a solid offseason and a pretty good team to go along with it. Obviously, the addition of Joe Johnson was a huge move, though it was very overrated. But with Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Brooks Lopez, Kris Humphries and a new home, the Nets should come out strong this year.

The Indiana Pacers didn’t make too much noise this offseason, but they played a pretty good series against the Heat in the playoffs last year. I see them being OK this year. They have gained some experience from last season.

The Philadelphia 76ers surpassed them with the addition of Andrew Bynum. The 76ers could finally have a true star back in Philly, but we’ll have to see how Bynum handles being the centerpiece of a franchise first — put him with some solid young guards like Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, and they could upset some teams.

Over to the West Coast, there’s been the most buzz. The Lakers could now be the favorite in the west over the Thunder because of the additions of Nash and Howard. They also added veteran Antwan Jamison.

The Thunder didn’t do anything worthwhile this offseason besides the draft — and trading their Sixth Man of the Year James Harden. They must be relying on the team gaining experience from the finals loss, because right now the Lakers could have the advantage.

I like the addition of O.J. Mayo to the Dallas Mavericks, but I don’t know if that’s nearly enough to get them to be contenders again. Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and Elton Brand are good additions to the team as well, so maybe that can help them against some of the better teams in the West.

The Clippers are another team that made some small moves that could be beneficial. Signing Jamal Crawford and Grant Hill gives them some depth, leadership and scoring.

The last team that had a decent offseason is the Phoenix Suns. They barely missed the playoffs last season and, despite losing Nash, got significantly better. They’ve taken some chances on some players but if they can produce, the Suns could be in the playoffs and surprise some teams.

If Michael Beasley can be a star and Wesley Johnson can finally come through, the Suns could have a successful season. Bringing in Luis Scola was smart and bringing back Goran Dragic was the best move they could have made because he already knows the offense and how to play in Phoenix. Put this all with Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown, and good things could happen for this team.

Although the Heat are still the favorite to repeat this year, it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. The C’s could still give them a run, along with some other teams in the East. In the West, the Thunder should be on their toes. The Lakers are the favorite in the conference now, due to their offseason. The Suns and 76ers could shock some teams in their respected conferences as well. Either way, this should be another great season in the NBA and one of the most competitive yet.