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2010-11 NBA Western Conference Northwest Division Preview

Oklahoma City Thunder  Tickets

Kevin Durant and the OKC Thunder will be looking to take their game to the next level this season!

The NBA’s Western Conference, Northeast Division has to be considered one of the best with 4 of the 5 teams likely headed to the playoffs once again.  The Kevin Durant led OKC Thunder, will likely lead the pack but will be challenged by the Denver Nuggets (if Carmelo stays) and a young Portland Trail Blazer team.  Even the dependable Utah Jazz could end up winning this division.

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder

Additions: Cole Aldrich, Morris Peterson, Daequan Cook

Subtractions: Etan Thomas

The Oklahoma City Thunder seemingly came out of nowhere last year and be a dominant force in the NBA.  Kevin Durant is a beast and will only get better.  Fans in OKC are also excited to see what young talented players like Serge Ibaka and James Harden can bring to the table with increased minutes.

Ticket Demand:  B

The OKC Thunder are an exciting young team with a NBA superstar in Kevin Durant.  Ticket demand would be an A+ is this team was in a major market that had a history with the NBA.  Be that as it may, OKC fans should be intrigued by this team.

#2 Denver Nuggets

Additions: Al Harrington, Shelden Williams

Subtractions: Malik Allen, Joey Graham, Johan Petro

As long as Carmelo Anthony is still a member, the Denver Nuggets will be one of the top teams in the Western Conference.  Along with “melo, the Nuggets also have solid pieces in place with Nene, Harrington, and Chauncey Billups.  That said, the core of this team is not getting any younger and are likely on the decline.

Ticket Demand:  B+

The Nuggets have one of the most exciting players in the NBA in Carmelo Anthony (for the time being) but Denver is not exactly the best basketball market.

#3 Portland Trail Blazers

Additions: Wesley Matthews

Subtractions: Juwan Howard, Martell Webster, Luke Babbitt, Armon Johnson

The Portland Trail Blazers could be one of the teams that improve the most this season.  They have one of the best guards in the NBA with Brandon Roy to go along with a stellar power forward in LaMarcus Aldridge.  If Greg Oden can stay healthy and live up to his enormous potential, the NBA Finals are not out of the question.

Ticket Demand:  B+

The Trail Blazers have a young and exciting team in a fairly large market. If the Blazers take a step forward this year as we expect, tickets could be in big demand.

#4 Utah Jazz

Additions: Al Jefferson, Raja Bell, Francisco Elson

Subtractions: Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, Kosta Koufos

It seems the Utah Jazz lose key players year after year but somehow Jerry Sloan keeps putting together playoff caliber teams.  Sloan should once again be able to surround Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko with a solid support casting that will once again be consistently good.

Ticket Demand:  B-

The Utah Jazz have perhaps the best point guard in the game with Deron Williams but Salt Lake City is a subpar basketball market and are not expected to contend for a NBA title.

#5 Minnesota Timberwolves

Additions:  Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Martell Webster, Luke Ridnour

Subtractions: Ramon Sessions, Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes

The Timberwolves have been cellar dwellars since Kevin Garnett left the team and its hard to imagine things changing much this season.  That said, the Timberwolves acquired former 1st round pick Michael Beasley and if he ever turns out to be the player everyone thought he could be they future might be just a little brighter.  Apparently has cleaned up his act and is more focused – only time will tell.

Ticket Demand:  C+

Minnesota hasn’t had much to be excited about in some time and that is clearly reflected in their ticket demand.  If Beasley can become a star, things might look up a bit but the Timberwolves will have a hard time giving away tickets.

2010-11 NBA Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Preview

Amare Stoudamire New York Knicks

Amare Stoudamire and the New York Knicks will be looking to Challenge an aging Boston Celtics Team.

In part 3 of our 2010 NBA season preview we will be taking a look at the Atlantic Division. Unlike the other divisions in the Eastern Conference, the Atlantic is pretty much up for grabs.  While the Boston Celtics are certainly still the cream of the crop they are aging fast with Garnett, Pierce, and Allen all getting a little long in the tooth.  After the Celtics, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will step up and challenge them.  The New Jersey Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and New York Knicks all looked improved but neither of them are likely to put much of a scare into any team.  However, if the aging Celtics take a step backwards Amare Stoudamire and the new look Knicks might just be ready to fill the void.

#1 Boston Celtics

Key Additions: Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal, Von Wafer, Delonte West

Key Subtractions: Tony Allen, Shelden Williams

The Celtics cornered the market on the O’Neal’s this summer by acquiring both Shaquille and Jermaine.  While both players have seen better days, the combination will allow them to split minutes and stay fresh all season long.  The Celtics made the NBA Finals last season and should be an improved team if they can stay healthy with 2 legitimate big men on the team.  If they do stay healthy they could give the Miami Heat a run for their money come the post-season.

Ticket Demand:  A-

The Boston Celtics have a great team, play in a great sports market, and have some of the biggest names in the NBA on their roster.  That said, the teams age and anticipated decline is likely to leave fans complacent.

#2 New York Knicks

Key Additions:  Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf, Roger Mason Jr.,Landry Fields

Key Subtractions: David Lee

The 2010-11 version of the New York Knicks is virtually unrecognizable from their 2009-10 version.  Although the Knicks failed to land one of the elite free agents, they did scoop up Amare Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.

Ticket Demand:  B+

The New York Knicks have one of the best fan bases in the NBA but lack of recent success has limited their ticket demand.  The Knicks should once again be competitive which means ticket interest should rise- especially for games against the Lakers, Celtics, and Heat.

#3 New Jersey Nets

Key Additions:  Travis Outlaw, Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow

Key Subtractions: Yi Jianlian, Courtney Lee, Chris Douglas-Roberts

The New Jersey Nets were absolutely terrible last year going just 12-70.  However the Nets core players are pretty solid with Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, and Brooke Lopez.  If Derrick Favors can develop into half of what Dwight Howard is this team might surprise some people and be a bubble playoff team.  If they can swing the deal to get Carmelo Anthony this team could be really dangerous!

Ticket Demand:  B-

The new Knick ownership group and vastly improved team should generate some buzz.  Should the Nets land Carmelo Anthony, Nets ticket will be in big time demand.

#4 Philadelphia 76ers

Key Additions:  Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, Andres Nocioni

Key Subtractions: Samuel Dalembert, Willie Green, Rodney Carney

Some prognosticators are excited for this years 76ers team but not me.  While they have a solid head coach in Doug Collins, much of the optimism stems from rookie Evan Turner.  Many predict Turner will contend for rookie of the year honors.  While the 76ers are certainly a young and upcoming team, don’t expect them to push for a playoff spot just yet.

Ticket Demand:  C+

The 76ers fans certainly have more to be excited about this year with top pick Evan Turner bring his game to Philly but they still have a ways to go before they become a top ticket draw.

#5 Toronto Raptors

Key Additions:  Leandro Barbosa, Linas Kleiza, Julian Wright

Key Subtractions: Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu, Antoine Wright

With Chris Bosh leaving and moving to Miami there is not much to be excited about for Toronto Raptors fans.  Is there anyone out there that can name any starters outside of Andrea Bargnani without cheating?

Ticket Demand:  D

Toronto has never been a big basketball city and you can’t expect that to change with no marketable players or identity.  This team will likely be on the 5 year lottery plan!

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