By Scott Lauer
October 31, 2012
Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on bobcats.com on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.
Atlantic – Philadelphia
The Sixers are going to surprise the hyped “B” teams in the division; Brooklyn and Boston. Philadelphia has young studs at two pivotal positions; the one and the five, with Jrue Holiday and Andrew Bynum. I love role players Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, and Nick Young is a cheaper version of Lou Williams. I’m on-board with Doug Collins; always have been…always will be.
Central – Indiana
This team is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Do they ever have a weak player on the floor?! Retaining Roy Hibbert was important, but I also like the surrounding pieces – Danny Granger, Paul George, David West, Tyler Hansbrough, George Hill….(exhale)….AND new additions D.J. Augustin, Gerald Green and Ian Mahinmi. Derrick Rose’s knee injury means that there’s a new leader in the Central.
Southeast – Miami
Does anybody really think that a different team has a shot in this division? It used to be debatable…”who’s the best player in the game?” Not anymore.
Northwest – Oklahoma City
I like the James Harden trade; they tried keeping him, but if he wasn’t going to make a small monetary concession as his more established teammates did, than he HAD to go. They received Kevin Martin, an excellent scorer, Jeremy Lamb, a high talent ceiling prospect, and three picks, including a pair of number ones. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and the supporting cast will vie for the title for two more presidential terms.
Pacific – Los Angeles Clippers
I struggled over this selection – the city was easy; but is it the Lakers or Clippers. I chose the latter because younger players in their prime (or approaching it) were my tipping point. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are ready to take over the town. Don’t sleep on Caron Butler’s value. They have experienced leadership in Chauncey Billups and a deeper bench with the addition of Jamal Crawford. DeAndre Jordan was even double-teamed during the preseason! This team is growing and ready to go far.
Southwest – Memphis
I admit that I’m guilty of thinking that the Spurs dynasty will atrophy, year after year…and they’ve proven me wrong. However, THIS time I feel the slippage will be enough for the Grizzlies to surpass them. I’m again going with athletes in their prime. Conley, Gay, Randolph, and Gasol have logged plenty of time together – and they’re all plus players. I like Tony Allen’s toughness and the experience that they’ve all had in recent playoff runs, including the seven game war that they lost to the Clippers last year.
MVP – LeBron James
Rookie of the Year – Anthony Davis
Defensive Player of the Year – Dwight Howard
Coach of the Year – Doug Collins
Champions – Oklahoma City
Lauer Blog Archive:
10/25/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Kids Have a Blast at Cool School
10/18/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thoughts Midway Through Preseason
10/11/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Bobcats Visit Charleston
10/4/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thomas Stronger, Focused
9/27/12: Training Camp In Asheville!
9/20/12: Offseason Moves