Aldridge, Barkley, Collins, Harlan, Johnson, Kerr, Smith, Thompson make their picks
TNT 2004-05 Predictions

They range from NBA legends to veteran announcers to top-notch writers to some of the game's top former coaches. They're the NBA on TNT guys, and they made their predictions for the 2004-05 season. Here's what they had to say about seven burning topics.

THE TNT GUYS MAKE THEIR PREDICTIONS:
ANALYST
WHO WILL BE MVP IN 2004-05?
COACH OF THE YEAR?
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?
WHO WILL BE NBA CHAMPIONS IN 2004-05?
MOST IMPROVED TEAM?
HAS THE BALANCE OF POWER SHIFTED TO THE EAST?
WHICH NEW SUPERSTAR DUO WILL MAKE THE MOST NOISE?
DAVID
ALDRIDGE

"Kobe. He will get so many shots that he'll have to lead the league in scoring. And the Lakers will make the playoffs."
"I keep voting for Jerry Sloan. One year, he's bound to get it."
"I've seen Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor among the top picks. I really think Okafor is going to be a tremendous player. He's my pick."
"San Antonio Spurs."
"Chicago in the East, Phoenix in the West. It wouldn't shock me if the Sixers get back to the playoffs, either."
"No. Shaq makes Miami a contender, but there are still more good teams in the west. The only team in the west that you would think has no chance at all of making the playoffs is the Clippers."
"K-Mart and Melo. Kenyon will be the cop that Melo needs, and Melo's game will open things up inside for Kenyon. The Nuggets have the best forward combination in the game."
CHARLES
BARKLEY

"Tim Duncan can get MVP every year, Shaquille can get MVP every year and Kevin Garnett can get MVP every year. So, it just depends on which of those teams has the best season."
"Jerry Sloan."
"Devin Harris. I think he has a chance ... I think it's easier to learn guard positions. The big guys always have trouble because [veterans] are just bigger and stronger than they are."
"I think Detroit and San Antonio will meet in the NBA Finals and I'm going to go with the San Antonio Spurs [winning the title]."
"Utah."
"No."
"There are no dynamic duos in the NBA right now."
DOUG
COLLINS

"Shaq is a very proud guy and I think he will be on a mission this year. If he can play 70 games healthy, he's my choice."
"It's about time Jerry Sloan is recognized for what he's done in Utah. He's coming back from losing his wife and will coach with a heavy heart. I'd love to see him get recognized."
"I like what I'm hearing about Dwight Howard. First to practice and last to leave...the veterans will embrace him. It really depends on playing time though so Okafor has a great chance."
"Detroit will be in The Finals with either San Antonio or Minnesota and Detroit will take it. They are the champions until someone takes it from them."
"I like Orlando. If Grant Hill is truly healthy, this will be a team that will turn a lot of head. I think the Phoenix Suns will improve a great deal too."
"I'm not sure if it has shifted, but Shaq makes the East a lot more interesting. I like McDyess in Detroit too. They are the epitome of a team."
"Shaq and Wade in Miami. They've gone from a small ball team to a team with a great post player. If they can both stay healthy they will be tough. McGrady and Yao may be tough also."
KEVIN
HARLAN

"Shaq."
"Gregg Popovich."
--
"San Antonio Spurs."
"Phoenix."
"Perhaps a bit with Shaq in Miami, but the West still is the deepest in virtually every way."
"T-Mac and Yao."
MORE TNT PREDICTIONS:
ANALYST
WHO WILL BE MVP IN 2004-05?
COACH OF THE YEAR?
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?
WHO WILL BE NBA CHAMPIONS IN 2004-05?
MOST IMPROVED TEAM?
HAS THE BALANCE OF POWER SHIFTED TO THE EAST?
WHICH NEW SUPERSTAR DUO WILL MAKE THE MOST NOISE?
ERNIE
JOHNSON

"I think the stage is set for Shaq to have a huge year in Miami provided he stays healthy. He heads the list of the usual suspects with KG and Duncan right there."
"Jerry Sloan (because he's flat out just a great coach) ... Rudy Tomjanovich (if the Lakers win 50 games) ... Mike Woodson (for having the courage to coach the Hawks )."
"Here's an early vote for the Bulls' Ben Gordon."
"I'm thinkin' the Pistons will play the Spurs in The Finals."
"Any time you add a guy like Shaq, you're looking at an improved team. I also think Steve Nash and Quentin Richardson will make the Suns a better club."
"To some degree. That's where the champions live, and Shaq's move doesn't hurt. But there are still more quality teams in the West."
"I'm going with Shaq and Wade in Miami. It gives the Eastern Conference a superstar quality that's been missing."
STEVE
KERR

"Duncan and Garnett are the two best players. I think San Antonio is going to have a great year so the trophy will end up with Duncan."
"Utah will have a great year. Jerry Sloan could have won it last year so I will go with him."
"J.R. Smith in New Orleans has put up good number but I'm going with Okafor. He's probably the most ready to play. He's very polished defensively and will play a lot."
"San Antonio Spurs."
"I think Houston is going to be a lot better with McGrady. Plus it's Van Gundy's second season."
"I think the West has been weakened with Shaq's absence but they still have probably eleven teams that are playoff contenders. The depth is still dominant in the West."
"Shaq and anybody would make the most noise -- literally and figuratively. It will be an adjustment for Wade playing with a big dominant guy like Shaq."
KENNY
SMITH

"Tim Duncan."
"My man in Orlando -- Johnny Davis. He's going to have a good year."
"I like Emeka Okafor. He has savvy from being a three-year college player."
"I have to go with the San Antonio Spurs."
"Barkley said it earlier. Utah is going to be a vastly improved team."
"I don't think it has shifted. They have 2 and 1/2 teams: Indiana, Detroit, and Miami is a half a team. The rest of the teams - not that good. Four or five teams that make the playoffs will be under .500."
"I think Shaq and Dwayne Wade will be the most known duo. They will probably have the best stats too."
JOHN
THOMPSON

"Big Ticket!" (Kevin Garnett)
"Can't predict this one. It's based on team performance."
"No idea."
"San Antonio Spurs."
"Orlando."
"No. I think the West is still the strongest overall."
"K-Mart and Melo."