The Top Five Teams A Short NBA Season Would Benefit
Related: Stern cancels two more weeks of season
Grant Belcher, News9.com
With NBA games already getting canceled, the best hope now for the league is a shortened season. But even that could throw some major kinks into the league.
Check out the top five teams that would actually benefit from a shortened season and why it would help them below.
Check back with News9.com and NewsOn6.com on Friday to find out which five teams the a shortened season would HURT the most.
Top five teams a short season would benefit:
1. Miami Heat – Ask any casual NBA fan to name one Miami Heat player outside of the big three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) and you would be lucky to get an answer. There is a reason for that. The Heat will owe its big three more than $47 million combined in 2011-12 if there is a season. This means that the rest of the roster is filled out with role players. That, in turn, means that when one of the big three goes down, Miami is in trouble.
A shorter season would mean less of a chance for the trio to get hurt in the regular season, and would mean fewer overall minutes of wear and tear for each of them, seeing as how they already play monster minutes to start with in order to cover up their obvious lack of depth.
2. Boston Celtics – Quick, what adjective comes to mind when you think about Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett? Was it "old"? Ray Allen is 36 years old, Kevin Garnett is 35 and Paul Pierce is a hard-fought 34, all of which are essentially way up there in "basketball years." Garnett's and Allen's contracts both expire after this season (along with Rasheed Wallace, Jermaine O'Neal, Jeff Green and Shaq), and it's no secret that 2011-12 is the last big hurrah for the current Celtics roster before they implode it and start over.
If there's one thing this team could use, it's a set of fresh legs when they hit the postseason. A 50-game season would definitely give the old Celtics some much needed pep in their step. Also, because there is no contact between organizations and players at the moment, it's up to the players to stay in shape, practice and keep organized with each other. While many younger rosters are probably using the lockout time to party it up, can't you just picture Ray Allen in the gym still shooting away and Kevin Garnett keeping the younger guys focused?
3. Utah Jazz – A shorter season would be favorable for the Jazz not because of their age or injury status, but because of how the schedule shook out for them. The Jazz have a brutal schedule this year as is, but even more so in the frontloaded portion before Christmas. Each Western Conference team plays each Eastern Conference team only twice, and the Jazz have already gotten matchups with Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and the Knicks out of the way just from the first two weeks getting canceled. Meanwhile, they would get to keep double-matchups against the weaker East teams such as Detroit, Cleveland and Washington later in the season. In addition, any further cancellations would eliminate a couple of brutal stretches of the Jazz's schedule. Utah plays the Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, Magic and Celtics in a row from Dec. 2-9.
Related: Top five teams a short NBA season would hurt
4. Chicago Bulls – Even though Derrick Rose is the league's MVP, the main reason for their success in 2010-11 was their defense. The Bulls sported the league's second-best scoring defense thanks to players like Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Ronnie Brewer and Luol Deng. Defense is much easier to be on the same page on than offense. While offenses includes plenty of sets, screens, progressions and hundreds of run-throughs to perfect, defense is a little bit more about hustle, passion and hard work. This especially applies in the NBA when complex zones are semi-illegal, and basic man-to-man is much more the norm. If the season starts suddenly, the Bulls will be able to fall back on their defensive staples and be comfortable with their team's identity even with little-to-no prep.
5. Dallas Mavericks – The Mavericks have a perfect balance of superstardom, veteran leadership and team chemistry. They even showed it was enough to conquer pure talent alone when winning the world championship against the Heat last season. Some teams will need a little while to get used to each other and practice together. But the Mavs are basically always the same. Dirk will continue to score, Jason Kidd will run the show, Tyson Chandler will defend and rebound, and the role players will do their thing. Nothing is going to mess up the rhythm that the Mavs have hit as they look to defend their title.