Teams That Will Take a Step Back
Brent Barry: Chicago Bulls. I don’t think anyone’s saying that the Bulls won’t be an interesting team to watch, but they lost a lot of what they were about last year in terms of their heart. C.J. Watson and Omer Asik are gone, and Kyle Korver is now in Atlanta. They were a lot of pieces to a puzzle that many people thought were one piece away from becoming a complete team with Tom Thibodeau. Now it seems like when you’re making a puzzle on your coffee table and you lose six pieces, and when you get to the end you get really upset that you don’t have the rest of that thousand piece puzzle. I think that will be Chicago’s frustration this year. They gave away too many pieces.
Chris Webber: Chicago Bulls. I think Derrick Rose is going to come back and play great, but I just see him needing more help than he’s had in the past. I think they are going to have a good regular season as always but you don’t know what they are capable of in the playoffs.
Greg Anthony: Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. You have to assume that Chicago will be profoundly impacted by not having Derrick Rose so that means the first half of the season or potentially the entire season will be a step back. You may not risk even bringing him back if that team is not playing at a level where you feel that he can make a difference and allow you to make that run in the Eastern Conference. San Antonio is a team that I’m interested to see. Are they still going to be elite, or are they going to be more like Utah when they had Stockton and Malone on the back-end of their careers where they were still solid but you didn’t view them as championship caliber. San Antonio was viewed as championship caliber the the last couple of years, is this the year where they take a step back? That will be interesting to see.
Dennis Scott: Orlando Magic. The obvious choice is Orlando. There's no Dwight Howard and they basically got nothing for him.
Steve Smith: Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, and Minnesota Timberwolves. I think the Orlando Magic are the obvious choice with no Dwight Howard, but I think another team taking a step back will be the Atlanta Hawks. The loss of Joe Johnson, despite some solid acquisitions, will make them take a step back. In the Western Conference, I think injuries played such a huge role for the Minnesota Timberwolves. They will take a step back because of injuries.