ESPN asked several sports writers including Chris Sheridan, John Denton, Marc Spears, David Thorpe, Ian Whittell and Brian Windhorst, which of the bottom 10 teams in the league this year would win a Championship by 2010. The bottom 10 teams include Blazers, Knicks, Hawks, Wolves, Bobcats, Warriors, Raptors, Rockets, Celtics, and the Sonics. I was very surprised by the answers. Two choose the Wolves, one chose the Bobcats, one chose the Rockets, one chose the Raptors, and one chose the Knicks.
Now, I have to say, I highly disagree with the results of this poll. Ok, I can kind of see the Rockets with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady and they have added Shane Battier. The Rockets had injury problems last year and if they are healthy will be a much better team than their record shows.
And I suppose that the addition of a number 1 pick, a couple of additions from the World Champion Spanish team, and a pure point in TJ Ford has to fuel some people to think that the Raptors could be on the verge of moving to the next tier of teams. The Raptors seem to have improved themselves this off season and I suppose they may have a chance if everything clicks there.
But to pick the Knicks to win a championship in the next few years? Come on now!! This writer chose the Knicks because he thinks LeBron James or Dwayne Wade will be wearing a Knicks uniform after their current contract ends. I just don't see it. And the writer who chose the Bobcats did so expecting Vince Carter to leave the Nets and join the Cats because of his divorce situation. Again, this is pure speculation. I think these two writers are way out in left field.
David Thorpe, who picked the Wolves had this to say
Mark Blount had his two best rebounding months in March and April last year. KG will continue to influence him toward playing to his potential.
Count me a bit skeptical, but they are counting on Blount to be a championship center? I don't think so! He compares the Wolves to the Heat and uses a Shaq/Garnett and a Foye/Wade comparison. They are counting on Foye to become a DWade type player, which very well may happen. But to assume that they will be a championship team based on just that is a bit far fetched. It will take a lot more pieces than just Garnett and Foye to make that jump. Now wouldn't that beat all if Boston's cast offs of Justin Reed, Mark Blount, Mike James, and Ricky Davis win a championship before the Celtics. But I don't think they will. I can see Garnett bolting from Minny next year when his player option comes up a lot quicker than I see them winning the championship. Never count out the negative power of Mark Blount.
What surprised me most about this poll was that no one picked the Celtics. We have such a great core of young players and I honestly believe that at least 2 of them will have a break out year this year. We have two very talented all star caliber players in Pierce and Wally. We have great chemistry. We have added 2 pure points to the team. We have depth and quality players at every position. I guess the paper was right when they said that others don't value our young players as highly as we do, but they have to see that the potential is there. This team is going to surprise a lot of people - and I pick the Celtics to be the first to win a championship out of this group.
I think most of the writers who were selected for that poll just wanted to seem original. The name Boston Celtics evolkes memories of past greatness and legendary players, and if they were to pick us as a bottom 10 team who is most likely to win a title by the year 2010, it wouldn't be sexy. But picking the Bobcats or the Raptors--now that's going off on a limb and putting yourself out there. And if they pick right, they are truly insightful experts.
But if they pick us and we do win a title by the year 2010, eh, it wouldn't be such a big deal because after all, we are the Boston Celtics, and championships are synonymous with this city.