Like clockwork, Dime’s annual NBA Preview issue just happens to coincide with the time of year when every basketball player — even the champions — feels like they’re being written off.
Players like Dwight Howard. While the revamped Miami Heat and retooled Boston Celtics dominated much of the headlines in the most active NBA offseason in history, it seemed everybody forgot about Dwight’s squad, even though the Orlando Magic have won more games over the last two years than either of their more hyped Eastern Conference rivals. Ask any group of NBA analysts or fans right now, and they’ll pick Miami or Boston to win the East; Orlando is being handed the bronze medal in approximately 100 percent of the polls.
Dwight has seen his own spotlight lose significant shine. With the usual suspects still going strong and Kevin Durant entrenched as the new golden child of the League, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year is almost being taken for granted, and at the same time left out of conversations regarding which superstars can lead their team to a championship. In his third cover story for Dime, Dwight talks to Jack Jensen about putting it all together in 2010-11 and winning the prize nobody thinks he can win.
Then there’s Derrick Rose. He should be sitting on top of the world right now, having won a gold medal as the starting point guard of Team USA. But throughout his FIBA run and extending through the preseason, D-Rose has found his game subject to an increasing amount of criticism from barbershops to Internet comment boards. And after the Chicago Bulls failed to land LeBron or D-Wade in free agency, the top dogs of the East got stronger, and Carlos Boozer broke his hand, Rose’s team is being written off as a legit contender in the shadows of Boston, Miami and Orlando.
Evan Turner was once viewed as the newest savior in Philadelphia, but after a rough summer league, ET faded to the background while John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin put moved to the forefront of rookie talk. When Turner opened 76ers camp coming off the bench and struggled in the preseason, his name entered discussions with all-time No. 2 pick busts like Sam Bowie and Darko Milicic.
Stephen Curry had the kind of rookie year Turner would love, but going into Year 2, expectations for his Golden State Warriors are non-existent. Never mind that GS added an All-Star big man to the roster, have two All-Star candidates in the backcourt, and have a new coach. The Warriors have been written off, and their point guard knows the feeling: Remember, he wasn’t supposed to make it in the NBA out of Davidson.
And if anybody has a reason to think he’s been written off, it’s Michael Beasley. Two years after being the No. 2 overall pick in the Draft, he was traded for basically nothing, and is starting over in Minnesota.
Dwight, D-Rose, Turner, Curry and Beasley are all featured in Dime #60, which hits newsstands this week. Then there is our blowout 2010-11 NBA Season Preview, where we hit the biggest story lines of the upcoming campaign, from our MVP and championship predictions to forecasting who will rise to prominence and fall from grace over the next eight months. We also got Kendrick Perkins to check in from Boston with his how-to guide on defending the best big men in the League, Caron Butler takes us inside the gym and how to train going into a contract year, we review NBA 2K11 and NBA Jam, and much more.
Pick up Dime #60 on newsstands nationwide.