We’re counting down the days till the start of the new season, and it’s about time for everyone to be making predictions. This year, instead of just doing one prediction, I decided to go out and interview one blogger for every NBA team.
The bloggers whose opinions we will be graced with over the next few weeks are the best of the best, as all of them have featured in Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie basketball blog’s Blog Association, where Kelly Dwyer has been profiling the best team-centric NBA blogs out there. If you have any inclination of increasing your knowledge about the NBA, these are the blogs you need to read and subscribe to. (I know I will be!)
Today, we are honoured to interview Natalie from the famous Need4Sheed, one of the top-notch resources for Pistons media out there. Natalie was was gracious enough to give up some of her time to answer some questions regarding the Lakers and the Pistons.
Jonny: Out on a limb, although backing it up with solid reasoning would be cool too, what do you think the ball park for the Piston’s 08-09 regular season record will be, and do you think it will be enough to make the playoffs in the East?
Natalie: The Pistons core has remained the same and new coach Michael Curry’s declaration that he is intent on giving significant time to the youth movement you have to think there will be some fall off in the numbers. Given the Pistons solid hold on the Central Division last season with a 59-23 record it’s going to be tough to take the Eastern Conference, but they do have at least 52 wins in them.
Jonny: Again, out on the said limb, what do you think the ball park for the Laker’s 08-09 regular season record will be, and do you think it will be enough to win the West?
Natalie: To be quite honest I was shocked with the trunaround the Lakers had last season. With a healthy Bynum they will be the team to beat in the West. The Spurs are looking old, the Mavs are in trouble, the Suns took their shot last season and I don’t think Houston can keep their stars healthy enough make a dent. I’m looking for the Jazz and the Trailblazers to give the Lakers a run for their money.
Jonny: how do you feel the Pistons match up with the Lakers over a 7-game series?
Natalie: Surprisingly well, and I thought that the last time the two teams matched up in 2004. You know Kobe has the edge over anyone on Detroit’s roster, but Michael Curry has a “Bad Boys” agenda for the upcoming season. If Detroit can implement the defensive style they are planning to they may have a slight edge. I know the world loved the Celtics vs. Lakers matchup but Detroit vs. LA is another classic rivalry that never gets old.
Jonny: Lakers fans are split down the middle on Odom; some love his versatility, others hate his inconsistency. As an opposing fan, how do you rate Odom?
Natalie: I appreciate his athletic ability, I like his game, he can do things that surprise you, but if he’s not consistent I’m not happy. A player like Odom would frustrate me to no end if he were on my team, sure I would love him when he puts up 25, but what about those games when he can make a bucket to save his life. If his D made up for it I would be different. He is what he is and if you take him for what he is any team would be lucky to have him.
Jonny: What do you think of Kobe’s decisions to put-off surgery on his injured pinky?
Natalie: Surprised. Arguably Kobe is the best player in basketball right now. Respect for his game aside he’s been pouty and selfish and I thought was the cause of the Lakers sub par post Shaq years. For him to put his health aside to try to take his team to the Finals said a lot. That being said, I give him the bulk of the credit for Detroit’s Championship in 04. Thank Kobe!
Jonny: What is your perception on Bynum? Lakers fans have him pegged as the next *insert hall-of-fame center*, yet the rest of the league doesn’t seem to hold him in such a high regard.
Natalie: Love his game, love his spirit and loved that the Lakers have been molding him “the right way.” I’m on the Bynum bandwagon and have been since the Lakers drafted him.
Jonny: Joe Dumars said he was going to shake things up at the beginning of the summer, and then. . well, nothing really happened. do you feel the Pistons need a shake up?
Natalie: You don’t make a change simply for making a change. Nothing good came to Joe so why do it? I still feel that if Detroit doesn’t come out strong in the beginning of the season this ever so familiar roster will look quite different come February.
Jonny: The Pistons signed Kwame Brown. what do you feel he brings to the team, and do you think that production justifies his contract?
Natalie: It’s really a no lose signing for Detroit. As fans we really don’t expect much, unlike his role in Washington or LA. I don’t think Detroit is expecting more than 10 minutes per game from him, so if he can grab a few boards and maybe block a shot he’s done his job. Nobody thinks he’s going to put up 20 and 10 so with the pressure off maybe he will have a healthier environment to play in. If Rasheed makes him his project this season he may even surprise all of us.
Jonny: What are your thoughts on the “player exodus” from the NBA to Europe? do you think a Kobe or a Lebron would ever seriously consider leaving the NBA?
Natalie: It’s going to happen, whether a big name like Kobe or Lebron heads to Europe is another story. Maybe at the tail end of their careers for a ridiculous amount of cash, but to leave a place (NBA) that you have strived all your life to conquer for a bigger paycheck when your already making more money than you will ever need takes a certain kind of person.
Jonny: What got you into blogging? how do you feel about it as a news medium?
Natalie: I started Need4Sheed.com in ’05 to share my Pistons screensavers, wallpaper and original artwork with friends and fellow Pistons fans around the country. I didn’t really set out to blog but things just snowballed. I have been at it for quite some time so the influx of all the mainstream media making blogging the way to go doesn’t surprise me. It worked so they jumped on the bandwagon. You give the readers what they want and they will come back every time.
I have been lucky that The Pistons organization really recognized the community and following that Need4Sheed has and embraced me and the site for what it is.
Thanks again to Natalie for her time and Insights.. Please DO NOT troll Need4Sheed, even if you think her ideas are totally off base (which you shouldn’t). Remember, on the Internet, you and I represent Lakers fans everywhere. Lets try to give ourselves a good name.