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Most NBA teams do well in off-season

Teams such as Boston, Chicago and the Lakers make big moves to boost their chances for success. Cleveland, Denver and New Orleans have work to do.

September 18, 2010|By Mark Heisler

With six first-team all- NBA picks on the market with 16 more former all-stars and more than 50 starting players, any NBA team could make out and most did:

1. Boston — Yet another Last Hurrah possible with Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal, Delonte West and Von Wafer.

Coach Doc Rivers is worried about chemistry — preferable to worrying they're washed up, as he was six months ago.

2. Chicago — Nice job by Recruiters Rn't Us after missing out on Dwyane Wade and becoming the only team to tell LeBron James his people couldn't ride their plane, before dropping mysteriously off his list.

Still, with Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver to go with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah (assuming extension talks succeed) and new Coach Tom Thibodeau, they should no longer have to go down to the last game to finish No. 8.

3. Lakers — Bench Mob II: What Kept You?

Steve Blake, who shot 42% on three-pointers the last three seasons, replaces flighty Jordan Farmar.

If fiery Matt Barnes hits threes — he made 37%-29%-34%-32% the last four seasons — he's a great complement to Ron Artest, who has a cold month here or there, assuming they don't get thrown out together.

Theo Ratliff is as big as D.J. Mbenga but at 37, can still play a little.

4. San Antonio — Rookie Tiago Splitter is no David Robinson, but he's closer than Rasho Nesterovic and Nazr Muhammad.

5. New York — Amare Stoudemire, Ray Felton, Anthony Randolph, Roger Mason and mystery Russian 7-footer Timofey Mozgov join, uh, just about no one.

6. Washington — Wonder rookie John Wall joins prodigal son Gilbert Arenas in an uber-athletic backcourt, backed by Kirk Hinrich.

L-O-O-O-S-E-R-S

1. Cleveland — Sad story for fans, former coach Mike Brown, former general manager Danny Ferry — and new Coach Byron Scott, the frontrunner for Phil Jackson's job who took over the Titanic, instead.

Pie in the Face From the Gods for swashbuckling owner Dan Gilbert whose all-capital letter vow ("I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE") will require a lot more progress the next six seasons than they made in his first six.

2. Denver — No longer a question of whether unhappy upcoming free agent Carmelo Anthony leaves and they blow up, but when.

3. New Orleans — Same deal, except unhappy Chris Paul is signed through 2012.

mark.heisler@latimes.com

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