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THE PICKS ARE IN
IAN THOMSEN
December 26, 2011
A new Western power will topple the champs, but the Heat is the team to beat
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December 26, 2011

The Picks Are In

A new Western power will topple the champs, but the Heat is the team to beat

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Hawks Deep and talented, Atlanta is a dark horse to push into the conference finals—but history (the Hawks have never won more than one playoff series in 43 years in Atlanta) says not to count on it.

Grizzlies Rudy Gay's return has to make them better ... doesn't it?

Blazers Tough-minded coach Nate McMillan gets the most out of his team despite a litany of injuries.

Bucks Andrew Bogut is healthy, and new acquisition Stephen Jackson should mesh well with coach Scott Skiles.

76ers Philly should build on last year's 41 wins, but the Sixers need to develop a front line around Elton Brand.

Five Intriguing Young Teams

Nuggets They have a high-energy roster, including recently re-signed center Nenê and coaches who develop young talent.

Pacers Indiana has depth, appealing assets and now David West's leadership.

Jazz Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter create enormous depth up front.

Timberwolves Can new coach Rick Adelman harness talent around rookie Ricky Rubio—who had Minnesotans chanting Olé in his Wolves debut?

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