Right now, the answer to that question is maybe. Before the season started, everyone thought this was the team to take us deep into the playoffs, but honestly, I think we are going to the lottery.
Our defense is atrocious. With AB and K-Mart in the backcourt, we are getting abused by opposing guards. CP3 abused AB so much he got him into foul trouble. That's ridiculous. Paul is maybe 10 or 15 pounds heavier than Brooks and Brooks gets 4 fouls. I can understand Deron Williams or Chauncey Billups getting him into foul trouble, but CP3? Please.
I've always lobbied for Kyle Lowry starting over AB, and I still think he should, but I've given up, as it's not going to happen.
The whole point of this is that we cannot win with our current roster or style of play. Now, If Yao were playing 30+ minutes, we could easily be undefeated right now, as he makes a huge difference while he's in the game. But, he's not. With Yao in the game on defense, Brooks and Martin can afford to get abused, but when he's not, it's an easy lay up or open shot for the opposing team.
A big reason our defense is shit right now is Shane Battier. I've defended him for awhile, but I may just give up doing so. He has lost more than a step on defense and his 3 point shot is not falling. Bud can clearly light it up on offense, but his D is still below average.
We aren't going anywhere until we play defense. Fuck offense. We don't need it. If we don't cash in in the 'Melo sweepstakes I really hope we go after Andre Iguodala of the Sixers. He's a stud defender, a good scorer, rebounder, and passer. He's also an elite athlete and can finish at the rim with the best in the NBA. I wouldn't mind giving up Brooks or Martin to get him.
I'm huge on defense. It wins championships. We git rid of Martin or Brooks(or both, if somehow possible), we only have one defensive liability. Iggy can defend the go-to-guy on the opposing team, and Battier is capable of defending the second option.
I think we'll have a shitty first half of the season with this current roster, and then a great second half after the All-Star break.
Yao will be playing more minutes(hopefully). He has a huge impact on the game for us. With him, we can get away with having crappy perimeter defense.
I think we'll win around 45 or 46 games, and finish 9th or 10th in the West.
By no means am I hitting the panic button. This team can easily prove me wrong, as they nearly defeated the Lakers at LA. But right now, I don't see it.
Until we start playing some defense, we are heading back to the lottery.