NBA

I've got questions; do teams have answers?

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Charley Rosen

Charley Rosen is FOXSports.com's NBA analyst and author of 17 sports books, the current ones being Bullpen Diaries: Mariano Rivera, Bronx Dreams, Pinstripe Legends, and the Future of the New York Yankees and Crazy Basketball: A Life In and Out of Bounds.

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With the opening of the NBA season only four weeks away, every team in the league has issues that must be resolved during their respective training camps that open Tuesday. Significant problems that linger past the jump-off date usually mean slow starts and having to play uphill all season long.
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Here, then, are the most crucial questions that must be answered by each team before the season begins.

Atlanta Hawks

Has Josh Smith matured to the point where he's able to maximize his strength (attacking the basket) and minimize his weakness (casually hoisting 3-balls)? Does Mike Bibby have any quickness left? How/where will the undisciplined Jamal Crawford fit?

Boston Celtics

Will Rasheed Wallace be positively influenced by Kevin Garnett's manic intensity? Are all of KG's body parts in working order? Has Rajon Rondo pondered the direction his career is taking and decided to be more coachable? Is the handle-challenged Eddie House still Rondo's default backup?

Charlotte Bobcats

Given the severe offensive limitations of Ty Chandler and DeSagana Diop, where will the team's post-up/interior scoring come from? Who else besides Raja Bell (who's rumored to be on the trading block), and Vlad Radmanovic can consistently knock down long-range jumpers?

Chicago Bulls

Can the Bulls maintain the incredible intensity they demonstrated in the playoffs on a game-to-game basis? Or was their ferocity merely an aberration? Is Tyrus Thomas ready to behave (and play) like a grownup? Although John Salmons can match the departed Ben Gordon's shoot-first game plan, can he supply the same explosive offense? How bad a sign will it be if Jerome James makes the team? Can Derrick Rose learn to make better decisions under pressure in the lane?

Cleveland Cavaliers

How will Shaq's increasing immobility coexist with LeBron's need for driving lanes? Is it possible for Mo Williams to suddenly become the playmaker and ball-distributor that the Cavs so desperately need? Who (if anybody) will prove to be a creative scorer off the bench? Does Zydrunas Ilgauskas have anything left? Does it really matter if he doesn't?

Dallas Mavericks

Whether on fast breaks, in early offense, or in halfcourt sets, can Jason Kidd still get to the basket? Is Josh Howard ready to be an impact player? Will Shawn Marion be happy being an afterthought on offense?

Denver Nuggets

Can Carmelo Anthony play the same brand of ornery defense all season long that he did against the Lakers in the playoffs? Was the Lakers series an accident, or a sign that J.R. Smith has become a dynamic two-way player? Who will replace Smith as a scorer off the bench?

Detroit Pistons

If Allen Iverson proved unequal to the task of putting oomph into the offense, can Ben Gordon do the job? Can Rodney Stuckey really play the point? How can Charlie Villanueva's ultra-soft defense be disguised? Has the transformation from Bad Boys to Good Boys been complete?

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Jackson's body will be in training camp, but where will his head be? Why does anybody think that Stephen Curry can play the point in the NBA? What will Corey Maggette's shots-to-passes ratio be? Whose idea was it to have so many veteran point guards in camp? Can anybody besides Andris Biedrins play acceptable defense?

Houston Rockets

Can Aaron Brooks run the team? Besides Brooks, who can create his own shots? Will the Rockets really begin the season with Luis Scola and Joey Dorsey as their only viable centers? Will Tracy McGrady ever be relevant again?

Indiana Pacers

Can Mike Dunleavy make it through camp (much less the season) without falling apart? Can T.J. Ford reduce his penchant for taking too many ill-advised shots? Besides Jeff Foster and Dahntay Jones, can anybody play defense? Who (if anybody) will show they can score off the bench?

Los Angeles Clippers

Is Blake Griffin for real? Will he get sufficient touches to prove that he either is or isn't? Does Baron Davis really care about sacrificing his own numbers in order to win? How much will the Clippers have to depend on career underachievers like Sebastian Telfair, Ricky Davis and Marcus Camby to be competitive?

Los Angeles Lakers

Will Ron Artest gladly learn the intricacies of the triangle and accept the personal sacrifices that the offense requires? Will he also step back and not try to dominate the social dynamic of the team? Will Andrew Bynum start taking responsibility for his own failings? How many prime-time miles are left on Derek Fisher's wheels? Can Sasha Vujacic make two jumpers in succession?

Memphis Grizzlies

What to do with Allen Iverson? After talking the talk but not walking the walk in Denver and Detroit, why should he be expected to change his long-term attitudes regarding practicing, taking bad shots and playing only gambling defense? And will his presence inhibit the development of O.J. Mayo? Are Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph too slow to defend anybody besides each other? Does Hasheem Thabeet have sufficient athleticism to play significant minutes?

Miami Heat

Can Jermaine O'Neal stay healthy? Is Michael Beasley stable enough to fulfill his potential? Is there a scorer off the bench? How much can Dwyane Wade do before he wears out?

Milwaukee Bucks

Can anybody else score on a consistent basis besides Michael Redd and Hakim Warrick? How long can the Bucks depend on 37-year-old Kurt Thomas to supply the bulk of their interior defense? How steep will Brandon Jennings' learning curve be? Will Andrew Bogut ever be healthy enough to be a full-time player?

Minnesota Timberwolves

Al Jefferson can score and rebound, but will he ever be anything but a total deficit on defense and a black hole on offense? Is Corey Brewer still considered a potential starter? Given the defensive shortcomings of Jefferson and Kevin Love, who will protect the basket? Could the bench players be any softer?

New Jersey Nets

Yi Jianlian plus 20 pounds equals what? Has Courtney Lee fully recovered from his post-trade depression? Will Rafer Alston accept being a backup on such a sad-sack team? Who else besides Devin Harris will emerge as a dangerous scorer? How much progress has the promising Brook Lopez made over the summer?

New Orleans Hornets

Does Emeka Okafor have the requisite speed, quickness and athleticism to be a major factor in the team's screen/roll game? Will James Posey be motivated to play with the same passion that he did in Boston? Can Chris Paul expand his offensive repertoire to keep defenses more honest?

New York Knicks

Can Danilo Gallinari really play? Does the center tandem of Eddy Curry and Darko Milicic scare any opponents? Since Donnie Walsh is already boasting that the Knicks will have the most cap room next summer, why should anybody care about this team here-and-now?

Oklahoma City Thunder

Can anybody on the team even spell D-E-F-E-N-S-E? Can Russell Westbrook become more of a genuine point guard? How can they overcome their limitations at the center spot?

Orlando Magic

Did Dwight Howard learn any moves during the offseason? Does Mickael Pietrus have the patience and the concentration to play starter's minutes? Who will be the designated clutch shooter — Vince Carter or Jameer Nelson? Can Matt Barnes be convinced that sometimes passing is more productive than shooting?

Philadelphia 76ers

Is Louis Williams ready to be a full-time distributor? Will the team be able to find a balance between an all-out running attack and Elton Brand's plodding offense? Except for adding Jason Kapono, what has been done to improve the team's miserable outside shooting? Will Eddie Jordan's highly touted (by himself) Princeton offense wind up with Andre Iguodala going one-on-one in clutch situations?

Phoenix Suns

Is Amare Stoudemire prepared to man-up, practice hard, play aggressive defense and stop complaining when he doesn't get enough shots? Since Grant Hill is 36 and Steve Nash is 35, can the team still be competitive if their playing time is limited? Aren't there more proficient backup points available than Leandro Barbosa and Goran Dragic?

Portland Trail Blazers

Will the real Greg Oden either stand tall or fall on his face? Is Andre Miller too slow to key the team's uptempo game plan? Will Brandon Roy have to exhaust himself from game to game in order for the Blazers to have a successful season?

Sacramento Kings

How soon will Tyreke Evans supplant Beno Udrih? Can Andres Nocioni's smash-mouth toughness be contagious? How much better can Spencer Hawes be — and how quickly can he get there?

San Antonio Spurs

Since Tim Duncan will have to play more center than power forward, will he wear down quicker? Will the absence of any center-sized bangers in the middle make the Spurs too much of a finesse team? Will Richard Jefferson leave his ego at home and become a true Spur?

Toronto Raptors

Do they have enough perimeter shooters to play off of Hedo Turkoglu's drives-and-kicks? Can Jose Calderon actually play any defense? What can be done to mask their insufficiencies at center, where they can either play a lightweight (Chris Bosh), a stiff (Patrick O'Bryant), or a statue (Rasho Nesterovic)? Can any of the guys on the pine evolve into a creative scoring threat?

Utah Jazz

Is Carlos Boozer in for the long haul, or in transit? Who can supply the toughness that Matt Harpring brought to the mix? Will Jerry Sloan open up his offense so that Deron Williams will have more scoring opportunities? Will Andrei Kirilenko's added muscle seriously compromise his quickness?

Washington Wizards

Since Flip Saunders is on the record as saying that Gilbert Arenas will touch the ball on 80 percent of the offensive sets, does that mean that Agent Zero will also get 80 percent of the team's shots? Whatever Arenas's percentages might be, how many leftover shots will be available to keep Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Randy Foye and Mike Miller happy? Is there a defender in the house?
Tagged: Hawks, Celtics, Pelicans, Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Nuggets, Pistons, Warriors, Rockets, Pacers, Clippers, Lakers, Heat, Bucks, Timberwolves, Nets, Knicks, Magic, 76ers, Suns, Trail Blazers, Kings, Spurs, Thunder, Jazz, Wizards, Raptors, Grizzlies, Baron Davis, Metta World Peace, Eddy Curry, Andre Miller, DeSagana Diop, Steve Nash, James Posey, Antawn Jamison, Gilbert Arenas, Jeff Foster, Elton Brand, Derek Fisher, Eddie House, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Stephen Jackson, Richard Jefferson, Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Tracy McGrady, Mike Miller, Raja Bell, Shawn Marion, Rasheed Wallace, Zach Randolph, Mike Bibby, Hedo Turkoglu, Tim Duncan, Hornets, Matt Barnes, John Salmons, Caron Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, Jamal Crawford, Andrei Kirilenko, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Grant Hill, Darko Milicic, Carmelo Anthony, Mickael Pietrus, Dahntay Jones, Leandro Barbosa, Jason Kapono, Mo Williams, Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Andre Iguodala, Andris Biedrins, Sebastian Telfair, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson, Sasha Vujacic, Beno Udrih, Andres Nocioni, Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Charlie Villanueva, Andrew Bynum, Hakim Warrick, Lou Williams, Jose Calderon, Tyrus Thomas, Brandon Roy, Randy Foye, Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol, Greg Oden, Corey Brewer, Spencer Hawes, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic, Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari, Brook Lopez, Courtney Lee, Joey Dorsey, Brandon Jennings

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