By Dan Shanoff
Page 2

The conventional wisdom is that everything changes in the NBA playoffs. Those run-n-gun Suns will be slowed. Shooting teams like the Sonics, Mavs and Wizards will be bludgeoned into submission.

Or maybe this year is different. After all, no one gave the Pistons' "D-first" squad much of a chance against the mighty Lakers. Detroit taught everyone: Team basketball wins.

But that's just one trendy storyline. Get ready for the next three months of playoff basketball with our annual Hot/Not List, sure to impress your co-workers, barstool debate partners and even that hottie on the first date (if you're lucky).

Category Hot Not Hot
TV guy turned Coach George Karl Mike Fratello
Conference Western Eastern
No. 1 fan
Eva Longoria

Jack Nicholson
"Oh, sure, I always liked the..." Suns Wizards
First-round series Spurs-Nuggets Celtics-Pacers
Coach on Hot Seat Stan Van Gundy Larry Brown
Everyone's hating on...
Chris Webber

Vince Carter
Due for national breakout Earl Boykins Tyson Chandler
Home Court United Center (Bulls) ARCO Arena (Kings)
Mr. Clutch Dwyane Wade Paul Pierce
Off-court action
Lakers in Lottery!

Lakers in Lottery!
Jersey to be seen in Gilbert Arenas "0" Tracy McGrady "1"
Three-point ace Quentin Richardson Eddie Jones
X-factor Injuries to stars Playoff experience
Unemployment-line sighting Cavs GM Jim Paxson Pacers coach Rick Carlisle
Designated Hack-a-Shaq'er Darko Milicic Nenad Krstic
Must prove it this year
Dirk Nowitzki

Tim Duncan
Strategy trend Run and shoot Bump and grind
Impact sub Ben Gordon Bobby Jackson
Sleeper Pacers Kings
Playoffs MVP Steve Nash Allen Iverson

Everyone out there thinks they know the hot sleeper or favorite that can't miss. Well, Page 2 already has heard it all, and here's what we think of the conventional wisdom for picking this year's big winners:

Category We like We don't like
Heat-Nets Healthy (enough) Shaq Hype over Jefferson
Pistons-Sixers Defending champs Weak Webbers
Celtics-Pacers Motivated ex-brawlers Antoine Walker
Bulls-Wizards Healthy Hughes-Jamison Injured Curry-Deng
Suns-Grizzlies Run-n-gun-n-fun The Czar of Anything
Spurs-Nuggets SA playoff toughness Bad Denver draw
Sonics-Kings Hot shooting Seattle Injured Sacto
Mavs-Rockets Dirk T-Mac
East Semi 1 More healthy Shaq Wizards/Bulls Centers
East Semi 2 More brawling! Memories of Larry vs. Isiah
West Semi 1 "Take the over" Defense
West Semi 2 Spurs lock 'em down Sonic booming
East Finals Pistons solve Shaq Shaq's revenge
West Finals Suns stun Spurs Spurs grind Suns
Finals champ Suns save the NBA! Pistons repeat


Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.