Monday, October 25, 2010
With a separate Sixers Preview on it’s way, I figured I’d jot down some quick NBA predictions since, ya know, I do predictions so friggin’ well and all. This NBA season promises to be one of the most interesting in recent memory. LeBron's talents have been brought to South Beach, Chris Bosh joined him, Kevin Durant is the best pure scorer since MJ, Shaq is now a Celtic, Dwight Howard has something to prove, Melo should be a Knick or Net at some point, a pending lockout is on the horizon, Evan Turner might suck, John Wall is nasty, the Spurs make their last stand and the Cavs will be terrible. Ultimately, all of that should make for great theater.
So, without further ado: 5 Things That Will Happen This Year:
1) Kevin Durant will win the MVP. It will be difficult for LeBron to win a third straight when Dwayne Wade will likely be just as instrumental in the Heat’s success. Carmelo is too unhappy, Chris Paul doesn’t have enough talent around him and Dirk is simply too boring. I say the award comes down to Durant and an “on a mission” Dwight Howard. A dark-horse could be a healthy Brandon Roy, but that’s never going to happen (the healthy part).
2) John Wall will win the Rookie of the Year award. I know a lot is being made of Blake Griffin, especially with him dominating in the preseason, but Wall is just a special talent. He should immediately be a great defender and he’s way too quick for any point guard in the Eastern Conference to guard (minus Rondo or maybe Jrue). I fully expect him to explode on the scene, think Derrick Rose-type rookie numbers with more assists and steals. You’re looking at an 18/7/4 guy, with a steal or two per game. Unless Griffin goes 22/12 off the bat (which I guess he totally could do) he won’t win the award over Wall.
3) The Miami Heat will win the East. Listen, you’re going to hear a bunch of experts talk about how the Heat won’t gel enough to win and that teams like the Celtics and Magic will play better team basketball (you know, the kind of basketball that wins in the playoffs). You’ll also hear that they don’t have the bench, or the size to match up with Dwight Howard and a Celtic team that throws multiple O’Neal’s (Shaq and Jermaine) and eventually a healthy Kendrick Perkins at you. That may be true, but it’s been a long ass time since we had two of the five best NBA players on the same team. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade might even be the best TWO players in the league (sorry Kobe). Sometimes something looks so plausible that people try to find holes in it since nothing is supposed to be “too good to be true.” Well, this is. The Heat are going to the NBA finals.
4) The Lakers will three-peat as NBA champions. However, I still believe that the Lakers are better than the Heat. As they proved against the Celtics, they have more size than anyone can handle and I’m willing to bet they bring Bynum along slowly this year to make sure he recovers fully from his knee surgery. They won’t need him until the playoffs, so if he’s back before the All-Star break I’d be surprised. The Lakers won’t face too much of a challenge in the conference, the Suns aren’t as good without Amare’s scoring, the Thunder still need a big man and the Spurs are just too old. The Mavs have a team built to win in 2005, the Blazers can’t stay healthy and the Jazz just don’t have enough scorers. Ultimately the Lakers should coast to a meeting with the Heat in the finals. There, I believe their length wins out. Kobe will get ring #6. And you know what that means…
5) The ‘Is Kobe better than Jordan?’ conversation will get really annoying. It already is, but most experts, ex-players, analysts, etc. always say, “Listen, Jordan won six rings. For Kobe to even get into the convo, he’ll have to do the same. Then, we’ll talk.” So, yea, that’s going to happen this year, meaning it’s time to talk. I’m not saying that this is real news per say, since people have been comparing Jordan and Kobe for years. What I’m saying is that Kobe winning another title will stoke the fire to an all-time high, something none of us are prepared for. ESPN has probably already prepared 497 different graphs and charts comparing the two, and PTI and Around the Horn are blocking off all of next June to discuss. Prepare yourselves. You’ve been warned.
East Standings Predictions:
Atlantic Division: Celtics; Knicks; Sixers; Nets; Raptors
Central: Bulls, Bucks, Pacers, Cavs, Pistons
Southeast: Heat, Magic, Hawks, Bobcats, Wizards
West Standings Predictions:
Northwest: Thunder, Blazers, Jazz, Nuggets, Timberwolves
Pacific: Lakers, Suns, Clippers, Kings, Warriors
Southwest: Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets, Grizzlies, Hornets
Eastern Conference Finals - Heat over Magic
Western Conference Finals – Lakers over Spurs
Finals – Lakers over Heat
Sixers Record – 34 – 48. Evan Turner's rookie line: 11 ppg, 4.5 assists, 4 rebounds. Iggy still doesn't make an All-Star team. Elton Brand averages 16 ppg.
Enjoy the season.