Season Predictions

With a few games of preseason under way and mostly finalized rosters, I’m ready to post some of my NBA predictions so I can look back in June and see what a basketball genius I am. I have a pretty damn good feeling about these predictions, so be prepared to send me a message or two at the season’s end saying “omg jordan you were 100% correct on all your predictions!” and of course the ‘all’ is not necessary  because you already said ‘100% correct’.

Eastern Conference

  1. Miami Heat
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Boston Celtics
  4. New York Knicks
  5. New Jersey Nets
  6. Atlanta Hawks
  7. Indiana Pacers
  8. Orlando Magic

This, assuming a midseason swap between the Nets and the Magic. The Orlando Magic will have a good enough record where they can be a .500 team for the rest of the season and win the playoffs… Except you don’t even have to be a .500 team to make the playoffs in the East. In a playoff series I think the Knicks are as good as any team but a lack of depth will hurt them in this lockout shortened season. People also seem to forget that Tyson Chandler isn’t that good. He isn’t even the third best player on the Knicks (Team Landry Fields). Yes I know Jeff Green is out for the season but I’m not a huge Jeff Green fan so I don’t really care. The Celtics are a good team without him.

The Heat are the runaway favorites for the entire NBA this year with the addition of Battier. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s free money (yea Bill Simmons you heard me). Mike Miller settles into his role of being a role player instead of trying to be a super role player like Battier. Eddy Curry is pretty much in a “this is a dream scenario for you and if you still screw it up because you eat too many donuts then you are done as an NBA player” situation. Bosh looks to have bulked up a little and things should only get better for Christopher because he was pretty much thrown under the bus last season. I’m sure LeBron and Dwyane have gotten the talk about including Chris Bosh in their lives.

You should sleep on the Hawks but don’t sleep on them missing the playoffs. I think a big trade is due for Atlanta and I can see Al Horford having a true breakout season. The Pacers are a good team to root for since everyone is on the Paul George Bandwagon. I grew two inches between 9th and 10th grade… No one rooted for me.

Western Conference

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Dallas Mavericks
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Los Angeles Clippers
  5. Memphis Grizzlies
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Los Angeles Lakers
  8. Golden State Warriors

It’s going to be a real shake up in the West this season. The Thunder will survive the blow in losing Byron Mullens to the Bobcats and be able to claim the top seed in the West. Every other team seems to have lost a key player or two and they look like very different teams. Dallas’s addition of Vince and Lamar makes them a fun team to judge- The 2011 Mavericks were an unorthodox team. Their best player is a player with one of the most unique skill sets in the history of basketball. The Mavericks mostly had midgets running their backcourt. Guys like Stevenson, Marion, and Stojakovic in 2011 are not people pegged as championship team role players. The Mavericks just put five players on the basketball court that worked together as a team and won basketball games. Lamar Odom is a good basketball player and so is Vince Carter. They will find ways to fit in.

After the Thunder and the Mavericks I’d say it’s a giant toss up. There’s the good old reliable Spurs which I can see in third place. The Clippers are obviously a team to look out for with the addition of Chris Paul. We’ll be seeing a lot more Laker to Clipper convert fans the next season. Grizzlies are another team that should make some noise after that playoff run last year. Losing Darrell Arthur and Shane Battier has to hurt, but they got the steal of the draft in Josh Selby (this is my opinion I made it before Josh Selby started doing cool dunks in those summer exhibition games!!). The Grizzlies are a deep team and I like their chances this season. This should be Greg Oden’s breakout year and- just kidding. Poor Greg.

And the Lakers. I don’t see much going in their favor with no Phil, no Lamar, no Vanessa, no sucky Clipper team playing in the same building as them. Note that this sentence was written before the Clippers’ dismantling of the Lakers and my opinion would not have been influenced by a mere preseason game. I have a little more credibility than that.

And then my faithful Warriors… If they can be a .500 team they have a good chance of making the playoffs. I actually think the Rockets are a good sleeper pick but that would make both my potential eighth seeds my favorite basketball teams. It’s not that unreasonable because the Warriors have always been one of the better sub .500 teams. Mark Jackson seems to be a really confident man who knows what he’s doing and I think he has a chance to transform Warriors basketball in the next few year.

Playoffs

First Round

Eastern Conference

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Orlando Magic – Heat in 5

Heat up 3 games to nothing, Brook Lopez or whatever the Magic have at this point has a good game in Game 4, the Heat finish things up at home in convincing fashion.

(2) Chicago Bulls vs. (7) Indiana Pacers – Bulls in 7

The Pacers are a team that can push the Bulls to the brink. The last postseason the Pacers were essentially rolling out a team of Collison, George, Granger, Hansbrough, and Hibbert, and four of these guys have never been in the playoffs. All these players should be a lot better and Paul George could become the next Julius Erving. David West gives them another option come playoff time… If you want to talk about upsets then Pacers are your team, except the Pacers won’t upset. The Bulls overachieved last season and it’s pretty amazing what they were able to pull off with a third year MVP and a really really sucky Carlos Boozer. They have a good bench and the Richard Hamilton signing is huge because you are going from a negative basketball player to a championship role-player who plays fantastic off the ball.

(3) Boston Celtics vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks – Celtics in 7

A classic case of boring playoff series that goes to 7 without people noticing. Celtics have a few screw ups here and there and the age of the Big 3 really starts to show, but they pull the win out in 7.

(4) New York Knicks vs. (5) New Jersey Nets – Knicks in 5

Now this is a playoff series. This will be a highly entertaining playoff series with many close games, but the Knicks will prevail. On the sidelines you’ll see Spike Lee, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and a bunch of low-profile East Coast rappers expecting to get some TV recognition. Tyson Chandler gets into foul trouble and people realize that he isn’t much of a Dwight Howard stopper, but the Nets don’t have enough worthy players between Deron Williams and Dwight Howard to get them anywhere in the playoffs… yet.

Western Conference

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Golden State Warriors – Thunder in 6

As much as I want to say the Warriors, the homer-ism has to stop somewhere. The Warriors are a decent match up with the Thunder because they have mobile bigs to keep up and players who can match up decently against Westbrook and Durant. It isn’t that much of a contest really but the Warriors have beaten the Thunder on national television this past season… Good times.

(2) Dallas Mavericks vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers – Mavericks in 6

This series will be eerily reminiscent of the 07 showdown between the Lakers and the Suns. Kobe goes nuts to try and prove a point after the previous season’s embarrassing sweep, but the rest of the Laker team can’t pull through. Queue in the Gasoft jokes, Derek Fisher retires after this season, and people question the Lakers’ future. Derrick Rose then somehow ends up on the Lakers. You heard it here first (60% sarcastic).

(3) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers – Blazers in 5

Aw poor Spurs. The Blazers go nuts on an aging San Antonio defense anchored by Tim Duncan. Portland has a lot of good defenders on their team… I haven’t watched that much Blazer basketball so I’ll name drop Brandon Roy then stop commenting.

(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies

A very interesting match up. I woke up at 7am and it’s a little past 9am as I type this sentence. I’m at the airport right now and with only 4 hours of sleep it’s hard to formulate challenging NBA thoughts such as deciding the winner of a 7 game playoff series between the Clippers and the Grizzlies. I also have all the other rounds of the playoffs as well as individual awards, but I’ll probably stop posting for now. Was that relevant to you? Slightly.

– Jordan

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