I didn’t do my NBA preview columns this year like I did last year. They weren’t super popular, and though I enjoyed stretching my sports analysis muscles, other sources just do them better.
That said, I need to get my official predictions down. I know a few games are in the books, but those aren’t really factored in here, and day two of the season is an acceptable time to make season end predictions!
East Playoff Teams
(In from 1st seed to 8th)
1. Atlanta Hawks– #spureast will repeat as the 1 seed.
2. Chicago Bulls– they have the talent and hopefully the health.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers– Lebron does not care about the regular season.
4. Washington Wizards– Wall puts it all together and moving mad-man Nene to the bench can’t hurt.
5. Miami Heat– the Heat fulfill their destiny; D. Wade has always been just good enough to lose in the first round in a 4-5 matchup.
6. Milwaukee Bucks– Bucks manage to repeat last year.
7. Toronto Raptors– last year’s success was more a lack of competition than true sucess.
8. Boston Celtics– they really shouldn’t bother, but probably will.
The Lottery: (In no particular order)
Indiana Pacers– no big man; Paul George is back, but that guy needs to play the 3.
Charlotte Hornets– I like some of their pieces, but I cannot see a team with Cody Zeller, Frank the Tank, Spencer Hawes, and Psycho T making the playoffs. MKG being out is the nail in the Hornet’s coffin, but damn MJ can’t draft! Frank the Tank? Really? When you already have Cody Zeller and Spencer Hawes, and AL Jefferson?
New York Knicks– they added good pieces. Like real, actual, professional NBA players. But unless Porzingas is way ahead of schedule they are out this year. Give him 2-3 years and we will talk.
Brooklyn Nets– how do you say “dumpster fire” in Russian?
Detroit Pistons– might eek out that meaningless 8 seed, but this team is missing pieces. Andre Drummond is not as good as 09 Dwight Howard. (And 09 Dwight Howard wasn’t even that good. . . to think for a minute we were comparing him toe Shaq?)
Orlando Magic– way ahead of schedule. Check back in 2017 when these rookies grow up.
Hawks bounce Celtics in 7; Bulls over Raptors in 6; Cavs sweep Bucks; Wizards beat Heat in 6.
Hawks over Wizards in 6; Cavs over Bulls in 7
Eastern Conference Finals
Cavs over Hawks in 6
West Playoff Teams
1. San Antonio Spurs– really good team that added the best free agent and a top 20 player? Yes please.
2. Golden State Warriors– still really good; just not historically so.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder- if they are smart, they won’t overplay their returning stars.
4. Memphis Grizzlies– Z-Bo has a few years left in him and Baby Bro Gasal is better than 09 Dwight Howard.
5. LA Clippers– Doc’s squad has a bench this year; but this is still the west.
6. New Orleans Pelicans– Anthony Davis for MVP campaign pending.
7. Houston Rockets– last year’s three seed involved a lot of luck, and I don’t trust Dwight to be healthy for two straight years.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves– its too early for Wiggans and the Big KAT and too late for KG, but the “do it for Flip” potential is strong, and I don’t believe in any of the other possible 8 seeds.
LA Lakers– did I say dumpster fire yet? Because this is another one if I did. . .
Phoenix Suns– no play, and now no players. Suns go back to the rebuild machine.
Sacramento Kings– #freeboogie
Dallas Mavericks– Dirk can’t drag the team along by himself.
Utah Jazz– they still lack a single convincing perimeter player.
Portland Trailblazers– You don’t lose four all stars including an MVP candidate and still make the playoffs. Good thing the Blazers own all their picks, because Dame Lillard needs some backup.
Denver Nuggets– how many times do I need to say “dumpster fire”?
Spurs over Wolves in 5; Warriors beat Rockets in 6; OKC sweeps the Pelicans; Clippers over Grizzlies in 7
Spurs over Clippers in 6; Warriors over OKC in 6
Spurs over Warriors in 7.
Spurs beat the Cavs in 6.
Finals MVP: LaMarcus Aldridge
Regular Season Awards:
MVP: Kevin Durant
Coach of the Year: Greg Popovich
Executive of the Year: Doc Rivers (Since they can’t give it to Blake Griffin’s chair).
Most Improved Player: Terrence Jones