We’ve reached the halfway point of another week and first off we would like to take a moment to recount how blessed we really are to have been kept safe during the last couple of days. Enough emotion, back to sports. This week marks the beginning of the NBA regular season, a time marking homework’s return to the proverbial bench that is our lives. With the NFL and NCAA football at the midway point and the NBA and college basketball seasons starting, this is the premier time for sports fans. This week we take a stab at the NBA, praying our predictions hold up better than Dwight Howard does at the free throw line.
This year features two powerhouses (Heat & The Beardless Thunder) but overall both conferences are incredibly strong from top to bottom. When looking at our playoff picture, we both had a different team from BOTH conferences making the playoffs. After arguing for hours we have come to a tentative agreement. Yes we’re already talking PLAYOFFS!
1). Miami Heat
With the additions of Ray Allen and the once capable Rashard Lewis, and LeBron getting ridiculed just a little less this year, there is no reason for the Heat to not repeat.
2). Indiana Pacers
A year after taking the Heat 6 games, Indiana returns with the same roster minus a switch at point with Augustine taking over for Collison. With another year under their wings, look for the Pacers to improve again.
With the addition of Andrew Bynum giving them the best center in the East, the 76ers now have a balanced roster if the big man can prove he’s capable of leading the team/stay healthy.
4). Boston Celtics
It’ll take sometime to get used to not seeing Allen and his beautiful jumper, but Boston looks to reload a deeper team featuring Jason “Jet” Terry, Courtney Lee, and our very own Kris Joseph and Fab Melo cheering them on from the bench.
5). NY Knicks
This is with the hope that Amare has something left in his knees and stays away from nearby fire extinguishers. Carmelo Anthony is in the best shape of his career, looking to keep up with draft classmates Wade/Bron/Bosh and have an MVP caliber year. The additions of veterans Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and maybe even Rasheed Wallace give NYK some depth for once.
6). Brooklyn Nets
Hello Brooklyn, How You Doing? Deron Williams finally gets some help in Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, plus big men Brook Lopez and former Mr. Kardashian, Kris Humphries, give Brooklyn a solid core group. If they get some help from an unproven bench this team could make a run come playoff time.
7). Atlanta Hawks
Gone are the big contracts of Johnson and Williams, in come sparkplug 6th man Louie Williams and top 3 point shooters Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow. Look out for the return of Al Horford and a big contract year from Josh Smith.
8). Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose may miss part of the year recovering from his torn ACL, but the veteran core plus newcomers Nate Robinson/Kirk Hinrich playing fill in until he returns, this group could keep up with a stingy D until Rose returns.
1). OKC Thunder
Yes, we know James Harden is gone. But with Westbrook and MVP contender Kevin Durant still around don’t expect much to change. Kevin Martin plays less D then a 5 year old, but he can flat out SCORE. Expect much of the same from the Thunder in our humble opinion.
2). LA Lakers
Kobe may only play two more years (reportedly) but with the additions of all-stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to an already solid lineup, Kobe and Pau have some serious help this year. It may take some time for them to figure it out, but we expect LA to figure it out in due time.
3). San Antonio Spurs
Not much has changed from a year ago, as the threesome of Duncan, Parker, and Ginoboli will give it one more run. Kawhi Leonard is a stud and with a solid core around them it’s hard not to picture them in the picture down the line.
4). Denver Nuggets
The young core of Lawson, Galinari, Faried and McGee add one of the best wing defenders (and an Olympian) in Andre Iguodala. This may be the deepest team in the NBA and will use that to their advantage. Look for them to run and then run some more out in Colorado this year.
5). LA Clippers
Lob City returns with the addition of 6th man Jamal Crawford plus Grant Hill and Lamar Odom-Kardashian making his LA return. As long as Chris Paul is running the point this team will be sitting pretty come playoffs.
6). Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis is a very sneaky, solid team who will hover around the playoffs and we expect them to win a round, maybe two. Proven scoring stud Big Daddy Zach Randolph leads this team with the help of Marc Gasol at center and Rudy Gay at Small Forward; the Grizzlies have one of the best frontcourts in the league.
7). Utah Jazz
One of the more unknown teams, the Utah Jazz feature constantly underrated Paul Millsap and big scoring center Al Jefferson both in contract years. With the additions of Williams; Moe and Marvin, and young players Burks, Favors, Hayward and Enes Kanter hopefully improving, this team could be trouble.
8). Minnesota Timberwolves
Recent allegations of being “too white”(no really) shouldn’t stop a healthy Rubio and MVP level Kevin Love from finally getting to the playoffs. The additions of NBA returnees- a rejuvenated Brandon Roy, and the Russian Andrei Kirilenko, and last years #2 pick Derrick Williams getting minutes, this team could be for real. But who knows in Minnesota.
3 Predictions Sure to Be Wrong
- Both of us had a team we liked to surprise some people (Ian=Wizards, John=Cavs) but neither of us could muster up the manhood to give them a playoff spot. Therefore, look for one of them to surprise everyone down the road and for us to take full credit for it.
- Expect James Harden to put up the numbers for the Rockets. The beard is no laughing matter and neither is his game. With that being said, they have a young team and we don’t believe in the Linsanity. Jeremy Lin will NOT put up superstar numbers. Harden will have to carry the load.
- The only affect the new flopping rules will have is going to be Jeff Van Gundy yelling every two seconds, “See, that should be a fine.” The NBA will be unable to police this flopping phenomenon. And say they do. Well then we’ll see how good these guys would be at soccer because we’ll have to wait around for the magic spray guy to fix the “injuries” in order to avoid a fine.
What we can say for sure is that this year has the capability of being one the best in recent years, and no matter how wrong we turn out to be, this will be an entertaining year.
Like it or Hate it, we still want to know. Comment or tweet us your thoughts- @icflick @johnMMatthews
-Ian Flickinger & John Matthews