Seth intro: Here at TSHQ we take pride in being different than every other sports site out there, and that means giving you something different for our Round Table Preview.
So I have gathered my legion of writers with me, the Original 5 are back to give you a look into the NBA season like few other sites are willing to do. Hell few other sites are able to do what we do here, and that is give you honest and real opinions.
Welcome to the 2010-2011 NBA Ruthless Round Table Preview.
Joining me at the table today:
Bryan Doherty – May suffer slightly from Napoleon Complex, but he backs up his talk. Talents include mainly CFB writing right now, but don’t sleep on his amazing ability to be a pasty white boy from the North East and seamlessly transition to a pasty white boy in South Carolina. That has to count for something.
Justin Keller – Mr. Keller was fantastic in his Eastern Conference Preview for the NBA and generally dwarfs most with his NBA knowledge. Just don’t bring up Chris Paul and trade in the same sentence unless you have at least 5 hours to kill.
Brent Mullis – Brent is our aspiring journalist and takes this opportunity very seriously. He has excellent power rankings once a week in the NFL and is working tirelessly on his NFL Draft material. Mel Kiper Jr., meet your bastard love child.
K.M. Venne – I am contractually bound to speak highly of Mr. Venne, as he wields the most power of any of the other writers here. For some odd reason I entrust him with the daily running’s of the site while I am gone, and that will be occurring here shortly, so I have to tread lightly. All I got is he can’t use his real name because he thinks he is important.
Seth Cox – The general ruler and overseer of all that is this fantastical website.
(K.M. sidebar : Fantastical? Do I write for a blog that is published in Narnia now? Are you gonna find a Quiddich writer? Do we come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow? Anyone else old enough to get the last one? Where was I?)
While you will still get the usual MVP, ROY, DPOY talk, we like to sprinkle in a little flavor as well.
The Olivian Munn’s (Breakout stars this year in the NBA)
Seth intro: I don’t know how many of you know who Olivia Munn is, but if you don’t I will give you time to google her. (If you are a man this will take a little longer than any of our female readers)
Ok, now that your back, see I told you it was worth your time, you see what this category is all about. Let’s see who our Munn’s are.
Seth Cox- Danillo Gallinari, SF New York Knicks .
Who in the hell was the Knicks inside presence last year?
Who was their go to scorer?
Now they have both of those questions answered in Amar’e Stoudemire. With STAT being able to pull consistent help defense, Danillo is only going to put up bigger numbers and will truly flourish in the Mike D’Antoni system and become a rising star in this league.
O AN HE SEXY. Just like that Munn girl.
Wait, I’m not supposed to pick the most obvious answer I can think of? I thought this was our NFL fantasy weekly column for a second. Thank god we scrapped that turd.
Sorry. Let me try again.
Danilo Gallinari , SF, New York Knicks .
I don’t even care if Seth picked him first. That didn’t hold any weight until I agreed to it, so me picking Gallo as well is still relevant. The only downside to The Rooster is the fact he’s rumored to be a part of some of those Melo trade talks that are going around, but the Knicks are in love with the 3rd year Italian, and instead of Denver, the only place Gallo is going to end up is the Staples Center. No, not as a Clipper or a Laker, but as a Eastern Conference All-Star. That’s really what it comes down to. Nobody in the NBA has a better chance to make the leap to becoming a first time All-Star then Gallo does, possibly outside Brook Lopez , but people know who Lopez is, while many are still confused about Gallinari. Let me spell it out for you. 17 points, 6 boards, 3.5 assists, 40% from the arc. That’s who Gallo’s gonna be this year. If you don’t know, now you know, reada.
Bryan - I guess I should be looking for a semi-sexy star here seeing as this Munn chick, while attractive, certainly wasn’t the present I expected to see. Nonetheless, the breakout star that everyone should keep their eye on this year is a former bench player who though has to share the court with a recently acquired big on the Jazz should show why he could have been a starter on most teams last year. And that player is Paul Millsap . A young man who is starting to remind Jazz fans of a young Karl Malone, look for Millsap to become a favorite of Deron Williams ‘ this year when Al Jefferson is either inevitably hurt, or underperforming. Millsap is a 15/9 guy per 36 last year and that was despite Boozer being Williams’ man-crush. With Boozer out of town, expect Millsap’s production to blow up and become one of the most talented young forwards in the West. Pay attention to this kid.
Brent – I’m looking at Robin Lopez here, and hear me out before you say I’m crazy. With Amar’e Stoudemire gone, Lopez is the only big man on the Suns roster. Last year he had an offensive rating of 123, which ranked amongst the best ratings in the league. He will not light up the score board, but believe me, when this guy gets the ball he will put it in the hoop. Lopez has shown a good pick and roll game, solid touch around the basket, and a handy fifteen footer. Also, with Amar’e gone, he will have the roam of the paint when it comes to rebounds. Add all of this to the fact should get 30-35 minutes per night, and you are looking at a 14 PPG and 9 RPG season for him.
K.M. – You’re not crazy, Brent, Robin Lopez is my #2 player for this question.
Justin – JaVale McGee , C, Washington Wizards – At 7’0”, 252 lbs., McGee is one of the few players in the NBA who has legitimate size at the center position. He’s been a slow study in the NBA, not really making a huge mark in either of his two seasons in the league, but he came on strong at the end of last season and followed it up with a terrific offseason. After performing as one of the best players in the entire NBA Summer League, McGee was one of the last few cuts from the USA’s World Championship team. But not playing in the World Championships may have aided in his being prepared for the season (especially coming off of summer league). Andray Blatche received a lot of attention for his strong play at the end of last season but I can see McGee being a huge breakout player in Washington’s frontcourt this season.
Diora Baird Award (Biggest Bust)
Seth Intro: I don’t think I even need to explain this. Onto the selections.
I may get killed for this, but I really don’t care what you think. Rose is getting talked about as the next great PG in the NBA. He wouldn’t even be in my top five.
Rose is a ball dominant scoring guard, who puts up nice numbers, but is he really going to be able to jump that much to warrant all of this adoration and top dog in the PG land? Eh, I don’t think so.
Chauncey Billups utterly lost his 3 point shot last year after the All-Star break, greatly contributing to the collapse of the Nuggets. So what did he do this offseason? Played for Team USA, and turned 34. Predicting the demise of Chauncey Billups isn’t rocket science, it’s just good business. Hell, I’d say it’s already started. It’s just going to become really obvious to a lot of people as this season goes on. Get in on the selling of Billups early and have something to brag about when it comes true. STONE COLD LOCK OF THE CENTURY, OF THE WEEK!
Bryan – Now see I have a hard time calling Billups a bust because seriously, at this point, does anyone expect a ton out of the guy. Maybe Im in the minority but to me he’s just there to bail Melo out. Rose is certainly a bust if your right on him. He’s someone people expect a lot from so though he’s not my pick, if he sucks, thats a great pick. To me this guy is a player who was brought in to replace a premier performer in the NBA over the last decade. This is a guy who made his career off one playoff run and has to be one of the most overpaid players in the league. That player is Hedo Turkoglu . This man along with Hakim Warrick is suppose to be the replacement to Amar’e Stoudemire an All-NBA player in 2007 and 3-time 2nd team player. He was the featured PNR player in the Suns system and now these two, specifically Hedo are suppose to help Suns fans move on. A guy who has always needed the ball to be at his best, he and Nash are nowhere near as tough in the PNR as STAT was and he doesn’t demand the attention Stoudemire did to open up perimeter shots for the Suns 3-point gunners. I am looking forward to a waste of money, and plenty of Suns fans wishing they could have the “defensive and rebounding inept” STAT back in the desert.
Brent - Tiago Splitter is being way over hyped when it comes to the impact he will offer this year. Yes, he is a great prospect, but I don’t see him making a difference in his first year. I don’t really have any reason for this other than a gut feeling. Foreign big men, mostly ones that play the post, don’t tear it up from day one. Look for him to be a five point, five rebound kind of guy.
Justin – Joe Johnson , SG, Atlanta Hawks – During last season, Johnson’s role as the most important player on the Hawks team slowly was ceded to forward Josh Smith . Johnson’s still the catalyst that gets the offense going, but Smith’s play has become more crucial to ultimate team success. Maybe that also is a testament to how consistent Johnson has been since he went to Atlanta in 2005. However, Johnson went into a contract year last year, likely having to play his best basketball of the season. Instead, he and the Hawks ended the year with another horrible exit from the postseason. During the team’s lopsided sweep at the hands of Orlando in the Semifinals last year, Johnson struggled from the floor shooting 30%, criticized the Atlanta fans for booing him and was also ineffective as the team’s main ball handler. He was still rewarded this offseason with a 6 year, $129 million dollar contract. But I strongly wonder if that tension with the fans from last season carries over and I’m sure that if Johnson and the Hawks struggle out of the gate that the fans will voice their displeasure, especially towards Johnson. Also take into effect that new coach Larry Drew wants there to be more motion in the offense instead of the isolating Johnson at the top that Mike Woodson preferred and I’d figure this to be a very down year for Johnson.
The Goldie Hawn (where will Carmelo end the season?)
K.M. intro: In an interview, actress Goldie Hawn once said that she does not mind if the man she is married to cheats on her . Explaining ‘sexual experimentation is a basic need of all men’.
You can read more about Goldie Hawn ‘s personal philosophy in K.M.’s book: ‘Goldie Hawn, the greatest woman who ever lived!’
Point is, a good woman is hard to find, and harder to keep, and NBA superstars are becoming the same way more and more these days. None more prominently epitomize this new superstar attitude better then Carmelo Anthony . So who will this “catch” of a player end the season playing for?
Seth – New York Knicks.
Money, a breakout player in Gallo, willing to give up said breakout player, kind of the perfect storm.
I will let KM take this a little further.
K.M. - You gonna let KM take this further, Seth? Why not? It worked for your blog as a whole… BAM!
Carmelo holds all the cards. Next to nobody is willing to trade for Carmelo unless they can get him to sign an extension. And Carmelo decides where that is. Recently we’ve seen reports like “Carmelo unafraid to test new CBA”, which means he’s not scared of a lockout or lowered max deals in the future, we all know the league is going to change, but Carmelo knows if he signs an extension now, it may well be worth less when the NBA reduces salaries anyway, so it’s no huge deal. There is no “Take the dollar today, don’t risk tomorrow” in this situation, because today’s dollar isn’t guaranteed. He’ll never resign with the Nuggets. Chicago took themselves out of the running when they resigned Joakim Noah , making him a BYC player, which in short means he’s nearly untradable due to crazy rules. The Nets are sick of waiting and taken Favors off the table.
The Nuggets seem reluctant to let Melo just walk. But they don’t just want Anthony Randolph and Danilo Gallinari, they want both and the Knicks to trade someone like Wilson Chandler or Toney Douglas for a 1st rounder, and give that up too. The Knicks are going to wait for the price to drop, wait until after Dec 15th when the free agent signings can be traded, then strike. The only buyer in a market sets the price, not the only seller, as long as the good is an expiring one. The Knicks will get Melo, not soon, but soon enough, just wait for problems in Denver, Melo to perhaps cause a minor problem, a locker room report, anything, and that will be the start of the snowball that gets Melo into New York at a price the Knicks are willing to pay. .50 cents on the dollar beats the dollar going up in smoke every single time, and only a team like the Knicks is willing to offer the Nuggets owner something more valuable to him then even NBA players, and that is cash and as uneven a split of salary as possible, reducing the luxury tax burden on the Nuggets this year. Denver won’t pay more money to let Carmelo walk, but New York will give money to get Carmelo in the Garden, and that, above all else, makes this just a matter of time.
Bryan – IF he gets moved then I’d have a hard time arguing with either of you. I think he will probably get moved. He should get moved. But maybe Denver holds out and prays they have one good run left in them. We should know by late November-early December if he’ll last the season in Denver, but odds are he’ll get moved and unless another team steps up, then New York is the most likely destination.
Brent – The Melo situation is tricky for me, because I still don’t think he will be traded in season. The only way I saw something happening was if they made a deal before day one. That said, if the Nuggets are struggling to hold onto a playoff spot, he could be shipped in a hurry. The problem here is the value you are getting back. Personally I love Danillo Gallinari and Bill Walker , but if that is what New York offers along with Eddie Curry, will the Nuggets accept? The other team in question is the New Jersey Nets, but it seems they are too worried about making a multi team deal to get anything done. So, where does he go? In my opinion, we will have to wait untill the off-season to find out.
Justin – All things considered, I still see Carmelo Anthony finishing the season with the Denver Nuggets . It’s really popular for fans to say “oh a team like Denver should trade Melo so that they don’t end up with nothing when he leaves.” But when you get nothing in return, it makes no sense to not take the cap relief and get your choice of players to replace Carmelo, just as Carmelo wants his pick of teams to be traded to. They don’t really seem to be on the same page, but I expect Carmelo to play the entire season with Denver and screw himself out of a huge paycheck in time for the new CBA this offseason.
Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry (which is the better conference, the East or the West?)
K.M. intro: People like to debate Lady Gaga vs. Katy Perry, who is hotter. People are dumb. Katy Perry is amazingly hot and appears to be the right amount of mentally off balance that she’d do whatever you want her to do, but still be able to make it hot. Lady Gaga has a dong. And for recent NBA history, debating which is stronger, the Western or Eastern conference, was also dumb. The West was like Katy Perry, having all the hot teams and all the talent, the East, like Lady Gaga, had junk.
I see what I did there!
Anyway, for once, this debate has merit. The East received an influx of superstars from the West, and also formed a super team that has the full attention of NBA fans. People are finally willing to claim the East is stronger for reasons other then pure comedy or just being a contrarian. So, has the East closed the gap, or has the East actually surpassed the Western conference? For the purpose of this conversation, we will omit the non-playoff teams, since a debate between Detroit and the Clippers interests nobody, and discuss who has the better overall conference among the 16 playoff teams.
Seth - The East is the Christina Hendricks of the NBA, top heavy. The top three teams in the east this season are pretty damn good.
Miami has been talked about ad nauseam, and doesn’t need to be discussed any further.
Boston is the best team, but I expect them to be around the fourth seed when the year ends, when was the last time they gave a rat’s tail about the regular season.
Orlando still has the only real inside threat in the NBA, even if he has fewer moves than K.M. on a date.
The West on the other hand is the Lakers to win, lose, whatever you want to call it because they are the only team that can do anything, as constructed, in the finals.
So, I guess that makes the West Kim Kardashian, known for only one thing, and while the rest is ok and makes you take another look, that ASSet is the only real thing keeping it relevant.
What were we talking about again?
K.M. – I have moves on a date. GHB doesn’t get into a woman’s blood stream by itself. But don’t worry, I only use it on hookers. That way it’s not sexual assault, only shoplifting. And it’s not that criminal nonsense you just wrote, that’s for damn sure.
About this question? Push. Lamest answer, but this question is lame. Who thought of this? Me. Crap. But seriously, this is for all intents and purposes a tie. The East has the best chance to produce 60 win teams. The West is very much more likley to produce more 50 win teams. The East should have some strong teams win in the high 40′s. But the East also could have one sub .500 team in the playoffs. GO NY GO NY GO! Sorry, got excited. But for real, these conferences are nearly dead even. I don’t see much a discernable difference as we start the season, and I am anxious to see if any conference distinguises itself as the season starts, and to me, it’s 50/50 on which one that better conference will end up to be.
Bryan – Contrary to the opinion of K.M., I think Katy Perry is semi-overrated. The Peyton Manning of brunettes if you will (K.M. - HERETIC! YOU WILL BURN FOR YOUR BELIEFS!). Lady Gaga certainly isn’t a doll when she’s out of makeup, but in makeup something about her screams underrated. The dong comment lacks any evidence and my preference for blondes makes it a tougher call for me. Anyways back to basketball…..
For once, I think the East has surpassed the West. Some look at the West after the Lakers and say “There’s so many good teams, its hard to say who will get 2nd”. No the reason its so hard who will finish 2nd-10th isn’t because the West is stacked. Its because after the Lakers, there are no title contenders in the West. The Thunder are a trendy pick for 2nd in West. Im not sure they beat any of the Top 3 in the East and perhaps even some other East teams could knock them off. Kevin Durant is unreal, but I don’t look at the rest of that roster and think “Title Contender”. Spurs continue to age and regress. Mavs never got it done when they were the best in the west. Why would they now? Suns lost Amar’e. Jazz lost Boozer, Brewer, Korver, etc. and never could beat LA anyways. Portland should be grateful if their projected starting 5 plays half the season together.
In the East you have 3 legit title contenders in Boston, Miami, and Orlando. After that you have Chicago, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, with only Atlanta IMO incapable of winning a 2nd round series. The East is not just top heavy like Seth suggested. Perhaps they are not as deep, but they have enough depth to more than make up for the difference in bottom seed talent. Add in the superior top of the conference Seth alluded to and even as a fan of a Western Conference team, I think the torch has been passed. As always, inter-conference play is always our answer to this question, but for the time being, Im leaning to the East.
Brent - People will look at the moves made this off-season and automatically say the East is back on top, but that isn’t necessarily true. The power didn’t shift to the West over night, and it won’t shift back the other way that quickly either. The East is very top heavy, having teams like Orlando, Boston, Miami, and maybe Chicago, but they still can’t match the depth the west has. The number 8 seed on the left coast is still better than the 5th on the other side, no matter what your east coast bias is telling you. In a year or so we could see a total power shift, but Paul and Melo aren’t in NY yet, right?
Justin – The East has got the better teams. But the Western Conference has the better depth. In that sense, I’d still have to take the Western Conference. The East is incredibly top heavy. Orlando, Boston and Miami are all terrific teams and are probably some of the best in the NBA. The Lakers have the top spot in the Western Conference all but sewn up as well, so in that sense the East would appear to be stronger than the West. Instead, 2-12 the Western Conference has teams that could easily make the playoffs. We’re likely to see 45 win teams not make the postseason (50 wins got you the eighth seed in the West last year) and that’s unlikely to change going into this season. So it depends what you’re asking for, but if you’re looking for depth and competition then the Western Conference is where it’s at.
Angelina Jolie (How many games will the Heat win?)
K.M. intro: Angelina Jolie stole Brad Pitt from American’s Sweetheart Jennifer Aniston. If you don’t know that is a big deal, then you don’t read Bill Simmons anymore. He writes about that every other week. Because sports fans care about it. So this apparently, according to him, makes Angelia Jolie some sort of supervillian to women.
To men, the Heat are supervillians. Everyone on Earth, even Clevelanders, think LeBron sucks because he didn’t join the Knicks. That is 100% fact and not just what I feel as a Knicks fan. So how many games will LeBron’s new team/Wade’s new team/Riley’s new team/Bosh is overrated win this year?
Seth - (pick redacted for stupidity after he predicted a number with 4 digits and started talking about Zo.)
K.M. - 63 or so. They will go full bore all season, probably leading to a few injuries for a couple games, and for sure leading to the Heat not being as fresh as they should be for the playoffs, as they deilver a big eff you to the NBA. They rate a 8.3 on the revenge factor, and don’t have to worry about a Ewing Theory type season from the Cavs, so they should fit into my NFL picks system, and if they don’t win the title this year, it will be a VIII level of losing for the Miami fan base. Wait, I think Bill Simmons got mad at me for my intro and took over my keyboard somewhere around eff you. Sorry about that, guys (that’s called a callback joke, people. I got ALL the moves).
Bryan - The Heat will win 65 games this year because they will play close to all-out all season. The 3 players are carrying a huge chip on their shoulders that will only grow bigger and bigger as the season goes on and they will push to get homecourt advantage throughout the entire playoffs. I think they’ll win the East by about 6-7 games. If they get an injury to any of their major stars, maybe it comes down to mid-50′s.
Brent - 62 games is what I have them at, and no, I don’t have them getting to the finals. When the time comes I will defend this projection tooth and nail, but I assure you they are a year away from a finals birth.
Justin – 59 seems like a random, suitable number. They’re just not deep enough to handle the best shots they’re going to get from teams throughout the season. Not to mention that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh don’t have the greatest track record staying healthy and that Mike Miller ’s already going to miss time to start the season and it’s fair to say that the Heat aren’t going to be approaching 70 wins. I suppose in that regard, 59 seems pretty generous but at the very least, LeBron James was winning 60+ plus games with Cleveland and I imagine that even if Bosh or Wade miss something like 20 games, the other is still better than anything LeBron had in Cleveland lately. So I can see 59 wins and I definitely see them taking the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
K.M.. Intro: Awards are sweet. Let’s predict some. About the NBA, that is. Not the AVN. Those are awards for watching, not predicting.
Seth - Derp Derp Derp I don’t know enough to answer. DERP! (Note: There is a small chance Seth didn’t do the last two questions.)
K.M.- Well said, Seth.
MVP: Durant is too easy, and set up for too big a fall if his team only wins 46 like I expect. LeBron will probably deserve it, but the media will carry a grudge. Kobe won’t play enough minutes to get the stats he requires. Amar’e would be a great choice if the Knicks can crack 42 wins, but I’m afraid Melo will come in and take some of Amar’e's stats away, at worst clog up the picture of who makes the difference. Chris Paul’s team won’t win enough. I got three choices left, Dirk, D-Will, and Brandon Roy . Roy is too inferior compared to the other two, and too injury prone, so toss him out. D-Will will have a great year IMO, and the Jazz will get a middle seed, so he’s in contention. But after the Mavs win another 50+ games and lock up a division crown and a top 3 seed, Dirk is the only man left standing. Dirk is 15 to 1 to win the MVP right now. I bet it. I’d recommend you do the same.
ROY: DeMarcus Cousins . He’s the best rookie. That’s how you win the best rookie award. So he’ll win it. When the Kings win over 35 games, this award will be a slam dunk. Griffin and Wall may have good years, but when the Kings are in playoff contention to end the year, Cousins will be inarguable.
DPOY: Josh Smith . Because he puts up sick defensive stats. Don’t rule out Marcus Camby if Oden is out for some time. Camby can play PF or C in Portland, they will win some games, and Camby does kill it on the boards and the blocks.
6th man: Udonis Haslem . He’s a pretty solid player, and the Three Queens will only make him look that much better.
ECF – Heat over the 3 seed in 5.
An odd prediction? You’re odd. Let me explain. The Heat should get the 1 seed. Orlando the two. The Knicks should be good for the 7 seed when Melo comes over. And the Knicks can beat the Magic in the first round, without question. The Knicks will be better at 4 positions (Go to hell Vince Carter , if you are even around by the time the playoffs start) and have a ton of large bodies to throw at Howard. So the three seed gets to kill the Knicks in the semis. But the Heat will make the Finals over all comers, probably Boston in this spot. The Heat will beat 8 seed like a drum, then beat the Bulls/Hawks winner like a drum, and then take care of business without much problem in the ECF. The Heat are full of anger.
WCF – Mavericks over Lakers in 7
The Mavericks are super tall. The Lakers, injury prone. I see LA being without a key cog, Kobe fighting another injury, and the Mavs using that size to give the Lakers fits.
Finals – Mavericks over the Heat in 6
The Heat take the first two games ,and everyone starts feeling the Heat are destined to win. Then the Mavs go back to Dallas and win all 3, games 3 and 5 under questionable circumstances, as Dirk gets bailed out by the refs and shoots a ton of free throws. The Mavs close it out in Miami in 6, the disaster of the last time these two met in the Finals totally reversed, and the world is righted. All wars end, hunger is stopped, the flying car is introduced at the trophy presentation, unemployment drops to 0%, and every guy gets a free hummer. It is the most awesome finals in sports history.
MVP – LeBron James . Only person that can challenge him is Kevin Durant. LeBron won two MVP’s on a team with CYO talent. He now gets to play with DWade and Bosh and will be the unquestioned leader of the best team in the NBA. Why would anyone pick against this guy? His numbers are not going to drop a ton this season. He’ll still be 25+ PPG, 7-8 RPG, and 7-8 APG. He’s going to lead them to the best record in the league which usually is a major factor in picking the winner. Perhaps the league will deny him his 3rd straight like they did Steve Nash after he should have won a 3rd straight to protect its lovechild Michael Jordan, but I’ll be surprised if anyone else wins it.
DPOY – Trevor Ariza . O silly me. I’ll let Justin make that pick. It will probably be Dwight again. I mean thats all he’s good for so why not let him continue racking up those awards.
6th Man – Does it really matter? I hate this award. I think its one of the most pointless awards in all of sports. Up there with the Lady Byng award in hockey. Really? We give out an award in the NHL for “gentlemanly behavior”?
ROY – I hate him as a John Calipari product, and I thought he would be overrated but he’s looked pretty good so far. Unlike his overweight frontcourt teammate who i still think won’t be that good, John Wall to me looks like the real deal. Still think he lacks a jumpshot, but hell, like Rondo, if he can get to the rim and dominate the game without a jumpshot then all the more power to him. I want to pick Blake Griffin who I like and who will be a good player, but when has picking anything Los Angelas Clippers related been a good idea? I’ll play it safe and take the #1 pick who should have free reigns in Washington to do whatever he wants, much like Tyreke Evans was able to do last year and it worked out well for him.
ECF Matchup + Winner Miami Heat over Boston Celtics in 7 games. I think the Celtics are better. But this is a player’s league. It doesn’t matter what pieces you have around you. You have a superstar and you can win. The Heat have two and a half. Two of the 5 best players in the league. 3 of the Top 20. Thats just too much for any team to overcome in a short series. Your asking me to pick a team that will beat them 4 times in 7 games and I don’t see it. Gives it away for my Finals pick but o well. That talent, if they stay healthy will be too much for any team to overcome in a playoff series.
WCF Matchup + Winner Los Angelas Lakers over San Antonio Spurs in 6 games. Why the Spurs? Why not? I don’t have any team I trust after the Lakers. The Thunder I can’t see going from first round exit to Conference Finals in one year. Most of the West will come down to matchups. If your the 4th or 5th seed, your gone in Round 2. Its that simple. If you could tell me right now who the 2/3/6/7 seeds were out West right now, I’d have a better idea of who the Lakers would play but obviously I don’t know that so Im going with the team I trust above all others. Mavs? They’ve never seen a big game they liked their chances in. Utah can’t beat LA if they play them in the 2nd round. Blazers I can’t trust to stay healthy. Toughest prediction all year easily is who the #2 team out West is. So much uncertainty.
Finals Matchup Winner Miami Heat over Los Angelas Lakers in 6. You can tell me all you want about the Lakers height. I know its a factor. But so is the significant talent advantage the Heat have. Gasol and Bynum (if healthy) will give the Heat frontcourt problems. I don’t doubt that. But who the hell is going to cover Lebron and Wade? Kobe? This isn’t 2002. Artest? He was up and down against Pierce last year. The NBA like I said earlier is a league built on TALENT. 9 times out of 10 the more talented team wins the series. The Heat will have more star-power than any team in the league this year and I don’t see anyway other teams can prevent them from winning it. Is it a redundant belief? Sure. But, unless you have a good reason to go against the majority, then go with them and I can’t think of many reasons to pick against the Heat. A Celtics or Lakers champion pick I can accept. Any other ridiculous answer and please let me get a piece of that bet that your team won’t win it. There’s no doubt in my mind the champ will be one of those 3 teams.
MVP: I can’t give it to a Heat player because they have three great players. No one will stand out in that group. I can’t give it to Durant because the Thunder won’t be good enough. All of this leads me to give a boring answer of Kobe Bryant . His team will be tops in the west, and he will far and away be the best player on that team. Thats what the award is all about, right?
ROY: If you know me from CBS, you know I have an unhealthy infatuation with DeMarcus “The Cookie Monster” Cousins. This guy has everything you want in a big man, an he can even shoot the three! Okay, maybe you don’t want him going out there, but he started out the pre-season two for two. I’ve said it about 18,000 times, Cousins is the next big thing in the NBA, and he will be a bigger impact player than John Wall.
DPOY: Dwight Howard , nuff said. The media loves him, and there is no real competition. Who else can you go with?
6th man: If they had a comeback player of the year, this guy would be on that list as well. Leandro Barbosa is in a great situation where he will be allowed to run wild and have the bench offense ran through him. Look for a return to 2008 numbers worst case scenario, maybe even back to when he averaged 18 PPG.
ECF: Miami falls to Boston. I’ll explain further at a date to be determined.
WCF: Lakers take the Thunder. You can really slot any team in OKC’s spot, but I just have a hunch.
Champ: In another epic battle between the two greatest NBA franchises, the Lakers take the Celtics in seven. Even if the Heat end up here, Kobe ties MJ with six rings.
MVP - Dwight Howard , C, Orlando Magic – I expect a humongous year from Dwight. I really do. Dwight showed a lot of maturity last season, or at least a bit of fortitude, with his vivid frustration from the physical play of opposing teams during last year’s postseason. He’s finally taking it serious. It’s a huge sign that Dwight’s not going to sit there and take that kind of abuse. By also spending a lot of time working on his offensive game this offseason, any kind of improvement on offense will only make him the most complete player in the league. Already a two time defending Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight’s ready to take his game to the next level and his age, maturity and game are all lining up towards a terrific season.
ROY - John Wall , PG, Washington Wizards – Wall’s the man in Washington. Regardless of what anyone says, he’s the go to guy already for that team and he’s showed tremendous potential in his freshman year at Kentucky and ensuing performance in the NBA’s summer league. I expect Wall to follow in the footsteps of Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans and become a very solid Rookie of the Year candidate. I’ve also pegged Washington as my surprise team of the season, so I’m also banking on them making the playoffs. As a result, that will give him the edge over Blake Griffin this year.
DPOY - LeBron James, SF, Miami Heat – The most hyped player in the league, LeBron has been campaigned for the Defensive Player of the Year plenty the last two seasons (although I think he’s a tad overrated as an on ball defender) and this should probably be the year he receives it. I’d imagine the Heat, already one of the better defensive teams last season, will take a step towards becoming the same defensive team this season and with all eyes being on LeBron’s every move even more, the run-down blocks, the steals that lead to fast break dunks and the one or two possessions where he stops an opposing good offensive player should lead to him finally taking the award this season.
6th man - Wesley Matthews , SG, Portland Trail Blazers – With Portland being one of the deeper teams in the league, this could possibly be a risky pick, but Matthews shined big time with Utah last year and I’d imagine he’ll be the first man off the bench for Portland as well. Playing behind Andre Miller , Brandon Roy and Nicolas Batum , Matthews could play any of the three positions in a pinch and provide very good offense off the bench for Portland. Given the financial commitment they’ve given to him and the fact that Rudy Fernandez may not see much playing time either, I’d say that Matthews is a pretty solid pick for the sixth man of the year.
ECF matchup/winner - Orlando Magic defeat Miami Heat – Continuing to ride my Dwight Howard bandwagon, I’m going to pick a bit of a sleeper and say that Orlando makes the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons. People like to call Boston a team that everyone’s forgetting about, but I see plenty of hype surrounding Boston and they are the defending Eastern Conference Champion. Orlando is truly being cast off, mostly because teams figure that because they only signed Quentin Richardson that they obviously won’t be a great team this season. I disagree with that. I really think Dwight is unguardable (especially if they’re going to be putting Chris Bosh on him) and the Magic should be prime for one last run at a championship. Also, I still think chemistry and depth will be a problem in a seven game series, especially against a good team.
WCF matchup/winner – Los Angeles Lakers defeat Portland Trail Blazers – I’m pretty high on Portland this season, and the Lakers are everyone’s pick for the top team in the Western Conference, and I imagine this being an all kinds of epic series for the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers should be hitting their stride by then. I imagine this season that they’ll take it slow with both Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum , and they should be in better shape this postseason than they were last postseason (where they still won their second championship). All in all, Portland should put up a terrific matchup but I see the Lakers making their fourth straight NBA Finals.
Champ – All things considered, I’m still rolling with the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship. Amazingly, it would be Phil Jackson’s fourth three-peat in his illustrious career. The Lakers have a center in Andrew Bynum that can match up with Dwight Howard and at least make things competitive in that department, and Kobe is still Kobe. Both of these teams are staring at the end of their championship runs, and Los Angeles still has the best player out of the two teams. Say what you want about Kobe, but he can still get it done. He doesn’t have many great years left, but he’ll definitely be there this season. Pau Gasol should be the difference maker, and as he was in Orlando during the 2009 NBA Finals, I’d imagine him being the big difference here. In a surprise, I even would put Gasol as the NBA Finals MVP in this series as well.