The NBA Season Is Upon US: Thoughts and Predictions
The month of December has been a blur of poorly written thesis statements and incorrect MLA citations for me. Yes, it’s research paper time in a high school English teacher’s life, which means I have not seen the sun in quite some time and with bleary eyes am very much looking forward to the start of the NBA season on Christmas Day. And with that said, here are some thoughts and predictions going into the start of the season:
The Boston Celtics will edge out the New York Knicks to win the division, benefitted in a short season by their familiarity with one another. Still, winning the division doesn’t guarantee anything in the postseason, and the Celtics will see the last campaign of their Big Three (Four) come to an end in the first or second round. The Knicks, too, will be out by the time the Eastern Conference Finals roll around, having been undone by a shaky backcourt and the fact that Tyson Chandler, while good, isn’t really a kingmaker.
Is there even a choice other than the Miami Heat? If Dwight Howard doesn’t finish the season with the Orlando Magic, then this is without question the worst division in basketball.
The Chicago Bulls have both the talent and continuity of last year’s Playoff run to guarantee themselves of winning the division handedly. Their closest competition, the Indiana Pacers, may be a budding rival but they’ve still got too many new pieces to make a real challenge in a shortened season. The Milwaukee Bucks stand the chance of making it a three-team race, if Andrew Bogut returns to form.
This stands to be the best division race in the League, with three teams capable of winning it: the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Memphis Grizzlies. Personally, I like the Mavs to take it, although the acquisition of Lamar Odom in no way equals what they lost in Tyson Chandler. I doubt the Spurs can stay healthy after a season’s worth of good fortune last year, and the Grizz may be ripe for a setback now that everyone has expectations for them to build on last season’s Playoff run.
Everyone’s picking the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it’s the right choice; but the Band of Brothers that are the Denver Nuggets could make it interesting, which would be a good story considering that Nene chose the city after it had to deal with ‘Melo’s rejection all last season.
Anyone who’s not picking the L.A. Clippers must be doing so under the assumption that Dwight Howard will be in purple and gold before the season ends. Of all the superstar merges over the last couple of off seasons, the marriage of Chris Paul’s point guard skills to the post game of Blake Griffin makes the most basketball sense, and threatens to make all the praise for what the Thunder were building the last couple of years seem foolish and premature, if not this year, then sometime in the near future.
The Chicago Bulls will meet the Miami Heat in the Conference Finals, but even with the addition of Rip Hamilton, there still won’t be enough help for Derrick Rose, especially considering that in crunch time the Heat will feature a perimeter defense of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Shane Battier. How does anyone score on them at the end of games? People can talk all they want about the Heat’s alpha issues on offense etc, but it’s the ability of their stars to defend that should propel them back into the Finals.
I’m envisioning a Clippers-Thunder Finals, which would look something akin to the playground tour Kevin Durant went on this summer, and would have to be viewed as a coin flip. While the Thunder made a run last year, it’s not like they have a ton more Playoff experience than the Clippers, outside of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan who have none. Also, as the ’99 Knicks proved, in a shortened season continuity matters more in the regular season than it does in the Playoffs. I’ll go ahead and say the Thunder take the series, but mostly because Blake Griffin’s game hasn’t finished evolving.
The Heat beat out the Thunder as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go through the same sort of growing pains that doomed the Heat last season. Plus, Chris Bosh proves to be better than the Thunder’s next best player.
Rookie of the Year
I’m hoping the award goes to either Ricky Rubio or Kyrie Irving because I can’t think of two fanbases more deserving of some positive energy than Minnesota or Cleveland.
Coach of the Year
I want to say Gregg Popovich because he should have more of these than he does, but to do so, the Spurs would have to win their division and that’s not happening. In that case, Frank Vogel of the Pacers is my dark horse, and either Scott Brooks or Eric Spoelstra have to be the frontrunners, with the real question being how many games would the Heat have to win for people to actually vote Spoelstra. Scott Brooks it is.
Defensive Player of the Year
An angry Dwight Howard.
6th Man of the Year
The more successful the Thunder are the better James Harden’s are for bring home some hardware. My sentimental pick, however, is Tyler Hansbrough.
How does one even go about predicting this? It’s supposed to be a surprise, right? Part of me wants to say Blake Griffin, simply because playing with Chris Paul is going to change him, and us.
A ton of players will deserve consideration for MVP, but Dirk Nowitzki will be the only one aside from Derrick Rose not paired with another candidate who steals votes from him. The award will also serve as an over the top apology for the fact that Dirk still doesn’t get enough respect year round.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Brooklyn Man Now Living Entirely Off Own Beard Garden
- 2 “Cra Cra” Now Official Diagnosis in New DSM (DSM-5)
- 3 OfficeMax Marketing Director Struggling to Make Staplers ‘Sexy’ and ‘Conversational’
- 4 First Openly Straight Figure Skater Comes Forward
- 5 Area Man Tailors Life To Be More Relevant To His Hulu Advertisements
- 6 Fan Banging Furiously on Glass Could Be the Difference in Hockey Playoffs
- 7 Survey: 88% of Eagles Fans Too Drunk To Spell Nnamdi Asomugha Last Season
- 8 Attorney Actually Starting to Believe Own Bullshit
- 9 Homeless Guy Woos Silicon Valley VCs with Low-Tech Crowdfunding Strartup
- 10 Local Mom Won’t Stop Being First Person to Like Every Goddamn Thing Son Posts to Facebook