Woohoo it’s this time of the year again!
3 days into the start of the much anticipated (for me anyway) season! With all the crazy roster changes, blockbuster trades and introduction of Brooklyn.. this has definitely been one season I was really looking forward to. Some highlights for me during the off season:
- LAL, DEN & ORL – 3 team trade sending D12 to Lakers & Iggy to Denver (woo!)
- Nash to LAL
- Ray Ray to Miami (& JET to Boston)
- Houston making weird roster changes
- Then somehow landing Harden to become relevant again
- Anti-flop rule
I’ve managed to catch a few games on Thursday (day 2); Denver @ Philly and Memphis @ LA (Clippers) – both were quite good!
So like last year with my predictions.. which I did.. OK I guess – some stupid choices like Bobcats but oh well.. (ref: https://sukari89.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/nba-2011-2012-early-predictions/)
OK here we go again!
Once again.. I’ll break it down to which teams I think will make the play-offs (8 from each conference with a wildcard each conference – total of 18), no particular order (unless stated) and I’ll italic the ones I’m not sure:
- Oklahoma City Thunder – OKC; runner-up from last year and they will definitely going into this year with more flare considering how close they got. Harden is gone now and so will some of their firepower but I still think they’ll get one of the top 3 seeds.
- San Antonio Spurs – SAS; this team has just been timeless throughout the years and have been so good. I’ll touch more on this later when I talk awards but they should get top 3 seeds again too.
- LA Lakers – LAL; with the moves they’ve made and the $$ spent.. they better get into the play-offs! Hopefully they fix up either their offensive system (i.e. get rid of Princeton or master it..) or their coaching staff.
- LA Clippers – LAC; I watched their first game and they look so much better defensively. Sure they had quite a few turnovers but it seems to be the off season rust. DeAndre looks so much better this year too, establishing better post moves and defensive presence. Oh and how can one forget the acquisitions of former sixth men of the year; Crawford AND Odom?! Oh and Bledsoe is becoming a real good back-up guard too.
- Portland Trail Blazers – POR; I seem to have a lot of faith in this team despite its bad luck throughout the years. Aldridge has established himself as the go-to man for the team. The rookie Lillard shows a lot of hope along with Batum. Let’s hope they stay healthy.
- Minnesota Timberwolves – MIN; put it this way.. if they don’t, Love is going to leave, simple as that.
- Denver Nuggets – DEN; got so much love for this team and the George Karl – despite losing their all-star Carmelo 2 seasons ago they have made the best of it and managed to get into the play-offs both times in middle seed. So they say that the Nuggets need another star player, well I’m hoping Igoudala will fill that role along with up and coming Lawson.
- Memphis Grizzlies – MEM; this team has come a long way the last few years and I would hate to see them lose traction this year. However, they do have new owners. New owners like change.. coaching staff better be careful!
- Wild Card: Houston Rockets – HOU; ugh.. this one is for you Jim, I’m really not too sure because of the COMPLETE starter 5 replacement. But with Harden they really have a legitimate chance.. poor them, a .500 team that couldn’t make the play-offs. West is tough huh? Ps. It was a toss up between Houston and Sacramento for this.
- Chicago Bulls – CHI; I don’t care that Rose is out and probably out the whole season. They will make the play-offs! Go Bulls!
- Miami Heat – MIA; no real explanation here, especially with a beefed up rosters full of sharpshooters. Pew pew.
- Boston Celtics – BOS; most likely their last chance so I’m sure they’ll make a big push for it!
- Indiana Pacers – IND; they’ve become a real factor these last few years especially in the Central division which was Chicago’s for the last few years. A lot of analysts have tipped them to take the divison title as well.
- New York Knicks – NYK; they should just scrape in with the star power they have. Let’s hope they stay healthy as 38 is the new 28 or something.. can’t believe that’s the 4th oldest. Plus, they got the Best Point Guard in the League.
- Brooklyn Nets – BYN; with the moves they’ve made in the summer and the players they got in this roster.. surely..
- Philadelphia 76ers – PHI; time for Andrew Bynum to be the man; what he’s been wanting from the Lakers for a long time now. Also, Hawes has accepted his role of coming off the bench (not exactly sure if he’s a 6th man) and really has been doing well. Should be a great season for them.
- Atlanta Hawks – ATL; the only reason I am unsure is because I am pretty sure that Josh Smith is going to be traded half way through the season. He doesn’t really want to stay there anymore.
- Wild Card: Cleveland Cavaliers – CLE; this one was hard but I’ll give it to these guys because Irving is looking real good and the roster is looking quite solid. However there is a possibility that they will trade Varejão and build around Thompson.. shall have to wait and see.
Now for the Awards.. so early in the season to tell so it’s more of a guess with a hint of biasm – I’ll list 3 candidates for each.
- LeBron James [MIA]
- Kevin Durant [OKC]
- Tony Parker [SAS]
Defensive Player of the Year
- Dwight Howard [LAL]
- Serge Ibaka [OKC]
- DeAndre Jordan [LAC]
Sixth Man of the Year
- Jamal Crawford [LAC]
- Manu Ginobili [SAS]
- Er.. who else is a 6th man.. um.. Spencer Hawes ?! [PHI]
Most Improved Player – .. no idea.. but here are some that need improvement
- Brandon Knight [DET]
- Jimmer Fredette [SAC]
- Kemba Walker?! [CHA]
Rookie of the Year
- Anthony Davis [NOH]
- Damian Lillard [POR]
- Erm.. yeah stuck on this one, dunno.. Thomas Robinson [SAC] maybe..
Coach of the Year
- Gregg Popovich [SAS]
- Avery Johnson [BKN]
- George Karl [DEN]
Will have to check again some time during the season, probably All-Star weekend to see how I’m tracking! Hopefully I do better this year than last..