Monday, October 28, 2013

NBA preseason predictions 2013-14

It’s the beginning of another NBA Season. The 2013-14 NBA season promises to be another amazing year with so many teams in contention for a title, it’s actually ridiculous. The storylines are off the hook as so many teams come into this season looking to make a new. How will the return of Derrick Rose impact the already loaded Bulls? Is Carmelo Anthony hungry enough for a tittle run? Are the Spurs going to stay at their ridiculous level of consistency? Will Brooklyn live up to the hype? Will Miami 3-peat? This season has so many questions but I’m not going to answer them all, I’m just here to give you a prediction, and if it’s anything like my postseason prediction before the playoffs in April, you better believe I’ll be close to the target. So here we go. Predictions away!

Eastern Conference Playoffs
1.      Miami Heat 59-23
9. Washington Wizards 34-48
2.      Indiana Pacers 56-26
10. Cleveland Cavaliers 30-52
3.      Brooklyn Nets 54-28
11. Boston Celtics 28-54
4.      Chicago Bulls 53-29
12. Milwaukee Bucks 25-57
5.      New York Knicks 51-31
13. Charlotte Bobcats 22-60
6.      Atlanta Hawks 42-40
14. Philadelphia 76ers 21-61
7.      Detroit Pistons 40-42
15. Orlando Magic 15-67
8.      Toronto Raptors 39-43

The top five teams in the east have a legit shot at competing for a title this season and they might all be within the top eight in the NBA when it comes to talent. I think the Heat will not be as good as they were a season ago, their supporting cast is especially thin this season and they are banking on guys like Greg Oden and Michael Beasley to help carry the load off the bench, there is no way they are anywhere near the team they were last season. People forget that last season they had one of the best teams of all-time and there is no way they come close to that output this season. The Pacers are on the rise and I see them being in serious contention as one of the top overall teams in the NBA especially with the comeback of Danny Granger and the stardom of Paul George on the rise. Brooklyn is for real. Yes, they just assembled this team over the offseason, but they carry some serious swagger as Kevin Garnett will turn the intensity of this team 180 degrees from a year ago, making them a legitimate threat. The Bulls, they are solely contingent on the success of Derrick Rose. They will still be a good team if he has any setbacks, but the play of Rose is the spurt they need to get over the top especially in the east. The Knicks have an outside shot in this conference and it depends on how much Carmelo Anthony really wants it. The Knicks remind me of the Indianapolis Colts with Peyton Manning at the helm, a flashy team in the regular season with so much potential, but they need to step it up in the postseason if they want an opportunity to be considered in the discussion with the other top four teams, but they are still elite. Dark horse teams I see taking leaps for this season are the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors. These teams have two explosive play makers in Josh Smith (Signed this offseason with the Pistons) and Rudy Gay (Joined the Raptors midseason in last year) who can seriously make these teams legit threats in the east of any of the other 5 teams slip up. Two teams that I picked to finish outside of the playoff race could be better than I predicted them to be. The Celtics are in full rebuilding mode, but do not be surprised if they win 30 or more games this year with the budding Brad Stevens as their head coach and a young nucleus that could do some serious damage near the end of the season if Rondo doesn’t decide to screw things up. The Wizards could also improve this season if they get all their pieces healthy and John Wall decides to step up his game as a teammate. Wall is a beast, but he needs to distribute the ball better for the Wizards to be relevant this season. I don’t see it happening quite yet, but you never know.

I’ll do postseason predictions after I break down the Western Conference Predictions for the regular season. Here they are:

Western Conference Playoffs
1.      San Antonio Spurs  56-26
9. Dallas Mavericks 43-39
2.      Los Angeles Clippers 55-27
10. New Orleans Pelicans 33-49
3.      Golden State Warriors 51-31
11. Portland Trailblazers 31-51
4.      Oklahoma City Thunder 50-32
12. Los Angeles Lakers 30-52
5.      Houston Rockets 49-33
13. Utah Jazz 26-56
6.      Memphis Grizzlies 47-35
14. Sacramento Kings 22-60
7.      Minnesota Timberwolves 46-36
15. Phoenix Suns 20-62
8.      Denver Nuggets 44-38

This conference is wide open when it comes to dominant teams and I honestly think the top 5 teams could finish with the top spot if they really put their full potential together. I have to put the Spurs up top because the Clippers are Lob City and all they did was add Doc Rivers, who is a fantastic coach, but how much is he really going to improve this team when they were already a top ten team a year ago? I think he’ll make them better next year, but this upcoming year, he won’t do much when it comes to impact. The Warriors are on the up an up and have a legit shot of winning the title this year, especially with the addition of Andre Iguodala making them a legit force in the NBA and potentially a top three team. The Thunder are going to dip strictly because of their weak bench and because they let go of another star in Kevin Martin. They also cannot rely on Russell Westbrook especially with his score first mentality and hectic attack to the basket. The Houston Rockets added a 7’0 two year old that will find ways ruin his squads potential of reaching the mountain top for years to come. They will be good enough to make the playoffs every year because of James Harden, but other than that it all comes down to how the two year old (Dwight Howard) decides to act on and off the court. I don’t know why people don’t think the Memphis Grizzlies are going to fall off the map just because they let go of their coach. Yes, they will lose some wins, and not play as well as last year, but they won’t all of sudden drop out of the playoff hunt in the west and Marc Gasol won’t all of sudden stop playing defense. The T’wolves are the dark horse in this year’s western conference, they have a legit shot at making a run deep into the playoffs if they can stay healthy. Honestly, whoever takes the 8th spot in the west I don’t have a clue, but considering the ability of Denver to run the floor they can slip in there ahead of Dallas which I would not be shocked if either one of those teams took the last spot in the west. The Lakers are a mess, they will be lucky to win 40 games this season and if they do I will be shocked. If Kobe can come back then maybe they have an outside shot at a playoff push, but that’s about it. Everybody else in the west within the Lottery portion of my prediction quite frankly sucks too much to really discuss doing anything important this season.

Alright, who’s ready for a postseason prediction for the ages? Everybody will hate me after this because of obvious reasons, but if you know me, you know I have to pick who I’m picking for a reason so here goes nothing.

Eastern Conference Playoffs
1MIA 4 vs 8TOR 0
2nd Round
East Finals
4CHI 4 vs 5NYK 3
1MIA 4 vs 4CHI 2
3Brooklyn Nets 4
3BKN 4 vs 6ATL 1
2IND 3 vs 3BKN 4
1Miami Heat 2
2IND 4 vs 7DET 1

This is where most people will think I’m crazy and turn off my blog because they think that I actually picked the Brooklyn Nets to make it to the NBA Title over the Miami Heat. It’s ok, I understand your incompetence and that you can’t accept change, but I would like to remind people that last year it took the Heat seven games to beat the Pacers and a miracle in game 6 to take the Spurs to a 7th and deciding game to clinch their 2nd title. They barely got by with their mediocre bench play and with their deteriorating Dwayne Wade and terrible Chris Bosh, LeBron has to play like superman to get them to the next level. With the bench of the Miami Heat getting worse in the offseason and with how hard it was for them to win the title last season, there is no way they can beat Brooklyn with the bench that Brooklyn possesses. Honestly, the Eastern Conference Championship I feel will be between the Pacers and Nets in the 2nd round where both teams are so balanced it’s stupidly ridiculous. So, I think this is the year that everything clicks for Brooklyn and they pull through to get to the NBA title to face…

Western Conference Playoffs
1SAS 4 vs 8DEN 1
2nd round
West Finals
4OKC 2 vs 5HOU 4
1SAS 4 vs 5HOU 2
3Golden State Warriors 3
3GSW 4 vs 6MEM 3
2LAC 3 vs 3GSW 4
1San Antonio Spurs 4
2LAC 4 vs 7MIN 1

You guessed it! OHHH and here comes every homer call in the book! I’m not picking my team because I’m a homer, but people forget the spurs only lost 2 games in last year’s Western Conference postseason and who were they too? The team I picked them to play in the Western Conference Finals this year. The Golden State Warriors are really… really good. They will beat Lob City in the 2nd round and give San Antonio a run for their hard earned dollars and could even beat them with their ability to space the floor. That Western Conference Finals matchup might be the best playoff matchup of the year and it’s not because my team will be involved, it’s because that’s how evenly matched these teams are. San Antonio is better than last season though, and with Kawhi Leonard having an entire year under his belt, he’ll be that good.

So here we go, the NBA Finals 2014. Spurs and Nets. KG vs Duncan… Pierce vs Leonard… Deron Williams vs Tony Parker… the matchups are nuts. I honestly think the Nets have the better matchups, especially with Brook Lopez having the clear advantage over Tiago Splitter. I think that talent wise and experience wise (which is weird to say) I think the Nets have more than San Antonio… BUT… the one thing the Nets don’t have is “Championship Swagger” that the Spurs have and with the Spurs just coming off of a finals appearance and on the verge of winning a fifth title, they will snag their fifth title this season in a Black/White classic (both teams wear black and white). Prediction: Spurs 4 Nets 3

The MVP will have to be Tim Duncan for he will retire after this season if the Spurs win the title. Popovich will also leave as well, and the Spurs will start a new going into 2014-15. Ok, now that my credibility is shot for being such a homer in my pick, I will run away into the night and see you again next week… but no honestly I do really think the Spurs could win it all and Brooklyn could defeat the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals as team play will be clearly evident in next year’s season. Toddles! Enjoy the season!

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