Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NBA Predictions

As always, the starred teams are the ones making the playoffs.  Teams without stars who aren’t leading the divisions?  Stay with me here…they’re the ones who will miss the playoffs.  There will be a test later.

Southeast Division: Hawks, Wizards*, Heat*, Magic, Hornets
You could talk me into any of the top three finishing in any order and I’d believe it.  I guess I have my order based on Miami resting enough of their old dudes to settle for just a playoff spot while Atlanta and Washington duke it out for the top spot.  Orlando seems to be trending up but is still at least a year away.  Charlotte is going to be so bad offensively that Michael Jordan could un-retire and still be the leading scorer.  (There is probably a 25-1 chance of this actually happening.)

Central Division: Cavaliers, Bucks*, Bulls*, Pacers*, Pistons
That’s right, a four-playoff team division.  Cleveland will be half-assing it all regular season as Love and Irving ease back from injuries and LeBron stays fresh for the playoffs, yet they’ll still coast into first place.  Milwaukee is on the way up, and I think Jason Kidd is a good enough coach to prevent a letdown.  The Bulls, however, are the team I do see having a bit of a letdown in the post-Thibodeau era.  Indiana vaults back into the playoffs thanks to Paul George’s full-on return, while Detroit apparently still has a team.  Good for them.

Atlantic Division: Raptors, Celtics, Knicks, Nets, 76ers
Now HERE is a truly awful Eastern Conference division.  Toronto wins by default, and Boston will be pretty frisky and narrowly miss out on an eighth seed.  The Knicks are overrated as usual and will be terrible.  Brooklyn and Philly speak for themselves as the definition of awful.

Southwest Division: Rockets, Spurs*, Grizzlies*, Pelicans*, Mavericks
What a nasty division.  Dallas isn’t even THAT bad but they’re doomed for the basement in this horrorshow.  Houston wins and is overly proud of a division title, San Antonio doesn’t win the division since they don’t really care and are just staying healthy for the playoffs.  (OR maybe they do put more emphasis on home-court this year given how they got kinda hosed by that first-round Clippers matchup last season.)  Memphis is good again but the cracks are showing in this era and Anthony Davis again single-handedly leads a blah team to a postseason spot.

Pacific Division: Warriors, Clippers*, Kings, Suns, Lakers
Seriously, people think Golden State got ‘lucky’?  That’s the narrative?  People are idiots.  They easily repeat.  The Clippers have their usual good regular season then flop in the playoffs.  Sacramento is going to be a hilarious yet oddly dangerous mess.  Phoenix may just be a mess.  The number of Kobe Bryant tweets that directly call out a teammate will double the number of Lakers wins this season.

Northwest Division: Thunder, Jazz*, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, Nuggets
Yikes, what a lousy division.  Oklahoma City roars back to respectability even if Durant is only at 70%.  It’s due to this weak division that I see Utah speaking into the eighth spot, and also in no small part because “The Stifle Tower” is one of my all-time favourite sports nicknames.  I really wanted to pick Minnesota as a playoff team since it would be a great feel-good tribute to the late Flip Saunders, but Wiggins/Towns and company are still probably a year away.  Portland actually might’ve had a shot at the title last year had Wes Matthews not gotten hurt and now the franchise has fallen apart.  Denver = terrible.

Hawks over Pacers, Cavaliers over Bulls, Wizards over Bucks, Heat over Raptors
Warriors over Jazz, Thunder over Pelicans, Rockets over Grizzlies, Spurs over Clippers (“Oh come on!” yells Gregg Popovich)

Hawks over Heat, Cavaliers over Wizards, Spurs over Warriors, Thunder over Rockets

Cavaliers over Hawks, Spurs over Thunder

Spurs over Cavaliers

Yeah, I’m picking San Antonio again.  Ring #6 for Tim and Pops, ring #1 for LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s the Commander Riker of the next generation of the Spurs dynasty (Kawhi Leonard is Captain Picard, naturally).  The poor city of Cleveland takes one on the chin sports-wise yet again. 

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