Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
Let me mention from the get go that if you want a little more in depth look I would fully advise you quit reading this, and refer to Mark’s previews. This is less concrete analysis and more my random thoughts on the different teams. Strength of schedule seems to have done some odd things to some teams’ chances in my opinion, or it could just be the weakness of my sleep schedule. Hard to tell really.
For those scoring at home, all record predictions were made using my patented “Win, Lose, or Huh?” technique, where I go down a team’s schedule and make quick choices on what games they win or lose, with games I’m not sure about going into a third column cleverly marked “?”. The total of the “?” column is then split between wins and losses. Why am I telling you how the sausage is made, you ask? Just in case you weren’t SURE I was a genius.
39-27, 5th seed
I could not possibly be less confident about a pick than this. Has any East team had a worse run of luck than the Celts? Nenad Kristic signs a long term overseas deal, trades for BOTH former New Orleans superstars fall through, and then Jeff Green’s heart puts him out for the season. So you’ve got the Big Four, Brandon Bass, Jermaine O’neal’s corpse, and then…..Keyon Dooling?
So why do I think that they win 39 games? Because they are still the Celtics. When this team is on, they still look like contenders. Barring injuries, I’m still a believer.
NEW JERSEY NETS
35-31, 6th seed
I’m a sucker for elite pure point guard play, and Deron Williams has that in spades. Are Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries my favorite forwards ever? No, but neither was Carlos Boozer, and Deron made a habit of dragging him to the playoffs every year. If Dwight winds up in Jersey, then who knows? All bets are off.
NEW YORK KNICKS
43-23, 4th seed
Is this a flawed team? Yes. Is counting on Baron Davis to come back in shape and ready to play possibly a bad idea? Probably. Is counting on Amare to not miss major time due to injury or some kind or another downright ludicrous? Definitely.
However they did add Tyson Chandler. If he can get Melo to commit to defense, and they can get the rest of the team to at least not be TOTAL saloon doors, then this could get interesting.
I believe strength of schedule, combined with offseason moves made by other teams, will combine to keep Jrue, Iggy, and the rest of the gang from making a return trip to the playoffs. Shame too. Loved that scrappy first round series against the Heat last year.
We are going to need huge leaps from DeMar DeRozan, and not just the dunking kind. On the upside, should be a good pick in a good draft awaiting our ballers to the North. And “Bargnani” is still fun to say.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s Eastern Conference predictions…
50-16, 1st seed
They were the East’s top seed last year. With the league’s youngest MVP ever. Who just added a shooting guard who still likely has something in the tank. Which should take pressure off of Boozer, and turn this into more of an offense, and less of Derrick Rose doing Derrick Rose things. Which is honestly kind of a bummer.
Still a roster of role players, going nowhere fast. I’d like to see Varejao and Ramon Sessions dealt somewhere they could do some good, and let some of the younger guys like Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Christian Eyenga get some more extended burn.
I’m assuming this means I’m in dire need of sleep. Has to……..On the other hand, this is a relatively deep roster of pretty interchangeable parts. When you sub in, you don’t really lose anything. If any of the younger players make significant strides, maybe this isn’t so crazy. But I am pretty tired…
36-30, 6th seed
If it wasn’t for the Clippers’ acquisition of Paul, we would have to seriously look at giving Larry Legend GM of the year. Picking up West was a stroke of genius, and George Hill is a steal. Great decision to add Brian Shaw to the staff. This team is more dangerous than you think they are. With just a couple of things breaking their way, I would not be all that surprised to see them in the conference finals. And this is a great season for catching weird breaks.
34-32, 8th seed
A lot of people had them as preseason picks to make the playoffs last year, not realizing they would have an offense that could literally make your eyes bleed. If the defense stays top notch, and the offense just improves to passable, then that would be good enough to let the Bucks get manhandled in the first round by Chicago or Miami.
So difficult to tell with the Hawks. Does Josh Smith continue his long-jumper-a-thon? Does Jeff Teague evolve his game? Does Jason Collins find more minutes? That’s a lot of questions without a lot of clear answers. Although if you are asking the question “is VladRad the coolest nickname for a Serbian player ever?” the answer is clearly yes.
Lot of young players to love here. And if you can show me a person who says they don’t love saying “Bismack Biyombo,” I’ll show you a person who is lying.
50-16, 2nd seed
They still have James, Wade, and Bosh. If Wade’s body can hold up through the meat grinder of the shortened season (and hell, maybe even if it can’t , as long as he’s back for the playoffs) then year two of the Heatles should be just as amazing as the first year, in that dirty way of course. Add Shane Battier and rookie PG Norris Cole (who can’t possibly be worse than Bibby was) to the mix, and they may even be scarier than they were last year.
44-22, 3rd seed
All of this is contingent on Dwight staying of course. If not, welcome to the playoffs, Atlanta!
Is this the year that JaVale McGee gets it together? Will Blatche ever quit failing so hard? Did Wall work on his jumper over the offseason? Will Nick Young ever stop shooting long enough for us to find out? I personally think that we are a year or two away in Washington.
If you think I’m a fool, and wish to tell me so, you can follow me on Twitter @jakin1013.