Saturday, November 17, 2012

2012-13 NBA Preview

**NOTE** I started writing this on October 29, which is also the day that Hurricane Sandy hit New York, and I lost power for a week. Due to that, I've been struggling for time, so this "preview" is really late. Just trust that these predictions were those that I made (or would have) prior to seeing anything. There's some very strong evidence of that in some cases.

It's that time again. The NBA has returned, and this season (unlike the NHL) will not be shortened by a lockout. Personally, I enjoyed the shorter season and would totally advocate for 66 games to be the normal length for a basketball season. Hopefully that is changed in the summer of 2014. Either way, I'm excited for what should be a very interesting season. Now it's time for me to make some predictions that are sure to go wrong:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. New York Knicks
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Brooklyn Nets
  5. Toronto Raptors
The Celtics are much better than a lot of people are giving them credit for. Now that Fab Melo, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, and Jason Terry have been added to their bench, their rotation is suddenly very deep. Yes, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are getting older, but they don't need to carry the team anymore. This is the year of Rondo. I think he finally realizes that his team needs him to carry the load.

The Knicks are now the oldest team in history but they should be fine, at least in the regular season. That doesn't mean that I expect much, but as a Knicks fan whose first taste of the sport was during the Isiah Thomas era, a middle of the pack team is good enough for me. Hopefully Mike Woodson has the smarts to use Amar'e Stoudemire off the bench when he returns. There just isn't enough room on the court for Melo, Amar'e, and Chandler to do what they need to do. Small ball will be a key factor.

The Sixers are fine, that is if Andrew Bynum is relatively healthy. Other than that, they're a team built around a bunch of role players. (Written before I found out that Bynum basically isn't going to play for than half the year at best.)

I already covered why the Nets are not that good in an article in July. I even got into an argument with New York Times writer Harvey Araton about it on twitter. They might sneak into the playoffs, but not as as a "3-5 seed". (By the way Mr. Araton, if you are reading this, the Nets still aren't good).

This offseason, I talked myself into the Raptors as a dark horse playoff team. Then I quickly remembered that they are the Raptors.

Central Division

  1. Indiana Pacers
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Milwaukee Bucks
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Detroit Pistons
The Pacers are by far the class of this division. They should be able to run away and hide in this division. I love the way their roster is put together and people will notice just how good the Georges (George Hill and Paul George) are. (I obviously wrote this before the Granger injury)

I expect Kyrie Irving to take a step forward and make the jump into elite, and carry this team to contention even in spite of his lackluster (boy am I generous) supporting cast (obviously other than Anderson Varejao).

Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings will have many a fight over the ball, but I have a strong feeling that the talent between these guys is so great, that they'll find a way in this very weak conference.

Derrick Rose won't play this year. By the time he's ready, his team will be dead in the water, so it wouldn't make sense to take the risk and come back too early.

In my draft recap I mentioned how much I hated the pick of Andre Drummond in the first round for the Pistons. They are going to compete with the Magic and Bobcats for the worst team in the league.

Southeast Division

  1. Miami Heat
  2. Atlanta Hawks
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Charlotte Bobcats
  5. Orlando Magic
Outside of the Heat, this could be the worst division in the NBA.

Obviously, the Heat won the NBA Championship in June, and are only going to get better. Mario Chalmers is definitely improving, along with the shooters they have added in Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. As long as Allen isn't asked to do too much, he's a great addition. Much like the Knicks, small ball will be important for Miami's success this year, with LeBron and Bosh playing power forward and center, respectively.

I'm a believer in the Hawks this year, unlike most people. Joe Johnson is not as good as you might think, and this is a team that made the playoffs last year without their best player, Al Horford. Horford is a monster in the middle, and combined with Josh Smith, should scare all teams in the East. This team is a major sleeper.

The Wizards are terrible with John Wall, and he has started the season injured, and their coach will be fired very, very soon. When Wall does return however, he'll propel them ahead of these next two teams, both of whom could very easily have the worst record in the NBA.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will have to do basically everything for the Bobcats to be worth anything this year. I think he's very good, but for now, he and the rest of the Cats will be near the bottom oft he barrel. But not quite...

When reviewing the Dwight Howard trade in August, I applauded the Orlando Magic for throwing away their team in the interest of being terrible and making a push for a very high draft pick. They will do just that, and should easily clinch the worst record in the NBA.


  1. Miami Heat
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Indiana Pacers
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Philadelphia 76ers
  6. Atlanta Hawks
  7. Brooklyn Nets
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers
First Round
Heat over Cavaliers
Celtics over Nets
Pacers over Hawks
Knicks over 76ers

Second Round
Heat over Knicks
Pacers over Celtics

Conference Finals
Heat over Pacers

Western Conference

Southwest Division

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. Dallas Mavericks
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. New Orleans Hornets
Once again, the Spurs are old, and once again they will be one of the best teams in the league. Greg Popovich will do whatever it takes to channel everything he can out of this team. No matter who plays, the Spurs will always play good defense and move the ball very well on offense.

The Grizzlies are once again an exciting team with some really good pieces. It will be interesting to see if they can ride their amazing frontcourt into the conversation amongst the elite teams in the NBA.

Though Dirk will be out for a while, I still like the Mavs as a slightly below average team without him, and a possible contender for the eight seed when he finally returns.

I didn't like the Rockets at all before the Harden trade, and I still don't see them making any noise in a crowded West.

They're still a bad team, don't worry. Davis and Rivers will gain valuable experience, and hopefully the Eric Gordon situation will be ironed out and they;ll have a bright future once the role players are improved.

Northwest Division

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Denver Nuggets
  3. Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Portland Trail Blazers
Despite the loss of James Harden, the Thunder have a very good shot at being a #1 seed, winning the conference, and/or winning an NBA title this year. I'll explain in five words: Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. The trade may come back to haunt them when they face a team like the Lakers, but don't be surprised if they don't skip a beat.

I love the Nuggets this year. On offense they will run up and down the floor and they will commit to defense. This team will be the most fun to watch in the NBA. Being that there is so much depth, when they finally get their rotation figured out, they can be a dark horse contender in the playoffs.

Speaking of teams that are fun to watch, the Wolves are going to be fine without Rubio and Love, and their returns will be a major shot in the arm for Minnesota and can propel them into the playoffs.

I love the big men in Utah. Unfortunately, there are too many of them and I fully expect Al Jefferson to be traded away around the deadline. This whole team looks really odd together on paper. I see a breakout season from Gordon Hayward, but this team won't get farther than they did last year, an 8th seed and a first round exit.

Damian Lillard and Nicolas Batum are key pieces to the future in Portland, not to mention one of the most underrated big men, and player in general, in LaMarcus Aldridge. Being in a tough division will hurt, and so will simply being the Blazers.

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Los Angeles Clippers
  3. Sacramento Kings
  4. Phoenix Suns
  5. Golden State Warriors
We all know who is winning this division.

The Clippers have a very deep bench, and even Vinny Del Negro will figure out the rotation, making the Clips dangerous come playoff time.

My boy Tyreke Evans seems to be on his way out of Sacramento. My other boy Demarcus Cousins will make the jump to elite status this year. A very young team that with the right coaching will shine bright in the future, but not right now. There is a chance however, that the Kings can get into the postseason.

Steve Nash left the PG position in good hands with Goran Dragic, but I see a shortage of talent on this roster. They won't be competitive.

Stephen Curry is never healthy, and that's a serious problem for a team that also has Andrew Bogut and his knee issues. Klay Thompson can score at will, and despite his playing in Golden State, he'll get the recognition for his ability. Other than that.....let's move on from this team.


  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. San Antonio Spurs 
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Los Angeles Clippers
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. Utah Jazz
First Round
Thunder over Jazz
Spurs over Timberwolves
Lakers over Clippers
Nuggets over Grizzlies

Second Round
Thunder over Nuggets
Lakers over Spurs

Conference Finals
Lakers over Thunder

NBA Finals
I know, I went chalk. I took the easy way out. I get it. It seems too obvious, and it is. As Kobe nears the twilight of his career, everyone will finally get to watch the Kobe-Lebron finals that has been dreamt of for years. The winner? I'll go with the best player in the world.

Heat over Lakers in 7
Finals MVP: Lebron James

MVP: Lebron James
Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler
Most Improved Player: Klay Thompson
Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford(Originally went with Harden, but he won't qualify)
Coach of the Year: Not Vinny Del Negro. Okay, seriously, Greg Popovich
Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard

No comments:

Post a Comment