Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008-2009 NBA Predictions

Nate's predictions for what promises to be an exciting (and fairly wide open) 2008-2009 NBA season. Rankings are given within each division, and in parenthesis the team's overall ranking within the Conference.

THE EASTERN CONFERENCE:
Atlantic Division:
1. Boston Celtics (1): The Big 3 are older, but KG's intensity will keep them afloat in the competitive Atlantic Division.
2. Philadelphia 76ers (4): I was impressed with this athletic team in the playoffs, and now they've added Elton Brand.
3. Toronto Raptors (5): I expect a strong showing from the Raptors this year--Chris Bosh played extremely well in the Olympics.
4. New York Knicks: The Knicks will still suck, but they'll be more fun to watch under the guidance of new coach Mike D'Antoni.
5. New Jersey Nets: Officially in rebuilding mode, though I do think they made a good deal by getting Devin Harris for Jason Kidd at the end of last season.

Central Division:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (2): I think this is the year they finally break the Pistons' stronghold on the Division.
2. Detroit Pistons (6): The Pistons may need to think about trading one of its core veterans if it becomes apparent they won't compete for the title.
3. Chicago Bulls: Lots of talent, but too many players who play the same position to go far.
4. Milwaukee Bucks: Should have considered hiring Sports Guy Bill Simmons as its GM.
5. Indiana Pacers: It breaks my heart that one of my favorite teams, previously an annual playoff contender, offers little to look forward to this season.

Southwest Division:
1. Orlando Magic (3): With Dwight Howard still improving, should be the best team in a so-so Southwest Division.
2. Miami Heat (7): Everyone's talking about how Dwayne Wade has regained his form--if so, the Heat (with my pick for ROY Michael Beasley now contributing) should make a dramatic turnaround from last year.
3. Atlanta Hawks (8): Despite off-season controversy, they put up a lot of fight in the 1st round of the playoffs and I expect them to improve on last year.
4. Washington Wizards: A team which had a lot to look forward to has suffered a lot from Gilbert Arenas' ongoing injury issues.
5. Charlotte Bobcats: Still a couple more years of rebuilding before this team can make it out of the cellar.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:
Southwest Division:
1. New Orleans Hornets (1): I'm picking big things for the Hornets this year.
2. San Antonio Spurs (4): They may not be as dominant in the regular season any more, but this is a well-managed team which is still a threat when the playoffs roll around.
3. Houston Rockets (6): While I'm a fan of Yao & wishing Artest well with his latest team, I'm not convinced that the Rockets will be substantially improved from last year.
4. Dallas Mavericks: It would seem that the window is closing on the Mavs' title hopes without an infusion of new talent.
5. Memphis Grizzlies: This team is clearly in rebuilding mode but should be somewhat entertaining to follow given its young talent.

Northwest Division:
1. Utah Jazz (3): Deron Williams-to-Carlos Boozer is indeed John Stockton-to-Karl Malone version 2.0.
2. Portland Trailblazers (5): If Greg Oden is as good as advertised and stays healthy, this will be a fun year for Portland fans.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves: Sleeper alert! This young team is my pick for overachievers this season.
4. Denver Nuggets: With the trade of their best defensive player Marcus Camby to the Clips, the Nuggets are primed for a dysfunctional and underachieving season.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder: I was vehemently opposed to the relocation of the Seattle Sonics to Oklahoma City, and the controversy has stood in the way of this team making any real progress in assembling sufficient talent to compete.

Pacific Division:
1. Los Angeles Lakers (2): Their starting frontline (Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum) is the best in the league.
2. Phoenix Suns (7): Shaq may be fading, but Amare Stoudamire appears fully recovered and could post some monster numbers this year.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (8): The departure of Elton Brand may not be as bad as everybody has feared with the addition of Baron Davis & Marcus Camby.
4. Golden State Warriors: A team which is fun to watch but probably won't make it far in the playoffs should it make it there.
5. Sacramento Kings: There's not a lot of recognizable names on this Kings roster--a far cry from the glory Kings of several years ago.

Eastern Playoffs:
Round 1:
(1) Celtics def (8) Hawks
(2) Cavs def (7) Heat
(6) Pistons def (3) Magic
(5) Raptors def (4) 76ers
Round 2:
(1) Celtics def (5) Raptors
(2) Cavs def (6) Pistons
Eastern Conf Finals:
(2) Cavs def (1) Celtics

Western Playoffs:
Round 1:
(1) Hornets def (8) Clippers
(2) LA Lakers def (7) Suns
(6) Rockets def (3) Jazz
(4) Spurs def (5) Trailblazers
Round 2:
(1) Hornets def (4) Spurs
(2) LA Lakers def (6) Rockets
Western Conf Finals:
(1) Hornets def (2) LA Lakers

NBA Finals: (1) Hornets def (2) Cavaliers

MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Rookie of the Year: Michael Beasley, Miami Heat

5 Comments:

Blogger JH29 said...

wow. very detailed posting...
The Finals is pretty much set imho!! LAKERS / CELTS.. check it out http://jib-sports-culture.blogspot.com/

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