FanIQ's NBA Season Preview and Predictions

The Most Exciting Sport In America Tips Off Tonight

10/27/09 in NBA   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

 

The NBA season if finally here and I for one couldn't be happier. Last season saw Kobe Bryant winning his first non-Shaq title while LeBron didn't hold up his end of the deal by making the Finals.

This season is looking like it could be one of the best ones in a long time, and thankfully the ref and the league settled their disputes and we as fan won't have to suffer through brutally long and even more poorly officiated games.

Most of this decade the West has been the dominant conference but this season could be one of the most balanced seasons in quite sometime. The Lakers and Spurs are the clear favorites in the West and the Kings and Timberwolves are clearly the worst teams in the conference but the other 10 teams in the conference will make the Western Conference playoff race one of the best in recent memory. I will spotlight a few of those teams now.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be the breakout team this year in the NBA. The Thunder are led by the best young, pure scorer in the NBA in Kevin Durant. Durant will win his first scoring title this season. Alongside Durant is dynamic second year player Russell Westbrook who while not quite a PG, is perfect for the up and down style the Thunder will play this season. Jeff Green is a very underrated player while the top 5 pick of James Harden will prove to be a great pick. Harden is the ultimate glue guy and will give the Thunder the solid third option behind Durant and Westbrook.

While the Thunder will be the breakout team this year in the NBA, there will be at least one team that will head the other direction or not meet the expectations of their fans and the Portland Trailblazers will be that team. Last year Portland was the "it" team. They havs the young star in Brandon Roy, the emerging star in LaMarcus Aldridge, and a group of really solid young players all excepting their roles. Well that all changed this past summer as they signed the ball dominating Andre Miller. Miller has said that it doesn't bother him backing up Steve Blake to start the year but I seriously doubt that lasts. All it takes is one malcontent on an NBA team for it to go south in a hurry.

Here are my predictions for how the West will play out this regular season:
  1. Los Angeles Lakers 63-19
  2. San Antonio Spurs 60-22
  3. Utah Jazz 52-30
  4. Dallas Mavericks 50-32
  5. New Orleans Hornets 49-33
  6. Denver Nuggets 47-35
  7. Phoenix Suns 45-37
  8. Oklahoma City Thunder 42-40
  9. Los Angeles Clippers 41-41
  10. Houston Rockets 41-41
  11. Portland Trailblazers 40-42
  12. Memphis Grizzles 30-52
  13. Golden St. Warriors 27-55
  14. Minnesota Timberwolves 22-60
  15. Sacramento Kings 16-66
Next up is the Eastern Conference


The Eastern Conference has four big questions this NBA season:
  1. How healthy is Kevin Garnett?
  2. Can LeBron and Shaq coexist?
  3. Can Vince Carter replace Hedo Turkoglu in the Orlando rotation?
  4. Can anyone challenge the Cleveland, Boston, Orlando trio at the top?
Boston can definitely become the second team ever to win 70 regular season games, if they have a 100% healthy Kevin Garnett. The Celtics are one of the biggest, longest, and most athletic teams in the NBA and it starts at the Point. Rajon Rondo showed everyone what he was made of in last years playoffs against the Bulls. Rondo almost single handily willed the Celtics to the series victory by averaging a triple double. For some reason though, the Celtics shopped Rondo this off season. Rondo was known as a headcase coming out of Kentucky, but I think he channels that energy onto the court and has a monster season. Ray Allen is still Ray Allen and Paul Pierce has maybe one big season left in him. It really all lies on the knee of Kevin Garnett. If he is healthy...look out.

LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, period. Kobe is a better scorer, but as a straight basketball player, LeBron is the tops. Cleveland has done everything they can imagine to try and convince LeBron to stay in Cleveland after this season. So Cleveland brought in the one man they thought could bring a title to Cleveland and keep LeBron in place. The only problem is Shaq has never been able to play the supporting role and no matter how many times Shaq says he can accept that role, I'll believe it when I see it. As we now look back, Shaq has actually been the bad guy in every situation he has left. I have a feeling that if Shaq crosses LeBron, he will be Braylon Edward's.

Orlando is the defending Eastern Conference champions and they have the best young big man in Dwight Howard but they are almost flying under the radar. In addition to having Dwight Howard back, the Magic also return All-Star's Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis but they let the Hedo Turkoglu walk in the offseason and replaced him with Vince Carter. Quick note here, has Vince Carter ever played with a great team? Those teams in Toronto and New Jersey were never great teams but this Orlando team has a shot. So if Vince Carter wants to go down as one of the greats, he will show it this year. Orlando will have the firepower to keep up with the Boston's and Cleveland's but it will come down to their execution in crunch time. Having a player like Vince Carter to create his own shot will help but will it be enough?

Here is how I think the East plays out this year:
  1. Boston Celtics 68-14
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers 66-16
  3. Orlando Magic 63-19
  4. Chicago Bulls 48-34
  5. Washington Wizards 46-36
  6. Atlanta Hawks 45-37
  7. Philadelphia 76er's 41-41
  8. Miami Heat 40-42
  9. Toronto Raptors 38-44
  10. Charlotte Bobcats 35-47
  11. Detroit Pistons 30-52
  12. Indiana Pacers 29-51
  13. New York Knicks 29-51
  14. New Jersey Nets 23-59
  15. Milwaukee Bucks 18-64
Wondering how the playoffs will play out, then keep reading.

Western Conference
1st Round
Lakers over Thunder 4-0
Spurs over Suns 4-1
Nuggets over Jazz 4-3
Hornets over Mavericks 4-2

2nd Round
Lakers over Hornets 4-1
Spurs over Nuggets 4-2

Conference Finals
Spurs over Lakers 4-2

Eastern Conference
1st Round

Celtics over Heat 4-1
Cavaliers over 76er's 4-0
Magic over Hawks 4-2
Bulls over Wizards 4-2

2nd Round
Celtics over Bulls 4-2
Cavaliers over Magic 4-3

Conference Finals
Celtics over Cavaliers 4-3


NBA Finals

Spurs over Celtics 4-3

Tim Duncan has been the most consistent superstar over this past decade and while he is starting to get up there in games played for his career, I think that he will have one more great season. The Spurs did the most this offeseason by adding Richard Jefferson, DeJuan Blair, and Antonio McDyess. All three players fit a role perfectly for the Spurs, add to that Tony Parker and a quite possibly healthy for the first time in years Manu Ginobili and the Spurs have all the ingredients for one last Tim Duncan title run.

I think the powder keg that has become the Los Angeles Lakers will finally blow this season. The Lakers are loaded on paper but the "trade" of Ron Artest for Trevor Ariza will hurt the Lakers more than anyone ever could imagine. Artest no longer is the player that the Lakers needed, he can't guard smaller and quicker players anymore, which will force Kobe to do so. Artest also can be a ball dominator and with Kobe on the team, I just don't see that playing out well. Also, there was the offseason matter of Lamar Odom getting married to the black sheep Kardashian Klohe. I mean come on Lamar, you can do so much better than the most unattractive of all of the Kardashian sisters. So not only did Lamar and Klohe get married after knowing each other for a very short time, the kicker about their wedding was this....Kobe Bryant was the best man. DJ Mbenga also has a publicist. This team has the makings to either be one of the all time greats or an all time great train wreck, and honestly, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if it was both.

For some of the individual awards, I see LeBron winning his second straight MVP award with averages of 28 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds a game. Also, either Derrick Rose or Rajon Rondo will be in the top 5 of MVP voting. Kevin Durant will win his first of many scoring titles when he averages almost 32 points per game. Even though Blake Griffin will miss the first 20 games or so, I think he will still have a major impact once he plays and will win the Rookie of the Year in a tight race over point guards Johnny Flynn and Brandon Jennings.

So there you have it, the FanIQ NBA season preview and predictions. Now it is your turn, tell me what you think of my predictions and share your own below.
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11/5/09   |   Chief_aka_James   |   3307 respect

Prediction: The Minnesota Fighting Flynn's (Timberwolves) will make the 2009-10 Playoffs.

11/2/09   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

BluDevil wrote:
Come on now.... is there any environment in the NBA that even compares to the great home courts in the NCAA? Sure, the NBA has better players but there isn't a home court advantage anywhere in the NBA that is the equal of the best NCAA home courts.

And the co-eds in the stands? Mmmmmm......

True.

For pageantry and atmosphere, the college game is tops but if you like watching the best players on the planet play basketball, the NBA is the game.

11/2/09   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

kantwistaye wrote:
Not to mention, outside of the UNC's of college basketball few teams have 5 guys that you actually need to defend (which is why NBA defense appears to be worse).  Again, college basketball doesn't even come close to the NBA.  The culture of collegiate basketball may be more enjoyable but when it comes to the product on the court the NBA is beyond question superior.

Come on now.... is there any environment in the NBA that even compares to the great home courts in the NCAA? Sure, the NBA has better players but there isn't a home court advantage anywhere in the NBA that is the equal of the best NCAA home courts.

And the co-eds in the stands? Mmmmmm......

11/2/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4211 respect

Jubanator14 wrote:
That is a common misconception. The NBA has the most athletic and best basketball players in the world playing and night in and night out, you could see something that you've never seen before. 

College basketball is good and fun but in terms of excitement, better players, and better play, it doesn't hold a candle to the NBA.

Not to mention, outside of the UNC's of college basketball few teams have 5 guys that you actually need to defend (which is why NBA defense appears to be worse).  Again, college basketball doesn't even come close to the NBA.  The culture of collegiate basketball may be more enjoyable but when it comes to the product on the court the NBA is beyond question superior.

11/2/09   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

joncool65 wrote:
not even the most exciting form of basketball, I'm waiting for the COLLEGE season to start.  ya know, where the players actually care.

That is a common misconception. The NBA has the most athletic and best basketball players in the world playing and night in and night out, you could see something that you've never seen before. 

College basketball is good and fun but in terms of excitement, better players, and better play, it doesn't hold a candle to the NBA.

11/2/09   |   joncool65   |   7 respect

not even the most exciting form of basketball, I'm waiting for the COLLEGE season to start.  ya know, where the players actually care.

11/2/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4211 respect

picturethis wrote:
Come on now. How can anyone actually think hockey is more exciting than basketball? 

Well, in defense of hockey fans, there isn't a better sport live.

11/2/09   |   picturethis

Come on now. How can anyone actually think hockey is more exciting than basketball? 

10/28/09   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

wrote:
Exciting Sport ? Try Hockey and College Football. Better than watching a bunch of thugs stuffing a basketball

Thugs? You wanna talk thugs? When is the last time you saw something like this in a basketball game?



Now that is thuggish behavior if I ever saw it. In hoops, when there is a fight there are fines and suspensions. In hockey, when there is a fight it is cheered and is "part of the game". And apparently there are times when one guy tries to murder another guy by bashing him in the head with a stick.

So I totally disagree when basketball players are "thugs" and somehow hockey players are held up as model citizens. What a laugh!

10/28/09   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

wrote:
Exciting Sport ? Try Hockey and College Football. Better than watching a bunch of thugs stuffing a basketball

Yeah, nothing better than watching a sport that has no true playoff and a mythical champion.

10/27/09   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

mk_donley wrote:
Cleveland Cavaliers.......NBA Champions.......enough said.

They might want to figure out how to win at home, first. Just saying.

10/27/09   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

I think Portland is much better than 11th in the west and I think the suns are top 5, finishing ahead of both Dallas and New Orleans. But great write up here, I'm sooooooo glad the NBA is getting started. NCAA is just around the corner too!

10/27/09   |   johnshirey54   |   162 respect

I agree for the most part, but switch the Spurs and the Nuggets in the West. Call me a homer but I think the Magic beat a 70+ win Celtics team in the Eastern Conference finals, 4-3.

10/27/09   |   beerstudk   |   1538 respect

 Portland going back to sub .500..... are you crazy?!?  They're easily the best team in the Northwest Division and should be seeded anywhere from 3 to 5 in the Western Conference.  And if Andre Miller becomes a problem he'll be gone.  They'll either give him away like they did with Rasheed Wallace/Bonzi Wells/Rueben Patterson/Damon Stoudamire or just buy out his contract like they did with Steve Francis

The Blazers should win 50+ games this season!!!

10/27/09   |   abac89   |   758 respect

Portland 40-42 and 11th in the west umm you are really underestimating them especially since they were 4th last year and they added Andre Miller to an already deep squad

10/27/09   |   Heyhey1970   |   194 respect

I like Denver to be a couple of spots higher, but everytime I get too excited about any George Karl coached team, they don't meet expectations. 

10/27/09   |   drn0iswatr   |   731 respect

I think the OKC Thunder will be dangerous - Kevin Durant is the man. I also think that you are spot on about your analysis overall. Great job as always Nick!

10/27/09   |   mk_donley   |   2554 respect

Cleveland Cavaliers.......NBA Champions.......enough said.

10/27/09   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

wrote:
'The Most Exciting Sport in America'????? come one please, everybody knows its football.

Football and Basketball are different types of exciting. For night in and night out, continuous action, basketball is the best. Football can be exciting, but there is a lot of down time also. 

I like football but basketball, for my money, is more exciting for the entire game than football.

10/27/09   |   Diablorain   |   4425 respect

(Edited by Diablorain)

can't believe you have Oklahoma at the 8 spot over Portland and Houston...that is bold right there..and i see the Piston winning more then 30 games

10/27/09   |   Jubanator14   |   367 respect

wrote:
You have the OKC Thunder making the playoffs?

I have my Golden State Warriors winning the Pacific.

I think Houston's loss of Yao and T-Mac leaves them as a team full of role players and the Clippers missing Blake for the better part of the first half of the year, opens the door for the young Thunder to sneak into the playoffs.

Plus, why make predictions if you make boring ones that everyone else is making.

10/27/09   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Huh? Football started 7 weeks ago? I'm confused...

10/27/09   |   kantwistaye   |   4211 respect

I still think too many people are sleeping on the Magic.  They're definitely better than the Cavs and could potentially be just as good as the Celtics.  I think the Cavs will have a great regular season, but they'll regret trading for the Big Mistake when they get pick n' rolled to death in the playoffs.

10/27/09   |   HotSportChic

grahamjohn36 wrote:
yea u right bout dat. lebron should of came harder or got his team more involved so dey could of went 2 da finals 2 play kkobe and dem lakers

Well I hope Lebron make moves with Shaq and now that he has the help of the Big guy this will prove or disprove my theory Ive been sayin all along Is Lebron all hype this is the test people!!!!

10/27/09   |   HotSportChic

OH Yeah Lovin it Ive been so bored without Basketball

10/27/09   |   grahamjohn36

yea u right bout dat. lebron should of came harder or got his team more involved so dey could of went 2 da finals 2 play kkobe and dem lakers