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Friday, November 2, 2012

NBA Season Predictions Part 1

 Predictions for the upcoming NBA season.

1. The Miami Heat will repeat as NBA Champions

 -The Heat are loaded again this season. And they also have Lebron James, the best basketball player since Michael Jordan. Lebron finally won his first NBA championship last season. And he continues to improve his game each year. I don't see anybody beating this team in a seven game series. As Lebron is just too good, and is at the peak of his basketball powers right now.

2. Oklahoma City will take a slight step back this season.

- The Thunder traded away James Harden, a top 20 overall player, just before the start of the season. Now, I still think the Thunder are a great team. But any team that loses an integral member of their core group, is bound to regress somewhat. I think the Thunder start the season out poorly, as they integrate the new members of their team. However, once they gel and get used to life without Harden, they will once again be in the Western Conference Finals. Yet, I don't see them making the Finals again without Harden.

3. The Lakers will win the Western Conference
-With the Thunder's trade of James Harden, there is no doubt anymore that the Lakers are the favorites to represent the Western Conference in this year's NBA Finals. Despite struggling to an 0-2 start this year, the Lakers have the most talented roster in the West. And they will eventually gel into a cohesive basketball team, that plays together and dominates their opponents on a nightly basis. Now, it might take until January for that task to be accomplished. But once they get comfortable with one another, look out.

4. The Minnesota Timberwolves Will Make the Playoffs
-Despite not having Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio (their two best players) until January, Minnesota will make the Playoffs for the first time since 2004. The Wolves' early season schedule is manageable. And with the  depth added in the off-season, (Kirilenko, Roy) to go along with the continued improvement of Nik Pekovic and Derrick Williams, they should be able to withstand the early season injury problems.

5. Awards Predictions
-MVP: Lebron James- Best player in the league on the best team in the league. Enough said.
  Others in the mix: Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul
-Most Improved Player: Ty Lawson- Lawson is a great point guard for the Denver Nuggets. He continues to improve with every season he plays in the NBA. Look for him to lead the Nuggets to at least 52 wins this season.
Others in the mix: Kyrie Irving, Omir Asik, Danilo Gallinari, Nik Pekovic,
-Defensive Player of the Year: Serge Ibaka- Ibaka blocks a ton of shots, which appeals to the people who vote for this award. Plus, perennial DPOY. Dwight Howard, is reviled by most of the people who follow the NBA. So I think Ibaka is the beneficiary of said revulsion towards Howard, and picks up his first DPOY award this season. Even though, Howard is the best defensive player in the NBA.
Others in the mix- Tony Allen, Dwight Howard, Ron Artest
-Rookie of the Year: Anthony Davis- Davis should win this award easily. He has the requisite skills to be an elite NBA defender right-away. Plus, the other members of his draft class don't appear to be as ready for the NBA as he is.
Others in the Mix: Damian Lillard, Thomas Robinson, Jonas Valanciunas.


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