NBA Preview!!!

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I know I’m pretty darn late to the party. This one has been in the works for a while, and only now have I really just gotten around to finishing it. But no more procrastination! So, without any further ado………. my NBA Preview.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

1. Miami Heat. I hate to say this, I really, really, really, really hate to. But unfortunately, they forced me. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, this team is (A) Pretty good, (B) Playing with a swagger that’s just hard to describe, and (C) finally finding talent that doesn’t involve LBJ, DW or CB.

2.  Chicago Bulls. The only reason they should be number 2 instead of 1 is simple. No Rose. While they will still be good, the Bulls are Defined by D-Rose. Without him, they’re good. With him – they can be unstoppable.

3. Boston Celtics. Remember when I said 2011 is the last year for Garnett and Pierce? I was wrong. But now, this is Rondo’s team. So expect another few years out of this lineup before it’s back to square one.

4. New York Knicks. I really don’t feel confident in this prediction. But if everything goes decently well for the Knicks, then they’ll have the 4 seed taken just because of the talent they can produce. Not saying they will, but it’s very possible.

5. Brooklyn Nets. I feel a bit more confident on this one. With the new image, new players and a new chance, I feel good about the Nets. They have a decent bench and a great starting lineup.

6. Philadelphia 76ers. You know the name, Seventy Sixers? I feel like they’ve been hovering in this area for a bit – now they take a step up. Next year, maybe they’ll get rid of the name, change to the Fifty Fourers.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving looks poised to make a sophomore stretch, and become one of the elite point guards in the game. Next year, this team will be ready for prime-time.

8. Atlanta Hawks. This team is getting older, but I still think they’re playoff caliber. They can play with the big boys, but it could be hard in the division owned by the Heat.

EASTERN PLAYOFFS.

Heat Over Hawks, In 6

Bulls Over Cavs, In 7

76ers Over Celtics, in 5

Nets Over Knicks, in 7

 

76ers Over Heat, in 7

Bulls Over Nets, in 6

 

Bulls Over 76ers, in 5

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE 

1. Thunder. With the playoff experience checkmark off the list, the only thing standing between them and this spot is their ego. Keep it low, and Aloha, Number one seed.

2. Clippers. Also mark the playoff experience checkmark off. But this will be more than a checkmark season. This season will be the second breakout. Get ready, because LA has a new king.

3. San Antonio Spurs. Seriously. When will they go away?

4. Lakers. It’s not going to be the same. They’re on the way out, and don’t be surprised if they finish lower than this. Kobe, Meta, Gasol and Howard are getting older and more prone to injuries. Sorry LA – there’s a new King here.

5. Houston Rockets. With the addition of Harden and Lin, this team is going to be offense heavy. And while the lack of defense might be scary for Rockets fans, the offense will be enough to propel them to the number five spot.

6. Denver Nuggets. It’s a new look for them, and it’s looking good. Don’t expect a miracle season, but definitely a good one.

7. Memphis Grizzlies. One spot up from last year, they look ready – and they will be. Returning veterans are everything here, and they want to give Memphis a long journey through the playoffs, and look poised to take the first step.

8. Mavericks. One last time for them. Nowitzki is past his prime. Terry waved goodbye, and the Mavericks might be doing the same with the playoffs for a while starting next year.

PLAYOFFS

Thunder Over Mavericks, in 5

Clippers Over Grizzlies, in 7

Nuggets Over Spurs, in 7

Rockets Over Lakers, in 6

 

Thunder Over Nuggets, in 6

Clippers Over Rockets, in 5

 

Thunder Over Clippers, in 7
Which brings us to the NBA Finals. And I predict the team that will hoist the Larry O’ Brien Trophy, in 7 games, with the MVP Kevin Durant, will be the Oklahoma City Thunder, bringing a championship to the franchise for the first time since the seventies.

 

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Locked out, but do you care?

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Now it’s done.We can finally turn our attention back to cartoon network or CBS or ESPN or TNT or whatever it might’ve been. Or for me, my constant sport watching continues. NFL, MLS, NBA, and free agent watch in MLB. Does anyone feel like something is missing?

Yes, there is. But unless you are a fanatic, you probably haven’t been thinking about it. There is a lockout going on.

Normally, DC would be up in flames. But with RG3, Natitude plus a playoff trip for D.C United, things are looking fine. But don’t worry, Winnipeg. I’m sure you guys are up in flames.

So why hasn’t there been any attention?

Simple.

NHL, though branded as a “mainstream” league, in short – is not. Unfortunately, nobody seems to care until april except for the hardcore fans. So when the NHL is still locked out in april, I think people will be like “Whoa. Where’s that hockey that takes the place of Judge Judy?”.

Even so, the NHL needs to get some support. The country is half asleep for this. I think I just woke up.

But why should we care? My main loves are the Nats, Pats and Wizards (pathetic, I know). And the “average” hardcore sports-fan – well – be straight with me – do you actually care much about the NHL before the playoffs?

I think once football ends, people will pay attention. But until then – sorry NHL – this country won’t pay you much attention – which means that there won’t be as much urgency to put a deal on the table.

The urgency right now to put a deal on the table, is, in a word – baloney. Nobody will tell you. But it’s true. And unfortunately, it looks like it will stay this way for a while.

Sorry Winnipeg.

We have more than games to play

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This week, the northeast, (specifically New York and New Jersey here), was hit by Hurricane Sandy.

So when the Knicks played the Heat last night, and when they announced the Nets VS Raptors game was still on, I was, in one word: astonished.

There is too much happening to take your attention, police and subway to Madison Square Garden. The NBA needed to look up from their money-making ways (the NBA was willing to charge up to $58 for nosebleed seats for the WIZARDS) and cancel the game. I don’t care the Knicks wouldn’t have opened their season yet, or the Nets. Sometimes you have to look at priorities.

The New York Marathon nobody will be happy with either way, but everyone can grudgingly admit it was a good choice.

The Giants VS Steelers game will go on as planned. Unfortunately, even though it should, unlike the NBA, MLB or MLS, you can’t just replace a game when you only have 17 weeks and 16 games. It just doesn’t work.

The Red Bulls and D.C United handled this perfectly, and I’m fine with DC United starting the playoffs at home as opposed to finishing as a DC resident.

I know sports can be important. But right now, we have bigger things to think about – so that’s where the attention should be, not on NBA TV.

 

A city of angels gone evil

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Dear Citizens of Miami, LA, Detroit and San Fransisco-

Miami can celebrate now, Heat fans. You are no longer the evil empire. With the acquisition of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and lots of talk about Lebron in 2014, you guessed it – the attention hogging, celebrity snogging, twitter-and-blogging, kobe hailing, kings of staples center, Lakers have taken that burden off of the shoulders of the Miami Heat.

The annoying part is that you’ve made people care, Lakers.. I mean, have you seen the cover here? Never mind – you already broadcasted it to your 2,767,507 followers. And yes. That is a real number Detroit and San Fransisco.  That is real.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week, by the way, when the world series is JUST STARTING. Ouch. Detroit and San Fransisco, that burns. But don’t worry, I’m speaking up for you. By the way LA, this is my “Regional” cover. I live in DC. Yet how didn’t I get Miguel Cabrera? You’ve given the world the impression that you will always be: A) the best, B) making big, mindblowing trades and additions, and C) the greatest show on earth – on MTV at least. Even though you are in the NBA.

Well I speak now for the silent. Enough is enough. I don’t understand. If there are 29 others, why tilt them to you? Why must you inflate the (already) huge fan base, with your sparkly rings, trophies and players? I live in DC. I can understand trying for us, Milwaukee, Houston, New Orleans, and at a point, even your own LA Clippers, your younger brothers (who, any minute now, by the way, will overtake you).

But when a regular season NBA game hasn’t been played and baseball is at it’s climax – how can you use those little puppy dog eyes of yours and bring us back to you? I just don’t get it LA.

And Miami? Don’t expect to be out of it long… it won’t be long before the entire world starts talking about LeBron to LA, thanks to your good friends in LA.

The Lakers have made the NBA a one man show. And unless you live in LA, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me.

-Will

LeBron, LeBron, LeBron – ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!

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I turned on my usual SportsCenter this morning, knowing the Heat had won. There was a segment about LeBron. I was fine with that, as I assumed a lot of attention would be played towards him, winning MVP and all. But as I looked down the SportsCenter sidebar, I saw that the next five segments all had King James’ name in it, and at the top, a memo telling you Dick Vitale would be giving reactions on LeBron’s leading them to the championship. I felt as if I should be singing the song, Di, Di Ainyu, (Which, paraphrased, means, ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH ALREADY!!)

The Heat won the NBA Championship. Congratulations Miami, the Heat, LeBron, Chris Bosh and D-Wade. The best team won over the season, and it was a great run. That’s really all there is to say.

 I get the fact LeBron is a great player – he is. He can do things other players take years to develop, but just because he wins a championship doesn’t mean it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I get it. He’s been there and failed, he’s a changed man, etc, etc, etc. It’s a great story.
But I feel as if they’re forgetting something – the rest of the team won the championship, too! Usually, when there’s a championship, the first five to ten segments are about the team. This time, the first 7 segments were about LeBron. Only LeBron. LeBron’s press conferences, multiple reporters’ reaction to LeBron’s winning, LeBron interviews, LeBron trophy presentation….
“It’s about darn time”, was what LeBron said in his umpteenth interview when asked what was going through his head when the clock hit 0.00. And I think now that it’s over, it’s about darn time we stop paying so much attention and think so so much about LeBron.

The odds of the draft

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“With the first pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select Greg Oden, from Ohio State University”

“With the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Seattle SuperSonics select Kevin Durant, from the University of Texas.”

A whole lot has happened since then. The SuperSonics became the Thunder, the Celtics won a championship, LeBron moved to Miami, the Wizards big three became John Wall, and the Lakers have won two championships, as well as the retirement of Phil Jackson. But, if anything, the change in the best player in the league. Two years ago, you might’ve said Kobe or LeBron. But now, it’s Kevin Durant.

Kevin Durant was picked second in the 2007 NBA Draft, since the Blazers believed Greg Oden was a man they could build their franchise around. But they were wrong. Since then, he’s been hurt three times, and his PPG hasn’t averaged over 11 in the two seasons he’s played in. Why he was picked first? In college, he had 15 points and ten rebounds a game.

Kevin Durant was picked second, and after that, he would never be second to anybody again. Just this season, he’s averaged 28 points and 8 rebounds a game – the best player in basketball in my opinion.

The odds of the NBA Draft are much different than any other draft in american sports. In the MLB, only two number one picks haven’t made it to the majors, and even if they do have negatives, they are worked out in the minors. In the NFL, the constant offseason camps familiarize the rookies with the veterans, and most top 3 picks turn out very well. In the NBA, however, it’s really taking a shot in the dark.

While Andrea Bargnani has taken a slow but steady road up, Derrick Rose only needed one season to get past the 20 points per game mark. Blake Griffin brought excitement to a boring Clippers team. But other times, you fail completely or make a bad choice, with players like Kwame Brown (6.6 ppg) Greg Oden, and Kenyon Martin.

You really never know. But what I do know is that one pick can be the difference between making a playoff franchise and a lottery pick team.

The Updater: The Spurs Spark lives on

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Not again. Not this again. How many times have we seen this? How many times have we said, “They’re gone, they’re gone for good” and then this continues to happen year after year, and we all just wait, wait for somebody to put out the spark – that the Spurs have had for the last decade.

We thought they were gone last year – they were too old. But, lone behold, the first seed was their’s for the keeping. But when the Grizzlies beat them, that’s when we thought they were really gone, and the first seed was a fluke.

And then.

And then, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker came back with a combined 33 points a game, and the top three rebounders started totaling in at 21 a game. And they don’t just get points from starters – they’re all around – the top ten scorers a game all are above 8.8 points a game.

Oddly enough, the number one worry for me about this team was that their scoring wouldn’t be able to keep up with the fast moving and thinking defenses of teams like the Heat’s, who only give up about 92 points a game. But I was worried for nothing, as the Spurs have the second highest scoring total per game in the league – 103!!!

While the defense was in the lower half, it was comparable to defenses of teams like the Clippers, who are only a point less in total points given up. They also proved they could win in shootouts – they beat the Clippers and Jazz easily like that.

There are really only three teams that stand between them and another Larry O’ Brien trophy – The C’s, the Thunder, and The Heat. With the two easterners, it’s the defense that worries me – they both have good offenses and defenses, which might kill shootout opportunities, (which is what they want). The Thunder have an offense that is able to explode at any time, any place. And even on average nights, they still score the same as the Spurs, 103 points a game on average, and will keep games very close with pretty much identical stats – but completely different styles of play.

If the Spurs win the NBA Championship this year, unless they don’t have a playoff spot – I will – and you should never – count the Spurs out.