I figured the all star break is the best time to reflect at all preseason comments and predictions .. so why not take this time to boast .. brag .. make fun of myself and shake my head at all that I said before the opening tip off of the 2007-2008 season.
We will start with the Western Confrence.
1) San Antonio Spurs - this was real close between them and Phoenix but I do believe that staying pat was the right thing for them to do. Their age, though, may come into question when the playoffs start.
I still agree with that and feel that keeping the team as was was the smartest thing to do. Only time will tell if they'll win but because of the Lakers and Suns trade my predictions were thrown out of whack. I, though, do like the Spurs over both of them at this current time. But as you'll soon see .. my predictions don't stand for much.
2) Phoenix Suns - As much as I've criticized them for their lack of defense there isn't a team that plays with more heart than this one. A very good team full of good character players. I'm not going out on a limb .. but I am saying they're my pick for champs this year.
I hate that I picked them to win it all. It goes against my "Defense wins championships" motto .. but I figured they'd come in with a huge chip on their shoulder after last season. Maybe the Shawn Marion trade demands hurt the team more than I thought it would .. but they look a lot more fresher with him out of there. I don't think they'll win the title now but I have them as probably the 3rd best team in the west.
3) Houston Rockets - Yes I do have them ahead of Dallas. I absolutely loved the moves that they made in the offseason and if Tracy McGrady's brittle back can hold up and if Yao can stay on the court (huge if's) they could be a sleeper to really make some strides this year. But because of the injury history .. I'm taking a chance by placing them this high.
Ugh. I hate Houston and always criticize their moves but I bought into the hype. All offseason I said Van Gundy was so much better than Adelman and that firing him was a mistake .. but then they made the transactions they did and I bought the hype. I back off of those current statements though they'll still make the playoffs. I still don't think they'll make it out the 1st round though.
4) Utah Jazz - I do believe that Deron Williams is a player with a huge upside and I could go on for days about how much I love Carlos Boozer and his style of play. I'm not a big fan of Mehmet Okur though .. and even though I am a huge fan of Andrei Kirilenko .. I'm wondering how he'll really adjust this season .. not only because of last year's dissapointment but also because of the offseason issues.
I pretty much agree with all of that5) Dallas Mavericks - I know I'm giving them a huge drop off .. but I see it in order. I'm really confused with this team because they have the most talent but I don't think they play with enough heart. Not that they don't play hard every night .. but when things get rough .. fingers start getting pointed .. excuses start being made and unfortunately that's not the way to handle situations. It's cost them the last two years and I don't see why things would change.
I agree with all of that as well.6) Denver Nuggets - I like A.I. and 'Melo together .. but there's still not much about this team that scares me. A.I. reverted back to his old ways in the playoffs .. and just because he notches assists doesn't mean he seamlessly gets his teammates involved. Carmello is a nice talent but I think he's better as a second option type.
I still pretty much agree with this .. though I hope they're the team that doesn't make the playoffs.7) New Orleans Hornets - I know this may be viewed as a homer pick but I don't believe that it is. They have a ton of talent and the addition of Morris Peterson is huge for the team as he's someone that not only plays tough defense but also stretches the opposing defense with his shooting and tough nosed play. The team usually gets hit with injuries every year .. but if they can somehow avoid it this year then a trip to the playoffs is in order, I believe.
I caught a lot of flack for putting the Hornets in the playoffs .. but everything I felt was justified. They're playing good now and should finish a bit ahead of this 7th seed .. but barring some huge collapse .. they should still be in.8) Golden State Warriors - I don't believe that they're a fluke .. but they are what they are. They're not better than last year because they gave away Jason Richardson. Baron Davis is great .. but he's also been one with huge injury problems. The team plays hard .. their fans are great .. but they didn't get any better than last season so I see them right where they were.
I still think they'll finish in the lower seedings in the West so I like this pick. Only problem is I called Jason Richardson their best player.9) Los Angeles Lakers - Regardless if Kobe gets traded or not .. I don't see them making it. This is just not a good team .. there's no type of frontcourt .. and though I love Derek Fisher I don't see how he makes them that much better. I expect a drop off from a team that's, believe it or not, overachieved the last couple years. Lamar Odom has put up good numbers but sometimes you forget he's even out there.
I deserve a lot of flack for this one. I said they had no front court (Andrew Bynum), I said they wouldn't make the playoffs (and then called them a championship contender in this blog), and I called them a bunch of overachievers. Whoops.10) Portland Trailblazers - A team well on the right track to something special. The injury to Oden really hurts the team .. and though they have promise they're still a year or maybe even two away in my estimation. I love Nate McMillan as a coach though.
I think that turned out pretty fair.11) Memphis Grizzlies - They did the right move in kind of reshaping the team .. but they just seem so bland to me. I don't have any reason to get excited about facing them (with the exception of Pau Gasol) and I don't really know which direction this team is heading in. They'll be better than last year .. but after last year's abysmal season .. that's not saying much.
I agree with that. Though I should have placed them lower.12) Los Angeles Clippers - The loss of Elton Brand kills them .. and after last year's sky high expectations .. they're reverting back to the same ol' Clippers. They've turned into a dissapointment again .. and this is another team where I'm just not sure in which direction they're going.
I agree with that still.13) Seattle SuperSonics - A very talented team. At the same time .. a very young team. I think they will be good in due time but not as quickly as Portland will be. Durant's exciting .. as is Jeff Green but I'm interested to see how Carleisimo handles the team because he's had a history of not handling young players well. And that's all this team is.
I like that prediction as well.14) Sacramento Kings - Mike Bibby has fallen off of the face of this Earth. He must have held on for dear life and brought Brad Miller down with him. This team is looking like another stale 33 win season .. or even worse .. and it won't be because of Theus. I like him as a coach but this is not a good situation. I look for at least Bibby to be traded by mid season .. if not Artest and/or Brad Miller as well.
Well I was calling for total rebuilding for them but they've turned out a solid team this year. Though .. I don't see them as a championship contender the way they are .. and even if they stay pat .. they may make the playoffs next year but they won't make any noise. They still have to make some moves to get back to the Kings of old.15) Minnesota Timberwolves - At least they're not stuck in the "stale/bland" situation that I've labeled the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Kings with. There's no hiding that they're rebuilding .. but as a result this year will be VERY tough. As will next year, more than likely, .. and I don't like Randy Wittman as a coach. They may be on the right path .. but they're right at the starting line. It may be rough for them this year.
I still agree with that. And then I made my playoff predictions.
Spurs over Warriors
Suns over Hornets
Rockets over Nuggets
Mavericks over Jazz
Spurs over Jazz
Suns over Rockets
Suns over Spurs
I have backtracked my statement of Suns beating the Spurs in a seven game series .. and though the Rockets could probably beat the Nuggets in a seven game series .. they're not gonna play them in the 1st round so .. still on the outside looking in as far as the semifinals is concerned.
Oh but if you thought that was bad .. wait until you get a load of my Eastern confrence picks.
I will warn you to take my predictions with caution .. because my predictions for the 04-05 Pacers, 05-06 Pacers, and 06-07 Nets have not gone as planned. So this year's prediction (the Wizards) must immediately put a hit out on me .. or hope that they can break the mold.
1) Cleveland Cavaliers - In a wide oppen Eastern Confrence .. I'm going to go with the only team that can have eleven average players and one fantastic one .. and still manage to win. This is the East's version of the L.A. Lakers .. what helps them out is .. they play in the East. I'm a big critic of LeBron's and thinks he gets a little too much attention (as far as the media is concerned) .. but that's my only gripe and his play is undeniable. I think he's eclipsed Kobe Bryant as far as single best player in the NBA. It's fair to say they won't get the number one seed but they'll still be a really good team in the East. I was a little premature in calling LeBron better than Kobe, though.2) Boston Celtics - I do believe that they will be a good regular season team. Danny Ainge got people to care for this team again and for that deserves a pat on the back. Other than that, though .. I don't see them winning the title or even making it to the finals .. because none of the "big three" know how to win. They're all career losers (for a lack of a better word) and where's the help going to come from?
I still kind of agree with that though I was kind of harsh calling them all losers. I don't think they'll win the championship (I don't know why it's just a gut feeling I've always had .. but I had that same feeling about the 05-06 Heat) .. so who knows what's going to happen.3) Chicago Bulls - A team that is right on the brink but doesn't have a big man that can score. They have so many pieces in place .. but for some reason I just don't see hwo they can win a championship. It's hard to explain .. I just don't see the "it" in them. I believe Ben Wallace is past his prime .. and who knows how the team is going to react to everyone being on the trading block this offseason.
I was half right and half wrong on this. Right when I said I didn't know how the team was going to react to everyone being on the trading block .. wrong when I said they would be a top tier team in the East.4) Washington Wizards - My pick for the East is this team right here. I don't know why .. since they can't play defense to save their lives .. but I love Gilbert Arenas and have a man crush on Caron Butler. Jamison is playing in a contract year (as is Arenas) and I see huge production out of those two. They play a lot of offense and very minimal defense .. and that will bite them when they play the west teams. Lucky for them .. they don't play the western teams until possibly the finals. So I'm giving them the dreaded vote of approval to win the East.
I don't know. I look at my prediction and still don't see anything dreadfully wrong with it .. but they just have become bland to me. I no longer look at Arenas as an elite player .. I think he's more infatuated with himself than he is winning .. but they may still make noise in the playoffs when fully healthy. The problem is .. they're never fully healthy.5) New Jersey Nets - This team is sort of bland. Jason Kidd is great .. but Vince now has his contract .. and Jefferson's injury history has taken away a lot of his play .. to me anyways. They still don't have a frontcourt .. and after Kidd .. their toughest player, Mikki Moore .. left. So they will drop off in my estimation but will still be good enough to get the fifth seed.
Ehh .. I kind of foresaw the decline of the team but I had them at 5 which turned out to be too high. I also had them ahead of ..6) Detroit Pistons - My how the once mighty have fallen. Speaking of bland teams .. this is right up there with them. They've taken steps back in all positions .. mostly because of age. Flip Saunders has waisted the last two years with the Pistons .. and unfortunately they just don't seem to play as motivated as they did before. Nothing on this team excites me (except for Tayshaun Prince) and Billups and Hamilton both took drastic steps back in their game last year.
I'm eating serious crow pertaining to the Pistons and the Lakers. I can't say anything except for I was wrong .. and putting the Wizards, Nets, and Bulls ahead of them looks horrendously idiotic now. I still think Saunders will find a way to blow it in the playoffs, though.7) Toronto Raptors - I'm a big fan of Toronto but don't see where they wind up stepping above anyone I've placed before them. I like T.J. Ford and absolutely love Chris Bosh .. but the loss of Peterson hurts them. They got great chemistry and I see them possibly moving up from this spot up to possibly even the second seed .. but I can't get a handle on them and don't think they'll win the division.
I still feel that way about them. They're better than seventh but I still have a hard time getting a feel for them.8) Orlando Magic - I pondered them and the Heat .. but I figured I'd go with the younger team that actually has a bit of excitement to them. They overpayed immensely for Rashard Lewis .. and I'm not sure that Jameer Nelson is the guy at point guard. Who knows what happened to J.J. Reddick .. and Turkoglu is as streaky a player as I've ever seen. But Dwight Howard himself should will this team to the playoffs .. but I don't see them making much noise when they get there.
I still don't see them making it deep in the playoffs .. but they're better than eighth. Who knows what they'll do when they make it though.9) Miami Heat - I'm probably making a mistake by not putting them in .. but Dwyane Wade will be starting this season on the injured list. Shaq is also a year older .. and boy did he look sad at times last year. He's not at all the player he once was .. but that happens to everyone. It's just he's been "invinceible" for so long that to see him deteoriate like that really shocked me. This is a team on the downside.
This is a team on the downside. Unfortunately .. I don't regret not putting them in the postseason and they've declined so rapidly that they can't even sniff the playoffs. Even in that pathetic eastern confrence.10) Atlanta Hawks - I really like this team but I just can't put them in the playoffs this year. Joe Johnson is fantastic .. and the potential .. the players .. it's there. They strike me as an Eastern version of Portland .. and I guess it's a coincidence I placed both them and Portland in 10th in their respective confrences. Josh Smith is great as well .. and the two rookies were smart picks .. but I don't know how it will all come together. I wouldn't be shocked if they made the postseason though .. and if things keep on the right path .. they should make it by next season.
I stand by that. I hope they make the playoffs though.11) Indiana Pacers - Speaking of how the once mighty have fallen. I don't think the trade with Golden State killed them last year .. but they did take a raw deal. Jermaine O'Neal is the only player on this team that would really scare me. Other than that there's not much to them .. and O'Neal himself isn't guaranteed to play half a year with his past injury history. Who knows what direction this team is going to go in.
I still stand by that. I caught a lot of flack from Pacers fans for this pick too. Other than hurricane .. none of them are anywhere to be found any longer.12) Philadelphia 76ers - I like this team and want to think that they'll build upon how they did without Allen Iverson last year .. but I don't see that happening. Andre Igoudala did great last year .. but I wonder if he'll be able to surpass that this year .. which he'll need to do to get this team in the playoffs. Andre Miller is one of the best pure point guards in the league because of his passing ability .. but that's basically all he's got is his passing.
I'm content with that.13) New York Knicks - I don't like to put them so low but .. man I don't like the Randolph trade. Now they have two carbon copies of basically the same player with Zack Randolph and Eddy Curry. The only difference is Randolph can kind of pass out of the paint (and Curry can't pass at all) .. but who do they pass it out to? Jamaal Crawford, Stephon Marbury, Quentin Richardson, and company are only streaky at best. And though I want to be wrong here because I really like the guy .. I don't see how much Allan Houston can do for them. And on a side note .. man how bad do the Jared Jeffries and Jerome James signings look?
I look like a genius with that pick.14) Charlotte Bobcats - I keep wanting to move them up but just can't. I actually am one of the few who liked the Jason Richardson deal because it gives them a player who can score now. But losing Sean May (AGAIN) for the whole year hurts .. Okafor's not very dependable as far as staying on the court is concerned (fouls and injuries) and Raymond Felton is a good player but not a good shooter. All that factors into another bitter season for them .. which will probably start frustrating the fans.
I still stand by that. I do hope they make the playoffs though.15) Milwaukee Bucks - I want to put them up here and I will probably get flack for putting them so low but the drafting of Yi Jianlin made no sense to me and I don't know how Maurice Williams will play now that he's got his contract. On the flip side .. he did turn down Miami to stay here .. so maybe I'm making a mistake by questioning his drive. Michael Redd is fantastic .. but he's a one trick pony. He just shoots. He's great at what he does .. but I think he's a tad overrated as far as his salary is concerned.
I still stand by that as well. And then I made my playoff predictions in the East.
Cavs over Magic
Celtics over Raptors
Bulls over Pistons
Wizards over Nets
Wizards over Cavs
Bulls over Celtics
Wizards over Bulls
And then I have Suns over Wizards in the NBA finals.
I had a lot of people telling me the Bulls wouldn't beat the Pistons in a seven game series and they all were right. I don't know what I was thinking with Suns and Wizards .. I now would take a safe pick and predict Spurs-Celtics in the NBA finals .. but overall I wasn't horrendously bad in my pre season predictions. I had some foreshadowing in there and some bad decisions (Lakers, Pistons) .. but overall I thought it was OK. It's always fun to look back and see what you got right and wrong though .. and I'm not as stupid as I sound sometimes haha. Take them for what they are .. these are GoHornets21's preseason predictions revisited.