23
Apr
12

I ♥ Tuesdays Vol. 10: Holiday Edition

Due to a change of scenery for yours truly (coming at you live and direct from Ontario, Canada) and a lack of inspiring releases in the industry this week, I’ve decided to switch things up and offer you my predictions for the upcoming NBA season.  After being a little bit aggy about the lockout, yesterday’s slate of games got me right back into the game I love, and had me pondering the outcomes of the 2011-12 season.  Coming off one of the better years for the league in recent memory (thanks in large part to the Miami Heat saga), the new season appears to be even more intriguing than the last. Without further ado, my team-by-team prognostications for the L this year.

When The East is in the House…

Miami Heat – Forecast: 54-12

If game one against the defending champs was any indication, the beasts in the East look difficult to unseat this year.  Watch the Throne.  

Chicago Bulls – Forecast: 49-17

The reigning MVP and company should be able to recreate the successes of last year, particularly with the addition of Rip Hamilton for a little extra scoring punch. And you say Chi City.

New York Knicks – Forecast: 46-20

Melo and Amare have The Big Apple buzzing about basketball for the first time in nearly a decade, and the additions of Tyson Chandler and a motivated Baron Davis should prove to be an immediate upgrade.  Where dreams are made

Orlando Magic – Forecast: 42-24

This status is highly dependent on the status of employee number 12, but if he remains in Florida for the duration of the season, it’s hard to see them falling short of 40 wins. Superman dat hoe.

Indiana Pacers – Forecast: 40-26

Young legs, a hot finish in 2011, and a quietly improved roster have people in Hoosier country stoked about this Pacer squad, particularly on a condensed schedule.  Young, wild, and free.

Boston Celtics – Forecast: 40-26

I expect Doc Rivers to ease his team into the playoffs in attempts to keep his near-geriatric roster with fresh enough legs for a playoff run. But make no mistake: on the heels of CP3 to Beantown rumors, this is the year Rondo makes it his team.   So hot still.

Atlanta Hawks – Forecast: 38-28

Losing Jamal Crawford hurts, but the rest of the core of last year’s five-seed remains intact and should make for exciting viewing.  We fly high.

Milwalkee Bucks – Forecast: 34-32

Though a quick look at the depth chart is surely to leave you unimpressed, having one of the few legitimate centers in the East should go a long way, and Brandon Jennings is likely to rebound from a sophomore regression. Buck the world.

Washington Wizards – Forecast: 32-34

Flanked by an impressively athletic supporting cast, I see the John Wall making “the leap” this season, establishing himself as a true star in just his second season and making the Wiz one of the L’s more exciting squads.  On The Come Up.

Philadelphia 76ers – Forecast: 29-37

Though questions prevail inside, depth and youth on the wing should keep the Sixers in the playoff hunt as long as Elton Brand can keep himself on the court.  Those were the days.

New Jersey Nets – Forecast: 24-42

Deron Williams remains one of the league’s premier guards, and ownership is clearly poised to make a run at Dwight, but the supporting cast was left desolate after the trade to acquire D. Will. Brooklyn Bound.

Detroit Pistons – Forecast: 22-44

Though the guard rotation looks solid, the Pistons will have a world of trouble trying to get the ball into the post.  Wake up, Detroit.

Toronto Raptors – Forecast: 18-48

When DeMar DeRozen is your franchise guy in-waiting during a rebuilding effort, it’s tough to look for positives.  Odd Future.

Charlotte Bobcats – Forecast: 15-51

A prime candidate for relocation or even contraction, I wouldn’t be surprised if 48-year-old Micheal Jordan could make the guard rotation for the lowly Cats.  It’s a wrap, Cats

Cleveland Cavaliers – Forecast: 12-54

The addition of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson mean little this season.  If owner Dan Gilbert had spent his time building the roster instead of sending David Stern e-mails (surely written in Comic Sans), maybe his team would be a little more competitive.  Worst comes to worst.

West West, Ya’ll

Oklahoma City Thunder – Forecast: 50-16

With a cast of aging superstars in the West, the shortened schedule would seem to favor KD, Russ, and crew, making the conference theirs to lose.  The progression continues. Can’t stop, won’t stop

Los Angeles Clippers – Forecast: 46-20

With CP3 in the fold, Lob City seems to be have not only the most exciting roster in the league, but also one poised to make a serious run at the conference crown. Live by the lob, die by the lob.

Memphis Grizzlies – Forecast: 44-22

Even without Rudy Gay, Z-Bo and the Grizz made a serious run at the final last spring and took the rest of the basketball world by storm with the league’s best inside scoring. Post game proper.

Los Angeles Lakers – Forecast: 43-23

Could this be the year the Lakers finally fall off?  Even with a depleted roster, an aging Kobe, and an unfriendly schedule, the Lake Show remains a threat for the conference title. Not their first time at the rodeo.

San Antonio Spurs – Forecast: 39-27

In similar fashion to the Celtics, I would expect the league’s best coach to manage minutes in hopes of conserving some much-needed fuel for a playoff run.  The window is closing

Dallas Mavericks – Forecast: 38-28

Losing Chandler and Barrea hurts, and after watching the Mavs get mopped up on home court by the Heat, I’m not sure another deep playoff run is a real possibility. Last year was a good one.  

Portland Trailblazers – Forecast: 35-31

Brandon Roy’s retirement was one of the saddest subplots of a wild off-season, but look for the Blazers to recover behind an underrated young roster.  Don’t overlook this group

Denver Nuggets – Forecast: 33-33

Resigning Nene and Aaron Afflalo were good moves for the franchise, but the Nuggets lack a prime-time scorer to rely on in shootouts with a league full of as much talent as has been seen in over a decade. Digging out of a whole.

Golden State Warriors – Forecast: 30-36

Offensively dynamic, defensively challenged, the Bay Area is home to one of the more exciting teams in basketball.  Unfortunately for Monta and Steph, exciting doesn’t always mean successful. You’ll want to watch.  

Minnesota Timberwolves – Forecast: 27-39

A league-wide laughing stock for the last several years, it looks like the Wolves are taking steps in the right direction and building with depth and youth, two factors especially important in a shortened season. Looking to become North stars.  

Pheonix Suns – Forecast: 26-40

Poor Steve Nash.  Though he remains one of the most consistent veteran performers in the game, the front office has done little to surround Canada’s finest with serviceable talent in recent years.  What should have been.

Sacramento Kings – Forecast: 24-42

Adding Jimmer’s scoring touch makes this an intriguing bunch, but any success for the Kings will likely come after some more seasoning.  An interesting chemistry experiment.

New Oreleans Hornets – Forecast: 24-42

A league-owned franchise is a difficult conflict of interest, but there is no question the help out for a good deal in flipping CP3.  

Houston Rockets – Forecast: 20-46

With Aaron Brooks stuck in China and Yao heading back permanently, the Rockets will likely have a hard time filling the score sheet.  It’s gonna be a long season

Utah Jazz – Forecast: 16-50

Jerry Sloan is gone, along with Deron Williams and any semblance of in-their-prime talent.  After more than a decade of relevance, the Jazz appear to be in full-fledged rebuilding mode.  Jazzamatass.

Playoff Predictions

The East

Round 1

Heat over Bucks in 4

Bulls over Hawks in 6

Knicks over Celtics in 7

Pacers over Magic in 6

Round 2

Heat over Pacers in 5

Knicks over Heat in 7

Eastern Final

Heat over Knicks in 6

The West

Round 1

Thunder over Nuggets in 5

Clippers over Blazers in 6

Grizz over Mavs in 7

Lakers over Spurs in 7

Round 2

Thunder over Lakers in 6

Grizz over Clippers in 7

West Final

Grizz over Thunder in 7

NBA Championship Final

Heat over Grizz in 6

I know, I know.  It’s too easy.  And boy, I hope I’m wrong.  But this Heat team is going to be really tough to beat.  Watching the opener yesterday, it seems like Bron Bron has put in some work on his post game, and came out with a look of invincibility against nothing less than the reigning title holders.  With more depth, tougher primetime chops, the target on their backs reduced slightly, and a disgusting amount of in-their-prime talent, the Heat are certainly the odds on favorite to bring home the Davey O’Brien trophy come spring.

Happy New Year ya’ll.  Don’t miss Get ‘Em High 2 tomorrow night at Micasa. It’s The Blast, worldwide.

–Noakes

Originally posted December 27, 2011 at theblast-blog.com


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