Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 NBA Preview: NBA Playoffs Seeding And Championship Predictions

In my previous two posts, I shared with you my 2014 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference Top 8 Teams Playoff Seeding Predictions as well as my 2014 NBA Preview: Western Conference Top 8 Teams Playoff Seeding Predictions. Now it's time to see how I see the NBA playoffs and the NBA finals.

Let's start out with the Eastern Conference:

1. Chicago Bulls defeat 8. New Jersey Nets
2. Washington Wizards defeat 7. Charlotte Hornets
3. Cleveland Cavaliers defeat 6. New York Knicks
5. Miami Heat defeat 4. Toronto Raptors

The Bulls are significantly better than the Nets. Jersey stands no chance in a 7 game series. It would be a major accomplishment if they win a single game. The Washington Wizards clearly have the Charlotte Hornets outclassed in my opinion. I think the Hornets could steal a game, maybe two, but that's about it. Perhaps I might be biased, but I think The Knicks could get 2 games out of Cleveland, but I really don't see them beating a fully healthy Cavs team with Lebron. I see the Heat upsetting the Raptors in 7 games being lead by a playoff tested Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

1. Chicago Bulls defeat 5. Miami Heat
3. Cleveland Cavaliers defeat 2. Washington Wizards

I think Miami can get 2 games out of the Bulls. However, the Bulls just have too much firepower for the Heat to be able to defeat them without LeBron James. Even though I have the Wizards finishing higher than the Cavs, I believe that in a 7 game series, the Cavs will get the upper hand 4 games to 3.

1. Chicago Bulls defeat 3. Cleveland Cavaliers

This is going to be a hard fought series, but in the end, I believe The Bulls will beat the Cavs 4 games to 3 to make it to the NBA Finals

Now let's take a look at the Western Conference:

1. San Antonio Spurs defeat 8. Houston Rockets
2. Oklahoma City Thunder defeat 7. Dallas Mavericks
3. Los Angeles Clippers defeat 6. Memphis Grizzlies
4. Golden State Warriors defeat 5. Portland Trailblazers

The Spurs just have too much firepower and a legendary coach for the Rockets to be able to defeat them in a 7 game series. They may be able to get a game, but that's about it. I think the Mavericks are going to give Oklahoma City a run for their money. However, in the end, I see OKC winning 4 games to 3. I also think the Grizzlies are going to give the Clippers a run for their money as well. However, I think they will win 4 games to 3 in the end. The Warriors and Trailblazer series is going to be the best series in the playoffs. Every game will be close and the Warriors will win in 7.

1. San Antonio Spurs defeat 4. Golden State Warriors
2. Oklahoma City Thunder defeat 3. Los Angeles Clippers

Both of these series are going to be close. The Warriors should take at least 2 games from the Spurs if not 3. OKC and the Clippers are going 7 games. However, in the end, I believe the Spurs and the Thunder will prevail.

1. San Antonio Spurs defeat 2. Oklahoma City Thunder

This is going to go 7 games, however, I think the coaching of Gregg Popovich and the Spurs system will just be too much for the Thunder once again, even if everyone is healthy.

Here's my prediction for the NBA Finals

San Antonio Spurs defeat Chicago Bulls 4 games to 2. The Spurs just look like they are the best team in the NBA right now and even though the Bulls are dramatically improved, I don't think they have enough to defeat the Spurs yet.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

2014 NBA Preview: Western Conference Top 8 Teams Playoff Seeding Predictions

In my previous post, I shared with you my 2014 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference Top 8 Teams Playoff Seeding Predictions. Some of you were agreed with a lot of my rankings. There was definitely some controversy with my rankings, in particular my prediction regarding the Washington Wizards. Such is the fun of predictions!

Today I share with you how I believe the Western Conference is going to shake out. The defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs are back and ready to defend the title. Their team is pretty much intact so the question is will they be able to repeat as champs?

Here is how I see the Western Conference playing out:

Western Conference Top 8 Playoff Teams For 2014-2015 Season

8. Houston Rockets - The Rockets struck out big time in free agency not only losing out on the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, but losing and/or trading away Parsons, Asik and Lin as well. However, they still have two solid All Stars in James Harden and Dwight Howard. With talent like that, it's tough not to at least make the playoffs even in a conference as stacked as the Western Conference.

7. Dallas Mavericks - The Mavericks definitely got better trading for Tyson Chandler and signing Chandler Parsons. They think their team is good enough to make it to the finals and they just might be. However, if they do, it's going to be because of how they play in the playoffs because in the regular season, I don't see them cracking the top 4 playoff seeds. The other teams are just too good.

6. Memphis Grizzlies - This is not a knock to the Grizzlies as I think they are a very good team. The problem though is the Western Conference is stacked and I think that there are a lot of other teams that are going to simply win more games. The main problem with this team is they simply lack offensive firepower and that's something that you're going to need in this conference if you want to get a top seed in this conference.

5. Portland Trailblazers - I like the chances of ANY team with two of the best youngest stars in the NBA as their one two punch. Damian Lillard has the clutch gene ALL over him. Steve Blake is a good piece to add and if LaMarcus Aldridge can make that next step up in the evolution of his game, I absolutely like this team's chances and would not be surprised to see them finish even higher than what I have them at.

4. Golden State Warriors - This team was already very good led by arguably the most dominant and explosive back court in the game with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Signing Shaun Livingston is going to be huge for them as that will help bring stability when Curry is turning the ball over too much. If Steve Kerr can make the successful transition to coaching and I believe he can, this is a team I would NOT look forward to playing on any given night.

3. Los Angeles Clippers - Some people may say that I have this team too low and that's a fair argument to make especially when "Lob City" has arguably the best point guard in the NBA (Chris Paul) and the best forward in the NBA (Blake Griffin) as well as the strong defensive presence of DeAndre Jordan. They definitely look stacked on paper and if they can translate that paper into action, those people who say I have them too low could be 100% correct.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder - Even though KD is out for several weeks, this team is STILL a problem in every way, shape and form when you look at them over the course of an entire season. Russell West "Beast" isn't exactly who I would go to if I'm looking for fashion advice. However, there are VERY few guards IF ANY in the NBA that I would rather have than him. This team is going to win a lot of games and I would be SHOCKED to see them finish anything lower than the top 3 seeds.

1. San Antonio Spurs - So the Spurs not only win the NBA Championship, but they absolutely DESTORY the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals only allowing the favorite team to win 1 game. They bring back practically EVERYBODY from last years team. Yet people are STILL doubting this team? I don't get it. The Spurs have without question the best coach in the NBA right now and arguably one of the best coaches to ever coach the game! The only team I could see personally finishing higher than them is the Thunder and with Durant out, I don't see that happening anymore. Definitely my pick for the #1 seed in the West.

Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference Top 8 Teams Playoff Seeding Predictions

We are a few short weeks away from the start of another NBA season. The power has shifted in a BIG way, with LeBron James taking his talents back to Cleveland. On top of that, All-Star Kevin Love has also joined the ranks of the Cleveland Cavs. The Chicago Bulls also get better in a big way, getting former MVP Derrick Rose back and also signing Pau Gasol. Does the east have enough talent to take the championship away from the West this year?

Here in this 2014 NBA Preview, I break down what I believe to be the top 8 teams from each conference. I also offer my analysis on how I believe the playoffs will shape up. I will tell you who I think will end up playing each other in the playoffs. I will offer my playoff predictions. More importantly, I will tell you who I believe will eventually win the NBA title this year.

On top of that, I will attempt to do all of this without being completely biased to my BELOVED hometown favorite team, The New York Knicks! For those of you who know how much of an OBSESSED Knick fan I am, you know how difficult this will be for me!

Anyway, let's start off with the Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference Top 8 Playoff Teams For 2014-2015 Season

8. Brooklyn Nets - No Paul Pierce and no Shaun Livingston is definitely going to hurt this team. However, they do get Brook Lopez back and if he can actually last the entire season (that's asking a lot), this team can still ball. Joe Johnson can score, no doubt about that. The question is will the real Deron Williams stand up?

7. Charlotte Hornets - Lance Stephenson is a very good addition for this team. This team is a much better fit for him than Indiana was and I expect to see it in the form of increased production. I wouldn't be surprised to see him average 17 points per game, grab 7 rebounds per game and get 5 assists. However, he alone isn't going to be enough and while Charlotte should make the playoffs again, I don't see them doing much else.

6. New York Knicks - Everyone thinks that The Knicks are going to be horrible. I'm certainly not expecting miracles. However, I think The Knicks played a lot worse last year than they actually are. Even though Derek Fisher is a first time head coach, with Phil Jackson running the helm, I think this team is going to be better than people are giving them credit for. Carmelo Anthony is a beast, plain and simple and he will continue to be a beast under the triangle. Jose Calderon is definitely an upgrade over that bum, Felton. I think Amare is going to be even better this year than the flashes he showed last year. They won't be the 50 something win team they were two years ago, but I don't think they will be the 30 something win team they were last year. I have them for 45 wins.

5. Miami Heat - The Miami Heat can forget about getting back to the NBA finals now that the best player in the world has moved back home. However, they are still a playoff team. Dwayne Wade is old, but can still ball in spurts. With James gone, if Chris Bosh can go back to the Bosh from Toronto, this team is good enough to compete. Loul Deng is a VERY nice pickup for them and if Danny Granger can stay healthy, he is very intriguing off the bench.

4. Toronto Raptors - The Raptors are young and they can play ball. Kyle Lowry is a good young point guard and I see him only getting better this year. DeMar DeRozan is one of the best young scorers and the league and I only see him getting better as well. Jonas Valanciunas should only get better. The Raptors should win the Atlantic Division again.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers - Everyone is basically handing the Eastern Conference title to the Cavs with the additions of LeBron James and Kevin Love to team up with Kyrie Irving. Not so fast. This team looks VERY good on paper, I will admit that. However, there is a reason why the play the games. Kevin Love is NOT going to be the same player that he was in Minnesota. You saw what happened to Chris Bosh? The same thing will happen to Love. Their coach has never coached a game in the NBA and after the big 3 they really aren't particularly deep. The Cavs will definitely be a good team. However, I'm not ready to pronounce them the best team in the Eastern Conference just yet.

2. Washington Wizards - This is the team that people are sleeping on. John Wall can BALL and the scary thing is he's still a kid that hasn't even hit his prime yet! Plus he has addressed one of his biggest weaknesses and that is three point shooting. Bradley Beal can get buckets and the Wizards arguably have the best front court in the Eastern Conference with Paul Pierce, Nene Hilario and Marcin Gortat. While I know it would surprise a lot of people, it will not surprise me to see this team win 55 games and actually have a better regular season record than the Cavs!

1. Chicago Bulls - While everyone is hopping on the Cavs bandwagon, the Bulls are, in my opinion the team to be afraid of. Derrick Rose looks like he is back to MVP form. They've added Pau Gasol, who pairing with Rose is going to give defending teams fits! They still have Joakim Noah who is just a terrific player. They have the best coach in the Eastern Conference. If Derrick Rose stays healthy, this team is winning the #1 seed, plain and simple.