Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The NBA Blog: 2012-2013 Season Predictions

The NBA is back. There’s not quite as much hype going into this season as there was last year. In a strange way, the lockout was good for business. It kept fans hungry. LeBron Losing was also good for business. But now that storyline is gone as well. Linsanity has come and gone. And while it’s always good for the league whenever the Lakers are really good, LA’s acquisition of Howard and Nash seems to have gotten more of a shrug from fans than might have been expected. 

I’m glad we’re getting a full season this year. It’s much easier to make predictions and make historical comparisons when you’re dealing with a normal season. But there’s a lot I will miss about last year’s strange 66-game format. It made me realize that we don’t really need the NBA prior to Christmas Day. I loved having a game on every night rather than just every other night or every few nights. As soon as the season got good it was time for the stretch run. The playoffs arrived on time and for once didn’t seem to drag on.

People complained about the format having an effect on injuries and that sort of thing, but I never really bought that. Derrick Rose’s knee was going to pop at some point; I don’t believe there was any connection between his injury and the accelerated schedule. I understand fans being upset and wanting to blame someone or something, but that was a false claim. To be sure, health played a role in the postseason, but it always does. I really thought the positives of the 66-game schedule outweighed the negatives. I’ll miss it, but at the same time, I’m glad we’re back to normal.

I’m excited for the season to start but it’s a different sort of excitement. I’m really interested to see how my team (the Hawks) looks after undergoing a massive and well-received transition during the offseason. I’ve been quietly confident that the Hawks could still compete while rebuilding. Now we’ll find out what comes next.

As for the rest of the league, there are plenty of interesting storylines. Here are some of the ones I’ll be looking for.

1. With the pressure off, will the Heat take a shot at 73 wins?

2. Can Boston and San Antonio make one last run with their stars?

3. How will Kobe mesh with Nash and Howard?

4. How will Oklahoma City react to the trade of James Harden? 

5. Can Love and Rubio get healthy in time or will it be another lost season for Minnesota?

 6. Is Linsanity really over?

7. Will Charlotte be any better? 

8. How will Anthony Davis do in his first year in the NBA? 

9. The Mavs and Dirk. How bad will things be for both? 

10. Can the Bulls put themselves in position to do damage in the playoffs? 

That’s it for my introduction. The format of my predictions is 99.9% the same as last year. It should be self explanatory. So here goes.

2012-2013 NBA Season Predictions

Playoff teams are in bold.
(#)- denotes projected finish in conference standings.
(#)- denotes where team ranks in my preseason power rankings.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division 

1. Boston 55-27 (2) (4)
2. Philadelphia 53-29 (3) (6)
3. Brooklyn 50-32 (5) (10)
4. New York 48-34 (6) (11)
5. Toronto 28-54 (12) (25)

Central Division

1. Indiana 52-30 (4) (7)
2. Chicago 43-39 (8) (14)
3. Detroit 36-46 (10) (20)
4. Milwaukee 34-48 (11) (21)
5. Cleveland 24-58 (13) (27)

Southeast Division

1. Miami 64-18 (1) (1)
2. Atlanta 45-37 (7) (13)
3. Washington 37-45 (9) (18)
4. Orlando 21-61 (14) (29)
5. Charlotte 14-68 (15) (30)

Western Conference

Northwest Division

1. Oklahoma City 54-28 (3) (5)
2. Denver 50-32 (4) (8)
3. Utah 41-41 (7) (15)
4. Minnesota 36-46 (10) (19)
5. Portland 27-55 (14) (26)

Pacific Division

1. Los Angeles Lakers 63-19 (1) (2)
2. Los Angeles Clippers 49-33 (5) (9)
3. Golden State 40-42 (8) (16)
4. Sacramento 33-49 (12) (23)
5. Phoenix 24-58 (15) (28)

Southwest Division

1. San Antonio 57-25 (2) (3)
2. Memphis 47-35 (6) (12)
3. Dallas 39-43 (9) (17)
4. Houston 34-48 (11) (22)
5. New Orleans 32-50 (13) (24)

Eastern Conference Playoffs

First Round

#1 Miami over #8 Chicago (4-3)
#2 Boston over #7 Atlanta (4-3)
#3 Philadelphia over #6 New York (4-2)
#4 Indiana over #5 Brooklyn (4-2)


#1 Miami over #4 Indiana (4-2)
#2 Boston over #3 Philadelphia (4-3)

Conference Finals

#1 Miami over #2 Boston (4-2)

Western Conference Playoffs

First Round

#1 Los Angeles Lakers over #8 Golden State (4-0)
#2 San Antonio over #7 Utah (4-0)
#3 Oklahoma City over #6 Memphis (4-3)
#5 Los Angeles Clippers over #4 Denver (4-2)


#1 Los Angeles Lakers over #5 Los Angeles Clippers (4-2)
#2 San Antonio over #3 Oklahoma City (4-3)

Conference Finals

#1 Los Angeles over #2 San Antonio (4-2)

NBA Finals

 #1 Miami over #1 Los Angeles (4-3)


NBA MVP: LeBron James (Miami)
Finals MVP: LeBron James (Miami)
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers)
Sixth Man of the Year: Andre Miller (Denver)
Most Improved Player: Gordon Hayward (Utah)
Rookie of the Year: Anthony Davis (New Orleans)
Coach of the Year: Doug Collins (Philadelphia)
Executive of the Year: Mitch Kupchak (Los Angeles Lakers)

All-NBA Teams

1st Team

G Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
G Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
F LeBron James (Miami)
F Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City)
C Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers)

2nd Team

G Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City)
G Rajon Rondo (Boston)
F Josh Smith (Atlanta)
F Kevin Love (Minnesota)
C Andrew Bynum (Philadelphia)

3rd Team

G Tony Parker (San Antonio)
G Dwyane Wade (Miami)
F LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland)
F Carmelo Anthony (New York)
C DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento)

All-Defensive Teams

1st Team

Rajon Rondo (Boston)
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
LeBron James (Miami)
Kevin Garnett (Boston)
Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers)

2nd Team

Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Tony Allen (Memphis)
Josh Smith (Atlanta)
Joakim Noah (Chicago)
Tyson Chandler (New York)

All-Rookie Teams

1st Team

Damian Lillard (Portland)
Bradley Beal (Washington)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte)
Thomas Robinson (Sacramento)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans)

2nd Team

Austin Rivers (New Orleans)
Harrison Barnes (Golden State)
John Henson (Milwaukee)
Tyler Zeller (Cleveland)
Meyers Leonard (Portland)

Stat Leaders

Scoring Leader: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City)
Assist Leader: Rajon Rondo (Boston)
Rebound Leader: Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers)
Field Goal Percentage Leader: Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers)
3-PT Field Goal Percentage Leader: Ray Allen (Miami)
Free Throw Percentage Leader: Chauncey Billups (Los Angeles Clippers)
Steals Leader: Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
Blocks Leader: Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City)

Division Rankings

1. Atlantic
2. Northwest
3. Southwest
4. Pacific
5. Central
6. Southeast

Power Rankings

1. Miami
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. San Antonio
4. Boston
5. Oklahoma City
6. Philadelphia
7. Indiana
8. Denver
9. Los Angeles Clippers
10. Brooklyn
11. New York
12. Memphis
13. Atlanta
14. Chicago
15. Utah
16. Golden State
17. Dallas
18. Washington
19. Minnesota  
20. Detroit
21. Milwaukee
22. Houston
23. Sacramento
24. New Orleans
25. Toronto
26. Portland
27. Cleveland
28. Phoenix
29. Orlando
30. Charlotte

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The NFL Blog: 2012 Power Rankings (After Week 7)

Power Rankings After Week 7

1. New York Giants 5-2 (1st)
2. San Francisco 5-2 (2nd)
3. Green Bay 4-3 (3rd)
4. Houston 6-1 (4th)
5. Atlanta 6-0 (7th)
6. Baltimore 5-2 (5th)
7. New England 4-3 (6th)
8. Chicago 5-1 (8th)
9. Denver 3-3 (9th)
10. Seattle 4-3 (10th)
11. Philadelphia 3-3 (11th)
12. Pittsburgh 3-3 (12th)
13. Washington 3-4 (13th)
14. Minnesota 5-2 (14th)
15. Dallas 3-3 (15th)
16. New Orleans 2-4 (18th)
17. Detroit 2-4 (19th)
18. New York Jets 3-4 (20th)
19. Tampa Bay 2-4 (16th)
20. Arizona 4-3 (17th)
21. San Diego 3-3 (21st)
22. Miami 3-3 (22nd)
23. St. Louis 3-4 (23rd)
24. Cincinnati 3-4 (24th)
25. Indianapolis 3-3 (27th)
26. Tennessee 3-4 (30th)
27. Buffalo 3-4 (25th)
28. Oakland 2-4 (28th)
29. Carolina 1-5 (26th)
30. Jacksonville 1-5 (32nd)
31. Kansas City 1-5 (29th)
32. Cleveland 1-6 (31st)

Comments: I’m pressed for time this week. Fortunately, it was a fairly calm week as far as my power rankings are concerned. 

Just 15 of 32 spots experienced change, down from 27 of 32 just the week before. 

7 teams moved up the rankings this week and all 7 of those teams moved up more than 1 spot. Tennessee made the biggest climb up the rankings, rising 4 spots from #30 to #26. 

8 teams dropped in my rankings this week, with 5 of those teams falling more than 1 spot. 3 teams dropped 3 places in my rankings this week: the Bucs fell from #19 to #22; Arizona dropped from #17 to #20; and the Panthers slid from #26 to #29. 

The Giants are the #1 team in my rankings for a second straight week. 

At the other end, the Jags moved out of the bottom spot after only 1 week at #32, moving up 2 spots to #30. The Browns moved down a spot from #31 to #32, falling to the bottom position in my rankings once again. 

The Browns are the only 6-loss team in the NFL, so I suppose it makes some sense that they are last in my rankings. While I like to make my rankings about more than just the won-loss record, I must also point out that spots #29, #30, and #31 in my rankings are currently occupied by the 3 other 1-win teams in the NFL.

It’s a different story at the top. The #1 and #2 teams in my rankings each have a pair of losses, while the only remaining undefeated team (my Atlanta Falcons) are at #5. 

My highest ranked 3-loss team is Green Bay at #3. 

The Broncos are my highest ranked .500 team at #9, while the Colts are my lowest ranked .500 team at #25. 

My lowest ranked team with a winning record is Arizona at #20. 

The Redskins are my highest ranked team with a losing record at #13.