Archive for the 'NBA' Category

My Predictions for the 2018 NBA Playoffs

I am really looking forward to the NBA playoffs. I think there is a good chance that for the first time in the three years we will see a team other than the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals this year. Don’t get me wrong, as a serious basketball fan I have enjoyed watching the Warriors and Cavs battle because of the extraordinary collection of talent on both teams and the high level of play that has been exhibited in the Finals by these teams.

Eastern Conference

My pick: Philadelphia 76ers…I definitely feel like I’m going out on a limb picking the #3 seed Sixers, but they did finish the season with a 16 game win streak, led by Super-Rookie Ben Simmons. Always difficult to pick against LeBron James, but I just think the Sixers have a deeper team than the Cavs or the Raptors and in Simmons and Joel Embid Philadelphia have next gen elite stars that can them to the Finals.

Western Conference

My pick: Golden State Warriors. Tough call because the Houston Rockets have a very formidable team and will hold home court advantage as the #1 seed in the West. In picking the Warriors I am assuming that they will have All-Star guard Stephen Curry back by the 2nd round. GS will definitely need Curry to get past the high scoring Rockets.

Champion: Golden State Warriors wins in 6 games over the Sixers. I think the Sixers, assuming they keep Simmons and Embid together and they stay healthy, will be a real threat to win the NBA championship for the next decade, but we have not quite arrived at the changing of the guard year in the NBA, although I think there is a good chance that will happen next year.

Thoughts on the 2017 NBA Championship and the Future of the Golden State Warriors

Well, I can honestly say the NBA Playoffs ended the way I thought they would end back at the beginning of the season. I wrote the following in my NBA pre-season blog post of 26 Oct 2016:

“I am tempted to really pick an underdog to take out the Warriors or the Cavaliers, but I simply can’t .

So,  barring major injuries, I think we will see yet another classic battle between Golden State and Cleveland. The addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors will make Golden State too much for the Cavaliers and the rest of the league to handle. KD will finally get his first ring.

I was hardly alone in that prediction. Of course, a lot basketball analysts, writers and fans thought the Warriors with KD would  be unbeatable in the end, but it  was still highly entertaining to see Golden State actually live up to the high expectations, defeating a very formidable opponent in the Cavaliers.

With the Golden State Warriors winning another championship and 2 out of the of the last three Finals versus the Cleveland Cavaliers is it justifiable to state that a new dynasty has been born in the NBA? I think it may be a little premature to describe the Warriors as a dynasty, but I think it is likely that we will look back in a couple of years and describe this era as the Warriors dynasty. When you look back at NBA history and other great teams that have been described as dynasties they have all won at least three championships. So, right now I would say the Warriors are on the cusp of becoming a dynasty team , but I think they have to win at least one more championship to be put in that category.

Has Kevin Durant surpassed Lebron James?

Is LeBron James still the best player in the NBA or has there been a changing of the guard? Has the torch been passed? Has Kevin Durant now surpassed LeBron James with his brilliant performance in Finals? I can’t say that I think Durant has surpassed LBJ, but there is clearly not much separating the two superstars. Durant’s MVP award for the Finals was well deserved, but I think it is fair to say that he had the stronger supporting cast. What would have happened if LBJ and KD had switched teams? I think the Warriors would have won the series just as decisively, if not more so.

Can the Cleveland Cavaliers improve their team to regain the title next season?

Honestly, I don’t see how the Cav’s can make changes for next season that would ultimately result in a team that would be capable of defeating the Warriors, but it will very interesting to see what moves they make in the off-season. There has been some speculation that they might trade PF Kevin Love in order to bring in another elite player, but I think the only way that the Cav’s will have any hope of defeating the Warriors in a seven game series would be to add an elite player without giving up Love. If the Cav’s could add an elite swingman and bolster their bench with greater offensive threats than they have right now that could put them back in contention.

 

 

 

 

NBA Playoffs – 2017

I really should have published my NBA playoff prediction post right before the playoffs started, but things have pretty much played out as I thought they would and it looks like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavs are headed to a rematch in the Finals. That is what a predicted in the pre-season and I’m sticking with that, although I would concede that each team could face some serious challenges along the way. However, baring the loss of a key player to injury, I don’t see either teams being defeated within their own conference.

NBA 2016-2017 Predictions

As a huge Pro Basketball fan I certainly welcome the return of the NBA. I think this season will be fascinating because the of the rivalry between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the teams that won the last three championships and combined have at least 4, if not 5 or 6 of the leagues top 10 players.

Current Title Odds for top 9 teams:

1 – Golden State Warriors                      2-3

2-Clevelnd Cavaliers                             11-4

3 – San Antonio Spurs                            6-1

4- Los Angeles Clippers                         20-1

5 – Boston Celtics                                   20-1

6 – Oklahoma City Thunder                30-1

7- Toronto Raptors                                40-1

8- Atlanta Hawks                                   60-1

9- New York Knicks                               60-1

Like most sports writers, basketball analysts and serious fans, I find it very difficult to pick against the Warriors and Cav’s. They seem destined to meet again in the Championship round of the playoffs.

I do think the Spurs and Clippers are good enough to challenge the Warriors in the West. I also think the Boston Celtics have a real outside shot of dethroning the Cav’s in the East.

I am tempted to really pick an underdog to take out the Warriors or the Cavaliers, but I simply can’t .

So,  barring major injuries,  think we will see yet another classic battle between Golden State and Cleveland. The addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors will make Golden State too much for the Cavaliers and the rest of the league to handle. KD will finally get his first ring.

Looking back on the NBA Finals and the season ahead

Well, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the NBA Play-offs and Finals this season, even though I was not correct on two major predictions I made. I will explain shortly. I also found the the post Finals free-agency period very exciting. Gosh, it is a real good time to be a NBA player. The league is making a ton of money these days and the players are entitled to 51% of the revenue as a result of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. That means just average players are being rewarded with very lucrative contracts. Makes me really wish I was an NBA agent.

OK, so, going back to the Play-offs and the Finals, I picked the the OKC Thunder to defeat the Golden State Warriors in 6 games and then I picked the Warriors to defeat the Cavs in 6 games. Both teams I picked were up 3-1 and ended up losing in 7….ugh. That is ironic.

I don’t think there was much separating the top 4 teams in the NBA this season, and those teams were the Cavs, Golden State, OKC, and San Antonio. I knew the Thunder were for real when they took out the venerable SA Spurs. Honestly, I still think they should have finished off the GS Warriors on game 6 at home, but they let that game slip away by not playing good D down the stretch. I still believe that Thunder good have gone on to defeat the Cavs if they had advanced to the Finals.

That said, I was very happy to see the Cavs win the championship. It was good to see the City of Cleveland be rewarded with a championship after so many years. Lebron James certainly played his heart out. His block of Andre Ig at the end of game y became an instantly iconic play in the history of NBA play-off basketball. LBJ certainly earned his latest ring, but I was more pleased to see his teammates become Champions after all the hard work they have but in the last couple of years.

Of course, the BIG story of the post Finals was Kevin Durant deciding to leave the OKC Thunder and join Golden State. I’m sure that move will make the Warriors the odds on favorite to win the championship next season, but I still think they are they can be defeated. I’m not ready to concede that they will be a dynasty. Sure, on paper they are fantastic, but they still have to prove it. There is only one basketball and remains to be seen how well Curry, Thompson and Durant can share it.

On a more parochial  note, I was pleased with moves that both NY Knick and Brooklyn Nets made. The Knicks brought former MVP Derrick Rose and his Chicago teammate Noah, as well as SG Courtney Lee. The Nets brought Jeremy Lin back to NY by signing him to a 3 yr deal and he will will reunite with new head coach Kenny Atkinson, who was an assistant coach with the Knicks when Lin first burst on to the NBA scene with Knicks. Lin-sanity returns!! Both teams should show improvement and the intra-city rivalry could grow into something quite intense. Should be a lot of fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few Thoughts and Predictions for 2015-2016 NBA Season

Now, here is a post I really intended to put up before the NBA regular season actually began. However, I can’t say that what I have seen so far in this season has influenced me to change my picks for Conference Champions or League Champion, Coach of the Year or MVP. Rookie of the Year is a different matter and I will explain.

EASTERN CONFERENCE: Cleveland Cavaliers. There are several very good teams in the East, but the Cleveland Cav’s remain the Power team in Conference. Atlanta, Chicago, Washington and Toronto should also be very good. However, I just can’t see any of these teams eliminating Cleveland in the playoffs. When Cleveland is at full strength they just have too much offensive firepower for any other team in the Conference.

WESTERN CONFERENCE: Golden State Warriors. What I initially wrote was this….”This was a very difficult pick to make because I really don’t think there too much separating the top 5 or 6 teams in the West. The Warriors will be very tough for years to come because their core team is fairly young. I also think HC Steve Kerr’s coaching staff is very sharp and innovative.” Ok, after the blazing start the Warriors have gotten off to I clearly have to amend my early assessment. Ah, there actually is a quite a bit separating Golden State from almost all the other teams in the West. However, I still think San Antonio may give them a serious challenge by the time we reach the play-offs and I still can’t totally write off OKC or the LA Clippers, despite their underwhelming start.

NBA CHAMPION: I think the Cav’s would have won the Championship last year if they had LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving all playing in the Finals, but losing both Love and Irving was just too much to overcome. Even after the Cleveland lost Love early in playoffs I thought they still thought their offense was potent enough to win a 7 game series against Golden State. Given the fact that the Cav’s pushed the Warriors to 6 games without Kyrie Irving in all but one of those games

Cavaliers win the Finals in 6 games.

MVP: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors. Look, this is a real toss up. There are so many outstanding talents in the league. I was a Curry skeptic last year. Early last season I did not season he could lead the Warriors to a Championship, but he did and there is no denying his greatness.

Coach of the Year: David Blatt, Cleveland Cavaliers. Well, I’m picking Cleveland to win it all, so I have to go with Blatt to win COY.

Rookie of the Year: Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks. I been have tremendously impressed by what have seen of the Knick rookie. He was supposed to be a project with great potential that might not be realized until several years from now. Forget that, Kristaps is an become a key contributor for Knicks right now. KP is a real basketball prodigy. 7′ 3″ and he can shoot from 3 pt range and put the ball on the floor!?! The 2015 draft featured some truly outstanding Big Men, most notably #1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns and #3 pick Jahlil Oakor I initially thought they would have to be considered ROY favorites, but now I think Porzingis is going to be a real contender for the award.

Predictions for 2014-2015 NBA Season

The NBA has already started and I need to get my predictions in before I’m influenced by the first few games of the season. This year I’m just going to make predictions for the conference champions, NBA Finals, MVP and Coach of the Year. I can’t remember a year when I had a harder time making NBA predictions. I really don’t think there is too much separating the top 8 to 10 teams in the league and I also think that there are at least 5 or 6 truly exceptional players that are poised to have great seasons and that will be in the hunt for the MVP award.

Eastern Conference Champion: Chicago Bulls

Picking the Eastern Conference Champ was not quite as difficult as the picking the Western Conference Champ, but it was still hard because the top two teams are very close imo. I picked the Bulls to win the East, but I think the Cleveland Cav’s are potentially the better team, but that they may lose more games during the regular season because it may take a little longer to fully integrate a team that has many new players and a new coach, but once they fully adjust to playing together, look out! I think the Bulls and the Cav’s will be on a collision course when the playoffs arrive.

Western Conference Champion: San Antonio Spurs

There are probably at least 4 or 5 teams capable of winning the West and I would certainly include San Antonio, the LA Clippers, the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks in that group. I would have also included the OKC Thunder had they not recently lost MVP Kevin Durant and All-Star G Russell Westbrook to injury for an extended period. The temporary loss of those two players will prevent the Thunder for challenging for the best regular season record in the West, but if they both come back healthy that team will again be very dangerous in the playoffs.

NBA Finals: Chicago Bulls vs Los Angeles Clippers

Why did I pick the LA Clippers to make to the Finals over the Spurs and the other strong teams in the West? I think the Clippers added several valuable pieces in the offseason

NBA Champion: LA Clippers

What? The Clippers as Champs!?! Hey, believe it, it could finally happen.

MVP: Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate last season, although I would agree that he was significantly behind Durant and James. I don’t think that will be the case this season.

Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers


George M. Fattell.

The gmf journal is a general subject blog that reflects my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics that are of interest to me. Current home base is Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Retweets do not equal an endorsement.

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