Archive for the 'Pro Basketball' Category

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.

Podcast Listening: 03-12-17 to 03-19-17

In a few prior posts on this blog I have written brief reviews for Podcasts that I listen to regularly and enjoy. I haven’t published a Podcast related post recently, but remain a avid fan of podcasts. I now listen to more podcasts now than I ever have have previously. Going forward I am going recommend specific podcasts from my favorite podcast hosts that I have enjoyed and found informativerather than just write a general post about a particular podcast.

Here are two Podcasts from last week that I enjoyed:

March 13, 2017:  The Joe Rogan Experience #930 – Guest: Will MacAskill

March 17, 2017: The Bill Simmons Podcast, Ep 189 – Guest: Steve Ballmer

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

NBA Playoffs 2013: Conference Finals

Right before the playoffs started and in the preseason as well I predicted that the Miami Heat would meet the OKC Thunder again in the Finals. Of course, I made that prediction based on the assumption that both teams remained healthy and didn’t lose any star players to injury. Unfortunately, the Thunder lost All-Star guard Russell Westbrook in the first round of the playoffs and that pretty much ended any hopes they had of advancing to the Finals. I didn’t think OKC would get past the 2nd round without Westbrook and that is indeed what happened, as they lost to Memphis in the 2nd round.

So, now we have Miami vs Indiana and San Antonio vs. Memphis.

Frankly, I don’t see how any of the remaining teams defeat the Miami Heat in a 7 game series.

I’m sure Indiana will put up a good fight against the Heat, but I don’t think they have enough offensive firepower to overcome Miami. Indiana plays very solid defense, as the NY Knicks found out, but they don’t have scorers that can match MVP LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Ray Allen.

Spurs vs. Grizzlies should be a real dog fight. I think that series goes six or seven games. I’ve gone back and forth on this series, but I now think the Spurs will win. Can either Western team beat a healthy Miami Heat team? I don’t think so, but it should be fun watching them try.

Predictions for NBA 2012-2013 Season

The NBA off season seemed to fly by pretty quickly, but that is OK with me. I’m very much ready NBA hoops again. This post is a few days late. I normally try to put prediction posts before the season begins, but I got sidetracked with a few things this week, including watching coverage of Hurricane Sandy and the election campaign, among other things. However, I think I can honestly say my predictions have not been influenced very much by the first few games we have seen so far.

Coach of Year: This a very tough award to pick because there are usually several strong candidates. I’m going am tempted to go with Erik Spo of the Miami Heat, but I’m not sure he will get the recognition he deserves because the Heat are so loaded with talent. I’m going to pick Frank Vogel, of the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers are a young up and coming team and Vogel did a very good job with them last season. If the Pacers exceed their win total from last season and go deep into the playoffs I think Vogel will be recognized and win this award.


Rookie of Year: Anthony Davis, NO Hornets. Looks like this will be race between Forward Anthony Davis and Portland PG Damian Lillard. Both are and should be outstanding this season. Close call, but I will go with Davis because I think his all-around stat’s may be a little bit better in the long run.

Sixth Man: Jason Terry, Boston Celtics. James Harden would have been the obvious choice for this award, but his trade to Houston and new starting role take him out of consideration. I’ll go with Jason Terry, who is a proven scorer and should receive a lot of minutes with Boston this season. I think Terry will be a very important contributor to the Celtics this season. Of course, I won’t be surprised if any number of other players win. There are so many talented 6th men in this league and once Harden was elevated to be being a starter with Houston this award was put up for grabs.

Defensive POY: Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers. I’m going out on a limb here, but I think Hibbert has a shot because Dwight Howard may not be 100% this season, coming off his injury from last season. Look, this award usually goes to a center or power forward who racks up a lot shot blocks, fair or not, that is just the way it is. The last pure guard to win this award was Gary “The Glove” Payton in 95-96. So, it will probably be a big man who can block quite a few shots and ideally one who is on a good team that will make the playoffs and do some damage. Several good big men will likely fall into category this season and I count Hibbert among them.

MVP: Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder. Of course LeBron James is the favorite for this award and justifiably so after leading the Miami Heat to a championship. The only player that seriously challenged James for the MVP award last year was Kevin Durant. I picked Durant to win the MVP award last year and I am doing so again this year because I think Durant is once again the only player that can seriously challenge LeBron for the MVP award. It should be a two man race between them again. However, with the Thunder trading star the OKC Thunder will be more dependent on Durant then the Heat will be on James because.

Eastern Conference Champion: The Miami Heat. This was not a difficult choice. The Heat added a few new weapons, most notably SG Ray Allen from the rival Celts. The Heat’s Big Three (James, Wade & Bosh) are healthy and in their prime. LeBron James will probably have another year that merits MVP consideration. Wade and Bosh will join LeBron on the All-Star team again. Will other teams in the East push the Heat this season? Probably. I expect the Knicks, Celtics, Bulls and Pacers all to be pretty good and you can probably throw a couple of other teams in there too, but none them will have the firepower to defeat the Heat the playoffs.

Western Conference Champion: OKC Thunder. The Thunder may not win as many games during the regular season as they did last season because of the loss of star Sixth Man James Harden. I think it is very possible that one to three teams in the West may win more games in the regular season than the Thunder, but I think Thunder will emerge as the Western Champ’s in the payoffs. Why? Because by the time the playoffs roll around I think the Thunder coaching staff will have made adjustments to compensate for the loss of Harden to a large degree. Moreover, the youth of the Thunder will give them an advantage over their rivals by the time the playoffs. The Lakers and Spurs both look dangerous on paper, but I think they may be a little too reliant on older players who may fade come playoff time. Other up and coming teams, such as the LA Clippers and Memphis will be good, but not good enough to overtake the reigning Western Division Champ’s. Dallas should also be good, but I don’t think they can take the Thunder this year.

NBA Champion:I think the Heat will meet the Thunder again, in what could become the defining rivalry of this era in the NBA. Heat vs. Thunder could become like the Celtics and Lakers during the 1980’s. I reluctantly picked the Miami Heat to the win championship last year. I really wasn’t a huge fan of the Heat going into last season, but I thought that their talent, combined with the lessons they learned from losing to the Dallas Mavericks the year before, would make them very difficult to stop last season and they were. Now this Heat team has learned how to win a championship, and they want more. They are older and wiser, but not too old. The young Thunder team will also come back wiser and more experienced, but I think the loss of James Harden will put the Thunder at too much of a disadvantage to a team with as much firepower as the Heat. I think the Thunder will win championships at some point in the future, just not this season.


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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