Monday, October 29, 2007

NBA Preview: Fearless Predictions

Jack here. So apparently it’s come to this. The season’s upon us and it’s up to me to recklessly prognosticate what will transpire. Will the Suns break through? Will LeBron average a triple-double? In any event, devoid of any particular formal pattern or appeals to reason (pace Tim), here’s how things are shaping up in my third eye vision:

No I In “Team”

Eight Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (alphabetical order): Bulls, Cavs, Celtics, Heat, Magic, Nets, Pistons, Wizards

Eastern Conference Champs: Celtics. This pick is admittedly a combination of unabashed homerism and complete disbelief at the horror that is the Eastern Conference. Any number of things could derail this, most the asshole who coaches them, but hey, who wants to be negative.

Eight Western Conference Playoff Teams (alphabetical order): Hornets, Jazz, Mavs, Nuggets, Rockets, Spurs, Suns, Warriors

Western Conference Champs: Suns. This could certainly go to the Spurs as well. The Suns almost won last year, though, and honestly, I hate the Spurs at this point. Duncan and Parker are a joy but the Bowen/Horry shenanigans in last year’s playoffs left me thirsty for blood. Suns are the pick.

NBA Champs: What are you, serious? There are four teams in the West (Suns, Spurs, Mavs, Rockets) that would be prohibitive favorites over anyone in the East. Suns in four, Nash eats Rondo for dinner. Thanks for playing, though.

The I’s in “Win”

Kevin Garnett, Celtics. I’m tempted to write 30,000 words on why the NBA MVP is the stupidest major award in sports. Last year these idiots gave it to Nowitzki even though you could assemble a starting five of guys are undeniably better than him (Nash, Kobe, LeBron, Garnett, Duncan: there, see?). Everyone acted so shocked when Dirk couldn’t get it done in the playoffs, but was anyone really that surprised? Dirk Nowitzki is not an elite player, and while every middle-aged white dude wants him to be Larry Bird, thrusting undeserved hardware at him isn’t going to make that happen. Also, unlike MLB and the NFL, the NBA has an inexplicable aversion to giving this award to the same player over and over. Remember when Karl Malone won instead of Jordan? Jesus Christ. And do you know why Steve Nash didn’t win last year? Because he’d already won the previous two seasons. Never mind that last year was his best season out of the three, or that his first award should have gone to Shaquille O’Neal but didn’t because guess what? Shaq had already won one! The argument against LeBron is that he’s too young to win, even though last year it became disturbingly obvious that he’s the most valuable player on the planet. So why will KG win this year? Well, the Celtics are looking at a historic one-year turnaround, and that’s just the sort of thing that MVP voters go crazy over (see Nash’s first award). While KG already won in 2003, the fact that he’s on a new team will supersede the idiotic “he’s already won” bullshit. Plus, the League is looking to give it to an Eastern Conference guy so they can at least pretend that the East-West balance of power isn’t laughably disproportionate. I’m not saying that Garnett should win the MVP, I’m merely saying that I think he will.

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant, Sonics. Everyone’s talking junk about Luis Scola but Durant is a freakishly amazing basketball player and just had one of the greatest seasons in NCAA history. By January we’ll feel ashamed for even having this discussion.

Most Improved Player: Dwight Howard, Magic. To quote his favorite book, this is the year Howard puts away childish things. All the Celtics fans (myself included) who dreamt last year that Big Al Jefferson might someday rival Howard will wake up and apologize. This kid has Duncan potential and will dominate the Eastern Conference for years to come.

Coach of the Year: I don’t care.

Biggest Disappointment (or, Most Overrated): Eddy Curry, Knicks. This is admittedly a paraphrase, and I’m wondering if anyone else heard it, but last week when the C’s were playing the Knicks, Tommy matter-of-factly declared that Eddy Curry “will never be a player in this League.” Gorman seemed kind of shocked, and asked why. Tommy simply replied that he “doesn’t care enough.” It was an amazing exchange and reminded me of why Tommy is my favorite announcer in sports: because he’s brutally honest enough to not give a shit about hurting some fat fuck’s feelings. Eddy Curry has Hall of Fame talent and a Junior Varsity work ethic. He is a vastly overpaid, chronic disappointment. Enjoy it, Knicks fans.

Biggest Sleeper (or, Most Underrated): Jason Kidd, Nets. It’s odd to think of Jason Kidd as a sleeper, but every year someone talks about Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Mike Conley as “the next Jason Kidd,” as though Kidd’s some sort of ghost story. Guess what? Jason Kidd is still in the League and better than every single one of these motherfuckers. Did you know that last year Jason Kidd averaged 8.2 rebounds per game? Do you know who averaged more on the Nets? Nobody, that’s who. Nenad Krstic was second with 6.8, and is considered one of the more promising big men in the league. Krstic is 7 feet tall, Jason Kidd is 6-4 and can’t jump. Kidd’s so good we don’t even believe it: we lack the vocabulary to describe his greatness and so everyone just ends up mumbling about Vinsanity or some other bullshit.

Season starts tomorrow night, with Portland-San Antonio on TNT (something tells me they scheduled that one before Oden went down), followed by Rockets-Lakers. Break yo'self, fool.


Anonymous said...

Very well stated, Jack. Great invention of the word "homerism." Keep tickling those ivories, man. I completely agree with the Suns-Celtics in the finals, along with the Suns being the victors. Those shenanigans last year with the Spurs were very upsetting, and it's payback time! I wouldn't put the blame so much on Horry and Bowen as I would the refs or Stern or whoever's decision it was to suspend Amare and Diaw. The replays indicate that Amare actually had a right to be off the bench because he was, in fact, just about to enter the game. Furthermore, both players were about a few steps onto the court. Earlier in the game, Tim Duncan did the same thing. It's just a stupid rule to begin with. Maybe this year Bowen will finally get just punishments for kicking people. Although it must be stated that the Spurs' tough defense is what brings about their success. Phoenix needs to follow this example and toughen up. Put the body on, throw a few elbows, talk some trash. Let the games begin!

Tim said...

This Glen Taylor two part interview is fascinating in basically every regard.