Tosy and Cosh's Mostly Uninformed, Very-Unlikely-to-be-Right, Preseason NBA Predictions
I follow the NBA, and the Nets in particular, but am not a hard-core, fantasy-type guy who can spout statistics until the cows come home. I have a very basic idea of who made what moves over the off-season and how teams did last year. That windy caveat aside, here are my sure-to-look-silly-in-three-months predictions for each conference:
1. Indiana Pacers--Artest is back, and they tend to be more consistent during the regular season than the Pistons.
2. Miami Heat--I don't think Miami will take the conference either. The off-season pick-ups, including Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and Gary Payton, seem to willy-nilly to work together, too many people who just want the damn ball already.
3. Detroit Pistons--Their inconsistency during the season will keep them from finishing higher, but they'll go far in the playoffs.
4. New Jersey Nets--A healthy Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, and Richard Jefferson all playing together? If center Nenad Kristic develops as nicely as I suspect he will from his surprising rookie season last year, that much-vaunted weakness on the line may be less than feared.
5. Chicago Bulls--A solid team with chemistry already developed.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers--The additions of Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall should help, but remember--this team didn't make the playoffs at all last season.
7. Boston Celtics--They'll pull off the wins somehow; they do still have Pierce.
8. Milwaukee Bucks--Solid additions should get them to the playoffs.
9. Philadelphia 76'ers--Could Iverson miss the playoffs?
10. New York Knicks--Still too much of a mish-mash, and Brown and Marbury together is bad news.
11. Toronto Raptors--Still underwhelming.
12. Orlando Magic--Francis and Grant will keep them competitive at least.
13. Washington Wizards--Still a mess, as far as I can see.
14. Atlanta Hawks--Just sad.
15. Charlotte Bobcats--Building takes time.
1. San Antonio Spurs--Come on. No real losses, and adding Michael Finley and Nick Van Excel?
2. Houston Rockets--Yao and McGrady get even more in sync.
3. Denver Nuggets--All season with Karl, who they played like champs under for just part of a season last year.
4. Phoenix Suns--Why do I feel last year was something of a fluke?
5. Sacramento Kings--Perennials.
6. Utah Jazz--Mavericks will stumble, letting others shift up.
7. Seattle Supersonics--Another last-season anomaly.
8. Dallas Mavericks--They still have Nowitski, thank the Gods.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves--They're no longer contenders, and will probably miss the playoffs again.
10. Golden State Warriors--A healthy Baron Davis makes a difference.
11. Los Angeles Lakers--Insert Nelson Muntz riff here.
12. Memphis Grizzlies--Memphis has a team? (I kid).
13. Los Angeles Clippers--It would be beautiful to see the Clippers overtake the Lakers. Not this year though.
14. Portland Trailblazers--Rebuilding.
15. New Orleans Hornets--Not a good year for them.
East Final: Nets-Pacers
West Final: Spurs-Rockets
NBA Finals: Nets-Spurs
NBA Champs: Nets
(No, I really don't think the Nets will take it all, but if they do I want to be able to link back here in June and crow about my prescience).
Be sure to check back in late-November to laugh at me!