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Blog Entry

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 9:46 pm
 
Posted by Eye on Basketball



The season is finally, mercifully, just around the corner. In two days the 2011-2012 season kicks off. For all the lockout, legality, and lost games, there will be basketball. But we find a dramatically different NBA than we left. The Lakers are in disarray, the Celtics are fading, the Clippers are a potential powerhouse, and the Raptors... okay, the Raptors are still terrible.

So how is this all going to work out? We bring you our predictions for the 2011-2012 season, along with some random predictions on how things will go according to our crystal ball. (Note: We got our crystal ball at a flea market in southern Missouri. It also says "Get 'Er Done" on it.)

Three Random Predictions from Eye on Basketball

Royce Young:
1. Monta Ellis will be the biggest name traded this season. You can probably read between the lines there. That means Dwight Howard isn't getting dealt. The Magic are going to spend the first two months of the season trying to convince Howard to go to free agency, mainly because there isn't a suitable package on the market at this point. The Warriors though have been dangling Ellis on the market for a while, coming close to trading him for Andre Iguodala last season. They want to turn the backcourt over to Stephen Curry entirely and moving Ellis is what needs to happen to both Curry and the organization's development.

2. Flip Saunders will be the first coach fired. The Wizards are sort of a mess. John Wall has a ton of talent and young guys like Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Jordan Crawford have potential. But they don't appear to be moving forward as a team. Saunders is a really good coach and him being fired wouldn't be an indictment on his ability to coach. Sometimes young players just need a new direction, a new voice to listen to. You can't risk stunting development with young players and if the Wizards start slow and more importantly, sloppy, Saunders will get the axe.

3. Kevin Durant will win a third straight scoring title. Only six players in NBA history have ever won three consecutive scoring titles (Michael Jordan, George Gervin, Bob McAdoo, Wilt Chamberlain, Neil Johnston, George Mikan). So it's not some small task. I could see Durant's scoring decrease a bit because of James Harden’s emergence as a legit third scorer. That doesn’t mean Durant won’t average 27 or 28 a game, but I don’t see him bursting into 33 or 34 points per game range. He’ll take another scoring title simply because he just can’t help it. Dude could score 27 a game if he was in a full body cast.

Ben Golliver:
1. The Lakers will land Dwight Howard. The Lakers have dealt from a position of power for as long as anyone can remember, but the last month's insanity has now pushed them into desperation mode. This group, even if perfectly healthy, can't win a title this year and there are so many dead weight contracts a handful of amnesty clauses still wouldn't be enough. Put that together with Kobe Bryant's increasing age and the Lakers have no choice but to swing for the fences and deal every last tradable asset for Dwight Howard. Magic GM Otis Smith has been taking his time, as he should, but there's so much writing on this wall it looks like a New York City subway car covered in graffiti. Gasol, Bynum and whatever else L.A. can muster will head East.

2. We'll have a tank-off for the ages. Given the weirdness of the shortened season and the absolutely loaded 2012 NBA Draft, there's never been a better time for below-average teams to write off a season in hopes of landing a top draft pick. The Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are your top-3 contenders for tankapalooza, but the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Hornets, Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets are one injury away from being in combustion mode too. The smart money is on the Bobcats but brace yourself for some truly hideous basketball.

3. Erik Spoelstra will win Coach of the Year. Miami enters the season on what feels like a perfect storm: they key players are in shape, healthy, motivated, focused and extremely, extremely talented. Importantly, they bring with them a mindset of "We've been through the worst of it and we know what to expect now" and also realize that the only team that stood between them and the 2011 championship, the Dallas Mavericks, lost its most important defensive player in Tyson Chandler. Add up all of those factors and we're looking at the possibility of Miami making a mockery of the regular season, running off lengthy winning streaks and only slowing down if they get to the point where homecourt advantage is already wrapped up. A 50-win season is well within reach and, if that benchmark is met, look for Spoelstra, who dealt with rumors about his job last season, getting tapped for Coach of the Year honors.

Matt Moore:
1. The Lakers will figure something out. This franchise does not rebuild. It reloads. And with the assets they have and under the urgent leadership of the younger Buss, something will go down. Maybe it's Dwight Howard, maybe it's a solution we can't see yet that comes out of nowhere. But the Lakers have been a dominant franchise since the inception of the league. They will not go down quietly, not with Kobe Bryant facing the end of his career. Something will shake out for the Purple and Gold.

2. One of the superteams will self-destruct. It's not that superteams are inherently flawed. On the contrary, they have an obscenely high probability of success. But they are not 100 percent proof. And the very problems that can help more complete team efforts topple the superteams (chemistry, selfless play, ball movement, defense) will spell a blowup of one of the juggernauts. Maybe it's the Heat who simply find that they can win a ton of games but never be truly great with the 1-2-3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Maybe it's the Knicks who find that they truly do need a creator to run an offense geared around front-court scoring. Maybe it's the Clippers and Lob City turns out to be the Wizards' Oz. Or maybe it will be the Nets who find that Deron Williams and Dwight Howard aren't enough with the horrible roster they have around them should they land Howard. But one team will find that their experiment with overwhelming firepower was a mistake.

3. Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala will be with new teams by year's end. I'm a believer that situations that reveal themselves as untenable will not hold. And both of those players have been on the trade block for far too long. Smith has wanted off the Hawks, the Sixers have wanted to move Iguodala for a scoring punch for multiple seasons. It's simply unlikely that both teams will elect to stay put the whole year through, especially since both teams are in direct competition for the mid-to-late playoff spots in the East. Where those two end up could have significant impacts on the playoffs.

2011-12 NBA Season Predictions
Prediction Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
Atlantic Division Winner
Central Division Winner
Southeast Division Winner
Southwest Division Winner
Northwest Division Winner
Pacific Division Winner
Eastern Conference Winners
Bulls over Heat

Heat over Bulls

Heat over Bulls

Heat over Bulls
Western Conference Winners
Thunder over Mavericks

Thunder over Lakers

Thunder over Clippers

Thunder over Grizzlies
Finals Winner
Most Valuable Player
Dwyane Wade
Heat, SG

Kevin Durant
Thunder, SF

LeBron James
Heat, SF

Blake Griffin
Clippers, PF
Rookie of the Year
Kyrie Irving
Cavaliers, PG

Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves, PG

Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves, PG

Derrick Williams
Timberwolves, PF


Predictions: 2011-12 Eastern Conference Playoff Teams
Seed Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8


Predictions: 2011-12 Western Conference Playoff Teams
Seed Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8
Comments

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: December 25, 2011 4:49 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

East is going to be between Miami and Chicago.. they have the Real "Big 3" and the Bulls probbaly have the best starting 5 in the NBA (Rose - Hamilton - Deng - Boozer - Noah).  Miamis kryptonie will be the PG play.. I like the Norris Cole pick.  Would have liked them to go after Dalembert more (if he wouldv'e taken less money).  Hopefully my Knicks can make some noise, but they will need to get lucky and stay HEALTHY.

The West is Wide Open - My sleeper pick is Memphis.  Conley emerged as a viable PG last year, they have good defensive players at the athletic 2/3 positions.  Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol is one of the top frontcourts in the league.  Not to mention they get arguably their most dynamic scorer (Rudy Gay) back from injury.  This team is scary.

I'm not buying the Clippers hype, DeAndre Jordan will need to have a big season - as I don't think CP3 and Blake can carry them alone - they have NO depth elsewhere (besides PG).  Lakers will depend upon Kobe, but I have a feeling they wil be Dwight contenders come trade deadline time (Gasol + Bynum for Hedo + Dwight). 

As of Now I have it...

1. Miami (duh)
2. Chicago (true contenders)
3. New York (will compete)
4. Boston (age)
5. Atlanta (will improve, but not good enough.. yet)
6. Indiana (LOTS of talent)
7. Philadelphia (young and dangerous)
8. Milwaukee (can be as high as 5 if they stay healthy)

(Orlando cleans house)

1. OKC (easily the class of the west)
2. San Antonio (stumbled in the playoffs, but still very dangerous)
3. Lakers (still contenders)
4. Dallas (will stumble)
5. Memphis (sleeping giant)
6. Clippers (1st round exit)
7. Portland (can be dangerous)
8. Houston (lot of potential)

(Denver is hurting without Chandler, Martin, and Smith)



Since: Mar 1, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 3:26 am
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Its funny how haters always make excuses for everybody else.


goodmingto
Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 12:48 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Apr 1, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2011 12:33 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Would anyone care to explain how Royce Young has the Mavericks winning the southwest division but being the 4 seed behind the Grizzlies. So does he think Grizzlies will win division or Mavs?



Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 5:33 am
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

I meant Rose and KD, sorry.



Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 5:29 am
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Royce Young.... you lost credibility by picking Blake Griffin for MVP (in just his 2nd year in the league).  He isn't even the MVP of his own team.  Chris Paul is the best pg in the league as long as he's healthy, which he seems to be now.  Rose and Westbrook are better scorers than CP3 but not by much(CP3 is a more efficient scorer and could score more if he chose to), and neither of them is in his class when it comes to passing/creating for teammates, which is the main role of a great point guard.  Defensively he's only 2nd to Rondo at that position.  No other PG is as well rounded... the 2 next best allround are Rose and D-Will. 
a
Hawkman77.... where were Lebrons daggers in any of the 6 games in the NBA finals against Dallas??!! I love how ppl who defend Lebron keep pointing to the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the playoffs but completely ignore his choke job in the FINALS.  Lebron also had one of the worst performances in nba history for a goto guy in the 07 FINALS against Spurs.  Watch the games, check the stats, either way he was terrible!  Cavs only made the finals that year because D-Wade was injured.  He tore his shoulder took a bunch of time off but decided to put the surgery off til the season ended cause he wanted to defend their title.  Wade was very limited and they lost to the Bulls.  The 2011 Heat didn't make the finals because of Lebrons daggers or greatness like the media keeps shoving down our throats... they made the finals because their team has flatout more talent thn the teams they played.  No other team has 3 players who are all top 10-12 players in the league, and their role players are pretty good talent to put around a big3; Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, Mike Bibby, Joel Anthony, Eric Dampier, Big Z, Eddie House.  Remember this is the same team that many said would challenge the 96 Bulls for best record EVER.  It's tough enough to beat a team that talented as is, but then combine it with the fact that Rondo dislocated his right elbow and played most of the series lefthanded (he's arguably the MVP of the Celtics).  Boozer and Noah were injured on and off thru the year and both were clearly not healthy againt the Heat in the ECF either, but Chicago was young and inexperienced anyways and had a huge weakness at the 2guard.  Bogans started, avged 5ppg but a solid defensive player, Brewer came off the bench but is just an athlete and defensive stopper but poor shooter. Then you got Kyle Korver who is a shooting specialist but is a liability on defense.  In Rip Hamilton they have a player who is neither a liability on offense nor defense and will make this team so much better. If Bulls are healthy don't count on them losing to the Heat again.  Same goes for Celtics if they can get Jermaine Oneal to play anywhere close to the old Jermaine Oneal, but that's a huge IF. 

Back to "King" James....by the way why do media/ppl call this guy King James or the Chosen one (tattoo'd on his back lol), oh yeah thats right he calls himself that and even refers to it in third person, real class act humble guy.  Current players, legends and true educated fans alike can't stand this guy, he hasn't won even 1 title but he's the King?  Anytime this joker/clown hits a big shot the media overdo it and act like he does it all the time.  Remember that 1 clutch shot he hit against the Orlando Magic in 09 ECF, it was the only game the Cavs won that whole series but media thought it was so important they shove it down our throats to this day when they're doing those nba playoff hype commercials.  I remember when Pistons beat Lakers 4-1 to win the title in 04, the one game Lakers won Kobe hit a buzzer beater tre-ball similar to Lebron, but even that shot wasn't shown over and over and over again like they do with Lebron.  Stern runs the hype machine and he's always in need of another MJ level player who can take the league popularity to the next level and they think Lebrons the guy apparently.  They'll realise in time he's not, they've already started riding KD and Durant pretty hard but those 2 guys might actually live up to the hype.



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:03 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

He has to yet prove that he is an elite player.
That's a ridiculous comment.

There is a world of difference between being elite during the regular season and elevating your game to even greater heights during the post-season.
Apparently you didn't watch James stab dagger after dagger into the Celtics and Bulls in the playoffs.

That was a nice "I like my team and everybody else sucks" post.



Since: Dec 23, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 8:36 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

that makes no sense. paul is gone and the lakers dont tank for picks.
they'll be one of the better teams without a move and we'll certainly make a move for howard.
we've yet to see a full season with a healthy bynum..if he's healthy, who knows how good they could be.
its a big if, given his history, but when healthy he's the second best overall center.



Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 5:42 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Lakers should tank the season on purpose and get a good draft pick. 2011-2012 is an Asterisk Championship anyway.

Let's wait until we can sign some free agents like, oh I don't know, D Howard and C Paul!
 



Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 5:38 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Everyone last year who picked the Heat and failed are trying again.  And if Lebron can't step up his game in the post-season and especially the Finals (if they get there), then the results will be the same.  He has to yet prove that he is an elite player.  There is a world of difference between being elite during the regular season and elevating your game to even greater heights during the post-season.  If money still matters more than a ring, and if he continues to rely on Wade and Bosh and everyone else to get him a ring, then Lebron will still be regarded as a post-season flop.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com