OMW & Friends: 2011-2012 NBA Standings Predictions


OMW & Friends: 2011-2012 NBA Standings Predictions

M.D. Wright

12.30.2011

 

***NOTE: Don’t forget to send me  your predictions by tomorrow if you have not already done so.

 

As we have since 2006, we will produce our predictions now and revisit them come playoff time. It’s always fun and it’s just a nice thing to look back on and see how accurate everyone is once the season ends.

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ASKIA’S PREDICTIONS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

1. Knicks 49-17

2. Celtics 47-19

3. Nets 36-30

4. Sixers 35-31

5. Raptors 23-43

 

Central Division

1. Bulls 52-14

2. Pacers 43-23

3. Bucks 34-32

4. Pistons 25-41

5. Cavs 19-47

 

Southeast Division

1. Heat 57-9

2. Hawks 45-21

3. Magic 43-23

4. Wizards 23-43

5. Bobcats 21-45

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE 

Northwest Division

1. Thunder 55-11

2. Nuggets 47-19

3. Trailblazers 41-25

4. T’Wolves 36-30

5. Jazz 28-38

 

Pacific Division

1. Clippers 50-16

2. Lakers 44-22

3. Warriors 34-32

4. Suns 33-33

5. Kings 27-39

 

Northwest Division

1. Grizzlies 46-20

2. Mavs 41-25

3. Spurs 38-28

4. Rockets 31-35

5. Hornets 21-45

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MOOKIE’S PREDICTIONS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. Miami Heats

2. Chicago Bulls

3. New York Knicks

4. Boston Celtics

5. Orlando Magics

6. Philadelphia 76ers

7. Indiana Pacers

8. Milwaukee Bucks

———————–

9. Atlanta Hawks

10. Charlotte Bobcats

11. Detroit Pistons

12. New Jersey Nets

13. Washington Wizards

14. Cleveland Cavaliers

15. Toronto Raptors

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Oklahoma City Thunder

2. San Antonio Spurs

3. Lob City Clippers

4. Los Angeles Lakers

5. Dallas Mavericks

6. Memphis Grizzlies

7. Portland Trail Blazers

8. Denver Nuggets

———————–

9. Houston Rockets

10. Golden State Warriors

11. Minnesota Timberwolves

12. Sacramento Kings

13. New Orleans Hornets

14. Utah Jazz

15. Phoenix Suns

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TOM’S PREDICTIONS:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

1. New York Knicks 40-26

2. Philadelphia 76ers 39-27

3.Boston Celtics 38-28

4. Toronto Raptors 30-36

5. New Jersey Nets 25-41

 

Central Division

1. Chicago Bulls 49-17

2. Indiana Pacers 40-26

3. Milwaukee Bucks 33-33

4. Cleveland Cavaliers 20-46

5. Detroit Pistons 15-51

 

Southeast Division

1. Miami Heat 60-6

2. Orlando Magic 39-27

3. Atlanta Hawks 36-30

4. Charlotte Bobcats 30-36

5. Washington Wizards 20-46

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Northwest Division

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 55-11

2. Denver Nuggets 46-20

3. Portland Trailblazers 40-26

4. Utah Jazz 25-41

5. Minnesota Timberwolves 23-43

 

Pacific Division

1. Los Angeles Lakers 40-26

2. Los Angeles Clippers 36-30

3. Golden State Warriors 29-37

4. Sacramento Kings 29-37

5. Phoenix Suns 16- 50

 

Southwest Division

1. San Antonio Spurs 42-24

2. Memphis Grizzlies 39-27

3. Dallas Mavericks 37-29

4. Houston Rockets 25- 41

5. New Orleans Hornets 19-47

 

 

Eastern Conference Finals

Miami over Chicago in 6

 

Western Conference Finals

Oklahoma City over Lakers in 5

 

NBA Finals

Miami over Oklahoma City in 6

 

NBA MVP

Kevin Durant

 

FINALS MVP

LeBron James

 

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SAL’S PREDICTIONS:

 

First and foremost, the best Christmas present I’ll be getting this year is the return of NBA Basketball. Nothing else comes close. The lockout was torture for real basketball fans and destroyed the follow-up to one of the best seasons in league history. When it was over, David Stern and the small market owners (looking at you Dan Douchebag Gilbert) compounded the fan ire of the lockout by performing the first VETO of a trade that I can remember because they didn’t want the Lakers getting another mega-star in CP3. This forced LA to then have to trade a devastated Lamar Odom for NOTHING and it’s like my Christmas present was taken away. But enough about my fandom, here is a real, unbiased look at the NBA season with predictions, projections and all the facts that I can put together.

 

Western Conference:

1. Oklahoma City Thunder 47-19. This is the Thunder’s “Leap” year. They’re no longer scrappy, young underdogs or inexperienced young’uns. They are the flat out favorite to win the West. With a legitimate top 5 player in Kevin Durant, a fellow All-Star in Russell Westbrook and two up and coming stars in Serge Ibaka and James Harden, plus the championship savvy of Kendrick Perkins, the Thunder will have arguably the most enviable starting 5 in the league. GM Sam Presti has made these pieces fit together perfectly, and a title or 2 are in the near future.

 

2. Dallas Mavericks 44-22. The defending champs took a big hit this off-season in losing Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea as well as the injured Caron Butler, but saved their off-season by stealing LO for nothing and signing Vince Carter (I KNOW!) to the minimum to be a bit player in a re-tooled Mavs lineup. Dirk is still here and he’s what matters most. The Mavs will get by on Dirk’s talent as much as anything, but they won’t be the tough defensive team we all saw decimate the Lakers, Thunder and Heat in the playoffs last year. Not without Chandler.

 

3. LA Lakers 42-24. Wow that off-season sucked. I’m making this projection based on the team NOT being able to acquire Dwight Howard in-season and having to make due with what they got. They lost part of their 3 headed 7-foot monster and replaced him with Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts. Perhaps brighter days are ahead, but for the first time in 5 years, I’m really worried. All that being said, I have a crazy feeling Kobe kills himself for the team this year. He knows how many jumps he has left in those knees, and he may use them all up this season because without Dwight, this is the last stand for the Kobe Lakers. I’m gonna roughly predict 28/6/6 for Kobe in a Renaissance season. This team will continue to live and die by him.

 

4. Memphis Grizzlies 40-26. Take the same team that stretched OKC to 7 games last year, add a top 20 player in Rudy Gay and what do you have? an even tougher out this season. The Grizzlies have stayed the same, which along with Oklahoma City is to their extreme benefit. If it all plays out like I expect it to, the Grizz-Thunder 2nd round re-match will be a war. Memphis is perfectly built to defend Durant. Rudy Gay is a subtle superstar. The only potential risk is Zach Randolph resting on his laurels now that he’s got his contract.

 

5. LA Clippers 40-26. Well they got better didn’t they? CP3 and Blake is going to be one of the most fun things any basketball fan will get to watch this season. Lob City indeed. With a lack of front court depth however, the Clips are probably a year away from being real contenders, though they’ll probably be the league’s top highlight-reel team this season.

 

6. San Antonio Spurs 39-27. The Spurs are really, really old. If Tim Duncan was 5 years younger, they might be the favorite to take it all this year, but father time is undefeated and Timmy has almost as many miles as Kobe with a lot more weight bearing down on those knees. He’s been a Laker enemy for so long, but now I want to enjoy every last drop of Tim Duncan’s legendary career. It’s gonna be tough to watch him ride off into the sunset after this year or next.

 

7. Portland Trail Blazers 38-28. Sad to see Brandon Roy’s promising career derailed by injuries. He was a class act and a hell of a player. With that said, he leaves a lot of talent in Portland. LaMarcus Aldridge is an All-Star caliber player and Gerald Wallace, Nicholas Batum, Wes Matthews, Ray Felton and Jamal Crawford are all incredibly talented semi-stars with great potential. If they can get ANYTHING from Greg Oden, they could be much, much higher up in the West. They’re not gonna be an easy out in the playoffs, and the Rose Garden will be rockin in Rip City come spring-time. Look for them to seek revenge on the Mavs for last year’s crushing exit.

 

8. Denver Nuggets 35-31. The Nuggets have 3 free agents stuck in China right now in JR Smith, Kenyon Martin and Wilson Chandler. Look for them to bring back Chandler and K-Mart as soon as the Chinese season ends in February and let JR walk. The re-signing of Nene along with projected improvements in Gallinari and Lawson get them into the playoffs here, but the Nuggets are still a deep team that can give a contender trouble on any given night. Lawson should make the leap to elite this year, and potentially rep the Nuggest in the All-Star game. Kenneth Faried is one of my favorite NBA rookies and could become this generation’s Ben Wallace, watch out for him.

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9. Phoenix Suns 33-33. Obviously this is solely based on Steve Nash not being traded to a contender at the deadline (hint *Lakers* hint). Nash with decent pieces around him is good enough to be a .500 team which is what I have them at here. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them oust the Nuggets from the final playoff spot and have a fun 6 game set with OKC in the first round, but ultimately, no team is more built to suit their star than the Suns with Nash. If he’s traded, they’ll plummet.

 

10. Houston Rockets 29-37. They have a nice team, but no star. They thought they had gotten Pau Gasol (and I think the Lakers should explore Pau for Scola, Martin and Lowry or get it worked into a potential Dwight trade) but I digress. As currently constituted, they’re a good but not great team that can beat a contender on a good night and lose to a fellow lottery team by 20 on a bad night. Another year or 2 from being a contender in my eyes, if they continue to draft well. Pat Patterson and Chase Budinger are gonna be nice players too, it’s just not gonna be overnight.

 

11. Golden State Warriors 27-39. The West is still very deep and it could be argued that the Warriors would be a fringe playoff team in the East, but they’re still too guard focused and either Ellis or Curry needs to be traded for a real top tier forward. David Lee is a nice big but not when he’s your go-to guy in the post. It’s gonna be a long year for the Warriors. Side note: Hofstra’s own Charles Jenkins should make the roster and it’s my belief that the kid will have a long and solid NBA career. Having met him I can see he’s got a great head on his shoulders and he works his ass off. Get em Jenkins!

 

12. Minnesota Timberwolves 25-41. I swear the T-Wolves are getting better! I venture that they’ll have 2 First Team rookies in D-Williams and Rubio and may even be able to keep Kevin Love with this core. A Beasley trade is likely at some point and it may even include Wes Johnson. All they need to become a 2012-13 playoff team is a scorer who can create his own shot. They’re a young team on the rise whether you believe me or not.

 

13. Utah Jazz 22-44. Another really really young team. The Favors-Kanter frontcourt is the future which means getting value for Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap in a deal either this season or next is a must. The Harris-Hayward backcourt should also grow well together. CJ Miles is an underrated role player and Alec Burks should turn into a nice #4 type talent himself. The Jazz have nice pieces in place and should be able to snag another top 10 pick in a loaded draft. Watch out in a year!

 

14. New Orleans Hornets 18-48. Any chance whatsoever that Stern doesn’t rig the 1st pick (Anthony Davis) for New Orleans? Anyone wanna bet on it? Is Vegas even taking action? The Hornets are gonna get 2 top 10 picks in the best draft since LeBron’s and will be back in the playoffs in a couple of years. Eric Gordon is a 25 PPG player in the making and should get a trip to Orlando for the All-Star game this season, Jarrett Jack should be a fantasy monster and they’re gonna get value at some point this season trading Chris Kaman and Trevor Ariza. Bet on it.

 

15. Sacramento Kings 16-50. JIMMER-MANIA! Who’s excited?!? Look Sacramento knows what they are. They need another top 5 pick to finish their re-building and will get it this season. Harrison Barnes would be the perfect fit with this team. If nothing else, watching Jimmer trying to play with Tyreke and Cousins should be a riot. Little white dude from Utah stealing shots from 2 more talented, selfish head-cases. It’s gonna be AWESOME!

 

Eastern Conference:

1. Miami Heat 52-14.  Look, I hate this as much as you do. No one’s beating Miami.

 

2. Chicago Bulls 47-19. The Bulls are certainly gonna be better. D-Rose has another year under his belt, and a bitter defeat at the hands of the Heat to use for motivation. The addition of Rip Hamilton has been understated and he should be able to run through screens and get his open shots just like he did 7 years ago when the Pistons won the title. Boozer has to be better and if Noah stays healthy, the sky’s the limit for the Bulls.

 

3. Boston Celtics 41-25. The demise of the Celtics is being over-publicized. The fact of the matter is that they still have FOUR players who made last year’s All-Star game. Expect a HUGE year for Rondo who obviously knows his name was thrown out there in trade rumors and can’t be too happy about it. Ray Allen is gonna be able to hit open shots regularly until he’s about 65 years old. The team hinges on the health of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. If those 2 can stay healthy, the C’s can run with anyone.

 

4. Indiana Pacers 38-28. Watch out for the much improved Pacers this season. The David West signing was tremendous, and add him to a re-juvenated Danny Granger and sure to improve young’uns Paul George, Darren Collison, George Hill & Roy Hibbert and the Pacers have the makings of a very strong team. If my seeding plays out, the Knicks and Pacers can revisit their legendary playoff rivalry, and that would definitely be one to watch.

 

5. New York Knicks 37-29. Tyson Chandler will shore up the coverage behind an atrocious defensive front-line. What Amar’e and Melo lack in defensive capability, they more than make up for in scoring ability and that’s where the Knicks should shine. They’ll be better in the 2nd half than the first with a (presumably) healthy Baron Davis, but until then, Toney Douglas remains one of the league’s worst and most mis-cast starting point men.

 

6. Philadelphia 76ers 35-31. The Sixers have a very good, young foundation. Jrue Holiday is among the best young point guards in the league and would figure to only get better as he continues to mature. Evan Turner was a bust last season, but count me among those who think the has a major breakout in year 2 as he learns how to play the game at a higher level. Young players like Thaddeus Young, Jodie Meeks and Marreese Speights should also improve as role players and the veteran leadership of Andre Igoudala and Elton Brand should be the cherry on top of an improving team from cheesesteak city.

 

7. Atlanta Hawks 35-31. The Hawks are what they are at this point. They’re a mid-tier East team who can get hot and win a playoff series or bomb out in round 1. Joe Johnson has the worst contract in the NBA and Josh Smith is probably leaving when his contract expires. Al Horford is a stud and the true face of the franchise, and Jeff Teague should become a very good point guard and remain one for years to come. There isn’t much else to say about the Hawks. You know it all already.

 

8. Orlando Magic 34-32. I’m prefacing this by saying that if they keep Dwight, they probably jump to 5th, but if they trade him they probably fall here to 8th or maybe even 9th or 10th. They’re a tough team to project in that regard. Basically it’s Dwight and a bunch of under-performers. Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Big Baby Davis aren’t franchise centerpieces, they’re role players. Dwight deserves better than that as he chases a championship in his prime.

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9. Milwaukee Bucks 33-33. Or “The most likely team to get bashed in by the Heat in round 1 if the Magic trade Dwight!” The Bucks have some talent but realistically, 8 is their ceiling. Bogut, Jennings and S-Jax can only do so much in a deep, but not great East.

 

10. Washington Wizards 29-37. John Wall is gonna become a borderline All-Star this season and this will either prove to be his debut, or the last season you won’t see him there for a long time. The rest of the team is built upon the fact that they want 1 more lottery pick before amnesty-ing Rashard Lewis after the season and hunting for a big free agent or two. McGee and/or Blatche needs to make the leap this year to near All-Star quality big man and this team should be back in the playoffs next season. Until then, enjoy John Wall!

 

11. Detroit Pistons 28-38. They’re a VERY deep, gritty team. Lawrence Frank is a very good coach, but at the end of the day they just lack the ONE guy to lead the team. Stuckey, Monroe and Daye form a pretty nice core to build around, but the Villanueva and Gordon contracts are killers. One of the two will be amnestied while they try to trade the other next off-season. The re-signing of Tayshaun Prince was also baffling. Why stifle the development of Daye and jerebko? Weird team, but better than people think.

 

12. Toronto Raptors 25-41. The Raptors are bad, but at least they have a very good foundation. DeRozan, Ed Davis and James Johnson are a very nice, incredibly cheap core to build around, and though they’re expensive, Bargnani, Calderon and Amir Johnson are nice players to have for either trades or role positions. Chris Bosh is a lot easier to replace than LeBron James. Give them a couple years and a couple top 8 draft picks and they’ll be back in the playoff hunt.

 

13. Brooklyn Nets 21-45. Well everything hinged on Brook Lopez and he killed the team. If he’s the reason they can’t get Dwight Howard and then Deron walks, it would be catastrophic for a team already out a few top-line 1st rounders from the Deron trade. It might be a bad first year in Brooklyn next year boys…

 

14. Charlotte Bobcats 16-50. This is just NOT a talented team. Corey Maggette is NOT a franchise player, or even a good player. It’s gonna be a tough year for Kemba Walker. And to top it off, MJ’s blatant disrespect of the players in labor talks probably ensures that no marquee free agent will ever sign with them again. You made your bed Mike, now sleep.

 

15. Cleveland Cavaliers 14-52. Speaking of the worst people alive, Dan Gilbert COME ON DOWN! My only prayer is that even though they’ll probably have the best odds at the #1 pick that the ping-pong balls will fall the right way and drop the Cavs to fourth. The city of Cleveland deserves better, but this guy deserves no happiness for the rest of his pathetic life. Yes, I’m bitter about the Chris Paul trade.

 

Award Winners:

MVP: Kevin Durant (Thunder). This kid is so due, it’s ridiculous. The writers love him, he’s a superstar and his team should win the West in only his 5th season. Tremendous talent, and so humble. Get it KD! LeBron will be tough to beat and Kobe will look to have one last shining year. Chris Paul and Derrick Rose probably round out the top 5.

 

Rookie of the Year: Ricky Rubio (T-Wolves). I just think that as the season progresses, he’ll get more playing time. The kid is a special talent.

 

Sixth Man: James Harden (Thunder). It’s the easy pick. He’s a star in the making and this should be his last year coming off the bench. Should be a lock.

 

Most Improved: John Wall (Wizards). So much talent. Will keep getting better until he’s a top 15 player. Probably not the next D-Rose, but not too far off.

 

Defensive: Dwight Howard (Magic?). He’s just an animal.

 

Coach: Erik Spoelstra (Heat). They’re just gonna be so much better than everyone else.

 

All-NBA First Team

C – Dwight Howard

F – LeBron James

F – Kevin Durant

G – Kobe Bryant

G – Chris Paul

 

All-NBA Second Team

C -LaMarcus Aldridge (Should qualify here)

F – Dirk Nowitzki

F – Carmelo Anthony

G – Dwyane Wade

G – Derrick Rose

 

All-NBA Third Team

C – Kevin Love (Should also qualify here)

F – Blake Griffin

F – Rudy Gay

G – Russell Westbrook

G – Rajon Rondo

 

All-NBA Defensive First Team

C – Dwight Howard

F – LeBron James

F – Andre Igoudala

G – Rajon Rondo

G – Chris Paul

 

All-NBA Defensive Second Team

C – Tyson Chandler

F – Kevin Garnett

F – Josh Smith

G – Kobe Bryant

G – Dwyane Wade

 

All-Rookie First Team

F – Derrick Williams

G – Ricky Rubio

G – Kyrie Irving

G – Kemba Walker

G – Jimmer Fredette

 

All-Star Teams:

 

East

 

Starters

C – Dwight Howard

F – Carmelo Anthony

F – LeBron James

G – Dwyane Wade

G – Derrick Rose

 

Bench

C – Al Horford

F – Amar’e Stoudemire

F – Danny Granger

G – Deron Williams

G – Rajon Rondo

F/G – Paul Pierce

F/G – Andre Igoudala

 

West

 

Starters

C -LaMarcus Aldridge

F – Dirk Nowitzki

F – Kevin Durant

G – Kobe Bryant

G – Chris Paul

 

Bench

C – Kevin Love

F – Blake Griffin

F -Rudy Gay

G -Russell Westbrook

G – Steve Nash

F/C – Pau Gasol

G – Ty Lawson

 

Playoffs:

(1) Heat over (8) Magic in 5

(5) Knicks over (4) Pacers in 7

(2) Bulls over (7) Hawks in 6

(3) Celtics over (6) Sixers in 6

 

(1) Thunder over (8) Nuggets in 6

(4) Grizzlies over (5) Clippers in 7

(2) Mavs over (7) Blazers in 7

(3) Lakers over (6) Spurs in 6

 

(1) Heat over (5) Knicks in 5

(2) Bulls over (3) Celtics in 6

 

(1) Thunder over (4) Grizzlies in 6

(3) Lakers over (2) Mavs in 6

 

(1) Heat over (2) Bulls in 6

(1) Thunder over (3) Lakers in 7

 

NBA Champion: Miami Heat over Oklahoma City Thunder in 6 games. I will now go vomit profusely.

 

And finally, my annual top 40 Players from #1 – #40

 

1) LeBron James

2) Kobe Bryant

3) Kevin Durant

4) Dwyane Wade

5) Dwight Howard

6) Dirk Nowitzki

7) Chris Paul

8) Derrick Rose

9) Deron Williams

10) Carmelo Anthony

11) Rajon Rondo

12) Russell Westbrook

13) Pau Gasol

14) Steve Nash

15) LaMarcus Aldridge

16) Blake Griffin

17) Kevin Love

18) Amar’e Stoudemire

19) Paul Pierce

20) Rudy Gay

21) Manu Ginobili

22) Zach Randolph

23) Al Horford

24) Tim Duncan

25) Kevin Garnett

26) Danny Granger

27) Stephen Curry

28) Chris Bosh

29) Eric Gordon

30) John Wall

31) Andre Igoudala

32) Andrew Bynum

33) Joakim Noah

34) Joe Johnson

35) Monta Ellis

36) Ray Allen

37) Ty Lawson

38) Nene

39) Lamar Odom

40) Tyson Chandler

 

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