2012-2013 NBA Season Preview

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

ImageThe 2012-2013 NBA season is just about upon us. The season tips-off on Tuesday night, when the Washington Wizards and the Cleveland Cavaliers bring their rampant mediocrity to Quicken Loans Arena. We here at SkoodSports believe that basketball is a nice sport. But, it’s still #4 on our list. So, this preview won’t be something you’d find in a John Hollinger column. Still, we think you’ll find some insight and, if nothing else, be able to make fun of the blog at the end of the year for how dramatically wrong we were.

NBA Standings Predictions

Atlantic Division

1. Philadelphia 76ers – What a transformation this team has undergone in just one offseason. Gone are veteran leaders Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand. Welcome to Philadelphia, Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson, and Dorell Wright. The 76ers were 6-1 in the preseason and should, barring injury, see improvements out of their backcourt that should have them thinking towards a deep playoff run. Win range: 48-54
2. Brooklyn Nets – I really like the Nets this season. Former 76ers GM Billy King went into this offseason hoping to poach Dwight Howard from Orlando. He failed in that quest. However, he was successful in acquiring Joe Johnson to go along with Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez. Win range: 44-50
3. Boston Celtics – That’s right. I’m not drinking the Celtics’ kool-aid this season. Everyone seems to still consider them a championship contender (even though they haven’t won a championship since the Bush administration). Losing Ray Allen is rough. But, the real problem will be their front court. Can Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce really be relied upon to stay healthy again? Win range: 43-49
4. New York Knicks – I’m sure I’ll get some flak for this. But, the Stoudemire-Anthony experience is looking more and more like a failure. Grabbing two superstars who play no defense and surrounding them by washed up veterans is usually a recipe for fourth place in a tough division. Win range: 40-46
5. Toronto Raptors – Andrea Bargnani is a nice complimentary player. But, he and Kyle Lowry will not be enough to lift this team out of the Atlantic gutter. Win range: 22-28

Central Division

1. Indiana Pacers – This is a very talented team that will not go under the radar anymore. Paul George, George Hill, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, and David West compose an offensive juggernaut that should contend for home court in the Eastern Conference. Win range: 49-55
2. Chicago Bulls – With Derrick Rose, this is probably the division favorite. But, the 2011 NBA MVP will miss a majority of the season with the knee injury he suffered last postseason. Can his teammates rally enough to get Chicago back to the playoffs? I think so. Win range: 46-52
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – Just one year removed from their worst season in franchise history, the Cavaliers should approach the .500 mark behind Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. Win range: 34-40
4. Milwaukee Bucks – Sorry, I just don’t think that a combination backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis equates to success on the scoreboard. Win range: 32-38
5. Detroit Pistons – Tons of talent on this team that could mean a bright future. Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond should be a dynamite 1-2-3 combo in 2014. Win range: 24-30

 Southeast Division

1. Miami Heat – Miami will be the kings of the worst division in basketball yet again. Win range: 65-71
2. Atlanta Hawks – Picking a #2 team in this division was like picking the most washed up member of “The Expendables.” Atlanta lost a couple of starters from their former core. But, they added Devin Harris and have Al Horford for an entire season. They should easily be able to outgun the “Three Stooges” behind them. Win range: 42-48
3. Washington Wizards – John Wall is a great player. I think in time, he and Bradley Beal will form a lethal backcourt combination for our nation’s capital. But, the 2012-2013 incarnation of the team has no offensive presence in the front court and is too immature to buy as a playoff team. Win range: 32-38 
4. Charlotte Bobcats – The Bobcats and Magic might be the two worst teams in basketball. Getting screwed by the lottery certainly didn’t help North Carolina’s sole franchise. Win range: 18-24
5. Orlando Magic – The Magic almost had a trade that would have brought MarShon Brooks and Brook Lopez from the Nets. That alone would have almost guaranteed them fourth place in this division. But, they instead settled for a collection of raw talent and draft picks that could leave them with the #1 pick next June. Win range: 15-21

Northwest Division

1. Oklahoma City Thunder – It’s a pretty easy bet to suggest that OKC is going to win the Northwest. Their talent is undeniable and they should be either a 1 or 2 seed in the playoffs. Win range: 58-64
2. 
Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets added Andre Iguodala to an already strong defensive unit. If Ty Lawson can continue to improve, the Nuggets could give OKC a run for their money. Win range: 50-56 
3. Minnesota Timberwolves – I’m a bit torn here thanks to Kevin Love’s injury. If he, Ricky Rubio, and Brandon Roy are healthy, the T-Wolves could easily beat out the Nuggets for second place. If not, they could have trouble staying ahead of Utah. Win range: 44-50 
4. Utah Jazz – The Jazz have a nightmare front court for opposing teams to confront led by Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, and Derrick Favors. However, their backcourt is raw and I don’t think that Mo Williams is a capable starting PG anymore. Win range: 40-46 
5. Portland Trailblazers – The Blazers have been sent back lightyears thanks to their selection of Greg Oden over Kevin Durant back in 2007 and Brandon Roy’s retirement (and subsequent renaissance with the Timberwolves). They had a nice draft and should be poised to contend in a few years. But, last place in a tough division seems more likely. Win range: 22-28

Pacific Division

1. Los Angeles Lakers – Their 0-8 preseason record notwithstanding, the Lakers have the most talented starting-five in the NBA. The acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard should set them up for a long summer. Win range: 60-66
2. Los Angeles Clippers – 
The Clippers, long the Lakers’ ugly little sister, have finally outgrown their homely past and look to contend once again behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Win range: 49-56
3. Golden State Warriors – Count me as one who loved the trade of Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut. If Stephen Curry can stay healthy, the Warriors have a dynamic offensive unit with a strong interior presence in the former #1 overall pick out of Utah. Win range: 43-49
4. Sacramento Kings – Will they remain in Sacramento for the long haul? No one knows. But, the Kings have a strong young team led by DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, and rookie Thomas Robinson. Win range: 37-43
5. Phoenix Suns – I like Goran Dragic. But, the rest of their roster looks like one of those old 1990s Sixers teams coached by John Lucas or Johnny Davis. Win range: 27-33

Southwest Division

1. San Antonio Spurs – The Spurs are still on top. I don’t care how old Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are getting. As long as Greg Popovich is still their coach, they will be contenders. Win range: 50-56
2. Dallas Mavericks – There’s a lot of off-the-court malarkey going on in Big D right now. But, as long as Dirk Nowitzki returns and is healthy, they should be a playoff team. The additions of Darren Collison and OJ Mayo brings some complimentary offense to the table. Win range: 48-54
3. Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies have had a dynamic front court for a few years now. They replace Mayo at SG with Jerryd Bayless, which is kind of a wash. Win range: 44-50
4. New Orleans Hornets – I like where this team is going. Just a year after they were forced to ship Chris Paul to the Clippers, New Orleans looks like a viable contender in 2014. The acquisitions of Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson to go along with Eric Gordon should give the Big Easy something to cheer for. Win range: 34-40
5. Houston Rockets – Give this team a couple of years. After the sudden declines of Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, the Rockets were left at the alter with their shoes-untied. They gave Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin too much money. But, the talented youth they acquired in the draft should have them in good shape soon enough. Win range: 25-31


Playoff Seeding

Eastern Conference

1. Miami Heat
2. Indiana Pacers
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Brooklyn Nets
6. Boston Celtics
7. Atlanta Hawks
8. New York Knicks

Western Conference

1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Denver Nuggets
5. Los Angeles Clippers
6. Dallas Mavericks
7. Memphis Grizzlies
8. Minnesota Timberwolves

Awards

MVP
LeBron James, Miami Heat

Rookie of the Year
PG Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers

Coach of the Year
Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers

Most Improved Player
Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns

Defensive Player of the Year
Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers

Sixth Man of the Year
James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder


Playoff Predictions

First Round
1. Miami Heat – 4
8. New York Knicks – 1

2. Indiana Pacers – 4
7. Atlanta Hawks – 2

3. Philadelphia 76ers – 4
6. Boston Celtics – 3

4. Chicago Bulls – 4
5. Brooklyn Nets – 3

1. Los Angeles Lakers – 4
8. Minnesota Timberwolves – 2

2. Oklahoma City Thunder – 4
7. Memphis Grizzlies – 1

3. San Antonio Spurs – 4
6. Dallas Mavericks – 2

4. Denver Nuggets – 3
5. Los Angeles Clippers – 4

Second Round

1. Miami Heat – 4
4. Chicago Bulls – 3

2. Indiana Pacers – 2
3. Philadelphia 76ers – 4

1. Los Angeles Lakers – 4
5. Los Angeles Clippers – 0

2. Oklahoma City Thunder – 4
3. San Antonio Spurs – 2

Conference Finals 

1. Miami Heat – 4
3. Philadelphia 76ers – 1

1. Los Angeles Lakers – 4
2. Oklahoma City Thunder – 3

NBA Finals 

Miami Heat – 2
Los Angeles Lakers – 4

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