|Posted on October 26, 2010 at 10:00 PM|
It’s been a year since I’ve published my first article, “I’m Not Pshycic, But My Predictions are Good,” I want to thank everyone for reading my articles. I encourage you to keep reading my articles and commenting.
Last year, I made three predictions; Rookie of the Year, MVP, and a breakout player. I nailed two of them and was partly right on the other. I predicted that Lebron would win the MVP award and that Rajon Rondo would be an all-star, become the leader of the Celtics, and lead them to the Finals. My third prediction last year was that Johnny Flynn would win Rookie of the Year. This was outrageously incorrect, but I did say that Hasheem Tabheet and Blake Griffin (the top two draft picks) would not win it, and that a point guard would, which did happen. Knowing that information, I suggest you keep reading, because this article may come in handy if you plan on going to Vegas soon.
My pick for Rookie of the Year is John Wall who was the #1 overall draft pick of the Washington Wizards, from Kentucky University. I said it last year, and I’ll say it again this year. Point guards win this trophy a lot. Of the past 17 Rookie of the Year winners, seven have been point guards, and only five have been big men. The only players seriously contending with Wall for the hardware are Evan Turner of the 76ers, Blake Griffin of the Clippers (who qualifies since he was injured all of last season), and Demarcus Cousins of the Kings, all forwards or centers.
When Wall comes into D.C. at the start of the season, the reigns will be in his hands from the first practice onward. He will have nice veterans to round out his supporting cast such as Kirk Hinrich and Josh Howard, not to take leadership away from Wall, but to give him help if he needs it. Wall has all the skills in place to be a great point guard in the NBA. In just pure sprinting speed, Wall is faster than NBA all-stars Chris Paul and Deron Williams. John’s vertical leap is 39 inches, higher than former dunk contest champion Kobe Bryant. This rookie is also 6’4, significantly taller than the average NBA point guard. The only thing not looking good for John Wall is that Washington’s last #1 overall pick in 2001, was one of the most ineffective #1 draft picks ever. Have you seen Kwame Brown in an NBA headline in the past five years? I didn’t think so. But anyway, John Wall is bound to succeed. He also was the named Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 NBA Summer League by leading the Summer League in both points and assists.
My pick for MVP is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. I predict that he will score 37 points per game this year. His stats have improved dramatically each year of his career, he’s only 21 years old, and he scored 30.1 points per game last year. He’s also had in-game practice over the summer at the FIBA World Championships where he obliterated the competition. (Read more about Durant in my World Championships article).
Another thing that helps a good player become an MVP is when his team drastically improves due to his stellar play. The Thunder finished 50-32 last year in a strong Western Conference, had a starting line-up with the average age of 21, and four recent top-five draft picks. They will certainly improve from last year and move up in the standings since their whole starting line-up will be more experienced and western power-houses like the Suns, Spurs, Jazz, and Nuggets all will deteriorate. (Phoenix lost Amare Stoudemire, the Spurs are getting old, the Jazz lost Carlos Boozer, and the Nuggets have a contract issue with Carmelo Anthony). In a poll of ESPN.COM writers, the majority picked Durant to win the MVP, but one guy picked Greg Oden. Yeah, your eyes aren’t dysfunctional; Greg (“I can’t put one foot onto the court without blowing my knees out for the season”) Oden. Anyway, that guy is crazy; Durant is the obvious favorite to take home the award.
My pick for the NBA champions is not the Miami Heat. They will break the ’96 Bulls' record for the most wins in a season in NBA history, because I think in terms of talent, those two teams are just about equal, maybe even a slight edge to Miami. The Bulls’ superstars in 1996 were Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. The Heat have three stars in Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Michael Jordan is obviously better than Lebron James, but Wade is certainly as good, if not better than Pippen, and Bosh is also as good, if not better than former Chicago big man, Dennis Rodman. Speaking of Dennis Rodman, along with being a part of the 72-win season, he also hold records for most hair colors sported in a career with eleven, and the most times kicking a cameraman in the groin with one.
The two point guards are Mario Chalmers for the current Heat and Ron Harper for the record-breaking Bulls, also comparable. However Chalmers is in his prime while Harper was on a major decline at that point in his career. In terms of a knock-down shooter, the Bulls had Steve Kerr, one of the great three-point shooters, but the Heat also have a decent shooter in Mike Miller. The one area where the Bulls might have the Heat is a sixth man. Chicago that year had the Sixth Man of the Year, Tony Kukoc. However, the Heat have no other fire-power off the bench other than Eddie House. Having said that, the bottom line is, this year’s Miami Heat have almost the exact same level of ability as the team who holds the record they are chasing.
When the panelists of ESPN’s sports talk show “Around the Horn” were asked whether it was more likely for the Heat to win 57 games or 72 games, three out of the four said 57. I was shocked by this response! Lebron James won 66 games (closer to 72 than 57) in 2008/2009 with this supporting cast:
- Mo Williams (18 points per game) playing the role of Dwayne Wade (27 points per game)
- Anderson Varejao (7 rebounds per game) playing the role of Chris Bosh (11 rebounds per game)
- Daniel Gibson (career 1.4 threes per game) playing the role of Mike Miller (career 1.8 threes per game)
It’s hardly even worth me taking the time to lay it out that way, since it is so obvious how much better Lebron’s new team is than his old one. It is outrageous to think that Lebron’s new team will win fewer games than his old team.
There are only two things that could potentially get in the Heat’s way in their plan to break the record.
First, they might get so far ahead of the Eastern Conference that they will tank the end of the season (not try). I don’t predict this happening because the Orlando Magic mean business after Dwight Howard working out with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer and learning many variations of the Dream Shake from The Dream himself. Since this Miami team has no bench, if they decide to sit Lebron, Wade, and Bosh (and let’s say Mario Chalmers as well) for the final few games, we end up with a starting lineup of Eddie House, James Jones, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and Joel Anthony, and we could have a competition between that lineup and the lineup the Cavaliers will be stuck with for all 82 games as the worst starting five in NBA history.
Secondly, and the big issue, they might face injuries. Dwyane Wade and Lebron James both suffered minor hamstring injuries during the preseason. They were minor, but what if in the regular season, there is a major injury? The Miami Heat have a chance of winning a title, but the "My Hammy" Heat don't.
Mostly, this team is inexperienced, and this is why they will not be this years' NBA champions. The Heat have not played together long enough, and besides Dwyane Wade in 2006, this Big 3 has a terrible playoff track record. But you know a big 3 that does? Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett. They will be this years' NBA champions. They have way too much depth at every position, especially the center position, which will be so important, because the Miami Heat have no height or depth, and the defending champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, beat them last year only by out-rebounding them in the Finals.
I think the Oklahoma City Thunder will square off against the Celtics, but with the oldest line-up in the NBA, I think the Celtics will knock off Kevin Durant and the Thunder and win it all. Since I don't predict the scores of potential games that would happen eight months from now, I'll leave my season predictions at that.
Comment below if you disagree with any of my predictions.
Categories: Awards & Honors