I’ll preface this post by stating I openly admit to having little to no confidence in my predictions, nor do I claim to have any professional experience in making them.
I read the previews out there, I listen to talk radio and I use the old gut.
That being said, the NBA season tips off tonight, with Boston looking to defend it’s title and the Lakers looking to dethrone them behind first time MVP Kobe Bryant.
LeBron and the Cavs will looking to finally get over the hump, while out west the power may have shifted away from the Spurs-Mavs-Suns trio while being replaced by the Hornets-Jazz-Rockets three-some.
In the east, my Knicks will be better but still on the outside looking in at season’s end, while teams like Philadelphia, Toronto and Orlando will look to take another step towards deeper playoff runs.
I don’t want to get too specific, after all I do this for fun, so without furthter adieu, here is how I foresee the 2008-2009 season taking shape…
Eastern Conference Playoff Teams:
Boston– The defending champs won’t miss James Posey as they are still the most talented starting five in the NBA.
Cleveland– LeBron and his new look squad will reveal themselves as Boston’s biggest threat.
Detroit– Contract year for Rasheed, and assuming he stays, Detroit, despite a new coach, will continue their winning ways.
Toronto– This is Chris Bosh’s team, and as a result, expect Jermaine O’Neal to quietly put up numbers closer to the ones he put up during his best days in Indiana.
Philadelphia– A new “Brand” of basketball, Elton’s presence will propel Philly into the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Orlando– Still young and now with some playoff experience under their belts, Orlando might need a deadline deal to push them into the second round.
Chicago– Last year proves to be a fluke, as this team has too much talent not too make a postseason return with the help of Derrick Rose.
Milwaukee– Scott Skiles can coach, and this retooled team will be the biggest surprise in the NBA’s minor leagues…err…Eastern Conference.
Western Conference Playoff Teams:
L.A. Lakers- Kobe, Kobe and more Kobe. Oh, and a healthy Andrew Bynum, a full year with Pao Gasol and that ‘Zen-guy” head coaching.
Utah Jazz- Deron Williams and Carlos are legitimate stars, and Jerry Sloan just wins. That continues this year.
New Orleans- Everybody wants to talk about the Posey signing, but I’ll keep it simple. Chris Paul will score more, and win more.
Houston- Biggest move of the off-season was adding Ron Artest. A healthy year from Yao and T-Mac equal realistic title dreams.
San Antonio- Missing Manu Ginobili will hurt this team early, but having him healthy down the stretch will ensure they’re still playing after the regular season ends.
Dallas- Avery Johnson gone, core of the team remains the same. Kidd another year older, but a full year running that offense will be enough for a first round exit.
Portland- Greg Oden finally makes his NBA debut the year after he’s drafted, while Brandon Roy is an MVP candidate. This team finally takes the next step.
Phoenix– It may take more than 7 seconds or less, but the Suns will figure out a way to sneak into the playoffs as this team can still score with the best of them.
MVP: Chris Paul
Defensive Player: Ron Artest
Rookie of the Year: Michael Beasley
Most Improved Player: Devin Harris
Coach of the Year: Jerry Sloan
6th Man of the Year: Jason Maxiell
Knicks: 36-46, 10th in East
Nets: 30-52, 13th in East
2008-2009 NBA Champion
(drum roll please)
Check back in April to see if I have a future in fortune telling or selling fortune cookies.
Either way, it’s great to have the NBA back.
Let the games begin.
Without question, one of the best times of year has arrived.
March Madness is drawing a close with the Final Four a week away, however Opening Day (and im not talking about two games in Japan- no offense to you Red Sox and A’s fans out there) is upon us.
The blue skies.
The green grass.
The Royals and Devil Rays are still in contention.
It must be opening day.
With that, the start of a baseball season isn’t complete without predictions.
And with that, lets get it started…
AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS
New York Yankees 97-65
Boston Red Sox 93-69
Toronto Blue Jays 82-80
Tampa Bay Rays 78-84
Baltimore Orioles 66-96
Cleveland Indians 95-67
Detroit Tigers 92-70
Chicago White Sox 85-77
Minnesota Twins 76-86
Kansas City Royals 70-92
Seattle Mariners 89-73
Los Angeles Angles of Anaheim 85-77
Oakland Athletics 79-83
Texas Rangers 71-91
Wild Card- Boston Red Sox
New York Mets 94-68
Atlanta Braves 89-73
Philadelphia Phillies 87-75
Washington Nationals 82-80
Florida Marlins 73-89
Chicago Cubs 88-74
Milwaukee Brewers 85-77
Cincinnati Reds 80-82
Houston Astros 79-83
St. Louis Cardinals 77-85
Pittsburgh Pirates 73-89
Los Angeles Dodgers 91-73
Arizona Diamondbacks 90-72
Colorado Rockies 84-78
San Diego Padres 81-81
San Francisco Giants 67-95
Wild Card- Arizona Diamondbacks
2008 POST SEASON
Yankees over Mariners 3-0
Red Sox over Indians 3-2
Mets over Diamonbacks 3-0
Dodgers over Cubs 3-1
Red Sox over Yankees 4-3
Mets over Dodgers 4-2
Mets over Red Sox, 4-2
American League MVP- Derek Jeter
National League MVP- David Wright
American League Cy Young- C.C. Sabathia
National League Cy Young- Carlos Zambrano
American League Rookie of the Year- Joba Chamberlain
National League Rookie of the Year- Kosuke Fukudome
-Robinson Cano wins the batting title
-The Rays are in contention on Sept. 1
-Barry Bonds hits 15 Homeruns for Oakland
-Felix Hernandez throws a perfect game
– The Royals run off 12 straight victories late in the year, avoiding a 100 loss season
-Mark Teixeira is the only player to hit 50 homeruns
-The Diamondbacks have two 20 game winners (Webb and Haren)
-The first no-hitter in Mets history is thrown by Oliver Perez
-Joe Torre wins Manager of the year
-Matt Holiday approaches Dimaggio’s 56 game streak, and falls short at 48
-The Detroit Tigers miss the playoffs, and Jim Leyland loses his job at seasons end.
-Josh Beckett wins less than 15 games
-Vlad Guerrero fails to hit .300
-Ozzie Guillen resigns by August 1st as the White Sox seem stuck in neutral
-The final game at Yankee stadium sees the Red Sox clinching ther second consecutive AL pennant
-Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies find themselves back on the outside looking in, and Charlie Manuel finally loses his job
-Ryan Braun proves to be a one year wonder, and is sent back down by June 1st
-Unable to tolerate the pain in his elbow, Albert Puljos misses the final 3 months of the year
-Randy Johnson wins 3 games, starts only 12, and retires in July.
-Miguel Tejada is released by Houston prior to the trade deadline.
Other Notable Storylines to watch in 2008
At least one shoe-in, first ballot hall of famer-to-be is suspended 50 games for steroid use
Other Veterans who probably should have retired after last season: Tom Glavine, Jamie Moyer, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Orlando Hernandez, Ken Griffey Jr.
100 Years Since The Cubs sipped Championship Champagne
Can the Mets recover from their ’07 collapse?
More Milestones- 500 HR for Manny, 600 for Griffey, 300 wins for Big Unit to name a few
Joba Rules- To Start or not to Start
Breakthrough Players to watch- Dustin Pedroia, Troy Tulowitzki