Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Yesterday I gave you my outlook for all 30 Teams Twitter style. Now, with less than 7 hours before the 2012-2013 NBA Season kicks off, I give you my predictions for the big awards this season and some other things I think will happen before the Celtics raise Banner 18 this June.

NBA MVP: LeBron James. Feels like a given. Don't discount CP3, Rondo and Durant here if James falters.

Coach Of The Year: George Karl. A WCF trip will do the trick. Of course I like Doc here too and if Monty Williams is a year or two early with the Hornets, he'll be there as well.

6th Man Of The Year: Jason Terry. Ray who? The Jet will soar in Boston. Andre Miller and Marshon Brooks have a shot as well thanks to Harden starting in Houston.

Rookie Of The Year: Anthony Davis. I really want to pick Kidd-Gilchrist here but AD is the real deal. Lillard could make noise here as well.

Most Improved Player: Jeff Teague. No Joe Johnson means he has to shine with the Hawks for them to be successful. Look for other's taking the mantle from lost stars here: Dragic in Phoenix and Big Baby in Orlando.

Breakout Star: Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs will need him to take the torch from the old guard, especially with Manu already hurting. Ty Lawson is a guy to watch here as well and Kyrie Irving will cement himself as a superstar this season.

Biggest Star Letdown: Ray Allen. For all the hype of his free-agency departure, his aging legs will betray him in South Beach. At lease he'll already be in Florida when he has to retire. Danny Granger is a guy I put here too if he's not healthy, Indiana won't reach their potential.

Breakout Team: Denver Nuggets. We saw Indiana and Philly make their moves last season. Now its time for Denver to make their claim as part of the West's elite. Deep and athletic, they have sort of a Detroit Pistons feel when they knocked off the favored Lakers (sound familiar) on the way to a title. Don't sleep on the Hornets here either, or a Brooklyn team with something to prove in their new digs.

Biggest Team Letdown: New York Knicks. Already having lost Amare for 6 weeks, as well as headlines to their Brooklyn counterparts, this could be an ugly season for the Knickerbockers. Indiana looked ready to be among the East's best last year, but a step backwards could be in the cards in 2013. The end of runs in Dallas and Memphis feel right too, but that's probably just a letdown in those cities, reality to the rest of us.

Defensive Player Of The Year: Serge Ibaka. Everyone will pick Howard, but the early bumps I see for the Lakers may give the OKC swatter the opportunity to swipe this one away from Dwight.

There you have it. Only a few hours to go and all the predictions and chatter falls to the wayside. Then the players do the talking. Enjoy the season!

Monday, October 29, 2012

30 Teams in 30 Tweets

With Opening Night (finally) upon us, every player, coach, GM and fan base is optimistic about what the 2012-2013 season has in store for them. Unfortunately, about 80% of them shouldn't be. We know who the teams with a shot are and the rest are playing to be the last team David Stern puts on the clock to start an NBA Draft. Truthfully, I think we're all just happy to know there are 82 games on the schedule and we're back to a real season!

You can go just about anywhere and find a league preview, team-by-team previews and more. It is a great time of year for a basketball fan if you want to find a few good reads. Sheridan Hoops, Pro Basketball Talk and of course the big guys like ESPN and Yahoo! will give you everything you can possibly imagine to pour over for the upcoming season.

However, if you're like most of us and have evolved into having the attention span of a gnat, anything longer than Twitter's 140 characters (or about 40 and a pic if you're J.R. Smith) has lost you by the second page. So with that, here are 30 Teams in 30 Tweets. A quick, under 140 preview for every team in the NBA, followed by my 8 playoff teams for each conference, Conference Finals and Finals picks.

Enjoy. Debate. Criticize. Agree. It's your world, squirrels...comments below are always welcome!

2012-2013 NBA Previews:

Atlanta Hawks:  Perennial 5-8 seed. Not getting over the hump. Not now. Not ever. Poor Josh Smith.

Boston Celtics: #IAmACeltic and there is no shot of being unbiased here. Deep squad. Rondo's time. Health is key. Banner 18 goes up in June.

Brooklyn Nets: Everything is new again. City, arena, logo, colors, backcourt...Where's Brooklyn at? Sneaking in or a year away...falls on D-Will and Joe.

Charlotte Bobcats: Not sure Jordan in his prime could help them. Definitely can't from the front office. Only reason to watch this year is future star MKG.

Chicago Bulls: Everything hinges on how they do w/o D-Rose. Then seeing if he's all the way back. Gotta root for the kid, one of the few humble stars left.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Breakout year...Irving, yes. Cavs, not so much. But, a chance to set up for a key FA this summer. They'll want to play with him.

Dallas Mavericks: Is Mayo the answer in Big D? Doubtful. Feels like the window closed on this bunch. Expect a Cuban blockbuster for new blood at some point.

Denver Nuggets: Best front office going. Turning AAA & Harrington into Iggy amazing. Paired with the Melo haul, Nuggets primed to sneak past the favorites.

Detroit Pistons:  The only hope for the Pistons this year is for the NHL lockout to end and the Red Wings to get on the ice, burying them from the back page.

Golden State Warriors: This team is less stable than Steph Curry's ankles. Huge rookie class, deep bench but are they for real or was their last 10 of '12 a sign?

Houston Rockets: Lin & the Beard. Sounds like a bad reality show. Love Harden, but is he ready to start and carry the load? Houston, you may have a problem.

Indiana Pacers: The chic sleeper pic. Young, athletic, showed promise vs. Heat. Are they ready for the leap or are they the next Atlanta? We'll know soon.

Los Angeles Clippers: Still LA's "other" team. Even with big moves, they still get overshadowed by Lake Show. Bottom half playoff team is best bet for CP3's crew.

Los Angeles Lakers: Adding Nash & Superman: 2011 Heat or NBA's real "Dream Team"? There will be bumps in the road, but if smooth by April, tough to bet against.

Memphis Grizzlies: Starting to feel like Hawks West in Memphis. Always around, occasionally make some noise, but never beating the big boys come summer.

Miami Heat: Are they the '92 Bulls or '94 Rockets? LBJ wants MJ's dynasty. Haters hope it was a lockout-shortened asterisk. Tough to see less than ECF.

Milwaukee Bucks: Jennings/Ellis will be on SportsCenter's Top 10 more than the win column. Will be a fun team to watch if you don't care if they win or not.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Would have been a big sleeper if Rubio was healthy. Feels like a bridge year. Best case is sneaking into the lottery for 1 more piece.

New Orleans Hornets: Big rookie haul. Nice to keep Gordon too. Have to like everything about where this team is going. Sneaky 8 seed? Maybe. Probably 2 yrs. out.

New York Knicks:  Big city expectations on Melo & Amare. They aren't better than the East's best. Means a lot of witty headlines bashing them in NY this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Trading Harden could be a disaster. Chemistry is key. Ask the C's about Perk. Still a safe bet for WCF. Title if pieces gel with KD & RW.

Orlando Magic: The only thing this team should hope to win this year is the lottery. Somehow I bet they'll mess that up too.

Philadelphia 76ers: Swooping in on Bynum huge, if healthy. They were already set to make the leap, this could be what does it. Collins has them believing.

Phoenix Suns: No Nash, no trade rumors, no real reason to follow this team. Hey, at least you're not the Bobcats!

Portland Trailblazers: Lillard will be a star. Aldridge is solid. Batum got overpaid. Looks like back to the lottery for this group. Which may not be a bad thing.

Sacramento Kings: Cousins busts out this year. Only highlight besides announcing the move to Seattle, where they'll instantly care more than Kings fans do.

San Antonio Spurs: Always there. Will be the same this year. Big season for Kawhi Leonard as he takes the torch from the Spurs big three on this playoff run.

Toronto Raptors: Probably the first team out in the East playoff picture. A lot of good 2-way players. DeRozan in a contract year will be a guy to watch.

Utah Jazz: Utah is BIG. But, Coach Corbin says its Mo Williams' team. Wait, what? If he's conducting, this is a Jazz tune that isn't worth a listen.

Washington Wizards: Is Beal a star or a bust? I'm going with bust. Wall injury to start is a killer. Long season ahead in DC. They can defend, but not enough.

Playoff Predictions:

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams: Atlanta, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Indiana, Miami, New York, Philadelphia. I thought about Cleveland, Milwaukee and Toronto here, but I can't see them supplanting NY, Brooklyn and Atlanta this season.

Western Conference Playoff Teams: Dallas, Denver, Houston, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Memphis, Oklahoma City, San Antonio. I really want to put New Orleans and Minnesota here over Memphis and Dallas, but I think it is a year early.

Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics over Heat. Bradley alone puts them over last season. Jet, Lee and Bradley will be more than Wade and Ray's worn out bodies can handle in June.

Western Conference Finals: Thunder over Nuggets. Upsetting the Lakers will be where Denver's dream season ends. Unless a huge chemistry problem develops, KD and Westbrook are just too good not to return to the Finals.

NBA Finals: Celtics over Thunder. Yes, I'm a homer. Yes, I'm taking age and experience over youth and talent. Don't like it...start your own blog!

There you have it: 30 Teams in 30 Tweets. Best of luck to your team and most importantly to an NBA season for the ages!