Sunday, May 6, 2012

Handicapping the NBA playoffs

It's probably a bad idea for an armchair quarterback such as myself to weigh in on who's going to win what in the NBA playoffs, but a few things would seem to be obvious. Even if I get this totally wrong, it's not like I'm going to get fired from a multi-million dollar contract, so let's rock and roll.

Unlike the NHL, which I'll talk about next time, the "seedings" in the NBA matter. Barring catastrophic injuries, mass arrests, or something else unforeseen, you won't see a #1 seed getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by a #8. Further, I'm going to ignore what I consider to be teams in the playoffs that are "pretenders", and only concentrate on the those teams that had a realistic "shot", going in.

Let's look at the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls have a lot of talent, a great coach, and posted an impressive regular season record. Whether they were championship caliber is debatable, but once Derrick Rose went down, they were done. The Big 3 of the Boston Celtics might be getting old, but make no mistake, with Rajon Rondo, arguably the best point guard in the league, those guys still "got game", and can be formidable on any given day. The sleeper is the Indiana Pacers. They've been quietly flying under the radar all year, are young, really good, and will get better. They might well advance further in the playoffs than most people expected, but they're not ready to be champions yet. Look out for them in a couple years. But it all boils down to the Miami Heat. After losing in the Finals last year, Lebron has rededicated himself to improving his game, if that's even possible. They're on a mission. And who is capable on defeating them in a 7 game series, with Miami holding home court advantage? Nobody. They're going to the Finals again.

The Western Conference is trickier. Again, ignoring the pretenders, one of 3 teams will make it to the Finals. There's San Antonio, the experienced vets with probably the most knowledgable mentor in the game in Coach Popovich, the ever-present LA-LA boys from glitterland, and the up and coming Okla City Thunder. Two of them have to go down. In my opinion, new coach Mike Brown in LA, a castoff from the Cleveland Cavaliers, was a bad hire. Despite the talent he inherited, it will show come crunch time. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Mano Genobili, and the rest of the Spurs are a class act, but I don't think they can get to the finish line again. Okla City with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrooke, point guard James Hardin, and their teammates are the real deal, as witnessed by their sweep of the defending champ Dallas Mavericks. They're coming hard, and in a grueling 7 game series, give me young legs over older legs anyday.

Yet in the end, like it or not, I strongly suspect this is the year Lebron finally gets it done. He just wants it too bad, and considering D-Wade and the rest of the talent on that team -- who's going to stop it from happening?

1 comment:

  1. Been checking ticket prices... will be hoping to catch one of the Lakers/City Thunder playoff games at Staples Center.. The cheapest tickets that I could find is at … I'm more so excied about!