It’s that time of year again, when we NBA writers make predictions we will wince at in a few months. When you can read our predictions and use those as evidence that we clearly hate your favorite team (pick a team, any team).
What follows are the ProBasketballTalk predictions for the 2012-13 season by myself plus writers D.J. Foster and Darius Soriano. Yes, we all see the same NBA finals. I really want to predict something other than the obvious, but sometimes things are obvious for a reason. Anyway, here are our picks.
Eastern Conference Standings:
Kurt Helin D.J. Foster Darius Soriano
1. Miami Heat 1. Miami Heat 1. Miami Heat
2. Boston Celtics 2. Boston Celtics 2. Boston Celtics
3. Indiana Pacers 3. Indiana Pacers 3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. New York Knicks 4. Brooklyn Nets 4. Brooklyn Nets
5. Brooklyn Nets 5. Atlanta Hawks 5. Indiana Pacers
6. Philadelphia 76ers 6. Chicago Bulls 6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Atlanta Hawks 7. New York Knicks 7. New York Knicks
8. Chicago Bulls 8. Toronto Raptors 8. Chicago Bulls
Western Conference Standings:
Kurt Helin D.J. Foster Darius Soriano
1. Los Angeles Lakers 1. Oklahoma City Thunder 1. Oklahoma City Thunder
2. Oklahoma City Thunder 2. Los Angeles Lakers 2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. San Antonio Spurs 3. San Antonio Spurs 3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Los Angeles Clippers 4. Denver Nuggets 4. Denver Nuggets
5. Denver Nuggets 5. Los Angeles Clippers 5. Los Angeles Clippers
6. Memphis Grizzlies 6. Memphis Grizzlies 6. Memphis Grizzlies
7. Utah Jazz 7. Utah Jazz 7. Utah Jazz
8. Minnesota Timberwolves 8. Houston Rockets 8. Minnesota Timberwolves
Eastern Conference Finals:
Kurt Helin: Heat over Pacers
D.J. Foster: Heat over Celtics
Darius Soriano: Heat over Celtics
Western Conference Finals:
Kurt Helin: Lakers over Thunder
D.J. Foster: Lakers over Thunder
Darius Soriano: Lakers over Thunder
Kurt Helin: Heat over Lakers
D.J. Foster: Heat over Lakers
Darius Soriano: Lakers over Heat
Kurt Helin: Kevin Durant
D.J. Foster: Kevin Durant
Darius Soriano: Kevin Durant
Rookie of the Year winner:
Kurt Helin: Damian Lillard
D.J. Foster: Anthony Davis
Darius Soriano: Anthony Davis
Most Disappointing NBA Team:
Kurt Helin: Dallas Mavericks
D.J. Foster: Philadelphia 76ers
Darius Soriano: Dallas Mavericks
If you’re going to bet on an NBA player likely to be moved before the start of the NBA season — or at least by the deadline — Bucks’ big man Greg Monroe would be a good choice. It’s no secret he is on the trade block, the Bucks just aren’t finding a team making an offering to their liking.
What would Monroe like?
He probably wants to end up in New Orleans, ESPN’s Marc Stein said on the Lowe Post podcast.
Which makes a ton of sense — he was born in New Orleans, he wants to go home. The two sides have talked about a deal multiple times in the past, but nothing got done.
The problem is the Bucks are only getting rock-bottom offers for Monroe. On the upside, he’s an efficient offensive NBA big who got the Bucks 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game last season. However, he’s a defensive liability who does not protect the rim, plus he’s a $17 million rental next season (he can and likely will opt out in the summer of 2017). Even teams that could use a scoring big are not going to give up much quality in a trade for a rental like Monroe.
The Pelicans already have Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca as traditional fives, and they should play Anthony Davis there more anyway. Roster wise, the Pelicans would need to make some other moves for this deal to make sense.
But eventually, the Bucks will find an offer they are willing to take.
Venezuela is in its first Olympic basketball tournament in more than 20 years — they upset Canada and Argentina to win the FIBA Americas tournament last summer and earned the right to go to Rio.
But they are going to have to play there without the one NBA player on their roster. Greivis Vasquez, who had ankle surgery last December, announced he had to pull out, via the Nets.
If you want to know what this means for the Venezuelan team heading into Rio, well, they shot just 23.9 percent in an 80-45 loss to Team USA Friday night in Chicago — and that was by far the USA’s worst performance in the exhibition run-up to the Rio Games.
Vasquez should be getting decent minutes off the bench behind Jeremy Lin in Brooklyn this season. They need him healthy as the team tries to move from “god awful” to just plain “not good” next season.
Another smart move by the Spurs.
Monty Williams is one of the better assistant coaches in the NBA right now, and he was available (remember he understandably left Oklahoma City last season after the tragic death of his wife). He’s part of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff with USA Basketball this summer — watch him in practices at age 44 and he’s a better defender plenty of players in the league — and he wanted to get back on the bench.
San Antonio has snapped him up, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that Williams — who left the Oklahoma City Thunder’s bench in February after the tragic death of his wife, Ingrid — has been urged by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to take as much of a role with the organization as he feels comfortable for the 2016-17 campaign.
The specifics of what role Williams would fill and how much time he could commit have not yet been determined, but sources say San Antonio has opened the door to either a coaching and player-development role or a front-office position (or a hybrid), depending on what he prefers.
One source close to Williams told ESPN that the 44-year-old “absolutely” intends to be a head coach in the league again after his expected stint with the Spurs. The source also said numerous teams, including Oklahoma City, have made similar offers to Williams for next season.
Williams will get another shot in the big chair down the line. In the short term, this is a smart move — nothing looks better on a resume than “Spurs” around the league right now.
Team USA had their “Tiny Dancer” moment.
Like “Stillwater” in Almost Famous, Team USA’s Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving were leading a sing-along of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on the team plane out of Chicago to Houston for the USA’s final exhibition game. Hat tip Alysha Tsuji who pulled the snapchats.
Everyone was loving it… except for Carmelo Anthony, according to DeMar DeRozan.