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
Craig Sager couldn’t be in Rio covering the Olympics for NBC, his cancer wouldn’t allow it. That didn’t stop Team USA from reaching out to him before they left. Or from Nike designing a sweet pair of shoes for him.
Now there is good news on his battle against leukemia — he will have a third bone marrow transplant, according to his son Craig Sager II.
This is fantastic news for a man and family who have been through a lot. Hopefully, this treatment is a step forward for Sager, a man beloved by everyone around the NBA.
The Oklahoma City frontcourt is crowded. Enes Kanter and Steven Adams will start, and they will have Nick Collison, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis, and now Joffrey Lauvergne behind them.
Which likely means Mitch McGary‘s done as a member of the Thunder, according to Royce Young of ESPN.
McGary has battled injuries his two seasons in the league and got on the court for only 72 minutes total last season for the Thunder (he played in more games and put up solid numbers in the D-LEague). He was not part of the future there regardless. He’s an undersized five trying to play the four and what he brought as a rookie — energy — was not enough as a sophomore.
McGary will make $1.5 million this season. He may be tough to move because he’s suspended for the first five games he’s eligible to play next season for failing the league’s drug policy (five games is the standard suspension for testing positive for marijuana three times). Maybe a team looking to develop players will give him a shot, but there is little trade value for him.
If you can knock down a 19-foot shot, then a 15-footer should be easier. Right?
Apparently that — and just basic muscle memory — is the latest attempt to improve Dwight Howard‘s free throw shooting. And, he seems to be knocking down those shots.
It’s not hard to see the logic in this approach.
The challenge is form and reps are not the problems for Howard — or DeAndre Jordan or Andre Drummond or others — when it comes to hitting free throws. Anyone who says “why don’t they just practice the shot” doesn’t pay attention, these guys put in a lot of work on the shot. Pregame and in practice (I’m Los Angeles based), Jordan probably hits 65 percent from the line. At least.
The problem is mental. That can be a tougher hurdle to clear. Maybe taking 19 footers and knocking them down will have Howard feeling more confident at the stripe this season.
But we’re going to need to see it to believe it. Just like we’re going to have to see a rejuvenated Howard in Atlanta before we believe this season will be different from the last few.
Until this season, Jason Thompson had never been to the playoffs. He spent seven seasons in Sacramento before getting traded to the Warriors last offseason, and then signing with the Raptors midseason when Golden State waived him to make room on the roster for Anderson Varejao. His NBA days appear over, at least for now. International basketball reporter David Pick reports that Thompson has agreed to a deal to play in China.
Since the CBA’s season ends in March, Thompson could theoretically join an NBA team for the stretch run next year. But he didn’t appear to have much interest on the free-agent market this summer.