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
LeBron James has never been shy about speaking his mind, this season even more so it seems. That’s why it made sense that sooner or later, The King of the NBA would weigh in on an issue that has captivated the sports community: kneeling, national anthem protests, and Colin Kaepernick.
Speaking at Cass Technical High School in Detroit on Sunday, LeBron said that he though Kaepernick’s absence from an NFL roster was the result of clear action by teams to blackball the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
James, speaking not only from the perspective of the most influential current NBA player on the planet but as an NFL fan, said that he felt Kaepernick was better than most backups.
“I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing. I do know that. Just watching, he’s an NFL player. He’s an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he’s been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that.”
“The only reason I could say he’s not on a team is because the way he took a knee,” James said. “That’s the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks — first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks — that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let’s just be honest.”
James, along with players like Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, has previously helped lead the way in the NBA when it’s come to social activism and high-level activism.
The NBA does have a rule about standing for the national anthem, and commissioner Adam Silver said before the season started the league would handle any infractions as they came.
Meanwhile, guys like Stan Van Gundy have also come out and called guys like Kaepernick “patriots”.
LeBron said that if he owned an NFL team that he would sign Kaepernick. Perhaps that will happen sooner rather than later?
The Boston Celtics are on a roll, the likes of which not even the faithful fans at the TD Garden would have predicted.
After dropping their first two games of the season — and losing Gordon Hayward for the season due to a gruesome leg injury — the Celtics have ripped off 15 straight victories. They sit at 15-2 on the year, including signature wins over the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors, and defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
Boston’s effort has been lauded as the combination of a quick meshing of the roster in the absence of Hayward (and Isaiah Thomas) as well as the drafting skill of Danny Ainge and the coaching prowess of Brad Stevens.
Indeed, Stevens is an early frontrunner heading into the beginning of the holiday season for Coach of the Year.
Meanwhile, Boston has a few highlights to their name. Lucky for us, the NBA has put some of the best video clips together during their fall run.
Watch the full video above.
Blake Griffin almost got away with it.
During Friday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Griffin gave Cavs forward Jae Crowder an unhelpful knee to the groin during a post isolation.
Griffin wasn’t whistled for anything on the play, and in fact Crowder was assessed a foul after Griffin made his move to the basket.
Now, the NBA has given Griffin a Flagrant 1 for unnecessary contact.
Video of the incident can be viewed above the article here, but it’s pretty egregious and indeed the Cavaliers announcers even suggested at the time that it might warrant a flagrant.
Looks like the NBA agreed.
Cleveland beat LA, 118-113, in OT.
LeBron James totally dissed New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. Or maybe he was just complimenting Dennis Smith Jr., and Enes Kanter likes to get in the middle of things? Or perhaps it was a barely-veiled shot at former Knicks president Phil Jackson?
No matter which way you view this little NBA drama, there’s some kind of silver lining to take away for New York after LeBron got a little too close for comfort with Ntilikina during a recent matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, that silver lining is how well Ntilikina, Kanter, and the rest of the squad did when standing up to James.
Via the NY Post:
“I thought it was great,’’ he said on the newest edition of “The Jeff Hornacek Experience” that debuts Friday night on MSG Networks after the Knicks face the Raptors. “When we played back in the day, there was a lot of that. So you don’t see as much now in today’s game.
“But, you know, whether the comments from LeBron were aimed at Frank or the Knicks or Phil [Jackson] or whatever it was, I was happy that Frank gave him a little shove and then when LeBron stood in front of him and Enes jumped in there. That’s kind of the chemistry that gets developed when guys are playing for each other. You saw Enes jump right in the middle of this and said, ‘Nah you’re not gonna do this to my young guy.’ So that’s a great sign to see the togetherness of our guys.”
So to recap:
1. LeBron was taking a shot at Phil.
2. Enes Kanter didn’t like that.
3. Jeff Hornacek likes that.
Clear? Ok, good.