Tag Archives: Blake Griffin

Note-A-Bulls: Bulls stumble late in LA as four game win streak comes to a halt

After having the lead most of the game, the Chicago Bulls lost to the Los Angles Clippers 102-95.

For the Clippers, Blake Griffin had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Chris Paul had 19 points and 8 assists, as well as Maurece Speights coming off the bench to score 16, hitting 3 of 4 from three-point range.

For the Bulls, Dwyane Wade had 28 points and 8 rebounds, Jimmy Butler had 22 points and 6 rebounds, while the rest of the team only combined for 43 points.

The Bulls had the advantage early, as they took a 10 point lead into the second quarter, and then a 5 point lead, 52-47 into the half.

JJ Reddick inability to hit from three was a problem all game for the Clippers (1/5), and their offense was really unable to stretch the floor until the fourth quarter.

The third and fourth quarters had the intensity like that of a playoff game. The scoring was even in the third giving the Bulls a 5 point lead going into the 4th.

Maurice Speights scored 11 of 16 points (a season high) in the fourth for the Clippers, including recording a necessary assist with 49 seconds left of an offensive rebound to Jamal Craford for an acrobat layup, sealing the lead for the Clippers.

The Bulls were not able to contain the lead, and lost to the Clippers 102-95.

Notes:

  • The Clippers are still in my opinion the best team in the NBA. For now. After beating the Sacramento Kings and Chicago in close ones on overlapping nights, it seems to be the case. Chris Paul has the highest PER (player efficiency rating) in the league, above 31. As early as it is, he’s a possible MVP canidate. Blake Griffin has scored 20+ points in the last 7 straight games. Their bench is one of the deepest in the league, including Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton, and Austin Rivers Everything is clicking for the Clippers. Is it sustainable? Most likely no. The Warriors will continue to harmonize and soon that 1st seed in the West will be far, far away.
  • As far as the Bulls are concerned, Dwyane Wade had another spectacular night from three point range, 5 from 9. The rest of his teammates only hit 4 other threes on the night. For a team that finds its identity from the three ball, the Bulls need to make more than 9 from 30 from deep to continue to win games. And it all can’t be courtesy of Dwyane Wade.
  • Otherwise, the Bulls continue to dominate people on the glass, something that has been a nice surprise for Chicago fans. Even though they only edged the Clippers 40 to 39 in the rebound battle, they had 3 more offensive rebounds and shocked a team that’s usually a top rebounding presence in Jordan and Griffin. Taj Gibson seems to be in every play, and Lopez’s presence on the offensive boards has been evident, as he had 3 tonight. Heck, even Rajon Rondo joined in the act with 4 offensive boards.
  • Rajon Rondo, however, continues to prove that he is a subpar option at point guard. His porous defense and ways of breaking the flow of their offense is something that needs to change, and fast. Tonight he had the worst plus/minus on the team of -16. Not to mention 3 turnovers. Even though tonight people will look at his stats and say, “Oh, he almost had a triple double” (9/10/8), his inefficiencies go beyond the box score and continue to hurt his team.
  • Up Next: The Bulls play the Lakers Sunday night in Los Angles, a team they have beaten for three consecutive years.

 

 

 

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BULLet Points: Maskless Rose helps lead Bulls to ugly victory over Clippers

  • The Bulls got a much needed victory Thursday night with an 83-80 win over the Clippers at the UC. The game was an ugly, grind-it-out victory for the Bulls as the score would indicate but after a three game losing streak the Bulls will take any W they can get. Leading from the 2nd quarter on, the Bulls hung on by the slimmest of margins after a desperation triple by Chris Paul was off the mark. The Clippers had been 6-1 in their last 7 games before Thursday night.
  • Pau Gasol had a monster game for the Bulls scoring 24 points and grabbing six boards. He was the best player on the court for either side, shooting 10/19 from the floor including 3/3 from deep. Gasol kept the Bulls in it early when it looked like the Clippers might run away with the game, and helped secure the win in the 4th with two of his three triples coming in the final frame. Gasol has been picking it up as of late having scored 22+ three out of his last five games, after not putting up that many points the first 15 games of the season.
  • Additionally, Derrick Rose, while not exactly in MVP form, showed signs of improvement in the second half after the masked-man forgot to grab his protection and went without it. The former MVP scored all of his points after halftime and even showed some elevation on a back-door cut that almost ended in a slam that would have brought the roof down in the UC.
  • Unfortunately, even in a win there were several warning signs from Thursday night’s performance. First, Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose still do not look comfortable on the floor together. Through a quarter of the season the guard pairing still lacks any sort of flow. One always has to dominate the ball and they can not work off of each other. This creates poor spacing which has forced the whole offense to come to a halt at times when these two share the court.
  • Two more trends continued in the game against the Clippers: an uninspired start with the Clippers beating the Bulls badly on the glass and in hustle plays, as well as poor fourth quarter offense that saw a 10 point lead entering the frame vanish within minutes. The Bulls were able to recover thanks to a pair of unexpected treys from Gasol, but the Bulls must find a way to buck this trend of starting the final frame slowly as it is sure to cost them games going forward.
  • Nikola Mirotic has officially lost his touch from deep. The native of Montenegro finished the night 1/5 from distance, which brings his total to 6/26 (23%) over his last five games. If Nikola can’t start knocking down some of these triples, his game will become very limited and it will only further hurt a struggling Bulls offense.
  • The Ugly: At the halfway point of the 3rd quarter Blake Griffin was ejected after being handed a Flagrant 2 for smacking Gibson in the head under the basket. Gibson appeared lucky to escape any injury as the replays showed Griffin winding up before striking Gibson. The loss was obviously a huge blow to the Clips as Griffin was the only Clipper able to consistently create any offense. The forward showcased his versatility with his jumper, post-moves, and driving abilities all on display. Griffin finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in only 25 minutes before getting tossed.
  • Coming up: The Bulls play host to the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago native Anthony Davis on Saturday night.

Midseason Love/Hate, Part 2

Houston Rockets

Love: Dwight Howard anointing the Rockets as “Swag Champs”

The Rockets aren’t the first team I think of when I hear the phrase “Swag Champs”. Also I don’t really remember the Rockets winning the “swag playoff bracket” and claiming the title. Although I guess it was pretty swag of Dwight to name his team as champs without actually competing against anyone else.

Hate: James Harden’s beard

I know this is contrary to popular opinion, but if I was James I’d think about shaving it. The constant grooming and filtering through the beard for loose food particles just seems like a huge hassle. Also you know you’d get a great Gillette endorsement out of it. But he might end up being the league MVP so he can do what he wants.

Indiana Pacers

Love: Larry Bird’s stealthy tank job

The Pacers are pretty bad this year and although they probably won’t get a top five pick, they will be relatively high in the lottery. If you combine that draft pick with the return of Paul George, the Pacers become a formidable opponent in the East again next season. Larry Bird trading off some minor assets for more draft picks and clearing cap space could really make this off-season interesting for the Pacers.

Hate: watching the Pacers is the equivalent to watching paint dry

The Pacers without Paul George are by far the most boring team to watch in the NBA. They have zero appeal to anyone who enjoys watching basketball. No thanks Rodney Stuckey, I’ve seen all I need to see. Does anyone really like to watch David West go 6/15 from midrange? Or watch Roy Hibbert foul out in 22 minutes? After a more thorough evaluation of the Geneva Convention, I also found out that forcing POW’s to watch Pacers basketball is an approved form of torture.

Los Angeles Clippers

Love: Steve Ballmer’s enthusiasm

I mentioned his dancing to Fergie earlier, and that was truly epic. But it’s nice to see an owner who is visible and simply loves just being an owner of a sports team. He paid $2 billion for the Clippers and it’s because he straight up really wanted to own a team. I don’t empathize with many billionaire’s but I kind of enjoy the fact that he doesn’t take owning a team for granted… (yet).

Hate: Blake Griffin TV commercials

One or two is fine Blake, but it’s getting kind of ridiculous. I think I’d be more okay with Blake being in so many commercials if the Clippers literally did anything in the playoffs since he’s been there. He needs to have a stipulation in his next contract that says he can only do one commercial spot for every playoff series the team wins. Also I would like to come out and say with conviction that I believe another early exit in the playoffs for the Clippers is likely. Their team chemistry is mediocre, they don’t have the talent on the wings to win four straight series, and their lack of depth off the bench is a problem that will become more evident as the season goes on. They have star power, but I can’t see them getting to the finals unless Blake, CP3, and Deandre Jordan play out of their minds through April and May and just overpower opponents to mask the inefficiencies of the rest of the team.

Los Angeles Lakers

Love: Nick Young recruiting free agents during games

I would really like to live in that fantasy land that Nick Young lives in. How can he possibly think any respectable NBA stars would be willing to play with Kobe (he’s definitely not retiring), himself, and guys like Ronnie Price, Wes Johnson, and Ed Davis. What’s the upside for potential free agents coming to LA? Take less than 10 shots a game and miss the playoffs by a very wide margin. Sorry Nick, but I admire the effort by Swaggy P trying to help out Mitch Kupchak this offseason.

Hate: Julius Randle’s injury

I was really looking forward to getting to watch “Baby Z-Bo” play for the Lakers. Getting hurt in the first game in your pro career must have been extremely devastating to Julius, and Lakers fans being subjected to more Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre than required is a harsh punishment. But unfortunately Julius will just be part of this injury cursed draft class with Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.

Memphis Grizzlies

Love: Ground & Pound

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph dominating the paint on a nightly basis is a pleasure to watch. The Grizzlies really control the tempo of every game with these two behemoths and force opponents to play in the halfcourt which heavily favors their style of basketball. Grizzlies are my pick to come out of the West, so get your tickets for the bandwagon while they last. The addition of Jeff Green was such a major coup for Memphis. Jeff Green as your number one or two option is not a good thing, but Jeff Green as your number four option is such a great asset. He has the offensive talent, and he will have a few games in the playoffs where he will score over 20 points a game and those games can swing a series in the Grizzlies favor.

Hate: I’m not sure how to pronounce “Joerger”

While you were sleeping the Grizzlies didn’t retain Coach Lionel Hollins and hired Dave Joerger. I always want to say [JORG-er] or [YORG-er]. But it’s actually pronounced [YAY-ger]. Case closed!

Miami Heat

Love: that I was proven wrong as a Dwyane Wade doubter

I truly thought Wade had nothing left in the tank after last season, but he has proven many doubters like myself wrong, and has played at an All-Star caliber level. Although he still struggles with injuries, when he has been active he’s been outstanding. I don’t think it’s out of the question Miami could steal a playoffs series, or at least push a quality team to a seven games if Wade is healthy come April. Wade and Bosh have been great, but it’s still a little puzzling how much worse Miami has been without LeBron. Replacing LeBron with Luol Deng, a respectable NBA talent, seemed like a decent move; and a move that would insure them to be over .500 and around a 5 or 6 seed. The difference in wins from this year and last shows the true value of LeBron on the Heat and how he was kind of carrying Wade and Bosh these last few seasons.

Hate: Miami Heat fans

You Heat fans are all frauds and shouldn’t be allowed to have an NBA franchise. There are 28 other teams that don’t have LeBron. Their fans still show up to the games. Shame on you Miami!

Milwaukee Bucks

Love: replacing Larry Sanders with Jason Kidd’s ex-teammate Kenyon Martin

They both played together on the New Jersey Nets 2002 NBA Finals team; that was almost thirteen years ago! I can’t imagine the Bucks even reaching out to Kenyon Martin if Jason Kidd wasn’t the coach. They both played together so long ago that the Nets have moved to Brooklyn since their departure. The Bucks have probably been in some talks with the Mavericks and Grizzlies to bring back Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter too. I feel very nostalgic about the fact that these old teammates have reunited.

Hate: Larry Sanders marijuana addiction

Dude, you’re getting paid millions of dollars to play basketball. You really can’t lay off the ganja? The problem for Larry is that he’s kind of in a Catch-22. He needs money to buy the weed, but the only way he can get money is to play basketball. It’s somewhat hilarious that he’s prioritizing marijuana over extremely large sums of money. If Larry can put down the bong for a few months the Bucks could really use his defensive presence in the playoffs. Teams in the East would feel much better about their chances seeing Zaza Pachulia rather than Larry Sanders.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Love: Andrew Wiggins making the Cavs regret trading him

Andrew Wiggins has really been stellar over the last month and maybe the Cavaliers won’t regret trading him this year, but it seems like Wiggins is going to be a stud for many years to come. There is an increasing likelihood that Kevin Love is going to leave Cleveland this year in free agency and that should really bum out Cavs fans even more. So now they basically traded a future perennial All-Star for a one year rental of Kevin Love, and in a year that they probably won’t win the title. GM LeBron strikes again!

Hate: Flip Saunders hiring Flip Saunders

The definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Insanity is also the definition of the Timberwolves ownership group giving complete control to Flip Saunders.

New Orleans Pelicans

Love: Anthony Davis’ Player Efficiency Rating

Analytically AD is putting together the best year EVER by an NBA player and is on pace to shatter the previous record for a single season PER. That’s really cool. To put this into perspective, Davis’ PER is 31.82. In the history of the NBA, only ten times has a player recorded a PER greater than 31.00. Of those ten seasons, LeBron James did it 3x, Wilt Chamberlain did it 3x, and Michael Jordan did it 4x. Wilt has the highest PER ever, also at 31.82. Anthony Davis is in some pretty historic territory and exclusive company. The most dumbfounded thing about this is that Pelicans are almost certainly going to miss the playoffs…my head hurts.

Hate: we’ll never get to see Anthony Davis in the playoffs

Monty Williams is a terrible coach, and it doesn’t help that they’re in the toughest division in the NBA. Also the Pelicans roster construction in my opinion is just weird with the trio of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans; and they have almost no cap flexibility to make tweaks to the roster in the offseason. It will really be a shame if we continue to go without “The Brow” during postseason play for much longer. Now watch this ambiguously racist Pelicans commercial!

New York Knicks

Love: the audacity to ask for a 2nd round pick for Pablo Prigioni

There was a report a few weeks ago that the Knicks were shopping Prigioni and asking for a 2nd round pick in return. What?! Who in the hell would ever give up any type of asset for an almost 40 year old third string PG? Phil Jackson should’ve asked for something more reasonable like a washing machine and maybe a deal would’ve gotten done. Optimistically trying to move your worst player for assets is proof the Knicks are committed to tanking. Phil is doing a fabulous job of setting his team up to fail, but it would’ve been interesting to see what the team could’ve done if Steve Kerr didn’t parlay his offer with the Knicks into a coaching job with Golden State. Credit Kerr for his incredible foresight and savvy to not be Phil Jackson’s pawn and instead move to Cali with Steph & Klay and become one of the frontrunners for coach of the year.

Hate: everything else

Seriously, everything else. There’s literally almost nothing to love about this team.

The Blueprint to Gaming Your Fantasy Basketball League: Trade Execution

Hey Guys,

I hope you were able to put up with last week’s craziness and learn a thing or two about basic economic concepts and their application to the NBA.  Today, we’re going to couple last week’s lesson with some of the league’s latest happenings to construct profitable trade opportunities.

Remember, the key to developing trade targets and expendable trade chips is understanding where pockets of excess supply and excess demand exist.  Hopefully, you’ve taken the last week to identify these two parties specific to your league.  For simplicity sake, I’ve established lists of candidates for both that should generally apply to most scoring settings.

Serge-Ibaka

Pockets of Excess Demand (where buyers will buy at the slightest of opportunities)- Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, Serge Ibaka and Ty Lawson.  Notice how this group of players all have demonstrated superstar ability but have under performed (to some extent) in the early part of the season.  Nonetheless, their respective performances probably have been affected by short-term noise and there is a high probability that they bounce back sooner rather than later.  I included a guy like Ty Lawson on this list because prior to posting 15+ assists in two out of his past three games. the former Tar Heel had been reeling a little bit in Denver. Leonard is dealing with this weird, fluky eye issue. Ibaka is weathering the storm until KD and/or Russell Westbrook get back. You get the jist.  If you have one of these guys, don’t sell low.  If somebody in your league is impatient and a bit short-sighted, give him a ring immediately after you finish reading.

brook-lopez-1

Pockets of Excess Supply (where sellers will sell at the slightest of opportunities)- Goran Dragic, Al Jefferson, Dwyane Wade, Brandon Jennings, Kenneth Faried,  Brook Lopez, Josh Smith.  One thing these guys all have in common- a fundamental, serious obstacle that impedes each asset’s long term value.  For a guy like Dragic, it’s the glut of point guards in the Valley of the Sun. For players like Big Al and Brook Lopez, it’s their inabilities to jump and gobble up rebounds. Scott Skiles had similar remarks regarding a certain Bulls’ big man a decade back..  For creatures like Jennings and Smith, it’s their unwillingness to play team basketball. For Wade, the fact that he can’t physically be counted on for extended periods of time significantly deters his value. You get it. All of these guys are expendable if someone will ante up.  A suave owner would best either a) underpay for such assets or b) avoid them altogether.

Once we’ve established our targets, it’s finally time to formulate trades.  Here are some strategies that I find most effective.

1. 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 in shallow (10-12 teams) leagues– I talked about this last week, but the strategy of acquiring less elite players and giving up more good players is preferable when one’s opportunity cost for refilling roster spots is less significant.  In other words, the value of a rotating roster spot depends on the strength of your league’s waiver wire.  If I could get a guy like Boogie for Dirk and someone like Wes Matthews, I’d do it every time.

2. Selling into strength– When deciding it is most opportune to part ways with an asset, selling into strength is a counter intuitive must.  Most people understand the notion of buying low and selling high, yet these same individuals cannot successfully enact this strategy when the appropriate time comes.  At the height of one’s excitement regarding a certain individual’s play, a crafty fantasy owner should be asking themselves if it’s time to sell.  In the market, the phrase “Bulls make money, Bears make money, Pigs get slaughtered” has held true throughout history.  When profits (good trade opportunities) are there, take ’em and don’t look back. Even if the asset continues to perform or even outperform, green is green.  When you play in a league with 11 or so of your friends, the ability to have trading partners is often taken for granted.  It’s important that your friends feel like they are getting a fair (or even superior) deal when you decide to pull the trigger.  You never know when you’re going to need to draw from the well again :).

3. The Initial Offer– This may be common sense, but if you’re serious about getting a transaction completed, you best not make your first offer your best one.  As a buyer or seller, your strongest source of leverage is keeping your reservation price private.  If you spill the beans from the get-go, it will be nearly impossible to capture the edge in your trade.  Along with this strategy, I find the underutilized tool of proposing a “serious” offer, deleting it, and proposing a lessor offer very effective.  This tactic plays off the idea that recency bias is legitimate in fantasy basketball markets.  Even if you constructed the initial offer thinking it was too light, it will look great in comparison to the second offer and will provide you a solid starting point for progressing talks.

4. Knowing, then asking what the market needs– Bringing the article full circle, understanding the intricacies of the market is essential to sustainable success.  To put it simply, you need to understand your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses better than they do themselves.  Additionally, understanding his or her personality and biases toward marquee names is also beneficial.  It will allow you to a) not offend the person on the other end and b) potentially give up less real talent if you play your cards right. By asking what your opponent needs, you are already operating in good standing and your odds of getting a trade done are substantially higher.

You’ve got the basketball knowledge and you’ve got the strategies. Now, it’s up to you to turn your team from a dud into a stud.

Thanks for the read and happy Thanksgiving,

-Stav

Flawless Predictions for 2014-15 that won’t be wrong at all

Last year’s Big Preview didn’t go so well–probably because I was guzzling #TheReturn kool-aid like a fat guy takes oxygen after a defensive touchdown. But have no fear, readers. This year I’m back, hardened and wise. AKA I won’t be picking the Bulls to win the Finals.

Dramatization of me drinking #TheReturn kool-aid
Dramatization of me drinking #TheReturn kool-aid


Eastern Conference

  1. Chicago Bulls
  2. Cleveland Cavs
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Charlotte Hornets(!)
  6. Atlanta Hawks
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Brooklyn Nets
  10. New York Knicks
  11. Indiana Pacers
  12. Boston Celtics
  13. Orlando Magic
  14. Milwaukee Bucks
  15. Philadelphia 76ers

Eastern Conference Finals: Cavs over Bulls

Western Conference

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Los Angeles Clippers
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Golden State Warriors
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. Memphis Grizzlies
  8. Portland Trailblazers
  9. Phoenix Suns
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
  11. Denver Nuggets
  12. Los Angeles Lakers
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves
  14. Sacramento Kings
  15. Utah Jazz

Western Conference Finals: Spurs over Clippers

via NY Post
via NY Post

NBA Finals

Spurs over Cavs

I’ve learned my lesson picking against the Spurs. Whatever your argument against this team might be has been invalidated over the last few seasons. Despite holding his stars to around 30 minutes per game and routinely sitting them, Coach Popovich has proven that his rosters go 10-12 deep, even in the playoffs. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker should all be able to contribute as they did last year. Kawhi Leonard is a budding star, and the second youngest Finals MVP ever after Magic Johnson. As for Cleveland, it’s just difficult to imagine any other team in the East taking them down. While Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving’s playoff inexperience (zero combined games) could be a huge factor, I can’t forget LeBron single-handedly shutting Derrick Rose down in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Combine an offense that could be historically great with the defensive potential of LeBron guarding the opponent’s best player, and you get a near unbeatable team. However, if any coach and system can take advantage of the flaws that year one in Cleveland expose, it’ll be the Spurs and Pop.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.20.37 PM

MVP

  1. LeBron James
  2. Kevin Durant
  3. Steph Curry
  4. Derrick Rose
  5. Blake Griffin

As my friend Spencer explained so very well, it will be nearly impossible for Kevin Durant to win this season’s MVP because of the broken bone in his foot. That makes LeBron a heavy favorite with the added narrative of the prodigal son returning home. Steph Curry makes the list because he is fantastic and the Warriors look to take a step up. The same goes for Blake and the Clippers; a Chris Paul injury would make Griffin a serious contender. As for Rose, the narrative will be overpowering if he returns to form as part of a #1 seed Bulls team. How could I leave him off?

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. Dwight Howard
  2. Serge Ibaka
  3. Joakim Noah
  4. Marc Gasol
  5. Tyson Chandler

I’m stealing my reasoning from last season: “Dwight is the best defensive player on Earth and now that he’s (presumably) healthy again everyone will remember.”

Pumped Taj

Sixth Man of the Year

  1. Taj Gibson
  2. Jamal Crawford
  3. Manu Ginobili
  4. Isaiah Thomas
  5. Draymond Green

Taj deserved to win this award over Crawford last year. But points are usually voted for more than defense, so the same could happen once again.

Coach of the Year

  1. Rick Carlisle
  2. Tom Thibodeau
  3. Mike Budenholzer
  4. Greg Popovich
  5. Doc Rivers

I’m feeling a big season from the Mavericks, and I think Coach Carlisle will (deservedly) get his share of the credit. Thibs, Pops and Doc are perennial candidates while Budenholzer has a chance to make a name for himself with a healthy and talented roster.

Rookie of the Year

  1. Jabari Parker
  2. Nerlens Noel
  3. Andrew Wiggins
  4. Elfrid Payton
  5. Marcus Smart

Last year I didn’t even have Michael Carter-Williams on my roster, but that was a fluky season. Jabari figures to get the most minutes and scoring opportunities, so he’s my favorite. Nerlens should put up big numbers too, but he’s not as much of a scorer so he’s less likely to snag the award. You already know about Andrew Wiggins, and Elfrid Payton is the experts’ dark horse. Normally I would laugh that off, but these are the same people who were whispering about Damian Lillard before his rookie year. Marcus Smart should get plenty of minutes in Boston, especially if (when) Rajon Rondo gets traded.

Stat Champs

  1. Points: Kevin Durant (we’re going by averages)
  2. Assists: Chris Paul
  3. Rebounds: Andre Drummond
  4. Steals: Chris Paul
  5. Blocks: Anthony Davis

PS: this was the category I did the best in last year. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed/were engraged by my predictions and I welcome anyone to sound off in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter. The season begins tomorrow on TNT with Dallas @ San Antonio!

 

 

Some quick predictions from Bikshorn:

Baller shot caller
Baller shot caller

Steph Curry will win MVP

LeBron is a fine and noble choice, but I get the sense King James is going to let the other young stars on his team get theirs. Everyone and their grandma knows MJ won six rings but not many people can tell you how many MVPs he won (five). LeBron understands this and I predict he lets his game flow naturally on the Cavs rather than take over for big stretches.

Steph is my choice for a couple of reasons:

1. He is The Man. There is no bonafide second superstar on that team. They go as he goes.

2. His style of play. Bombing threes, breaking ankles and dropping beautiful dimes. Voters watch Sportscenter too.

3. His new coach. People who defend Mark Jackson, do you realize the Warriors were 12th in offensive efficiency last year? I think Kerr, despite his inexperience, will unleash Curry, allowing him to reach heights we’ve never seen from a point guard.

The Clippers will represent the West in the Finals

blake

I’m predicting a monster year from Blake. Last season’s injury to Chris Paul was the ultimate blessing in disguise, giving the former top pick the opportunity to develop as a ball handler and distributor. Darren Collison may have been penciled in as point guard on the lineup card, but Blake was running the show.

Griffin is not content with just adding one new facet to his game. Blake spent the summer refining his jump shot, smoothing out what was one of the least asthetically pleasing things in the NBA. Combine that with his rebounding, post game and the aformentioned handling skills, and you’re looking at a force of nature.

Oh btw Chris Paul is on the Clippers too.

The Cavaliers will represent the East in the Finals

It pains me to write this, but it’s true. The concerns in regards to defending the paint are real, but not real enough that I see anyone in the Eastern Conference winning four out of seven against Cleveland.

The Cavaliers are going to be terrifying on offense. They are the perfect blend of modern NBA philosophy, employing superstars who either a) get to the rim b) shoot threes or c) all of the above. If LeBron can add horse whisperer to his resume and convince Dion Waiters that being Jamal Crawford is super cool, there will be no stopping these guys.

The Cavs will win the NBA Finals

Three superstars > two superstars

The Bulls will annihilate the Pacers on 11/15 and I will enjoy every second of it.

bulls pacers

My girlfriend got us tickets for my birthday and I cannot tell you how excited I am. The Pacers are going to be garbage this year, especially early in the season when George Hill will still think he’s a threat driving to the basket.

I despise the Pacers and everything that they stand for. Being able to witness, in person, the carnage that the Bulls will leave behind at the UC is going to bring me so much joy. This might not be a great game to watch on TV, especially on a Saturday night, but I urge you to watch until the end so that you don’t miss my victory dance. I’m going to put Marlins Kid to shame.