Saturday, June 30, 2012

2012 NBA Free Agency Player Destination Predictions

1. Deron Williams- Re-signs with Brooklyn Nets
2. Roy Hibbert (restricted)- Re-signs with Indiana Pacers
3. Eric Gordon (restricted)- Re-signs with New Orleans Hornets
4. Steve Nash- Signs with Toronto Raptors
5. Tim Duncan- Re-signs with Spurs
6. Ersan Ilyasova- Signs with Indiana Pacers
7. Ray Allen- Signs with Clippers
8. Nicolas Batum (restricted)- Re-signs with Blazers
9. Brook Lopez (restricted)- Re-signs with Brooklyn Nets
10. Ryan Anderson (restricted)- Signs with Brooklyn Nets
11. O.J. Mayo- Signs with Boston Celtics
12. Lou Williams- Signs with Phoenix Suns
13. Gerald Wallace- Signs with Raptors
14. Kris Humphries- Signs with Philadelphia 76ers
15. Chris Kaman- Signs with San Antonio Spurs

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012 NBA Finals- Preview and Prediction

This series is what the fans wanted to see. The two best teams, the two best players, on the brightest stage. It's a perfect script, should the series live up to the hype. And with these two teams' superstars, there's no doubt it will. This match-up pits the Heat's "Big 3" of LeBron-Bosh-Wade vs. the Thunder's trio of Durant-Westbrook-Harden. The Thunder are rested, coming off a six-game series with the Spurs, in which they showed considerable maturity, will, and intensity. The Heat will have less rest, coming off an epic game 7 victory over the Celtics. This series' biggest story line is the match-up between Kevin Durant and LeBron James, the game's best two players. Who outperforms the other on both ends will go a long way in determining the outcome of this Finals.

Let's take a look at some of the biggest story lines...

1.) The turnover battle. The Thunder have done an incredible job taking care of the ball so far in this post-season, but have not yet faced a defense like the Heat pose. This Miami team is a defensive juggernaut, and if they are able to force Westbrook into mistakes by speeding him up, that could be a deciding factor. On the other hand, Miami at times tends to throw sloppy passes. They turn the ball over more than a championship team should, so they will need to keep their turnovers to a minimum. Both teams punish you on points off turnovers, so whoever wins the turnover battle will have a big advantage.

2.) Role players. This is a huge advantage for the Thunder. Sixth-man of the year James Harden plays starter's minutes and is averaging 17.6 points a game for the Thunder. Thabo Sefolosha is a great defender, and will be a factor on defense. Serge Ibaka is a rim-protector who rebounds well, and blocks shots. If he can force the Heat to shoot more outside shots, that will be key. Perkins' toughness down low, and Fisher's leadership will also be key. On the flip side, the Heat's role players will HAVE to step up if Miami wants to win this series. That means Chalmers, Cole, Battier, Haslem, and Miller have to play well. One or two of those will have to step up in a big way. If Miller and Battier can be consistent with their shot, and Chalmers can attack the defense, that will be a vital key to success. 

3.) Russel Westbrook. Simple. Did you see Rondo slice and dice the Heat defense last series? Imagine that, with a faster, more accurate-shooting, stronger Westbrook. And whom, do you ask, will be guarding him? Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Uh-oh. With Wade most likely on Harden, and LeBron on Durant, that leaves a huge mismatch with Westbrook. He needs to continue to be aggressive, but not TOO aggressive where he is forcing shots and turning the ball over. Westbrook is the key, and I think he knows it. He knows he could put the Thunder over the top. He just has to go out there and do it.
Prediction: Thunder win in 7 games. It will be a series for the ages, two great teams battling it out on the big stage. This will not be the last time we see these teams in the finals. Maybe even as soon as next year. So get used to this. This loss will hurt LeBron James, but NOT his legacy. They will not lose because of him. I am sure of it. He is ready to win this year. And I am scared of betting against him. His will to win, and out-of-this-world talent is incredible. And he will not be losing to a better player in Durant. He will simply do all he can. but in the end, the Thunder will deny LeBron his ring, for his third straight Finals defeat. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012 NBA Playoffs- Western Conference Finals Preview/Prediction

San Antonio Spurs (1)  vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (2)
-The Spurs swept the Clippers last series, and the Thunder took care of the Lakers in five games.

Thunder: Led by superstars Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder impressively defeated the Lakers in five games. Their youth has served them well, up to this point. Scotty Brooks is a great coach, and playing in the Oklahoma City arena is a challenge of its own. This young Thunder squad have momentum, and belief in themselves. They won't play scared of this Spurs team, whom they were beaten by two out of three times this year. James Harden as their 3rd scorer is electric, and Sefolosha is a lock-down defender. Ibaka and Perkins are a solid defensive front-court. The Thunder are much younger than the Spurs, and certainly more explosive. However, they really struggle against the pick-and-roll with Parker and Duncan. Durant is making a case for the NBA's best player this playoffs, and is the game's best scorer and closer.

Spurs: The Spurs are 29-2 in their last 31 games. Yes, 29-2. And have not lost in the 2012 playoffs. They made quick riddance of the Jazz and Clippers. Popovich is a mastermind as a coach, and the Spurs' trio of Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan have been dominant. The Spurs feature the NBA's most deep bench, with a basically 11 man rotation. Their depth is incredible, and they have tons of shooters. The Spurs are a veteran team who play with chemistry and experience. Their passing makes them a beautiful thing to watch. Tony Parker will be a headache for the Thunder to guard. They really struggle to contain him in pick-and-roll situations. How the Spurs try to slow down Durant is key to the series.

Prediction: Spurs in six games. The Thunder have more talent. More athleticism. More youth. More speed. But like the Mavericks last year, the Spurs are the best TEAM. They may not be as exciting as the Thunder, but they will get the job done.

2012 NBA Playoffs- Eastern Conference Final Review/Prediction

Miami Heat (2) vs. Boston Celtics (4)
-The Heat defeated the Pacers in six games last round, and the Celtics defeated the Sixers in seven games.

Celtics: Ray Allen is playing on a gimpy ankle, and struggled mightily last series. Paul Pierce has been LeBron's "kryptonite", but he is not 100% either. Avery Bradley, the Celtics' best on-ball defender, is out for the post-season for shoulder surgery. But K.G. and Rajon Rondo came up big, and led them to a game 7 win against the young 76ers. The Celtics' have arguably the sport's best coach, tons of experience, and savvy. Rondo will be a tough match-up for the Heat, for sure. The Celtics play the best team defense in basketball, but struggle to score.

Heat: With Chris Bosh out indefinitely, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have played their best basketball together since they started playing together. They took over the Indiana series entirely, without a major supporting cast. Chris Bosh will be missed, as he is not expected to return. Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers will need to play well for the Heat. They are much more rested, and much younger, than the Celtics. With Bradley out, Wade and James need to continue to force the issue and dominate the scoring.

Prediction: Heat in 6 games. LeBron and D-Wade are firing on all cylinders, and the Celtics limp into this series, injured and tired. The Celtics will play with intensity and pride, but that won't be enough. The Celtics struggle to score, and the Heat are an offensive juggernaut. This, sadly, is the end of the run of the Big 3.
The Heat move on to the NBA finals.,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

2012 NBA Playoffs Round 2 Predictions

Celtics over 76ers in six games (Key match-up: Andre Igoudala v. Paul Pierce)

---The Celtics experience and defense will overcome the Sixers' youth and athleticism.

Heat over Pacers in six games (Key match-up: Roy Hibbert vs Miami's front line)

---Paul George is a great defender, Granger is a pure scorer, and Hibbert will give Miami problems, but in the end, LeBron is a man on a mission, and the Heat are just too good.

Spurs over Clippers in five games (Key match-up: Chris Paul vs. Tony Parker)

---The Clippers match-up pretty well with the Spurs, actually. But the Clippers struggle offensively, and the Spurs were the league's highest scoring team, and are solid defensively. The Spurs' experience, and overall team play will be the difference in a pretty easy series.

Thunder over Lakers in seven games (Key match-up: Bynum/Gasol vs Thunder bigs)

---It's hard to ever doubt Kobe. And Bynum/Gasol COULD dominate this series. The key to this match-up is in the hands of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. We know what we're going to get from Durant, Harden, and Westbrook/ But if Perkins/Ibaka can rebound, stay OUT of foul trouble, and Ibaka can block shots, they will win. Thabo Sefolosha will play a big role in shutting down Kobe. Do not underestimate this young Thunder team; they have what it takes to win it all.

***BEST series: Thunder vs. Lakers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 NBA Playoffs Prediction: Round 1

(1) Spurs over (8) Jazz
(2) Thunder over (7) Mavericks
(3) Lakers over (6) Nuggets
(5) Grizzlies over (4) Clippers

(1) Bulls over (8) 76ers
(2) Heat over (7) Knicks
(3) Pacers over (6) Magic
4(Celtics) over (5) Hawks

**UPSET Alert:
-Thunder (vs Mavs)
-Clippers (vs Grizzlies)
-Celtics (vs Hawks)

*BEST match-ups:
-Thunder vs Mavericks
-Grizzlies vs Clippers
- Heat vs Knicks

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft

1. Colts- Andrew Luck, QB- Stanford
2. Redskins- Robert Griffin, QB- Baylor
3. Browns- Trent Richardson, RB- Alabama
4. Vikings- Matt Kalil, OT- USC
5. Buccaneers- Morris Claiborne, CB- LSU
6. Rams- Justin Blackmon, WR- Oklahoma State
7. Jaguars- Fletcher Cox, DT- Mississippi State
8. Dolphins- Ryan Tannehill, QB- Texas A&M
9. Panthers- Quinton Coples, DE- UNC
10. Bills- Luke Kuelchy, ILB- Boston College
11. Chiefs- Mark Barron, SS- Alabama
12. Seahawks- Michael Floyd, WR- Notre Dame
13. Cardinals- David DeCastro, OG- Stanford
14. Cowboys- Dontari Poe, NT- Memphis
15. Eagles- Stephen Gilmore, CB- South Carolina
16. Jets- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB- South Carolina
17. Bengals- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB- Alabama
18. Chargers- Chandler Jones, DE/OLB- Syracuse
19. Bears- Michael Brockers, DE/DT- LSU
20. Titans- Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB- Illinois
21. Bengals- Cordy Glenn, OT/G- Georgia
22. Browns- Kendall Wright, WR- Baylor
23. Lions- Riley Reiff, OT- Iowa
24. Steelers- Dont’a Hightower, ILB- Alabama
25. Broncos- Devon Still, DT- Penn State
26. Texans- Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB- West Virginia
27. Patriots- Shea McClellin, DE/OLB- Boise State
28. Packers-Courtney Upshaw, DE- Alabama
29. Ravens- Stephen Hill, WR- Georgia Tech
30. 49ers- Amini Silatolu, OG- Midwestern State
31. Patriots- Harrison Smith, SS- Notre Dame
32. Giants- Jonathan Martin, OT- Stanford

 *Analysis:* The Jaguars, Panthers, Bills, Seahawks, and Patriots(no. 31) all could trade down in the draft to acquire more picks. The Eagles, Jets, Cowboys, Chargers, and Lions are all strong possibilities to trade UP in the draft.  I'd be willing to bet Brandon Weeden is taken in the first round by the Browns, if they can pry the Pats 31st pick. Janoris Jenkins, Doug Martin, Coby Fleener, and Nick Perry are also players that could be taken in the 1st round. Courtney Upshaw, Quinton Coples, Dontari Poe, and Riley Reiff could all plummet in the draft. Gonna be a crazy night!