Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why not? 2008-2009 NBA picks

The NBA is not my sport, and falls behind international basketball & (of course) college basketball in my DVR queue. Still, the playoffs are pretty fun to watch, and the highlights are always worth catching if not the actual games throughout the year. So, here's some highly uninformed predictions about the 2008-2009 NBA season.

1. Boston
2. Orlando
3. Detroit
4. Cleveland
5. Miami
6. Toronto
7. Philadelphia
8. Washington

9. Indiana -
10. Charlotte-
11. Chicago
12. Atlanta
13. Milwaukee
14. New York
15. New Jersey

1. LA Lakers
2. New Orleans
3. Utah
4. San Antonio
5. Houston
6. Denver
7. Phoenix
8. Portland

9. Dallas
10. LA Clippers
11. Sacramento
12. Golden State
13. Minnesota
14. Memphis
15. Oklahoma

While Miami's turnaround should be the the biggest jump overall, the West's biggest improvement will be by Portland, who has three great rookies in Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez, and Jarryd Bayless. And LaMarcus Aldridge is pretty young too, but Steve Blake and Raef LaFrentz should help steady the ship into the playoffs. That's as far as they'll get tho. Miami's improvement should surprise noone as they add a healthy Dwayne Wade and rebounding fiend Michael Beasley.

I don't think Indiana or Chicago (the two teams I follow) will have enough balance to get into the postseason, but they'll be more competitive than I think they're being given credit for. Don't be surprised if an injury opens a playoff spot for one of those two in the East.

The Playoffs should see a relative straight-seed advance, except for Miami in the East. The seven-game format will probably continue in its throttling of upset possibilities. In the East, I think we'll see Boston return to the finals over the up-and-coming Orlando Magic, who just aren't championship caliber, but have enough to upset aging Detroit. In the West, I'd like to again back the ruthless efficiency of San Antonio and or the exciting play of New Orleans, but I don't trust the health of Tim Duncan or Tyson Chandler, so I'll pick the Lakers over the don't-quite-have-enough Jazz. I think everyone will again be picking the Lakers over the Celtics again. But the Celtics big men are just getting better, and Rajon Rondo was a big part of the Game 6 rout last spring while Derek Fisher is getting to an age where NBA guards' field goal% starts heading south. So I gotta go with a boring pick and say Celtics defend their title.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tough being a Hoosier fan

Ouch. I'd like to apologize for suggesting that IU Men's Soccer just might be championship caliber this year, as I've clearly just given the team the biggest jinx whammy since, well, since I saw "This is our year!" Cubs posters all around Chicago. Oops!

I can claim no such credit for the IU football squad tho. I was pretty sure that IU football was in for a rough year, and all Kellen Lewis has done is show how special the shorter Antwaan Randle-El was in 1) not turning over the ball despite running the option waaaay more than Lewis and 2) not getting hurt and crippling the team's offense.

IU Men's basketball is of course still awaiting word on what sanctions should be handed out. And honestly, there should be something but it should be fairly light- no postseason and the loss of a scholarship for a year, maybe two. I won't agree with say, Gregg Doyel and plead that too much damage has already been done to the Hoosiers, as I do think that the NCAA has to mete out some punishment. But it really shouldn't be as bad as the punishments to Kentucky or SMU back in the day for buying players.