Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Revisionist History, Part II

Yesterday I got a few "I hadn't realized it, but you haven't written about the NBA in a while" comments. Sorry. Here's the East. Once again, these are my original predictions for each division, along with my opinions on the team, which are either eerily true or hopelessly false, without much in between.


No Greek prefix meaning "same."

Atlantic

5. Philadelphia- "The window on Philly being competitive is officially closed."
Pretty much. When you give Werewolf at 3:00 PM the green light to chuck twenty three pointers a game, and it's actually your best strategy, you have problems.
4. New York- "Here's the thing: they're not going to be as bad as people think."
A 33-49 record isn't anything to get excited about, but Eddy Curry played well this year and David Lee was a great surprise. (I like guys who rebound on pure desire, rather than having the right type of body for it.) Plus, other than giving up Jalen Rose for nothing, Zeke didn't make many ill-advised moves. All they need is to draft wisely and keep expectations low. Oh, right, they don't have any draft picks and Isaiah guaranteed the playoffs next year. Huh.
3. Toronto-
"Chris Bosh, who can already pace just about any forward in the conference and is still improving..."
Bosh was a monster this season, notching 22 and 5 a game. Also, coach-of-the-year Sam Mitchell learned a few things from last season, like that you should probably throw a double team on a guy if he has seventy-nine points. Looking at them on paper, it's easy to see why the team works. A pointguard who distributes unselfishly, an obvious go-to guy, and a lot of gritty role players like Anthony Parker can take you far into the playoffs in the East.
2. New Jersey
1. Boston
-
"If Doc Rivers studies some time management and roster balancing, Boston can make some noise."
Chili. That's like saying, "If 'Short Circuits' can learn to be original and funny, it could be as good as early 'Kids in the Hall.'" It's just not going to happen. That's who Doc Rivers is. I guess I had to be wrong about something. Bob Ryan is already practicing comparing Greg Oden to Bill Russell, and then apologizing for comparing Greg Oden to Bill Russell.


They still take this pretty seriously in Toronto. BJ Armstrong is in the crapper.

Central

5. Indiana
4. Milwaukee
3. Detroit- "With Nazr Mohammed coming right in, the loss of Ben Wallace won't affect Detroit as much as I originally thought."
Turns out this didn't matter, since the Pistons scooped up Chris Webber at exactly the right time for him to jell with the team. His superb passing fits perfectly in their system, and since they already have three dudes who can shoot twenty-footers well, he isn't forced to shoot them badly. I still don't want to see him win a ring though.
2. Cleveland-
"They have LeBron James."
Indeed they do, and it's kind of worrying me that a) that's the extent of the front office's plans for the future and b) that's enough to get you a number two seed in the East. Even though I write about Bron Bron as if he's my son, the dude has no killer instinct, and he has never learned how to move without the ball. His stats won't fix that. This could be the most inconsistent team in the league.
1. Chicago-
"Ben Wallace should add muscle to what was already last year's number one team in opposing field goal percentage. They have a pointguard who takes care of the ball, a grizzled veteran to hold it together, a change-of-pace hustle guy in potential MVP Nocioni, and a handful of other rangy forwards."
I still think they have a shot at the conference finals. Tyrus has achieved much more than I expected, and you're seeing with Luol Deng's performance in this first playoff series that the Bulls just have too many weapons for most other teams.


buck-wild- (adj.)

Southeast

5. Atlanta- I don't know how this team turned out, to be honest. Even if you live next door to Phillips Arena these games are pre-empted for Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs.
4. Charlotte- "There needs to be a culture of winning instilled in a team this young before the players believe in themselves."
They should add another fine draft pick and spend some money in the off-season. With someone as competitive as Jordan involved, don't expect them to keep losing. You know that scene in Karate Kid III when, after hours in John Kreese's dojo, Terry Silver is making Daniel punch that piece of wood with the Bad Boy of Karate's face on it over and over? And Daniel-san's hand is broken and bleeding all over, but Silver just keeps on telling him to visualize his opponent until it doesn't hurt anymore? Can't you picture Jordan doing something like that with Adam Morrison, or am I weird?
3. Orlando-
"Throw in x-factor Jonathan Clay Redick, and you're in for an exciting young team. As an added bonus, liking Darko is no longer ironic because he's going to prove himself this year. It's kind of like Tom Cruise's career backwards."
I'm not even sure what this means. Like, Darko is becoming disillusioned with Scientology right now and thinking about starring in Far and Away? I do know that Redick was milk-box most of the year and his Topps common card rookies shouldn't be selling for $10 a pop. The team's pretty good though.
2. Washington-
"I also don't like Caron Butler as much as I used to. If he was going to make The Leap, he would have done it by now."
Which he used as motivation to become an all-star. You're welcome, Caron.
1. Miami-
"They should still be in good enough shape to go far into the playoffs, but last year was a perfect storm that can't be recreated."
They're totally going to lose, if not to Chicago then certainly to Detroit.


Yeah, I don't really know either.

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