I have been coming up short in the comments section lately. I have plenty to say about the C’s and V’s, and Regents Rankings. So without further ado (because I know how much we all hate ado), I offer some predictions from The Grey Nathan’s point of view.
This upcoming season is going to be exciting. It’s already exciting. It already passes one of Bill Simmons’ tests: people who don’t follow sports are even talking about it. Today at lunch Ashley (my wife – if, by some chance, anyone besides the four of us reads this) was wondering if the Heat have enough weapons to beat the Lakers in the finals. Whether they love or hate the 3 Buddies, people are excited about the NBA. But it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. Just ask the experts at ESPN. They do it every year. A washed-up Vince Carter was going to push the Magic over the edge. Richard Jefferson was a missing link in San Antonio. Shaq would help the Cavs get past Orlando and bring Lebron a ring.
So in response to the last two Patrick Ewing’s Knee Pads articles, which both dealt in predictions, I give you The Grey Nathan’s Exciting Things That Will Work and Exciting Things That Won’t Work. (It's more of a long comment than an article)
The Exciting Things That Will Work (in no particular order):
1. The additions to the Lakers.
I agree 100% with Fats on this one. And this one goes overlooked. So I guess it might not even be considered an exciting thing. But that’s ok. They had two weaknesses: the point guard position, and their bench. Adding Steve Blake and Matt Barnes addresses both weaknesses. The defending champions got even better, and didn’t lose anyone. They finally realized that Farmar isn’t good, and replaced him with someone who plays a style that fits their system. And in Barnes they got that Doug Christie-type guy that everyone hates watching, but who helps his team in important ways.
2. The O’neals on the Celtics.
I haven’t been a big fan of the last few years of Shaq’s career. Phoenix was a terrible idea from the start, and I don’t even remember him playing for Cleveland. But this move actually makes sense. The Celtics will miss Perkins for a few months. So they filled that hole with Jermaine. His last few years haven’t exactly been spectacular, but he can still block shots and rebound, which is what Perkins gives them. Still, I thought they were downgrading, hoping to keep their heads above water until Perkins returns. But then they added Shaq, who actually fits Boston’s style. And I don’t mean he fits in with the rest of the Old Bones, Former-Superstar crew. Actually, I guess I do mean that. Just thinking about those old guys makes me want to have an asthma attack. But I also mean he fits their playing style. While he may not be as quick as he once was, he’s still humungous. And that means he can defend. He’ll block shots and get rebounds. Even if he doesn’t score he still gives them 6 fouls that can be used aggressively against opposing bigs. But he’ll also score. So will Jermaine. And that brings me to a bold prediction: The Celtics will beat the Heat in the playoffs.
Boston’s team defense has a way of shutting down the best players in the league. Just ask Kobe: 6 out of 24 times he’ll give you the right answer. They match up against Miami better than any other team. Miami has Haslem, who is not much bigger than Lebron, going up against Perkins/Big Baby/ Shaq/ JO. Also, Lebron and Wade aren’t going to have free reign of the key with the O’neals clogging it up. Boston’s team defense is better than any other teams’, so Mike Miller isn’t going to hurt them from outside as much as he will against poor help-defense. He won’t be left open from double teams on Lebron and Wade. But the key is down low. And Bosh is the wild card. He’s younger, quicker, and better than Boston’s big guys, but much weaker physically.
So my prediction is another Lakers-Celtics finals. But I can’t tell who is going to win. I’ve been thinking lately that the Lakers have a threepeat in them, but I think these last finals, if they didn’t lose Perkins, Boston would have won it. I try not to think about it, but they were up 13 in the 4th, and somehow blew it. So it could have gone either way. As soon as my head stops spinning I’ll post my final prediction.
3.The 3 Pals.
Obviously it’s going to work to some extent. Everyone is excited for a reason. You can’t put two of the best three players in the league, and one other all-star, on one team and not see success. They’re going to win a lot of games. Definitely in the regular season. Probably in the playoffs. But are they going to win a championship this year? I say no. So this could go in either category – it’s going to work if we’re talking in terms of wins. But it’s not going to work if we’re talking in terms of Jeff Vangundy.
Adding Boozer is going to add wins. So will getting rid of Vinny Del Negro. They will be one of the better teams in the east.
I guess it’s not really one of the exciting things, because no one is really talking about them, but I think it’s one of the things that will work. The Utah fans will be thanking the good Lord for David Kahn. Big Al will be a great fit for this team. If he stays healthy, all the experts are going to act like they’ve been talking about him for a long time.
The Exciting Things That Aren’t Going To Work
They will work. I just mean that everyone is getting too excited about them. They’re the team that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone. They surpassed expectations, but now expectations will surpass them. They’re good, but they’re not going to be second in the west, they’re not going to be in the finals, and they’re not going to win a championship.
He’s not going to fade as fast as Shawn Marion, but he will fade. Raymond Felton is no Steve Nash. Maybe he’ll still put up decent numbers as New York’s only option, but the Knicks are going nowhere.
People are excited about them, but I don’t see why.
They are overrated. Even though they got killed, Charlotte taught everyone a lesson in last season’s playoffs: get Dwight Howard in foul trouble and any decent team has a good chance to beat them. But I also predict that other teams aren’t going to learn that. I don’t know why, but they won’t.
Losing Chris Bosh won’t work. Just kidding. No one is saying that it will - at least not this season. (I just had to put some Raptors thoughts on here)
They won’t be last in the east. They won’t be in the playoffs either. It’s going to be a long season, but I’m excited about the future. Maybe they’ll surprise people this season, but it will mostly be time for development for their young team. The average NBA fan couldn’t name 3 players on the team. Just like I can only name a couple on the Pacers. But Indiana fans are probably excited about the future as well. And when I think about that, I lose hope. So I try to look at it as objectively as possible.