Thursday, October 30, 2008

Money thoughts on the NBA

While Money and B Anthony are college hoops junkies, it is hard not to have an opinion on what we think will take place in the NBA. It is tougher to gauge and boring to watch for 80% of the year, but still fun to pontificate.

Let’s start off with the Lakers and Celtics. Two great teams, loaded with talent and favorites to get back to the championship game, so everyone says. If you know Money, you know this is not his belief. There is no question, the Lakers are loaded with talent and have the best team. Their second unit of five reserves would likely make the playoffs at a 7 or 8 slot. They have great talent, but that does not always translate to being number 1. Look at the Georgia bulldogs in football this year. Everyone loved them, loaded with talent, but a loss this weekend to Florida and they are out of the national championship picture in October. I don’t like Lakers for the following reasons;
1) Lamar: There is no way he will accept being a sixth man. His ego will not tolerate it and winning won’t cure it. This situation will self destruct.
2) Bynum: He is a very gifted young athlete, but like all big guys, staying healthy will be the key. We have no indication at this point that he can play a full season.
3) Kobe: He has played over a 1000 games (including playoffs) and this is a magic number where a players skills start to decline. Sort of like turning 30 for a running back or 28 if you are a female.

The Lakers are talented and they will end up with the best record in the NBA because of their talent and depth. But they won’t win it all. Neither will the Celtics. Again, this is a very talented and loaded team. However they lost their glue guy; James Posey. This will hurt them more than they think. He is a winner. The elder Celtics proved their worth last year. I don’t expect it to continue this year.

So who wins it all? How about my glue guy’s new team. THE NEW ORLEANS HORNETS win it all this year. Chris Paul is the best point guard in the league and that is what you need to win it. They shocked everyone last year with a 2 seed, but fell short. They have a good nucleus of Chandler, West, Mo Pete, Peja, and now Posey. Provided Paul stays healthy, these guys win it all. Who do the Hornets meet in the finals? The MIAMI HEAT will represent the Eastern conference. This is not that farfetched. They have one of the best players in the league, who led them a few years back (with the help of Shaq of course) in D Wade. They also have Udonis Haslem, new wingman Shawn Marrion and my two favorite rookies, Michael Beasley and Money Chalmers. The finishing touch; they just picked up Shawn Livingston, who may never be healthy again, but if he is, this will be a fabulous pick up.

So there you have it. The HORNETS over the HEAT in the NBA Finals.
A few other predictions;
Atlantic Division winner: Celtics
Southwest Division winner: Heat
Central Division winner: Pistons
Southeast Division winner: Hornets
Northwest Division winner: Utah
Pacific Division winner: Lakers

Western Playoff teams (in order): Lakers, Hornets, Jazz, Rockets, Spurs, Mavericks, Suns and Nuggets. The old guys (spurs, mavs, suns and nuggets) still get it done for one more year. Portland, I love ya, but you are not able to crack the top 8 yet. We may never see the real Greg Oden. He is too big and injury prone to make it out on the floor. 40 games for him would be a miracle.

Eastern Playoff teams (in order): Celtics, Pistons, Heat, Cavs, Magic, 76ers, Raptors and Knicks. Yes, the Knicks and Mike D make it to the playoffs this year.

MVP: Chris Paul
ROY: Beasley (second place – Chalmers)
Most Improved: Devin Harris
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra (he is coincidentally the coach of the heat. I had no idea who their coach was 10 minutes ago).

Warriors Prediction:
I will say this, they will be entertaining and fun to watch but not because they are good, but more of a grease-fire. The Warriors are about to implode. Rowell the GM is doing all the wrong things and he, Nellie and Mullin and not on the same page. That is trouble. Nellie got an extension, so he is wanted. Mullin did not and he will be gone. Crash Ellis made a mistake crashing his “moped” (do you really expect us to believe you were riding a moped? Just say motorcycle) and should be punished, but he is fighting it. This will not end well. Hopefully, he can come back healthy. Harrington wants to be traded and likely will. This is a guy that Mullin likes but nelson does not. Maggette will play well, but struggle when Crash Ellis comes back. They both do the same thing and they can’t exist together. Obviously there is no point guard on this team. Mullin brought in Marcus Williams, but nelson does not like him, otherwise he would be playing. Put in the young guys. Let us see Wright, Randolph or Bellinelli. Probably won’t happen. SJax is such an incredible player. One night he guards the speedy quick point guard, the next night he is guarding the all star power forward. Stud, but a ticking time bomb. When he explodes, there goes the Warriors. I will watch and be hopeful, but I do not expect this season to end gracefully. I am calling for a 37-45 record and 10th place in the west.


Week 9

Tough week for Money. Real tough. I don’t know what went wrong, but most of my picks were just completely wrong. I have had bad weeks and bounced back and I will do it again this week. I feel real strong about my NFL picks. I love my NFL picks this week. I will go undefeated. As for my college picks, I predict, 14 of 15 winners. Big week!


Coach 92
JB 90
T Bone 89
D43 89
CCR 88
TG 87
Dollar Bill 86
Money 85
Hockey guy 84

South Florida @ Cincinnati
Miami @ Virginia
Iowa @ Illinois
Auburn @ Mississippi
Pitt @ Notre Dame
Tennessee @ South Carolina
Georgia @ Florida
Oregon @ Cal
Texas @ Texas Tech
@ Purdue
Wisconsin @ Michigan St.
@ Arkansas
Florida St. @ Georgia Tech
Northwestern @ Minnesota
East Carolina @ Central Florida

Washington St. @ Stanford__217.5_____pts only

Thoughts on the above games; No clue about USF and Va. I really like Illinois at home to beat Iowa. Possible look ahead game to PSU for Iowa. The Pitt QB is hurt and likely won’t play. They have a great runner and that is their game, but turning to a second stringer on the road is tough. Georgia is getting better, but Tebow is totally healthy and the Gators won’t forget about last year’s beat down. I would love to be wrong about Cal, but I probably won’t be. Their 3-4 defense is getting better but Oregon will run all over them. Riley gives the Bears a chance with his mobility against the Duck pass rush, but this is a game the Bears will lose. UT and Texas Tech will be a shoot-out. Neither team will be able to stop each other. I am taking the home team and walk on kicker.

College picks
ILLINOIS -3 vs. Iowa
OREGON +3 @ Cal
TEXAS TECH +4 vs. Texas
NEW MEXICO +7 vs. Utah

NFL picks
BILLS-5.5 vs. Jets
BENGALS +8 vs. Jaguars
PACKERS +5.5 @ Titans
COLTS -6 vs. Pats
COWBOYS +9 at Giants
BRONCOS -3 vs. Dolphins

Survivor thoughts
The Bears seem to be the obvious choice here, but I don’t like them. Detroit is still fighting and looking for a win. It could come against these Bears, who are not that dominant. I also stay away from the Bucs and the Jaguars who are both on the road playing the Chiefs and Bengals respectively. I think the titans -6 lose at home to the Packers so I stay away there too. Do not touch Dallas and Giants. Rivalry game. My pick is the Bills who roll over the Jets. Second pick would be the Broncos who also win with ease.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The NBA season is upon us, and not a moment too soon. The rain delay has taken the bite out of baseball, and who really cares about this series! Great baseball is being played, but again, it is not basketball.

The NBA season is a strange series of bursts! I can't really think of anyone who can watch the entire season closely. Unless of course you have a terrible gambling problem and want to track the over/under trends with an attempt to make money. If you have to gamble on the NBA, the over under's are the only way to go. Early in the year the numbers will be low and you will see more under's because of sloppy offense and energetic legs. As the season wears on there will be a surge in scoring. But this is too much work. The NBA is about highlights and there will be many this year. But back to the bursts. We are in the early surge right now. Season opening means expectations and excitement for about 2 weeks while everyone watches the rookies and watches to see if Kobe or Lebron can score 70 points in a game. Then we won't pay attention again until Christmas. The marketing ploy will last a few more weeks, before we all just wait for the play-off chase in April-May. Finally the play-0ffs will arrive and it will be 40 nights of chaos and ridiculous days off to stretch out the finale! So enjoy the first few weeks of the season and check back mid-year to see how the predictions below pan out!

MVP- Lebron James: This is a strange award that seems to just get shared among the league's elite. Kobe is the best player,(and I don't really like him, but that is changing). However, Lebron will continue to amaze, making nightly highlights with blocks, dunks, and full court left handed bounce passes. The Lakers are going to be so good and deep during the regular season, that Kobe won't have to or want to put up big numbers. Their 2nd unit could win 45 games this year! So the nod goes to Lebron, it is his turn.

ROY- In a bogus voting scandal, Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley will be co-winners. Similar to Jason Kidd and Grant Hill 14 years ago. Rose will be blinding and make some great steals and will finish strong around the hoop all year, he is tireless. I am seeing 14 points 9 assists, and 6 rebounds a game. Gaudy numbers for a 20 year old Rookie. Beasley will put up even better numbers but the lack of flash will keep the vote a dead-lock. He could average 20-10, but I will be safe and say it will be 19 and 9. Miami will be much better this year and may even get to the Eastern Conference final.

Comeback Player of the Year- Dwayne Wade. He will continue his Olympic Push and be fantastic this year. He will be top 3 vote getter in the MVP race.

6th Man- Lamar Odom. He was made for this role, and after so serious consternation, he will accept it. His number will go up, because he will be the man on this 2nd unit, because he gets to play with Jordan Farmar. Who, by the way, will be the one of the top point guards in the league, as a back-up. By the way, how many people in the last 25 years have named their kids Jordan? Do you know anyone who is named Jordan born before 1980?

Coach of the Year- Vinny Del Negro. I just love saying this name. You know the NBA players love him for it! Rose will make him look smart and the Bulls will surprise with a great regular season! They have a lot of young legs who can make a team look good for the regular season. Lack of post play will doom them in the playoffs!

All NBA-

1st Team-Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Carlos Boozer, Dwight Howard

2nd Team-Deron Williams, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Elton Brand

(Notice that Duncan and Nash are gone, they are slowing significantly) Nash's drop off will hurt Amare Stoudemire as well!

All Rookie Team-

Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Greg Oden (notice that OJ is missing)Too much bad Karma with that name. He will be injured and over shadowed by the break-out year of one of his teammates. Look for Rudy Fernandez to make a push as well!

All Break-Out Year

Jordan Farmar, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguadola (growth continues), Luis Scola, David West( he becomes perennial all-star!)

Play-Off Picture

Western Conference: The Lakers are built for a 65 win season. They are just too deep and too talented, and too hungry after last years disappointment. As a life-time Laker Hater, I will pick them to run away with the Western Conference in the regular season.

West Final four: Lakers vs Utah- Lakers in 6

Hornets vs Rockets ( Surprise upset in first Round) Hornets in 7.

Sorry, Lakers advance to finals again!

Team to Watch!

Rockets will be very tough this year, and not only because Artest. Luis Scola in his 2nd year will be even better. He knows the league and will continue to pile up garbage points. Look for him to get 16 ppg and 9 rpg. Which are huge numbers considering he is the 4th option on this team.

Eastern Conference:

Celtics and Pistons will battle for the best record again. Rodney Stucky will be the difference for the Pistons as they secure home court advantage. The Celtics will have some injuries and will eventually start to believe they can turn it on for the play-offs. They can't!

Sixers will show some great improvement, and I think Brand will put up huge numbers. The post play in the East will be a welcome releif for Brand and he will scoop up 25 and 12 every night!

East Final Four:

Pistons v Heat: Heat in a huge upset ( wins game 7 on the road when Rasheed gets suspended in game 6) Beasley and Wade lead the way.

Celtics vs Cavs in a 7 game series. Lebron will get some help at the trade deadline and the Cavs will pull off this miracle. Pierce will injure himself in game 2 while throwing his body to the floor a la Euro soccer player trying to draw the foul! Too bad for Celtics!

Cavs advance. It is amazing how far a superstar can take a team, and conspiracy theory will be all over this one with NBA wanting the Lebron and Kobe showdown!

My WestCoast bias will shine through. As much as I hate to say it, Lakers Sweep!

Side note on the Warriors:
Long ago, I predicted Harrington would be traded. This morning he called for a trade. I think it will happen, just don't know who we will get. Chris Mullin will be done after this year, he has too much pride to live with Warriors Brass upstaging him. I know Nelson just signed a 2 year deal, but I don't think he will make it that long. He wants to give Keith Smart a chance to coach, and he will figure out a way to make it happen. This is going to be a long year for them. I hope they will find a way to get Brandon Wright and Anthony Randolf 15 minutes a game. They will be back in the play-offs in 2011.