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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

2012-2013 Season Predictions

So, I might do this again.

Or not. It really couldn't matter less.

But for now I'll give you my standings predictions for the season and some brief thoughts (I know the season already started, but at this point only one full game has ended, so deal with it).

EAST

1. Heat
This is pretty obvious.

2. Pacers
Probably ride out their solid starting lineup to regular season success. Not sure if it'll carry over to the playoffs (you know, when Boston starts trying), but they should have a solid showing.

3. Celtics
The East isn't that strong.

4. Brooklyn
Almost can't help but be good with their backcourt and wings. Not sold on the front line, though obviously Humphries has an elite skill.

5. 76ers
Bynum will miss time and I'm not a huge fan of the Nick Young signing, but again, the East isn't that strong.

6. Knicks
Stoudemire being out for a while hurts, but probably not that much.

7. Bulls
Rose being out hurts a lot, but Thibs will have the defense in good shape. Hopefully they can keep the Bulls in the running until Rose returns.

8. Hawks
Probably didn't get that much worse, but Korver and Morrow will have a tough time defending the wings (but my God will this team shoot).

9. Raptors
Intriguing team. Could see them sneaking in at 8.

10. Bucks
Jennings/Ellis backcourt can only get you so far.

11. Cavaliers
Love Irving. Hate the bench.

12. Wizards
They lack a vision for the future, but the frontcourt of Okafor, Nene, and Ariza could be intimidating defensively (you know, if they try).

13. Pistons
Looking forward to Monroe continuing to make progress. They'll also hope Brandon Knight can make the leap.

14. Magic
Flip a coin between them and the Bobcats for last.

15. Bobcats
Kidd-Gilchrist will play hard. Other than that...

WEST

1. Lakers
Thunder trading Harden opened up the top spot. They'll need some time to adjust, but if they figure it out, this team could be scary good.

2. Spurs
Could very much finish first in the conference due to their amazing ability to last during the regular season despite having an aging core.

3. Thunder
The Harden trade doesn't drop them out of the hunt completely, but certainly makes them worse. However, I'm a Kevin Martin optimist, so perhaps he'll be a nice fit for this team.

4. Nuggets
Cannot wait to watch this team. They are going to run people out of the building. Now, about that defense...

5. Grizzlies
Still don't have enough to push into the elite level in the West. Also don't like that they lost Mayo.

6. Clippers
Could see them finishing 4, 5, or 6 based on how they defend. With Del Negro at the helm, I don't like to take anything for granted though.

7. Jazz
Such a solid young core and enough pieces to make a move that could benefit them in the near term.

8. Timberwolves
Only got better on the wings with Kirilenko over Wes Johnson. Derrick Williams will make strides as well. The injuries to Love and Rubio will set them back, but look for them to make a late push into the playoffs.

9. Mavericks
Brand and Kaman will do alright until Dirk gets back, but someone has to miss the playoffs.

10. Rockets
Harden helps a good bit, but I am also high on Lin and Asik. Still too many young guys playing significant minutes to put them in the playoffs, but they've laid a good foundation.

11. Warriors
If Bogut can make up for Lee's defensive shortcomings, the frontcourt will look good. However, Bogut and Curry's health concerns are just that, concerns. I'm also not a big believer in the impact of Harrison Barnes (maybe a slightly better Dorrell Wright?).

12. Blazers
Lillard will be good, but probably doesn't have a high ceiling. Might be competitive in this out-of-the-playoffs tier, but just too many talented teams.

13. Kings
No real blueprint for how to make this team work. Cousins might be the real deal, but will it matter with so many gunners around him?

14. Hornets
Davis will be worth watching. Eric Gordon might finally care a little. Ryan Anderson will prove he's the real deal.

15. Suns
Welcome back, Goran Dragic!