This post is about a week late. First of all, let’s just make this clear. All predictions/awards predictions that I make are not based on the results that have already taken place. For example, if a team is up 3-0 in their series, my picks aren’t going to be reflective of that. My predictions are from before the playoffs. Thanks.
The NBA Playoffs are here, and there are plenty of interesting matchups around the league. How will the Celtics do without Shaquille O’Neal? Will the Lakers three-peat? How well will the #1 seed Chicago Bulls fare?
Regular Season Awards Predictions
As I said before, the awards picks are not based on the actual results. I know that some awards have been picked already, but these are my original picks from before they were announced.
Rookie of the Year
2010 Winner: Tyreke Evans, Sacramento Kings
My 2011 Winner: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Why: What Blake Griffin has done in 1 season is incredible. Really, do I need to say much more?
Sixth Man of the Year
2010 Winner: Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks
My 2011 Winner: Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
Why: This is one of the three awards that have already been given out. You might see that I correctly predicted them all. Odom is more of a 5th and a half man than a sixth man. He’s so important to a Lakers team that will need him at his best to three-peat.
Most Improved Player
2010 Winner: Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets
My 2011 Winner: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves.
Why: Must I go into the stats? 20 points per game, 15 rebounds per game, and oh, he dished out a very respectable 2.5 assists per contest.
Defensive Player of the Year
2010 Winner: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
My 2011 Winner: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Why: Dwight Howard is a beast on the defensive end. He’s now won his 3rd straight DPOY and, frankly, no one’s really close to him in terms of defensive ability.
Coach of the Year
2010 Winner: Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder
My 2011 Winner: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
Why: Thibodeau has really made the most of his opportunity in Chicago, and look now. Derrick Rose and the Bulls are the #1 seeded team in the NBA, and more than a few people have compared this year’s team to the Bulls team with Michael Jordan.
Most Valuable Player
2010 Winner: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
My 2011 Winner: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Why: I talked about Thibodeau making the most of his chance, but it has been all Derrick Rose this year. He’s completely picked this team up and put them on his back, it’s been the Derrick Rose Show night in and night out. He doesn’t get enough credit for what he’s done at age 22.
NBA Playoff Predictions
#1 Chicago Bulls over #8 Indiana Pacers, 4 games to 1
Why: Derrick Rose and the Bulls will have to show Danny Granger and Co. who’s boss, and does exactly that, easily reaching the second round.
#2 Miami Heat over #7 Philadelphia 76ers, 4 games to 2
Why: This one will be closer than most people expect because the Heat are still learning how to be a cooperative team, and they’ll need a few games at least to get settled to the playoff style of play.
#3 Boston Celtics over #6 New York Knicks, 4 games to 2
Why: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen are all too much for the New York Knicks, who don’t play any defense whatsoever, and are just plain inexperienced.
#4 Orlando Magic over #5 Atlanta Hawks, 4 games to 2
Why: The Magic beat the Hawks handily last year, but Atlanta is much better this year and is bound to play well and give Orlando competition.
#8 Memphis Grizzlies over #1 San Antonio Spurs, 4 games to 3
Why: UPSET ALERT! The Grizzlies are the best #8 team I’ve seen in a while, they’re a very underrated young team, and should grind out this one against the old SA Spurs, who are painfully old, as pointed out several times by Ted Maguire on his blog “Three Strikes and I’m Out!”.
#2 Los Angeles Lakers over #7 New Orleans Hornets, 4 games to 2
Why: Chris Paul will win 2 games. The Lakes will win 4. Let’s just put it this way, without CP3, the Hornets are kaput. But with him, it’ll be close.
#3 Dallas Mavericks over #6 Portland Trailblazers, 4 games to 3
Why: The Mavs will win this one, but don’t count out the Trailblazers. They’ve got a very nice young team, similar to the Grizzlies, and LaMarcus Aldridge can do a lot of damage.
#4 Oklahoma City Thunder over #5 Denver Nuggets, 4 games to 1
Why: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are just too much, period. The post-Melo play for Denver was a mirage, in my opinion.
#1 Chicago Bulls over #4 Orlando Magic, 4 games to 2
Why: Derrick Rose is too much. The Magic continue to struggle in the playoffs and further frustrate Dwight Howard. He’ll be a free agent before you know it!
#3 Boston Celtics over #2 Miami Heat, 4 games to 3
Why: Boston’s savviness proves helpful once again, as the vets from Boston grind out a tough 7 game series win.
#8 Memphis Grizzlies over #4 Oklahoma City Thunder
Why: The Grizzlies continue their Cinderella run, a la Butler, and continue on into the Conference Finals.
#2 Los Angeles Lakers over #3 Dallas Mavericks, 4 games to 2
Why: The series itself will be pretty easy to win for LA, but there will be fights, I can tell you that. This will be the most physical series in the NBA Playoffs, I think. Dallas will be frustrated and angry, and rightfully so. Let’s see if they can change that.
#1 Chicago Bulls over #3 Boston Celtics, 4 games to 3
Why: Another close series, but Derrick Rose and the new guys beat the old guys, in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Co.
#8 Memphis Grizzlies over #2 Los Angeles Lakers, 4 games to 3
Why: That previous statement probably dropped my support rating by a lot. I really think that Memphis can go all the way. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Zach Randolph is leading this team to where no one thought possible, at least this season. I had a good feeling about the Giants winning it all this year in baseball, they were my underrated team to watch, since then, the Grizz have been my underrated team to watch all year. I just think this might be the year.
#1 Chicago Bulls over #8 Memphis Grizzlies, 4 games to 2
Why: The streets of Chicago celebrate as Rose holds up the NBA Finals trophy and nails down his status as the best current athlete in Chicago. For the Memphis Grizzlies, it was a great ride, a very unlikely ride, one that no one thought would ever happen. They came so close…but yet the Bulls are NBA Champions.