Friday, November 04, 2005

NBA Predictions for 2005-2006 Season

I know, I know – you’re upset that I didn’t post my NBA predictions before the season started. I apologize. I’ve been too busy listening to T.O. say that if Brett Favre was the quarterback of the Eagles they’d be undefeated…And reading about how the Saints owner is saying his family felt threatened when the team played in Baton Rouge and that he will never go to another game there.

Anyway, since I make my predictions to my buddies all the time about who will make the playoffs, I figured I would let you all in on the secret. Here goes…

Eastern Conference
1) Miami Heat 62-20
2) Indiana Pacers 61-21
3) New Jersey Nets 53-29
4) Detroit Pistons 58-24
5) Milwaukee Bucks 48-34
6) Washington Wizards 47-35
7) Chicago Bulls 44-38
8) Cleveland Cavs 43-39

On the outside looking in: Philadelphia, Boston and Atlanta. All will be right around .500, but none will make the playoffs this year.

The Heat are the team to beat. With the additions of Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Jason Williams I don’t see them having a bad season. The nay-sayers always will chirp about ‘not enough ball to go around’…I’m not buying that. Walker and Payton want to do whatever they need to grab that championship, and neither are selfish players. Williams is going to thrive in this situation. He’s very flashy and playing alongside ‘Flash’ Dwayne Wade these two are going to do some very exciting things.

The Nets with Kidd, Vinsanity and RJ will win the Atlantic Division and get the three seed and the Pacers with Artest back will be the two seed. The Pistons still have a great team and play stifling defense, but I see them in the 4 spot this year. The bottom four playoff teams are all young teams that are on the rise. Led by the Michael Redd and T.J. Ford the Bucks are a very nice team. Andrew Bogut will be the rookie of the year this season and the Bucks are going to surprise a lot of people. The Wiz kids and the Baby Bulls are a year older and will both get back to the playoffs. The addition of Larry Hughes was big time for the Cavaliers. LeBron has a ‘Pippen’ now and after a slow start they’ll come on strong to nip both the Sixers and Celtics for the last spot in the East.

Western Conference
1) San Antonio Spurs 61-21
2) Seattle SuperSonics 57-25
3) Phoenix Suns 53-29
4) Houston Rockets 53-29
5) Minnesota T’Wolves 53-29
6) Dallas Mavericks 50-32
7) Golden State Warriors 45-37
8) Denver Nuggets 43-39

Same old West with the top three spots going to the Defending Champion San Antonio Spurs, the Northwest Division back to the Sonics and the Pacific Division to the Suns. The rest of the playoff picture is going to be wonderful. The Rockets and Timberwolves are going to be right behind the top three with Dallas not far behind. The problem in the West again is that six teams are very good and that’s it. This season the top six teams are all very close with the Spurs being the definite favorite.

The number seven playoff spot will be occupied by the Golden State Warriors this year. Oh yeah, I’m making that prediction and Tim Hardaway’s ‘Killer Crossover’ and Chris Mullin’s ‘Three Ball’ aren’t coming back to play…but they’ll be led by five young studs: Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy, Adonal Foyle and Mike Dunleavy. They have talent and are growing together each day. I’m picking them as the big sleeper in the West Conference. The last spot in the playoffs this year will be a disappointment. The Nuggets will again get to the playoffs but barely. They’ll hold off both teams from Los Angeles to get a ticket to another beat-down from San Antonio in the opening round.

Most Valuable Player: Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee
Defensive Player: Ron Artest, Indiana
Sixth Man: Michael Finley, San Antonio
Coach of the Year: Stan Van Gundy, Miami

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bucks Off to Great Start

Milwaukee fans will have a lot to cheer about if Michael Redd, T.J. Ford and Andrew Bogut continue to play well and the team wins. Already 2-0 the Bucks look poised to be a playoff team again in the Eastern Conference.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Arbitrary Views & Opinions...

Did Charlie Weis really deserve to have his contract at Notre Dame extended just seven games in his first season? I say absolutely not. Notre Dame is 5-2 and they’ve beaten the teams that they were supposed to beat…Michigan (very mediocre), Pitt (decent at best), BYU (not good), Purdue (even worse than BYU) and Washington (terrible). Sure they came very close to upsetting the best team in the country but is that what makes a contract?

Remember folks, Ty Willingham started his first season at ND 8-0. Six of those eight teams played in a bowl game that season…how come they didn’t offer him a contract of 10 years for between $30-40 million? Sure Notre Dame will probably make the excuse that they locked up Charlie because the NFL will be knocking on his door after a few successful seasons as a head coach – but I’m not buying into that. This was just another Bush-League move in college football and another stiff arm towards an African-American coach. And the sad thing is – not too many colleges have even given African-American coaches an opportunity. Willingham is one of the classiest people on the planet and took his firing in stride…but doesn’t this all make you wonder?

And the teaser – Brady Quinn, the Fighting Irish’s stud quarterback and nearly all of his starting teammates were recruited by none other than Ty Willingham.


Was the Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks game last night real? I know they were out there running around and playing – I watched it…but was it a real game? I’m a huge basketball fan and have been watching the NBA since the battles between Magic and Bird but last night seemed like a setup. It looked like two teams that were out there playing ABSOLUTELY no defense. It was like before the game Iverson and C-Webb walked into the Bucks locker room to discuss the game plan.
Here’s how I imagine it going…
AI – “Wassup Mike? How was your flight?”
MR- “AI my man. C-Webb, what’s up dude? Flight was cool.”
CW- “Not much. Ya’ll heard about the plan tonight right?”
Over walks T.J. Ford and rookie Andrew Bogut.
AI – “Hey fellas.”
TJF- “Hey. Yeah, we got it. No D whatsoever. Let you both get off for 30-plus and Michael too. I’m gonna get as many assists as possible.”
CW – “Don’t forget to get your boy Bogut involved too. I’m thinking the league would want him to get around 15 points or so.”
MR – “Cool. We’ll let you guys have the lead at the half and then we’ll chip away. Hopefully we can force it to an OT – that’ll get us all more points and be cool with the fans.”
CW – “Cool…Cool”
AI – “Hey, we’re going to get my boy John Salmons involved tonight too…trying to get him some more PT. Is that aight with you guys?”
TJF – “Sounds good.”
MR – “Yeah, that’s cool. Alright fellas, good luck.”


T.O. told the Eagles that he will probably have to miss the next two very key NFC East games against the Redskins and Cowboys because he sprained his ankle against the Broncos last Sunday. It happens to be on the same leg that he suffered his bad injury last year. I don’t blame T.O. for sitting if he has to. But this is going to really put the clamps on Philly for the next two weeks. They need to win both of these games and without the best offensive player they have – it’s going to be tough.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Theo Says See-Ya to Boston...Next Stop Nobody Knows

What to do? Ok, so I didn’t graduate from Yale and I didn’t become the youngest General Manager to win the World Series (yet), but if I was in Theo Epstein’s shoes – things would’ve been very different.

We all know that he was born and raised in New England and is a lifelong BoSox fan. He started out as the Assistant GM before getting hired when Billy Beane turned down the opportunity three years ago. Theo was young and had a few things going for him…The Red Sox were willing to spend and he didn’t have much to lose. And that’s precisely how he commanded the Sox over his three-year reign, making big, bold trades and spending big bucks.

But Theo had a chance to stay in Beantown for the next three years making a total of $4.5 million dollars and he walked away from it. If it were me with my beloved Mets, that money would’ve been just good enough. The chance to keep the winning ways of your favorite team going, while getting great seats to every game and that kind of money? Wow. I would be beside myself. I probably would ask if they would add a fourth year and bump the total salary to an even $5 million.

Not Theo. He’s going to do ‘other’ things. Maybe even walking away from baseball at the tender age of 31.

If he decides to stay in baseball – and wants a job this season (2006) there are three teams that should have already requested a chance to talk to him…the Phillies, Dodgers and Devil Rays. The Phillies and Dodgers both have nice sized payrolls, in the top tier in baseball. He could help return the Dodgers to past glory and might be the right guy to make some big deals to put Philadelphia over the top. The Devil Rays is an interesting one. Theo could be at the front of the up-and-coming Tampa Bay team battling with both the Red Sox and Yankees. Nice, warm weather and Epstein could fit right in with the other young execs in the Devil Rays' new front office. I doubt they’d give him the cash that the BoSox tried or what the Phillies and Dodgers could – but it would be tempting…for me anyway.

Again, if it was me – I would’ve stayed. Since he didn’t, those are the three teams that I would have my eyes all over. And if none of them meet his fancy, maybe he’ll take a year off and get back into things for the 2007 season. At just 31 years old, wouldn’t millions love to be in Theo’s shoes? I know I would.