“Shaking My Head”
As I sit here to write this, The new-look Miami Heat have just been embarassed by the Celtics in Boston, and rings have just been presented to the Lakers in Los Angeles. These are the two capital cities of NBA-land, make no mistake, and judging by the raucousness of the crowd in Boston tonight the NBA is doing well with them as their flagships.
But as we all know, there are a few teams that will be doing their best to steal that spotlight this year. Obviously the Heat, with their three-headed monster, are poised for years of greatness, but other teams are also very close to breaking out. In no particular order, the Jazz, Bulls, Thunder, and Hawks are teams with tremendous upside that could all challenge for a title this year. The NBA seems poised for a nice little run if these teams can live up to the hype, and this should be a great transition year.
The best thing about a transition year is the likelihood that there will be plenty of surprises. Certain players may have excellent seasons that seemingly come out of nowhere. Sure we see surprises every year (Did anyone think Monta Ellis would be a top-6 scorer last year? Or that Zach Randolph would have 57 double-doubles? Ok, fine, but I didn’t, ok?), but this year could be just crazy enough to leave us shaking our heads (SMH? SOH’s?). Or we won’t shake our heads. Maybe some will, but not others. Really, it’s personal preference. Anyway, yeah, take a look at five things that will make me shake my head (SMH), maybe.
Lebron James will average 35 points per game. This may not seem like that big of a stretch, but the fact is that LeBron has never averaged more than the 31.4 he averaged in 05-06, so 35 would be significantly higher than his career high. Also, joining the Heat was supposed to lighten Lebron’s workload not raise it, right? Wrong. At least, according to what we saw tonight. This team is going to rely on Lebron very heavily, and even an injury to a role player (Their best option to replace Mike Miller is Jerry Stackhouse? Seriously?) will leave them with such little depth that James, Wade, and Bosh will probably all average at least 25. We’ve never seen a team built this way. We have NO IDEA what will happen. This could be awesome.
The Lakers will not finish as the #1 seed in the West. This could just simply be me being sick of the Lakers run, but I feel like they could easily just have one of those years where they take it a little too easy during the regular season. The Bulls did loosened up somewhat toward the end of their run, although never to the point where they lost the #1 seed. So, if the Lakers do it this year, it will merely prove my point: Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan. Maybe only myself, Jordan, and Jordan’s son believe this, but if this happens I think it would be definitive proof.
The NBA will set an all-time attendance record. The league has been holding steady for a few years now, and the current attendance record was set just five years ago. The other curiosity that year? The Miami Heat on a title run. Coincidence? Maybe, but let’s say that it’s not. The Heat are prominent once again, and the league as a whole has buzz, and I think it will translate at the ticket office.
The Knicks will win a playoff series. With the addition of A’mare Stoudamire, the Knicks will definitely see some improvement, but I have yet to hear anyone saying that they will actually win a series. If they could somehow finish as at least a #6 seed, they would have a chance to do just that. Maybe they would run into a Bulls or Celtics team that is beat up at the end of the year. All of a sudden the NBA would have awoken the sleeping giant market, and talk of Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony maybe, possibly heading to NYC would dominate ESPN. It could get nauseating. Don’t blame me.
Craig Sager will go too far with one of his outfits and draw a fine from the NBA. Just like all scandals, this will be awkward and hilarious, but would I be surprised if the colorful TNT/TBS analyst just showed up one day with some sort of inappropriate tie, or a “Vote for Sharron Angle” button on his blazer? Nope, not at all. Although, I’m not sure what everyone would tweet about without “Sages” around for a game or two.
These are all guaranteed to come true, so just write them down now. Or just bookmark the page I guess. Your call.
Here are a few more predictions:
East Champ: Bulls
West Champ: Lakers
NBA champion: Lakers
MVP: Derrick Rose
Rookie of the Year: DeMarcus Cousins