Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is the NBA Off-Season better than the Regular Season and Predictions for this Off-Season

Tonight, Anthony Davis will become a Hornet. That's about the only thing we can accurately predict about the NBA Draft. The NBA Draft leads to huge trades, incredible rumors (James Harden for a #3 pick!?!?!?), and ignites the NBA off-season. Since most teams haven't played in months, fans begin to dream of free agents and young stars teaming up with their core players. The NBA, more than any other sport lends, itself to this kind of rampant speculation and titillation in the off-season because the NBA, more than any other sport, relies on individual players. Teams know they are one big trade or free agent from becoming an instant championship contender. The 2007 Celtics and 2010 Heat have shown that teams can reach the finals immediately after construction. The Spurs landed Tim Duncan, and with the "Big Fundamental" at center, were guaranteed to win 50 games for the next 15 years. Anthony Davis might be that player. Additionally, fans always (and probably delusionally) think their team can instantly be re-hauled, or are one key veteran (Lamar Odom, Steve Nash, and Ray Allen come to mind this off-season) from a championship. This leads to millions of rumors, quotes being spun for or against teams, and exaggerating events (Nets GM Billy King attending Deron Williams' bday party springs to mind). This aspect of the sport is ridiculous and the rumors rarely come to fruition, but it's fun.

The NBA regular season doesn't generate any of the hype. Teams play in gears due to travel, a lack of giving of shit, or whatever else. The Heat looked bored the entire second half of the regular season. They made a decision not to chase down the #1 seed but to rest their older players' legs. It worked out to their benefit. The NBA simply isn't structured for an entertaining regular season. The stakes are low with a sixteen teams in the playoffs and lottery-bound teams tanking for picks by the close of the season. I'm still a fan of the game and watch my team's games, but it offers none of hype of the off-season. The two-week stretch from the days before to draft through the first week of free agency are more exciting for me than the regular season.

Now that we've established that the NBA off-season is a god damn good time, let's figure out what is going to happen.

  • The Hawks will blow up their Johnson-Smith-Horford nucleus by trading Josh Smith. Smith is the most tradeable of the three and, frankly, this team should have been revamped long ago. The Hawks as currently constructed cannot make a conference finals, even in the East. They simply aren't good enough. They need to hope that Smith can turn into two good role players or just amnesty Johnson and start fresh.
  • Fans will form instant opinions based on subjective analysis about players despite only seeing them play a few times. It's okay to get caught in the hoopla over a player like Bradley Beal. But it must be taken with the grain of salt that you haven't seen him play more than two times max.
  • The Lakers will be in every rumor, but not change anything important. Bynum and Kobe are off the table, and Bynum might not even fetch Dwight Howard, so the Lakers' best hope is Gasol. Unfortunately, he is going to make $38 million over the next two years. The Lakers'only hope for getting younger and more athletic by trading Gasol is teams not watching him play the past two playoffs.
  • Steve Nash will go to the Raptors. They won't be able to get Lin and Nash is a national hero. His decision will stop people from inevitably trying to justify loving him while he plays for the Heat and wins a ring. It's okay, Ray Allen will join the Heat and people will still love him.
  • Dwight Howard won't get traded this off-season. The Magic are waiting on some perfect offer that isn't happening. His injury and his drama has lessened his value and the Magic are going to be stuck with the #6 seed again before losing the best player in their franchise history to free agency.
  • Carmelo Anthony will impress at the Olympics. He's already lost twelve pounds this off-season and the sting of not starting for the Dream team and seeing his 2003 Draft class win rings before him will finally give him the motivation to dominate for a whole season instead of in spurts.
  • Daryl Morey of the Rockets makes tons of trades and is called affectionately "Dork Elvis" for embracing advanced stats, but he consistently lands his team in the worst possible NBA position: smack in the middle. Morey understands this better than anyone, but hasn't been able to put together a team that's bad enough to get a top draft pick or good enough to make a real playoffs run. Rumor is that he's trying desperately to get Dwight Howard, even if only for a year, but again, the tepid Magic don't have the gravitas to move Howard at this point. Morey is certainly overrated, and despite some bad luck, he deserves to be blamed for doing the absolute worst thing you can as a GM.
  • Anthony Davis will make the Olympic team. No, he's not one of the twelve best guys in the NBA, but he is good enough at blocking shots that he should be available to back up Tyson Chandler and even get minutes against bigger teams like Spain.
  • Deron Williams goes to Dallas. This isn't a huge secret. If he goes to Brooklyn with the Nets, he will be the face of a 30 win franchise. Yayyy!!!! Playing for Dallas would put him back in the discussion of best point guards and teaming with Dirk and Rick Carlisle will make him a better overall player. Dallas understands the harsh reality that Dirk at 34 needs a lot more help than he used to and aging former stars like Terry, Kidd, and Marion can't be counted on for an entire season.
  • The Spurs make a move out of nowhere that no one really pays attention to until April when that player is draining corner threes. They do it every year. Just assume that whatever they do is smarter than what any other team does.
  • Kevin Garnett returns to the Celtics and they make one last run together. I've been saying the Celtics are going to break down and fall off so this year won't be any different. The Knicks beat the Celtics in six games in the first round.
  • There will be roughly 5873 rumors about James Harden, Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Pau Gasol, and Amar'e Stoudemire but they will all stay with their original teams.
  • These predictions will be 100% correct and if I'm wrong I'll give you a full refund.

1 comment:

  1. when you say, "I'm still a fan of the game and watch my team's games," what team are you talking about?