2007-2008 NBA season predictions

Remember those high school yearbook predictions about which of your friends were “most likely to succeed”, or “most likely to be living in a van down by the river”? Remember those? Yeah, so do we. Reminiscing about the high-school days got us thinking, though. What if we looked at the upcoming 2007/2008 NBA season like it was one big high school cafeteria? You’ve got the popular kids like Iverson and LeBron. You’ve got your perfectionist loners like Kobe, entirely too focused to make any friends. Then you’ve got the foreign kids like Yao Ming and Manu Ginobili – still learning their place, but good at heart. And, of course, who can forget the nerds? See Tim Duncan, awkward, yet brilliant.

So, what would a season preview be like if we looked at the coming NBA campaign as if all of the NBA stars were enrolled in David Stern High School? Who (what team) would be the most likely to succeed (or win a championship)? Which student (read player) is most likely to become president (or league MVP)? Who is most likely to change (or improve)? All good questions, which demand good answers.

So without further adieu, we present our somewhat unconventional look at the 2007/2008 NBA season.

Let’s start with the team predictions.

“Most likely to succeed” – Phoenix Suns. Bad calls won’t stop the Suns from winning the championship this season. If Steve Nash and Grant Hill can stay healthy going into the playoffs, the Suns will overpower their opponents with their precision passing, unselfish play and lights-out shooting. We generally believe that defense wins championships, but no other team is good enough defensively themselves to slow down this Suns team. Phoenix will take home the championship this year.

“Most likely to fail” – Minnesota Timberwolves. Don’t get us wrong, for his age the kid can play. But when Al Jefferson is your best scoring option, your team has some serious issues. Kevin McHale wants to rebuild, but he’ll be starting from ground zero. George Mikan must be turning over in his grave. The T’Wolves will end up as the worst team in the league.

“Most likely to be a surprise success” – Portland Trailblazers. Too bad for them the Blazers are on the West Coast, because in the East, even without injured super rook Greg Oden, this squad could challenge for a playoff spot. Look for Brandon Roy, Martell Webster and Lamarcus Aldridge to form a formidable young trio, and watch the Blazers play with a lot of passion, hustle and heart. The Blazers will be the year’s biggest surprise.

“Most likely to go from the lottery to the playoffs” – New Orleans Hornets. Their three biggest stars, Peja Stojakovic, Chris Paul and David West each missed a good chunk of time at various points during the season last year, yet the Hornets finished only 3 games back of the final playoff spot. The rise of the Hornets will be complete in 2008, as coach Byron Scott has enough talent to lead this team into the playoffs.

“Most likely to get their coach fired” – New York Knicks. The Knicks have reloaded as only the Knicks can, bringing in even more headaches to an already migraine-inducing roster. Owner James Dolan was on the cusp of firing Coach Isiah Thomas last year, so even the smallest hiccup at MSG could see the end of “Zeke’s” tenure as a NBA coach.

Now on to the individual player predictions.

“Most likely to succeed” – LeBron James. With the status of consistent contributors Anderson Varejao and Sasha Pavlovic in limbo, LeBron James will be asked to do a lot more in order to keep the Cavaliers in top form. Expect LeBron to step up his game, lead the Cavs to the playoffs yet again, and take home his first season MVP trophy.

“Freshman of the year” – Kevin Durant. This one is a no-brainer. Durant is the most talented of the 2007/2008 rookie class, is in a perfect situation where he’ll be counted on to score a lot of points and is the ROY favorite going into the season. The odds are seriously stacked against other rookies like Al Horford and Mike Conley, Jr. Even if #1 pick Greg Oden didn’t get hurt, Durant would probably still take home the ROY hardware.

“Most likely to be a surprise success” – Danny Granger. The third season is usually the break-out year for most NBA youngsters, and Granger is in for the biggest break-out of all. The Pacers forward, who averaged 14 points and nearly 5 boards a game will take over as the legitimate second option behind Jermaine O’Neal. And with JO likely to miss his share of games, or possibly get traded, Granger is in line for some serious improvement in 2007/2008.

“Most defensive” – Emeka Okafor. If he can stay healthy, Okafor could easily lead the league in blocked shots. Wing players hardly ever win this award, so players like Gerald Wallace, Raja Bell and Bruce Bowen probably won’t get much consideration, and with Ben Wallace on the downside of his career Okafor is ready to step in and claim the best defensive player label.

“Most likely to move” – Jermaine O’Neal. While the Kobe Bryant trade rumors dominate the conversation and probably will do so until he is dealt at some point, the all-star most likely to be moved before the February trade deadline is the Pacers own Jermaine O’Neal. JO has a massive contract, nearing $20 million per season, and injury concerns, but team president Larry Bird is chomping at the bit to get the youth movement started asap – meaning Granger and Shawne Williams could soon take JO’s place as the face of the Indiana Pacers. Bird will likely find a suitor among one of the Eastern conference competitors looking to keep pace with the new-look Celtics.

Those are our capsule predictions of the upcoming NBA season. Now, let the games begin.


Juste said...

Agree with most of what you said, but I think KG will be the defensive player of the year and Nash will be MVP. And...the Spurs will probably win it again.

Anonymous said...

no way the spurs take the title this year. you must be joking. they're slow and unathletic. keep an eye on boston playa, you ain't seen nothing yet. KG for MVP!!

Juste said...

Boston will be good, for sure. And KG could take the MVP. He is in the group with Nash and Nowitzki. But, I don't see Boston winning the title. Even if they get to the finals.