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As I said while doing my league previews I tend to stay away from the prediction game.  I like to give people a little history, a summary of changes, and maybe a look at the general possible trends of a team.  The only point of predicting specific outcomes would be so you guys could come back later and say, "Dave, you're great!" or "Dave, you suck!" neither of which should really be the point of an NBA Preview.  So I give you the general info plus a common sense analytical outlook with the caveat that the league doesn't always work based on common sense or analysis.

However just for fun (and because it reinforces the idea of trends) I thought I'd give my projected ranges for each team.  I read in the ESPN League Review that John Hollinger had done the same thing but I didn't look at his at all to avoid being swayed.  I am still not going to give specific win totals because that's mostly luck and voodoo.  But I have broken down the possibilities into several categories.  For playoff teams you have NBA Finals, Conference Finals, Second Round, and First Round, meaning the highest round that team will reach.  I did not bother to distinguish between NBA Finals and NBA Champion, figuring that anybody making the Finals has a presumed chance to be champion.  Below the playoff scale you have three designations:

.500 ball  (somewhere between 39-43 wins but not in the playoffs)
Thirties  (30-38 wins)
Twenties or Below  (29 or fewer)

For each team I listed a high and a low range.  The high is not excessively so.  We're not projecting miracles here.  The low is pretty much the lowest I can imagine though.

A caveat:  I considered each team in isolation.  I have no idea if this could all possibly fit together, though I suspect it can.  Don't hold me to that though.


Detroit Pistons  High: NBA Finals  Low:  Second Round
Cleveland Cavaliers   High:  Conference Finals    Low:  First Round
Toronto Raptors  High:  Second Round   Low:  First Round
Miami Heat    High:  Conference Finals   Low:  .500 ball
Chicago Bulls  High:  NBA Finals    Low: Second Round
New Jersey Nets  High:  Second Round  Low:  First Round
Washington Wizards  High:  Second Round  Low:  .500 ball
Orlando Magic  High:  Conference Finals  Low:  First Round
Indiana Pacers    High: .500 Ball   Low:  Thirties
Philadelphia 76'ers  High: .500 Ball   Low:  Twenties or Below
Charlotte Bobcats   High:  .500 ball   Low:  Twenties or Below
New York Knicks  High:  First Round   Low:  Thirties
Atlanta Hawks  High:  .500 ball   Low:  Thirties
Milwaukee Bucks  High:  Thirties   Low:  Twenties or Below
Boston Celtics  High:  NBA Finals   Low:  Second Round


Dallas Mavericks  High:  NBA Finals   Low:  Second Round
Phoenix Suns  High:  NBA Finals  Low:  Second Round
San Antonio Spurs  High: NBA Finals   Low:  Second Round
Utah Jazz  High: Conference Finals  Low: First Round
Houston Rockets  High: Conference Finals   Low:  First Round
Denver Nuggets  High:  Second Round   Low:  First Round
L.A. L*kers   High:  First Round  Low:  Thirties
Golden State Warriors  High:  First Round   Low:  .500 ball
L.A. Clippers  High:  First Round   Low:  Thirties (if injured)
New Orleans Hornets  High:  First Round   Low:  .500 ball
Sacramento Kings  High:  .500 ball  Low:  Thirties
Portland Trailblazers  High:  .500 ball   Low:  Twenties or below
Minnesota Timberwolves  High:  .500 ball  Low:  Twenties or below
Seattle Supersonics  High:  Thirties   Low:  Twenties or below
Memphis Grizzlies  High:  .500 ball   Low:  Twenties or below

Also I always put aside my bias against predicting enough to project the NBA Finalists and Champion each year.  I have not always been accurate on both Finals teams but I am working on some kind of ridiculous streak of 6 in 7 getting the actual Champion right.  (I think I missed the Pistons over the Lakers in 2004.)  This year, though, I want to really go out on a limb and test this streak thing.  So I've decided to go away from the safe, sane pick...not too far out, but not the favorite by any means.

My projected Finals:  The Chicago Bulls over the Dallas Mavericks

There you go.  I never change in the middle of the year.  Now you'll have something about which to call me completely silly or genius-savant.

--Dave (