We come to the end of both our NBA and Blazers season preview with our predictions for the season. In a way I hate doing these. So much of sports talk is based on future prognostications. Nobody does it all that well. People usually only pay attention to the picks they got right. Yet everybody takes the picks so seriously. If you’ve paid attention closely you will have already seen that Blazersedge is not very big into predicting the future. I vastly prefer to observe and try to explain what IS rather than prattling on about my opinions of what will be. If we give you a future prediction--like certain players being more likely to be traded, players having inside tracks or long roads to playing time, or certain teams causing other teams problems—it’s on the best observable data we can see and usually has a basis in league history as well.
(Side note here: I suspect this is half of why people attribute motives to my writing such as bias or pessimism that are almost always off base. When I talk about what I see, I’m describing something that has happened and how that could affect what will happen if it doesn’t change. However I think people read that as me predicting what will happen…or more to the point, what I want to happen. Often that’s just not true. I never root for players or the team to do anything but succeed wildly. But I also feel compelled to describe accurately when things aren’t going right or when the odds of something good happening look long based on past experience.)
Despite all that, today we join the masses and take guesses as to what will transpire. I avow beforehand that if we turn out correct it’s mostly luck, so take this in the spirit it’s offered…mostly fun. (We’re a little more serious about the Blazers part though.)
In case you’re wondering, going into last season I had something like a four year track record of getting the Finals participants correct with the winner correct in three of those four years. Last year I intentionally decided to test my powers by going out on a limb. So I picked Dallas and Chicago to get to the Finals. Y’all saw how that worked out. This year we’ll try to be a bit less cavalier.
Here are the predictions for the playoffs. I have seeded them as the NBA will, with conference winners guaranteed no worse than the third seed.
Celtics def. Bulls
Magic def. Hawks
Pistons def. Raptors
Cavaliers def. 76’ers
Celtics def. Cavaliers
Magic def. Pistons
Eastern Conference Finals
Celtics def. Magic
1 L.A. L*kers
8 Portland Trail Blazers
L*kers def. Blazers
Hornets def. Mavericks
Rockets def. Spurs
Suns def. Jazz
L*kers def. Rockets
Hornets def. Suns
Western Conference Finals
Hornets def. L*kers
Celtics def. Hornets
There you go. There’s at least a realistic possibility of that coming true but it’s not the boring-as-paste L*kers-Celtics prediction which would cover my butt and let me claim I was an accurate genius. (Though the boring-as-paste prediction usually turns out to be the right one.)
As far as the Blazers go, I usually try to divorce my heart from the process and use a basic (no doubt flawed and certainly still subjective) metric to guesstimate wins. It goes like this:
You should win…
1 game out of 4 against teams that are vastly better than you.
2 games out of 5 against teams that are somewhat better than you.
1 game out of 2 against teams that are roughly equal to you.
3 games out of 5 against teams that are somewhat inferior to you.
3 games out of 4 against teams that are vastly inferior to you.
By my calculations, this would put the Blazers at 42 wins. Since we exceeded the metric last year, since the Blazers are somewhat of an unpredictable wildcard with their young and explosive talent, and since this is a Blazer site and we can say what we want I’m going to raise the total and say the Blazers net between 44-46 wins this season. Anywhere in that range will almost certainly be good for the 8th spot this year with the middle teams in the West in turmoil. Anything under 44 would be slightly disappointing. Anything over 46 should be considered excellent.
As far as awards, here you go:
Brandon Roy will be an All-Star again. Lamarcus Aldridge will get serious consideration but just fall short. Greg Oden will look good for a true center but they’ll stick so many power forwards in there as centers that he’ll be left out.
No Blazer will be in serious contention for Rookie of the Year past February or so. Greg Oden’s stats won’t be flashy enough and they’ll say he plays on a great team that allows him to do [insert whatever he does best here]. Rudy Fernandez will be among the best team players in his rookie class and make a few highlight reels but his value won’t show up clearest in the stat column either.
Greg Oden may get consideration for the All-NBA second defensive team.
Brandon Roy will be voted the most valuable Blazer.
Lamarcus Aldridge will be the team’s leading scorer. Greg Oden will be the team’s leading rebounder and shot blocker. Steve Blake will barely win the assist title unless he’s traded but several Blazers, including Sergio, will challenge him. Travis Outlaw will be the leading scorer off the bench but this may be his last year with that distinction. Rudy Fernandez will be considered the most inspirational Blazer (though that should be
We’ll see at least two Blazers traded before the deadline. Our 15th man may be waived to make that possible. The 2009-10 starting lineup will look different than this year’s, so enjoy this one while you have it.
There it is. Feel free to register your own predictions below about anything you want, as long as you’re willing to take them semi-non-seriously (which means having a sense of humor and not getting mad at other people who predict differently than you).