Monday, December 24, 2007


Craziness, madness, locura, lío, whatever other synonym you want to use. This is what it has been like lately getting ready for the wedding. Too many things to worry about--wedding, reception, honeymoon, Christmas, invitations, video, pictures, music, catering, cake, clothes, apartment, furniture, utilities, electronics and electronic services. There's more, of course, but I will spare you the details. The bottom line is...

So Patricia and I are very happy about that. It's all going down on Dec. 29...

Monday, December 10, 2007

NBA Individual Awards (Besides MVP)

Who will win the awards besides the MVP? Let's take a look:

Rookie of the Year

Contenders: Kevin Durant, Seattle; Al Horford, Atlanta; Yi Jianlian, Milwaukee; Juan Carlos Navarro, Memphis; Luis Scola, Houston
And the winner will be...Durant. KD will get as many shots as he likes in Seattle. He is currently averaging about 20 ppg, but shooting less than 40% from the field. He still will win the award, although Horford, a threat to average a double-double, will give him a challenge.

Defensive Player of the Year

Contenders: Josh Smith, Atlanta; Kevin Garnett, Boston; Tim Duncan, San Antonio; Bruce Bowen, San Antonio; Marcus Camby, Denver; Andrei Kirilenko, Utah; Dwight Howard, Orlando; Gerald Wallace, Charlotte; Ron Artest, Sacramento
And the winner will be...Smith. While I have not seen enough of Smith to know if he is a good one-on-one defender, he runs all over the place to swat shots. The total of blocks and steals he amasses this season may be too much to overlook. If someone else wins the award, I would pick Kirilenko or Bowen. Bruce never winning this award seems about as wrong as Jerry Sloan never being voted Coach of the Year. Believe it or not, The only previous winners on this list are Camby and Artest-not Duncan, Bowen or Kirilenko.

Sixth Man of the Year

Contenders: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio; Leandro Barbosa, Phoenix; Jason Terry, Dallas
And the winner will be...Ginobili. The other contenders are great, but in the early part of this season, Manu has been phenomenal. He has even inspired copycats around the league as Dallas has brought one of its big three, Terry, off the bench many times, and even perennial All-Star Vince Carter has played the sixth man role for New Jersey in some games. Still, Ginobili's biggest opposition for the award may be the threat of Coach Pop returning the Argentine to the starting lineup.

Most Improved Player

Contenders: Kelenna Azubuike, Golden State; Ronnie Brewer, Utah; LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
And the winner will be...Brewer. The son of former NBA player Ron Brewer, Jr.'s big preseason performance helped him gain a spot in the Jazz's starting lineup. The increase in playing time will also mean an increase in other stats.

Coach of the Year

Contenders: Stan Van Gundy, Orlando; Gregg Popovich, San Antonio; Jerry Sloan, Utah; Phil Jackson, LA Lakers; Mike Woodson, Atlanta; Doc Rivers, Boston; Jim O'Brien, Indiana; Byron Scott, New Orleans
And the winner will be...Van Gundy. This award is based on overachieving, which will make it difficult for Popovich, Sloan and coaches of other elite teams with high expectations, such as the Suns' Mike D'Antoni, to win COY. In the early going, the Magic have been the best of the overachieving teams. Boston will have the biggest improvement in wins from last year, but the additions of KG and Ray-Ray will have more to do with that. Just ask Boston sports nut/columnist Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) what he thinks of Rivers. Jackson and and Scott have a chance if their teams win about 50 games; O'Brien and Woodson will be contenders if their teams sneak into the playoffs.

Friday, December 7, 2007

NBA Individual Awards: MVP

I got worn out doing the playoffs/individual award winners post, decided it was to long, cut out the MVP predictions and put them here. I thought I would continue with some more awards, but that will be another post ('Cuz this one is already long enought to scare people off).

On to the MVP Award:

The Contenders
Kevin Garnett, Celtics - Reasons he could win: Of all NBA teams, the C's will have the biggest improvement in wins from last year to this year. And he's an all-around stat machine.
Reasons he may not win: If Garnett and Ray Allen are added to a team with Paul Pierce, shouldn't they be expected to win a lot?
Steve Nash, Suns - Reasons he could win: The two-time MVP-and last year's runner up-is a real contender. The Suns don't run the same without their floor general.
Reasons he may not win: I don't know. Maybe all of the big perimeter scorers like LeBron, Kobe, T-Mac, et al. One factor might be the difficulty both the Suns and Nash will have in exceeding expectations.
LeBron James, Cavaliers - Reasons he could win: The stats will be off the charts. A combination of points, rebounds and assists perhaps not seen since the days of Oscar Robertson.
Reasons he may not win
: The team might not win enough. I would say the benchmark would be about 50 wins, or else no award for Bron-Bron.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers - Reasons he could win: This scoring machine lead the league in ppg the last two seasons and even dropped 81 points in a single game in 2006.
Reasons he may not win: Lack of team success. See the reasoning for LeBron not winning it.
Tim Duncan, Spurs - Reasons he could win: The Big Fundamental actually won two of these a few years back. Few players are as important to their teams as Duncan is to his.
Reasons he may not win: When it comes to the MVP award, Duncan has generally been a bridesmaid in recent years. He's usually in the top 5, but Timmy's days winning that trophy are done. Parker and Ginobili will carry a good portion of the offensive load, reducing Duncan's stats, but helping the Spurs win. TimVP wouldn't have it any other way.
Dwight Howard, Magic - Reasons he could win: He's an absolute monster inside. I wouldn't be surprised if he led the league in rebounding and/or field goal %, and he should be among the leaders in scoring and shot blocking. If I would have written this at the start of the season, he would have been a darkhorse. Now, he's a legit candidate.
Reasons he may not win: If the Magic don't continue their winning ways, Howard has no chance. Orlando is a young team; we'll see how they hold up through April.
Carlos Boozer, Jazz - Reasons he could win: The man known in Cleveland as Carlos Loozer is a nightly double-double. He has some of the best scoring and rebounding numbers around, and the Jazz are one of the top teams in the L.
Reasons he may not win: He kind of flies under the radar and is hidden in a remote outpost some call Utah. Plus, there are plenty of other worthy candidates.
Dirk Nowtizki, Mavericks - Reasons he could win: How many 7-footers in NBA history can knock down shots from the outiside like Dirk? His true shot % is usually off the charts. Last year, he was the only player to make at least 50% from the floor, 40% from 3, and 90% from the stripe (Steve Nash was mighty close, just missing with an .899 FT%). Plus, Dallas figures to be one of the winningest teams again.
Reasons he may not win: Quite simply, there is no way on earth D-No wins this award again this year. He embarassed the voters last year, when he and the Mavs petered out in the first round of the playoffs.
Tracy McGrady, Rockets - Reasons he could win: Pretty much can win games single-handedly when he catches fire.
Reasons he may not win: The injury bug is always threatening to bite T-Mac's bad back, and the Rockets have been a little slow out of the gates in 2007-08.
Yao Ming, Rockets - Reasons he could win: The dude is like what, 7'6"? That's TALL. Pundits had him as the replacement for Shaq as the league's best center, although Dwight Howard is suddenly changing some people's minds about that.
Reasons he may not win: see the comments on Tracy McGrady.

Darkhorses: 'Melo, D-Will, CP3, Amare, The Truth, Manu, Baron, CB4, Parker, J-Kidd, D-Wade, Chauncey and A.I.

My pick?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

NBA Playoff Picks

Here is the other part of my NBA preview--more than a month into the season.

I am going to predict the playoffs based on the matchups I predicted from the start of the season. That means Chicago will be in as the #1 seed in the East (I feel stupid), the Magic will be 7th and the Heat will be the top team in its division (I wish I could have those picks back!). In other words, the Bulls will be pitted against the No. 8 team in the East, and I will try to make my predictions as close as possible to what they would have been in the preseason, but of course I will let myself be biased by hindsight.

I have no idea what all that means.

First Round
(1) Chicago defeats (8) Toronto, 4-2
(5) Cleveland over (4) Miami, 4-3
(2) Detroit defeats (7) Orlando, 4-2
(3) Boston beats (6) New Jersey, 4-2

(1) Phoenix over (8) Golden State, 4-2
(4) Utah beats (5) Houston, 4-3
(2) Dallas defeats (7) New Orleans, 4-2
(3) San Antonio beats (6) Denver, 4-1

Conference Semifinals (2nd Round)
(1) Chicago over (5) Cleveland, 4-3
(2) Detroit defeats (3) Boston, 4-3

(1) Phoenix beats (4) Utah, 4-3
(3) San Antonio beats (2) Dallas, 4-3

Conference Finals
(2) Detroit defeats (1) Chicago, 4-2

(3) San Antonio over (1) Phoenix, 4-2

NBA Finals
San Antonio defeats Detroit, 4-3

So when it comes down to it, it's a repeat of the 2005 Finals. Confetti rains in the Alamo City once again. I actually wanted to see which other teams had real championship hopes-mainly to not be a homer-but I couldn't see anyone beating the Spurs in a seven-game series. I thought Dallas might match up best with them, though.
Caveats: At this point, I feel confident that some of these predictions will absolutely be wrong. For example, don't expect Chicago to be in the conference finals. Now, I would pick Boston to go against Detroit, with Orlando as the most likely party crasher. Besides that, it's a pretty safe bet that not every 2nd-round series will go the full seven games. And, the homer that I am, I almost took the Spurs in 5 over the Suns.