Bank Shots: NBA predictions revisited
For my final Bank Shots column ever, I want to revisit the predictions that I made before the season started and reflect on what was a fun, yet shortened season of NBA basketball.
The playoffs are less than a week old, but we’ve already seen two superstars go down with serious injuries in completely different ways.
Reigning MVP Derrick Rose tore his ACL last Saturday in Chicago’s Game 1 victory over Philly.
The Bulls are now without Rose for the remainder of the season, which will hamper their ability to make a run at the Eastern Conference crown.
Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire was so frustrated after NY lost to Miami in their Game 2 Monday that he decided it was best to punch the glass casing around a fire extinguisher to unleash his anger.
If you’re a Knicks fan, be thankful Amar’e was finally hitting the glass.
OK, sorry, bad joke.
But the Knicks are cooked and Miami looks fierce in the East.
In my preseason picks, I had the Heat over the Bulls in the East Finals, and I’m pretty confident that matchup will actually occur.
Even with Rose’s injury, the Bulls can dispose of the 76ers and if Rajon Rondo keeps playing like an idiot and Ray Allen doesn’t return from an ankle injury, a possible round two meeting between Chicago and Boston seems less and less likely to go the Celtics’ way.
The Heat looks like a team on a mission, except they looked like that a year ago and couldn’t seal the deal.
I would still put my eggs in Miami’s basket to reach the NBA Finals.
Out west, I had Oklahoma City over the Lakers in the West Finals.
Regardless of whether or not those two meet for all the marbles, I’m confident in OKC’s ability to get to the finals for the first time since their franchise was still in Seattle and Gary Payton was the team’s point guard.
Kevin Durant, my pick preseason for the MVP, is more than capable of getting it done in crunch time, and even though he shoots too much, Russell Westbrook is a super-duper guard.
James Harden is the X-Factor for the Thunder. When he plays well, they’re damn near impossible to beat.
When he doesn’t, they’re susceptible to failure.
I had high hopes for Kevin Love coming into this season.
And the Timberwolves star lived up to them until a concussion shut his campaign down in early April.
The 3-point shooting champion averaged 26 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest this year, and in the preseason I boldly stated he’d average more than 13 boards a game for a terrible Timberwolves team.
Well, looks like I was right once again.
Thanks K. Love for making me look smart.
But the one I whiffed on was my Rookie of the Year pick. I watched Derrick Williams dominate the NCAA Tournament with Arizona last spring and anticipated him having a similar impact on the NBA this year.
For whatever reason, Minnesota went with Michael Beasley instead of Williams for a good chunk of the season and it didn’t play into their favor.
What a shock.
Williams did average 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds a game, so I think his future is still bright in the NBA. Kyrie Irving, I’m sorry I wasn’t a believer in you.
Whether Miami and OKC get to the finals or not, I’m going to be pretty proud of myself for not having messed up predictions like I’ve done so many times before.
I’ll miss writing this column and talking about basketball every week.
But like The All-American Rejects once sang, it’s time to “move along.”