The NBA gave its Christmas present to fans on Christmas day like normal people. With a slew of 5 games starting at noon, it showcased most of the NBA’s heavy hitter class of contenders along with a few of its most exciting young stars. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the more notable goings-on in the Association this year.
But first, as I was watching this Sixers-Blazers game, a thought that I know I must have had before (in some past lifetime perhaps) kept seeping in. That T.J. McConnell kid (backup point guard for Philly, from Arizona U) sure reminds me of another point guard who was a pest defensively and overmatched offensively. So behold this poll question. Give it a shot!
Back to Christmas. Yeah, LeBron got fouled. The NBA even admitted it was 3 times in the last 2 minutes via their polarizing Last 2 Minute Report. I applaud the NBA in attempting transparency for their much maligned corps of rule enforcers but people can’t seem to handle their what ifs being validated, players and fans alike. Refs, much like their close (according to DNA) relatives, the human beings, make mistakes. We can only hope this public shaming leads to perfect officiating during the playoff season but guess what, shit happens bruh.
But Christmas isn’t really just about one day for the NBA but rather the spirit of reckoning with how far you’ve come in the past year and looking forward to the real season coming up. It’s like New Year’s for the NBA. Very confusing. Pride be damned, here’s a look at my preseason predictions and how terrible they might have been with some thoughts below.
My Prediction - Real Life
1. Cleveland - 3.
2. Boston - 1.
3. Washington - 5.
4. Milwaukee - 6.
5. Miami - 7.
6. Toronto - 2.
7. Charlotte - 13.
8. Philadelphia - 10.
9. Detroit - 4.
10. Atlanta - 15.
11. New York - 9.
12. Brooklyn - 12.
13. Indiana - 8.
14. Orlando - 14.
15. Chicago - 11.
Boston is going to be very good for a very long time. They’re doing this without arguably their best player (albeit an argument as strong as a flat earth one) and Jayson Tatum is outplaying those drafted ahead of him. (47.1% from 3!)
The Raptors are a game ahead of the Cavs for the current 2 spot and they’re playing like regular season kings again. But I can’t think of one team with realistic conference title aspirations that would break a sweat if matched up with them in the playoffs.
Isaiah Thomas is slated to play Tuesday, 1/2/18 and Cavs fans and detractors can’t wait. He’s a big drop off from Kyrie but fans will love him. Little guys with big hearts that can score can do little wrong in their eyes*.
Philly’s been about as exciting to watch as most thought and I couldn’t think of a better landing spot for King James than this young team with possibly the 2nd most cap space in the league next summer. (behind Lakers and possibly the Hawks)
Detroit’s been a surprise but will need to deal with injuries and the inevitability that Avery Bradley’s play will regress. But on the plus side, Ohio boy Luke Kennard!
- Oladipo! has got the surprising Pacers on the cusp of the last playoff spot right now but don't you just love saying Oladipo!
*Sans corn rows off course.
My Prediction - Real Life
1. Golden State - 1.
2. San Antonio - 3.
3. Houston - 2.
4. Oklahoma City - 5.
5. Minnesota - 4.
6. Portland - 7.
7. New Orleans - 8.
8. Los Angeles Lakers - 15.
9. Denver - 6.
10. Utah - 10.
11. Memphis - 14.
12. Los Angeles Clippers - 9.
13. Dallas - 12.
14. Phoenix - 11.
15. Sacramento - 13.
- Houston didn't really take long to figure it out but Chris Paul has missed some time with injury and the Rockets were pretty good to begin with.
- The Thunder on the other hand seemed to have just gotten it going after convincing Carmelo Anthony that he has teammates that might be better than him.
- The rest of the West is really going to fluctuate in the coming months. 8 games separate spots 5-15 and if I really cared about how accurate my predictions are, I could point out that shortly before Christmas, the Lakers had the 10th best record in the West just a couple games out of playoff seeding.
- But pride is overrated so I won't point that out or that L.A. is 0-5 since Lonzo Ball got hurt right after going 1-3 in the toughest 4 game stretch in league history*. (Cleveland, Golden State, Houston, Golden State)
*There's no shame in using Reddit to support your 'facts'.
In the East, I'll be looking forward to seeing if the Raptors can keep up their current pace, how well the Bucks start playing once they get Jabari Parker back, Isaiah Thomas' impact on the Cavs and LeBron's play (which is currently downright MVP-ish), and if the Knicks and Sixers can make the playoffs.
In the West, Denver's not much of a surprise with an interesting team but Utah kind of is. We'll see if those teams keep moving up and how the back end of that conference ends up. And as always, we'll try to talk ourselves into thinking improved play on the parts of the Rockets, Spurs, and Thunder might mean that a full strength Golden State's in trouble.
Until next time, dear readers, I leave you with this: