NBA Preview and Predictions | Robert Littal Presents BlackSportsOnline

NBA Preview and Predictions

by BSO Staff | Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2012
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Last Season, LeBron James reigned supreme over the NBA, winning his 1st NBA title. We are only a few days away from the beginning of a new season of NBA basketball, which means it’s time to start putting up predictions in advance for the next 5 months. Here’s a look at each team and their upcoming season, complete with a question each team faces, as well as a player to watch and a prediction for number of wins.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

Boston – Will the legs of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett hold up for one more run at a NBA title?

Player To Watch – Rajon Rondo. He is a consistent jumpshot away from being unguardable.

Wins: 47

Brooklyn – Can the newly formed backcourt of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams breakthrough for the Nets in their inaugural season in Brooklyn?

Player To Watch: Brook Lopez. Will he ease the pain of not acquiring Dwight Howard?

Wins: 44

New York – Can Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire finally put it together and co-exist?

Player To Watch: Anthony. Now is the time for him to step up and fully reach his complete potential.

Wins: 45

Philadelphia – Will the arrival of Andrew Bynum put the Sixers into the East’s elite?

Player To Watch: Bynum. Never having to be the man in LA, Bynum is going to be under pressure to succeed in his new role.

Wins: 45

Toronto – Can Kyle Lowry help drag the Raptors out of oblivion?

Player To Watch: Andrea Bargnani. Can his defense and rebounding finally match his underrated offensive skill?

Wins: 35

Central Division

Chicago – Can Loul Deng shoulder the load until Derrick Rose returns?

Player To Watch: Nate Robinson. A scorer and energy guy, can he help ease the pain of Rose’s absence?

Wins: 40

Cleveland – Can the surrounding players step up to support Kyrie Irving?

Player To Watch: Dion Waiters. Known as a scorer off the bench in college, can he prove himself to be worthy of the 4th pick and a go-to player on the wing?

Wins: 37

Detroit – Will the young talent be able to challenge for a playoff spot?

Player To Watch: Brandon Knight. Can he develop into a top-flight Point Guard in the NBA?

Wins: 39

Indiana – Who will be their go-to guy when games get tough?

Player To Watch: Paul George. Elite size for his position, can he take the next step to be better than average?

Wins: 46

Milwaukee – Can the backcourt of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings develop enough chemistry to make noise in the East?

Player To Watch: Jennings. We know he can score, but can Jennings get his floor game to match his other skills offensively?

Wins: 41

Southeast Division

Atlanta – Do Josh Smith and Al Horford have enough to lead Atlanta back to the playoffs?

Player To Watch: Smith. Now that Joe Johnson is gone, will he be able to stand up as the go-to guy?

Wins: 40

Charlotte – Is there any other way to go besides up?

Player To Watch: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The definition of a glue guy, can he help bring winning ways back to the Bobcats?

Wins: 25

Miami – Now that the first title is out of the way, what’s next?

Player To Watch: LeBron James. With the monkey off his back, how will his game evolve with lessened pressure?

Wins: 63

Orlando – The rebuild is in full effect in Orlando. How long will it take to have a competitor again?

Player To Watch: Arron Afflalo. Not a franchise player, but will be looked at as one in Orlando. How will he respond?

Wins: 20

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Northwest Division

Denver – Will Iguodala be the missing piece that makes the Nuggets serious contenders in the West?

Player To Watch: JaVale McGee. If he shows any improvement, Denver could be very good.

Wins: 47

Minnesota – Will injuries derail another season of vast potential?

Player To Watch: Brandon Roy. Will he be the Brandon Roy of old or the old Brandon Roy?

Wins: 42

Oklahoma City – What have they learned from their loss in the NBA Finals and how will Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb help ease the loss of James Harden?

Player To Watch: Russell Westbrook. If his floor game and willingness to make others better have improved, they could be hoisting the NBA title.

Wins: 55

Portland – Youth is served in Portland. Can LaMarcus Aldridge get them to the playoffs as the leader?

Player To Watch: Damian Lillard. One of the fast rising prospects prior to the draft, his scoring mentality can help the Blazers immediately.

Wins: 36

Utah – Can their backcourt match the talent that resides in the frontcourt?

Player To Watch: Derrick Favors. An athletic shot-blocker and low post scorer, how long before he becomes a starter?

Wins:41

Pacific Division

Golden State – There is a very good crop of talent brewing in Oakland. Can Mark Jackson bring lead it to the playoffs?

Player To Watch: Stephen Curry. The injury prone has enough talent to make the Warriors a contender, if he can stay healthy.

Wins: 41

LA Clippers – The roster is undoubtedly talented, can they put it all together?

Player To Watch: Blake Griffin. Has he offensive game expanded past layups and dunks? Has he progressed defensively?

Wins: 51

LA Lakers – The best starting five in basketball. Will it equal a spot in the Finals come June?

Player To Watch: Dwight Howard. Wanted and got his way out of Orlando. Now it’s time for him to win.

Wins: 56

Phoenix – Moving on from the Steve Nash era will be a process that is not easy, but they have some talent to soften the fall.

Player To Watch: Michael Beasley. Immensely talented, but will the mental capacity ever match?

Wins: 40

Sacramento – Sacramento has promise, but can they improve enough to make noise in the West?

Player To Watch: Tyreke Evans. A consistent jump shot away from being a dangerous player.

Wins: 36

Southwest Division

Dallas – Pretty much a whole new team, two years removed from a NBA championship. Is this a reload or rebuild?

Player To Watch: OJ Mayo. A great talent, but couldn’t crack the starting lineup in Memphis. Is his time now?

Wins: 44

Houston – They missed on Dwight Howard, but landed Jeremy Lin and James Harden. With Harden as the man, can he bring winning ways back to the Rockets?

Player To Watch: Lin. He will be a starter for a full season with a scouting report on him, and a salary that demands results. How will he respond?

Wins: 39

Memphis – A very deep team that cracked in the playoffs. Can they develop the resolve to achieve their potential?

Player To Watch: Rudy Gay. He has come into camp stronger and looking to take control as the leader of the Grizzlies.

Wins: 46

New Orleans – The rebuild is in full effect in New Orleans. Will the results come back as quick as the downfall?

Player To Watch: Eric Gordon. If he can remain healthy, he is a 20-25 point scorer in the NBA.

Wins: 35

San Antonio – The Spurs fell just short of a return to the NBA Finals last season. Do they have one more run in them?

Player To Watch: Tim Duncan. The Spurs lifer played well during the playoffs but seemed to run out of steam. Is the end closer than we think?

Wins: 52

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams: Miami, Boston, Brooklyn, Indiana, Philadelphia, New York, Milwaukee, and Chicago.

Eastern Conference Champions: Miami Heat

Western Conference Playoff Teams: Oklahoma City, LA Lakers, San Antonio, LA Clippers, Memphis, Dallas, Denver, and Minnesota.

Western Conference Champions: LA Lakers

NBA Champions: Miami Heat

AWARD PREDICTIONS

MVP: Kevin Durant

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Anthony Davis

COACH OF THE YEAR: Doug Collins

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR: Manu Ginobili

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Klay Thompson

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