Picking An NBA Finals winner – Yelling It From The Mountain

27 02 2008

Next on the list of NBA Finals opinions is DMtShooter of Five Tool Tool

Secretariat - a horse for any course…Here’s the thing about picking an NBA Finals winner right now — it’s kind of like picking a horse to win a race without knowing where they are at the gate. (For the sake of argument, imagine that none of the horses is Secretariat.) So even if you love a horse, do you really love him on the farthest in or out position?

We can pretty much assume that the favorite will come from the West, so that’s where your winner is coming from, right? Not necessarily… what happens if a Boston or Detroit (or even a Cleveland with LeBron going into Uber Mode?) has a 4-game sweep, while the Western champion goes seven? Well then, the Eastern champion can then easily steal a game or two early, and voila… there goes that prediction.

But let’s assume that nothing happens along those lines, and the champ is whoever survives the West. Right now, there are 9 teams for 8 spots, and the 9 seed as I write this (Denver) is 2.5 games out from a 4 seed. I’m not even sure you can predict who is going to make the playoffs, let alone advance… but let’s toss out a few teams as being Unworthy.

Denver — Not enough defense, and since that comes from the stars (Anthony and Iverson), it translates on down. Golden State — See Denver, and both teams have coaches that have never shone on the highest stage. Houston — Still trying to figure out how to play both Ming and McGrady, and unlike any of the other top teams, deficient at the point guard position. Dallas — I’m not a fan of the Kidd trade, because he’s not the guy that he used to be, and unless he starts shooting like he isn’t, well, him… they’re just going to lose with him in half-court.

Chris Paul’s the best player in the Western Conference?Five to go, and here’s where it gets back to that pole position problem. New Orleans probably doesn’t have the stones to get it done in their first year in the league, but they’ve got the Conference’s best player this year (shh) in Chris Paul, and just enough other good players to be dangerous. In the end, their lack of a home-court edge kills whatever chance they might have. They are the last of the Final Five that seems like an easy choice to be out.

San Antonio, Los Angeles, Utah and Phoenix. Well, if Utah gets San Antonio, they lose, because Parker gets back as much as Williams gets, and Duncan makes their bigs disappear, and Bowen has enough left to make Korver go poof. But if they miss the Spurs and someone else takes them out, maybe they go all the way… because they have the bigs to match up with the Lakers, and Williams will torch the Lakers nearly as much as Kobe touches Utah, and Utah’s bench isn’t bad either, and Korver can get loose against the Laker Show…

The Spurs are the defending champs, but that usually isn’t a winning equation for them, since they tend to lose when they defend. Kurt Thomas was a nice little pick up, and when they’ve got Duncan, Ginobili and Parker they are damned near indefensible. But in a 7-game series with the Lakers, Kobe will overcome Bowen enough, and Gasol will give them enough of a fighter’s chance…

Phoenix? Wild card. A motivated Shaq is always a powerful thing, and the sudden release of Marion could be the morale boost they need to do damage. Also, maybe this finally wakes up Boris Diaw, and they’ve had playoff success against the Lakers in the past, mostly because Nash carves them up and Amare’s defensive struggles haven’t been an issue against the Laker bigs. Finally, Raja Bell gives Kobe some trouble, and you’d have to think that Shaq could turn it on a bit against that team, if he can still do it against anyone. But we know they can’ t beat the Spurs.

Finally, the Lake Show. Probably the most talented team in the league now, thanks to the Gasol fleecing, with the coach that’s won it more than any other. But they haven’t been together for very long, they could easily mess up bringing Bynum back, and it’s not like Kobe hasn’t turned up small for them in the very recent past, or froze his teammates when things aren’t going his way. Defensively, they aren’t good at all at point guard, which is a huge problem when faced with the likes of Paul, Williams, Nash and Parker, and of all of the top contenders, they seem to me to be the most likely to stumble early, because they’re still going to getting their rotation sorted out.

Err… Coach Philip?If I had to bet on any team, it’d be the Lake Show; there’s a reason why Coach Philip has all of those rings, after all, and in crunch time, they put Kobe on the other team’s point guard and enjoy a quantum leap in defensive effectiveness. Also, I like their bench a lot; Jordan Farmer has been aces, and when Bynum returns, either he or Lamar Odom joins that unit, which is just kind of crazy, really. Luke Walton is also a perfect bench guy, and even Radmanovic can do some damage in small doses. They go deeper than most, especially Phoenix.

But in the tightest and best playoff race in recent NBA history, there’s really no way to call this before the horses come to the gate. Check back in April, when we know more — and, probably, know nothing at all.

Still more opinions to come… stay tuned – same bat-time, same bat-channel…

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27 02 2008
Basketball » Picking An NBA Finals winner - Yelling It From The Mountain

[…] withmalice wrote a fantastic post today on “Picking An NBA Finals winner – Yelling It From The Mountain”Here’s ONLY a quick extractHere’s the thing about picking an NBA Finals winner right now — it’s kind of like picking a horse to win a race without knowing where they are at the gate. (For the sake of argument, imagine that none of the horses is Secretariat. … […]

27 02 2008
Nba » Picking An NBA Finals winner - Yelling It From The Mountain

[…] withmalice wrote an interesting post today on Picking An NBA Finals winner – Yelling It From The MountainHere’s a quick excerptHere’s the thing about picking an NBA Finals winner right now — it’s kind of like picking a horse to win a race without knowing where they are at the gate. (For the sake of argument, imagine that none of the horses is Secretariat. … […]

28 02 2008
quantum leap | News of course

[…] Picking An NBA Finals winner – Yelling It From The Mountain […]

28 02 2008
pligg.com

Picking An NBA Finals winner – Yelling It From The Mountain « With Malice…

Here’s the thing about picking an NBA Finals winner right now — it’s kind of like picking a horse to win a race without knowing where they are at the gate. (For the sake of argument, imagine that none of the horses is Secretariat.) So even if you…

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