2008-2009 NBA Predictions
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Here is a look at some of the contenders for the 2009 NBA Championship
along with their listed betting odds.
Is it the year for La La land to win it all? Currently the Lakers (+250) have the best odds to win the NBA Championship. Hell, why not, as they have, pretty much, the same team as last year that came close. The key for the Lakers this season is if center Andrew Bynum can stay healthy for the whole year. Last year he was legit as the Lakers center, but a knee injury may have kept them from winning a ring. The Lakers still play in the loaded Western Conference, but they have a guy named Kobe and the Zen Master at the helm.
The Celtics (+300) are the defending champions and the Big 3 will try to repeat and hang yet another championship banner. The Celts are the same team that went all the way, with the exception of super 6th man James Posey, who bolted for the Hornets. That may be a bigger deal than people think, as he was the spark plug for the Celtics in the playoffs last year and a few years back when Miami won the title. Will Garnett, Pierce, and Allen show the same hunger now that they finally have a ring? Only time will tell.
At +1000 to in the title this year are both the Hornets and the Pistons.
The Hornets came within one game of the finals last year and look to get over the hump this season. Things are looking bright in the Big Easy, as Chris Paul is a superstar, Tyson Chandler is an emerging star, and they picked up James Posey from the Celtics.
Can the Pistons win again with their geriatric lineup? Their core group is the same with Billups, Sheed, Hamilton, and Prince. The Pistons big off-season acquisition? That would be former #1 pick Kwame Brown. Hmmm, the Pistons make one of the biggest draft mistakes ever taking Darko Milicic over Carmello, Bosh, and Wade and then bring in Brown, who is considered of the biggest draft busts in history. Still, the Pistons have the talent to go far, but this has to be their last shot with the team they have.
There are three teams that have +1200 odds, which are the Jazz, Rockets, and Spurs.
The Jazz did not make any big off-season moves, as they hope Boozer and Williams can take them all the way. How will Andrei Kirilenko play this year, as he was a friggin’ yo-yo last year with his up and down play. It will be a tall order for the Jazz to overtake the Lakers and the Hornets in the West.
Perhaps the biggest off-season moves was Ron Artest going to the Rockets. Once again the Rockets look good, but they do every year before injuries derail them. Can Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady stay healthy for the whole year? Hasn’t happened before, so why should we think so now. Artest is a perfect fit, but the main pieces have to stay on the court. Carl Landry looks to be an up and com’er as well.
Shouldn’t they just give the title to the Spurs? The finals are held on an odd year (2009) and the last 3 odd year titles have been won by Duncan and company. The team is the same as last year, just another year older. Duncan needs some help down low and he got nada in the off season. They will make the playoffs, but can they make it any further with the same team that was beat thoroughly by the Lakers last year in the Western Semis? The sun may have set on the Spurs, but, hey, it is an off year.
Finally!! The Cavaliers (+1500) gave King James some sorely needed help by signing Mo Williams. Williams can score (2007-8 17.2 ppg), so he should take some pressure off LeBron. Ben Wallace has to step up and played like he did in Detroit if the Cavs are to win it all.
The Suns (+2000) have the Diesel, but does he have any gas left? If they can figure a way to get him in the offense they may be the dark horse from the West. Nash is in his mid 30’s, but has not slowed down. Amare Stoudemire is a stud and Grant Hill finally was healthy for, almost, the whole season, but how Shaq goes the Suns go this year.
The Mavericks (+2500) are hoping a full season with Jason Kidd will make them a contender once again. It seems the Mavs have had a hangover since coming so close to the title a couple years back. Nowitzki and Howard can score, but can the Mavs play any D and can Kidd lead them to the Promised Land? Bi questions in Big D.
Both the Magic and the new look 76’ers have +3000 odds to win it all.
The Magic picked up Mickael Pietrus in the off-season and hope he can be the defensive stopper much like Bruce Bowen for the Spurs. Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis will take care of the scoring, but if there are any injuries to the starting lineup the Magic are very thin on the bench.
The 76’ers immediately became a legit team in the East when the signed Elton Brand. Along with guard Andre Iguodala and PG Andre Miller, Brand should fit in perfectly and give the 76’ers the low post scoring threat they have lacked for several years. The 76’ers may be a sleeper pick this year.
OK, a huge sleeper pick? How about the Blazers (+3500), who have a healthy Greg Oden and a plethora of other scorers on the roster. They share the ball well too. They are a young bunch, but they have all the tools to have a solid team.
Favorite: Lakers +250
Middle of the Road: 76ers +3000
Longshot: Portland Trailblazers +3500
(This article was written 10/21/08.)