Friday, April 27, 2012

NBA Playoff Preview 2012

With only 1 day between the end of the season and the NBA Playoffs, I don't have time for my usual blowout analysis, references to old movies, etc.  This year, I will just do a quick preview so I at least have a record of what I was thinking.

Eastern Conference 

1-Chicago over 8-Philly - Even with the injuries, Chicago is deep enough to advance.
4-Boston over 5-Atl - Atlanta has homecourt actually.  Could be a tough series for Boston, but I think Boston can make at least the 2nd round, as they were playing better in the 2nd half.
3-Indiana over 6-Orlando - No Dwight Howard, no chance.
2-Miami over 7-NY - Yawn.  Should be easy.

1-Chicago over 4-Boston - If Boston's playing at top of their game, and PG Rose is still iffy, this could be a real exciting series!
2-Miami over 3-Indiana - Shouldn't be too bad for Miami, though I don't think Indiana is as bad as everyone else thinks.

2-Miami over 1-Chicago - Wanted to pick Chicago all season, and I was going to, but with Rose's injury situation, it doesn't make sense.

Western Conference
8-Utah over 1-SA - The spurs biggest weakness is opposing big men, as evidenced by the damage Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol did last year when the Spurs lost to an 8-seed.  The Spurs are improved in some areas this year (mainly due to the emergence of rookie K. Leonard), and should have Ginobili back... but neither of those players address their one weakness.  Unfortunately for the Spurs, the Jazz have started playing a jumbo a lineup of PF-Favors, SF-Millsap (who really is a PF) , C-Jefferson, and it has resulted in crazy efficiency numbers and amazing stats.  I think SA is going to become the 1st 1-seed to lose to an 8-seed two straight years.  If they had drawn a different team, it wouldn't have been a problem.  Granted, I still think the Spurs would lose to the Grizzlies again, even if they beat the Jazz this year.
4-Memphis over 5-Clippers - The Clippers' Blake Griffin doesn't play enough defense for me to believe.  And their coach is an idiot.
3-Lakers over 6-Denver - I don't have the balls to pick this episode.
2-OK City over 7-Dallas - Shouldn't be a problem.

4-Memphis over 8-Utah - Memphis is one of the few teams who may be able to handle at least two of the Jazz big men.  The key may be Conley and Tony Allen forcing bunches of turnovers.
2-Ok City over 3-Lakers - The Lakers have been too dysfunctional... and OkCity has just been too good.

2-Ok City over 4-Memphis - should be a great rematch of last year's 7-game slugfest. 

NBA Finals 
2-Ok City over 2-Miami - Does LeBron still get stage fright?  I'm guessing he does!  This can only happen if James Harden is healthy.  I'm guessing he should be 100% a month from now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2011-2012 NBA Season Recap: The Year that 1 in 5 Coaches Had Already Coached the Cavs

The 2011-2012 NBA season was compressed, with teams having back-to-back-to-backs, 9 games in 12 days, and strange results due to the compression of the schedule.  However, there's one thing that has been overlooked in this maddening season...
the fact that one in 5 teams ended up with coaches who formerly coached the Cleveland Cavaliers!

If one stops to consider this, the first thought is going to be:  "wait a minute, outside of Mike Brown and Lenny Wilkens, who isn't coaching right now, what coaches were actually successful with the Cleveland Cavaliers?"

The answer to this first thought is the fact that the other coaches really have NOT been notable or successful.  However, in a bizarre twist of fate, these are the men which make up my favorite stat of the 2011-2012 season:  1 in 5 coaches are from the Cleveland Cavaliers!

1) Paul Silas, Charlotte Bobcats - Silas' tenure with the Cavs began with Lebron's rookie season.  It culminated in lots of yelling, dysfunction, and Lebron's 56-point outburst in a loss... resulting in Silas getting fired at the end of his 2nd season.  Silas somehow got the Bobcats to perform well in the middle of the 2010-2011 season, resulting in the removal of his "interim" status, but the Bobcats have since been on track to have the worst winning percentage in NBA history in this 2011-2012 season.  Partly due to injury, and partly due to Silas' incompetence I'm guessing.  I'm expecting he will be fired within 24 hours of the end of the season.

2) Keith Smart, Sacramento Kings - Keith Smart was an interim coach for the Cavs, sporting a nifty 9-31 record on the way towards "earning" ping pong balls to help get Lebron James.  This is amazingly the 3rd time he's been elevated to head coach (apparently he did the same thing in Golden State last year).  He supposedly is on contract for next season and is going to be brought back... but the Kings have a very bad record.

3)  Randy Wittman, Washington Wizards - Wittman is currently the interim coach for the Wizards.  He was coach of the cavs for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons.  He was very consistent - going 32-50 and 30-52.  There winning percentages of 39% and 36% are actually his two best seasons.  As coach of the Timberwolves for 2.5 seasons, he was worse (29%, 27%, and 21% before getting fired).  As coach of the Wizards this year, he is 16-31, for a nice 34% winning percent.  Sadly, I don't think he's getting brought back either.  In his defense, he hasn't really had much of a chance with any of the teams he's been given.  However, I will say from watching some Wizards basketball this year, I don't know if I've ever seen a lazier team when it comes to defense!

4) George Karl, Denver Nuggets - He actually counts as a Cavs coach!  Back when he was 33 years old, he got almost 2 seasons at the helm in 1984-1986... before Daugherty and Price were there!  He'll be in the playoffs with the Nuggets this year, as usual.

5) Mike Brown, Lakers - It's well documented and discussed the ups-and-downs of Mike Brown's career.  I will say this... he's still a great defensive coach and always improves his team defensively.  He will be judged thoroughly based on the Lakers playoff performance this year.

6) Byron Scott, Cavs - current Cavs coach.  He'll be back next year.  He will probably be expected to actually win next year, or at least show some progress.

While only 3 of the coaches on this list are likely to be back next year, all I can wonder is what the parlay payout in Vegas would have been of Smart and Wittman being named interim coaches and Silas SURVIVING the entire season in Charlotte!  Now, if only Mike Fratello would make yet another comeback....