So far this is what we have seen…
5+ players not allowed to play in the NBA until their Chinese contracts are fulfilled.
David Stern steps in and voids a trade that all parties initially agreed to and would have changed the league.
Injuries get the best of players after condensed schedule begins.
Trade talks around Dwight Howard will not stop.
And a few highlights…
No one on this big blue marble we call earth could have predicted any of these (ok the Dwight one is a gimmie but still). With that in mind and with teams now six to seven games into the season its time for the annual LAKERMIKE NBA predictions. With topics like ROY, MVP, Finals match up, Champion of the 2012 season, and Finals MVP here are my picks and a brief explanation of my choices.
Rookie of the Year
There are a few rookies that can really make a splash in the league this year, its just too bad they all play for teams that have as much chance at winning a championship as Mike Tyson does at winning a spelling bee. But thats the way it goes, let these guys show their skills on bum teams and hone their skills so that when they leave, or are traded to better teams, they can really show what they are made of. The two players that stand out to me for this award are Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. This award is no shocker but still, I have to go with Kyrie Irving. He is not above and beyond Walker but he is in a position to rack up the stats easier and unless Walker can make a strong push to get his team into an 8th seed (which I don’t really see happening) its going to Irving.
The MVP this year is an award that I am really excited to see be given out, especially if it goes to the player I am hoping it does. Starting a season that feels more like Star Wars Episode III then it does a regular season, it seems as though the Empire is looking for a new hope (insert nerd comment here_________). I believe that hope rests on the shoulders of Kevin Durant. Now that his team is one of the most stable in the NBA due to low, hell next to no, off season player movement, the chemistry is strong in Oklahoma. They now have circumstances (shortened season) and enough playoff experience to be a contender for a ring. With Kevin Durant leading this team I believe that the powers that be will see that the force is strong with this one and give the award to Mr. Durant.
Finals Match Up
The two teams I see in the Finals this year are those that have had the least amount of change and who have the most chemistry. With that being said the Miami Heat will go head to head with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals this year. Sorry everyone but unless the Lakers manage to keep Gasol and obtain Dwight I really do not see them taking the team they have now through the Western Conference.
Champion of the 2012 Season
This prediction is based on current teams and not including any trades that might happen, knowing the Dwight Howard will go somewhere brings some doubt but not much. I believe that this season is perfectly structured to suit the Miami Heat. Seeing that Lebron James only plays about %75 of a regular season, this shortened season will allow him to play at his full potential for an entire season. With Dwayne Wade next to his side and a mostly intact team, they still have a lot of chemistry as well. Also, “The Big Two” seem to have learned that they should stick to the high percentage shots resulting in them only taking three 3 pointers so far this season. Miami looks too strong as of right now to beat in a seven game series. So again, just like Episode III the dark side will prevail but we all know how this saga ends.
Even though I really do not like this guy, the day he took his talents to South Beach the Heat quietly became HIS team. DWade may be the back bone, but Lebron is the leader of that team. If Lebron fails, so do the Heat and with that in mind Lebron will win his first ring and his first Finals MVP. With Darth Vader coming to life at the end of Revenge of the Sith so it is with Lebron James at the end of this season (Ok, seriously that was the last one).
I am excited to see what all this season has to offer. As a Laker fan I feel that we are in a very strange place right now and what we do could make or break us for years to come.