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2012-13 NBA Preview Wrap-Up

Before we get into the playoffs and awards, here's a quick recap of how each division should play out:

1. y-New York 57-25
2. x-Boston 46-36
3. x-Toronto 46-36
4. Brooklyn 37-45
5. Philadelphia 39-43

1. y-Indiana 48-34
2. x-Milwaukee 47-35
3. x-Chicago 45-37
4. Cleveland 26-56
5. Detroit 19-63

1. z-Miami 65-17
2. x-Atlanta 52-30
3. Washington 43-39
4. Orlando 30-52
5. Charlotte 18-64

1. y-San Antonio 53-29
2. x-Dallas 50-29
3. Memphis 43-39
4. Houston 38-44
5. New Orleans 37-45

1. w-Denver 56-26
2. x-Oklahoma City 53-29
3. x-Minnesota 53-29
4. x-Utah 49-33
5. Portland 33-49

1. y-LA Clippers 55-27
2. x-LA Lakers 49-33
3. Phoenix 29-53
4. Sacramento 29-53
5. Golden State 23-59



1st Round: Miami over Chicago; New York over Toronto; Boston over Atlanta; Indiana over Milwaukee
2nd Round: Miami over Indiana; Boston over New York
Conference Finals: Miami over Boston

A healthy Derrick Rose makes Heat v. Bulls one of the more intriguing 1 vs. 8 series ever, but the Rose proves too rusty and the Heat prove too much for Chicago to handle.  The Knicks easily handle the up-and-coming Raptors, while Boston endures through yet another slog of a series against the Hawks.  Indiana and Milwaukee should be the most evenly matched first round series in the East, with the Pacers' experience carrying them to a close series win.  The following round, however, sees the Pacers get smoked by a Miami team looking to prove last year's series was a fluke, while Boston handles New York with surprising ease.  It probably won't go seven again, but Miami will again have to play to the last minute in every game to gut out a win over the stubborn Celtics and make their third straight Finals appearance.

1st Round: Denver over Utah; LA Lakers over LA Clippers; Oklahoma City over Dallas; San Antonio over Minnesota
2nd Round: San Antonio over Denver; Oklahoma City over LA Lakers
Conference Finals: San Antonio over Oklahoma City
In a battle of speed and athleticism vs. size, the Nuggets run past the Jazz.  Despite being the lower seed, the Lakers handle the Clippers, while OKC beats Dallas for the second straight year.  San Antonio provides a rude postseason welcoming to the young Timberwolves, and then is equally dominant against the young Nuggets.  Oklahoma City proves too much for the new-look Lakers even without James Harden, but San Antonio picks up where they left off in Game 2 of last year's Western Conference Finals and advances to what could be Tim Duncan's NBA Finals swan song.

NBA FINALS: Miami Heat over San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio swept LeBron's Cavs in his first Finals appearance; this season, James returns the favor.


MVP: LeBron James, Miami
Other contenders: Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant

All-NBA 1st Team
G Chris Paul, LA Clippers
G Andre Iguodala, Denver
F LeBron James, Miami
F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
C Dwight Howard, LA Lakers

All-NBA 2nd Team
G Rajon Rondo, Boston
G Dwyane Wade, Miami
F Kevin Love, Minnesota
F Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
C Tyson Chandler, New York

All-NBA 3rd Team
G Ty Lawson, Denver
G James Harden, Houston
F Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City
F Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio
C Joakim Noah, Chicago

In reality, there is no way Ty Lawson, Serge Ibaka, or Kawhi Leonard make any of these teams.  Instead, expect to find more "name" players such as Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, or Andrew Bynum, with Kyrie Irving being a dark horse candidate.

DPOY: Dwight Howard, LA Lakers
Howard should return to his throne as the NBA's defensive king as he distances himself from his Orlando drama.  Andre Iguodala, Tyson Chandler, Serge Ibaka, LeBron James, and Josh Smith will all be strong contenders, as well.

All-Defense 1st Team
C Dwight Howard, LA Lakers
F Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City
F Josh Smith, Atlanta
G Andre Iguodala, Denver
G John Wall, Washington

All-Defense 2nd Team
C Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia
F LeBron James, Miami
F Kevin Garnett, Boston
G Dwyane Wade, Miami
G Mike Conley, Memphis

John Wall is probably the craziest pick on these teams, but the Wizards really picked it up on defense at the end of last season, and Wall was a huge reason why.  His strength, size, and athleticism allow him to defend both backcourt positions, and he plays passing lanes as well as any other NBA player.

ROY: Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Davis is so far ahead of the other rookies coming into this season that he would have to play pretty badly to not come away with the award.  His biggest challenge may come from Damian Lillard, especially if the Blazers somehow find their way into the playoffs.

All-Rookie 1st Team
C Anthony Davis, New Orleans
G Bradley Beal, Washington
F Jae Crowder, Dallas
G Damian Lillard, Portland
F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte

All-Rookie 2nd Team
G Terrence Ross, Toronto
G Jeremy Lamb, Houston
G Dion Waiters, Cleveland
F Thomas Robinson, Sacramento
F John Henson, Milwaukee

Highly drafted players who shouldn't sniff these teams: Harrison Barnes, Meyers Leonard, Austin Rivers, Kendall Marshall.  Marshall, in particular, has been shockingly quiet coming into the season, and through the Suns' first two games the former Tar Heel hasn't seen one minute of floor time despite a clean bill of health.

6th Man: Jose Calderon, Toronto
Calderon is perfect off the bench.  He doesn't turn the ball over, he can shoot, and he knows how to get a team into an offense.  He isn't a flashy pick, but after James Harden went from 6th man to centerpiece in Houston, there aren't any slam dunk choices, so I went with the guy who will produce the most.

Most Improved: Gordon Hayward, Utah
Hayward was fantastic by the end of last season, and with all of the attention the Jazz's young bigs will draw, he should find himself with plenty of room to maneuver on the wings.  Other candidates include Greg Monroe, Paul George, and Evan Turner.

Coach of the Year: Rick Adelman, Minnesota
Adelman is already one of the more respected coaches in the league, and if the Timberwolves win over 50 games without Kevin Love for a large chunk of time, he is a shoo-in for the award.

LVP: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto
DeRozan was the pick even before the Raptors signed him to his absurd extension, the reasons for which have already been discussed in my Raptors preview.

All-Andrea Bargnani Team
G Aaron Brooks, Sacramento
G Nick Young, Philadelphia
F Antawn Jamison, LA Lakers
F Andray Blatche, Brooklyn
C Chris Kaman, Dallas

These guys all suck, and you know it.

Bust of the Year: Harrison Barnes, Golden State

Barnes is a scorer who can't shoot or get to the hole, is a high-usage player who rarely passes, and is a decent-sized player who doesn't rebound.  Other than that, he should work out great for the Warriors.

All-Adam Morrison Team
F Harrison Barnes, Golden State
G Austin Rivers, New Orleans
C Meyers Leonard, Portland
G Marquis Teague, Chicago
F Perry Jones III, Oklahoma City

Jones III is probably the most gifted player in this year's draft class; too bad motivation, desire, or heart aren't part of that gift package.

Matador of the Year: Antawn Jamison, LA Lakers

All-Matador Team
G Goran Dragic, Phoenix
G Jameer Nelson, Orlando
F Luis Scola, Phoenix
F Antawn Jamison, LA Lakers
C Ryan Hollins, LA Clippers

The Suns should have a tremendous defensive squad this season.

This post first appeared on Diminishing Skills, please read the originial post: here

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2012-13 NBA Preview Wrap-Up


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