I know this is a few days late now, but I figured I'd go back over my initial predictions for this season, hand out Chuck's midseason awards and make some second half predictions.
First to recap my previews of the Northwest and Pacific Divisions.
Out in the Northwest, it was no secret going in to this season that K. Smooth and the fellas would easily conquer the competition and grab a top 3 seed in the West. My real brilliance came in with the 62-20 record prediction. Currently the Thunder sit at 39-14 and if they continue with their current win rate, they will end up 63-19. I'd say that makes me a fucking genius.
The major mistakes I made in the Northwest were predicting the Minnesota Timberwolves as the 2nd place team and the Jazz to only win 1 game. In my defense on the outlandish Minnesota prediction, they have been decimated by injuries this year and Kevin Love has only played in 18 games (posting averages of 18+ppg and 14rpg). No way a team that has traveled at times with only 7 people to away games is going to have a winning season. As for the Jazz, the liquor laws in Salt Lake City have not been loosened so they are bound to falter under the pressure of the home stretch.
In the Pacific, I was pretty damn close sans the meltdown out in Lakerland that no one in the entire world saw coming. As long as the Warriors stay the course, they'll actually be better than my 43-39 prediction (47-35) and they'll be a 5/6 seed in the playoffs. NO ONE can want to play this Warrior team. If Bogut actually rounds into form so they have an inside presence and if Steph Curry stays healthy, I think they can surprise the Clippers or Grizzlies in the first round. I was also able to correctly predict horrible, atrocious, embarrassing teams in both Sacramento and Phoenix, but that's nothing to write home about.
MVP: Kevin Durant (I'm the biggest Kevin Durant apologist in the world, but this may be the tightest MVP race ever.)
Rookie of the Year: Damien Lillard in a landslide (Notice I didn't mention the idiotic prediction I made regarding him in the preseason.)
Defensive Player of the Year: Larry Sanders (Video game like block numbers, gets the nod in a surprise over Tyson Chandler)
6th Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford (17ppg off the bench, could also make a case for J.R. Smith but he has cooled off from the beginning of the year. Honorable Mention: Kevin Martin)
Most Improved Player: YOUR Jrue Holiday (Ridiculous year. 19 and 9 up from 13.5 and 4.5 last year. Paul George is also a strong candidate here especially with how he has carried Indiana without Danny Granger but I'm a homer so Jrue gets the nod.)
Coach of the Year: Mark Jackson (Look at the turnaround. That's enough evidence right there.) George Karl gets honorable mention. (Has Denver playing incredible basketball with no All-Stars and really no go-to scorer.)
All NBA Team: I'm going to do the same thing the All-Star game did and pick two back court and three front court players. Back Court: Chris Paul and Tony Parker (I really wanted to put James Harden in here because he is carrying Houston, but could not ignore Tony Parker scoring 20 a game on 54% from the field while dishing out 8 assits). Front Court: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony
Eastern Conference Finals: Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
Sleeper: Chicago Bulls. If Joakim Noah can get healthy and Poohdini returns anywhere close to where he was last year, I honestly believe they could beat the Heat in the second round.
Western Conference Finals: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs
No Sleeper here. No chance.
NBA Finals: Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Not so sleeper: San Antonio Spurs. Would not surprise me in the least to see Pop take Timmy D and the gang to South Beach.
NBA Champion: Oklahoma City Thunder. One reason, Kevin Durant. He is having one of the greatest scoring seasons of all time and as long as Russ Russ gets him the ball in the clutch instead of blindfolding himself and taking wild layup attempts, the Thunder will take down the Heat in Game 7 in Oklahoma City.