NBA FINALS:

I think we’ll get a repeat of last year. The Lakers, top to bottom, are hands down the best in the league. They’ve got the perfect combination of experience, youth, size, talent, hunger, and any intangible you can think of. And they’ve got The Black Mamba. San Antonio is the number one contender to knock the Lakers off, but if both teams are 100 and all else is even, L.A. wins that game. As long as Ron’s in check – and I think he will be – the Lakers should be golden.

Out of the East, I like Orlando. After making it out if the East last year, you’d expect Orlando to get complacent. Not the case. They swapped VC for Hedo (even trade if you ask me), and picked up Brandon Bass and Matt Barnes (toughness), Ryan Anderson (more buckets), and Jason Williams (backup PG). You can’t beat that. And Jameer’s healthy. If it were just one game, I’d take Boston. I love their summer moves, too. But I don’t see the Celtics holding up for an entire season – Glen Davis is already out for 2 months and the season hasn’t even started yet. They also don’t have a backup for Rondo, which could be a problem. Eddie House isn’t exactly who you’d want handling the rock for you and I’ll believe in Marquis Daniels when I see it.

Cleveland made no real improvements. They added Shaq. Great. But that addresses none of their key needs – big guards, a versatile big man that can run, and someone who can create for themselves (other than King James) of course. However, if they can pick up Stephen Jackson, I think they’re NBA champs, or, at the least, will be playing in June. He brings length, scoring, confidence, and those intangibles – fire, hunger, toughness. He’s the kind of guy that can put Cleveland over the top. But as of now, he’s still in the Bay. The Cavs are also going to have to address their guard problem in light of the Delonte West situation.

Finals Prediction: Lakers Over Magic.

NBA MVP:

LeBron James. Yeah he won last year and Kobe’s still the best player in the L, but no one is more VALUABLE to their team (save CP3) than LeBron. Something we found out last spring as he took on the entire Orlando Magic team solo dolo. Kobe’s got a lot of help. He could put up 20 a night and the Lakers would be straight. LeBron’s got to be full tilt boogie night in, night out, and he will be.

MVP Prediction: LeBron James

Sixth Man Of The Year:

Lamar Odom. We saw last year that Odom was just as important as – if not more important – than anybody on that Laker team (other than KB24, of course). His versatility is irreplaceable. At 6-10 he can come in and give the Lakers scoring, playmaking, ballhandling rebounding, whatever…Bynum can go down, and he can step right in. But if Odom goes down, the Lakers are in trouble. He’s a mismatch waiting to happen, inside and out.

Tough comp for this award this year, though: Ginoboli, Sheed, Rudy Fernandez, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, and Ben Gordon are all deadly bench options. But LO is the best 6th man on the best team. If he keeps his head on the game and doesn’t get too caught up in all that Kardashian drama, we should expect of 15, 8, and 4 off the bench.

Rookie Of The Year:

Tyreke Evans. This is a difficult award to predict because it depends solely on your “situation”, but for Tyreke that’s a good thing. You see the Kings suck, meaning Evans will get tick right away, have the ball in his hands right away, and should get the green light right away. The other candidates will likely be Blake Griffin, Johnny Flynn, and Steph Curry. Griffin’s out for 6 weeks so there goes that. Flynn and Curry are in the same boat as Evans. They’re on bad teams, and they’ll get experience and playing time right away. But they’re “average” guards. Tyreke is a 6-6 manchild. An athletic freak. Physically  he’s NBA ready and after playing for Coach Cal, he’s equipped with a skill set that translates beautifully in the League (think D. Rose). They won’t win any games, but Evans should win the  ROY.

ROY: Tyreke Evans

Defensive POY:

Dwight Howard. He’ll probably lead the league in boards and blocks. That’s all you need. Ron Artest will put the clamps on people every night playing next to Kobe, but perimeter D isn’t as valued as it used to be, so howard should get the nod.

Defensive POY: Dwight Howard

League Scoring Champ:

Alright a couple options here: Dwayne Wade or Kevin Durant. Wade’s gotta win something (cause it won’t be a championship or MVP), and he’s essentially by himself in Miami, so expect more of what we saw last year. In fact, expect even more, as this is a contract year for Flash and he’s been off all summer, so he’ll be as healthy as ever.

Durant is just buckets.  Straight up. (I also just felt like showing him some love). Shooting over anybody and he’s got a burner. What more could you ask for? Plus he’s in OKC, where he’ll be the go-go-guy every night, so the shot attempts will be plentiful. Durant is a flat-out scorer. Point blank. He put up 25 a game last year and he’s only getting better.

I’ll put my money on Wade, but don’t sleep: Durant will get it in in a major way this year.

Scoring Champ: Dwayne Wade

Coach Of The Year:

Rick Carlisle and Flip Saunders (tie). Carlislse and the Mavs have a whip this year, so he’s just got to make everything work, which shouldn’t be a problem. After last year’s disappointing ass-whopping courtesy of Denver, the Mavs reloaded nicely, picking up Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden, and Tim Thomas. J-Kidd is the hardwood version of Brett Favre, and Dirk and The Jet are always good to go in The Big D. As long as they can get Josh Howard 100, the Mavs can be a top 3 team out West. If Carlisle can make that happen, I think he’s worthy of his second Coach Of The Year award.

Flip Saunders can take this award, too, as he looks to turn things around in Chocolate City. The Wizards were terrible last year. One of the league’s worst. But let’s be honest, they’re one of the most talented teams in The L. Gilbert, Caron, Antawn Jamison, Rand Foye, Mike Miller, Nick Young, and Andre Blatche will be nice (you heard it here first). Of course they’ll need everyone healthy to be legit contenders in the East, and that’s already a problem as Jamison is out 3-5 weeks. Still, Saunders should be able to take a 19-win team to a 45+ win team, and that task deserving of an award.

Coach(es) Of The Year: Rick Carlisle and Flip Saunders

Misc. Video Of The Week:

Dude is INSANE.

Dunk Of The Week Via: slamonline

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