Here at BroadStreetBelievers, we do season previews a little differently than the boring “previews” that you are all used to. We are going to do previews BSB-Style. By this, we mean that we are going to preview each pro sport season in a competitive mano a mano game that we created. It should be fun and informative and, most importantly, should generate ample discussion material.
Well, we started this website just as the current NBA season was getting underway, so we never got a chance to publish our official BSB-style NBA preview. However, we did do the “game,” so we might as well post a mid-season follow-up.
The rules of the game are simple. We try to predict whether each team in the league will go over or under their last year’s win total. The picks go like a regular draft, where one of us gets the first pick, the other one gets the next two and then we alternate. You can take any team you want and pick over or under. The only caveat is that if the team pushes (unlikely in the NBA or MLB), the person that made the pick on that team loses that pick. At the end of the year, we will see who is a better prognosticator of each league. Also, this method allows us to comment on our predictions at different points in the season, and it also allows people to tell us how dumb we are and to say where we went wrong in our picks–at any point in the season.
So, without further ado, this is how the BSB-Style NBA Preview went this year, and how it is looking halfway through the season (the final win projections quoted here do not include Friday’s results):
PICK 1: Bry takes Boston-OVER 24
With only 24 wins a year ago, and the additions of KG and Jesus Shuttlesworth, this was a really easy #1 pick.
UPDATE: Well, this did prove to be THE pick, as the Celtics already have 41 wins, covering the full-season line by 17. They are on pace for 65.
PICK 2: Doogan takes New Jersey-OVER 41
The Nets were only a .500 team last year and it was a good bet that they will be better than that this year, so Doogan takes this as his top choice
UPDATE: The Nets are slightly under .500 so far, on pace for 36 wins, but they will probably finish even worse, as they traded away Jason Kidd. So, for Doogan to get this one, the Nets will have to improve WITHOUT Kidd.
PICK 3: Doogan takes New York-OVER 33
It appears Doogan believes in Isiah. 33 is a somewhat low number and the Knicks are expected to be improved with the addition of Zach Randolph. Is this is a bit high for a Knicks-OVER pick?
UPDATE: On pace for only 24 wins, it looks like Doogan’s top two picks are in trouble. But, hey, Magic Johnson believes this is a playoff team, so maybe there’s life left.
PICK 4: Bry takes Dallas-UNDER 67
The first UNDER selection goes to Bry going against the Mavs. It is not that Bry thinks that the Mavs will take a significant step backwards or that they won’t even be the best team in the league, he just doubts their ability to win 67 games again.
UPDATE: A good call by Bry, as Dallas is still pretty good, but not 67-wins good. They are currently on pace for 53 wins, which way under the mark.
Pick 5: Doogan takes Minnesota-UNDER 32
A nice selection by Doogan, as we cannot expect Minnesota not to get worse after losing KG.
UPDATE: As predicted, a great pick by Doogan. The T-Wolves are on pace for a mere 17 wins. In fact, they only need 9 more losses to give Doogan the win on this pick.
Pick 6: Bry takes Memphis-OVER 22
Bry goes with the little number and plays the percentages here. 22 wins is not very many and the Memphis team is young and there are signs that it will be improved.
UPDATE: This one is still way too close to call. But, as of now, we have to give the point to Doogan, as the Grizz are only on pace for 21 wins. They are terrible–really terrible.
Pick 7: Doogan takes Denver-OVER 45
The AI selection! Great choice because they will have AI for the whole year–that has to make ANY team better. Go Nuggets!
UPDATE: AI comes through, of course, as the Nuggets are on pace for 51 wins. They didn’t do anything at the trade deadline, but they should be okay to at least get to 46 and give Doogan the win here.
Pick 8: Bry takes Cleveland-UNDER 50
In thinking the Cavs will take a step backwards, Bry goes against LeBron–not always the best move. But, 50 wins is a good amount, so this is not a bad pick.
UPDATE: There is a lot to be determined on this one after the big deadline deal. Right now, the Cavs are on pace for only 46 wins, which would give Bry the win here, but who knows how Wally and Big Ben are going to fit in in Cleveland. This one is very much up for grabs.
Pick 9: Doogan takes L.A.Clippers-UNDER 40
Another excellent pick by Doogan, as the Clippers are going backwards. 40 wins is a lot for a bad team in the Western Conference.
UPDATE: Looks like an easy win for Doogan, as the Clips are on pace for just 29 wins.
Pick 10: Bry takes Orlando-OVER 40
Any team with Dwight Howard is bound to keep getting better. Plus, Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu are just getting better and they added Rashard Lewis. All this spells improvement in Disney World.
UPDATE: This one looks like an easy win for Bry, as Superman and Company are currently on pace for 50 wins. In fact, they already have 34 wins, so as long as they win 7 more all year, Bry gets this one.
Pick 11: Doogan takes Portland-UNDER 32
In an admittedly tough call, Doogan went UNDER on Portland without Greg Oden. The West is just getting better and this team is set back without their #1 pick.
UPDATE: Probably the biggest surprise of the NBA season so far makes Doogan’s “tough call” look real tough. The Blazers are on pace for an astonishing 44 wins–they already have 29. This one is going to go to Bry.
Pick 12: Bry takes Atlanta-OVER 30
Another young team that is “bound” to get better, right? That is Bry’s rationale. Plus, he does not think that they are the worst team in the Southeast Division any more, so they must be heading for more than 30 wins, right? With all those high draft picks???
UPDATE: This one is still too close to call, as the Hawks are up on their number–projecting to 34 wins–but who knows? The Bibby acquisition and the playoff race should help keep them above the number, but still too close to call.
Pick 13: Doogan takes Miami-OVER 44
One could only think that the team that won the NBA title two years ago, with basically the same roster, could win more than 44 games, right? Right? Right?!?
UPDATE: They have already lost 43 games, which means the most that they can win this year (if they win EVERY remaining game) is 39. They are on pace for 14 wins. Point: Bry
Pick 14: Bry takes Washington-OVER 41
Bry’s rationale for this pick: “The Wizards will win 50 games–easily–once they trade for Kobe Bryant.”
UPDATE: At this pace, Doogan will take this one, as the Wiz did not trade for Kobe and are not on pace for 41 wins. They are close, though, with an oft-injured Arenas. They are on pace for 39 as it stands now, and if Arenas starts playing every day, who knows? As of now, though, it’s close, but it goes to Doogan.
Pick 15: Doogan takes Houston-OVER 52
A great pick this late in the draft by Doogan. 52 wins is a lot of wins in the West, but this is everyone’s sweetheart team this year. In fact, several of the ESPN experts actually picked the Rockets to win the NBA title, so they should win more than 52 games.
UPDATE: Uhh…they are on pace for EXACTLY 52 wins, so obviously this can go either way. We are going to give this pick to Doogan for the time-being for the mere fact that the Rockets have won 10 in a row. But, obviously, this is going to be very close.
Pick 16: Bry takes Milwaukee-OVER 28
28 is a really low number. With the addition of Chairman Yi, the Bucks should get to 30 without a problem–this is a decent late-round pick.
UPDATE: This one, too, is going to go down to the wire, as the Bucks are on pace for 30 wins–just over the number. Close, but it goes to Bry …for now.
Pick 17: Doogan takes Seattle-UNDER 31
Doogan takes the UNDER, saying “Durant’s gonna score 25 a game–on 50 shots.”
UPDATE: Easy win for Doogan with the 17th pick, as it would take a big hot streak for the Sonics to get to 31 wins. They are currently on pace for only 22 and they already have 39 losses (13 more and they can’t cover this number).
Pick 18: Bry takes Golden State-UNDER 42
Bry is banking here that the sweetheart team of last year’s playoffs is not going to have a carry-over effect into this year. For God’s sake, they are the Warriors.
UPDATE: Yes, they are the Warriors, but they are also very good and on pace for 50 wins. It is very far-fetched that this team will falter enough down the stretch to get back to .500.
Pick 19: Doogan takes Sacramento-UNDER 33
A bad team, but the question is just how bad? Doogan believes that they are worse than 33 wins.
UPDATE: Though you never hear anything about them this year (which may be a good thing when Ron Artest is on the roster), the Kings are actually having a pretty decent season, relatively-speaking. They are quietly on pace for 39 wins. However, they did just trade away Mike Bibby, so we will see how that affects them down the stretch, but for right now, Bry looks pretty good on this one.
Pick 20: Bry takes Charlotte-OVER 33
Bry justifies this pick with the two letters that never lose: “M.J.”
UPDATE: M.J. is losing–a lot–this year. The Bobcats are on pace for only 29 wins. That is not that far off their target of 33, but right now it looks like Doogan is going to get this one.
Pick 21: Doogan takes Philadelphia-UNDER 35
This lasted so long because neither of us could take the Sixers and the UNDER, and we definitely couldn’t take the Sixers and the OVER. Doogan finally toughened up and went against Mo and the boys.
UPDATE: Never bet against the home team. The Sixers are on pace for 36 wins, and all signs point to being even better than that. They are in a playoff race and they did not trade away Andre Miller at the deadline. Maybe the only playoff team looking to move their best player at the deadline, didn’t do it, and now they are probably going to give Bry the win on this one.
Pick 22: Bry takes Phoenix-UNDER 61
This pick was much like the Dallas pick, in that Bry doesn’t believe that the Suns will take a step backwards, he just believes that 61 wins is a tall order in the Western Conference.
UPDATE: Right now the Suns are only on pace for 56 wins. This does not take into account the Shaq Factor, but who really knows what that is going to do. Right now, this is a pretty comfortable win for Bry.
Pick 23: Doogan takes New Orleans-UNDER 39
Down here in the bottom rounds are the really tough picks. At this point, we really have no idea which way to go on the remaining teams. So, Doogan takes New Orleans, thinking that other than Chris Paul, this team does not appear to have any real star power, and Paul is still pretty young. 39 wins in a tough Western Conference is not an easy task.
UPDATE: Well, Doogan picked the wrong side of the coin on this one–and missed BADLY. The Hornets already have 37 wins and are on pace for 58. We can call this one. In a related story, did anyone else know that Chris Paul was going to be the best player in the NBA this year? If so, you are really smart.
Pick 24: Bry takes Chicago-OVER 49
Again, these remaining teams and their numbers are tough. Bry likes the “Baby Bulls” and they are a popular pick as the best team in the East. That should equal more than 49 wins.
UPDATE: Already with 32 losses, the Bulls have to win EVERY game for the rest of the year to win this one for Bry. Now, we at BSB, don’t claim to be all-knowing or all-predicting, but we think it is safe to say that the Bulls will lose at least one more game this year. How are the Bulls this bad? Anyone? Anyone?
Pick 25: Doogan takes Utah-OVER 51
Another really tough call, as both of us think that Utah will be right at 51. Doogan has confidence in the youth and coaching in Utah and goes with the OVER.
UPDATE: This one is going to be close all the way, but right now, Doogan’s got it. The Jazz are on pace for 53 wins.
Pick 26: Bry takes San Antonio-OVER 58
These picks just get harder and harder, as again, we both feel that the Spurs will be right around 58 wins again. Bry just went on the fact that he believes the Spurs may try a bit harder for home-court for a rematch with Phoenix this May.
UPDATE: Another one that is going to go down to the wire (as predicted at the start), but right now the advantage here goes to Doogan as well, as the Spurs are only on pace for 56 wins.
Pick 27: Doogan takes Detroit-UNDER 53
Again, 53 is a tough number for the Pistons. Doogan thinks that they might be getting a bit old for 53 wins, but with very little conviction.
UPDATE: It is going to take a big collapse for the Pistons not to go over 53. They are currently on pace for 59 wins, so Bry is looking good on this one.
Pick 28: Bry takes Toronto-UNDER 47
Yes, they are a young, up-and-coming team in the East, but 47 is a good amount of wins for an average team. Again, no real conviction in this selection, but an UNDER pick nonetheless.
UPDATE: Wow, another one that is, as feared, going to be very close. Right now, Doogan has the edge here because the Raptors are on pace for a mere 46 wins. This is one where the push may come into play.
Pick 29: Doogan takes L.A.Lakers-UNDER 42
With his last pick, Doogan goes with the rebuilding Lakers (after they trade Kobe) missing the playoffs and having a losing record. These last picks are tough, but this actually a pretty good one for pick #29.
UPDATE: Just as we learned with the Wizards pick, the Lakers did not trade Kobe to Washington, in fact, they did not trade him at all. They only added a superstar to Kobe and Company. Trouble for the UNDER pick. They already have 37 wins, so 5 more and Doogan loses this one. They are on pace for 56.
Pick 30: Bry takes Indiana-UNDER 35
The only team left, Bry just has to make a decision on the OVER/UNDER. He just throws up his hands and says, “they’re not very good, right? Give me the UNDER.”
UPDATE: This one might be close at the end. Bry has a bit of a cushion here, as the Pacers are on pace for 32 wins, but it is still way too close to call.
Alright, so take your shots at our NBA wisdom or, more likely, stupidity. But, whatever happens, know that this is a lot harder than it may seem now 50 games into the season. We will continue to follow how this progresses throughout the season and expect a similar “preview” for the upcoming MLB season.