Wednesday, January 04, 2006

West Playoff Picture

Remember this guy?

San Antonio Spurs (24-7), 1st Southwest

Current Seed: 1
Projected Seed: 1

Optimist: They haven’t had Manu for 10 games, Finley for 5, and both their centers absolutely stink. And where are they? Still atop the West of course. Sure, they aren’t going to reach the 81 wins I thought they would, but as long as they hold home-court advantage, no one is dethroning them.

Pessimist: It’s really hard to miss Dirk Nowitzki’s huge schnoz in the rear view mirror—losses to the Hawks and Hornets will do that to a team.

Phoenix Suns (19-11), 1st Pacific

Current Seed: 2
Projected Seed: 2

Optimist: The original plan was to simply stay in the Playoff hunt until Amare returned and then do their damaged come May and June. I guess Phoenix didn’t get that voicemail, huh? Forget their 3-OT loss to New York earlier in the week, Mike D’Antoni has done a fabulous job with this team and I’d argue that they have a better at reaching the Finals this season than a year ago.

Pessimist: This all depends on Stoudemire’s recovery of course…

Utah Jazz (16-16), T-1st Northwest

Current Seed: 3
Projected Seed: 11

Optimist: All Utah needs to do is hold off the oft-injured Nuggets, the backcourt-less Wolves, and the defense-less Sonics. Not exactly World War III at this point.

Pessimist: Soon enough Camby will be back, the Wolves will most likely get some guard help, and either DEN or MIN may acquire Ron Artest. Plus there’s no way a team with 7 white players (includes Jarron Collins and both halves of Kris Humphries and Deron Williams) on their roster can make the postseason, right?

Dallas Mavericks (23-8), 2nd Southwest

Current Seed: 4
Projected Seed: 4

Optimist: How many teams can bring Devin Harris, Keith Van Horn, Jerry Stackhouse, and DJ Mbenga off their bench? And is Avery Johnson really getting his squad to give up just 94.3 PPG? Hmm, a solid bench, solid defense, and an imminent trade by February…is the 1 seed really that far-fetched?

Pessimist: Asking Josh Howard, Marquis Daniels, Harris, Van Horn, and Stackhouse to stay healthy all year is like asking the cast from MTV’s The Gauntlet to lay off the steroids. In other words, the 4 seed is more than likely.

Memphis Grizzlies (20-10), 3rd Southwest

Current Seed: 5
Projected Seed: 5

Optimist: While most experts will agree that losing Damon Stoudamire is a huge blow, I’d argue that it might work out for the better. Not only does Bobby Jackson bring them much tougher defense at the 1, but it also makes Memphis a more physical team as a whole. Plus, if this doesn’t work out, Brevin Knight is just one Jerry West phone call away.

Pessimist: How many Memphis fans are worried about a starting frontcourt of Gasol, Battier, and Miller? Yeah, me too.

Los Angeles Clippers (17-12), 2nd Pacific

Current Seed: 6
Projected Seed: 9

Optimist: Considering the fact that they’ve had to play Phoenix, Detroit, @San Antonio, @New Jersey, @Indiana, and Sacramento, 5-7 without Corey Maggette ain’t too shabby. Plus, Chris Kaman is finally proving his worth—averaging 15.2 PPG, 14.4 RPG, and 1.6 BPG over his last 5. They are really going to need solid play from him and Elton Brand for the next three weeks while Maggette remains sidelined.

Pessimist: A team that’s starting Daniel Ewing and giving James Singleton double-digit minutes off the pine is hard pressed to stay in the thick of the Playoff hunt.

Golden State Warriors (17-15), 3rd Pacific

Current Seed: 7
Projected Seed: 6

Optimist: News out of Oakland last night was that the Warriors appear to be the front-runners for Ron Artest. If this deal does indeed go down, a three-headed monster of Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, and Artest could wreak major havoc in this Playoff race.

Pessimist: Okay, so let’s say they do acquire Artest, how is that frontcourt going to keep up with the San Antonios and Phoenixs of the Western world? A four-man rotation of Ike Diogu, Adonal Foyle, Andris Biedrins, and Zarko Cabarkapa isn’t exactly a fearsome foursome.

Minnesota Timberwolves (14-14), T-1st Northwest

Current Seed: 8
Projected Seed: 10

Optimist: For a team with no center, no bench, and a first-year head coach, holding onto a share of 1st place while playing .500 ball is pretty damn good. If they could only get their hands on that Artest fellow…

Pessimist: Say they don’t get Artest, McHale can’t move Olowokandi, and the team is more than 5 games back heading into February? Chris Sheridan’s fingers might deteriorate he’ll be writing so many KG trade rumor articles…

Los Angeles Lakers (15-16), 4th Pacific

Current Seed: 9
Projected Seed: 7

Optimist: When I watch the Spurs, Patriots, and Yankees—teams with superior head coaches, I always get that feeling that everything’s going to be okay. It’s like when I fell off my bike that time and shattered my leg, and my dad came over and calmed me down—I knew I was going to be okay. Jesus, where am I going with this? I feel the same way about Phil Jackson, okay? I’d be utterly shocked if they don’t make a trade that helps propel them into the Playoffs.

Pessimist: Could Kwame Brown be any worse? I wonder if his string of bad luck carries over to his personal life. Like he always farts on a first date, tries to pay with an expired credit card, says “congrats” to women thinking they’re pregnant but they’re really just fat, etc. Whatever, I’m just bitter because I held onto to him for the first two months of the season…

Denver Nuggets (15-17), 3rd Northwest

Current Seed:
Projected Seed: 3

Optimist: Carmelo is playing the best basketball of his young career, Kenyon Martin finally appears healthy (at least today), and Andre Miller has returned to All-Star form. With Camby returning within two weeks, I bet they’ll be atop the Northwest by the All-Star Break. Oh yeah, and they have Earl Watson to dangle as trade bait…

Pessimist: If this frontcourt gets any thinner, they might have to bring LaPhonso Ellis out of retirement.

New Orleans Hornets (13-17), 4th Southwest

Current Seed: 11
Projected Seed: 14

Optimist: Is there anything to be more optimistic about in this entire league than Chris Paul? 16.6 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 7.5 APG, & 2.3 SPG—if those aren’t All-Star numbers I don’t know what are.

Pessimist: There is no realistic shot at the Playoffs this season, especially considering that only one player on this roster was born before 1977. Oh yeah, and they play in the same division as the Spurs, Mavs, and Grizz.

Seattle Supersonics (13-17), 4th Northwest

Current Seed: 12
Projected Seed: 12

Optimist: Somehow this team remains just 2 games back of the Jazz for first place. And with Luke Ridnour getting healthy, and Allen and Lewis having All-Star caliber seasons, there’s no reason to think the Sonics can’t re-take the division.

Pessimist: Hats off to the Seattle front office. First they let Nate McMillan go, then fire his replacement after 30 games! Yippee! Don’t worry Bob, another job will come along shortly—and a better one at that.

Sacramento Kings (12-18), 5th Pacific

Current Seed: 13
Projected Seed: 13

Optimist: With Carlos Boozer nursing countless injuries, Peja Stojakovic now owns the league’s best active chest hair.

Pessimist: Remember when this team was really good and then they traded Chris Webber for 3 mediocre players who can’t pass and make an offense run smoothly? Well they saw first hand what they gave up on Tuesday when Webber torched them for 20 points and 16 boards. Oh yeah, and the Sixers won by 13.

Houston Rockets (11-18), 5th Southwest

Current Seed: 14
Projected Seed: 8

Optimist: Any time you have Tracy McGrady on your side, you can never be counted out. Now if Stromile Swift (18.7 PPG & 11.3 RPG in last 3) can keep playing this way after Yao returns from that toe injury, this projection of mine will look brilliant. If Houston finishes out of the Playoffs just forget you ever read this, ok?

Pessimist: Even though Houston remains just 3.5 games out of a Playoff spot, this team has failed to show any sort of consistency thus far. Check out their last 13 games: 5-straight wins, 6 losses in 7 games, and then a 12-point win at Washington. Which Houston Rockets team is for real? Guess we’ll find out soon enough…

Portland Trailblazers (10-21), 5th Northwest

Current Seed: 15
Projected Seed: 15

Optimist: Nate McMillan should be given a Nobel Prize for getting this team to ten wins through 30 games. Nice job letting him go Seattle…

Pessimist: Where is this team going? Is Sebastian Telfair the PG of the future? Is Joel Przybilla bi-polar? Where’s the Juan Dixon we saw in the Playoffs last year? Is Travis Outlaw alive? Is any other Darius Miles owner worried about him taking pain medication? I want answers!

Nate da Great


At 12:28 PM, Blogger Ty said...

I'm a big rockets fan so I hope you're right that they can dig themselves out of the hole they're in. Even if they manage to get the number eight seed, they could potentially be a dangerous team in the play-offs (although I don't think anyone can beat the Spurs).

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Yo Ty...yeah the Rockets could be dangerous come Playoff-time, but don't assume they'd be facing the Spurs. One thing we learned last night is that just when we consider a team immortal, another great one comes along. Good luck to your Rockets. Alston looked good on Tuesday--they'll need a lot more of that.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Ty said...

I was so excited about the acquisition of Alston and Swift.

IF the following happens:
1) Swift and Alston both play starters minutes (meaning they're playing well)
2) Yao and Sura come back

The Rockets will make some noise.

BTW -- I sent you an email to the account listed on the site.


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