Predicting the 2008-09 Season – The Records

Here is the second installment of a four part series looking back at my many predictions from the past year (click here if you missed part one). Today we analyze my projected records and predictions for all 32 teams.

Prediction: Boston Celtics 62-20, 1st in the Atlantic Division, 1st in the Eastern Conference.

Verdict: Correct, correct and incorrect, Boston did finish 62-20 good for first in the Atlantic, but they were second to Cleveland.

Prediction: The Celtics are under pressure to win again in a city that is not used to experiencing one hit wonders and they should be up to the task.

Verdict: incorrect, KG got hurt and they were bounced in the conference semifinals.

Prediction: Cleveland Cavs 55-27, 1st in Central Division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct, incorrect, Cleveland won 66 games and were first in the division and conference.

Prediction: I expect the Cavs to finally enter the regular season elite in the east. Where it takes them after that is anyone’s guess, but I am betting the final destination is another game seven on the road in Boston.

Verdict: Incorrect, Boston was the team that failed to make it to the rematch, but the Cavs could not get passed game 6 in Orlando.

Prediction: Detroit Pistons 55-27, 2nd in the Central Division, 3rd in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect, incorrect, not even close although Chauncey would have made a difference.

Prediction: I think their run of Eastern Conference Finals appearances stops this year and Joe D. wields the wrecking ball next summer.

Verdict: Correct and correct, Dumars started dismantling the Pistons last November and Pistons fans will not recognize the squad playing at the Palace this season.

Prediction: Orlando Magic 53-29, 1st in the Southeast Division, 4th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct, incorrect.

Prediction: Orlando should benefit from another boost in production from Dwight Howard and look for Rashard Lewis near his career high average of 22.4 points per game from his final season in Seattle. Orlando will be a team to be reckoned with.

Verdict: Correct, although Lewis did not get close to even the 20 point per game mark. 7-17

Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers 49-33, 2nd in the Atlantic Division, 5th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct, almost, but incorrect, they were sixth not fifth.

Prediction: A slow start may keep the Sixers from hitting 50 wins, but the team that gave the Pistons fits in the first round last season will be another tough out.

Verdict: Correct, they did give the Magic a tough series.

Prediction: Toronto Raptors 46-36 3rd in the Atlantic Division, 6th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Way incorrect, way incorrect and way incorrect.

Prediction: Jermaine O’Neal is coming off another injury plagued season as the Pacers franchise player. If he can approach the player he was in Indy, the Raptors can finish much higher than sixth.

Verdict: Incorrect, maybe in some fantasy world O’Neal can play like he did in Indiana, but he was a disaster and ended up in Miami.

Prediction: Washington Wizards 40-42, 2nd in the Southeast Division, 7th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Um…no, no and no. I suspected Arenas would play at least half the season and no Arenas really hurt the Wiz.

Prediction: After signing a six year, $111 million contract Agent Hibachi must establish that he can actually play again in order to avoid an Allen Houston like disaster in D.C.

Verdict: Correct, but it sounds like he will be back and lighting things up this season.

Prediction: Miami Heat 40-42, 3rd in the Southeast Division, 8th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, although I only missed their record by three games.

Prediction: I think these guys sneak into the playoffs.

Verdict: Correct, although their 43 wins were somehow good enough for fifth in the east.

Prediction: Atlanta Hawks 38-44, 4th in the Southeast Division, 9th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, Atlanta’s 47 wins put them fourth in the east.

Prediction: They are going to miss Childress who could fill any role ranging from point guard to shooting guard to small forward. A team who barely snuck into the playoffs will get a better season from Al Horford, but it will not be enough to get them back into the postseason.

Verdict: Incorrect, they did not seem to miss Childress as they received a fine performance from Flip Murray.

Prediction: Chicago Bulls 37-45, 3rd in the Central Division, 10th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, the Bulls played .500 ball and made the playoffs.

Prediction: If they can get some production from players like Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng, they could sneak in the playoffs.

Verdict: Incorrect, Noah was good, but Hinrich and Deng struggled with injuries and inconsistent play. Derrick Rose was tremendous though and a midseason trade with Sacramento helped the Bulls put a major scare into the Celtics.

Prediction: Indiana Pacers 36-56 4th in the Central Division, 11th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Correct, correct and incorrect, the Pacers were ninth, not eleventh.

Prediction: The Pacers have some nice young pieces, but are caught in limbo this season. They will not be horrible, but they will not be good either.

Verdict: Correct, Indiana does seem to be caught in the netherworld of not good enough to contend, but not bad enough to land a high draft pick.

Prediction: Charlotte Bobcats 34-58, 5th in the Southeast Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, I missed their win total by one and they were tenth in the east.

Prediction: If anyone thought Larry Brown mailed in the Knicks job when he was working in the largest media market in the NBA, how much worse will he do in Charlotte when no one is paying attention?

Verdict: Incorrect, Brown seemed to care for the entire season. Good for him.

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks 32-50, 5th in the Central Division, 13th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct, incorrect, I missed the win total by two and they were twelfth.

Prediction: If they will elevate Ramon Sessions to the starting point guard I believe they can try to play some exciting offensive basketball.

Verdict: Correct, not much of a prediction, but Sessions is fun to watch.

Prediction: New Jersey Nets 29-53, 4th in the Atlantic Division, 14th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect. Their 34 wins were good for third in the division and a tie for tenth.

Prediction: Things could get pretty ugly over the next couple of seasons in the swamps of New Jersey.

Verdict: Correct, things are so bad they are pumping up how well Yi Jianlian played in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship tournament. Oh yea, and they are about to be the first team owned by someone who might have “voted” for Leonid Brezhnev.

Prediction: New York Knickerbockers 25-57, 5th in the Atlantic Division, 15th in the Eastern Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct, incorrect. The Knicks did win 32 games, but were last in the Atlantic and only the Wizards were worse in the east.

Prediction: This is not just a round peg, square hole scenario. This is a round elephant square thimble scenario.

Verdict: Correct, OK so that was not really a prediction, but I need to put another tick in the correct column. 19-71

Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers 59-23 1st in the Pacific Division, 1st in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct, correct, the Lakers ruled the west and did so with 65 wins.

Prediction: The Lakers may not win the NBA championship, but this team can handle injuries, they have a plethora of scoring options in the clutch and a pair of big men who can rebound and score in the paint.

Verdict: Correct, the Lakers did win the championship largely thanks to their front line and clutch shooting.

Prediction: New Orleans Hornets 58-24 1st in the Southwest Division, 2nd in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, the Hornets were the team I misread the most.

Prediction: If Chris Paul can somehow continue to improve (can you imagine he is still only 23!) the sky is the limit for this team.

Verdict: Incorrect, Paul did improve again, but the team definitely did not.

Prediction: Utah Jazz 58-24 1st in the Northwest Division, 3rd in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect I guess I missed on the Jazz and Hornets equally as bad.

Prediction: Lord knows I hate the Jazz, but they are freakin’ good.

Verdict: Incorrect, the Jazz freakin’ suck! Whoo-hoo!

Prediction: Houston Rockets 56-26 2nd in the Southwest Division, 4th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct and incorrect and the Rockets were just a game out of fourth.

Prediction: Once again I think the Rockets have a great regular season and then flame out in the playoffs.

Verdict: Incorrect, I do not think you can call taking the eventual champs to a seventh game flaming out.

Prediction: San Antonio Spurs 53-29 3rd in the Southwest Division, 5th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, although I only missed their record by one game they won the Southwest and were the third seed.

Prediction: No one has ever become successful by writing off the Spurs, but I am having a difficult time seeing these guys put another finals run together. Parker improves every season, but Duncan is slipping ever so slightly and you have to wonder if Manu can keep bouncing back after so many injuries.

Verdict: Correct! Maybe the Spurs are not dead, but a first round exit is definitely not the same as a run at the finals.

Prediction: Phoenix Suns 50-32 2nd in the Pacific Division, 6th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct and incorrect, the Suns did finish second in the Pacific, but only won 46 games and missed the playoffs.

Prediction: Phoenix is certainly on their way downhill and the Shaq trade has limited their future flexibility to rebuild around Amare. I think these guys have at least one more playoff season in them before Nash collapses into a puddle of goo.

Verdict: Incorrect, no playoffs for the Suns, but Nash may collapse into a puddle of goo by the end of the season.

Prediction: Denver Nuggets 47-35 2nd in the Northwest Division, 7th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, even someone as attuned to the Nuggets as I am could not have predicted what happened last season.

Prediction: They can be better without Marcus Camby. They do not have to turn into the Boston Celtics on defense, but if they can just pay attention, be in the right places and make the correct rotations it will make a big difference. With several players on the floor at the same time who can score the Nuggets can vastly improve their offensive efficiency by simply passing the ball around a couple more times per possession. I believe that I will not believe they can do any of these things until I actually see it. I believe they can still make the playoffs even if they do not do all those other things.

Verdict: Those are a lot of corrects, I am going to say five corrects in that paragraph. 30-103

Prediction: Portland Trailblazers 46-36 3rd in the Northwest Division, 8th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, I was pretty wrong about the Blazers too. It is not easy to jump from a .500 team to a 50+ win team, but they did it.

Prediction: I think Portland make the playoffs more due to a collapse by the Mavericks than an amazing season by the Blazers.

Verdict: Incorrect, the Blazers had an amazing season, regular season that is.

Prediction: Dallas Mavericks 45-37 4th in the Southwest Division, 9th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect. I misjudged the Mavs, they won 50 games and made it to the second round of the playoffs where they were pummeled by the Denver Nuggets.

Prediction: I believe we will see one of the traditional western powers fall into the lottery this season. The Mavs seem to be the most likely culprit.

Verdict: Correct and incorrect. One of the traditional powers did fall, but it was the Suns.

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers 36-46 3rd in the Pacific Division, 10th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, the Clippers were bad enough to land the top pick in the draft.

Prediction: I do think the Clippers have a decent team, but not own good enough to be a playoff team in the west.

Verdict: Correct, hey, they weren’t a playoff team.

Prediction: Golden State Warriors 34-48 4th in the Pacific Division, 11th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, incorrect and incorrect, even though they lost five more games than I expected they finished third in the Pacific and tenth in the west.

Prediction: Golden State is going to miss trying to play Nellie Ball without Baron Davis.

Verdict: Correct, hey, I will take whatever I can get. I will say Stephen Jackson did a great job trying to carry the torch though.

Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves 34-48 4th in the Northwest Division, 12th in the Western Conference.

Verdict: Incorrect, correct and incorrect. They lost ten more games, but finished eleventh, go figure.

Prediction: The Wolves are much improved with a core of Foye, Love, Jefferson and Mike Miller.

Verdict: Correct, the Wolves did appear to be improving until Jefferson went down in February.

Prediction: Sacramento Kings 32-50 5th in the Pacific Division, 13th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Double incorrect, correct and incorrect. The Kings won almost half as many games as I expected.

Prediction: If the players on their roster do not improve significantly over the next few seasons they will be mediocre for years to come.

Verdict: Incorrect, if they players on their roster do not improve significantly over the next few seasons they will be terrible.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 25-57 5th in the Northwest Division, 14th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct and incorrect, two fewer losses and thirteenth instead of fourteenth.

Prediction: Jeff Green – Green was supposed to be the Pippen to Kevin Durant’s Jordan. So far he has been more Brad Sellers than Scotty Pippen.

Verdict: OK, so that was not a prediction, but Green was much better last year than in his rookie campaign.

Prediction: Memphis Grizzlies 22-60 5th in the Southwest Division, 15th in the Western Conference

Verdict: Incorrect, correct and incorrect, I only missed their win total by two, but they still managed to surpass the Thunder, Kings and Clippers.

Prediction: Of course, they are going to take some more lumps this season, but at least they have some players to show for it, unlike Charlotte.

Verdict: OK, another non prediction, but if I would have left this area blank you would have wondered why and it would have bothered you the rest of the day and I would never do that to you.

I expected to have a very low success rate as it is not easy to predict an exact record for every team over an 82 game schedule. I nailed a couple and came close on several others so despite my low percentage I think I did reasonably well. The final tally is 38-134 a 28.4% accuracy rate. Combined with my 52.2% rate from part one and I am averaging 40.3% with two much easier, and more entertaining, segments left.

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