The NBA season is almost upon us and we can once more begin rooting for our beloved underdogs as they look to rebuild the team and hopefully begin the journey back to the success of the early decade and perhaps even beyond.
So I've looked into my crystal ball (which wasn't readily available, so I had to make do with the green-tinted glass of my empty Heineken) and I shall attempt to predict the upcoming season, not just for our hometown heroes, but for the rest of the league as well.
This is almost all pure conjecture, but I am going to make my best educated guesses, and then at the end of the year we'll see how stupid I really was. In the event that I am mostly right, I'll wonder why I didn't ponder the lottery numbers instead.
We'll start with our Kings, and what I predict for their future in what could be the most important and defining season of this rebuilding process.
Tyreke Evans: 30 MPG, 16.3 PPG, 5.3 APG, 5.5 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 3.2 TOPG, .440 FG%, .300 3P%, 6.3 FTA
Tyreke will have a great year for a 20 year old. His rookie stats will be rather similar to the stats of last year's number 4 pick, Russell Westbrook, although I believe his field goal percentage will be slightly higher, as more of his shots will be taken near the basket and he is exceptionally adept at drawing fouls, thus eliminating FGAs that might not have gone in. I also think that Tyreke will not shake off the "he's not a point guard label", mainly because he will average quite a few turnovers, but that is going to come with the territory of handling the ball all the time.
Random Prediction: Tyreke will also be the only rookie this year to achieve a triple-double, and he will do it twice.
Omri Casspi: 10 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, .430 FG%, .340 3P%
Omri will likely get limited minutes due to the current glut at the SF position, but I think his hustle and dedication will give him some playing time and he will definitely make the most of the time he's given. He'll be a scrapper and will play defense, and also help on the glass as much as he can. But he won't be ready for big minutes just yet, and I think that he'll spend at least a portion of the year in the D-League, like Donte did last year, where he'll probably do quite well.
Random Prediction: Omri will have a better game than Donte's best game last year which was 15 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, on 75% three-point shooting.
Jon Brockman: 5 MPG, 1.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG
Jon is probably not going to get much playing time at all unless we get some injuries to our frontcourt. But when we do sub him in, he'll be in to do one thing: Rebound. I think he'll average 1 rebound for every two minutes of play. Any points he gets will probably be on putbacks or from the Free throw line. Jon could also see some time in the D-League.
Random Prediction: Brockman will get the loudest cheers when he enters a game during garbage time and will be a fan favorite.
Sean May: 25 MPG, 9.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.9 APG, .7 BPG, .500 FG%
I think this is Sean May's year. He's in the best shape of his life and he's got a massive chip on his shoulder, especially if he reads the Interwebs, or Sactown Royalty. I think he matches his numbers of his sophomore year before he became injured for the first time, except for points, because there are more scoring options on this team than that Charlotte team, but he will play well and I shall be rooting for him. He'll be our first big off the bench, and will probably see some time playing the 5.
Random Prediction: May will play more than 70 games.
Desmond Mason: 20 MPG, 6.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, .5 SPG
Desmond will probably play a bit, being a veteran who can play some defense and brings a good attitude to this team. I was opposed to this signing, but as a one year deal, there's little to no risk. I believe Mason does make this roster during training camp and that this subjects Kenny Thomas and Jon Brockman to the Injury-Reserve list. Mason will bring in some tough defense, although his offense will probably be pretty bad, even though he'll probably score a little bit. He'll also have a couple highlight worthy dunks that will make our game threads go wild.
Random Prediction: Mason will dunk on Dwight Howard.
Sergio Rodriguez: 10 MPG, 3.7 PPG, 3.9 APG, 1.3 RPG, .5 SPG, 1.5 TOPG
There's 48 minutes available at the Point Guard spot. Tyreke will probably play 20 minutes exclusively at the point, and possibly 10 more as a Shooting Guard with either Beno or Sergio come in. The question is, how does that 28 minutes get split up between Sergio and Beno? Honestly, I think Beno will win out, simply because management does not want another Kenny Thomas situation or a locker room malcontent with a contract that can't be unloaded, but I also think that Beno will see some time at the shooting guard, and due to injuries, I think Sergio gets about 10 minutes per game when all is said and done. But when he's in the game, he will pass the ball. A Lot. I predict he'll average more assists per game this year than points. That's going to be his role, the passer. And he's also the better point guard option to combine in the backcourt with Tyreke.
Random Prediction: Sergio will hit Kevin Martin for an alley-oop
The Familiar Faces:
Kevin Martin: 36 MPG, 25.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 9.8 FTAs, 2.0 TOPG .431 3P%, .620 TS% Games Played: 73
Kevin is going to have a career year, mainly because of the addition of Tyreke Evans to the roster. No longer can opposing backcourts ignore our point guard, now we have two legitimate scoring threats on the roster and the trick opposing teams have to figure out is how to guard the both of them, especially considering Tyreke's size. Because of the addition of Tyreke, I expect Kevin to get a lot more looks at wide open threes, and his 3P% to go up as well as his scoring. He won't have to handle the ball as much any more, so his turnovers will go down and his FTAs will also go down. But his scoring will continue to increase and his True shooting % will continue to stay above 60%. I also think that Kevin will play 70 or more games this season, but will probably still get injured for a few games at a time, because he does have a frail frame.
Random Prediction: Kevin will make the Three Point shooting contest. And win.
Spencer Hawes: 35 MPG, 17.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.5 BPG, .476 FG%, .365 3P%
Spencer is ready to become a focal point of the offense. He's got range, a decent low-post game that reminds of the crafty moves of Vlade Divac, and now he has some experience. Westphal has expressed a desire to see Spencer in the low-post more, as well as drawing more free throw attempts, and raising his field goal percentage. But not only does Spencer have to be a main cog on offense, he also needs to be a leader on defense, and his blocks at least should go up, as well as having his fouls go down. Being the tallest guy on the roster, he will see all of his minutes at the Center position, and he'll get plenty of time there too, without any real backup.
Random Prediction: Spencer will lead the team in technical fouls.
Jason Thompson: 32 MPG, 13.8 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, .9 BPG, .510 FG%, 3.2 PF
Jason probably won't see as much improvement in his scoring as Spencer will, but he will come into his own as a rebounder, and his field goal percentage should grow above 50% as he could score a lot on putbacks. His defense and footwork also should improve, and that will help with limiting his personal foul trouble, and he probably won't lead the league in that category again. JT will also see substantial time at Center, probably for 12-13 minutes a night while Spencer rests.
Random Prediction: JT will earn his college nickname of Mr. Double-Double back.
Donte Greene: 19 MPG, 8.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, .9 APG, .8 SPG, .333 3P%, .468 FG%
These stats for Donte next year are copied almost exactly from the player I believe he has the potential to be: Rashard Lewis, in his 2nd year of the NBA. I also think that Donte will crack the regular rotation this year, and become one of the better defenders on the team. His overall field goal percentage will go up because he will take fewer shots from long range and use his athletic ability to get to the rim more often. His three-point percentage will still be pretty bad for the amount that he will take, but he will make more of them due to taking smarter shots.
Random Prediction: Donte drops 20+ multiple times
Francisco Garcia: 28 MPG, 13.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.0 BPG .400 3P%
Cisco won't see quite as much playing time this year because of the glut of wings that the Kings now employ, and also because I believe that Martin will be much healthier this season and Cisco won't log so many 36+ minute nights having to start in Martin's place. The Cisco experiment as a point guard is probably over for good now, and he'll be used more of as a scorer now, and paired with Kevin and Tyreke, offers the Kings a dangerous drive-and-kick option.
Random Prediction: Cisco hits a game winner.
Andres Nocioni: 30 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, .380 3P%
Nocioni will likely continue to man the starting position as of now, but I don't believe he will continue to shoot three-pointers quite as well as he did with the Kings last year, a rate of 44%, almost 7 percentage points higher than his career average. Still he'll be quite good from there, and the Kings could field a line-up consisting of Spencer, Noc, Cisco, Martin, and 'Reke to utilize the dribble-drive system of play that could be quite effective. Noc will spend a bit of time playing the 4 due to the lack of size on the Kings roster.
Random Prediction: Nocioni leads the team in Personal Fouls.
Beno Udrih: 28 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, .350 3P%
Beno is not very happy with the team right now. After an entire off-season of hearing about how the Kings need a new point guard, the Kings did just that, selecting Tyreke Evans with the #4 pick. Not only that but they picked up Sergio as well. Beno is definitely not feeling the love. And we all know what happens when Beno isn't happy. He mopes. He will still get minutes, to try to show off some skill so that we avoid Kenny Thomas 2.0, but his production will slide a bit from last year, although his three-point percentage will go up.
Random Prediction: Beno becomes the least-favorite King by default at the end of the season.
Kenny Thomas: 0 MPG, 0 PPG, 0 RPG, $8,700,000
Random Prediction: Woof.
Kings Prediction: 28-54
While there will be many more losses than wins this year, there will be a renewed sense of hope, as the Kings improve by 11 games with a young group, and end up with the 4th worst record in the NBA, and the Ping Pong balls are favorable to the Kings who land the #2 pick in the upcoming draft.
The Kings will have three players present for the All-Star Break: Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson will be in the Rookie-Sophomore game and Kevin Martin will appear in the 3-Point Shootout. He will also win.
Also, the Maloofs will NOT file for relocation by the March deadline after getting continued support from Mayor Kevin Johnson, but the Cal Expo plan will be all but abandoned, and attention will instead focus on Natomas and the Railyards.
Kenny Thomas will not be traded by the deadline and instead the organization will simply let his contract expire at the end of the year.
- Best Record in West: Los Angeles Lakers 64-18
- Best Record in East: Orlando Magic 62-20
- Worst Record in West: Memphis Grizzlies 25-57
- Worst Record in East: New Jersey Nets 26-56
- Biggest Record Increase: Washington Wizards
- Biggest Record Decrease: New Jersey Nets
- MVP: Chris Paul
- Coach of the Year: Rick Adelman
- Rookie of the Year: Blake Griffin (17.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.3 BPG)
- Executive of the Year: Bryan Colangelo
- Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James
- Most Improved Player: Aaron Brooks
- 6th Man of the Year: Allen Iverson
- All-Rookie Team:
- Jonny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Earl Clark, Blake Griffin
- All-NBA Team:
- Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard
- All-Star MVP: Dwyane Wade
- Rookie-Sophomore MVP: OJ Mayo
- 3 Point Shootout Winner: Kevin Martin
- Dunk Contest Winner: LeBron James (Its a no-brainer. If he enters, the NBA will rig it for him)
- NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs v. Orlando Magic
- NBA Champions: San Antonio Spurs in 7
- Finals MVP: Tony Parker
- West All-Star Team:
- Starters: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudamire, Tim Duncan
- Bench: Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Richard Jefferson, Luis Scola
- East All-Star Team:
- Starters: Devin Harris, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard
- Bench: Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Vince Carter, Danny Granger, Paul Pierce, Rashard Lewis, Kevin Garnett
- East wins 135-128
- Biggest Name traded by Trade Deadline: Amar'e Stoudamire
Well there are my predictions. We'll check up at the end of the year to see how I did. Feel free to commence with ripping it apart or yelling at me for clearly withholding on the next part of Doratio Kane in order to frustrate AnotherStupidSN. Also, feel free to make your own predictions, which I will add to the FanPost and we'll see if anything comes true at the end of the year.
- MustangMBS - Tyreke wins RoY and Kings win 35 games.