After experiencing one of the best NBA Finals ever, the 2011-2012 NBA Season looks to be a very exciting one. With the draft now completed, we can look forward to predict next year's contenders for the NBA Title.
The 2011 NBA Draft wasn't one of the bigger ones in past years. Kyrie Irving of
Duke was picked by Cleveland and Irving had only played 11 games for his entire
college career. It wasn't a draft where there were any definite superstars.
It's not to say that any of these players can't make an impact on the teams
that drafted them but their were no "can't miss picks".
Let's take a look at some of the contenders in the upcoming year and possibly
see if we can possibly find some value in any future NBA betting propositions, that is if the NBA Lockout doesn't take place.
The Miami Heat - 5/2
NBA odds makers have currently installed the Miami Heat as the heavy favorite to win the
championship according to Bodog. I'm not surprised that they're the favorites.
They came within a couple of games with a newly developed team of taking the
title. What I'm surprised about is how heavily favored that they are.
This is a
team with 2 thoroughbreds in Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. They also have
another very good player at an important position in Chris Bosh. However, Miami
proved that they were incapable of dealing with the Dallas Mavericks. This was
no fluke. Miami lacks depth as a team.
Their bench finally made an appearance
late in the playoffs but the Mavericks simply outclassed them. It was all about
experience. If the odds were defined by a measure of pure talent of the team's
superstars, then I would understand such an extreme separation from the rest of
Let's face it, big players come up big at crucial moments of the game. Lebron
James in particular, disappeared in many 4th quarters in the finals. That's not
to say that Lebron isn't a "big time player". At this point, he's the
best player in the NBA but the pressure from the fans, the Mavericks, and the
pressure that he put upon himself was too much for him to handle in
Miami has acquired point guard Norris Cole from Cleveland
State with the 28th pick of the draft. He is slight in build but is known for
his athleticism. Cole should fit in well with a Heat team that needs some depth
and a point guard..
Expect the Miami Heat to have a similar season to the one that they had last year.
It's a matter of can they come up in the big spots? I don't expect Dallas to
just be satisfied with winning 1 title and riding off into the sunset.
Miami find a way to counteract the attack of the Dallas Mavericks offense and
defense? This is a big year for Lebron James, as he hasn't won a title. If he
doesn't win this year, he won't be looked at the same as a player and expect
the Heat to make wholesale changes.
Los Angeles Lakers - 11/2
I'm very low on the Los Angeles Lakers as they made an abrupt exit in the playoffs this
past season. Kobe Bryant is starting to show some age. He's been compared to
Michael Jordan but I don't remember M.J. declining the way that Kobe did in the
playoffs and for part of last year. Pau Gasol was the 2nd best "Gasol"
in the playoffs. I actually thought that his brother Marc had a much better
post season than he did.
Phil Jackson would get frustrated and yell at Gasol
often. Gasol has always been a great complimentary player. He's the main reason
why the Lakers won their last couple of rings, Gasol was the missing piece and
Kobe Bryant has always acknowledged that fact. After trade talks, Andrew Bynum
came on like a ball of thunder. The Lakers will need Bynum to keep up that kind
of intensity without taking off his shirt after a defeat.
Lamar Odom had a great season but I think the all-star snub really affected him
greatly. He wasn't nearly the player that he was before the all star game.
Possibly, Hollywood and reality shows have taken a slight toll on Lamar as he
seems to be consumed with many different things. Odom is still a good
complimentary player that can handle the ball, shoot, and is a a good passer.
LA has talked about trading Lamar. It will be interesting to see how that plays
out. Point guard Derek Fisher has proven that he's had a nice career but it''s
time to move on.
The Lakers have moved on as they drafted point guard Darius Morris from
Michigan. Morris was picked up in the 2nd round and the Lakers were lucky to
find him there. Morris is a good passer that needs to work on shot selection.
This is definitely a great pickup for LA and their new head coach Mike Brown.
Overall, I think that the Lakers have already hit their peak. Expect them to
have a productive season but don't expect them to be carrying the championship
Chicago Bulls - 13/2
The Chicago Bulls did everything right last season expect for winning the
title. They remind of a team like the Utah Jazz in the past. They would always
play very well all season but didn't have what it took to be a championship
team. After watching the Bulls against the Heat in the Conference Finals, I've
come to that realization. Their roster is filled with young talented stars.
They were a deeper team than Miami and if you matched roster to roster, you would
give them the edge.
Although he was the league's MVP, point guard Derrick Rose is still very young
and when it came to crunchtime, he folded. In my opinion, he's one of those
players that's hit his maximum level of production and I don't think that he could
get any better. He looked scared as he missed a crucial free throw in the
conference finals elimination game. Great players don't have that look.
It was disappointing to see the Bulls go down that way. I think that they have
all of the pieces at each position to be a complete top level basketball team.
There's not much to say. They had the perfect year and were unable to defeat a
team that's basically 3 players deep in the Miami Heat.
The Bulls picked up Serbian forward Nikola Mirotic. He's supposed to be one of
the best players in the draft. The problem is that he won't be playing for
Chicago anytime soon. Expect the Bulls to drop off slightly but still have
another productive season. Don't expect them to make it to the finals. They had
the perfect opportunity and opportunites are difficult to come by.
Oklahoma City Thunder - 15/2
This is a team that's young and talented. I could see an NBA title in their
future, but not just yet. Against Dallas, superstar point guard Russell
Westbrook proved that he still needs improvement. When you go up against a
veteran team that need's to win now like Dallas, the chinks in the armor start
to show and they did with Westbrook.
He has a bright future. He's lightening
quick but needs to combine intelligence and athleticism instead of completely
counting on his athletic ability alone. Aside from needing to put on some
weight, not much more could be expected from Kevin Durant. He's soft but he's a
highly skilled offensive player. It would serve him well to take lessons from
Dirk Nowitzki who had the same issue earlier in his career.
The man behind the beard James Harden, isn't the best player on the team but
he's the most clutch player. Harden has a complete game and the Thunder need to
give Harden more playing time. he was fantastic in the playoffs. Jeff Van Gundy
called Harden his favorite player and it's easy to see why. Harden just needs
to play. His mental game is second to none.
The Thunder picked up point guard Reggie Jackson out of Boston College in the
draft. He's similar to Russell Westbrook. Jackson fits right in with a young
team with athleticism. I think that it's a great pick and he should fit in very
well with OKC.
Oklahoma City is a tricky team. They're not ready to win a title yet, but if
any teams in the Western Conference slip up, the Thunder easily advance to the
finals. I see them being a great matchup against Miami. Both teams are very
athletic. This isn't a team that Wade and James would want to see in the NBA
finals but might see in the very near future. James Harden is the key to this
team's success. They were a difficult "out" last season and will
remain the same.
Dallas Mavericks - 9/1
There has been a line change recently with Dallas. I had my eye on them after
the finals and I was thinking of the great value that they were at 11/1 on
Bodog. The public must be thinking so also. The only thing that has changed
with Dallas is that they're a year older. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry are
still young enough to win another title.
Yes, it's now or never for the Mavs
because the clock is ticking. Jason Kidd expressed an interest to play another
3 years! I was pretty down on Kidd for passing on shots but I read that he was
retaught by a specialist because his shootinng form was very poor. I must say,
when a crucial bucket needed to be hit and Kidd was left alone, he hit it.
There are a lot of veterans on this team unlike most of the other contenders.
There's a definite urgency to win now and that benefits Dallas.
J.J. Barea might be a small man but is one of the main figures to the Mavs
success. People underestimate his ability to change a game when he has
confidence. In the beginning of the finals, he didn't have the confidence. As
the finals progressed, Barea's play picked up and was one of the main reasons
why the Mavericks won. Dirk Nowitzki had a poor shooting game in the clincher
The veterans, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and Shawn Marion, are the team.
Marion comes up with some very clutch plays in where he's hustling and just
thinking on his feet, using his experience. Jason Terry can come off the bench
cold and hit pivotal shots time and time again. He got the championship tattoo
early and he also picked up the much awaited ring and title. Terry is the
perfect complimentary player to Dirk Nowitzki.
Dirk Nowitzki is a special player. I won't leave Ray Allen out, but the two
hardest working players in the NBA are Dirk Nowitzki and Ray Allen. Do you
notice that they both have won NBA titles? These are the type of players that
spend endless amount of time on their game practicing, before and after the
games. It's all about repitition. Ray Allen would come to the Knicks games so
early that he'd be practicing on the court with the Knicks City Dancers.
Dirk Nowitzki is the same way. He practices endlessly with his mentor-coach
from Germany. How many times did the camera flash to the coach in the stands?
There's a reason why. Because he spent half of Dirk's life molding him into one
of the 15-20 greatest basketball players of all time. (some say top 10).
has validated the work and his career with an NBA Title. He never looks for the
spotlight. He practices different ways to alter his shot and with his size,
he's unstoppable. Nowitzki is simply automatic from the free throw line in any
clutch game. Do you think that Dirk would miss the free throw that Derrick Rose
missed? You could mortgage your house that he wouldn't.
He was at a
disadvantage with a torn tendon on his non shooting hand and he still found a
way to play. He had a virus another game and he still played. Neither Wade or
James, or their mimicking his sickness could stop him. Do you think that they
can stop him when he's 100% ? It a psychological thing now. He's gotten to the
Heat and you might possibly see a rematch in the 2011-2012 NBA Finals between
Miami and Dallas.
Dallas also has the best owner in the game in Marc Cuban. Dallas also picked up
Rudy Fernandez from Portland in return for their draft pick. This team is here
to win now and is a bargain at 9/1 odds. Dirk Nowitzki is a player that loves
the game. He'll be seeking to win back to back titles and he has a very good
chance of doing so.
Boston Celtics - 12/1
The Boston Celtics destroyed the New York Knicks in the playoffs and then ran
into a buzzsaw in the Miami Heat. The Celtics are a veteran team with a great
young point guard in Rajon Rondo. They can beat any team on any given day.
Their timeframe for a championship is closing but it's not completely closed
shut. Miami isn't a good matchup for them. They would have to hope for either
the Heat to be upset by a team or demoralized from their loss in the 2010-2011
I don't see them having any other chance of getting around the
fresh legs of Miami. Boston did have their chances in their series with the
Heat but part of the game is mental and that series had to leave a lasting
impression on the Celtics. Look for Boston to be in the mix and make things
The Celtics are also looking to improve their roster with youth when they went
with 2 selections from Purdue in the NBA Draft. They picked up power forward
JaJuan Johnson in the 1st round and shooting guard E'Twaun Moore in the
2nd round. Two solid selections and Johnson would possibly be a more polished
version of Glen Davis.
I'm very high on Oklahoma City in the upcoming years but I think we see a
repeat in the finals of Dallas vs. Miami with the same outcome. Dirk Nowitzki
and the rest of the Dallas veterans match up well against the Heat and know
that their time is now. The Heat will have plenty of opportunities to win
titles if they keep themselves together mentally and add some depth to their
team. Look for the Mavericks to win back to back NBA titles.
Pick - Dallas 9/1