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NBA Playoff Preview (A couple days late) and NBA Talk
Sorry for my tardiness but I was busy towards the end of last week and couldn't spend the time I wanted to on writing this. But here we are now and my predictions have not changed based on the first weekend of games.
Before I get into teams and games, lets talk about some macro topics.
Resting Players- What I dislike is people who complain about things when they could be spending that time coming up with solutions. Everyone hates resting but I haven't heard many solutions to the problem. And here is why. There really isn't a solution. The money made by players, coaches, and front office people is so great that any individual game does not matter with respect to "the process" of winning a championship. The health of a player making $25 million is much more important than winning or losing one game, or 3 games, or for that matter 20 games. As long as a team is in the playoffs in a seed they are comfortable with, then the amount of games they win is irrelevant if the team is completely rested and healthy. And they want Adam Silver to incur fines or take draft picks or whatever if players are sat. Well then they will just put those players on an injury report or say they are sick with food poisoning. No one can tell a guy how healthy he feels except himself. Let's watch how quickly the players union goes after the team that tries to force a player who says he is hurt, to play. But lets take it a step further, lets say the NBA hires doctors to give physicals and to check ups to try and stop them from making up injuries. Fine, then they dress, they don't warm up, and they sit on the bench. Or they start and play 20 seconds and there they played. Because I don't think we will ever get to a place where you can tell coaches how to coach and how many minutes you have to play a player in order to appease the sponsors and fans.
Unless! See I told you that solutions are what we need not complaints. So how about this. NBA contracts are broken up into 80 parts. Every time you play a game you make 1/80th of your total contract. "But there are 82 games!" you say. Thats right, so you get two rest games built into that contract. So we give you the two games rest and after that if you sit you don't get paid. So you can take rest games, but it means you lose a small bit of your contract. "So what about if you actually get hurt?" No problem, if you are hurt you can go in IR and you will still get paid, but if you do go on IR you must sit out, lets say, 4 games. Maybe 3, the idea is fluid. So if you are legitimately hurt, you don't lose any money and you get the rest you need to heal the injury. Boom.
Sidebar. The way to fix the NBA, and I mean really fix it is this. You take the entire salary cap for the entire NBA and put it in a pot. And divide that pot by how many games there are in a season. Now instead of getting a contract, you get a percent of a win. For instance Lebron may get 50% of a win, but your entire teams contract becomes 100% of a win. Then every time your team wins a game, you get money, lets say 1 million dollars, and that money is divided by the percent of a win you have negotiated. Obviously everyone would make a base salary, lets say $1 million per player, and the rest is based on your teams wins. #1 it completely gets rid of tanking, because no team is going to lose for draft picks when it costs them actual dollars. And you want intensity during the regular season, imagine if players were playing where the winner gets $100,00 and the loser gets zero. Those games might be a little more intense on Wednesday in December. And then each round of the playoffs the series prices would go up and up.
Anyway, on to the playoffs.
Warriors-Blazers- First off, C.J McCollum is the most underrated player in the NBA. The problem for the Blazers is they only have two guys who can score with the Nurkic injury. So lets get to the Warriors. If you don't think they are gonna win the title then your lying to yourself. Not only did they add the second best player in the world, but they are pissed off. Remember a year ago when people thought Curry was the best player in the league and then Lebron ended that discussion. Well now they added Durant and he immediately became their best player. So that drops Steph down to #3, at least. Anyway, I really believe they are pissed off and they want to show that last year was a fluke. So I predict they will lose 5 games or less the entire playoffs. I think one team may win 2 against them(don't know who), and everyone else win 1 or 0. I also think Durant wins finals MVP. Warriors in 4-5.
Spurs-Grizzlies- Everyone talks about what a great job David Fizdale did this year. Ummm they finished as the 7 seed last year and the 7 seed this year. And please don't give me injuries, Doc Rivers already tap-tapped that excuse since he got to the Clippers. You would think that Grizzlies would be a tough match up for the Spurs, but for some reason I just don't think they have it this year. Spurs-Rockets should be a great series and I have no idea who will win it. But first round I'm Spurs in 6.
Rockets-Thunder- I feel like this is a bad match up for the Thunder because of Beverly. He can match Westbrook's intensity, and even though Westbrook will probably put up big numbers, he won't do it efficiently. Sidebar again. Here are some fun facts about the year Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double for the season. (I heard it on the radio and looked it up). Did you know that the year Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double, averaging 30 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11 assists, he didn't win the MVP? I bet you didn't know that. Guess what else I bet you didn't know. Oscar Robertson did not finish second in the MVP voting either! He was third. So who was first and second? Only old people know the answers. First place was Bill Russell. He averaged 19 points, 23 rebounds and 4 assists. And guess who finished second? Wilt Chamberlain. Guess what his stats were? 50 points, 25 rebounds and 2 assists. And he got 9 of 82 first place votes for MVP. Crazy. Anyway, Harden has really taken advantage of the system put into place by Mike Diantoni who is my coach of the year winner. Basically he hired a defensive coach and he runs the offense. And its working. I think they beat the Thunder in 5 or 6.
Clippers-Jazz- Oh how Doc Rivers has tricked you all. He has done literally nothing since hired. Oh wait, as GM he has added his son who was about to be out of the league until his dad signed him. Then as a coach he has shoved Austin Rivers down Clippers fan's throats. He has given Austin a career at the expense of the Clippers. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. They are the most mentally weak team in the NBA. They make every game about the officials and it takes away the focus of the team on the game. Griffin flops, CP3 flops and they all whine and complain as soon as they don't get calls. And they really want to have a rivalry with the Warriors but there isn't one. The Warriors own them. And often own them by 40. I think the Clippers somehow win in 7 against the Jazz and then probably get swept by Golden State. Oh and Doc goes to bed every night praying that one of his stars gets hurt so he has an excuse when they underachieve yet again.
Celtics-Bulls- The Celtics are that guy that plays super hard every second of every game because they aren't that talented. And they maximize what they have. But then the playoffs get here and there is no next level. And everyone else has that next level and it evens the playing field. Brad Stevens did the same thing at Butler. He maximized the limited talent he had. But this league is won by stars. I think they will beat the Bulls in 7 but the Wizards series is a crap shoot.
Cavs-Pacers- Cavs will emerge from the East. And every time they lose everyone will freak out but it will be fine. What I want to talk about is Lebron's minutes. He is playing WAY too many minutes in the regular season. This is a classic problem for new head coaches and I was guilty of it last year in my first season. You don't trust your bench guys and you overplay your best players because you want to win every game. But look at the Spurs. Thats how Tim Duncan played til 40. Cut the minutes down, lose a few more games, but keep the long term health of your stars. And so maybe they are the 2 or 3 seed. Who cares. They are the favorite in the playoffs as long as he is healthy.
One more thing about this series. The end of Game 1 Paul George was double teamed when he crossed half court. This is what was done to Lebron when they played Dallas in the finals. When you have two NBA athletes running at you and your just passed half court there is no way you can dribble through both of them and get off a quality shot. So he passed, like Lebron passed, because it was the right play, and more importantly, the only play. And thats what Lebron did and everyone killed him. But there is no other play. The only person who shot those was Kobe, and spoiler alert, they didn't go in. Cavs in 5.
Raptors-Bucks- Everyone wants to anoint Giannis as the next coming. Well he came to the 6 seed. So lets calm down on this. I don't think they get out of this series. I have Toronto in 6 or 7. Giannis is a talent but they have no coaching and they play no defense.
Wizards-Hawks- Wizards in 5 or 6. No one cares.