Kassandra

Oct 29

  
Here it is; another season is upon us.

The onset of this season comes with promise, but with a reality check. Most don't see the Blazers as a playoff team, and likely rightfully so. The promise is that of a new start. There's a new coach, new players and revamped returning vets. Perhaps the Blazers can surprise some this year. Perhaps against all odds, the Blazers can claim one of those eight coveted Western Conference playoff spots. Stranger things have happened.

Earlier this evening, I viewed Trail Blazers Courtside, marveling at the predictions of Mike Barrett, Mike Rice, Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey. It's difficult to agree or disagree with any of them. There were so many player moves, as well as a deep draft which is likely to keep even the best prognisticators guessing. So, you may ask, "Are you going to make your own predictions, Kassandra?"

Oh, did you really need to ask? I'm not one to shy away from such an opportunity. Where you agree or disagree, feel free to submit your comment below. Here goes:

Eastern Conference Playoff Seedings
1. Heat (hard to argue with this one).
2. Pacers (didn't really lose much; ready for next step).
3. Bulls (don't count out D-Rose & the front-line toughness).
4. Celtics (got a little younger & Jason Terry will be big for them).
5. Hawks (they always seem to hang around).
6. Knicks (they'll be there, but not all that impressively).
7. Bucks (they take the next step).
8. Nets (may be the new darlings of the east, but 8th is the best they do).

Derrick Rose's Bulls will battle LeBron James' Heat in the east.

Western Conference Playoff Seedings
1. Thunder (Martin will fill in for Harden & they'll be just fine).
2. Clippers (they got deeper & win the battle of Los Angeles).
3. Lakers (didn't upgrade from Bynum to Howard as much as many think).
4. Spurs (never count them out, plus they play in a weak division).
5. Nuggets (they'll be improved, but still claim just fifth).
6. Jazz (with four front line guys who could start, playoffs are inevitable).
7. Grizzlies (they're not that old, but their window may be closing).
8. Warriors (they slip in their over Rockets, Timberwolves, Mavericks & Blazers).

First Round
Heat over Nets
Pacers over Bucks
Bulls over Knicks
Celtics over Hawks
Thunder over Warriors
Clippers over Grizzlies
Lakers over Jazz
Nuggets over Spurs

Conference Semifinals
Heat over Celtics
Bulls over Pacers
Thunder over Nuggets
Lakers over Clippers

Conference Finals
Heat over Bulls
Thunder over Lakers

NBA Finals
Heat over Thunder

Individual Honors
Most Valuable Player -- Kevin Durant
Finals MVP -- LeBron James
Defensive MVP -- Joakim Noah
Most Improved Player -- Enes Kanter
Rookie of the Year -- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Coach of the Year -- Tyrone Corbin

Yes, I understand Damian Lillard is the local and sentimental favorite for rookie of the year, but MKG will lead the Bobcats out of the depths of obscurity (they'll win about 27 games this season and, before you argue -- trust me, they will).

BLAZERS WINS

Mark my words, the Portland Trail Blazers will win 39 games this season. This may seem a tad high, but perhaps not too much. The team may struggle at the beginning of the season, but as they come together, learn to play with each other under Terry Stotts' system and improve individually, I think there is a lot of potential.

The Blazers will be strong at home, going 30-11, while seeing some struggles on the road, ending with a 9-32 on the road. One thing I'll say is the same thing most in the BlazerNation are saying: This team will be exciting to watch.

BLAZER TO WATCH

Of course, with this being my 88th blog on the Blogger Network, I'd be remiss in failing to mention the money man who wears that very number on his jersey. I'm designating Nicolas as my Blazer to watch.

Will Nicolas Batum take his game to the next level this season?

Nicolas enters his fifth season and perhaps the one with the most pressure on him given his new contract. But actually, money aside, this is a new start for Nicolas. He is the clear number two option behind LaMarcus. It seems Nicolas' role is much better defined this year and that he will be expected to step into it and thrive.

I'm generally not one to criticize former Blazers players or coaches (sans Raymond Felton), but I had felt for quite a while that Nicolas was being -- and would continue to be -- stifled with Nate MacMillan as head coach. There were few if any plays specifically drawn up for him, but when you've built a team around Brandon Roy, your other wing player isn't going to get a lot of touches.

That will change this year under Terry Stotts. I believe and have always believed Nicolas is capable of great things and this year he will see some of those things realized. I believe this is the year he truly turns the corner.

So there it is. My own season prognostications for the upcoming season. As I wrote earlier, I'm sure there will be agreements and disagreements. What are yours?

~ KMM

In Kassandra's Words features periodic blogs throughout the year. Comments and questions are welcome and encouraged. Seasons begin and end; players come and go; our Blazers are forever. Please follow on twitter: @PDXKass

7 Comments

  1. Good stuff as usual. Thanks.

    by commontongue on 10/30/2012 10:58 AM
  2. I knew you would come out with a blog like this! I cannot really disagree but I think 37 wins is what I would predict. I am surprised you didn't say any Blazer players were going to win the individual awards. That is proof you are keeping it real. Cool blog.

    by Angi on 10/30/2012 12:36 PM
  3. Hey Miss Kassandra, you put out your Blog while I was bowling.
    The only disagreement I might have is I think Philly will be in and the Knicks will be out, But that is because Stoudemire Knee might be a bigger issues then predicted.
    I don't know about the rest, but I will be rooting for DLill, because he does have a chance.
    I agree with you about starting slow and finishing strong, but will have to go with little sis on the wins; but hey who knows?

    by Hg on 10/30/2012 2:35 PM
  4. Good read! Personally I'm always really optimistic when it comes to the blazers and this season, maybe even more so. I think our core players will all see an upsurge in production and Stotts system will put players in a position to excell. I think our bench will be the key to success and take half a season to gell but my upside has us winning 41 games and maybe getting the 6th seed and 2nd round of the playoffs. I know that's very generous in most people's view but I can see it and hope Stotts is the genius I project him to be.

    by riverman on 10/30/2012 4:46 PM
  5. Hey Miss Kassandra, how about the Mavs topping the Lakers last night, which may be the beginning of the upgrade from bynum to Howard isn't all that great, U have to make your free throws.
    We can beat the lakers if we run run run and then run some more. If Kobe's foot is sore, maybe Batum can step on it a few times☺

    by Hg on 10/31/2012 3:40 AM
  6. @commontongue: thanks. couldn't let the season start without it!

    @Angi: 37 wins is possible; i just see an upswing during the second half of the season. would love Damian to win rookie of the year -- and he might -- just think MKG will have a big impact for the Bobcats.

    @Hg: you were bowling when i put out my blog! i stand by what i wrote. even with the Knicks, it doesn't matter what happens to Amar'e ... Felton will lead them to the playoffs! ok, maybe not. the truth is, i just couldn't lave them out. the Lakers will be vulnerable at times. they've already lost to the Clippers. sure, maybe they'll get better as the season goes along, but so will other teams ... and yes, injuries will catch up with the Lakers this season.

    @riverman: thanks for the comment! i would love to go 41-41 this year. i think that would be an improvement over most projections. we are starting off well, i think. i would be absolutely ecstatic if we got through these first dozen games at .500. kind of like they say, success breeds success. let's hope so.

    ~ KMM

    by Kassandra on 11/4/2012 9:11 PM
  7. Hey Miss Kassandra: they just got the the subscribe to comments fixed so I am a little slow at responding, It is looking like you are right on about the NYK. That just makes me more down on Felton. As lasts nights game against the Clippers makes me more down on Jamal. because of what they could have brought last year. Now regardless of how good they play, I will never have any respect for them.
    Thank you for your respond as I know you are a might busy.

    by Hg on 11/9/2012 6:22 AM
  1. Leave a comment

PLEASE NOTE:
The views expressed on the Trail Blazers Blogger Network represent those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of the Trail Blazers organization, the NBA, or any other NBA team.

Blog Contributors

Most Commented

The most commented posts in the past month

Recently Updated Blogs

    Other Blogs Around the Network
  1. MichaelClark
    Nigeria Visa UK
    Posted in MichaelClark's Blog on Sep 01

Blog Archives