If you do not enjoy bragging, you might as well stop reading now.
From time to time, I need to go out of my way to remind people that I am one of the better prognosticators out there. It lends credibility to future predictions and opinions. It also gives any readers heading to Las Vegas some free tips.
Now for the revealing.
I defy you to find me an expert out there that nailed all 16 teams.
It was not just the almost 94 percent correct playoff prediction that stood out. It was the number of teams I either nailed perfectly, was off by only one spot in the standings or a still good two spots in the standings.
I nailed the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors exactly. I am about to let you know why most of those were exceptional predictions.
The Bulls and Heat predictions were connected. Almost everyone had one team in first place in the Eastern Conference with the other team finishing in second place. The problem for most prognosticators was that they went with the Heat for the top spot. I knew better. The Bulls ended up with the top seed despite the fact Derrick Rose was hurt for a good chunk of the year. It showed what I already knew: the Bulls roster was better constructed and deeper. Big win for me.
Milwaukee was a trendy pick to sneak into the playoffs. I thought they would be decent, but would fall just short of the playoffs due to their subpar talent at the wing positions.
Utah was without a doubt my best prediction. Most people had them knee deep in the lottery. When I looked at them I saw a team with quality depth down low with Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Speaking of Kanter he had a really solid rookie year in limited minutes. He was a player I touted in my offseason plan for the Cavaliers last summer.
The Jazz also took another player I touted in that article with their second lottery pick in Alec Burks, who went on to have a solid rookie year as well in limited minutes. I still stand by everything I said about the Cavaliers butchering this past offseason. I could go off on a long tangent type rant, but I will leave that for another time. My eye for talent saw them nabbing that last playoff spot in the Western Conference when no one else believed in them.
Minnesota was supposed to be even worse than Utah by most prognosticators' predictions. I heard they were going to contend for the top pick in the lottery. I saw all of that as crazy talk. They were too young to be legit contenders, but I loved Kevin Love and thought the additions of Rubio and Derrick Williams would also help exceed most people's predictions. I was right.
Golden State was the last team I had a perfect prediction for. Unfortunately for me, there was nothing special about that prediction in my opinion. I saw a bad team and the Warriors lived down to my expectations for them.
Three of those team predictions stood out to me.
Indiana and Memphis were two teams that were pegged as bottom-tier playoff teams. I liked what I saw with both of those teams more than the majority, and neither team disappointed me.
Finally my beloved Cavaliers. In far too many preseason conversations, fellow Cavaliers fans said they could see them sneaking into the playoffs. I said they would end up as one of the worst teams in the league. Some of us think with out hearts and some of us think with our head. By now you should know which camp I fall into.
Please keep all of this in mind when I write my offseason strategy guide sometime in June. I am right far more often than I am wrong. This offseason will be critical for the future of the Cavaliers.
The only team I predicted would make the playoffs that failed me was the Portland Trail Blazers. They were sabotaged by injuries and then wisely dealt Gerald Wallace to the Nets for a likely high draft pick after they had dropped out of the top eight spots in the Western Conference. Their failure can be easily explained.
The team that took their place, the Denver Nuggets, was predicted to finish in ninth place by me. I thought they would barely miss, but at least I recognized them as a decent team in the first place. It was not like a team I did not see coming at all fooled me.