Whitaker's 2009-10 NBA Predictions

Nolan HackContributor IOctober 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  (L-R) Shannon Brown, Kobe Bryant and Trevor Ariza of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate on stage during the 2009 NBA Championship Victory Parade and rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on June 17, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Note: The first couple days of games did not influence my predictions. They were set before Tuesday night, but I hadn't finished the synopsis of the predictions.


Predicted Eastern Conference Standing

1) Orlando Magic
2) Cleveland Cavaliers
3) Boston Celtics
4) Atlanta Hawks
5) Washington Wizards
6) Toronto Raptors
7) Miami Heat
8) Detroit Pistons
9) Chicago Bulls
10) Philadelphia 76 ers
11) Indiana Pac ers
12) Charlotte Bobcats
13) Milwaukee Bucks
14) New York Knicks
15) New Jersey Nets

Eastern Conference Playoffs

First Rou nd
1 Magic
8 Pistons

Magic in five—This is the year the Magic finally get over the hump and beat Mo-Town, well mainly because Rasheed Wallace is hurting Orlando from a different area code.

4 Hawks
5 Wizards
Hawks in seven—This would be a great series if it happens.  These two teams are so evenly matched, bo th play good defense, bo th ha ve multiple stars, bo th ha ve solid dep th , a nd bo th ha ve good coaching. 


What puts the ATL over the edge is its backcourt, Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, a nd now Jamal Crawford.   Compare that to Gilbert Arenas, Mike Miller, a nd Randy Foye, it’s clearly and advantage for Atlanta.  The Hawks will ha ve too much fire power in the backcourt which will be too much for the Wiz to handle, a nd will in the e nd gi ve the Hawks, the edge in this series.

2 Cavaliers
7 Heat
Cavs in six—This is the series everybody wanted to see last season. The Heat play better D than people gi ve them credit for, which will make this a series.  A nd the Lebron vs. D-Wade matchup will be great to watch. But seeing that Lebron is a better player a nd the Cavs are a better team, they will win this series.

3 Celtics
6 Raptors
Celtics in five—The Raptors offensi ve fire power may cause them to get hot for a game a nd get one nor th of the border.  The Celtics, however, ha ve something the Raptors don't; defense. Boston will to be way too much for the possibly soon-to-be Chris Bosh-less (2010 Free Agency) Raptors to deal wi th .

East Semis
1 Magic
4 Hawks
My Pick—The Magic ha ve str aight out owned Atlanta of late, even as recently as the final pre season game this year.  Orlando also beat them 3-1 in the season series last year, including a humiliating Hawks loss, in Orlando, where the Magic were up as many as 50 points, in the e nd winning the game 121-87

2 Cavs
3 Celtics
My Pick—Boston in six—Lebron James will keep this series relatively close, but the Celtics remarkable depth will but them over the top.

Eastern Conference Finals
1 Magic
3 Celtics
My Pick—Celtics in six—The only player in the world that can guard Dwight Howard str aight up is on the Boston Celtics. His name is Kendrick Perkins. That, along wi th the obvious revenge factor, will be the difference here. Plus, for whatever reason, new Celtic Rasheed Wallace always plays great basketball against the Orlando Magic

Predicted Western Conference Standings

1) Los Angeles Lak ers
2) San Antonio Spurs
3) Portland Trailblaz ers
4) Denver Nuggets
5) Dallas Mavericks
6) Utah Jazz
7) Los Angeles Clipp ers
8) New Orleans Hornets
9) Golden State Warriors
10) Phoenix  Suns
11) Oklahoma City Thunder
12) Memphis Grizzlies
13) Houston Rockets
14) Minnesota Timberwolves
15) Sacremento Kings

Western Conference Playoffs

First Rou nd
1 Lak ers
8 Hornets
My Pick—Lak ers in five—Chris Paul won't allow his team to get swept, Kobe Bryant won't allow his team to lose twice in the first rou nd .

4 Nuggets
5 Mavericks
My Pick—Nuggets in seven—This matchup happened last year in the second rou nd .  The Nuggets, aside from a blown call in Game 3 , dominated the Mavs . Wi th the additions the Mavs made, a nd wi th improvements because of those moves, it will be a much closer series, but the winner stays the same.

2 Spurs
7 Clipp ers
My Pick—Spurs sweep—The Spurs will be too seasoned, too strong, for a young, but very talented Clipper team

3 Blaz ers
6 Jazz
My Pick—Blazers in five—Lamarcus Aldridge might go for 25 a night in this series, because of the weakness in this Utah team, interior defense. That, along with Brandon Roy, will be too tough for any of Utah's defenders to guard. the Blazers should coast in this series.

West Semis
1 Lak ers
4 Nuggets
My Pick—Lak ers in five—The Lak ers got better in terms of personnel, the Nuggets didn't. Furthermore, the Lak ers beat this same Denver team in the WCF , in six games last year . Yeah, um, Lakers win this series. No question.

2 Spurs
3 Blaz ers
My Pick—Spurs in six—This would ha ve a chance to be a great series, a young up a nd coming team wi th loads of talent a nd desire, against a team that's won four NBA Titles in the last decade. The Spurs, even will all that time passed, are stacked top to bottom.

Granted so are the Blaz ers , but to a lesser extent. Case in point, best player off Portland's bench is Andre Miller, a nd the Spurs lead off wi th Spurs hero, champion, a nd all-star Manu Ginobli . Would be a great series, but the Blaz ers aren't “there” yet, while Spurs ha ve already been “there” a nd are ready to get back again.

Western Conference Finals

1 Lak ers
2 Spurs
My Pick—Lakers in 7—Hopefully everybody stays healthy, and we can see what we used to see earlier in the decade, a straight out slug fest between the two best NBA teams of  the last decade or so, let alone in the history of the Western Conference.  The Lakers are younger, stronger, and amazingly hungrier, and they will win this series in one for the ages.

2010 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

My Pick—Celtics in seven—If you know anything about the history of the NBA (or sports for that matter), you know there hasn't been a team that has owned another in more of a high profile fashion.  Boston is 9-2 against L.A. in playoff series overall (winning eight out of the first eight Celtic- Laker series). The Celtics ha ve owned more of an ownership of this franchise than Jack Kent Cooke a nd Jerry Buss . In 2009 the Celtics ha ve the best starting fi ve in the NBA a nd one of the best benches as well, while the Lak ers problems at the point a nd off the bench will gi ve Laker Nation another green- eyed June.

2009-10 NBA Awards

MVP—Dwight Howard—Magic—I don't know if he will deserve it or not, but seeing he's going to go for 20, 14, and three blocks most likely, and his team will probably go for 60 games, Superman would be the guy to get the hardware.

DPOY HowardThis award I know he will deser ve , just like he did last year.  Howard is undoubtedly the best defensi ve player in the free world, a nd will win this thing for years to come.

Sixth Man of the Year—Ben Gordon—Pistons—He's been the best sixth man in the league for a while now, and he gets another chance to showcase that, backing up Richard Hamilton. This will make Gordon's job that much easier, as he will help extend the Pistons playoff streak.

Executi ve of the Year—Otis Smith—Magic—No one did a better job in the off-season of getting talent, keeping talent, a nd just making his basketball team better. Most notably, when Magic mainstay, Hedo Turkoglu, spurned the Magic so he can be overpaid nor th of the border, Smith let him walk and improved his team elsewhere. Joining the team this year is Vince Carter, Matt Barnes, Brandon pass and a pretty nice young player in Ryan Anderson.

Coach of the Year—Stan Van Gundy—Magic—Synopsis (see previous Magic points).

Most Improved Player—Gilbert Arenas —Wizards—Agent Zero is back a nd hopefully better than ever. If he stays healthy, he's a lock for most improved. This guy was a top 10 player when he was healthy.  We'll see where he fits in that discussion after the season ends, but one thing is for sure, if he plays 65 plus this year, he's got this award on lockdown .

All-NBA Teams
1st Team

C Dwight Howard—Magic

F Tim Duncan—Spurs
F Lebron James —Cavs

G Kobe Bryant—Lakers

G Dwayne Wade—Heat

2nd Team
C Al Jefferson —Timberwolves 
F Chris Bosh—Raptors
F Danny Granger—Pacers

G Brandon Roy—Blazers
G Chris Paul—Hornets

3rd Team
C David Lee—Knicks
F Dirk Nowitzki—Mavs

F Carmelo Anthony—Nuggets

G Devin Harris —Nets
G Derron Williams—Jazz

All-NBA Defensive Teams

1st Team
C Dwight Howard—Magic
F Lebron James—Cavs

F Gerald Wallace —Bobcats

G Kobe Bryant—Lakers

G Dwayne Wade—Heat

2nd Team
C Kendrick Perkins —Celtics
F Tim Duncan—Spurs

F Ron Artest—Lakers

G Trevor Ariza—Rockets
G Rajon Rondo—Celtics