NBA Preview: Season, Postseason, and Awards

Marcel SmithSenior Analyst IOctober 17, 2008

Eastern Conference Projected Standings:

1. Boston Celtics (56-26)

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31)

3. Detroit Pistons (50-32)

4. Orlando Magic (49-33) — fourth seed because they'll be division winner

5. Philadelphia 76ers (50-32)

6. Chicago Bulls (45-37)

7. Toronto Raptors (44-38)

8. Atlanta Hawks (41-41)

Just Missed The Cut:

9. Washington Wizards (38-44)

10. Miami Heat (36-56)

Western Conference Projected Standings:

1. Los Angeles Lakers (62-20)

2. New Orleans Hornets (57-25)

3. Houston Rockets (54-28)

4. Utah Jazz (53-29)

5. San Antonio Spurs (51-31)

6. Dallas Mavericks (49-33)

7. Portland Trailblazers (48-34)

8. Phoenix Suns (47-35)

Just Missed The Cut:

9. Los Angeles Clippers (41-41)

10. Denver Nuggets (40-42)

Worst Record in the League: Oklahoma City Thunder (19-63)

Western Conference Playoffs Predictions

First Round:

Lakers vs. Suns - Lakers in five games

Jazz vs. Spurs - Jazz in seven games

Rockets vs. Mavericks - Rockets in seven games

Hornets vs. Trailblazers - Hornets in seven games

Conference Semifinals:

Lakers vs. Jazz - Lakers in five games

Rockets vs. Hornets - Hornets in six games

Conference Finals:

Lakers vs. Hornets - Lakers in six games

Eastern Conference Playoffs Predictions

First Round:

Celtics vs. Hawks - Celtics in five games

Magic vs. 76ers - 76ers in six games

Cavaliers vs. Raptors - Cavaliers in five games

Pistons vs. Bulls - Pistons in six games

Conference Semifinals:

Celtics vs. 76ers - Celtics in seven games

Cavaliers vs. Pistons - Cavaliers in six games

Conference Finals:

Celtics vs. Cavaliers - Cavaliers in seven games

NBA Finals:

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Lakers in six games

Finals MVP Award - Kobe Bryant

Individual Award Winners

Most Improved Player of the Year Award - Al Thornton (Clippers)

Runner Up - Joakim Noah (Bulls)

Darkhorse - Randy Foye (Timberwolves)

Coach of the Year Award - Nate McMillan (Blazers)

Runner Up - Mo Cheeks (76ers)

Darkhorse - Eric Spoelstra (Heat)

Sixth Man of the Year Award - Ben Gordon (Bulls)

Runner Up - Leandro Barbosa (Suns)

Darkhorse - Lamar Odom (Lakers) (If Benched)

Rookie of the Year Award - Greg Oden (Blazers)

Runner Up - Michael Beasley (Heat)

Darkhorse - OJ Mayo (Grizzlies)

Defensive Player of the Year Award - Dwight Howard (Magic)

Runner Up - Josh Smith (Hawks)

Darkhorse - Greg Oden (Blazers)

Most Valuable Player Award - Kobe Bryant (Lakers)

Runner Up - Lebron James (Cavaliers)

Third Place - Chris Paul (Hornets)

Darkhorse: Deron Williams (Jazz)