There was something yawn-worthy about this last week of football. Perhaps it is the malaise that sets in mid-season as we start thinking about the playoffs. Maybe the 8-0 Chiefs are not exactly the kind of undefeated team we wanted, but the one we deserved. While I enjoy the trumped showdowns between marquee receivers as much as the next frothing-at-the-mouth fan, I cannot seem to summon the same level of excitement as I felt before the season started. Watching bad teams stick around and good teams succumb to injury has become the party line for the NFL over the past several seasons. The notion of dominant franchises has been replaced with dominant players.
This idea of “players over team” mentality might not be as startlingly obvious as it is with the NBA. It is no secret among people who know me, that I love basketball. I am not particularly good at it, but something about the 82 games of a full season sits better with me than the 16 we get for the NFL and the hundreds we endure in the MLB just to watch baseball in October.
Heading into the 2013-2014 season of the NBA, one has to ask whether the Heat will three-peat and propel LBJ into the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) conversation. Most NBA fans, with the notable exception of LBJ haters, already have him in the conversation—especially given the strides he has taken to shore up deficits in his game, as well as the multitude of productive years he has ahead of him. If pressed, I would have to take the field against the Heat. There are too many teams that improved significantly over the summer. Indiana beefed up their emaciated bench that, to the surprise of most fans, took Miami to a Game 7. Derrick Rose is back and appears to be better than ever, a claim that makes the Bulls a frightening team come the postseason. Instead of my normal NFL predictions, I am going to predict the eight teams from the East and West that will make the playoffs—and how they will be seeded.
Without further ado…
The East: (1) Miami Heat, (2) Indiana Pacers, (3) Chicago Bulls, (4) Brooklyn Nets, (5) New York Knicks, (6) Washington Wizards, (7) Atlanta Hawks, and (8) Cleveland Cavaliers. I like this seeding simply because you have Lebron playing two games in Cleveland during the postseason wearing a Heat jersey. The battle for New York will be the center stage of the first round, pitting a veteran and hungry crew in Brooklyn against Carmelo Anthony’s legacy.
The West: (1) Los Angeles Clippers, (2) San Antonio Spurs, (3) Oklahoma City Thunder, (4) Houston Rockets, (5) Golden State Warriors, (6) Memphis Grizzlies, (7) Minnesota Timberwolves, and (8) Los Angeles Lakers. That’s right, I said it: The Lakers are going to make the playoffs. And Kobe Bryant is going to win the MVP. The battle for LA will be the marquee match-up of the first round.