With the new season only a couple of days away, it’s only fair that the NBAMate crew put their balls on the line and make some predictions. This is what we came up with.

1. Who comes out of the East and West to meet in the 2010-2011 Finals?

Ant – Heat and Lakers. Boring, I know.
Robd – Celtics and Lakers.
Ash – From the East, Miami after defeating Chicago in the ECF. From the west, Portland after beating the Lakers.
Tizzle – Lakers (no one else out West seems set for a big year, possibly Portland or Dallas) and the Heat.
Jobba – Miami and the Lakers.
Hans – It’ll be Boston and the Lakers for the 3rd time in 4 years.
JT – Miami and LA.
Chucko – Boston and Dallas.
J.O – LA Lakers v Boston… AGAIN! I’m not buying into ‘Miami-Thrice’ until they have a season or more under their belts. Wade, LeBron and CB will need to overcome adversity together first, before they win a ring as one.

2. Who wins the championship, and why?

Ant – Heat. Having the best two players in the world on your team sort of helps.
Robd – Lakers. If healthy they can’t lose. If not healthy, they’ll still probably win it.
Ash – South Beach Scum, 4-2 – I just don’t see any team being able to stop the three-headed monster, except maybe Orlando if Dwight Howard really has come along. Unless Greg Oden really lives up to his billing.
Tizzle – Lakers, because it will hurt me and all NY fans too much if Lebron wins a ring this year.
Jobba – The Lakers. Jackson’s Championships come in sets of three, and the Heat can’t win it in their first year.
Hans – Boston, because they’re all business…OK, well maybe not all of the time.
JT – Miami. A lot depends on the health of Andrew Bynum, but history says his body will succumb, as will LA to the Miami Big Three.
Chucko – Dallas because they were paying $21 for the title and i want a new laptop.
J.O – LA Lakers- Kobe is at the top of his game, despite the criticisms of his age and injuries, while Pau Gasol is the best PF in the world at the moment- with apologies to KG and Timmy D.

3. Who wins the MVP?

Ant – Da-Wight Howard.
Robd – Dwight.
Ash – Kevin Durant – unless LeBron can average something like 25/10/12, I don’t see Durant missing the MVP.
Tizzle – Amare. Dude is gonna go ballistic this year. Lebron, Wade, Bosh are now all neutralised, and STAT is playing with no other big time scorers.
Jobba – Kevin Durant. LBJ with the Heat means it’s an easy decision.
Hans – Kevin Durant.
JT – Durant (just because everyone hates LeBron).
Chucko – Kevin Durant, he is the media darling, all it will take is some more steady improvement.
J.O – I know most will say LeBron James or Kevin Durant, but my gut says Dwight Howard. I just think he is hitting his prime and has rounded out his game nicely.

4. Who is the Scoring Champ?

Ant – Durantula, and it won’t be close.
Robd – Durant. But as a dark horse I’m tipping Amare.
Ash – Durant again, and it’s not even close.
Tizzle – Amare, see above. Or Melo. Unless he is sharing the scoring load with Amare ;)
Jobba – Kevin Durant with a smooth 28.5 ppg.
Hans – Durant @ 31.6 ppg. Off the court? Pictorial evidence suggests either Boris Diaw or Chris Duhon.
JT – Durant.
Chucko – Kevin durant, he still has to shoulder the scoring load for his team.
J.O – Kevin Durant. Ridiculous firepower. Outside, inside, is a regular at the FT line, can score in the halfcourt and just about death in transition. It’s his to lose.

5. Who wins Defensive Player of the Year?

Ant – Da-Wight Howard.
Robd – Dwight.
Ash – Dwight Howard again. My guess is that Josh Smith sulks through the year as soon as his name crops up in trade rumours, eliminating D12′s only real competitor.
Tizzle – Amare, see above. Just kidding. Tough one, but perhaps JaVale McGee (block machine) or Dwight Howard
Jobba – Dwight Howard. Again. He’s just the biggest physical presence in the league right now.
Hans – Dwight has this award on lock.
JT – Dwight Howard.
Chucko – Dwight Howard, he’s an absolute beast, and considering i haven’t yet seen a decent post move out of him, people must be raving about him for a reason…
J.O – LeBron. Playing with two other guns will allow him to focus more of his energies at this end and yes, when it comes time for him to take over the entire game, he’ll flick the switch with his eyes closed.

Dwight seems a lock for another DPOY Award

6. Who wins Rookie of the Year?

Ant – Brake Griffin if healthy. If not, flip a coin between Wall and Cousins.
Robd – Blake Griffin.
Ash – Blake Griffin, with John Wall a close second. This is a hell of a rookie class.
Tizzle – John Wall no contest.
Jobba – John Wall.
Hans – Blake Griffin will be good. John Wall will be even better.
JT – Blake Griffin.
Chucko -  DeMarcus Cousins. That guy’s going to be an absolute champion.
J.O – Blake Griffin. I’ve been so high on him since college. I think he can not only notch double-doubles nightly and consistently, but dare I say he’ll make the LA Clippers a playoff contender.

7. Who wins Coach of the Year?

Ant – Thibadeau if the Bulls finish top 3 in the East, otherwise Popovich.
Robd – Tim Thibodeau.
Ash – Nate McMillan. I just feel like it’s Portland’s year – don’t know why.
Tizzle – Sucky award, so will just go to who ever wins the most out of Heat and Magic.
Jobba – This is actually the question that stumped me the most. My prediction will be whomever finishes 4th in the East, so Tim Thibodeau.
Hans – I don’t really care to be honest. I can’t even remember who won the award last year.
JT – Scott Skiles.
Chucko – Pat Riley. Yep, after sacking the coach half way through the season so he can take the reigns of a championship team (like in 06) he will get COTY.
J.O – Nate McMillan, Portland Trailblazers. He’ll have better luck with injuries this year, but I did say that last year also.

8. Who wins Most Improved?

Ant – DJ Augustin.
Robd – Austin Daye.
Ash – Brandon Wright. Gotta give one of my guys love and he’s got to eventually stay fit for a whole year.
Tizzle – Praying for Anthony Randolph, but not looking good. Could go to Terrence Willams of the Nets.
Jobba – The OKC’s Russell Westbrook.
Hans – Jrue Holiday. His coach loves him, his teammates love him and he’s already had a triple double this preseason.
JT – Nicolas Batum.
Chucko – Hakim Warrick. Steve Nash can make even the most talentless wanker with microfracture surgery and only 1 eye look like an All Star player.
J.O – Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves. He’ll have more freedom and less pressure now that he’ll be on a team with a few more fellow lottery picks.

9. Who wins 6th Man of the Year?
Ant – Carl Landry from Ben Gordon.
Robd – George Hill.
Ash – Reggie Williams. Alright, I’ll stop the homer-ing here.
Tizzle – Nate Da Gr8.
Jobba – Leandro Barbosa. All offence, all year with the Raps.
Hans – Tyrus Thomas.
JT – James Harden.
Chucko – JR Smith, ha ha ha, seriously tho, what was the question again?
J.O – If healthy, Manu Ginobili.

10. Top 8 teams out West

Ant Robd Ash Tizzle Jobba Hans JT Chucko
1 Lakers Lakers Lakers Lakers Lakers Lakers Lakers Lakers
2 Spurs Mavs Thunder Mavs Thunder Jazz Thunder Blazers
3 Rockets Spurs Mavs Blazers Mavs Mavs Blazers Mavs
4 Jazz Thunder Blazers Suns Blazers Spurs Spurs Thunder
5 Mavericks Blazers Rockets Thunder Spurs Thunder Mavs Jazz
6 Blazers Rockets Jazz Spurs Jazz Nuggets Jazz Spurs
7 Thunder Jazz Warriors Rockets Rockets Blazers Hornets Rockets
8 Clippers Phoenix Hornets Grizzlies Grizzlies Rockets Rockets Suns

The Lakers were unanimous as the #1 team out West – who can really argue?

11. Top 8 teams out East

Ant Robd Ash Tizzle Jobba Hans JT Chucko
1 Magic Magic Heat Heat Heat Magic Heat Magic
2 Heat Celtics Magic Magic Magic Heat Magic Heat
3 Bulls Heat Bulls Bulls Celtics Celtics Celtics Celtics
4 Hawks Bulls Bucks Celtics Bulls Bulls Bulls Bucks
5 Bucks Bucks Celtics Bucks Hawks Hawks Hawks Bulls
6 Celtics Bobcats Hawks Knicks!!! Bucks Bucks Bucks Hawks
7 Bobcats Knicks Wizards Bobcats Bobcats Bobcats Knicks Knicks
8 Knicks Hawks Knicks Hawks Wizards Knicks Pacers Sixers

12. Predict something that no one else will
Ant – Luol Deng will make the All-Star team.
Robd – Yao will retire.
Ash – Already did – Portland to make the NBA Finals over the Fake Show.

Tizzle – I think any Knick prediction I make will not be agreed upon. Amare will average over 30pts this season. Gallo will average over 20pts this season. Dont ‘Doubt’ him ;) Getting in early, Knicks starting line up next season will include Carmelo.
Jobba – The Boston Celtics will open a retirement village at the end of the season.
Hans – Kirk Penney will be signed to a 10-day contract late in the season, thus inspiring the creation of a New Zealand blog named NBABro complete with Seans Marks-ometer.
JT – DeJuan Blair will average over 10 boards per game this year.
Chucko – Ron Artest and Kevin Garnett will come to blows when KG insults Ron’s Momma, Robd will throw a drink bottle onto the court, and it’ll be 2004 all over again.
J.O – Gilbert Arenas will get traded to the Dallas Mavericks. As usual Mark Cuban will have a panic attack and think that the window is closing on his Mavs (even though it did after 2007), and sell it to the fans that Arenas will rejuvenate Dallas back up the Western conference.

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