Here at Crooked Scoreboard, we’re always seeking to provide you with only the boldest and zestiest predictions and insights. As a result, I’ve been given the assignment of analyzing the NBA playoff picture as it stands today. You may be saying: “But Jaime, the season is about 20% done, multiple important trades can still happen, the results of the wear and tear over the course of the grueling 82-game schedule have yet to set in, and teams off to unexpected hot starts have yet to regress to the mean!”. All of that is the new way of thought seeping in, analytics this, Moneyball that. None of that can answer to plain COMMON SENSE, the only tool that has ever served me unfailingly well in my years of writing. Now, onto TWO BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THE NBA:
IF THE REGULAR SEASON ENDED TODAY: The Raptors, Wizards, and Hawks would occupy the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.
This just seems intuitively wrong. Now that things are shuffled up and there are no dominant mega-teams to reckon with in the East, we’re left with situations such as this. Can you imagine sitting on your couch on the day of Game 1 of the NBA Finals and one of THESE teams is representing the East? I’m sure none of you guys believe you live in a world where the Raptors, Wizards, or Hawks can win an NBA title. There are no cool guys to latch onto, like there were the last time the West/East disparity was this pronounced, in the early 2000s. There was Kobe and Shaq and prime Tim Duncan in the West, and people kind of just assumed that they would win, but at least the opposition was cool dudes like AI and Vince Carter. DeMar DeRozan is not a cool dude, and his team is inextricably mired in concert with the likeness of Drake, the least cool dude.
DeRozan and Paul Millsap and John Wall are not capable of The “Practice Rant” or jumping over a seven-foot-tall French man in the Olympics, and if you’re going to lose in the playoffs, you have to have some sort of thing like that going for you to get people on your side. Being associated with lame rappers is scarcely a new thing for DeMar DeRozan. When he was being recruited to play for USC, a man named Percy Miller promised the program that it would secure the services of the highly touted DeRozan as long as it also extended an offer to his son, Romeo. You may recognize Percy and Romeo as rappers Master P and Lil Romeo. That’s three strikes, DeMar.
Bold Prediction: No Eastern Conference teams are deemed cool enough, West isawarded title and All-Star Game victory, despite 8 minute performance of “Make Em Say Uhh” at halftime.
IF THE REGULAR SEASON ENDED TODAY: The Denver Nuggets would have a record of 41-41 and have scored exactly as many points as they allowed.
This is true. As of right now, 18 games in, the Nuggets are 9-9 and have scored the exact same amount of points that they’ve allowed over the course of the season. This is a feat of mediocrity that, if it happens, will never be eclipsed again. Imagine if every team did this, every team would be 41-41. The sport would not know what to do with itself. The Nuggets are the perfect candidates for this distinction, as a team full of players that are neither good nor bad. In fact, as a team, they’re EXACTLY neither good or bad; their presence on the court has not moved the needle of the league one inch thus far. If I were on a team that went 41-41 and scored exactly as many points as it allowed, having produced nothing of note after pouring an inhuman amount of effort into the thing I was best at in the world, for an entire season, I would fall into an existential crisis. Much like Meursault, the main character of Albert Camus’ The Stranger, who murders someone in cold blood on a whim and feels nothing afterward, one must wonder if JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried, after the season, would thirst to do something that, at long last, would make them feel.
Bold Prediction: Nuggets frontcourt capable of murder.