The NBA is back baby! And if you guys are NBA junkies like us, you have had today's date circled on your calendars for a while now. This season is going to be amazing to watch, especially because there are a ton of different subplots going on like will the Heat dominate? How will Lebron do? Will Kobe and the Lakers make their last stand? Will the Celtics and their Big Three make their last stand? Will the Magic upset everyone and win it all? Will promising young teams like the Bulls and the Thunder take the leap this year and contend for the Title? How will the Cavs do without Lebron? Can the Knicks or Nets make it back to the playoffs? Will the Mavs finally get back to where they were a few years ago, as contenders? Are the Spurs old news, or do they have one more run in them? Who will win MVP? How good will John Wall be? Speaking of John Wall, who will win ROY? I could go on forever, but you get my point. This year is going to be sick, especially because there is also a lockout looming and this might be the last time we watch the NBA. Sad but true fool! Anyway, here are our NBA Season Preview and Predictions below. We wanted to be a little different, so we compared each squad in the NBA to some of our favorite alcoholic beverages. And no, we are not getting paid to advertise by any of these brands, but I wish we were! So if you are out there and want to advertise on our site, email me! Hey the blog needs money to run you know! And, I couldn't do this alone, so I got two other Basketball nuts in Amar Panchmatia and Rahul P to chip in on this post and help me out. Anyway, let us know what you think and definitely stop by with your comments. Thanks for reading...
Central Division (RP) :
1) Milwaukee Bucks (48-34) - Miller High Life
Aren’t we obliged to equate them to the hometown brew? Either way, I do see them “living the High Life” (in the Central Division, anyway), if the second best center in the NBA is going to be healthy the whole way. Brandon Jennings should do his thing, plus I like the additions of Corey Maggette (best body in the NBA, no homo), John Brockman and Drew Gooden. They should be in for a real Midwestern slugfest for the division with the Chicago. I see the Bucks making the jump to the second round, but not enough to handle Boston, Orlando or Miami.
2) Chicago Bulls (47-35) - Avion
This brand of Tequila got a random boost this year, thanks to its prominent role on HBO’s Entourage. The Bulls seem to have gotten their random stimuli by way of Utah, taking Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver off the Jazz payroll. Now let’s see if they can parlay the healthy offseason into something special, much like their liquor doppelganger. Personally, I think Boozer is overrated (and injury prone) and Brewer doesn’t bring much to the table on offense (I do like the Korver signing). However, D-Rose looks primed to make the leap. While there is obvious improvement, there still isn’t enough to put them ahead of Boston, Orlando, Clev- err… Miami or even Milwaukee. Sorry. And yes, we are looking forwards to the contributions of veteran stalwarts, Kurt Thomas and Brian Scalabrine. We are so scared. Raarrrr, like the Smoke Monster.
3) Cleveland Cavaliers (41-41) - Bud Light
No longer the high class stuff they used to be, with you know who on the squad. Now they are nothing spectacular, rather something very average. Call me a homer, but I think the team is actually decent. If the preseason is any indication (and no it isn’t), the Cavs have some players and they will compete. I feel that they will challenge for the 8 seed out East and an emotionally charged first round matchup with the most hated team in America. Umm… Yeah. That will end in a sweep. Oh well…
4) Indiana Pacers (32-50) - Keystone Light
Nobody wants any part of them. Yuck. No noticeable improvements. Just a bunch of white dudes surrounding a tier 4 “star”. Ehh.
5) Detroit Pistons (22-60) - Kamchatka Vodka
This team will give you headaches (if you are rooting for them). They are miserable. I thought they overpaid on the Gordon/Villenueva combo. Still got no clue what Joe D was thinking. Now they have brought in the legend, T-Mac, to save the franchise. We are so proud.
Southeast Division (RP) :
1) Miami Heat (67-15) - Ace of Spades
They have the King (Riles), the Queen (LBJ), the Jack (Wade) of all and a Joker (I guess RuPaul could have been the Queen, but I digress…). Why not fill out the Royal Flush with the Ace of Spades? The deck is certainly stacked in their favor, and after much anticipation, it’s time to see if they can play their cards right. However, all is not rosy in talent-rich South Beach. Expect this team to face all sorts of adversity any time they lose two in a row or go down to a chief rival. LeBron has proven to be a force of nature in the regular season, but has shown a lack of trust in teammates in the postseason. For a team to have the best record two years in a row, he must have had some help. It couldn’t have done all by himself. In Cleveland, when LeBron got his and put up 38+, it usually didn’t end well for the Cavs. Now we get to see what happens when the chips are down against Orlando, Boston and if they are lucky, LA (with the defenses geared towards stopping him). Will he continue to hog and ask us to “check his stats” or will he finally become the guy we all wanted him to become in Cleveland? Guess we’ll see. I’ll predict a trip to the Finals for Miami, mainly in hopes of seeing Kobe vanquish these three tools and reigning supreme. But don’t be surprised if Orlando or Boston can take advantage of their sizable edge in the front court in the ECF.
2) Orlando Magic (60-22) - Absinthe
The potent liquor (which in its real form is still banned in the US) made famous by Van Gogh, has mythically been known to be a hallucinogen. As you all know, Dwight Howard spent some time in Houston with The Dream, learning from the master. Now we all may experience Absinthe-like hallucinations if we are lucky enough to bear witness to the reincarnation of Hakeem. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. Dwight should be a force of nature and Pat Ewing is certainly not the right big man coach for him. They are completely different players. That said, Orlando will miss Matt Barnes come playoff time. Plus they’ll need to get more from Roider Rashard. I still don’t see them getting past Boston in the second round, but it’ll be a nice seven game affair. One caveat. If they do get past Boston, Miami will have a hell of a time dealing with The Hallucination.
3) Atlanta Hawks (45-37) - Bacardi Limon
When you first started drinking, you thought Bacardi was the shit. Now you realize the Hawks, like their liquor, are garbage and give you hangovers. They have topped out at the second round, yet they made no improvements. I see a steady regression and a lot of crying in the near future. First Round KO.
4) Charlotte Bobcats (44-37) - Jack Daniels
Meat and potatoes. Hard-nosed team that will go hard. Hard as that may be, it still means a first round exit. They are a fun team to watch and Coach Brown will have them in the playoff mix. The Captain Jack/Gerald Wallace combo is as good as it gets at the swing positions in the league. They still need some big men if they are going to be any kind of threat in the future. On a related note, why hasn’t anybody commented on Mike Jordan scooping up his boy, Kwame? Confused.
5) Washington Wizards (34-48) - Boone’s Farm
I couldn’t think of anything, except for the fact that Barry Farms might have some better players than Cartier Martin and some guy named Kevin Seraphin. OK, I am very excited to see John Wall in action and the further development of my boy, Andray Blatche. Who knows what they will get from the Hibachi? Hopefully he has his mind right. At least they are young and exciting, in spite of the random hodgepodge of talent.
Atlantic Division (VC) :
1) Boston Celtics (55-27) - Three Wise Men
ThreeWiseMen = Ray Ray, PP, and KG...If you are the club and want to get rocked, you can never go wrong with this shot. It is strong and will rock you! And that is exactly how the Celts are, strong and dependable, and they will always get the job done. Look for the Celtics to be consistently good this year. They got the chemistry and they got the players. The Celtics are primed to make a run this year, and I honestly do believe that them and the Magic are the class of the East this year. From all accounts, KG is back to being in great shape and sounds like a man possessed right now. Ray Ray will always be able to shoot, no matter how old he gets, and I think PP has one more solid year left in his tank. Rondo is a perfect fit for this squad and will run the show on offense and defense for them this year. They also got a ton of good big guys to throw at the Magic and the Heat come playoff time in Big Baby, Kendrick Perkins, and in Shaq.
2) NY Knicks (40-42) - Long Island
I had to give them the home town drink right? I'll tell you why...Even though the Knicks didn't get Lebron, I actually like what they did in their off season. I think the additions of Amare, Randolph, and Felton are going to fit in nicely with Chandler and Gallo in this run and gun offense. I also think they are in great position with Curry's contract to get another star like Melo or CP3 at the trade deadline, or in the off season. Anyway, I liken them to the Long Island because you know how you go nuts at the bar/club after you are on a sugar high because you drank a ton of Long Islands mixed with that triple sec crap, cola, and sweet and sour mix? Well that is how this squad will be during the year, running around and doing crazy things on offense, but playing no defense.
3) NJ Nets (36-46) - Patron
In the past few years everyone's Patron orders at the bar have shot through the roof. If you are young and want to get rowdy at the club, you will order a round of Patron, because there is always one person who orders that obligatory round of Tequilas that makes you gag. This has to do in part with their great marketing, that's for sure. Now Take a look at the Nets, and you will kind of see the same thing. Everyone is hyping the Nets this year because of their new billionaire Russian owner, and because of Jay Z. They also have finally put together a nice young core of Lopez, Harris, Favors, Farmar, Morrow, Outlaw, and TWill. This squad will be exciting to watch and will definitely put up points. Their division is weak too, so look for them to win some games too. And when they do, look for people to point out just how cool and exciting the Nets are, like they do with Patron. Ahhh 9 shots of Patron please!
4) Philly Sixers (31-51) - Miller Chill/ Bud Lite Lime
At first when you drink either of those two beers, you are like ahh man this is so tight, perfect for the summertime and the beach. But after you are 6 deep, your stomach starts to hurt, and you want to spit it out. I don't know why, but that reminds me of the Sixers. At first on paper this looks like a good squad with some pretty good to above average players on it. But after you watch them for a while, you will see that they are just not that good, and will fizzle towards the end of the year.
5) Toronto Raptors (25-57) - Skol Vodka
Remember in college when we all made that crazy jungle juice drink? We would throw a bunch of random crap together and throw in one bottle of the cheapest Vodka we could find at any liquor store. That Vodka for us Marquette kids would always be Skol Vodka! It was cheap and nasty, but that was all we could afford. Unfortunately for Raptors fans who do love their Basketball, and lost both VC and Bosh, this Raptors squad reminds me exactly of Skol. Although I did like the Barbosa move, overall this is going to just be a bad, bad squad this year.
Northwest Division (AP) :
1) Oklahoma City Thunder (56-26) - Manhattan
Just like the name of this drink, the Thunder have this flashy, big-city feel to them that seems a lot bigger than the city they're located in. Like OKC as a team, this drink is versatile and can be made a number of ways, and you better have a good bartender to make you one because it ain't easy. That's the job facing Scott Brooks as he has a team loaded with players who can play a number of positions, but MVP candidate Kevin Durant is the whiskey that will make this drink strong no matter what you put with it.
2) Utah Jazz (50-32) - Piscola
Like this popular Chilean drink, the Jazz can be black or white on any given night. Some nights we mix it with coke, the next night it might be Ginger Ale. We just don't know -- just like their identity. Just how important was Carlos Boozer to this team? The guess here is that Boozer was injured so much that the Jazz got used to playing without him, and a Paul Millsap/Al Jefferson combo won't make Jerry Sloan miss Boozer's punk ass too much. But matching previous years' success comes with one caveat: In the end, the Jazz won't do anything significant. First or second round at best for these guys.
3) Portland Trail Blazers (49-33) - Painkiller
The irony. The most banged-up team in the league last year needs to see what it's capable of as a unit instead of seeing guys come in and out of the lineup every week. If you've never had a Painkiller before, it's made with dark rum, an assortment of fruit juices, and coconut cream topped off with nutmeg. Put it all together and you have one hell of a drink. Miss an ingredient, however, and you'll never know this thing's potential.
4) Denver Nuggets (44-38) - Small ale
Not much point to drink a beer that doesn't contain much alcohol, unless you're a pansy who wants to just tell your friends that you're drinking something alcoholic just for the sake of telling them. Take Carmelo Anthony off the Nuggets, and there's not much reason to follow this team. And Chauncey will ask out soon after Melo leaves, so don't think about having that to fall back on, Nugget fan. At least Denver can ask their friends in Cleveland what happens in the aftermath.
5) Minnesota Timberwolves (19-63) - Natty Light
Had to give it somebody, right? These brokesters didn't get much better in the offseason, and Wesley Johnson won't do much of anything to help this miserable squad get any better right away. Just giving away Al Jefferson didn't help much, either. And I have no idea why they think that THEY, of ALL teams, will suddenly turn Michael Beasley's career around. And in the rare case that they do, what makes them think that he'll want to stay in Minnesota
Pacific Division (AP) :
1) Los Angeles Lakers (61-31) - Captain and Coke
Been around forever, and always the go-to cocktail when all else fails. Just like the timeless Lakers, who always seem to be the class of the league several times throughout any given decade. Now the two-time defending champions try to fend off the upstart Thunder and Heat to keep their reign at the top. Given the fact that both OKC and Miami have major question marks in the paint, good luck trying to take on LA's twin towers of Gasol and Bynum.
2) Phoenix Suns (45-37) - Palm wine
Take out the coconut palms and this drink will give you a stomach ache to go with your hangover. Just look at the Suns roster outside of Steve Nash. Asking the 36-year old to keep this team competitive is a hell of an order. They'll still be fun to watch because of Nash, but that's it.
3) Los Angeles Clippers (31-51) - Sake bomb
Like the Clippers, everything has to go right to make the Sake bomb worth it: have the sake fall in right when you pound the table, drink it immediately, and make sure it's with a warm sake. And we all know that shit doesn't always fall into place for the Clippers, who witnessed a devastating injury to lottery pick Shaun Livingston earlier this decade and now an injury to Blake Griffin that sidelined him for his rookie year. Truth be told, a Sake bomb isn't even really worth it even if everything goes right. Just like these Clippers probably won't do anything anyways.
4) Golden State Warriors (28-54) - Irish Car Bomb
A hell of a ride, but you can do better. I don't know about you, but I'll have an ICB just to get really fucked up more so than enjoy the drink. When you watch or follow these Warriors, it's probably for the entertainment of their fast-paced style and the unintentional comedy caused by their inept front office. Want playoff-caliber basketball? Look elsewhere.
5) Sacramento Kings (24-58) - Virgin Mary
Not quite ready to go yet, but if you enjoy watching a young and potentially exciting nucleus grow before your eyes -- kinda like this Bloody Mary minus the vodka -- then this is the team for you. Just don't get ready to add the vodka for another two or three years when this becomes a real team with a fully bloomed Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Until then, keep these guys in the kiddy pool.
Southwest Division (VC) :
1) Dallas Mavs (55-27) - Heineken Light
No brainer right? I had to go with our favorite Euro beer in Heineken because of Dirk baby! If you are a beer drinker, you got to love the new Heineken Light. It still has that good Heineken taste, but it is definitely not as heavy as it used to be. It's lighter and better, like this Mavs squad. Heini is also more expensive, and so is this Mavs roster that Cuban put together. But he is rich fool, so he doesn't care! These Mavs are ready to run and put up points. I kept going back and forth between the Spurs and the Mavs here, but I had to go with the Mavs because of their overall talent. This squad has Dirk, Terry, Butler, Chandler, Haywood, Kidd, Marion, and a bunch of gunners in Barea, Beaubois, Jones, Novak, and Stevenson.
2) SA Spurs (49-33) - Johnny Walker Black
People who drink Black are called "old". The Spurs might be old, but they are experienced, and are ready to give it one last run. They still got their big three in TP, Manu and TD. They also picked up a very solid player in Tiago Splitter. For you NBA Draft junkies, yes this is that same Splitter that has been talked about in the Draft for what now seems like the last 5 years! Black might not be the "coolest" drink to order at the bar, but it's smooth and doesn't give you a hangover. The Spurs will be good like they always are, but will their legs and will injuries derail them? GWS?
3) Houston Rockets (45-37) - Makers Mark
When I drink Makers Mark sometimes, I get mixed reactions from people when I order it. Some love it and think it is smooth and tough, while others think it is nasty. If you bring up the Rockets to people this year, I think you will get the same reaction. There are people who think the Rockets are solid and will be in every game, and then there are people who think they are going to be pretty bad and are not expecting big things from them. I think defensively they will be solid with their role players. And think about this for a second, this is a squad that won 40 plus games last year with all those injuries and no additions. They are not going to be as bad as people think they are. I love the additions of Martin (now settled), Lee, Lowry, Brad Miller (I'll miss your slow motion pump fakes and drives Brad), and Pat Patterson, and they will get Yao back hopefully soon. They'll get the job done like Makers!
4) Memphis Grizzlies (35-47) - Coors Light
Coors Light is making a comeback, in part to their awesome marketing, and in part to somehow that their beer actually does taste better now than back when I was in college. They are rising fast, and so are the Grizzlies. But their division is tough and so is the Western Conference. I also don't see another year of them all working together like they did last year, their chemistry won't be the same. Rudy Gay got paid, and now OJ and Marc will want their money. And who knows when Z-Bo will go off the deep end?
5) NO Hornets (31-51) - Chambord & Sprite
Nowadays when I think Hornets, I think soft. Sorry, but a squad with CP3, David West, Peja, Bayless and Ariza just doesn't yell defense and toughness to me. The Hornets like Chambord, are weak. Now don't get me wrong, Chambord and Sprite tastes dope at first, but if you keep drinking it all night, it will make you stick to your stomach. And to top it off, it doesn't give you a good buzz. Like the drink, the Hornets look good on paper with a couple of stars, but once the season wears on, we will see them fade fast. In the end, CP3 will cry, and the rest of their guys will get injured like usual. Sad foo...
MVP: Kevin Durant
COY: Scott Skiles
DPOY: Dwight Howard
6th man: Jamal Crawford
ROY: John Wall
MIP: Jeff Green
Champs - Lakers
East - Heat
West - Lakers
MVP - Kevin Durant
COY - Byron Scott
DPOY - Dwight Howard
6th Man - JJ Reddick
ROY - Blake Griffin
MIP - Andray Blatche
MVP: Kevin Durant
COY: Tom T
DPOY: Dwight Howard
6th Man: Jason Terry
ROY: Blake Griffin
MIP: Greg Oden