Pre-Season Predictions

Time for what I believe is a first here at Stepien Rules – one big long imaginative list of pre-season predictions. Quick recap on what I’ve brought you – prediction wise – this off-season. We’ve had previews of both the West and Eastern Conferences, sophomore’s who are set to kick the “sophomore slump” into touch, Rookie of the Year candidates and MVP candidates – I feel to be fair I’ve covered pretty much as much as I could Nostradamus wise. For everything I’ve missed out on – trades, who’ll actually win what conference etc., that’s why I’m here today. I’ve compiled a lengthy list of predictions applicable to the upcoming season, some being pretty obvious and easy for all to call, some not so much. Some may seem preposterous to a lot of people, I’m hoping you’ll see my reasoning in some of my calls, and I promise I’ve no set aside any vendettas when making my picks. Confused? Good – perfect start because prediction number one was “At least 67% of people reading this will have gotten confused/annoyed reading the introductory paragraph thus exiting the blog and heading over to ESPN”. I’m already one for one…so without further ado, I give you my list. (Note: We’ll come back to this mid-way or at end of the season to see how we’re doing and give you the opportunity to say “Told ya so” to me a couple dozen times)

Player Stats

1.         LeBron James will average the lowest scoring of his career since his rookie season

2.         Amare Stoudemire will crack the Top 3 in scoring this season

3.         Kevin Durant will win his second scoring title

4.         Dwight Howard will lead the league in rebounds

5.         Joakim Noah will lead the league in blocks

6.         Chris Paul will once more lead the league in steals

7.         David Lee will lead the league in double-doubles

8.         Daniel Gibson will lead the league in 3pt FG%

9.         LeBron will be in the Top 3 for assists, but Rajon Rondo will finish number one

10.     Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Luis Scola and David Lee will be the only four guys to average at least 17ppg and 10 rebounds a game

11.     Kevin Durant will win MVP

Team Stats

12.     Miami will be the only team in the NBA to win 60 games or more

13.     The Oklahoma City Thunder will be the only team not named LA to win more than 55 games in the West

14.     New Jersey will win more than 12 games (I know it was waaayyyy to easy, but I like to point out they won 12 games)

15.     The Minnesota Timberwolves will have the league’s worst record (closely followed by Toronto) – but will win more than the 15 they got last season

16.     Miami will lead the league in scoring, Orlando will lead the league in team defense

17.     Dallas will relinquish the league’s best road record from last season to the Orlando Magic

18.     There was 7 games separating 1st through 8th in the West last season, that number will go up this year and be more than 10 but less than 15

19.     The Los Angeles Clippers will miss the playoffs by less than 3 games, as opposed to 21 games last season

Rookie Forecast

20.     DeMarcus Cousins will lead all rookies in technical fouls – and it will be hilarious to watch

21.     Blake Griffin will lead all rookies in scoring

22.     James Anderson, Avery Bradley and Daniel Orton will be considered steals of the first round

23.     Devin Ebanks, Willie Warren and Terrico White will be the steals of round two

24.     John Wall will win rookie of the month in all but two of the possible months in the Eastern Conference

25.     The Jordan Crawford/Damion James draft day swap will be very beneficial to both New Jersey and Atlanta

26.     Cole Aldrich will be the starting center for the Thunder by season’s end

27.     Evan Turner will have at least one triple double effort this season for the 76ers

28.     John Wall shall be named Rookie of the Year

Coaching Watch

29.     Erik Spoelstra will last the entire season as head coach of the Heat

30.     Avery Johnson will win Coach of the Year

31.     John Kuester will not last the season in Detroit

32.     There will be four coaching positions changed throughout the season – as an FYI, this prediction used to read “Don Nelson will not last the season in Golden State”, but that had to be changed (took me a little longer than anticipated to get this up), does it still count as me getting one right though? I think so…

33.     Vinny Del Negro’s first season as Clippers head coach will result in him leading them to the brink of the playoffs utilising a breathtaking score-for-fun system, or he’ll be fired by All Start break

In Season Storylines To Watch

34.     DeLonte West and Shaquille O’Neal will cause between them at least two “Ubuntu-Busting” issues this season

35.     Jamal Crawford will not finish the season as an Atlanta Hawk

36.     Chris Paul/Deron Williams rumours will persist the entire season and cause us all to rue the day we cared so much about our franchise players

37.     Lockout, Lockout, Lockout

38.     Our beloved Cavs will constantly be rumoured to be on the verge of “blowing things up” at the deadline, but the only major change that will happen (if anything) is us using our TPE on a new face…or two

39.     Ron Artest will do at least three things this season that reminds us all of why he is Ron Artest – and yes I’m counting this as number one

Playoff Predictor

40.     45 wins will be the minimum requisite to get post season action in the East (41 last season) whereas 48 will do the job out West

41.     The Chicago Bulls will reach the Eastern Conference Finals

42.     The Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat will both fail to reach their respective Conference Finals, to the dismay of the media everywhere, except for us here at Stepien Rules

43.     San Antonio and LA will contest the Western Conference Finals, LA will prevail in 6

44.     Orlando and Chicago will duke it out in the East, this series will go all the way to a game 7, and will make the Bulls/Celtics series a few years back look like a Minnesota/Toronto series

Conference Winners

45.     Orlando will advance from the East

46.     LA will advance from the West

NBA Champions

47.     As much as it sickens me to say so, LA will three-peat this season. I think that Orlando will push them real close, but LA will take home the gold once more

Contact me on dol-17@hotmail.com for the Stepien Rules mailbag, Twitter @DOL17 or Facebook.

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