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Six Not Bold Second Half Predictions

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The Nuggets will make the Playoffs, the Knicks will surpass the 76ers, and more bland predictions.

Six Not Bold Second Half Predictions

The second half of this shortened NBA season kicks off tonight, and it feels like it's just flying by, doesn't it?  Right about now is about the time where people are making "bold predictions" for what's going to happen in the second half of the season.  That just isn't me.  I'm not what you would call a "bold" person.  I'm short, so I don't have a lot of gumption.  I like vanilla ice cream.  I enjoy eating Cheerios and Wheaties almost ever morning.  I eat sandwiches without condiments.  I'm a very bland person.

So it's only fitting that I make some very bland predictions about the second half of the NBA season.  Here are six things that will very likely happen over the latter part of the basketball calendar.

1. The Denver Nuggets will make the Playoffs.  Denver got off to one of the quickest starts at the beginning of the year behind some great team basketball and they were a pretty fun team to watch.  Then the injuries happened.  The Nuggets lost Gallinari, Nene, and Ty Lawson for stretches and Denver really backed into the All-Star Break, dropping 12 of their final 16 games.  They dropped from the two or three seed in the always fun "if the Playoffs started today, here's where team x would be" to out of the picture completely.  

The Nuggets are going to get healthier, and they will have to in a hurry.  The Nuggets play an very tough schedule to finish the season.  It's not a stretch to predict Denver will make the Playoffs since they are only a half-game back of Portland right now.  But Denver is way too talented to not get in.

2. The New York Knicks will win the Atlantic Division.  Our friend Moke Hamilton predicted that the Knicks would win the division in his NBA preview back in December, but that looked like nothing but a pipe dream earlier this year.  The Knicks stumbled out of the gate, while Boston and Philadelphia surged.  It looked like the Knicks would be lucky to just make it into the Playoffs, no less win the division.

But then Jeremy Lin descended from the heavens to salvage the season.  The Knicks are going to come back healthier for their tough second-half slate (18 of 31 games against teams with records over .500, and that's not counting games against Boston).  Lin won't play as great as he has over the last two-plus weeks, but Carmelo Anthony will take pressure off him and this newly integrated players (JR Smith, Baron Davis, etc.) should benefit New York going forward.  There's work to be done, but now that 3.5 game deficit to the 76ers doesn't look so imposing.

3. Kobe Bryant will lead the league in scoring.  The Black Mamba is having another terrific year scoring the ball, and at the break he was leading the league in PPG at 28.4 a game.  Kevin Durant and LeBron James are both within a point of Bryant, but both of those players have multiple guys that can take the scoring burden during games.  Bryant has Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, but more often than not it's going to be Bryant leading the way for the Lakers.

With the way Durant and James are playing, it's easy to think that one or both of them could pass Kobe, but Bryant seems like he's on a mission this year.  Plus, there's something weird going on with this Lakers team.  Bryant is going to keep scoring, and barring injury, he'll end up at just under 30 PPG to take the crown.

4. The Miami Heat will end the year with the best record in the NBA.  I'm really going out on a limb here, but the Heat are the best team in the league this year.  There are certainly holes you can pick at there, but they just play at a different speed compared to all the other teams.  James and Dwayne Wade are both having fabulous seasons, Chris Bosh has settled into his complimentary role well but can still kill you if need be, the team defense is stifling, and they too possess depth.

It's down to Miami and Oklahoma city as far as best records go, but I have to give the edge to the Heat.  Spoelstra seems to have a plan for this team, and so far he's executed it well.  Miami's on the war path.

5. The Charlotte Bobcats will have the worst record in the league AND win the lottery.  Again, not a very hard pick.  Washington has too many talented players to keep losing so many games.  The Hornets play incredibly hard and are competitive (see their victory to stop the Linsanity).  But Charlotte seems very lost.  It's hard to fathom a team winning just four of its first 32 games, but it happened.  That's a level of badness that just can't be on accident.

6. Dwight Howard WILL NOT get traded.  Alright, I had to throw in one bold prediction, because these ones almost bored me to sleep.  Or maybe it isn't bold.  I really have no clue when it comes to all of this Dwight Howard stuff.  I just don't think a team is going to be able to come up with a package that's good enough to get Howard out of Orlando.  He wants to go to New Jersey, but will Orlando take any of New Jersey's pieces?  It just doesn't seem likely to me, but then again, I never thought Melo would actually get dealt last year.

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