Bold & Beautiful Projections

Arron Afflalo will be free to bomb away all season long. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

One thing nobody can seem to agree on: how good will the Denver Nuggets be this season? All the focus around the boys in powder blue has been on Carmelo Anthony, but maybe we should start focusing in on his dynamic teammates like Arron Afflalo as the season is set to start tomorrow. Let's make some bold predictions and see how the three-headed monster at Denver Stiffs see this season playing out.

For the third-season in a row the Nuggets will kick things off against the Utah Jazz. For the second-season in a row the Nuggets will start things off at home. Last year Denver began the season with an exciting 114-105 win over Utah as Melo poured in 30 points, Kenyon Martin controlled the glass with 11 rebounds, and rookie Ty Lawson started his NBA career in impressive fashion with 17 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes.

The biggest thing that stood out from that game was the image of Melo screaming, "I'm back" after he threw down a thuderous dunk on Utah's Paul Millsap. A new season was born and the promise of returning to the Western Conference Finals seemed like a reality. What a difference a season makes ... expectations in Denver are all over the board, but the hope of another deep playoff run only exists in the eyes of the diehard fans. The fans who seek out blogs like this one where we can come together and type about our favorite team until our fingertips are bruised and our eyes are bloodshot from staring at the bright monitor.

All the yahoos have weighed in and being a yahoo myself, I may as well toss some stuff out into the interwebs and see what I get back. I haven't been this excited about an NBA season since ... well, last season. I can still remember how excited I was to see how much of an upgrade Lawson would be over Anthony Carter. I thought Denver needed a speedy guard to change the pace from what Chauncey Billups brought to the team and Lawson was the perfect fit. I was curious to see how Afflalo was going to fill the shoes left by Dahntay Jones and I was more than happy to see his deadly three-point shooting.

What am I looking forward to seeing this season ... let's take a look:

1.) Afflalo is not just a three-point shooter anymore and he'll prove it by averaging over 15 points per game this season and it will be the first time he'll average in double-figures scoring in his career.

2.) It may seem impossible, but the Los Angeles Lakers will not earn the top seed in the Western Conference this season ... that honor will go to the Dallas Mavericks.

3.) Not a single Miami Heat player will average more than 25 points per game this season. LeBron James averaged just over 29 points per game with Cleveland, Dwayne Wade just over 26 ppg for Miami last year, and Chris Bosh averaged 24 ppg with Toronto.

4.) Renaldo Balkman will not record a "Did Not Play - Coach's Decision" during the month of October. (Sure, Denver only plays three-games in October and there are plenty of injuries to go around, but I need a layup here!)

5.) The Rookie of the Year award is typically a popularity contest (see Melo vs. LeBron rookie race: Melo took his team to the playoffs, James did not yet he won the award) and this season it seems to be a two man race between Blake Griffin and John Wall ... give me Wall to win it this season.

6.) This year's surprising playoff team: the Washington Wizards. Gilbert Arenas might be a bit of a distraction, but with the focus on him, his teammates will pull together and sneak into the playoffs.

7.) The All-Star game MVP will continue not to matter.

8.) Carmelo Anthony will finish the season with the Denver Nuggets.

9.) The Portland Trail Blazers will break plenty of hearts in Oregon by not making the playoffs.

10.) I will eat some nachos at the Pepsi Center this season.

If I get just 10% of the above predictions right I will feel pretty good about things ... because it will probably mean I had some tasty nachos at some point.

 

Just like we did last season, I've asked Andrew Feinstein and Jeffrey Morton to join me in forecasting how they see each conference shaking out and who they think will defeat whom in the NBA Finals.

 

Nate Timmons:

Western Conference
1. Dallas Mavericks
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Denver Nuggets
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Phoenix Suns
6. Houston Rockets
7. San Antonio Spurs
8. Utah Jazz
9. Portland Trail Blazers
10. Memphis Grizzlies
11. L.A. Clippers
12. Sacramento Kings
13. Golden State Warriors
14. New Orleans Hornets
15. Minnesota Timberwolves

Eastern Conference
1. Orlando Magic
2. Miami Heat
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Boston Celtics
5. Atlanta Hawks
6. Milwaukee Bucks
7. Washington Wizards
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. Charlotte Bobcats
10. New York Knicks
11. Philadelphia 76ers
12. New Jersey Nets
13. Detroit Pistons
14. Indiana Pacers
15. Toronto Raptors

Conference Finals
Dallas over L.A. Lakers
Boston over Orlando

NBA Finals
Boston over Dallas.

Jeffrey Morton:

Western Conference
1. L.A. Lakers
2. Denver Nuggets
3. Dallas Mavericks
4. San Antonio Spurs
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
6. Utah Jazz
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. Houston Rockets
9. Phoenix Suns
10. L.A. Clippers
11. Memphis Grizzlies
12. Minnesota Timberwolves
13. New Orleans Hornets
14. Sacramento Kings
15. Golden State Warriors

Eastern Conference
1. Orlando Magic
2. Boston Celtics
3. Miami Heat
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Atlanta Hawks
6. Milwaukee Bucks
7. Charloette Bobcats
8. Detroit Pistons
9. New York Knicks
10. Washington Wizards
11. Philadelphia 76ers
12. New Jersey Nets
13. Indiana Pacers
14. Cleveland Cavaliers
15. Toronto Raptors

Conference Finals
L.A. Lakers over Denver
Orlando over Miami

NBA Finals
Orlando defeats L.A. Lakers.

 

Andrew Feinstein:

Western Conference
1. L.A. Lakers
2. Dallas Mavericks
3. San Antonio Spurs
4. Oklahoma City Thunder
5. Denver Nuggets WITH Melo
5. Utah Jazz
6. Houston Rockets
7. Phoenix Suns
8. Portland Trail Blazers
9. New Orleans Hornets
10. Denver WITHOUT Melo
11. L.A. Clippers
12. Memphis Grizzlies
13. Sacramento Kings
14. Golden State Warriors
15. Minnesota Timberwolves

Eastern Conference
1. Miami Heat
2. Boston Celtics
3. Orlando Magic
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Milwaukee Bucks
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. New York Knicks
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. New Jersey Nets
10. Charlotte Bobcats
11. Detroit Pistons
12. Philadelphia 76ers
13. Washington Wizards
14. Indiana Pacers
15. Toronto Raptors

Conference Finals
L.A. Lakers over Dallas
Boston over Miami

NBA Finals
Boston over Lakers.

 

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

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