Here we are in that no-man's-land between the end of the Olympics and the start of training camp for the NBA. Lovely. You think it's time for some completely meaningless predictions? (Predictions are subject to change...)
Lets do it!
Here are some nuggets to chew on as we wait for training camp to start. Oh, and NO this is NOT Nuggstradomus. I am, however, aware of his work and I'm sure he takes predicting far more seriously than I do.
JaVale McGee will start the season coming off the bench. Based on Coach George Karl's recent appearance on Monday Live with Vic Lombardi, it seems like JaVale may have a small mountain to climb to get back into the starting lineup. I'm convinced that part of the reason McGee was transferred to coming off the bench late in the season was because he played better with Andre Miller. This part was key. Now, it may be difficult proposition to keep McGee on the bench considering he is (at the moment) the second highest paid player on the team. I'm not suggesting he will stay there for very long, but I can see George Karl keeping the same playoff rotation he had and bringing it to the start of the season. With JaVale's hard work this off season, including his time with Hakeem Olajuwon, we may see a big leap forward in terms of maturity. Hope so.
Timofey Mozgov will perform at a much higher level this season Toward the end of last season, Timo was a bit lost. In fact ... much to the chagrin of my colleague Nate Timmons and his Mozgov Militia ... he was exiled to the bench and played very little down the stretch. Yet, Moz played MUCH better in a starting role against Andrew Bynum in the playoffs. So much so that the recently starting Kosta Koufos took over Mozgov's role riding the pine. Couple this with Mozgov's recent excellent Olympic performances (a Bronze Medal for Russia) and we may have a nice little surprise on our hands. If Moz can fix the "hands of stone" issue he seems to have in the NBA, he will be a great asset to the team going forward.
Ty Lawson and Andre Miller will play slightly less minutes together on the floor. I know, I know. Emphasis on slightly less minutes. Look, we all know that Karl likes his two point guard lineups. That is a fact of life that everyone at Denver Stiffs will have to get used to this as long as Karl is the coach. However, it is probably an inevitable function of Dre's age that he play less minutes all-together, and therefore Lawson's time running the team by itself will increase naturally. However, the two point guard lineup will still be there all season. Dre did fantastic work playing hurt down the stretch and had a couple fantastic games in the playoffs. If we can get any sort of approximation of this kind of production from him this season, the Nuggets will be in for good things.
Wilson Chandler, if healthy, will have his best year as a pro. That's right, our own Wilson Chandler will go from "meh" to "yay!" as he excels in his role off the bench. Providing a much needed defensive presence on the second unit. Also, Ill Will is capable of starting when needed. I see big things for Chandler this season as an indispensable player who can do alot of different things. Look for Chandler to also cut back on the step-back-contested 18 foot jumpers that he takes so much of. Heck, if he does that it won't take much convincing for me to like him as a player.
Lastly, one prediction that you can see coming a mile away coming from me
Danilo Gallinari will have a breakout year. I can hear people now (in my best Ed Wynn voice) "Ohhhhhh, this is soooooo predictable, we just knewwwww you would say that!" ... To that I say. What of it? I firmly believe that Gallo will rise to the challenge and finally play a fully healthy season. This will allow him to be consistent all season and raise his scoring average. The key has always been health with Gallo, and he MUST be healthy all season. This is a legitimate concern. If he can't, then quite frankly the "torch wielding villagers" may have their way and Gallo will be traded like a Hummel figurine at a swap meet for spinsters. He MUST perform...and I believe he will.
So there you have it. No stats, no interviews. Just gut feelings that are hopefully 50% right as we enter the season. Otherwise I need to never place a bet on a team ... or gamble period for that matter.
What are your predictions?