NBA THREADCBS Playoff Seeding Predictions
Barring injury, LeBron and Wade will wreak devastation wherever they go.
When Dwight Howard says he's on a mission to be meaner, I believe him.
Age, injuries and the Heat will keep the Celtics from having a regular-season record that lives up to their talent.
They finally have a low-post option in Carlos Boozer and will be noticeably better defensively under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau.
Brandon Jennings and Scott Skiles will keep the deer appropriately feared.
All their rivals got noticeably better, but the Hawks stood still.
There's enough talent and athleticism on this roster to get in, and Larry Brown will figure out a way -- even if it means trading half the roster.
Mike D'Antoni finally has some athletes to run his offense, but it won't be easy. The Knicks will battle to the end with the 76ers, Wizards and Pacers.
Playoff teams: West
Phil Jackson will let the defending champs coast just enough to keep Kobe Bryant healthy for the playoffs and push hard enough to get the No. 1 seed, because the Lakers understand the importance of home-court advantage as well as anyone.
2. Trail Blazers:
It was silly how many injuries the Blazers had last season. They can't possibly be that unlucky again, and their talent and versatility will shine through.
San Antonio's Big Three isn't done yet, and the biggest of the bunch -- Tim Duncan -- will get some much-needed rest in the form of Tiago Splitter.
Of all the teams that lost marquee free agents this summer, the Jazz are the only one that filled the void. (Unless you count Hakim Warrick in Phoenix as filling the void.) Al Jefferson will keep Deron Williams from having to do it all.
It's all about Yao Ming. If he can stay on the floor, the Rockets will need to be dealt with.
After all the pub Kevin Durant got this summer, the Thunder aren't sneaking up on anybody. They're still potent, but it will be harder this time.
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd have one more hurrah together, and Tyson Chandler will make a big difference on both ends.
This was by far the most difficult pick, because the Suns, Clippers and Nuggets (depending on Melo) will be in the mix. But don't forget how much better they are when CP3 is healthy. Yahoo Award Predictions
East Finals: Boston/Orlando
West Finals: Lakers
NBA Finals: A mix: Lakers
ROY: Blake Griffin
(runner up: John Wall
COY: Jerry Sloan
(runners up: Doc Rivers
and Doug Collins
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard
Sixth Man of the Year: Kyle Korver
Most Improved: Kevin Love
Executive of the Year: Pat Riley NBA website
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