Knicks Fanatic v. NBA GMs: Conference Predictions

The NBA recently released its 12th annual GM survey.  The NBA's 30 GMs answered 56 questions about the upcoming NBA season.  Among the predictions made by the GMs was which teams would win their respective divisions, conferences and the NBA Championship.  Tonight as the season begins, I take on the same questions the GMs answered and explain why my responses differ from their's.  I am now on record and we'll come back to this article at the end of the season to see who had the clearer crystal ball and got it right.

Which Team will win the 2014 NBA Finals?

Knicks Fanatic:  Miami Heat

GMs: Heat by 75%

Which team will win the Eastern Conference?

Knicks Fanatic: Miami Heat

GMs: Miami Heat by 86.2%

Which Team Will Win The Western Conference?

Knicks Fanatic: Los Angeles Clippers

This is a tough call because the strongest bench between the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder will carry the day.  With that said, Doc Rivers gives the Clippers a new dimension from the bench.  His focus on defense will change the way DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin play. However, this team may be one season away from the finals because with Doc at the helm, it is almost like a new team, but by the end of the season it might be like they've played two seasons together despite the system changes. Houston will not reach the finals.  Howard has a long way to go to be the force he needs to be to be a champion.  And I refuse to pick the Spurs two years in a row.  

GMs: San Antonio 40.0%, Oklahoma city 36.7%

Which Team Will Win The Atlantic Division?

Knicks Fanatic: New York Knicks

The Knicks are likely to win more games then Brooklyn in the long 82-game season.  The Knicks' problems will be about fitting the right pieces into the right place.  When do you play Stat? Obviously he and Melo do not play well together, or at least have not yet.  Can Bargnani really be a starter with his poor tre shooting and horrid defense.  If Bargnani plays well with Melo and guards other than Felton and Prig penetrate a little, this could be a very dangerous team.  But it is more likely that Artest will get into the starting line-up and the Knicks will feed off the energy of Shumpert and J.R. Smith, who will strengthen both the first and second unit.

The Nets have a very attractive starting five, but two of their stars are in decline.  Maybe, three if you talk about Joe Johnson's problems in the team concept on the offensive end.  Brooklyn's bench even with Jason Terry leaves a lot to be desired.  Shaun Livingston? Andre Kirilenko? Reggie Evans?

Additionally, it's one thing to have Kidd as a first year coach; it is quite another to have Franks as the second in command.  He is clearly a nice, well-studied and very organized guy, but he is a lousy coach.   Brooklyn is over-hyped.

GMs: Brooklyn 75.9%

Which Team Will Win The Central Division?

Knicks Fanatic: Chicago Bulls

A very tough and physical team won four games less than Indiana last year without their star player for a full season.  This team is intense without Rose and hungrier with him.  I would pick them over Indiana in a heartbeat, especially since Indiana has to grapple with bringing Granger back into the fold after a couple of players busted out of their limitations with the Pacer star absent.  However, if the Pacers allow Lance Stevenson to develop, a new star will be borne by season's end.

GMs: Indiana Pacers 51.7%

Which Team will win the Southeast Division?

Knicks Fanatic: Miami Heat

GMs: Miami Heat 100%

Which Team Will Win The Southwest Division?

Knicks Fanatic: Houston

Houston will not beat San Antonio in the post-season.  Tim Duncan will abuse Dwight Howard, Tony Parker will abuse Jeremy Lin and  Patrick. James Harden will keep it close.  However, the younger Houston legs will have a much better regular season.  The team will be better overall but still inconsistent defensively and as inconsistent offensively as Howard always is.  

GMs: San Antonio by 70%

Which team Will Win The Northwest Division?

Knicks Fanatic: Oklahoma City

GMs: Oklahoma City 96.6%

Which Team will win the Pacific Division?

Knicks Fanatic: L.A. Clippers

GMs: L.A. Clippers 89.7%