Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kevin Love out 6-8 weeks with broken hand

Timberwolves forward Kevin Love will miss the next six to eight weeks with a broken hand.

According to reports, Love broke his hand while working out at his condo complex before today's practice began.

Coincidentally, Love broke his hand almost three years ago today, as Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweets, and missed 18 games of the season.
Love ranked second in the NBA in rebounding (13.3 per game) and fourth in scoring (26.0 per game).

With Love out up to eight weeks, it will give Derrick Williams, the second-overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, an opportunity for more minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

NBA Finals Preseason Predictions for the 2012-13 Season

Earlier in the week, Kyle Baillargeon made his preseason predictions with final regular-season records for all 30 NBA teams.

[His team-by-team predictions here: Eastern Conference - Western Conference]

Of course, "winning" the regular season doesn't mean much unless you parlay that home-court advantage into a title.

With that said, Kyle makes his predictions for the conference and NBA Finals below:

Eastern Conference Finals: Boston over Miami in six games

The Heat can expect to be back in the finals for many years to come, and will likely win at least a few more, so long as LeBron is still there.  But the retooled Boston Celtics will put that dynasty on hold for the 2012-2013 season.  This Celtics team is on a mission to win.  More importantly though, this is the most complete Celtics team since the 07-08 squad.  The Heat still have Lebron, Wade, and Bosh, and they did add Ray Allen, but once again, depth is a question mark.  The Celtics' deep rotation will keep coming at the Heat, and eventually wear them down and take it in six games.

Western Conference Finals: LA Lakers over San Antonio in five games

The Spurs will have run out of gas by the time they face Dwight Howard and the Lakers.  This year should be the final stand for San Antonio, but the Lakers will not be stopped in the West.  Steve Nash's playmaking will prove to be too much, and Kobe Bryant is still Kobe Bryant.  But the key to this Lakers team will be Howard.  Assuming his back does not hinder him in any way, he and Pau Gasol should dominate the front court.  The Lakers will win this going away. 

NBA Finals: LA Lakers over Boston in seven games

This pains me to admit, but the Celtics likely won't be able to stop the Lakers.  Though Boston still has Kevin Garnett, and they did add a glut of seven-footers, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard are just too much for any front court.  Steve Nash may not be able to keep up with Rondo at this stage, and that may be Boston's best hope of winning the Finals.  Either way, expect a classic seven-game series in June 2013.

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Our FanDuel daily NBA leagues: October 30 (12 teams) - October 31 (12 teams)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Western Conference Preseason Predictions for the 2012-13 NBA Season

Earlier today, Kyle Baillargeon made his preseason predictions for the Eastern Conference.  Now it's time to take a team-by-team look at the Western Conference.

Here is how Kyle sees the Western Conference playing out:

1. Los Angeles Lakers - 61-21

The triangle offense is just a distant memory with Steve Nash at the helm, and this team should expect to score in spades.  When Dwight Howard comes back, assuming he is his normal self, watch out.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder - 60-22

The Thunder will be at or near the top for years to come, with only the retooled Lakers poised to stand in their way.  The Thunder should take last year's loss in the NBA Finals as a learning experience and expect to come into this season with something to prove.  It's also amazing to consider that KD35 just turned 24.

3. San Antonio Spurs - 59-23

Tempted to give the Spurs a lower record, simply because they know it's all about the playoffs and not the regular season.  But that's just silly.  This team will continue to be good until they prove otherwise.  

4. Los Angeles Clippers - 54-28

Chemistry is a concern for the bench, where Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford are not necessarily known for being quiet role players. CP3 combined with the talented and athletic front court should make for a four seed in the tight west.

5. Denver Nuggets - 53-29

This should be an exciting team to watch.  Denver will be running all year, and Iguodola gives them a defensive anchor.  With the right matchups, this team could surprise many and go deep into the playoffs.

6. Memphis Grizzlies - 51-31

Memphis opened some eyes two seasons ago in the playoffs, and they showed last season that they're no fluke.  We've seen in this league, however, that you need a star to be one of the elite teams.  Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay are all very good, but it's tough to imagine them in the championship with this squad as constituted.

7. Dallas Mavericks - 50-32

At this stage, Darren Collison is likely preferable to Jason Kidd, so that's an upgrade.  Though it isn't the same as Deron Williams, whom they tried hard to get. Assuming there aren't any chemistry issues with all the new faces, don't put it past Dallas to make another run.

8. Utah Jazz - 46-36

The Jazz proved you can still be a solid team after trading away your best player.  They just aren't ready yet to move up in this tough conference.  Thankfully, they're very young and in a few years we could be talking about them as championship contenders.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves - 45-37

If Rubio comes back quickly, this team could end up higher than this.  Minnesota has the best power forward in the league in Kevin Love, and they're somehow a very fun and potentially dangerous team.  Brandon Roy is a wild card, and if he can play anything like we've seen in the past, he's a fantastic addition.

10. Phoenix Suns - 41-41

The Suns are finally in the post-Steve Nash era, and things don't look quite so bad.  They won't contend this year or next, but patience and a little bit of luck in the lottery could help them out sooner rather than later.  Losing Channing Frye hurts, with no idea of when he'll return.  Kendall Marshall was a great pickup in the draft this year and should be a solid building block for the future.

11. Golden State Warriors - 39-43

This team is too much of an injury risk to put any higher.  If Curry and Bogut are healthy though, they could very well contend for the eighth seed.  Klay Thompson is ready to take another step and will hopefully avoid a sophomore slump.

12. New Orleans Hornets - 35-47

It's probably too much to expect this many wins out of such a young squad, but the talent is there.  Anthony Davis is a stud and Eric Gordon is ready to put a frustrating season behind him.  The rebuild could be quick for the Hornets.

13. Portland Trail Blazers - 34-48

The Blazers don't quite have an identity, but Aldridge is still young and a solid piece to build around.  Batum made headlines with his actions at the Olympic games, and he is hoping to make headlines with his play this season.

14. Sacramento Kings - 30-52

Jimmer Fredette was a big miss, and Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are both talented but not of the right mindset to be leaders.  This team is a mess and the chemistry, or lack thereof, will certainly hurt them.

15. Houston Rockets - 28-54

The Rockets shot high in trying to get Dwight Howard, but all they did was shoot themselves in the foot, at least for this season.  It's well known that Daryl Morey believes you need to either be elite, or in the basement, and not somewhere in the middle.  The Rockets will most certainly be contending for the 1st overall pick this year.

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Eastern Conference Preseason Predictions for the 2012-13 NBA Season

With NBA training camps opening up, it's time for preseason predictions.  Kyle Baillargeon takes a team-by-team look into his crystal ball of all 30 NBA teams.

Here is how Kyle sees the Eastern Conference playing out:

1. Miami Heat - 64-18

The champs are back and they brought Ray Allen with them for this round.  Allen will find himself open far more often than he did last year, and he'll make the most of it.  Miami may even make a run for 70.

2. Boston Celtics - 61-21

Retooled and reloaded, the Celtics have been seemingly at the end of their run for the last three years. But they keeping coming back, ready to contend. This squad is bigger up front and could have the best four-guard rotation in the league.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - 50-32

Adding Bynum is huge for Philly, so long as he stays healthy.  Will the team miss Iguodala, though?  If Evan Turner plays to his potential, then the answer to that question is no.

4. Indiana Pacers - 48-34

With more teams going small at the center position, Roy Hibbert is somewhat of an anomaly.  The Pacers were built to succeed in a short season, but how will this team fare over 82 games?

5. Milwaukee Bucks - 44-38

The dropoff is steep in the Eastern Conference, and this number of wins says more about how bad the rest of the conference is as opposed to how good the Bucks are. Jennings, Ellis and crew should have no problem making the playoffs, where they'll hope to make some noise.

6. Brooklyn Nets - 41-41

A tough team to determine, considering the general overhaul.  Deron Williams and Joe Johnson is one of the strongest backcourts in the game.  And don't underestimate how the move to Brooklyn could positively effect the team's psyche.

7. Chicago Bulls - 40-42

It's going to be a long year for the Bulls, though they did play decently for stretches without Rose last year.  The team is not completely devoid of talent, but they just can't expect to contend without their star.  Rose may be ready sometime after the All-Star break, but the Bulls may be better off tanking the season and hoping for a high pick.

8. Atlanta Hawks - 40-42

The Hawks are in a quasi-rebuilding mode, as they still have enough talent to sneak into the playoffs.  However, if they start to slide downhill in the middle of the season, don't be surprised to see Josh Smith on his way out sooner rather than later.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers - 36-46

Irving is the real deal, and this team could surprise people in the east.  They'll definitely be an exciting team, which is all you can ask for right now in Cleveland.

10. Toronto Raptors - 35-47

Valanciunas was considered by many as one of the top prospects out of his draft, and now he gets to show Toronto what they waited for. There's not a whole lot else to be excited for in Toronto, as it seems as though they based their entire offseason on trying to get, and subsequently failing to get, Steve Nash.

11. New York Knicks - 35-47

It's tough to make heads or tails of what the Knicks are trying to accomplish.  Carmelo and Amare don't seem to work entirely well together.  Jason Kidd would have been a great addition if he were five years younger.  Meanwhile, Rasheed Wallace should be a wonderful influence on whatever young players the Knicks have.

12. Detroit Pistons - 33-49

Detroit may have themselves a bright future, but they'll have to make sure they don't waste their cap space after this season like they did a few years ago.  In a perfect world, everyone will stay healthy, they'll show some signs of real potential, and they'll get a high pick.

13. Washington Wizards - 33-49

John Wall is not Derrick Rose or Kyrie Irving, but he is still ultra talented.  This is his team, and he needs to raise his game.  If he does, then he and Bradley Beal could make for a great young backcourt.

14. Charlotte Bobcats - 25-57

The Bobcats did a great job of not screwing up their pick this year, and MKG is a great talent.  Kemba Walker has the keys to the squad now, and he can definitely make things happen on occasion.  This team is still a ways away, but hopefully their front office will make it a streak of good draft picks next year.

15. Orlando Magic - 13-69

Not many good things to say about Orlando.  They didn't get much for the best center in the league.  They would have been smart to stick with Van Gundy, however.

Later today, we will post Kyle's predictions for the Western Conference.

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