I really wish D-Rose would leave the predictions to television psychics.
Over at Basketbawful, I’ve spent the last year-plus making fun of New Jersey’s Devin Harris for saying “We knew we were going to be a playoff team” back in December of 2008. Since Devin crammed his foot into his mouth with that unfortunate statement, the Nets have gone 34-104 and become one of the worst teams in NBA history.
As stat curses go, that’s up there with the best of them, so you can imagine how I felt when Basketbawful reader godhimself48 drew my attention to Chicago’s very own Derrick Rose pulling a Devin Harris.
Said Rose: ”We’re still going to make it. You can’t think about stuff like [not making the playoffs]. In my mind, we’ll be making the eighth spot. We’ll be playing LeBron [James] — playing Cleveland. The closer we get, the [more] I’m going to think that. We can’t walk around acting like we’re not going to make it, because that’s when things turn on you. Our biggest goal is to make the playoffs, and we’re going to make it.”
Admittedly, what Rose said isn’t as bad as what Harris predicted less than 20 games into his team’s 2008-09 season. If anything, it seems like Derrick is using positive visualization. Still…I’d rather he just let his game do the talking and leave the psychic visions to Miss Cleo.
According to ESPN’s Summer Forecast: ’09-10 East standings, the Bulls are predicted to win 43 games and finish sixth overall in the Eastern Conference: “Our voters have the Bulls winning as few as 30 games and as many as 55, and perhaps it comes down to what they think of reigning rookie of the year Derrick Rose, whose scintillating playoff performance was followed by a tumultuous summer. In any case, most of our panel is bullish on Chicago overall.”
I think 30 games is a gross underestimation of this team…while 55 games seems like a pretty far-fetched overestimation. The 43-win average among the voters feels right. Personally, I think this team has a max of about 47 games in them, but the final tally will depend on how well they deal with their brutal early-season schedule.
The teams predicted to finish ahead of the Bulls are Cleveland, Boston, Orlando, Atlanta and Miami. The first three are gimmies. Atlanta added Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith, which supposedly will make them better (even though Crawford’s a remorseless gunner). As for the Heat, well, Dwyane Wade trumps Derrick Rose in Superstar Factor (for now), but the rest of their roster is pretty “meh.” And, of course, Michael Beasley is a very troubled young man. (Have I mentioned how glad I am the Bulls selected Rose over Beasley?)
So I could definitely see the Bulls finishing ahead of the Heat this season. The one thing that troubles me about ESPN’s predictions is that they seem too reliant on last year’s standings, with the top teams staying on top and the lower-tier teams improving slightly. The predictions didn’t seem to take the Surprise Team Factor into account. That is, each season one or two teams either made some huge and unexpected leap up in the standings (like last year’s Magic squad)…or drop down the standings like a rock (like when last year’s Suns didn’t qualify for the playoffs).
I wonder who this year’s Surprise Teams will be…?