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PBT’s 2013-14 NBA season predictions… it’s not all Miami

Oct 28, 2013, 4:08 PM EDT

Dallas Mavericks Victory Parade Getty Images

The last couple years, it has felt going into the season that the road to an NBA title went through Miami. And it wasn’t going any farther.

This year it feels far more wide open. Make no mistake, the road goes through Miami and they are saying all the right things about defending their title, but the last team to even make it to four straight finals was the Larry Bird Boston Celtics in 1987. It’s a hard road, no matter how many times you’ve been down it, no matter how good you are.

Which is why you see a lot of teams other than Miami in tables below when myself and the PBT staff sat down to make our predictions for the coming NBA season.

Let’s start with the fun stuff, some of the awards:

Name MVP Rookie of Year Defensive player of year
Kurt Helin Kevin Durant Victor Oladipo Dwight Howard
Brett Pollakoff Chris Paul Victor Oladipo LeBron James
Dan Feldman LeBron James Victor Oladipo Dwight Howard
D.J. Foster LeBron James Cody Zeller Roy Hibbert
Darius Soriano Kevin Durant Victor Oladipo Roy Hibbert
Rhett Anderson Dwight Howard Victor Oladipo LeBron James

Of note here, both Darius and myself had picked Trey Burke to win the NBA Rookie of the Year in an earlier PBT Roundtable, but that was before the finger injury which required surgery and will have him out at the start of the season.

As for LeBron James getting a fifth MVP, it could well happen, but I think we’ll see voter fatigue as they look for someone else to honor.

Let’s move on to the division winners.

Name Atlantic Central SouthEast Southwest Northwest Pacific
Kurt Helin Nets Bulls Heat Spurs Thunder Clippers
Brett Pollakoff Nets Pacers Heat Rockets Thunder Clippers
Dan Feldman Nets Bulls Heat Spurs Thunder Clippers
D.J. Foster Nets Pacers Heat Spurs Thunder Clippers
Darius Soriano Nets Bulls Heat Spurs Thunder Clippers
Rhett Anderson Nets Pacers Heat Rockets Thunder Clippers

Sorry Knicks fans, I know most of you don’t get the Nets thing, but the fact is they finished just five games back of you last season then went out and got Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko. We think they leapfrog you.

But not a huge leap in the playoffs. Here’s our predictions on who wins it all:

Name Eastern Conference Finals Western Converence Finals NBA Finals Champion
Kurt Helin Pacers vs. Heat Clippers vs. Thunder Clippers vs. Pacers Pacers
Brett Pollakoff Pacers vs. Nets Clippers vs. Spurs Clippers vs. Pacers Pacers
Dan Feldman Heat vs. Bulls Clippers vs. Thunder Heat vs. Clippers Heat
D.J. Foster Heat vs. Bulls Clippers vs. Spurs Heat vs. Spurs Spurs
Darius Soriano Pacers vs. Bulls Clippers vs. Thunder Thunder vs Bulls Bulls
Rhett Anderson Pacers vs. Heat Clippers vs. Thunder Heat vs. Thunder Heat

Yes, I’m taking the Pacers over the Clippers in the Finals. I’m buying the Clippers hype that they can defend for Doc Rivers. The Pacers were a very good team last year with their core — Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill — still improving every year. Then the front office went out and stocked up what had been the worst bench in the league. I think they probably end up the three seed in the regular season but they are a roster built for the grinding game of the playoffs.

Make your predictions in the comments, or just tell us why we’re so wrong.

  1. senorpapino - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Looks to be wide open this year. All of the following are possible title contenders:

    Nets
    Bulls
    Pacers
    Heat
    Thunder
    Spurs
    Grizzlies
    Warriors
    Clippers
    Rockets

    • pudgalvin - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Best part about it is it’s going to make the regular season mean a lot more than it usually does. 3-6 in the west are going to end up with brutal first round matchups. Spurs/Rockets, Clippers/Warriors, Thunder/Grizz or some combination could be first round matchups in the west. And in the East, the Bulls, Pacers, Nets and Knicks will all be angling to avoid Miami in the second round. Should be fun.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      What league have you been watching? There’s no team in the East that can beat Miami. The Pacers didn’t even get close last year, unless you think getting blown out in Game 7 is “close.”

      • pudgalvin - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        And we all know it’s completely impossible for any team to improve from year to year. Miami is going to win the title every year until an asteroid destroys the earth. Everyone saw how completely infallible the Heat were last season.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:52 PM

        They weren’t losing last season. They’re not losing this season.

        Who can beat 2x Finals MVP LeBron James in a must win game? If you had to bet your life savings on it you would say “nobody.”

        And you know, last season was last season. Teams can get worse and teams can get better. One or two of the teams that people project to improve are not going to improve (like the Pacers). LeBron is exceptionally consistent though – the most motivated player in the league – and none of the other teams that are supposed to be able to knock them off in the East (Pacers, Bulls) have any championship or big game winning experience whatsoever. None.

      • bougin89 - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        “The Pacers didn’t even get close last year, unless you think getting blown out in Game 7 is “close.””

        Welp.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        You think that’s close? No. The Spurs got close. The Pacers might have well just lost in 5 with the way they played Game 7. The gap between the Heat and the Pacers was the size of the Atlantic.

        Hibbert was average and Paul George was scared out of his mind. You might say, “well next time he wont be scared.” Yeah, well next time they’re probably going to lose in 4.

        The Heat learned something in those playoffs that you’re absolutely not appreciating – that if they don’t want to lose, they won’t.

      • bougin89 - Oct 29, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        Lebron has had must win games like that as well. In fact, he disappeared for almost an entire finals series just 3 seasons ago. Since? He has really stepped up. Of course you only care about reality so that must mean that the Pacers definitely can’t win this year…

      • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        LeBron had already previously excelled in big game situations going back to 2006-07. 2010-11 was a weird year for everyone on the Heat and it ended weird. But the superhero who single handedly ended a Pistons era in Game 5 in 2007 – the superhero who led his team to the finals in just his 2nd year in the playoffs – that guy is the “real” LeBron James… the 4x MVP… the 2x Finals MVP… the guy who has more points at age 28 than any other player in history… the guy who has led more playoff games outright in points, rebounds and assists than any other player in history.

        Who is the real Roy Hibbert? Who is the real Paul George? I know exactly who they are. They are guys who cannot handle the real LeBron James.

      • bougin89 - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Wait, are you LakerLuver but you switched over to the Heat and Lebron instead of the Lakers/Kobe?

        Who are you arguing against that Lebron is amazing? You’re really losing grip on reality in your Lebron fandom. It’s a little gross actually.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 5, 2013 at 9:56 PM

        Who was I arguing against then? Mostly Kobe fans. I’ve been at war with Kobe fans in general for years.

        I’m not a “LakerLuver” – I used to follow the Lakers back in the Nick At Nite days. I was just saying that I have nothing against that franchise. I don’t have anything against any franchise.

      • bougin89 - Nov 8, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        I was asking who are you arguing against that Lebron is amazing, as in, why are you arguing to me that he is the best player in the league and throwing all his awards/stats at me? I believe he is unequivocally the best.

        The way you argue against Hibbert and George though is really hypocritical. Lebron has failed in must win games before he won it all. Almost everyone has(except for Magic Johnson). It doesn’t make any of them lesser for it.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 8, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        Oh, that was probably intended for someone else. I don’t recall – I’m in so many different conversations with various people that it’s hard to keep straight sometimes.

        It’s not really hypocritical – Hibbert and Geroge are not LeBron. And Magic had a lot of help – LeBron wouldn’t have lost early either if he was on that Lakers team.

      • bougin89 - Nov 11, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        “LeBron wouldn’t have lost early either if he was on that Lakers team.”

        We definitely aren’t having the same conversation.

      • loungefly74 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:09 AM

        that fact that there was a Game 7 makes it close.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:44 PM

        To you. The Pacers, Celtics and Spurs had absolutely no chance of winning a game 7 in Miami. None. It wasn’t going to happen…

        In the Finals, for example, road teams are 3-18 in Game 7s. 10 of the last 13 game 7s have been won by the home team by double digits (Miami destroyed the Pacers by 23). So a road win is extraordinarily unlikely even when the home team doesn’t have LeBron James, Wade & Bosh!

        The Pacers are a lot farther from the Heat than people are realizing (though it should be absolutely obvious).

      • loungefly74 - Nov 1, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        hey man…thats why we play them. there is always a chance. getting to a game 7 means they beat them 3 times before. any series that gets to game 7 is a good series. also…i agree with the Heat…they are the best…and probably will be again this season.

  2. asimonetti88 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Dwight Howard as MVP? He’s the second option on his team, just don’t see it.

  3. bougin89 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I think the biggest thing the Pacers have going for them this year compared to last year is the health of Roy Hibbert. The biggest question mark for them, IMO, is if George can take that next step as a truly elite player. Will be interesting to see if he can. He already is an elite defender.

  4. robyoung23 - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    BOBCATS all day!!!!!!

  5. buttfumbles - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    “Sorry Knicks fans, I know most of you don’t get the Nets thing”

    Haha Knicks fans are kinda delusional about a lot of things. They still swear that they would have beat Miami in the ECF last year…

  6. lemfaxx - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    If both spurs & miami can stay healty its a rematch! No wonder durant is the mvp coz
    His going to shoulder his team for the couples of month but still thunder is not a team contender. Defensive player is lebron over Hibert. This is the right season to recognize eric as a best coach, he really derved one.

  7. thekingdave - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    You guys need to get out of here with the Pacers as NBA Champs. If Miami does not win again, that’d be a colossal disappointment and letdown on their part.

    • iambusyascrapdonotrespondtomyposts - Oct 29, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Queen Dave,

      You are about the stupidest person on this board. While the Heat are likely favorites this season, it is due to the sheer determination, chemistry, and team work of a “King Wit Ringz” and one of the greatest supporting casts the NBA has ever seen.

  8. antistratfordian - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    I don’t know why people keep saying it’s “wide open.” I think the Heat are more of a lock this year than they were the previous two years – especially 2012 when they weren’t even favored to win the finals. I think the playoffs last year did so much for their confidence. They are going to think they’re unbeatable in a playoff series – and they’re going to be right.

    I think the Heat are going to win close to 70 games this year. 68-69 maybe – something around that. The way they played last year after they got Birdman… every game is winnable regardless of the circumstance… they carried that into the playoffs and I don’t think that attitude is going to change. Wade is on a mission to prove himself once more and LeBron is eternally motivated. The only way someone can steal the MVP from LeBron under those circumstances would be to get up near that 68-69 win total and KD and the Thunder are not going to be able to do that, especially sans Westbrook.

    • pudgalvin - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM

      God, did you even watch any games last year?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        Yes, and I saw LeBron and the Heat win all of the most important ones.

        I saw the Pacers and the Spurs completely choke. You didn’t see that?

      • pudgalvin - Oct 28, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        So which is it, the heat are the greatest team ever and will go undefeated or the spurs and the pacers should have won but choked their series’ away?

    • bougin89 - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      The Heat are starting at the top of the power rankings for good reason, they are the defending champs, but your comments on this thread are basically pathetic.

      I think even Lebron would show more humility…

      • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        It’s part of LeBron’s PR responsibility to be humble in this regard. I only care about reality, not appearances.

    • loungefly74 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      Are the Heat favored to win? yes, very much so….but to say no other team has a chance at the beginning of the season? c’mon, Contrarian. there is always a list of possible contenders every year. that’s a big reason why we watch sports….and Vegas makes money.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        Contrarian? Okay, well I’m just saying what Steve Kerr said: “There is a sense of inevitability with LeBron that was also there with Jordan.”

        Or what the New York Daily News wrote yesterday: “Picking against LeBron these days is like picking against Michael Jordan in the ’90s.”

        Or what just about everyone else is saying: “Betting against LeBron right now is scary.”

        The Heat aren’t just favorites – they’re a little more special than that.

      • loungefly74 - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:11 PM

        the smart money is on the Heat. no doubt…but ya still gotta play them!

  9. rodge1 - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    These predictions are as valid as last year’s predicted champ OKC. How’d that work out?

  10. cantonbound13 - Oct 28, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Who hacked Kurt’s account? Durant MVP & Pacers champions? I agree both have a good chance of happening, but the ultimate Heat lover & LeBron worshiper picking Durant & the Pacers? SHOCKING!

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 29, 2013 at 6:44 AM

      Or, you could just be wrong about me. Nah, you couldn’t admit that.

  11. tile84 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    your all crazy!! this will be Miami’s easiest championship. All on contract years, have the motivation of a 3 peat and Lebron is his prime right now!! Holy cow they could win every game this year and sweep the playoffs. Then maybe you crazy people would give lebron some credit.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Thank you!

  12. robyoung23 - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Go bobcats!!!!

  13. ufools - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Clip nation, RISE!!!!!

  14. asublimeday - Oct 29, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Darius is going to look damn smart at the end of this season.

  15. 00maltliquor - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    Miami not even in the Eastern Conf. championships to me is utterly irresponsible journalism! lol!

    I like Dan Feldman’s picks the best. Brett Polakoff is hallucinating.

  16. davidly - Oct 29, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    I agree that the Pacers are gonna moyderize all of ‘em.

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