Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who will win the NBA championship?

I was reading a recent poll taken by Sports Illustrated that asked 189 NBA players who would win the NBA championship this season. The results:

Lakers - 67%
Celtics - 20%
Cavaliers - 4%
Spurs - 2%

So what does this mean? It seems like the players would know better than analysts who the best team in the league is. The Lakers, Celtics, and Cavs have a combined winning percentage of 87.5. These teams are all playing at a pretty ridiculous clip. The only meeting between these teams to this point in the season was a game one win by Boston over Cleveland. So, who will win the NBA title? Both Boyd and I picked the Celtics before the season started, and I think it's pretty clear that Jim wouldn't pick against the Celtics even if he were being tortured.

I'm not only surprised that the Lakers won the poll, but the margin is pretty impressive. What do the players know that we don't? Defense led Boston to a championship last year and they've been equally impressive so far this season. Ray Allen is healthy and playing like a champ. The Lakers have been impressive thus far, but what has changed that leads people to conclude they will beat Boston this year? Are they better defensively? Does Bynum make up the difference from last year? Is Kobe playing even better this season than last? Do people think age will catch up to the Celtics (they aren't that old)? With Rondo playing the way he is so far this season, I can't see why anyone would pick against the Celtics. Can someone give me some ideas? I'm not ruling it out completely, because Cleveland and Los Angeles are both very good teams, but why the Lakers at 67% of the vote? Seriously, what am I missing? Boyd? Jim? Rob? Anyone?


Rob said...

I think the players saw it this way: The Lakers dominated the ultra-competitive West in the playoffs last year, winning in 4, 6, and 5 games, and lost in 6 games in the finals - all without their 3rd best player (their center and defensive anchor). Add in the fact that the Celtics are older than your average team, and you have your result.

When was this poll taken? If it was taken in the last few days, it is rather surprising, because the Lakers haven't shown that they are necessarily up to the task defensively and the Celtics haven't shown any signs of slowing down or apathy.

You are right to be confused if this was taken in the last few days. Celtics are the favorites right now.

Cheeth said...

I think the Celtics will win it, so I am inclined to say that the players may be good at basketball, but most of them are also dumb as rocks.

Then I looked up the odds, and (where I checked) the Lakers are at 7 to 4 while the Celtics are at 3 to 1, giving the Lakers a slight edge.

I have a hard time arguing with the people who are literally betting their livelihoods that the Lakers will win, because I am very sure they have researched the factors that matter.

Then again, the difference between the odds on the two teams is pretty small, so they are also hedging their bets.

Jim said...

At the end of the season last year the Celtics were the last team standing. If I were not on the Celtics and I played in the NBA (also being as competitive as I am) I would never vote for the team that won it all the season before, because screw them (some would call this sour grapes [and by "some" I mean me]).

Also every player wants to play in LA because it is the best city in the league for everything (maybe NY could make a case for this title, but the Knicks suck it). They all voted for LA in hopes of being traded there so they can maybe get a gig in a crappy movie (see Kazaam) and they can also get weed way easier thanks to Mexico.