Friday, October 26, 2012

Don't Sleep on Brooklyn, Plus NFL Week 8 Picks

America's favorite NBA team, the New Jersey Nets, have moved to the great borough of Brooklyn, and I for one couldn't be happier. Okay, maybe they aren't the nation's favorite team, but they're in the top 30. Since the departure of Jason Kidd, the Nets have been a floundering franchise, finishing below .500 for the past five seasons. The bottom really fell out when they went an abysmal 12-70 in the '09-'10 season. The last three seasons have seen them go from historically suck-tastic to abhorrent to mildly objectionable.

But, this season things are changing, baby! This is largely thanks to their crazy Russian billionaire owner who just spent 2 million on Dom Perignon, guns and fog machines at a club in Ibiza in the time it took me to type this sentence. The guy knows how to party. Anyway, even though they embarrassingly missed out on trading for Dwight Howard, who needs him? He's got a bad back and he hasn't improved his post game or free throw shooting in 6 years. The Nets have still managed to quietly stockpile a deep and talented team. Their starting 5 is as follows:

PG: Deron Williams
SG: Joe Johnson
SF: Gerald Wallace
PF: Kris Kardashian Humphries
C: Brook Lopez

"After I finish my wine, I vill break you." 
Three of these players have been all stars and each one is above average to excellent for their positions. It could be argued Gerald Wallace is wildly overpaid and a bit over the hill, and sure he possesses one of the uglier jumpers in the game, but he can still rebound and defend. Though he gets more press for his ex-wife, and gets mercilessly booed in opposing arenas, Humphries (14 pts, 11 rbs per game last year) is actually an underrated power forward. Lopez is the question mark. He can be a 20-10 guy but he often avoids rebounds as if he'll catch herpes from them.

By contrast, let's look at the Knicks starting five:

PG: Ray Felton
SG: J.R. Smith
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Amare Stoudemire
C: Tyson Chandler

The Knicks have talent, but there a lot more offensive black holes on that team. If you pass the ball on the Knicks, you won't see it again. The real difference between the two teams is on the bench. The Knicks bench includes the sadly washed up Jason Kidd, the always injured Marcus Camby and someone named Chris Copeland, who might be a made up simulation.

In past years, if you were a player on the Nets' bench it meant it was your last stop on the way to NBA oblivion, but this year it actually features some quality players. CJ Watson, Marshon Brooks, Reggie Evans, Tyshawn Taylor and the enigmatic Andre Blatche will provide a lot of energy, depth and craziness (Reggie Evans). Blatche is one of those infuriating NBA players that can be dominant one night and pathetic the next. If he can reach his potential, he makes the Nets a top 5 team in the East. And yes, better than the crosstown Knicks by a good margin.

My prediction for the Nets this year: 47-35 record and a first round upset of the Celtics followed by getting swept by the Heat in the 2nd round. After 5 terrible seasons, I'll take it.

Week 8 NFL Picks:

New England -7 over the Rams: Everyone knows Tom Brady prefers a soft, gentle sheep to a Ram, baaahhhh.

Tennessee -3.5 over Indy: The revenge of Chris Johnson will continue one more week and then he'll go back to sucking.

"Damn you hands and arms, you've screwed me again!"
Cleveland +3 over San Diego: I'm never taking San Diego again until Norv Turner or Phil Rivers is gone, preferably both.

Philly -2 over Atlanta:  Vick rediscovers some ol' magic vs. his former team. Who's a good boy, Michael? Who's a good boy? Yes, you are! Woof!

Jacksonville +15.5 over Green Bay: Highest spread of the year because Jax has no MJD. But they do have plenty of MGD though, so live the High Life, fellas!

Seattle +2.5 over Detroit: The Lions should trademark "Goaline fumble!"

Jets -2.5 over Miami: Do not feel good about this one. At. All.

Chicago -8 over Carolina: Can't wait for Cam's press conference after this one!

Washington +4.5 over Pittsburgh: HOW DARE YOU give RGIII this many points.
"Someone should have warned me that I
might actually play."

K.C. -1.5 over Oakland: Brady Quinn vs. Carson Palmer...or as I call it, The Pick 6 Bowl.

Dallas +2 over Giants: Because Dallas just likes to mess with people.

N. Orleans +6 over Denver: This year, when in doubt, take the NFC.

San Fran -7 over Arizona: I don't like being subjected to these NFC West games in primetime.

Last week's record: 7-4
Overall record: 48-49-2

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