MoVernie NBA Playoff Predictions – 2016

13000368_10153435083871976_9132173021711993362_n

Peeps! Let’s have some fun!

Here are my NBA playoff prediction for 2016. Let me know if you agree or disagree and why.

And tell me what’s your predictions?

Eastern Conference:

  1. Raptors beat Pacers
  2. Cavaliers beat Pistons
  3. Heat beat Hornets
  4. Celtics beat Hawks

Final 2 teams:

Cavaliers vs Heat (Lebron vs Wade)

Representing the East: Cavaliers

Western Conference:

  1. Warriors beat Rockets
  2. Spurs beat Grizzlies
  3. Thunder beat Mavericks
  4. Blazers beat Clippers

Final 2 teams:

Warriors vs Spurs (Classic)

Representing West: Spurs

NBA Champions: San Antonio Spurs

Raptors vs Pacers – Playoff Prediction

12743838_10153285957331976_7014033676658724393_n

A number of peeps want to know my prediction for the Raptors vs Pacers series.

My MoVernie Prediction? Raptors in 6.

2016 is the year the Raptors will shine & get pass playoff round #1.

And this will also be the first time in franchise history that Toronto will win and take Game #1, which they have never done in the franchise history. Believe it or not, that’s freaky.

Here is the breakdown on the strengths and weaknesses for both Raptors & Pacers:

Toronto Raptors

Strengths:

  1. Solid starting 5: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are all-star this year and both have been the backbone of this team. In fact, one of the best guard tandem in the NBA this year. Newcomer DeMarre Carroll (before getting injured) blend in well with the group, doing what he does best, guarding the opposition top dogs. Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson played well in various periods of times over the season. They may have their flaws but each of them bring something unique to the table. Last but not least, manning the centre, Jonas Valanciunas got 4th quarter minutes this year with his improved defense and more complete, all-around offensive skills down the stretch of every game.
  2. Deep Depth of Bench Players: Raptors also have deep bench. Coach Casey has a number of players who can be slotted in different slots and be able to contribute in many different ways and looks.

3) Home Court Advantage: Whether the Raptors fans are inside the ACC or outside the ACC (aka Jurassic Park), the fans are noisy, full of energy and full of passion. That is a loud place to play against, it definitely affect the oppositions.

X-Factor: Norman Powell and DeMarre Carroll. I know it’s too much to ask a rookie to play an important role in the playoffs but I truly believe in Powell, who can shoot 3’s, play defense, drive inside for a nice layup or a slam dunk. He is fearless. That’s what I like, a guy who isn’t hesitate to take the shot or afraid to step up his game, while doing it quietly.

Meanwhile, Carroll, the $15M addition over the summer, despite injury, will still be important to guard guys like Paul George or Monta Ellis

Weakness:

  1. Coach Casey: Casey often has questionable rotation and stubborn on who to put in or out, despite a bench player could be shooting the lights out. Casey also like to stick with the same starting 5, which is quite predictable. If Casey continues to be out coached or fail to make good adjustment during the game or the entire playoff series, Raptors will be kick out the 3rd time in a row.

    Raptors GM Masai Ujiri had said that whether to re-sign Casey or not does not depend whether if he can guide the team to the next round. To be honest, that was just full of bullshit. Remember, would any GM be stupid enough to say anything to affect the mental part of a team heading to the playoffs? Let’s sit down and think about this, would Masai tell the reporters that “Yes, if Casey get kick out of Round 1, he is gone?” before the eve of the playoff series? Most likely not, let’s use common sense here.

  2. Raptors have not won game #1 ever in franchise history. Will history repeats itself or become a new curse for the franchise? We will find out.

Indiana Pacers

Strength:

Coaching. What Raptors lacks in coaching is a major gain for the Pacers. Pacers major strength is strong coaching in Frank Vogel. Vogel has been a great coach guiding the Pacers year-in, year-out. Look at his roster this year, other than Paul George and Monta Ellis, there basically not much in the roster that you would call stars or core groups, but they get the job done and made the playoffs.

Think about this, their starting point guard, is George Hill, who only averages 3.4 assists per game this season. Are you kidding me? A starting point guard with only 3.4 assists is in the starting lineup and the team is making the playoffs. That’s because Vogel runs a system that guys like Ellis and Paul George can be a point man.

If Vogel wants to go small, Coach Casey better find a way to counteract Vogel’s tactics. Will Casey be out coach again? We will find out.

Weakness:

Weak bench: The roster is relatively weak compared to the deep bench players the Raptors got.

X-Factor: I really like Jordan Hill over the years and I think he will be a key contributor and expect way more playing minutes in this playoff. This guy can shoot and defend and grab key rebounds.

Anyhow, my MoVernie Prediction, Raptors in 6!

12974327_10153435084126976_1822376176085633585_n

Raptors vs Pacers NBA Playoffs – Key to Success

10703998_10152330064471976_7046709045052859352_o (1)

First of all, congratulations to the Toronto Raptors for making the playoffs, shattering a number of new franchise records and finishing 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.

It’s a luxury for Raptors fans to know that their team has pretty much secure a playoff spot way back in December. Remember those times when back in the days we wouldn’t even know if we make the playoffs until the last game is played? Those days are long gone! Not any more, this Raptors team have depth, experience, consistent team winning performance.

However, franchise records are sexy and awesome, but these accolades are meaningless if the Raptors get kick out of the 1st round yet again. So, to me, the motto is…”Round 2 or Go Home!”.

I am a realistic guy, if Raptors make it out of the 1st round of the playoffs this year, I am happy, it’s a goal accomplished. It’s a baby step moving forward, as long as there is progress, I am happy.

Below are some of the areas that I think are KEY to Raptors success to get out of 1st round:

  1. Coach Casey needs to make good adjustment

    In the past few playoff seasons, Coach Casey has a habit of sticking to its starting roster even when the roster don’t seem to be clicking. He has a stubborn nature of not making any roster changes to the starting lineup, not even bother to shake things up during the game, making things super predictable for the oppoents to guess what’s coming next from the Raptors. A great example was when the Raptors got swept by the Wizards last year.

    There is absolutely no more excuse for Coach Casey to fail yet again, that’s because Raptors GM Masai Ujiri had given Casey lots of options this season. The weakest link from last year’s roster was at the SF spot. Not this year, Masai went out and address this issue with the addition of DeMarre Carroll. Despite Carroll is slowly returning into form from his months long of injuries, his strong defense against opponents’ top dog such as Paul George or Monta Ellis shouldn’t be a problem for Carroll. Furthermore, if Casey wants some outside shooting, Terrence Ross has improved his 3pter shot this year. Want some more aggressive defense and energy? No problem, throw in the 6’9″ James Johnson. Better yet, on a surprising turn, rookie of the month in April, Norman Powell added grit, defense, size, 3pter and scoring in the paint. The BEST part about Powell? He is fearless, that’s what we need.

    With such an in-depth roster of players for Casey to choose from, Casey has no excuse for failing because he has so many different options, giving different looks and rotation against the Indiana Pacers, who has a relative weaker bench than the Raptors.

  2. Can All-Star DeMar DeRozan finally step up his game during the playoffs?

    DeMar DeRozan has clearly improved year-after-year with his spin moves and shots during the regular games. He has definitely mature and master his crafts this year. Although, DeMar is a great regular season stats guy, he has yet to flourish in the playoffs.

    In the playoffs, it’s a different game. The opponents’ defense will be tighter, they are more aggressive, they will double team DeMar more frequently. They will give DeMar less space and time to aim and shoot.

    Whether the Raptors can get pass the 1st round will heavily depend on the ability DeMar in making adjustments and being able to mix up his scoring repertoire during the playoffs. He needs to shoot 3’s, shoot in the paint, drive to the hoop and draw fouls.

    MEMO to Demar: If the ref isn’t giving you the call, don’t stand around and whine or get piss off, just stay focus and get back to defense and just keep going at it. Most often, he doesn’t drive when refs stopping giving him the call. And when his outside shots aren’t falling and he isn’t driving to the hoop, he usually disappear.

    Kyle Lowry, without a doubt is the heart and soul and leader of this team. We don’t even have to doubt his heart and passion. Even if the team is down 20 pts, Lowry will still give it his all to the dying seconds. Lowry and DeRozan are best friends, but no matter how good the friendships, a batman will need a robin. Can Lowry continue to be fine with DeRozan not able to complement him and disappear in the playoffs and continue have to carry the team on his back?

    Believe it or not, this is the free agent year for DeMar DeRozan, is he a max player? Should Raptors re-sign DeMar for a max contract? This will be a tough question. Would GM Masai wants to lock up a guy with max contract who may not be the game changer year after year with mediocre playoff performances? This playoff will be KEY for DeRozan to show what he got.

12803213_10153313420181976_9000563107621746571_n

3. Raptors MUST win Game #1

 

Believe it or not, throughout the entire Raptors history, as accordingly to RealGM playoff stats, Raptors have NEVER won game #1 in the entire franchise history for every playoff series. Other than year 2000-2001 when Raptors came back to beat the Knicks and then lost to the 76ers, every playoff series that Raptors lost game #1, they lose the entire series.

Although winning game #1 doesn’t mean they win the whole series,  but it is extremely important for Raptors to take game #1 to set the tone for the rest of the series, get settle down and start believing in themselves.

Game #1 may not be as important for other teams but definitely a KEY factor for the Toronto Raptors if they want to go to the 2nd round.

If Raptors able to check off the 3 key points I have mentioned above, the chances to go to the 2nd round is looking super bright!.

Best of luck! Go Raptors!

#WeTheNorth

12743838_10153285957331976_7014033676658724393_n11665456_10153313393606976_4604301808395122357_n