By Henry Abbott
Chad Ford and John Hollinger have worked up ratings (Insider) of teams in terms of how well they are positioned for the future.
They picked my favorite team, the Portland Trail Blazers, first overall -- so clearly they know exactly what they are talking about and are brilliant.
It's an ambitious thing to write about, the future. I once was friends with the local TV weather guy. He felt really good that their forecasts were accurate something like 60% of the time. He'd brag about it, but people hated him for that 40%! He got angry calls and letters all the time. They were generally along the lines of ruined outdoor weddings or ice fishing trips gone awry.
Some would throw that 60% number back in his face and say that if they did their jobs right just 60% of the time, they'd get fired.
To which I'd reply, if I were him: Not if your job was predicting the future! If you can predict the future correct 60% of the time, in stock-picking, gambling, weather or anything else, you're basically a miracle worker.
To underscore the point about the NBA, however, and to emphasize the ambition inherent in describing the future, let me direct you to the work of M. Haubs of the Painted Area. At the outset of the season, he put together a truly stellar blog post, as part of the TrueHoop Network's season preview, looking into the decade of the NBA that will begin January 1, 2010.
Just some of the questions he addresses intelligently:
Where will LeBron James be?
How will Greg Oden/Andrew Bynum develop?
How will high-school-to-pros players age?
Will Kevin Durant stay in Oklahoma?
Is Daryl Morey the vanguard or an aberration?
Which teams could get game-changing new owners?
What will the new collective bargaining agreement look like?
What franchise moves may occur?
Who are the new young stars who will emerge?
If you know all that, as well as little things like who'll be injured, I'd think you'd be able to do a bang-up job predicting the future of the NBA. But as those are all unknowable ... a 60% success rate would, in my mind, prove that Ford and Hollinger really know what they're talking about.