Expert? What does that mean?

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

I was going to write an intro for this column. An awesome one. It was going to have a bunch of funny one-liners and alcohol references and probably something for the kids, too. But it just so happens that all of my teachers decided to make my assignments due at the exact same time as this column. Convenient.

I was looking through’s list of so-called experts and their picks the other day and I couldn’t help but notice the inordinate number of favorites that they were picking.

Now, I know that they don’t want to tarnish their precious reputation of being an expert by picking Golden State over Dallas, but please grow a pair and pick an upset once in a while. It doesn’t take much skill to pick the team with the better record to win a game. Any halfwit Neanderthal can do that.

I sat there looking at those picks for a solid 10 to 15 minutes before realizing something. What on God’s green earth makes them think they know more than me? Is it because some of them have played in the NBA and therefore know more about the psyche of the team than I do? Do they have some sort of inside scoop on the teams that are going to take a dive?

No, they don’t. There are probably loads of hardcore fans around the country that watch more basketball than those fabled experts do, but somehow, the opinions of those fans are worth less.

It’s all ridiculous, but it got me thinking. What if I proclaimed myself an expert and actually took chances every once in a while? An expert taken from the people to pick games for the people (sorry if that came off a bit “Gladiator”-esque). Yes, if Bill Walton can be called an expert despite all of those mental issues, then damnit, so can I.

Eastern Conference

Coming into last year’s playoffs, the Eastern Conference had two teams that were worth a damn. This year, they don’t have any. You could throw Golden State into the Eastern Conference playoffs and they would come out unscathed.

Still, even the first round provides some can’t-miss action. One that you definitely can miss, though, is the Orlando-Detroit match-up. They might as well write Detroit into the second round right now because Orlando sucks. Sure, Dwight Howard could pull down 40 rebounds on any given night, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that no one on the team can score (Pistons in four).

I would be looking forward to the Wizards-Cavaliers match-up, but no Gilbert Arenas means Washington has absolutely no chance. LeBron doesn’t even have to play for the Cavs to win this one (Cavs in four).

The Toronto-New Jersey match-up is where the Eastern Conference gets much more interesting. Former “Air Canada” Vince Carter will travel into hostile territory and rip the hearts out of every Raptor fan’s chest with his inhuman vertical leap and pull up jumpers (Nets in six).

Probably the tastiest treat in the East, though, is the series between Chicago and Miami. Even though the Heat are far from hot and their bodies are falling apart as we speak, they don’t look like they’re ready to give up just yet. If they were playing anybody but the Bulls, I would give them a chance. Chicago’s defense is just too tough (Bulls in seven).

Just as they have the majority of this decade, the Pistons will move on to the Eastern Conference finals with a win over the Nets. I thought I would be happy to see a selfless team have success. I’m not.

On the other side of the bracket, the Bulls will outwork the Cavaliers thanks to some tougher D from Ben Wallace and Kirk Hinrich (Da Bulls in six). Chicago will keep its hot streak alive in the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, handling Chauncey Billups and Co. on its way to an NBA Finals berth.

Western Conference

I really shouldn’t have devoted that much of my column to the East, because everyone knows that the West is where it’s at. Every first-round match in the conference intrigues me.

Let’s start with Dallas and Golden State. The Warriors beat the Mavericks all three times during the regular season, but who am I kidding? Dallas probably wasn’t even trying (Mavs in six).

The Suns are one of the best teams in the NBA. There is no question about that. All they have to do to get out of the first round is find a way to stop Kobe Bryant. That can’t be too hard, can it (Suns in six)?

And on to the upsets in the Western Conference. I know the Spurs are tougher than ever right now, but they are just too boring for me to watch. The more games they play, the less blood flows through my veins. I think I have a headache. Please pray for Denver (Nuggets in seven).

Yes, the Jazz are playing like crap right now. Yes, Mehmet Okur plays like a 7-foot pansy. Yes, I will probably be beaten for these comments. But Yao is overrated, and therefore Utah gets the nod (Jazz in six).

The second round is where their run comes to a screeching halt, though. Stevie Nash and his merry band of Suns will serve them a dish of offense that no one could refuse.

On the other side of the bracket, the Nuggets will teach their Brazilian block Nene how to nose dive into someone’s kneecap, and that will be the end of Dirk Nowitzki. Iverson and Anthony will take over and average 200 a game in the series to win it (Nuggets in seven).

The Western Conference Championship will be a track meet. They should just say that the first team to 1,000 points goes to the Finals. Any way you look at it, the Suns will win (Suns in six).

Phoenix won’t have as easy of a time busting through Chicago’s steel curtain defense in the NBA Finals, but where there are seven players who average 15 points a game, there’s a way. I see the Suns taking it in six.

For all of you who don’t agree with me on these picks, let me ask you a question: Why do you think your opinion is worth a damn? After all, I’m the expert.