The season has already begun. But it’s not too late to have a prediction article out there. After each month, I plan on having an updated list to show how the season has progressed. The season is going to be unpredictable but here are my predictions for the upcoming season.
The One that slip a bit: LeBron James
Last year came to no surprise to me. LeBron was joining a team that had only inexperienced youngsters and veterans that were way passed their prime. I think the addition will rejuvenate the Lakers as a whole. But, I don’t think Bron is going to be as great as he was only two seasons ago. To me, his only goal should be to make it possible for him to play with his sun in the 2022 NBA season. I don’t think he is that motivated to get a title to LA. For all you Bron fans out there: LA will never respect LeBron like they do Kobe or Magic because he has had success elsewhere and not in LA. He, at best, could be respected like Shaq.
the one that is going to climb: New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are, absolutely, not going to be the 10th worse team in the league like they were last year. Sure, the Western Conference got definitely better. But, so have the Pelicans.
First, they had the first pick and drafted the most intriguing prospect since LeBron. Zion is going to be out the first 6-8 weeks but, when he gets back I see him in the mist of a Rookie of the Year race.
Second, they won the Anthony Davis trade in my opinion. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are going to be great as they are separated from the insane man, LeBron James, who didn’t want to be there last year surrounded by a bunch of inexperienced players. Also, Josh Hart looks like he’s going to be getting some minutes off the bench too. I rather have that along with three first round picks including the 4th overall pick. That pick was traded to the Hawks for the 8th, 17th, and 35th picks which was (Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Marcos Louzda Silva)
Lastly, they picked up two great veterans to have on the team. JJ Redick has not missed the playoffs in his 9 year career. He started all 12 playoff games last season. JJ should know his role on this team. The Pelicans, also, went out and picked up Derrick Favors during free agency. You can prepare for a solid 11-12 points from him each game. The duo, to me, can teach the young ones on the team a thing or two about staying in the league for a longtime.
The one that still sucks: Phoenix Suns
Because I’m writing this five days after the season started, some storylines have already leaked out. Deandre Ayton is being suspended for 25 games due to the NBA’s anti-drug policy. That is definitely going to hurt their chances of not sucking. Additionally, I, along with the Podfather (Bill Simmons), think that Devin Booker not being on Team USA could only hurt him. When you have the opportunity to have coaches that have won titles in the NBA (Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr), you do it. It’s also the relationships you make. For example, the previous offseason, DeAndre Jordan got PAID just because he was on the same squad and built relationships with Irving and Durant. So, the Suns are going to suck this season. No doubt about it.
The one that’s still good: Stephen curry
As you will see later, I think the two-time MVP is going to be in for a big season. The way I look at it, Stephen Curry was unanimously the best player in the league before Durant got there. Curry is losing his splash bro, Klay Thompson. The addition of D’Angelo Russell will help divert the attention at times. But, I think Curry should average no less than 28 points a game as long as he’s healthy.
Sixth Man of the Year: Lou Williams
This should be named the Lou Williams Award. Not much to be said here. Unless he gets injured he will be collecting his fourth one of these.
Coach of the Year: Mike Malone
I don’t think the Nuggets will be the best team. But, does Steve Kerr have at least four Coach of the Year awards? No, he has one. But, has Kerr been the best coach in the league with the best team in the league the past five years? To me, yes. So, technically, if this was the correct way to pick the Coach of the Year, I’d pick Doc Rivers over Mike Malone. But, Doc has the two top ten players in the league along with the best bench in the league. The Nuggets have, at most, maybe two All-Stars (Jokic and Murray). I think the Nuggets could be the other Western Conference team in the WCF this year. They will have probably 58-62 wins and are going to be a good regular season team as long as Jokic is playing majority of the games. Thus, Mike Malone will win Coach of the Year.
Most Improved Player: derrick Rose
This season, we will see shades of the MVP Derrick Rose as a part of this Pistons team. I strongly dislike Reggie Jackson and I hope D-Rose gets the starting job some point of the season. Reggie Jackson has been the only reason the Pistons haven’t won a postseason game since he joined the team. Those are harsh feelings. I know. Anyways, D-Rose has been getting closer and closer to being a starting caliber player and this I think he gets there. I, along with 99% of people, would absolutely love seeing him thrive.
Defensive PLayer of the Year: Giannis ANtetokounmpo
Last year, I believe he was robbed. Sure, he won the one that mattered most, Most Valuable Player. But, I think the NBA award decision makers decided that you could only win one award a season. It makes zero sense that Rudy Gobert could be called the best defender in the league. Giannis was guarding the opposing team’s best players on most nights. But, Rudy only guarded centers and maybe a handful of power forwards. That being said, Giannis revenge tour has started.
Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant
I hate to say it, but Zion Williamson will not win the Rookie of the Year. He’s going to miss 6-8 weeks. If he misses eight weeks from the beginning of the season he will be back twenty games of the season which is practically 25% of the season. So, I have to rule out him. Then, the list narrows. Only seven rookies have started games five days into the season. I’d say, the only people that are going to be Rookie of the Year is someone who starts. So, I’m picking Ja Morant. I loved that he was going to the Grizzlies along with Brandon Clarke. I love what is happening down there in Memphis. It would be interesting to see them in the playoffs to gain meaningful experience for the whole team.
Most Valuable Player: Stephen Curry
I talked about this earlier, but Steph Curry should regain his “I’m the best player on the court” mentality and will shred the league apart this season. I may be biased because he’s my favorite player on my favorite team but, it just makes sense. Sure, Giannis shouldn’t have a reason to be bad this season. But, I see Harden’s stats falling off a bit due to the addition of Westbrook. So, I think it will be a two-man race and Curry coming out on top.
The seeding will look like this:
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Toronto Raptors
- Miami Heat
- Indiana Pacers
- Brooklyn Nets
- Detroit Pistons
- Chicago Bulls
- Atlanta Hawks
- Orlando Magic
- New York Knicks
- Washington Wizards
- Charolette Hornets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Denver Nuggets
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Houston Rockets
- Utah Jazz
- Dallas Mavericks
- Golden State Warriors
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Los Angeles Lakers
- San Antonio Spurs
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Sacramento Kings
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Phoenix Suns
The Conference Finals
It really doesn’t matter until the Conference Finals when doing this. I can’t tell you who’s going to win a four games in a seven game series between the Jazz and Rockets. But, I can tell you who I think will be in the Conference Finals from both sides.
I can’t see it happening any other way than being 76ers-Bucks in the East. They are the only champion contenders, in my opinion, from the Eastern Conference. I think this is the matchup everyone wants to see. The main reason Al Horford was signed by the Sixers was to give Embiid more of a break on defense leading to him playing more. That is why I see Embiid making the All-NBA First Team. I see the Sixers moving on just like everyone else. It’s just the way I see things occurring in the East.
I believe the Clippers are the odds on favorite to win the championship. I have the same faith the rest of the world does. But, I think this will be a passing of the torch moment in the Conference Finals. I think the Warriors will get there just based on their ability to win in games that matter most. The Clippers will end up winning the series but, I can just pick it being the passing of the torch moment we all secretly want to see.
I think this will be the series that will solidify Kawhi Leonard as a Hall of Famer. I believe Kawhi will establish his dominance and become the first ever player to win three Finals MVPs with three different teams. I love the Clippers roster. Their depth is going to help get them this far and it’s what’s going to finish the series with a gentleman sweep 4-1. The Clippers will win their first ever NBA Finals.