Five Predictions for the Upcoming NBA Season (Because Everyone Has One)
The wait is finally over! The 2017–2018 NBA season begins tomorrow and right off the bat we get huge matches between the Boston Celtics — with the newly acquired Kyrie Irving via trade — and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Later, we’ll get the new and improved Houston Rockets go up against the NBA Champions Golden State Warriors. That’s a hefty blockbuster night of basketball!
So, let me kick off some of the predictions I have for the upcoming NBA season (and some might actually surprise you). Let’s get started:
1.) Kyrie Irving will win the MVP this season
“WHAT?! That is absurd,” is probably what you’re saying. I think Kyrie has a legit shot to win the MVP this season. He’s my dark horse candidate besides Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. I know players like LeBron, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Steph Curry are always going to be in the conversation but I think Kyrie will take it all this year. He’s no longer in LeBron’s shadow and is looking to separate himself from the upper echelon of NBA point guards like Curry, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, John Wall, and even his counterpart in the Cleveland-Boston trade, Isaiah Thomas. Brad Stevens is a proven coach that is incredibly intelligent and utilizes his player’s strengths to the team’s advantage. It’s how he was able to work with Thomas and use his skills to catapult the Celtics’ offense and have them lead the Eastern Conference last season. With a scoring machine like Kyrie Irving, he’ll have a monster of a season.
2.) D’Angelo Russell will turn the tide and win Most Improved Player
It’s fair to say that D-Russ has had a “difficult development” while in LA. After being traded to Brooklyn, he’s away from the burdensome Lakers “Hollywood culture” and now has a chance to start over and emerge as the point guard we all thought he would be after watching his games in Ohio State University. He’ll be under the tutelage of Kenny Atkinson, a coach known for his player development stints with the Knicks and the Hawks. He’ll be mentored by Jeremy Lin, a player known for his selfless personality and an organization that wants him to succeed. So far, the Nets looked dominant during the preseason and are adapting the Warriors’ basketball philosophy of “position-less, fast-paced basketball.” The Nets aren’t going anywhere but they might sneak into the playoffs depending on how the season plays out and how Atkinson utilizes his roster but even if they don’t go far, there’s no question Russell will likely grow in his new home in Brooklyn.
3.) The OKC Thunder will challenge the Warriors for the best record in the NBA
Let’s get this out of the way: the Warriors are more than likely going to win the title again. There’s just too much talent and too much depth for anyone to actually beat them in a seven game series. Then again, they DID blow a 3–1 lead against the Cavaliers in the 2015–2016 NBA Finals so anything’s possible.
I suspect that the newly christened Oklahoma City Thunder will have the best record in the NBA. Russell Westbrook signed a new deal and is getting along with his new teammates. The addition of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George has deepen the roster and now they have a chance of making a ruckus in a tough Western Conference. They more than likely will lose against the Warriors in the long run (I pick them going up against Golden State in the Western Conference Finals) but they will definitely be fun to watch.
4.) The Spurs will be at the bottom of the Western Conference Playoff hunt
For as long as the Spurs have the mind of Gregg Popovoich and the skills of a healthy Kawhi Leonard, they will always have a chance to enter the postseason. One problem: they didn’t improve the roster that much this offseason. Spurs are cool but they lost an athletic backup wing in Jonathan Simmons and don’t really have the kind of roster meant to truly compete and defeat the Golden State Warriors. Not to mention, other teams like the Rockets, Thunder, and even the Timberwolves have significantly improved their team and definitely are going to pose a challenge to the Spurs. The team isn’t going to miss the postseason but they definitely are not going far.
5.) The Eastern Conference isn’t going to be as bad as you think
No, it won’t be a powerhouse of blockbuster talent like the Western Conference but that doesn’t mean that it’ll be devoid of talent. There’s plenty of young talent emerging that will serve as the next generation of talent. Of course, we have the aforementioned “The Process” 76ers, the young Miami Heat featuring Hassan Whiteside and the new “GAWD” of South Beach, Dion Waiters,
and of course Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s going to be interesting to see these young stars come into their own and should make an entertaining conference and a glimpse of the future.
That’s it for now. I anticipate an exciting NBA season opener. See you all Tuesday night!