This was meant to be posted about a month ago but I had a lot of work so I wasn’t able to post it. All the predictions were made before the season, but mostly all of the explanations were made after the season began.
The NBA season is finally here! Here are my top 10 bold predictions, not in any particular order. Enjoy!
#1 Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the three finalists for MVP, where AD ultimately wins.
I am starting off with my MVP prediction, where AD wins his first MVP award. In my opinion, Davis will have the most 50 point games in the league and will carry the Pelicans to the playoffs. Each year AD doesn’t get enough votes, but this season that changes. Giannis and Kawhi will have outstanding seasons for their respective teams, so they will be strong contenders. But I think AD is just to good coming into this season.
#2 Denver plays awesome and is a Top 4 seed in the West
The Nuggets are impressive this season, at least they look to be. Last year they had one of the best offenses in the NBA, and now Paul Millsap will look to return and play many games for the Nuggets. Last year he only played 38, due to injuries. Millsap is one of the best defensive power forwards in the NBA, and will look to impress on the offensive Nuggets. Nikola Jokic will only get better, as will Jamal Murray. The Nuggets also have Gary Harris and Will Barton, who last year each had career seasons. Let me add with the fact that they signed Isaiah Thomas, who will be a fantastic back up point guard to add to that stacked offense. I can even add that the Nuggets Warriors season series last year was tied 2-2. I can only see Denver’s season improving from last year, as team mate chemistry will rise and their fairly young team will improve. It will be a great year for Denver basketball.
#3 Charlotte will be a Top 4 seed in the East
I have Charlotte being a top 4 seed in the East because of Monk improving, the addition of Tony Parker and Cody Zeller’s role improving. As much as I like Dwight Howard, I think the Hornets are better off with out him. Kemba Walker will have a really good season as he is coming in as the lone star, and he will carry the Hornets to the playoffs. As the season goes on the Hornets will figure out which lineup works best for them, and how they can be contenders in the East.
#4 Malik Monk, Mario Hezonja, and Jamal Murray will be the Most Improved Player candidates.
I believe Malik Monk will become a fantastic player in the NBA, and that starts this season. With the right coaching, I think he can turn into a 3-point machine. He just needs to work on his consistency. If the Hornets make the playoffs and have home court advantage in the 1st round, Malik Monk has to get credit for it. I see him stepping up to about 15 PPG this season.
As for Mario Hezonja, I think it is a similar situation to guys like Victor Oladipo, Etwaun Moore, Courtney Lee, and Serge Ibaka. All 4 of the players listed played for the Magic, and in my opinion improved after they left. Orlando is not a good situation for many players, and I believe Mario Hezonja found that out, while a player such as Mo Bamba is finding that out right now. I think the Knicks will be a place where he can start and produce numbers offensively, and also play great defense. Just like Monk, he has to make sure he is consistent.
Finally there is Jamal Murray. As I said I believe the Nuggets will be a top team in the West! Jamal Murray has a player in Paul Millsap who is back from injury, so the Nuggets should win more games because of it. With this in mind, a lot of the games won will have Jamal Murray as the player of the night. Murray is only getting better at playing point guard, and I expect his assist totals to rise. I also see his shooting stats increase because he will unlock his potential this NBA season. Murray and Jokic are one deadly young duo, and with Murray improving they can truly become a threat in the West.
#5 Cleveland makes the playoffs
Not going to lie, I was really hoping I could just change it to something like the Nets will make the playoffs, which looks like a possibility. However I did have the Cavs making the playoffs as an 8 seed. As I am making this the Cavaliers are 4-14, but I really thought Kevin Love would explode this season without LeBron. I thought he would Cleveland his team, like he did with Minnesota. With an injury, he has only played 4 games this season and the rest of the team just is not producing the numbers. This was by far my worst prediction, but I guess it is bold for a reason.
#6 Kevin Durant signs with the Lakers this offseason
This is a strong opinion of mine! I don’t think Durant will stay, because he has accomplished enough in Golden State. Durant has interest in going to Los Angeles, and a partnership of LeBron James and Kevin Durant would be exciting to say the least. He has been linked with other teams such as New York, Philly, and of course resigning with Golden State. New York aren’t a huge Free Agency destination anymore, as they haven’t had a lot of team success. Philly don’t need Durant, and I don’t see him fitting into Philly’s system. In my opinion the war comes down to the Warriors and the Lakers, where I hope the Lakers pull it off because of 2 reasons. The first being my prediction and the second being, well, the warriors super team has to end. Please.
#7 Gasol and Conley still aren’t traded
Gasol and Conley need to be traded! The Grizzlies aren’t doing anything this season to be competitive. They have a good young player in Jaren Jackson, and need to build around him! Gasol and Conley have large contracts, and not many teams would want to take those on. I think they will probably have to keep them until their contracts expire, and unfortunately I don’t think they are valuable in today’s market. I guess we will see how the season plays out, but the Grizzlies are in one of the worst positions out of any team, with other bad contracts such as Chandler Parsons, Kyle Anderson and Garrett Temple.
#8 Tom Thibodeau and Terry Stotts are fired
These are my 2 coach firing predictions. With the start to the season, there was already drama with Jimmy Butler and how he handled that situation, which puts him in the hot seat. But to be honest, I just don’t see the Timerwolves doing anything, especially for the talent that is on their team. Thibodeau isn’t getting the most out of Wiggins and Towns, and other coaches probably could.
As for Terry Stotts, he just hasn’t done much with the talent on his team. Last season he got swept by the Pelicans. With a team that has a big 3 of Nurkic, Lillard, and McCollum, you need to at least be getting to the second round. This season if the Blazers aren’t a top 6 seed, I think Stotts is in the hot seat and the Blazers will be prepared to fire him. #
#9 Cousins flops for the GSW
An achilles injury is tough, and it is one of the worst possibly injuries. No player other then Dominique Wilkins has come back as strong as they once were. Rudy Gay, Wesley Matthews, Chauncey Billups, and even Kobe Bryant haven’t come back from a torn achilles playing 100%. A lot of players have to retire straight after the injury. Billups for example, played 41 games over 2 seasons and had to retire after the injury.
Cousins is a fantastic player, but in todays NBA you cannot come back from that type of injury. I think the Warriors made a mistake in signing Cousins, and instead they should have resigned McGee. The Warriors are so dominant that it probably won’t matter, but it is sad to see something like that happen to Cousins.
#10 Boston beats Golden State in 7
Of course I have to end with my Finals prediction, where I have Boston winning it all! Golden State have the stronger team, but I think Horford goes off in this series. The Celtics have so much depth as well, that guys like Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala don’t have the same impact that they usually do. Irving and Curry always have an entertaining matchup, and that duel would be interesting. Klay and Durant have 2 strong series, but so do Tatum and Brown. If you remember, Tatum had a strong series against Cleveland and LeBron, so I believe he can do the same against Durant. I think if Morris is being guarded by Draymond, Horford goes off. He is an experienced player that can dominate weaker opponents, and we don’t know how Cousins plays if he is even playing. If they play another center, good luck to them I guess. I haven’t even talked about Rozier, who is in my opinion the best back up point guard in the NBA. And then I continue with the all-star, Gordon Hayward. This team is so stacked, and is possibly more of a super team then the Warriors. If Gordon Hayward fully recovers from that injury and plays how he used to play, they will be dominate. They have to find defense though, and I look to Brown to lead that.
This season will be interesting for sure! Those are my 10 bold predictions entering the NBA season!