Yesterday marked the start of this years NBA season aka the start of one of the best time of the year for sports. Football is in full swing, hockey is back and the World Series is on (Indians in 7) but let’s make some basketball predictions.
Let’s start off with some playoff predictions:
Falling Out: Heat, Hornets
- Trail Blazers
Falling Out: Thunder
MVP: Paul George G/F Indiana Pacers
UPSET! With most people picking between LeBron, Kawhi Leonard, Warriors Duo, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, how about a guy that can score 23+ PPG, 8+ RPG, 4 APG along with guarding the opposing team’s best player. If PG13 makes the jump to 25+ PPG and 9+ RPG, and the Pacers finish as a top three team in the East, he should be in the conversation. After overcoming that gruesome knee injury, it would be a feel good story for the league.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert C Utah Jazz
Man do I really want to pick Avery Bradley. But I can’t. The protection that Rudy Gobert gives around the rim even without blocking the shot is impeccable to the Jazz’s success. Rim protection is something that not enough teams have and presuming the Jazz takes the leap the Jazz should take will help propel Gobert to this award. Draymond Green and Leonard are the favorites for the award but if the Jazz take that leap and Gobert averages 3+ blocks and continues his defensive dominance, the award will fall to the French big.
Most Improved Player: Harrison Barnes F Dallas Mavericks
Yeah yeah yeah he’s my favorite player get over it. HB40 has struggled BAD in the preseason. A simple Google search will make him sound like the worst NBA player in history. But once the season starts I think he will settle in. He has an insane contract that warrants some very hefty expectations but those might come more next year. But this year Barnes can easily get his stats to almost 20 PPG 8 RPG and he plays good defense. He is the perfect small ball 4 and him and Dirk can make some noise. Also watch out for Marcus Smart, I think this is the year he truly breaks out.
6th Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford G LA Clippers
This is always a go-to pick. Boring pick but at least you know he’ll be in the conversation. Other guys I was considering were Joe Johnson on the Jazz (I’m really high on the Jazz), Smart, and Andre Iguodala with the Warriors.
Rookie of the Year: Buddy Hield G New Orleans Pelicans
This is an interesting Rookie of the Year award race. Ben Simmons, if healthy the entire season, would’ve ran away with it. Jaylen Brown isn’t guaranteed to play 20 minutes every game, neither is Dragan Bender, so that leaves Brandon Ingram and Kris Dunn as the top 5 picks with enough playing time to put up numbers to win the award.That’s where everyone’s favorite college player comes into play in Buddy Hield. Due to every halfway decent New Orleans player being hurt or unavailable (S/O to Jrue Holiday, way to be there for your wife) Hield should have enough shots and opportunity to win the award.Playing off of Anthony Davis should provide plenty of scoring opportunities for Buddy. Lastly don’t sleep on the 76ers center Joel Embiid. The 2014 third overall pick is finally healthy and has superstar potential. He does have a minute limit that could hold back his case for the award.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens Boston Celtics
This is easy. If the Celtics get themselves into the “elite” or “serious contender” levels this season, Stevens will have to the front runner. I’m still surprised he didn’t get more love from the voters in last years vote but this should be the year Brad gets his award that he probably doesn’t even want.
ALL NBA First Team:
G: Russell Westbrook
G: James Harden
F: LeBron James
F: Paul George
C: Demarcus Cousins
G: Steph Curry
G: Chris Paul
F: Kawhi Leonard
F: Kevin Durant
C: Andre Drummond
G: Kyrie Irving
G: John Wall
F: Al Horford
F: Blake Griffin
C: DeAndre Jordan
Finals MVP: LeBron James
Champion: Cavaliers in 6