The NBA season is finally here. I'm going to run through my predictions some bold and not so bold, and throw in some gambling tidbits as well. Feel free to disagree with me now, or make fun of how wrong I am in April. Without further ado here we go.
photo courtesy of nytimes.com — by Sean Taira
1. The Warriors will win their fourth championship in five years, but after the season Kevin Durant will leave in free agency. Love them or hate them appreciate what they have been able to do, and realize that we are witnessing one of the greatest teams of all time.
2. Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard, and Jimmy Butler will be on new teams before the season ends. Predicting that Jimmy Butler will be traded is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point. Portland will try to shake things up, as the Lillard CJ McCollum backcourt has run it's course. Kemba is in the final year of his deal and will be traded as the Hornets fall out of the playoff race.
3. The Toronto Raptors will push the Warriors to seven games in the finals, and resign Kawhi Leonard. DeMar DeRozan was a franchise icon, but Kawhi is a much better player and will finally get the Raptors over the hump. Toronto will embrace him, and Kawhi will chose to stay in the north rather than take his talents to Los Angeles.
4. The 76ers will lose in the conference finals, but the dynasty is about to begin. Joel Embiid will edge out Giannis and win his first MVP, and he and Ben Simmons will both become top ten players in the NBA, and Markelle Fultz will show why he was the number one pick. The 76ers will sign a big time free agent and the rest of the NBA is about meet the newest dynasty.
5. The Jazz are going to push the Warriors to the brink. The Jazz are an absolute lock down defensive team, anchored by Rudy Gobert. Ricky Rubio, Jae Crowder, and Joe Ingles are excellent defenders as well, and perfect complementary pieces. Donovan Mitchell is poised to take the next step, and lead the Jazz to the conference finals.
Photo courtesy of express.com — by Sean Taira
1. Toronto Raptors 60-22 | 2. Philadelphia 76ers 59-23 | 3. Boston Celtics 55-27 | 4. Milwaukee Bucks 48-34 | 5. Indiana Pacers 45-37 | 6. Washington Wizards 42-40 | 7. Miami Heat 41-41 | 8. Detroit Pistons 39-43
9. Charlotte Hornets 33-49 |10. Brooklyn Nets 32-50 | 11. Cleveland Cavaliers 31-51 | 12. New York Knicks 30-52 | 13. Orlando Magic 30-52 | 14. Chicago Bulls 29-53 |15. Atlanta Hawks 22-50
Best Bets: Raptors over 55.5, Bucks over 47.5, Celtics under 59, Magic under 31
Photo courtesy of desertnews.com — by Sean Taira
1. Golden State Warriors 63-19 | 2. Utah Jazz 53-29 | 3. Houston Rockets 53-29 | 4. Denver Nuggets 48-34 | 5. Oklahoma City Thunder 47-35 | 6. Los Angeles Lakers 45-37 | 7. San Antonio Spurs 45-37 | 8. New Orleans Pelicans 44-38
9. Portland Trailblazers 44-38 | 10. Minnesota Timberwolves 40-42 | 11. Los Angeles Clippers 36-46 | 12. Dallas Mavericks 35-47 | 13. Memphis Grizzlies 33-49 | 14. Phoenix Suns 25-57 | 15. Sacramento Kings 23-59
Best Bets: Jazz over 49.5, Mavericks over 34.5, Lakers under 48, Timberwolves under 41
Toronto Raptors over Philadelphia 76ers
Golden State Warriors over Utah Jazz
Best Bets to Win Championship: Jazz 50-1, 76ers 18-1, Raptors 12-1
The Warriors are expected to cruise to another championship, but there are other teams lurking. When Rudy Gobert was on the court the Jazz had a plus 9.5 net rating, which would have been the best in the NBA. If Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons take the next step, the 76ers can play with anyone. Kawhi Leonard is a significant upgrade over DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors should be a better team than last season. If you're thinking the Warriors dynasty is over, these are the best bets.
Photo courtesy of deadspin.com — by Sean Taira
1st Team: G Stephen Curry | G James Harden | F LeBron James | F Giannis Antetokounmpo | C Joel Embiid
2nd Team: G Ben Simmons | G Victor Oladipo | F Kawhi Leonard | F Kevin Durant | C Anthony Davis
3rd Team: G Damian Lillard | G Russell Westbrook |F Jimmy Butler| F Paul George | C Rudy Gobert
1st Team: G Chris Paul| G Victor Oladipo | F Robert Covington | F Kawhi Leonard | C Rudy Gobert
2nd Team: G Lonzo Ball | G Jimmy Butler | F Draymond Green | F Paul George |C Joel Embiid
Photo courtesy of hypebeast.com — by Sean Taira
Defensive Player of the Year: