2017–2018 NBA Season Preview and Predictions with Jenna Greene and Simon Hannig
Its finally here. Tuesday night marks the beginning of the 2017–2018 NBA Regular Season. So of course I have to make a season preview post, but I will be doing it with the help of Jenna Greene and Simon Hannig, two passionate NBA writers and fans. We all will be making predictions and giving insight on various awards and topics for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, Simon has had a really busy schedule lately but he was still nice enough to send in his picks.
What team won the off-season?
MC: I have to go with the Boston Celtics. They definitely upgraded as a team with the additions of Kyrie Irving and Gordan Hayward. Even though they lost some good players in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley, they were able to maintain their young group of players that will get better with time and experience.
JG: In my opinion, the Boston Celtics won the off-season. To me this team did not win by number of moves, but they won because they gained two all-star players this summer. It says something about your organization when there are players who want to basically up and leave their organizations for yours. The Celtics took the first seed last season, but lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. I believe that by adding Hayward and Irving, Boston has a great chance at being the top team in the East again.
SH: Oklahoma City Thunder
Most Valuable Player:
MC: Kyrie Irving. He’s in a perfect situation where he doesn’t have to take a backseat to anyone. I guarantee we’ll see a completely different Kyrie Irving this year. If he puts up the numbers while collecting wins, I see no reason why he can’t win MVP.
JG: This is a bold choice, but Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis has talent and skill that not a lot of players have. I think that this season, Giannis is going to prove himself because of the weaker Eastern Conference, and I also believe that he is going to really step out as a leader of the Bucks.
SH: Lebron James
Rookie of the Year:
MC: Dennis Smith Jr. I feel like he’s in a great situation to succeed in Dallas and he’s been extremely impressive in Summer League and Preseason games.
JG: Ben Simmons. I chose Simmons as rookie of the year because of his knowledge of the game and his incredible vision of the court. He’s going to better his team with his scoring ability, leadership as a point guard and impeccable passing skills.
SH: Dennis Smith Jr.
Executive of the Year:
MC: Sam Presti. This was pretty much a no brainer for me. You deserve executive of the year when you can turn Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2nd round pick into Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.
JG: Danny Ainge. Again, going back to my answer about the Celtics, Ainge did an incredible job in Boston this off-season in bettering his team and creating an all-star lineup.
SH: Sam Presti
Sixth Man of the Year:
MC: I’m going to go with last years winner, Eric Gordon. He’s essentially in the same situation he was last year and the addition of Chris Paul will do nothing except create more space and opportunities for Gordon to flourish.
JG: Jamal Crawford. I’m kind of biased in this answer, but I believe that Jamal will have another chance to prove himself in Minnesota, and I don’t think that he is done winning this award yet.
SH: JR Smith
Coach of the Year:
MC: I’ll go with Jason Kidd, because I think the Bucks will make a 8–10 win improvement from last year, while making a push for home court advantage in the playoffs.
JG: This is hard to predict because we haven’t seen much of any team yet, but I’ll pull out an answer of Brad Stevens or Tyronn Lue. Whichever one of these coaches wins the Eastern Conference, I’ll give my vote for Coach of the Year. I’m excited to see the battle between the Cavs and Celtics, and I believe it’s going to better both teams.
SH: Mike Malone
Defensive Player of the Year:
MC: In my opinion, it’s a two man race for this award every year between Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green. Since Kawhi is dealing with a quad injury that’s been bothering him for a couple season, I’ll pick Draymond Green for this award.
JG: Anthony Davis. I think Davis has a strong chance of winning defensive player of the year because he guards the paint, cuts off baseline drives and rejects 3-point shots. His size allows a mismatch in almost every situation, it’s just a matter of executing each defensive play.
SH: Draymond Green
Most Improved Player:
JG: Myles Turner or Jusuf Nurkic. I say two names because I believe that both players have a strong chance to prove themselves and come out shining at the beginning and end of this season.
SH: Joel Embiid
With the new All Star format that involves picking teams playground style, what are some things that you would love to see happen?
MC: The main thing I want is to see lineups that only seem possible in 2K. Such as, Steph playing with Kawhi or Giannis, or Russell Westbrook playing with Lebron. Of course, I would love to see plenty of pettiness during the draft process.
JG: Honestly, I know the players don’t want the drama, but as fans — we love the drama! I’d love for KD to pass up on picking Westbrook, or LeBron to pass up on picking Kyrie. I’d also love to see captains branch out of their conferences or their teams; I want it to be mixed up and fresh, not the same teams we see every year.
What teams will finish top 3 in their respective conferences?
MC:East: Celtics, Cavs, Wizards. West: Warriors, Rockets, Thunder
JG: East: Cavs, Celtics, Wizards. West: Warriors, Rockets, Thunder
SH: East: Cavs, Celtics, Wizards. West: Warriors, Rockets, Thunder
What is a sleeper team to watch out for?
MC: I have to go with the Milwaukee Bucks. I just love all the length and athleticism on their roster. I believe that’ll give a lot of teams trouble. A big part of their season depends on how Jabari Parker comes back from his ACL injury. I love the duo with him and Giannis, while having reigning Rookie of the Year, Malcolm Brogdon, and Khris Middleton as well.
JG: The Bucks. They’re going to come out strong in a weak Eastern Conference and really work together to prove themselves.
SH: Denver Nuggets
What are a few matchups to look forward to?
MC: I usually look forward to teams from different conferences matching up with each other since we only get to see those contests twice a year. The ones that stick out to me this year are San Antonio vs. Boston, OKC vs. Cleveland, and Milwaukee vs. Golden State.
JG: There are the obvious ones of Cavs/Celtics and Warriors/OKC. My personal favorite matchup is Spurs/Blazers; the rivalry between the players and the fans is great and the games are always entertaining and unpredictable.
SH: Cavs-Warriors, Cavs-Thunder, Warriors-Thunder, Warriors-Rockets, Thunder-Rockets.
Conference Finals matchups and pick?
MC: Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics and Cavs. Western Conference Finals: Warriors and Rockets.
JG: Eastern Conference Finals: Celtics and Cavs. Western Conference Finals: Warriors and Rockets.
SH: Eastern Conference Finals: Cavs vs Celtics. Western Conference Finals: Warriors vs Thunder
NBA Finals Matchup and pick?
MC: I’ll go with the usual Cavs-Warriors. However, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Boston found a way to get past Cleveland. Either way, I think neither team has a shot at stopping Golden State. A IT/Rose and Wade backcourt playing defense against a Steph and Klay backcourt is almost comical. I also think starting Wade is a mistake. JR is a better defender at this point in time, and starting Wade allows teams to collapse on Lebron easier. Golden State’s chemistry will also be better this year and with the additions of Omri Cassipi, Nick Young, and Jordan Bell they added even more depth than they had last year. I’ll roll with Golden State repeating.
JG: Warriors and Cavs, as usual. There is virtually no stopping LeBron James (with the Cavs new additions as well), and there is definitely no way to stop the super team of the Warriors. I see the Cavs winning. Their defense is going to be stronger than the Warriors. The Warriors have phenomenal shooters, but they tend to choke on offense against teams who have great defensive players. They don’t have many matchups when it comes to defense against the Cavs.
SH: Cleveland vs Oklahoma City. Winner: Cavs in seven.
That’s all for this post. I would like to thank Jenna and Simon for joining me on this preview and be sure to check out their pages below.