Tis the Season: NBA 2015–2016 Preview
I woke up this morning, and it felt like Christmas. I woke up checked my phone “October 27th,” my phone read. I have had this day circled on my calendar for three months. I let a “Let’s go Cavs” chant ring throughout my dorm room (my roommate was gone when I woke up).
Today, for many of us, it is Christmas as the new NBA season officially unwraps today.
While the last time we had real, competitive basketball was in mid June, only four months ago, it feels like it’s been a year. Throughout the last four months, myself and the rest of the NBA community has forced ourselves to watch Summer League action. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a treat to watch the rookies get acclimated to the NBA scene to a certain extent, but Summer League as a whole gets old rather quickly. Two months later, we force ourselves to watch eye gouging, meaningless preseason basketball. Which ultimately ends up teasing us and our desire for the actual season to begin. But like I said above, that ends today.
I’d like to discuss some of this season’s headlines and some of the things that I am looking forward to this season.
· Kobe Bryant: Will he get hurt again this year? How many shots will he take a game? And most importantly, will he call it quits after this season?
o I am a Kobe Bryant believer this year. I think that he will miss a limited number of games. Also, I think that you will really see him become a teacher this year. Yes, he will still shoot quite a lot, but I think you will start to witness him differ to guys like Randle, Russell, and hell even Swaggy P. This is Kobe’s last season, I think. I mean, does anybody really know? Kobe doesn’t even know. I bought my Lakers-Cavs tickets just in case it is.
· Will the Warriors make it out of the West or repeat?
o Unless you have been living under a rock the past four months, then you know the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to win the championship. The Warriors brought back 97% of last year’s team. They’re good. They’re really good. Please, do not closed minded about this. This year will be much harder for them. The Western Conference yet again is a bloodbath. There is no definitive telling of who will emerge from that conference. If they do in fact make it out, they will beat every team in the East besides possibly Cleveland.
· Kevin Durant, I’m sick of you.
o I don’t even know where to begin. Alright, Kevin, let’s see. You broke your foot last year so you missed a large part of the season including the playoffs. So, I guess you get a pass. But that isn’t why I’m sick of you. I’m sick of the media for constantly giving you and your team passes. It is your ninth year in the NBA and your partner, Russell Westbrook’s eighth season. You’re the second best player in the league. You’ve been a league MVP. Enough bullshit. Win a ring. Many great players of your caliber have been crucified cough more recently LeBron cough for not getting it done. LeBron was crucified during his sixth and seventh season. You’re in your ninth and are better than LeBron in some people’s eyes. When was the last time you have caught heat for not winning a ring? Oh, not to mention you’ve only reached the Finals once. Time to win. Get it done.
· The Cleveland Clinic
o The Cleveland Cavaliers had faced health issues for the better part of the 2014–2015 season. Kyrie Irving is made of glass, LeBron is wearing down, Varejao is made of paper and Kelly Olynyk turned basketball into WWE. If Cleveland can stay healthy they are almost a sure fit to win the title. However, that if is the size of the Key Tower. Might was well rename the team the Cleveland patients because the players are always in the doctor’s office. I’ll see myself out. But really.
Every season, I tweet out my predictions for the season. Instead of doing that this year, I’m simply making you all waste your time by reading this (If you’re reading this, thank you).
So I’d like to go into those predictions now.
· Coach of the year: Erik Spolestra
o Yep. You read that right. I truthfully believe that Miami will finish as a top three seed in the East. They have talent across the board and are finally healthy. Wade has had an extra month and a half off because the Heat didn’t even make it into the post season. Also, Bosh is back and so is McRoberts. Justice Winslow seems to be a solid player, too. Look at their roster and tell me a top three finish isn’t possible.
· Rookie of the year: Emmanuel Mudiay
o The Nuggets will be bad, don’t get me wrong. However, Mudiay looks so comfortable already in an NBA system coming from an overseas team in China. He’s quick, athletic, sees the floor well, can score. We saw him tear it up against guys in summer league and played fairly well in preseason despite the four turnovers a game, but he’ll figure that out.
· Most Valuable Player: Chris Paul
o Yes, you read that right. Chris Paul will win MVP honors this upcoming season. This is the year the Clippers make the leap into the elite teams in the West. This, on top of Paul’s play, will propel his validity into this year’s NBA MVP conversation. I really just don’t feel comfortable picking the common MVP discussion players. LeBron? Cavs are going to the the one seed and the team is loaded. Hard to give it to a guy with a loaded team like Cleveland. Steph Curry? Nope. Curry won last season because they surpassed everyone’s expectations in unbelievable fashion and were the number one seed in the West. James Harden? The Rockets added Ty Lawson, which takes the ball out of Harden’s hands. While Harden will still be the number one option, he now has Lawson and Howard, limiting his production. Anthony Davis? No thanks. I love me some Brow, but his team just isn’t good enough. They’ll be a playoff team, yes. But not a high seeded one which will hurt his case.
Now, what you really care about. Here are my playoff seeding for each conference.
First, the East:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Miami Heat
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Milwaukee Bucks
5. Washington Wizards
6. Toronto Raptors
7. Indiana Pacers
8. Orlando Magic
*** Eastern Conference Finals: Cleveland vs Miami
Next, the West:
1. Houston Rockets
2. LA Clippers
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Golden State Warriors
5. San Antonio Spurs
6. Memphis Grizzlies
7. New Orleans Pelicans
8. Sacramento Kings
*** Western Conference Finals: Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA Finals Prediction:
It is my personal belief that the Cleveland Cavaliers will face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder in a NBA Finals for the ages. I believe that the Cavaliers defeat the Thunder in six games. Cleveland has too much talent for OKC to match. It’ll be a very fun series to watch as I believe it will be an offensive shoot out every game.
Thank you for reading. Enjoy the season.