Full Predictions For The Upcoming NBA Season
The 2016–2017 season begins Tuesday, Oct. 25.
The NBA season is within grasp. With that, comes NBA preview and predictions season. So without further ado, here are some of my predictions for the upcoming NBA seasons.
Eastern Conference Standings
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Boston Celtics
- Atlanta Hawks
- Indiana Pacers
- Chicago Bulls
- Toronto Raptors
- Detroit Pistons
- New York Knicks
Western Conference Standings
- Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Utah Jazz
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Houston Rockets
- Portland Trailblazers
- Dallas Mavericks
Most Valuable Player: Kawhi Leonard
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are now on the same team, so it’s safe to say they’ll take votes away from one another, LeBron might just turn on cruise control and start resting up for the playoffs (he’ll get votes, regardless), so who does that leave us with? Russell Westbrook is a popular choice, but the MVP trophy has gone to the best player on one of the best teams in the league for the last half-decade, and I don’t see the Thunder being top 3 in their conference, let alone the league. He will get votes, for sure, he just won’t win it. I put James Harden in the same category. And that leaves us with the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard. He was the runner-up last season, and with the other candidates more or less out of the picture now, the MVP trophy will be Kawhi’s to lose as long as the Spurs maintain the elite level of play they’ve trademarked over the course of the last two decades. Kawhi better find a larger trophy case, because he’s going to be adding more to his collection.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green
Draymond Green is long overdue for this trophy. He was robbed of it two seasons ago, he deserved it last season, and this season, with Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli gone, the Warriors have a frontcourt rotation that’s much much worse defensively. This means even more of the defensive burden will fall on Draymond’s shoulders. Kawhi Leonard will be a yearly contender for this award, but if the Warriors are one of the best teams in the league, expect the voters to reward them in the form of Draymond Green winning this award. Expect DeAndre Jordan and Rudy Gobert to make a run at this award, as well, but I like Karl-Anthony Towns as a dark horse candidate for this award. With defensive mastermind Tom Thibodeau standing on the sideline now, it’s safe to assume the Wolves will be an above-average defensive team. If that improvement is big enough, expect KAT to get some votes.
6th Man of the Year: Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter’s defence is god awful. The good thing for him is that defence almost never factors into winning this award. This award is basically Jamal Crawford’s to lose, but I expect some voter fatigue, and I expect Kanter to once again be a good contributor coming off the bench for a Thunder team that’s now deprived of the best scorer in the NBA. For each point he scores, he’ll probably give up two on the other end, but that’s besides the point here.
Rookie of the Year: Buddy Hield
This award was Ben Simmons’ to lose, and he lost it with his injury. Many seem to like his teammate Joel Embiid for this award, but while I see his potential, I do not see Embiid getting enough minutes to be able to produce enough to win it, and players just do not go from missing two full seasons to not missing a single game. I like Kris Dunn if Ricky Rubio misses time, but Buddy Hield will be in the best situation with minimal competition at his position and a team that needs contributions wherever it can get it.
Most Improved Player of the Year: Dennis Schroder
Dennis Schroder is finally the starting PG for the Hawks. He’s going to get the minutes and he has the skills and potential. It’s not hard to see him making the statistical jump that last year’s winner, C.J. McCollum, made going from a role player to a starter, and the only competition I envision him having for this award is Josh Richardson as he will also be thrusted into a more significant role now that Dwyane Wade is no longer on the roster.
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens
Having Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant on your roster probably means you’re out of contention to win coach of the year, so, sorry, Steve Kerr. Gregg Popovich is a yearly candidate for this, but I don’t see the Spurs reaching the historical levels they did last season, so that leaves us with Tyronn Lue, who I’m not sure voters will respect, and Brad Stevens assuming the Celtics are a top 3 team in the East. He’s already fairly well regarded as one of the best and brightest young coaches in the league, and if his team, now with Al Horford, has the success we expect, expect Brad Stevens to be rewarded. Quin Snyder of the Jazz is also a good candidate if Utah makes a significant leap, and Tom Thibodeau will garner a few depending on how much the Wolves improve.
First Coach Fired: Earl Watson
Right now, you’re probably asking yourself who the heck Earl Watson is and what team he coaches. He coaches the Phoenix Suns. The Phoenix suns seem to be in a bit of a rush to be good. They have an interesting roster with some good young talent, but they had a relatively similar roster last season and were a lottery team. It doesn’t help his odds that he was hired to be a member of Jeff Hornacek’s staff and Jeff Hornacek is no longer in Phoenix. The 29 other coaches in the league are either newly hired or in stable situations, with Fred Hoiberg of the Bulls being the lone exception. If the proverbial shit hits the proverbial fan and the Rondo-Wade-Butler trio combusts, Hoiberg might be the one who pays the price. I don’t think it’s as likely as many seem to think, considering how fond of him GarPax was when they hired him, but it’s definitely a possibility. That being said, they’ll be better than the Suns.
League Pass Team of the Year: Minnesota Timberwolves
Here is a list of reasons why the Wolves will be interesting and fun to watch:
- Karl-Anthony Towns is the future of the league.
- Tom Thibodeau is back in the league and Thibs’ teams are always competitive. Also, his sideline tirades are quite entertaining.
- Andrew Wiggins’ freakish athleticism.
- Dunk contest winner Zach Lavine (not going to bother providing a link because I’m sure you’re familiar with his work).
- Ricky Rubio’s incredible passing.
Worst Team of the Year: Brooklyn Nets
I fancy myself as very knowledgeable about the NBA and I can name a lot of obscure players sitting at the ends of the benches of some of the league’s worst teams, but the Brooklyn Nets have stifled me. They have six players on their roster right now whose name I absolutely do not recognize. If Brook Lopez misses game, and it’s not a stretch to expect that, the Nets’ best player will either be Jeremy Lin or Bojan Bogdonovic. Both of them would be a 6th man on a playoff team at best. What a time to be a Nets fan.
I also wrote a team-by-team preview, which can be found here. Have some candidates or predictions of your own? Comment below!