Predictions for this NBA season


Anthony Landahl, Staff Reporter

With the season starting, I have decided to put together projections for conference seeds for the NBA teams and why I think that way. I have also made prediction for the season awards and All-NBA teams. If you or disagree comment below.

Western Conference

1. Warriors- Tough Western Conference will put a little toll on the Warriors. At least enough to avoid a perfect season. Also injuries are a possibility, but they have a great bench.

2. Spurs- Kawhi Leonard has himself a breakout year now that he is the face of the franchise with LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol as his big men.

3. Clippers- Fun season, but probably a disappointing postseason. Mo Speights is what the Clippers needed to complete their bench mob.

4. Trail Blazers- Paid and expanded, the TBs have depth and a better defense this year. Allen Crabbe will start to learn just like C.J. McCollum and their backcourt defense will be tough.

5. Jazz- Veteran leadership with Dante Exum’s coming out season as well as Rudy Gobert’s break through. Gordan Hayward’s injury will slow them down in the beginning but Joe Johnson will be a fulfilling backup.

6. Rockets- Great depth with some great players, James Harden will explode, but defense (as always) will be a problem. I got my eye on Clint Capela.

7. Thunder- Enes Kanter tries for 6th man of the year and Russell Westbrook let’s lose, but guard depth is a problem. There will be struggles but playoffs are a sensible idea for this team, just look at two seasons ago when there was no Durant,

8.Timberwolves- Karl Anthony-Towns will try be at all star reserve caliber this season. Andrew Wiggins will hopefully start living up to being as great we thought he could be and Tom Thibodeau will REALLY help win a lot of games. Patience is required; this team could easily fall out of the playoff race.

9. Grizzlies- Zach Randolph is in his final stretch of his career but Mike Conley is well paid and hopefully motivated. New coaching in former Heat Assistant coach David Fizdale could prove potential for an elder Memphis team. Young teams of the West could start beating up on them.

10. Pelicans- With Eric Gordon gone, the Pelicans can start looking to E’twaun Moore and Buddy Hield for some scoring. Anthony Davis’s health determines the year.

11. Mavericks- Some great role players on this team, but no star…well…Dirk Nowitzki is still their star. They are entering what I like to call
“The-Lakers-Era-Where-Kobe-Was-Old-And-Bad-And-On-The-Verge-Of-Retiring-So-They-Were-Just-Waiting-To-Rebuild-When-He-Leaves Era” (Only with Dirk).

12.Nuggets- Again, great role players on this team, but no star and a lesser coach than the Mavs forces me to put them here.

13. Lakers- Great young talent on this team, but the word is also “patience”. This team will not have Luke Walton’s system in the palm of their hand so quick (if Walton lasts; I am betting he will) so we can only watch D’Angelo Russell throw some sweet passes to Brandon Ingram and Nick Young in the meantime.

14. Kings- Described by Rudy Gay as “Basketball Hell”, nothing is going right. Darren Collison is suspended for the first several games and Willie Cauley-Stein, that one guy, is a starting center. DeMarcus Cousins wants to go, but the fans are too loud in Sac Town to hear him. The only thing that would help them out in the long run is to sign former 76ers tank GM Sam Hinkie.

15. Suns- Dragan Bender will have a tough time adjusting to NBA play and Tyson Chandler is starting to take on old age. Devin Booker is a rising star for this team, but fighting over minutes with Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight will prove challenging for Phoenix. And of course, the Injury Fairy will probably visit Arizona this year.

Eastern Conference

1. Cavs-The King will still have a say in his court. Now with addition of Mike Dunleavy and a developing Tristan Thompson, Lebron James has some players that will surely benefit him. Biggest factor this year: Kyrie Irving. If the he plays better than he did last year, the Cavs could be unstoppable (not in the Warriors context though).

2. Pacers- Great depth and young talent gives this Pacers team my number one spot though the central division could be tough on them. Myles Turner will start showing us what he is made of now with one year of NBA under his belt.

3. Raptors- This is where is was tough to start handing out less wins. The 6 has a great team, maybe better than last year’s, but the East is getting tougher.

4. Celtics- An Eastern Conference Finals contender. With the loss of Jared Sullinger and gaining of Al Horford, the C’s might be able to give the East a scare, if not this year then next year because Jaylen Brown will be something great one day, but not this year.

5. Hawks- No Al Horford and Jeff Teague, just Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard. Dwight could prove to be something special or just another team with Dwight Drama.

6. Knicks- Way better than last year’s Knicks, and even if Derrick Rose gets injured they still have Brandon Jennings. Also watch out for Kristaps Porzingis.

7. Bulls- No home team bias, but can definitely conclude this entire 40 win column in the East in a huge hit-or-miss, capped off by the Bulls. Can see them contending to win games but we really do not know if they finish strong. Give it 2 more years when the bench matures, but I do see Rajon Rondo staying here.

8. Pistons- I am not sold on this roster though Andre Drummond will make a splash. Stan Van Gundy will win a majority of the games as a good coach. X factor: Tobias Harris. Needs to really step his game up if he want to beat Division rivals Jimmy Butler, Jabari Parker, Paul George or Lebron James.

9. Bucks- If they start Tony Snell, this team will not be in the playoffs. Jason Kidd will shake up this lineup too many times before he realizes the season ends. He can play small, big and spread the floor. Jabari Parker will starting shaping but they have to clean the roster up if they want to win BIG. Expect a Greg Monroe trade.

10. Hornets- Nic Batum will have all eyes on him for a injury free season but the Hornets have a potential big man in Tyler Zeller but not in Roy Hibbert.

11. Wizards- It is not happening for them this year. Bradley Beal’s health is in question and Otto Porter is the starting Small Forward…still.

12. Heat- New Era who dis? Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow and Goran Dragon are a great looking “New 3” but this team will go through a challenging year and may experience a poor trade decision.

13. Magic- Additions of Serge Ibaka and Jeff Green will really help the Magic out especially with new Coach Frank Vogel. They made smart moves but their guards are weak and their centers will have to fight for minutes. Expect a trade involving Nic Vucevic for a guard.

14. 76ers- Interesting. Big year for Joel Embiid but not enough for him to win games. Dario Saric does not look like he is having a tough time adjusting to NBA basketball but keep an eye out. Ben Simmons’s health will deter them from winning early in the season, refuel them when he is there. Nerlens Noel will be traded for a guard this year.

15. Nets- Well. If there was an All NBA Team for bench players, the Nets would be that. Not enough to win games and easily a bullied team. Brook is the only thing that separates them from last year’s 76ers. I would say tank but lack of draft picks put them at the bottom of the NBA abyss.

Season Awards

MVP- Kawhi Leonard
Defensive Player of the Year- DeAndre Jordan
6th Man of the Year- Shaun Livingston
Most Improved Player- Rudy Gobert
Rookie of the Year- Joel Embiid
Coach of the Year- Tom Thibodeau

All NBA 1st Team 

Steph Curry
Kawhi Leonard
Lebron James
Kevin Durant
DeAndre Jordan

All NBA 2nd Team 

Russell Westbrook
James Harden
Paul George
Paul Millsap
Andre Drummond

All NBA 3rd Team 

Chris Paul
Jimmy Butler
Klay Thompson
Al Horford
Anthony Davis

All Defensive 1st Team

Avery Bradley
Jimmy Butler
Kawhi Leonard
Draymond Green
DeAndre Jordan

NBA All-Rookie Team

Ben Simmons
Brandon Ingram
Buddy Hield
Jaylen Brown
Joel Embiid