NBA Preview and Predictions
With the NBA season about to get underway tomorrow, it’s time to take a look at what the season will have in store with us. I will go through each division with a note or two on each team, then give my predictions.
Atlantic Division: The Atlantic division might be one of the best division in basketball, and could see all five teams make the playoffs. The Nets received much-needed help this offseason with the acquisition of Joe Johnson. They have a good starting five, and are deep enough to make a nice run into the postseason. The Celtics will be in the postseason again even with the loss of Allen. The additions of Terry and Lee should help them offset that loss, and potentially help them in their transition game. The Knicks will look to stay healthy and should be able to keep pace in the division and enter the playoffs as a middle seed. The 76’ers will hope Bynum can stay healthy and can possibly sneak into the playoffs. The Raptors look much improved with two new starters and are also pretty deep and capable of sneaking into the playoffs.
Central Division: A new team will look to take the division crown this year. The Pacers have a strong young core, and should take the division. The Bulls will be without their star Derrick Rose for an undetermined amount of time, but should be able to make the playoffs. The Bucks will hope to make a run for the playoffs, but will likely come up short. The Cavaliers will look to continue their rebuilding process as well and look for more improvement from guys like Thompson and Irving. The Pistons will look to continue to rebuild for the future and look for promise from their rookie Andre Drummond.
Southeast Division: The Heat should run away with this division, as their two main threats got a but worse. The Hawks should still be playoff bound even with the loss of Johnson. The emergence of Jeff Teague, plus a healthy Horford should make them a tough team to play against on a nightly basis. The Wizards will hope that Bradley Beal can become a dominant player in this game and the star they have been looking for since Gilbert Arenas. The Magic will compete for the number one overall pick in next year’s draft after the departure of Dwight Howard. The Bobcats will also be fighting for an early pick, though they hope they struck gold with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Southwest Division: The leader of the Southwest division will likely be the Spurs again. Though they continue to boast one of the oldest starting 5’s in the league, they continue to stay competitive and Coach Popovich knows when to rest his older players. The Grizzlies will look to make some noise in the playoffs this year, and will likely grab a middle playoff seed. The Mavericks will try to work with each other and new teammates as they look to make the playoffs. The Rockets, with a whole new team this week, will be a tough matchup every night, though will likely fall short of the postseason. The Hornets will hope for strong and promising rookie season from both Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.
Northwest Division: The Thunder will look to repeat as the Western Conference champions but will need to find more ways of scoring with the sudden loss James Harden to the Rockets. The Jazz will look to win 50+ games and be a middle of the pack team in the postseason. The Nuggets will be right behind the Jazz and it could be the possible 4-5 matchup in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers will hope for another strong season by LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as a strong rookie season by Damian Lillard. The Timberwolves have already been struck by injuries with Love out a few weeks, but need a healthy Rubio early for any chance at the postseason.
Pacific Division: The Lakers will try to be the team to beat in the Western with the additions of Nash and Howard. The Clippers will try to build off last years success and make more noise in the postseason. The Suns will hope Goran Dragic can continue his success and prove he is one of the better point guards in the league. The Kings will hope this roster can mesh well together and make fans happy. The Warriors will look for their youngsters to keep improving and hope Bogut can be the player he used to be pre-injury.
NBA Finals: Heat over Lakers in 6.
NBA MVP: Lebron James
NBA Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard
Coach of the Year: Scott Brooks
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard
Most Improved Player of the year: Evan Turner
6th Man of the Year: Kevin Martin
What do you guys think will happen this NBA Season? Surprise teams in the playoffs? Different NBA Finals prediction? Leave comments down below or tweet me @YoniPollak. Good Luck to your favorite team this season!