The Houston Rockets will be the second seed in the West and James Harden will win the MVP by less than a 10 vote margin. Mike D’Antoni will win Coach of the Year and redeem his legacy after disastrous turns in New York and Los Angeles.
The Spurs will knock off the Rockets in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. The lack of skilled forwards who play inside, grab offensive rebounds and defend the paint for the Rockets will do them in. The Spurs will control pace and tempo and beat the Rockets in a 7 game series.
The Warriors will advance to the NBA Finals for the third straight year, joining the Lakers of 2007-2009 and 1999-2001 as the only Western Conference teams to appear in three straight NBA Finals.
The Philadelphia 76ers will have more wins than the Lakers, Suns and Orlando Magic. For the first time in five years they won’t be in the top-5 of the lottery.
The Pelicans will grab the 8th seed in the West and meet the Warriors who will beat them in 6 games.
The Lakers and not the Celtics (via Nets) will get the number one pick and draft local product Lonzo Ball. The Lakers will trade Julius Randle in the offseason.
Jim Buss will get his walking papers.
The New York Knicks will not make the playoffs. Pressure will be heaped on Phil Jackson to quit but he won’t. Pressure will be on Carmelo Anthony to relinquish his no-trade clause but he won’t.
The Pacers will be a one and done playoff team, as will the Hornets and Hawks and Bucks. The Wizards will shock everyone and get to the Conference Finals. The Celtics will lose in the Conference semi-finals.
The Clippers without Chris Paul will drop to the 7th seed and have another first round exit in the playoffs, courtesy of the Houston Rockets. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will re-sign in the off-season. The Clippers will try to get rid of J.J. Redick but there will be no takers.
Rudy Gay will exercise his player option and be in Sacramento next season. Be careful what you ask for. Rudy wanted out of Sacramento but a torn Achilles changes everything.
The Miami Heat will miss out on the top three players in the lottery. Pat Riley karma. They will still get a good player and be forced to embrace rebuilding as there will be no impactful free agents to sign.
The Warriors will win 68 games. The Cavs will win 60 games. Both will meet in the Finals. The Cavs will repeat as champions.
LeBron James will appear in his seventh straight NBA Finals. With four NBA titles, James will cement his legacy as best player since Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
Kevin Durant will appear in his second NBA Finals. He will average 30 points per game but it won’t be enough to offset LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
Kyle Korver will have a big impact for the Cavs in the playoffs.
All NBA first team: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins.
All NBA defense first team: Tony Allen, Patrick Beverley, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert
photo via llananba