2016-17 NBA Predictions
The 2016-17 NBA Season is less than a week away, and it looks like we are in store for an extremely entertaining season. Everyone seems to be making their predictions on who will win what, so I am going to take a swing at this. Here. We. Go.
Rookie of the Year:
One of the biggest stories since Preseason games has begun is the play of Joel Embiid. "The Process" is what he calls himself and he has looked extremely good. If Embiid can stay healthy and do what he has done in the preseason, he may just find himself winning Rookie of the Year and helping the 76ers improve a lot this season.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Anybody that thinks Kawhi Leonard will not be in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year is crazy. He is the best all-around defender in the NBA and nobody is really close to catching him. Kawhi Leonard will receive the DPOY Award for the 3rd season in a row.
6th Man of the Year:
New head coach, David Fizdale, of the Memphis Grizzlies came out and said that Zach Randolph would becoming off the bench. That has immediately put him in the 6th Man of the Year award conversation. This move will allow him to feast on team's second and possible third strings. If Randolph stays health and plays like he always has, he will snatch the 6th Man of the Year Award.
Most Improved Player:
Devin Booker has quickly become one of my favorite players to watch. He is the future of the Guard position, and he will have a big season for the Phoenix Suns. After averaging 13 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and shooting 34% percent from the 3-point arch, Booker is poised to breakout and become a star in the NBA. I predict Booker to average 20 points, 4 assist, 5 rebounds and shoot over 40% from 3 and take home the Most Improved Player award.
Most Valuable Player:
To me, this is will go down to two players, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. With Kevin Durant departing to the Warriors, Westbrook is determined to prove he can carry the Thunder now. LeBron James (should have won the MVP last season) proved why he was the most valuable player in the NBA when he brought Cleveland an NBA title. LeBron James will take the MVP by only a few votes ahead of Russell Westbrook.
Coach of the Year:
Going into his 4th season as the head coach of the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens is poised to continue to push the Celtics to being a dominant threat in the NBA. He is a basketball genius and he continues to get better and better as the years pass. He is becoming a top 5 NBA coach and with another big year from the Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens will receive his first Coach of the Year award.
Going out on a limb and claiming that the Los Angeles Lakers will snag the number 8 seed. With new head coach, Luke Walton, the Lakers have a mix of youth and veteran talent. They may struggle to open up the season, but once they get used to Walton's system, the Lakers will click and make a run for the playoffs.
The biggest letdown will be Chicago Bulls not making the playoffs. Fred Hoiberg seemed to have little control of the team last year and I am not sure what he will do this season. With the additions of Rajon Rondo and Chicago-native, Dwyane Wade, this Bulls team will struggle with figuring out who the leader of the team will be. They may just run Fred Hoiberg out of Chicago.
Western Conference Champion:
This is practically a no-brainer in who will win the West. It is a race for 2nd place and the Golden State Warriors are miles ahead of everyone else. Adding Kevin Durant has made them a favorite right off the bat. I do not think anybody in the West will be able to compete with the Warriors and they will take care of it fairly easily.
Eastern Conference Champion:
The Cleveland Cavaliers, since LeBron has returned, have been on top of the Eastern Conference. Nobody is going to dethrone the King and his army. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors may be two teams that will go after them, but Cleveland will be too good to be stopped.
Going back-to-back. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the kryptonite to the Warriors. After the Warriors went up 3-1 in last years Finals, LeBron, Kryie and company stormed back and won Game 7 in Oracle Arena. The King will reign again for the second straight season when they take down the almight Warriors in 6 games. All Hail King James.
Should be an exciting year of basketball! Hopefully there will be plenty of surprises.