It's here, it's finally here! After a long and grueling few months, basketball has finally returned. Only this time, its coming back with some fury.
Dubbed as the greatest ever, this past off-season has been fun, bold, and completely unpredictable. Some stars moved across the country while others remained soundly put. Some old vets decided to give it one last run, while some young guys are gearing up in hopes of a long career. Its never easy to predict exactly how things will turn out. And this season, with so many different things happening over the summer, the NBA is due to experience some major changes. So, with NBA Tip-off just hours away, here are some bold predictions for the season ahead.
Anthony Davis Takes A Huge Leap Forward
Anthony Davis will lead the NBA scoring and rebounding. He is determined to make the playoffs this season, and knows that he needs to be as productive as possible in order to make that happen. Plus, a big season is the only way that DeMarcus Cousins is staying in the Big Easy. All the pressure on the world is on the New Orleans star, but if anybody can push through it, its him.
Russell Westbrook Will Average 14 Assists Per Game
Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are very good catch and shoot shooters, so Westbrook can drive and kick those two to rack up the assists. Also, Steven Adams will be diving to rim in screen and rolls for dunks. No matter how Westbrook chooses to get his assists, its clear that he'll have an easy path to rack up those number in the season ahead. And for a guy like Westbrook, he won't shy away from an opportunity like that.
Warriors Will Have Best Offense, Timberwolves Will Have Best Defense
The Golden State Warriors will have the number one ranked offense, but not the number one ranked defense; the one ranked defense will be the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Warriors are an offensive juggernaut, and they will keep that going this year. Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau will get Jimmy Butler to teach the young Wolves how to defend. Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns both want to be great, and know that winning and defense will help them reach that high level.
Eric Bledsoe Will Be Traded
The first player to be traded during the season will Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns. He is 27 years old, still in his prime, and an all-star quality point guard. The Suns will be out of the playoff picture early in the season, and they will try to get expiring contracts in order to turn them into draft picks to build from. While Bledsoe is a decent point guard, he's not valuable enough for Phoenix to keep long-term.
King James Will Win MVP
The Most Valuable Player will be LeBron James. Despite voter fatigue being a real thing, LeBron will be so dominate from beginning to end that even the most hardened voter will have to give him the nod. Not to mention that this could be LeBron's final run, getting him a few sentimental votes as well.
Kawhi Will Win DPOY
Kawhi is a physical force, and the most disruptive defensive player in the game. He challenges every pass, shot, and dribble. His long arms and big hands give him the perfect build to contest any shot. As the Spurs' best player, the spotlight will be on him to take his game to the next level.
Rudy Gobert Has A Breakout Year
The Most Improved Player will be Rudy Gobert. With Gordon Hayward gone, Rudy will get a chance to shoot and score a lot more. He will continue to dominate the glass, and be shot eraser and changer on the defensive end. This season we will see more of his offensive game.
Dario Saric Wins Sixth Man Of The Year
The Sixth Man of the Year will be Dario Saric. The Philadelphia forward has all the skills in the World, and with the team success he will get a chance to make more winning plays. He may not start, but expect to see him playing in key fourth quarter minutes. And if one of Philly's star big men miss time on the floor, Saric may be called to produce even more for the team.
Ben Simmons Will Be The Best Rookie
The Rookie of the Year will be Ben Simmons. Most rookies struggle and Simmons has a bigger challenge coming off an injury. His all-around game will overshadow his potential high turnovers and low scoring, making him unique to the rest of the Rookie class. In Philadelphia, the Sixers have a legitimate chance to make the Playoffs, further increasing Simmons' chances to win ROY.
Eastern Conference Playoff Race
The Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, and Charlotte Hornets will make the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. With the East so weak this year, the bottom playoff spots are literally up for grabs. But, as per usual, the Cavs will have control of the East come post-season time, making the regular season somewhat of a wash.
Western Conference Playoff Race
The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trailblazers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies will make the playoffs from the Western Conference. The West absolutely loaded up this summer in attempts to catch up to the Warriors. It wil be a tight race, but we all can figure who'll be on top when its all said and done.