With the NBA season getting underway, fans couldn’t be more excited. This upcoming season brings new excitement, with a suddenly revamped Eastern Conference, legitimate threats, big players in new homes, anything could happen. Anything.
- The Atlanta Hawks Will Make The Playoffs
The 15th seeded Hawks drafted Oklahoma phenom Trae Young in this year’s NBA Draft. Young quickly stole the hearts of basketball fans across the country with his Steph Curry-esque range and unworldly playmaking. The Hawks also bolstered their shooting by drafting Kevin Heurter and Omari Spellman. With Taurean Prince and John Collins expected to take a step forward, this young team will surprise NBA fans and sneak their way into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference.
- The Boston Celtics Will Produce 5 All-Stars
Kyrie Irving and Al Horford had fantastic seasons last year leading to All-Star selections. Prized free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward was an All-Star in 2017, a freak injury on opening night was the only thing keeping him from repeating. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown shined in the playoffs last year and will look to get even better this year. In the coveted “Brad Stevens System,” these five players will get their chance to shine and subsequently make it to the All-Star game.
- D’Angelo Russell Will Put Up 20.0+ PPG For The Nets
After a solid start to his career, a 2017 trade to the Brooklyn Nets had Russell on the verge of a breakout season. Russell ended a (relatively) disappointing season with 15.5 PPG, a shade under his 15.6 PPG the year before. Russell started the season on fire. In his first 12 games, Russell put up 20.9 PPG on 46.3 FG%, before a variety of injuries doomed him for the rest of the season. In 2018, Russell will come back fully healthy to a roster looking for a leader. With very few real weapons on this Nets roster, Russell should have his best season yet.
- Malik Monk Will Earn A Starting Job For The Hornets
The former Kentucky product had an underwhelming rookie season after being swooped up with the 11th pick in last year’s NBA Draft. Monk was a light out shooter in college but mostly rode the bench his rookie year on a very deep Hornets team. When given the chance, Monk showed off his ability to score toward the end of the last season and this year’s summer league. Monk is clearly the most talented SG on this roster and should take over as the starting 2 guard this season.
- Wendell Carter Jr. Will Make The NBA All-Rookie 1st Team
The 6’10” 255 lbs big man was heavily overshadowed at Duke by star PF Marvin Bagley, but Carter is a prodigious talent by himself. Carter can do it all. He’s fantastic in the low post, can spread the floor, he’s a great passer, a fantastic rebounder, he plays tremendous defense, and possesses an outstanding basketball IQ. Carter should leap the aging Robin Lopez quickly. Playing next to Lauri Markannen, Carter will get tremendous floor spacing and dominate his rookie year firmly planting himself on the All-Rookie 1st Team.
- The Cleveland Cavaliers Will Be The No. 4 Seed In The Eastern Conference
It sounds ridiculous. But despite what the Cavs looked like last year, this is still a very talented and deep roster. The Cavs were thrown in the fire after the All-Star break, a lack of chemistry doomed this team. Kevin Love is a 25-15 guy at heart, Rodney Hood was dropping 16.8 PPG in Utah before being traded, rookie Colin Sexton is a fiery player. This a team with tons of talent and potential, after an offseason of work, this Cavs team will surprise everyone and claim the 4th seed in the East.
- Luke Dončić Will Lead The Dallas Mavericks In Scoring
The Luka Dončić hype train is running at full steam, and we’re boarding. International prospects are always risky, but Dončić was one of the most NBA ready prospects in this year’s NBA Draft. The 6’8” swingman has the skillset and versatility to play 1-4. Dončić can score in countless ways, he’s a fantastic passer, he seemingly does everything well. Dončić has been touted as the “greatest international prospect ever,” and you best be sure he’s going to deliver on that by leading the Mavs in scoring his rookie year.
- Isiah Thomas Will Win Sixth Man Of The Year
Oh, what a difference a year makes. IT4 went from an MVP candidate in 2016 to flaming out in 2017, leaving Thomas as an afterthought to NBA fans. The reality is, Thomas simply never had time to fully recover after his hip surgery in 2017. After Thomas was traded to the Lakers midseason, fully healthy, he dropped six 20+ point outings out of 17 games, showing he still has it. Now signed on as the 1st man off the bench behind a very talented Denver Nuggets front line, Thomas will get the chance to come off the bench and be the spark plug the Nuggets have been lacking. Thomas will flourish en route to becoming this year’s 6th Man.
- The Detroit Pistons Will Be The No. 8 In The Eastern Conference
The Pistons are extremely top heavy. Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond highlight this squad, but this is a roster that lacks quality wings and depth. Last year was not pretty for the Pistons. But let’s not forget this was an injury-riddled season for Jackson and a team that did not have time to come together after the trade. With players like Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, and others expected to take a step forward under new head coach Dwayne Casey, the Detroit Pistons will grab the 8th seed in a very weak Eastern Conference.
- The Golden State Warriors Will NOT Win Another NBA Championship
The odds are heavily in favor of the Warriors winning another championship. Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, Cousins, Steve Kerr. It’s an almost impossible task. But with the Rockets, Lakers, and Celtics slowly figuring out what it will take to bring this dynasty to its knees, it’s time for the sun to stop shining in Oakland.
- The Houston Rockets Will Lose In The Western Conference Semifinals
After being just one Chris Paul injury away from beating the Golden State Warriors and advancing to the NBA Finals, the Rockets have seemingly downgraded their roster. While the Rockets have upgraded their offense with the additions of Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Knight, the losses of 3 & D specialists Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah A Moute are much greater. Ariza and Mbah A Moute take away from the identity of the tough, physical defense the Rockets play. That’s what pushed them through the playoffs last year, not the crazy offense. The 2018-2019 season will present new problems for the Rockets as they suffer an early exit in the playoffs.
- Darren Collison Will Be Traded Before The Trade Deadline
Darren Collison is has been one of the most underrated and underappreciated players all his career. Whether it was behind Russell Westbrook at UCLA, Chris Paul in LA, Collison has always produced with close to no recognition. Collison once again put up a very strong season while playing 2nd fiddle to Victor Oladipo last year. And for Collison’s services, the Pacers spend the 23rd overall pick on UCLA PG Aaron Holiday. Collison is set to be a free agent in 2019, and the Pacers will be smart to unload a player they will not resign. Holiday is clearly the PG of the future in Indiana and Collison will be unloaded to make space for him.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Will Be The Starting PG By The End of The Season
SGA has been playing with a chip on his shoulder all his life. After being the least heralded prospect on a very young Kentucky team last year, SGA clawed his way to the starting job and soon after that, he established himself as the best player on that team. SGA vaulted his draft stock from undraftable to no. 11 overall as the season went on. The 6’6” combo guard boasts a ridiculous 7’0” wingspan, he has the potential to be one the best two-way players in the league. SGA has a propensity to prove doubters wrong and achieve the unthinkable. While Patrick Beverly is a solid PG, SGA will leapfrog him and dominate for this rebuilding Clippers team.
- The Lakers Will Acquire Anthony Davis Before The Trade Deadline
LeBron James made the bold decision to sign with the LA Lakers this past offseason. LeBron seems confident this young and promising Lakers team can contend for a championship, but it’s clear this roster needs another piece. Insert Anthony Davis. Davis is a superstar, one of the best two-way players in the NBA. With AD a free agent next year, the Pelicans will smartly unload the disgruntled superstar to LA. LeBron and AD will form one of the scariest tandems in the NBA.
- Marc Gasol Will Be Traded By The Trade Deadline
The 33-year-old center has gotten better year after year, adding a little to his game as time has gone on. While he’s past his prime, Gasol is still one of the better big men in the game and is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. But the Grizzlies are firmly in rebuild mode, they drafted Jaren Jackson Jr. to be their franchise cornerstone of the future. JJJ has impressed mightily through summer league and preseason. He will be the focal point of the team going forward. With Gasol a potential free agent next year, Memphis will send him away for draft picks and continue rebuilding for the future.
- Jimmy Butler Will Land In Miami
“I’m taking my problems to South Beach.” Jimmy Butler is one of the premier talents in the NBA, but the fit in Minnesota clearly isn’t happening. Despite the hype of Butler to Houston, LA, and many other contenders, Miami is pushing hard to get a deal done for the 4 time All-Star. The Heat are loaded with strong role players, top-notch defense, and elite depth, but they lack that alpha piece that would take them over the top. A trade for Butler to Miami will give the Heat that savvy, veteran star who will add to this hard-nosed team’s identity.
- Giannis Antetokonmpo Will Win MVP
23. He’s somehow only 23. ”The Greek Freak” has taken a colossal step forward every single season. He has increased his PPG by 4.0+ every single season. In just his 5th season Giannis put up 26.9 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 4.8 APG on a magnificent 52.9 FG%. It’s a scary thought to think how much better Giannis could be this year. A superstar on both sides of the ball, Giannis is in line to win his first MVP in 2019.
- Andrew Wiggins Will Make His First All-Star Game
Andrew Wiggins has never been short on talent. Since winning Rookie of The Year four years ago, Wiggins continued to get better year after year. Wiggins increased his PPG three years straight before a serious decline last year. With the additions of Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford, and Jimmy Butler, Wiggins seemed to lose all confidence in his ability, playing a poor version of the game he loves. A year later, Butler is on the verge of being traded and Wiggins will be counted on to shore up the scoring load. Wiggins has all the talent and physical ability in the world. With his team counting on him, Wiggins will put up stellar numbers and get selected to his first All-Star game.
- The New Orleans Pelicans Will Not Make The Playoffs
Losing Rajon Rondo was a much bigger loss than anyone realizes. Rondo was a leader, played tremendous defense, and most importantly elevated his teammates, namely Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Without Rondo or DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans are far from the team they were last year. AD wants out of New Orleans, Holiday struggles to stay healthy almost every year. The Pelicans have regression written all over them, playoffs are not happening for the Pelicans.
- Enes Kanter Will Be Traded Before The Trade Deadline
Enes Kanter is a very solid player. He had a fantastic season last year for the Knicks putting up 14.1 PPG and 11.0 RPG on 59.2 FG%. Kanter’s defensive woes have been well trademarked, but he is a solid starting big that a lot of teams could use. But the Knicks are in rebuild mode. 2nd round pick Mitchell Robinson has fans excited. Robinson had lottery talent, but off-court issues derailed his draft stock. With Porzinigis out for an extended period of time, possibly the whole season, the Knicks do not look like a playoff caliber team. Kanter will be traded and Robinson will get his run as the Knicks continue to develop their younger players.
- The Oklahoma City Thunder Will Be The No. 2 Seed In The West
After last year’s disastrous playoff meltdown for the Thunder, expectations are low for this team. But the Thunder may be in better position this year than they were last year. Superstar Russell Westbrook and Paul George showed amazing chemistry last year, adding Dennis Shröder will bolster this bench. Westbrook, Shröder, and George will score in a hurry, the rest of the Thunder’s players will focus on playing hard, physical defense, and contributing where necessary. While this team has many questions surrounding their roster, they will surprise everyone by outplaying elite teams in the West and grabbing the no. 2 seed.
- Mo Bamba Will Be The Starting Center By The End of The Year
Everyone loves Mo Bamba. There may be no more exciting player to watch on defense. The no. 6 overall pick from Texas, Bamba, and his ridiculous 7’10” wingspan swatted shots like there was no tomorrow. Bamba has all the physical tools to succeed and the mold of a modern NBA center. Bamba’s floor is NBA All-Defensive 1st Team, his ceiling is the best player in the NBA. It’s a scary thought. Nikola Vucevic is still a very good center, but he has only one year left on his deal. A Magic team that will not win very many games, it will be sooner rather than later that they insert Bamba into the starting lineup and let him wreak havoc on the league, Sheck Wes style.
- The Philadelphia 76ers Will Be The No. 1 Seed In The East
How ‘bout it? A healthy Fultz, Simmons, Embiid, Saric, Redick, and Covington. Add in solid role players like Wilson Chandler, T.J McConnell, Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, and this is a team will tons of talent. With Brett Brown at the helm, this is a versatile and adaptable 76ers team that will take an even bigger leap this season. The Raptors and Celtics will make a strong push for the no. 1 seed, but when it’s all said and done it will be Philly on top.
- DeAndre Ayton Will Win ROY
There’s a ton of strong candidates for rookie of the year. Luka Dončić, Kevin Knox, Trae Young, and many more have high hopes for the prestigious award, but it’s Ayton’s for the taking. On a very young Sun’s team, Ayton will dominate early and often. The 7’1” 250 lbs big man is a dominating low post presence who still has the jump shot to space you out. Factor in his ridiculous 44” inch vertical and it’s jaw-dropping what he could do. The Suns look ready to let Ayton loose. Ayton should dominate from opening night, capping off a fantastic 1st season with the ROY award.
- The Portland Trailblazers Will Not Make The Playoffs
The Trail Blazers overachieved last year, claiming the no. 3 seed behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The Pelicans put on a clinic in the 1st round focusing on shutting down the tantalizing backcourt which resulted in a 4-0 sweep of the Trail Blazers. With a seemingly tougher Western Conference, and more teams sure to use the Pelicans strategy, Portland does not look like they will be making the playoffs this year.
- Buddy Hield Will Lead The Sacremento Kings In Scoring
The Sacremento Kings have been the laughing stock of the NBA for many years. Now they seem to finally have things on track with a plethora of young talent including De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles, and Buddy Hield. Hield had a very solid season last year averaging 13.5 PPG (19.2 PPG Per 36 Mins) on 44.6 FG% and 43.1 3PT%. Since being the no. 6 overall pick in 2016, Hield has gotten a little better each year and should take another step forward. Earning more minutes, Hield will lead this young Kings team in scoring.
- The San Antonio Spurs Will Make The Playoffs
No Kawhi, Dejounte Murray out for the year, a tough Western Conference, the odds are stacked up against the Spurs to make the playoffs this year. But never doubt Pop. With a fresh new weapon in DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Pau Gasol, and Patty Mills, this team has more than enough talent to take them far. Let’s not forget about the one’s Pop has been developing behind the scene. Derrick White, Bryan Forbes, Jakob Poeltl, rookies Lonnie Walker and Chimezie Metu. Pop will find a way to get maximum productivity out of his players and make the playoffs for an NBA record 22nd straight season.
- The Toronto Raptors Will Make The NBA Finals
The Raptors have been the epitome of choking in the playoffs for several years now, but this year has a different feel to it. After trading away star SG DeMar DeRozan for disgruntled superstar Kawhai Leonard and firing longtime head coach Dwayne Casey, the Raptors are ready. Most people have already cast off this team, claiming they were stupid for making the trade and they will lose Leonard in a year anyway, but the Raptors have a chip on their shoulder. In a relatively weak Eastern Conference, the Raptors will surprise NBA fans by defeating Philly and/or Boston en route to the NBA Finals.
- Grayson Allen Will Make An All-Rookie Team
Public enemy no. 1. Best known for (intentionally) tripping players at Duke, Allen’s elite talent, leadership, and heart for the game was overshadowed by his silly antics. Allen’s talent has never been in question. He is a hard-nosed defender who will fit into the Jazz’s identity and a versatile and talented scorer, especially behind the three-point line. A Utah team that lacks elite scorers, Allen’s versatility to play either guard position should help him carve a solid for the Jazz and get him on an NBA All-Rookie team.
- The Washington Wizards Will Start Over
The Wizards might be one of the most frustrating franchises in the NBA. With the Wizards holding with an excess of $29.5 million over the salary cap, you would expect the Wizards to be much better. Despite routinely making the playoffs the last 5 years, the Wizards suffer 1st or 2nd round exits every time they’ve been in the playoffs. There is a plethora of talent on this team, but for some reason, they cannot get over the hump. With such an atrocious cap situation, the Wizards will go into rebuild mode after the season is over, trading away their highly coveted players.