What a wild offseason it has been! Starting off with the NBA Draft, we saw Markelle Fultz leave the board first, teaming up with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philly, followed by the most prominent name of the summer, Lonzo Ball, be selected by the Lakers at number 2. The Celtics traded down to 3 and snagged Jayson Tatum, potentially the most talented player in the entire draft. Josh Jackson went 4th to Phoenix, and De’Aaron Fox went to the Kings, rounding out the top 5 picks. With Jimmy Butler traded to the T-Wolves, the offseason was off to a wild start. We saw Chris Paul traded to the Rockets to join James Harden, and Paul George and Carmelo Anthony traded to the Thunder to team up with Westbrook. Paul Millsap joined Denver to speed up their rebuilding process. Gordon Hayward left the Jazz to join the Celtics, and shortly after, Kyrie Irving was traded in a blockbuster deal for Isaiah Thomas, a first-round pick and more. D-Wade signed a one year, $2.3 million deal with the Cavaliers, rejoining former teammate and good friend, LeBron James.
Big contract extensions were also a big theme this offseason. Kyle Lowry, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Steph Curry and Russell Westbrook all signed max deals with their respective teams.
So, what should we expect this season? Will Boston dethrone Cleveland in the East? Can anybody beat Golden State? Who will win MVP? Will the Lakers or Sixers make the playoffs?
Here’s what I’m thinking:
Five Hot Takes:
- Jayson Tatum will prove to be the best player in the draft (he will not win ROY).
- Joel Embiid will play at least 65 games and average at least 25 points a game.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo will win MVP (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).
- Brandon Ingram will win Most Improved Player.
- Damian Lillard will be an All-Star starter (accomplishing Kobe Bryant’s challenge).
- The steep decline of Dwight Howard and why he should not be a Hall of Famer.
- Why Westbrook’s extension means that LeBron to LA is no longer a given.
- Will DeMarcus Cousins team up with John Wall in Washington?
- Kyle Kuzma’s emergence as a draft steal—what does this mean for the future?
- When will Trusting the Process lead to contending for titles?
Players with the most to prove this season:
- Carmelo Anthony (needs to show an ability to defend, create offense in transition)
- Dwight Howard (needs to prove that he won’t create dissension in the locker room)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (needs to prove that he is tough enough to play for Pop)
- Lonzo Ball (needs to show the NBA why Lavar is so high on him as an overall talent)
- Kyrie Irving (needs to prove that he can be the primary option on a title contender)
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Boston Celtics
- Washington Wizards
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Toronto Raptors
- Philadelphia Sixers
- Detroit Pistons
- Miami Heat
- Golden State Warriors
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- San Antonio Spurs
- Houston Rockets
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Los Angeles Lakers
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Most Improved Player: Brandon Ingram
Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside
Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith, Jr.
Comeback Player of the Year: Danilo Gallinari
Points Leader: Kevin Durant
Rebounds Leader: DeAndre Jordan
Assists Leader: Russell Westbrook
Blocks Leader: Hassan Whiteside
Steals Leader: Chris Paul
Most impact on a new team: Jimmy Butler
Least impact on a new team: Tim Hardaway Jr.
NBA Playoff Predictions
Eastern Conference Finals:
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics: Cleveland in 7
Western Conference Finals:
Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Golden State in 7
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors: Golden State in 6
Finals MVP: Kevin Durant
What are your thoughts and feelings about this upcoming season?
Image via: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByVvmw2bbSw
About Me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a freshman at the University of Miami from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and all U-Miami sports. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).