With the Free Agency period in full swing, I thought it would be fun to make some BOLD predictions for next season. The NBA runs off of mayhem and this year produced one of the more entertaining offseasons to date. Now let’s speculate on what all of this could mean. I hope at least two of these predictions make you throw your phone across the room. It’s my world you’re just reading about it. So let’s get this show on the road.
#1: The Cavaliers will make the NBA playoffs
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Too far? If you’re basing this off of the last time Lebron left, then yes I may be taking this too far. However, things have changed for Cleveland since 2010. To say the East is weaker this time around is an understatement, and last time he left them with a team full of rejected bench players. Cleveland is left with the remnants of a tough team that has the capabilities to hit threes and can be anchored by an All-star in Kevin Love, assuming he stays healthy. They were also able to use a lottery pick to obtain a ruthless attacker in Point Guard Collin Sexton. Sexton provides them with a gifted leader who can shoulder the scoring burden for his team and isn’t afraid to compete. Lest we forget he was apart of the famous 3-on-5 game against Minnesota this year as a Freshman at Alabama.
In a weak Eastern Conference, I expect these Cavaliers will have enough to make an 8th seed appearance in the playoffs. They are a pesky team that will transition into the Collin Sexton Era with a bang! Should be a fun year for the Lebron-less Cavs.
#2: The Suns will make the NBA playoffs
Go Ahead! Call me crazy. I don’t mind at all. The west seems packed with All Stars so these words should never be published anywhere, yet here we are. Let’s start with the roster. I don’t care what anyone says, Deandre Ayton is NBA ready. At 7’1″ and a solid 260 he can compete with anyone down low and will be a punishing force this season. Next, you have Devin Booker, an explosive guard who can score at will who is poised to make his first All-star appearance. Add in veteran presence from Trevor Ariza to help the progression of Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges, now you have an interesting team. The Suns will be like watching the Rising Stars Challenge on a nightly basis!
Then comes the disfunction amongst some of the bottom feeders of the West. None worse than the Timberwolves. Whom the Suns should be able to edge past for the 8th seed. The T wolves are centered around an unhappy Allstar Shooting Guard and a coach who has been known to wear down his starters. Also, you have a Trailblazers team the could be ready for a reboot and a Pelicans team centered around one player. I’m looking for this young team to take a step forward with this talented roster.
#3: Kevin Knox II will win NBA Rookie of the Year
The 9th pick in the 2018 NBA draft heard a chorus of boos upon being selected by the New York Knicks. Nothing new though. Knicks fans have a history of booing. They did the same thing to Kristaps Porzingis. Shows how much they know about basketball. Knox went on to destroy the Summer League averaging 23.3 points per game and was named to the All-NBA Summer League First team. There are two factors as to why I think he will be named NBA-ROY. The first is that he will be the best scoring option on a bad team that has to start him. With Porzingis sidelined until probably Christmas, the Knicks will become the Kevin Knox show.
The second is he will get the opportunity to learn under David Fisdale. At least for this season. Fisdale will get a fresh start in New York where he can bring his own style. He will preach toughness, defense, and off-ball discipline, all things rookies usually lack coming in at such a young age. Kevin Knox will be a bright spot in what gears up to be another ugly year for the Knicks.
#4 Donovan Mitchell will be the NBA MVP
Donovan Mitchell was slighted last season by not taking home the Rookie of the Year award. Losing to Ben Simmons did not sit well with him and for good reason. Ben Simmons technically WASN’T A ROOKIE. Mitchell is a competitive player who seems to do what it takes to shoulder his team to victory and I assume this will continue in the coming season. This is mainly why I’m predicting he will join Derrick Rose as the youngest two players to win the coveted NBA MVP award. He remains the key point on a team that stayed the course this offseason and used it’s draft pick wisely on Grayson Allen.
Mitchell will get the minutes needed to put up the stat line of an MVP. I believe he will lead the league in scoring and steals per game while carrying the Jazz to a 3 seed in the West. Donovan is a motivated player that will spend this offseason working hard at improving. He stated earlier this summer he’d try linking up with NBA legends to work on his game. It’s possible he will be able to get in a work out with Kobe Bryant who detailed a playoff performance from Mitchell this year. I know this seems crazy, but I never promised safe picks here.
#5 Kawhi will play the entire year in Toronto
The clouds are finally beginning to part over this trade. Many reports speculated Kawhi sitting out this season to force a second trade, which has since begun to lose steam. Mainly because of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which makes threats of sitting virtually empty. If Leonard were to follow through the Raptors could fine him up to his full salary of 20.1 Million dollars for the practices and games missed.
That being said I believe he will report to HIS JOB this season. Not only that, he could flourish in this scenario. The East is incredibly weak and he is simply better than DeMar DeRozan. Leonard brings Finals experience, scoring, and lockdown defense to a team in need of, well… all of that. His skill set is obvious and if he can get back to his 2016 form this team could even win the East and secure their first trip to the Finals. That would be fun! The Raptors are willing to make this work and rebuild later.
#6 The Boston Celtics will be NBA Champions
I’d love to see the Kawhi experiment in Toronto lead to a Drake appearance in the Finals, but Boston won’t let that happen. Last year Boston didn’t need two of it’s superstars to take Lebron to the edge. They boast the best roster in the East when healthy and employ the second coming of Gregg Popovich in Brad Stevens. If things fall their way we should be seeing Boston back in the Finals and with a better shot at beating the Warriors than you might think.
In the small sample size last year, they played Golden State extremely well taking one of the two games and only losing the second by four points. Boston has favorable matchups in this series which they could exploit behind Brad Stevens game plan. Kyrie forces Curry to work much harder on both ends of the floor which has shown to be a factor in previous finals. The Celtics have length and a barrage of combo guards and stretch four players that create offense on their own and could become a problem for a limited Golden State bench. They also run teams off the 3pt line better than anyone in the league due to said size and athleticism. Not to mention Boogie might have imploded the Warriors locker room by that point.
Don’t agree with me? Great! Write what you think below and we can duke it out in the comment section.
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