The NBA season is kicking off with two games, with Philidelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics, and Oklahoma City Thunder vs Golden State Warriors. Meaningful basketball is going to be played once more! With the preseason under our belt, we have seen some flashes, and it seems like a good time to make some solidified predictions. So here is what I’ve got. We’ll start off with some of the main season player awards.
MVP: Anthony Davis
Runners up: Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard
Anthony Davis has been building up to this point for years now. Entering into his prime, The Brow will need to have a season for the ages to get his Pelicans to the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference. He turned many eyes last season, and is going to be the candidate to beat. I get the feeling James Harden is about to have a monster year. He was my vote for MVP last season, and may be the deserving MVP this year, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to have repeat years as the MVP, or else LeBron should have won the last 5 years. Giannis and Kawhi look like they could have some monster years as well.
Donovan Mitchell Luka Doncic
Runners up: Deandre Ayton, Collin Sexton
Luka has shown to me that he is an NBA-ready player who will fit this league like a glove. A long, athletic player with insane ability to pass over defenses, we could see him playing in the All-Star game sooner rather than later.
MIP: Brandon Ingram
Runners up: Dante Exum, Alec Burks, Boban Marjanovic
There will be more deserving players, no doubt, but playing with LeBron may allow Brandon Ingram to shine. It also helps that he plays in one of the biggest markets of the league, so more eyes will be on him than anybody else. We saw this effect with a certain Rookie of the Year winner last year, as Joel Embiid drew eyes to the large-market 76ers. Dante Exum is going to show the league why he got paid. It will seemingly come out of nowhere, and with a little extra media attention, somebody has got to notice. Same with Alec, after finally coming back from injuries and looking like a new-and-improved version of himself, he will have the minutes early on in the year to put up some big scoring numbers. Boban Marjanovic is a runner up because he looked dang good in preseason.
Preseason Boban Marjanovic: 50.3 PTS, 16.2 REB, 3.6 BLK per 36 minutes, .884 TS% pic.twitter.com/9i2CeaNyzK— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) October 8, 2018
I do not have an official guess for 6th man of the year yet, so I will skip that one, for now..
What can we expect from the Jazz this season? It’s fair to say that what we expect is a lot of the same as we saw last season. Coach Quin Snyder needs to keep innovating and maintaining the defense as well as offense, so the league isn’t able to hard counter our strategies. Rudy Gobert is going to be better, Ricky Rubio is going to be better, Donovan Mitchell is going to be better. If everything gels like it did last year, I would put us as legitimate contenders for the 2nd seed. James Harden is going to win a few games for his Houston Rockets, but the race will be neck-and-neck.
Last season what we saw was that the Jazz blew out bad teams by large margins, and then put up a fight against the better teams, and beat those guys more often than not. My biggest worry was the same as the annonymous NBA scout’s, we still don’t have a solidified way to defend the “five-out” offense of teams like Boston. When a team has a PF and a C who can stretch the floor, it is difficult for us to allow Rudy to step out on them. We didn’t have to worry about this quite as much last season, because our main competition in the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets both weren’t able to play five-out in most of their lineups....... until Golden State got DeMarcus Cousins. So now, of the top three teams we need to worry about beating (Golden State, Houston, Boston in the Finals), two of those teams are able to play a style that we are weak against. I’m sure Quin Snyder has had his mind at work, thinking about how to go up against those teams in particular. I am interested to see what he comes up with.
Here are some more season predictions, take them however you will:
- San Antonio misses the playoffs for the first time in 22 years.
- The LA Lakers will be either the 8th or 9th seed, and it is going to be a battle.
- The Dallas Mavericks are going to turn some heads, and surprise a few people, although they will not make the playoffs.
- Golden State Warriors are (obviously) the current favorites to win the championship this season, but their greatest addition this offseason in DeMarcus Cousins may actually end up being their downfall. DeMarcus has never been on a team that has made the playoffs, and is known as a toxic player in the locker room. That may change, playing for the best team in the world, but we have yet to see that.
- Rockets, Jazz, Pelicans and Celtics are the only ones capable of threatening Golden State.
- Boston, Toronto and Indiana are the only real threats to make the finals in the East.
- Cleveland with Rodney Hood, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson will still make the playoffs.
We already know that celebs love Donovan Mitchell. However, now we are starting to get the next tier of celebrities taking note. This weekend, megastar Justin Bieber was seen wearing a Spida t-shirt.
Donovan’s boat has come in, and we are all riding it. Here’s to hoping it leads to a few trophies from My. Larry O’Brien.
With just two more days until the Jazz play a real game, do you have your plans set out yet for this national holiday? Have you decorated your home for the occasion? Make sure to let us know how you are celebrating! Me? I’ve got a nice comfy chair, my lucky Stockton jersey, some homemade nachos, and a nice big cup of Dr. Pepper biding their time for Wednesday.