My Bold Predictions for the 2015-16 NBA Season

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors

By Stefan Anderson

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, the countdown is finally over and the 2015-16 NBA season is here. Who’s going win it all? Who wins the MVP? Who stands out? I am here to give my Bold predictions for the 2015-16 season.

Golden State will not repeat: For the Warriors to repeat their success from last season would as easy as catching lightning in the bottle twice. Not to say that the Dubs won’t have a good season in 2015-16 campaign but I do not foresee the same luck they received last season. Golden State started the season winning their first 16 games, finishing 67-15 and only losing back to back once in the postseason. Crazy, when you really think how hard that will be to ditto. Doing so they would have to defeat one if not all the supreme teams in the West that includes the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder.

The next Draymond Green? Not skill wise but the in the context of a role player that makes a statement for his self. In the 2015 season, I have to put Washington’s Otto Porter and Indiana’s C.J. Miles in that category. With both of their rosters transitioning into faster pace offense, look for these two wings to transform off of the changes in offense and the increase of minutes.

MVP: For the MVP, I would like to see a player like Anthony Davis win the award, but the New Orleans star has yet to play an entire 82 games in a season. Therefore, with the additional talent surrounding him, Chris Paul will finally earn his first MVP award to solidify his legacy. My dark horse candidates will be Kevin Durant and Paul George, with both forwards coming back off grueling injuries and have a lot vengeance in their games.

Can LeBron continue to his reign? We ask this question each year and get the same results, so yes LeBron James will continue to be the best player in the NBA. Playing in nearly 100 games for the past four seasons, James has consistently played at the same level, averaging around 28/8/7 each season. With the bitter taste of losing his second consecutive finals, a hungry LeBron will be back this season, I expect him to be amongst that MVP conversation this year.

First Timers: Magic guard Victor Oladipo, Detroit Center Andre Drummond and LA Clipper Center DeAndre Jordan will all make their first all-star appearances this year. Jordan after signing his major contract this season will have to prove his worth. Oladipo rejoining the young core that Magic have kept together will burst into the teams true leader. Drummond will now be a priority with the departure of F/C Greg Monroe and Coach Stan Van Gundy’s 4 out and 1 in system he favors.

Defensive Player of Year: DeAndre Jordan believed he was snubbed out of last year’s DPOY award. In the 2015-16, DJ will claim the award at the season finale. Despite his free-throw woes, Jordan is still one of the best defenders in the league and will have another chance to prove his ability as an anchor as he did last season, when he lead the league in defensive win shares.

Most likely to beat Cleveland in the East: Many will say Chicago; I’ve got Miami being the team to dethrone King James and Co. The Heat will be able to counter Cleveland in all positions, with a lineup of Gorgan Dragic, Dwayne Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside. They also have a deeper bench and that player who can take over and win games for you in Dwayne Wade, unlike the Bulls. This pick is safe as long the Heat roster can stay healthy.

Most likely to beat Golden State in the West: OKC? LA? Houston? I’m going with the Spurs. San Antonio, always seems to find way to stay in the mix, now they are even deeper with the additions of David West and Lamarcus Aldridge. You’ve seen Memphis size give some issues to Golden State in the 2nd round of the 2015 playoffs , but the Grizzlies struggle with perimeter shootingand the Spurs do not lack in that department. I think they can force Golden State to play their tempo and have solid post players that can give Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut problems in the paint.

Missing the party: Brooklyn, Boston, Dallas and Portland were all playoff teams last season, however, this season will not be attending the postseason this year. These teams did not improve their rosters and have some questions going into the 2015-16 year. Portland losing nearly their entire starting 5 except for Damian Lillard, will have to depend on the young guard to lead them to promise land. Brooklyn, if Brook Lopez cannot stay healthy will have too much of a load for Joe Johnson to carry. Boston, has a good team similar to Dallas will have fight the teams on the cusp and doesn’t possess the talent to do so.

Joining the party:  Entering the playoffs this season will be Miami, Indiana and possibly Charlotte from the Eastern conference. In the West, Oklahoma City, Minnesota and I have a strange feeling about Sacramento being good this season (*Warning: this might be a reach*).

Finals Prediction: San Antonio vs Cleveland, Spurs in 6.

Advertisements

New Day

By Stefan Anderson

Trends like most things are temporary similar to the majority of things that the world has to offer and change is the inevitable. But in the National Basketball Association, change is something most are not used to, but the 2015 Free Agency period has brought a new aspect to the league.

Subsequently, after the Warriors claimed the 2015 NBA title, it killed the theme of each team putting together a group of superstars whether it be two, three maybe even four, to propel their franchises to next level. But it exemplified that you will need to create a core of good players and not just a couple of great ones and a lot below average or mediocre ones to surround them with.

The precedent that we have seen of past champions, a la the San Antonio Spurs, keep a good team together you will sustain a great record.  And for the majority of the free agent class of 2015, has remained loyal to their respective teams and continue to figure with the current roster and try to fill in spots that were vacant in the prior.

We’ve seen the likes of Jimmy Butler, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap and Kawhi Leonard all remain with prior teams and not just chase the money and max contract but are chasing the highest achievement in the NBA, the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The free agency period has shown that players who steadily work on this game and are making something out of the career despite their past struggles. Draymond Green, Damarre Carroll, and Kris Middleton, all received great contracts due to their improvements and what their upside could be based on their performance and work ethic.

Along with the underdogs earning their pay the underdog teams are now gaining the big players and taking them away from major markets like LA or NYC, where players at point had fantasies of playing in the bright lights of the big cities. The biggest example of that is where C/PF Greg Monroe decided to take his talents to Milwaukee, to join a young budding roster that could make a great splash with his addition, and deciding to decline to join the Lakers or the Knicks. We could also see Lamarcus Aldrige do the same forego playing a huge market and play in the small one like Phoenix or San Antonio.

We have seen teams like Portland, a small market team who would normally fret of losing a star like Aldridge, now figuring out to how to maneuver without him and have gathered many young prospects to join along their young superstar Damian Lillard in order to restore hope on their future and not dwell on their past.

I like the direction the league is pointing towards. Once known for being a me, me, me league in now making the transformation into becoming a  we, we, we league instead of having a superstar, having a great team. I believe this makes for more entertaining basketball and makes for a more competitive league, overall. I am looking forward to the new changes and trends are always fun and make each time period fun, let’s just enjoy this one.