NBA 2016-2017 Predictions
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The first month of the 2016-2017 NBA season has come to an end, and there have been plenty of surprises and disappointments. While there are a fair share of surprises and disappointments in the season thus far, there have been plenty of expected results. The Golden State Warriors have lived up to their “super-team” label, leading the NBA with a 17-3 record as of November 28. LeBron James’s Cavs have continued to dominate the Eastern Conference, with the help of a resurgent Kevin Love. Moving on the more surprising results in this young season, Dwayne Wade has led his new team, the Chicago Bulls to a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with an 11-8 record, and Russell Westbrook has carried the Kevin Durant less Thunder to a respectable 12-8 record with his monstrous play. The biggest disappointments in this early season are the young and very talented Timberwolves not being able to develop as quickly as hoped for, struggling with a 6-14 record, and new acquisitions Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut failing to lead the Dallas Mavericks to playoff contention, as the Mavs currently have the worst record in the NBA. In this article, I will be making predictions on the All NBA teams, the records on all 30 NBA teams, and playoff predictions based on what has gone down in the league this season.
ALL NBA First Team
G Stephen Curry (Warriors): The defending two time MVP of the NBA Stephen Curry is an easy choice to predict to be on the All NBA first team, as he is the best player on the best team in the NBA. He is scoring near 30 points per game with phenomenal shooting numbers.
G Russell Westbrook (Thunder): Russell Westbrook has taken his already all-star caliber play to an entirely new level since the departure of Kevin Durant, as he is amazingly averaging a triple double. He has kept the Thunder in contention when many have doubted they would fare well without their former star.
F Lebron James (Cavaliers): LeBron James has continued to do what he’s done since he’s enter the league: dominate. James puts up not only great scoring numbers, but contributes on defense and makes everyone around him better.
F Kevin Durant (Warriors): The Warriors could not be happier with their new superstar, as he has taken an already tremendous team and made them arguably the best offensive team in NBA history. Durant has not let up with his scoring despite being surrounded by better teammates, as he remains in the top 5 in the league in scoring.
C DeMarcus Cousins (Kings): Despite being on a team with low chances of making the playoffs, Cousins has proven to be the best rim protector in the game with his explosive offensive game and great defense
ALL NBA Second Team
G James Harden (Rockets): James Harden’s transition to point guard has gone smoothly, as he is averaging over 15 assists and 30 points thus far, which has never been done in the history of the league.
G Chris Paul (Clippers): Chris Paul has proven he is the best facilitator in the league, and his Clippers are finally showing they are ready to take the next step and make a deeper postseason run.
F Kawhi Leonard (Spurs): Kawhi Leonard is arguably the best defensive player in the NBA, and his scoring has improved mightily, as he has taken the load of the Spurs’ offensive responsibility since the retirement of Tim Duncan.
F Anthony Davis (Pelicans): Anthony Davis has had a remarkable season thus far, leading the league in scoring to this point. If not for the forward position being loaded with established superstars and his team’s mediocre record, Davis would be a first teamer.
C Karl Anthony Towns (Timberwolves) The Wolves’ young talent hasn’t put them in playoff contention in the early part of the season, but the former number one pick has sure done his part. Towns is one of the premier two way players in the NBA already.
ALL NBA Third Team
G Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers): Kyrie Irving has proven he is one of the elite guards in the NBA, and the fact that his Cavs will likely finish the year at the top of the Eastern Conference gives him the edge over other guards such as Damian Lillard and John Wall.
G DeMar DeRozan (Raptors): DeMar DeRozan has made the Raptors one the elite teams in the NBA for the past few seasons, and he has taken his game to another level, averaging over 30 PPG because of his ability to get to the free throw line
F Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The “Greek Freak” has transformed into a player capable of carrying a team on his back this season, as the young star has continued to raise his game both offensively and defensively over the past two years.
F Draymond Green (Warriors): Draymond Green affects the outcomes of games arguably more than anyone in the league with his ability to do absolutely everything on the court. He can change a game without scoring the basketball arguably better than anyone else in the NBA.
C DeAndre Jordan (Clippers): DeAndre Jordan has become one of the premier rim protectors in the league, and is a phenomenal finisher around the rim, leading the league in field goal percentage.
Western Conference Standings and Record Predictions
Golden State Warriors (69-13)
Los Angeles Clippers (62-20)
San Antonio Spurs (60-22)
Houston Rockets (51-33)
Utah Jazz (48-34)
Memphis Grizzlies (46-36)
Oklahoma City Thunder (44-38)
Portland Trail Blazers (42-40)
Minnesota Timberwolves (41-41)
Los Angeles Lakers (40-42)
Denver Nuggets (38-44)
New Orleans Pelicans (35-47)
Sacramento Kings (31-51)
Dallas Mavericks (25-57)
Phoenix Suns (20-62)
Eastern Conference Standings and Record Predictions
Cleveland Cavaliers (62-20)
Toronto Raptors (57-25)
Boston Celtics (54-28)
Atlanta Hawks (49-35)
Chicago Bulls (46-36)
Charlotte Hornets (45-37)
Indiana Pacers (42-40)
Milwaukee Bucks (41-41)
New York Knicks (39-43)
Detroit Pistons (38-44)
Orlando Magic (36-46)
Philadelphia 76ers (28-54)
Washington Wizards (28-54)
Miami Heat (25-57)
Brooklyn Nets (21-61)
MVP: Russell Westbrook (Thunder): Russell Westbrook’s monster stat sheets and ability to keep the Thunder in the postseason despite the departure of superstar Kevin Durant will be just enough to end Stephen Curry’s reign of consecutive MVP awards.
Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers (Clippers): Doc Rivers has kept the Clippers near the top of the Western Conference for several years now, and this will be the year he finally brings home the award. His Clippers seem to have risen their game to a new level and that is largely due to Rivers’s emphasis on defense.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (Warriors): Draymond Green has came extremely close to winning this award the last two years, but this year no one will stop him from winning this award. The Warriors sacrificed a couple of their better defensive players this year to make room for Kevin Durant, but Draymond has kept the defense among the best in the league and makes as big of an impact in a game as anyone even without focusing on scoring.
Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid (76ers): Joel Embiid finally made his NBA debut this season after being sidelined with injuries since being selected in the top three of the 2014 draft, and he has exceeded expectations. He is the easy favorite to win rookie of the year as he already looks like a polished veteran.
Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): The Greek Freak’s rise to NBA stardom came incredibly quickly, and he has looked like a bonafide superstar this season, elevating his game from being more of a prospect last year, to being the real deal.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jordy Clarkson (Lakers): The Lakers have been surprisingly in contention this year, in large part to having one of the best benches in the NBA. Clarkson has been averaging double digits off the bench this year, and as long as he doesn’t move into the starting five, he will remain a contender for this award all season.
Western Conference champions: Warriors over Clippers in 5 games
The Clippers finally will take the next step in their playoff journey, reaching the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, but they will fall short of knocking off the the Warriors, who have an incredible four all stars on their roster (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green)
Eastern Conference champions: Cavaliers over Celtics in 6 games
The Celtics will prove they are team that should worry the rest of the Eastern Conference for years to come with their young, improving core, but LeBron James and co. will prove to be too experienced to have their streak of Eastern Conference titles come to an end.
NBA Finals: Warriors over Cavaliers in 5 games
The Warriors-Cavs NBA Finals showdown has become something to be expected in the NBA, and it will be shocking to see anything other than these two powerhouses battle it out for NBA supremacy once again. The Warriors and Cavs have split their last two NBA Finals, but the rubber match won’t be as close as many hope. The Warriors have arguably the best offense in NBA history, and even LeBron James won’t have enough to stop it. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA by a considerable margin, and should make easy work of any opponent they face in the playoffs. Expect another parade in the bay area after the 2016-2017 NBA season comes to an end.