Q1. Who is your tip for MVP?
Zac: Anthony Davis. I can’t see anyone being able to stop this absolute beast. On Davis’ back alone, I can see New Orleans making the playoffs in the West. Apparently he has developed a three point shot too?!
Sam: Anthony Davis. Has gradually improved every season in the NBA and this year will be no different. Missed 14 games last season and if he can play close to the 82 regular season matches then Davis will become the seasons best player. Under new coach Alvin Gentry, Davis will shine and allow him to boost his points average. It will be tightest race in years however with the return of Durant and George along with last years candidates Lebron, Harden, Westbrook and winner Steph Curry. Expect LeBron to preserve at times throughout the regular season and the contract dramas in OKC to affect KD/Westbrook’s chances. Also watch for Boogie Cousins to be a top 5 candidate
JJ: James Harden. He wants it the most. Lebron and Curry will be there abouts, but Harden is locked in on wanting to win the MVP.
Q2. Who will win the East?
Zac: Chicago Bulls. The Bulls arguably have one of the best rosters in the league, it is just the case of whether or not they can stay injury free. A lot rests on the backcourt of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. The Bulls bench is also something a lot of teams are envious of, with Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and also sophomore Doug “McBuckets”, the team has a lot to like.
Jack: Cleveland Cavaliers. The east is incredibly weak, and with only one or two teams being able to compete with them, King James alone should get them over the line.
Sam: Cleveland Cavaliers. Hurting from last year’s Finals loss to the Warriors, LeBron and the Cavs will seek redemption this season. With injuries to Love and Irving in the playoffs the Cavaliers bravely pushed the near unstoppable Warriors to a game 6 with Delly, JR and Shumpert. This season if they can maintain continuity with injuries the Cavaliers will return to the Finals once again and give the King a chance to give Cleveland a title they so desperately crave.
Q3. Who will win the West?
Zac: Golden State Warriors. Last year’s champs should top the West once again. They have unbelievable depth, and have so many different players to rely on, in the unlucky event that reining MVP Steph Curry won’t be firing.
JJ: Golden State Warriors. Who could you see topping the Warriors? Let’s be serious….
Sam: San Antonio Spurs. This prediction may be a little biased but there is plenty of reason to suggest that this franchise can once again return to the Finals. The addition of Lamarcus Aldridge from Portland will bolster the Spurs in the post whilst taking the load off the aging Tim Duncan. LA will take time to adjust to the Spurs system but expect to see them hit their stride at the turn of the new year. Along with this the improvement from Kawhi Leonard and the experience + depth of the squad.
Q4. Rookie of the Year?
Zac: Jahlil Okafor. The big centre out of Duke University is set for a stellar rookie season after impressing in pre-season. He can shoot midrange, and is decent in the paint, only thing lacking from his game is rebounding. He is also playing for 76ers…..
Jj: Karl-Anthony Towns. The number one pick of this year’s draft is a top prospect. He’s good on both ends of the floor, and has an incredibly high ceiling.
Sam: Jahlil Okafor. Ready made NBA player with all the moves and will be the main attraction in the 76ers offense, meaning immediate opportunity to shine. Expect big things also from Emmanuel Muiday and Karl Anthony Towns but Okafor seems the most likely to adjust to the big time hence why I believe he will be the ROY.
Q5. Who will be the biggest movers in either conference?
Zac: Orlando Magic. The Magic have a young, talented, and exciting roster. With rising talent such as Elfred Payton, Tobias Harris, and Victor Oladipo, they will play a fast paced game with plenty of dunks and three point shooting.
JJ: Indiana Pacers. Paul George is back and fit, and Monta Ellis was a good signing to give them further scoring.
Sam: Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh and Whiteside didn’t play one minute of basketball together last season and that alone will launch the Heat back into the playoffs. The return of Bosh is massive and expect Goran Dragic to thrive and push for an All Star appearance. Whiteside was much improved last season and the addition of rookie Justise Winslow off the bench will improve the Heat’s defence. I reckon they will be a major threat to the Cavaliers Finals chance and will be the biggest improvers in the East.
Q6. Who will be a first time all star?
Zac: Andre Drummond. The 6’11’ rebounding beast provides the Detroit Pistons with inside scoring, and a defensive presence like no other. Drummond averaged 13 boards a game last year, and with Greg Monroe leaving, it’ll allow him to come into his own even further.
JJ: Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins runs the Timberwolves offense, it may be hard for him to reach the Allstar team given the West is so stacked, but he is an excitement machine.
Sam: Kawhi Leonard. The reigning defensive player of the year will take another giant leap forward this season and make his first all star game. Has worked on his offensive capabilities and will be a major factor in the Spur’s title bid. Other players that could make their first appearance include Goran Dragic, Andrew Wiggins and Bradley Beal.
Q7. Who will be NBA Champs?
Zac: San Antonio Spurs. How could you go past them? They have the experience of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli, whilst having the talent of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Lennard. It’s hard to go past this roster that has unbelievable depth.
JJ: Cleveland Cavaliers. If their starting five stays relatively healthy, the Cavs will be heard to beat. They also have King James!
Sam: Cleveland Cavaliers. Finally a championship in Cleveland!, they should quite easily navigate through the East and if they are all healthy should atone for last year’s loss. Before injuries the big 3 seemed to be starting to gel well so expect that to continue. The Tristan Thompson drama shouldn’t hurt them too much but losing him for good may affect them defensively and under the rim.