The NBA Resumes, So It’s Time For Predictions

Carter Cox, Staff Writer

The NBA season starts tomorrow, and. this year looks to have the most parity in the league in quite some time. a big factor in that is Kevin Durant’s leaving the Warriors. While the Warriors are title contenders, they are not the overwhelming favorite, like in recent years. With that being said, I’m going to make my headline predictions for the upcoming season.


MVP– This award has so many choices, with so many superstars on so many teams. I’m going to take Joel Embiid. Now you might be saying, “He’s never healthy,” or “There is too much talent around him to win it,” but hang on a second. Embiid is the modern-day Shaq, with his personality and dominating play. Shaq won an MVP, so why can’t Embiid? If the Sixers live up to their outstanding potential, then Embiid can be an MVP front-runner. Other candidates I see are LeBron, Giannis, or maybe just maybe Nikola Jokic if the Nuggets have the best record.


ROTY- There are a lot of rookies that can win this, with big names like Zion, Ja, or RJ Barrett. There are also some sleepers for this award, such as Tyler Herro, Darius Garland, or even Coby White. But I’m going to take the first overall pick, Zion Williamson. This guy has the potential to an absolute stud: athleticism through the roof, great passing vision, physicality, speed, quickness, strength, a decent jump shot, and good defense. This brings the question: Can his 285-pound frame withstand the NBA? We saw it with Derrick Rose, whose knees were the downfall of his career. To a lesser extent, we have also seen nagging injuries with a similar player in Russell Westbrook. Time will tell for this mountain of a man in Zion.


6TH MAN– I have no clue. I could go the easy route and pick Lou Williams, who is the GOAT sixth man, or I could bring up some candidates like Kyle Kuzma, or whoever the backup center is in Indiana, which is either Myles Turner or Domantas Sabonis. There is also a player who could draw sympathetic votes like Gordon Hayward, two years removed from a gruesome ankle injury. Someone I don’t think that could win is Rodney Hood, but he can win it if he plays as he did in the playoffs last year. But my choice, (and not a definitive one) is Dion Waiters of the Miami Heat. Dion has caught some slack for never, well, being in tiptop shape. But pictures have surfaced of Dion looking shredded, which could be big for this talented player. He’s a walking bucket, shoots lights out when he gets hot, and is occasionally a good defender. If Jimmy Butler doesn’t ruin his life, Waiters could be very productive off the bench.


DPOYAnthony Davis– Have you seen the LA defense in the preseason? They are not allowing any easy buckets inside, and a big part of that is the defensive intensity, led by Davis. Now I know it’s preseason, but Davis has always been this guy. If the Lakers go from being a bad defensive team last year to a top 5 or even 3 defensive team this year, Davis will be looked at as the reason why. He can guard five positions, never lets up an easy basket inside, and is always a threat to average three or more blocks a game. The key for Davis and this award is how many games this team can win. A top 5 record and I think he’s got it locked. A record below the hefty expectations this team has, then I don’t think he’ll win it.


MIP- So CJ McCollum won the award in the 2016 season for jumping his scoring average by 14 points from the prior year. I believe one of his teammates could do something similar. Anfernee Simons is that teammate. Simons is going into his second year in the league, and he’s one of the best-kept secrets in the league. I don’t expect to last long in the shadows, as the 20-year-old guard is crucial to the success of the Blazers. Simons could see struggles playing behind Damian Lillard and CJ, but seeing maybe 20-22 minutes a game could see a star being born. The top competitor I see to this is Larry Nance Jr. who is a starter on the Cavs. This gives him two advantages over Simons, which is more exposure, and a bigger role. But I think Simons’s talent is too much for the vet Nance.


COTY- This, in my opinion, is going to be a two-way race between Mike Malone of the Denver Nuggets and Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz. I think each coach has pathways to win the award. I’ll start with Malone.

 Mike had great success last year, boasting the second-best record in the west. If Denver puts up the best record in the league or maybe wins upward of 65 games, then he can be in the driver’s seat. Another key for Malone is his star, Nikola Jokic. If Jokic can have an MVP type caliber season, then coaching would be looked at as a reason why. If people view Malone as the coach that elevated Jokic to MVP caliber, then he will be the Coach of the Year.

Now on to Snyder: The Utah Jazz have consistently been a top 10 defensive team since Snyder was the coach there, and he has done a great job on that side of the ball. Where the Jazz haven’t been the same is on offense. Donovan Mitchell plateaued last year and put up pretty much the same numbers as his rookie year. I think some of that was on Snyder, as they did the same things scheme-wise. The Jazz traded for Mike Conley, who is one of the most underrated players in the league, and is also a great team guy. If Snyder can find a way to incorporate Conley, Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and other pieces of the team, keep up the defensive side, and put up a top 3 record, then Snyder is looking great and like the coach of the year.


I just had some long predictions about individual player/coach awards, but I’m just going to predict what teams will win awards.


Eastern Conference Champion- Philadelphia 76ers

Western Conference Champions-  Los Angeles Lakers

Best Record- Philadelphia 76ers

Worst Record- Charlotte Hornets


Hope you enjoyed my preseason NBA predictions, a follow-up article will be published a couple of weeks into the season, and I’ll be in touch. If you want to argue with me on any of these topics, leave your views in the comments section below.