DRK’s 2017-18 NBA Team Predictions and Playoff Predictions

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The 2017-18 NBA season is just underway following one of the craziest offseasons in the sport’s history. Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Dwight Howard, D’Angelo Russell and Brook Lopez, among others, were traded in the offseason. It’s a whole new league this year, but yet the same two teams could face each other in the Finals for a fourth straight season: the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It will be fun to watch young players and young teams develop, new teammates develop chemistry and dominant players dominate

Notes – These predictions were made before the season began and were made game-by-game.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers – 61-21
  2. Boston Celtics – 56-26
  3. Washington Wizards – 53-29
  4. Toronto Raptors – 53-29
  5. Milwaukee Bucks – 49-33
  6. Philadelphia 76ers – 45-37
  7. Miami Heat – 44-38
  8. Charlotte Hornets – 41-41
  9. Indiana Pacers – 38-44
  10. Detroit Pistons – 34-48
  11. Brooklyn Nets – 30-52
  12. Orlando Magic – 25-57
  13. New York Knicks – 24-58
  14. Chicago Bulls – 21-61
  15. Atlanta Hawks – 18-64

Aside from the Cavaliers, the Eastern Conference seems to be wide open. The new-look Celtics are favorited by some to top the Cavs and grab the #1 seed in the East for the second consecutive season, but considering they stay healthy, I think the Cavs will win 60+ games for the first time since 2009-10 in LeBron’s last season in his first stint in Cleveland. The Wizards will win 50+ games for the first time in nearly 40 years, and for the first time while being named the Wizards. The Raptors will surpass 50 wins for the 3rd straight season, but will lose in the first round to the upstart Bucks, who will have 49+ wins for the first time since 2000-01 when they were led by a couple of studs named Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson. A healthy 76ers team will make the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12, and the Heat and Hornets will return to the postseason as well. The Pacers are my surprising team in the East; they will win more games than a lot of people think. My pick to win the Most Improved Player Award, Victor Oladipo, alongside Myles Turner will help the Pacers get close to a postseason berth. Even with the acquisition of Avery Bradley, I don’t think the Pistons are a deep enough team to win just yet. The Nets will improve mightily this season, while the Magic, Knicks, Bulls and Hawks will be playing for lottery picks.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

  1. Golden State Warriors – 70-12
  2. San Antonio Spurs – 63-19
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder – 59-23
  4. Houston Rockets – 54-28
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves – 48-34
  6. Los Angeles Clippers – 45-37
  7. Portland Trail Blazers – 44-38
  8. Denver Nuggets – 43-39
  9. New Orleans Pelicans – 40-42
  10. Dallas Mavericks – 35-47
  11. Memphis Grizzlies – 34-48
  12. Los Angeles Lakers – 30-52
  13. Phoenix Suns – 28-54
  14. Utah Jazz – 24-58
  15. Sacramento Kings – 23-59

Another year, another Warriors first seed. Golden State will win 70+ games for the second time in three seasons, a feat that has never been done before. Adding Nick Young and Omri Casspi while only losing Ian Clark and James Michael McAdoo will prove that the Warriors are still the best team in the league. The Spurs, with a healthy Kawhi Leonard, will win 60+ games, and the new-look Thunder will finish one win away from 60. Rockets, led by James Harden and Chris Paul, will take the 4th seed and will face the new-look Timberwolves in the first round. Minnesota added Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford in the offseason while also having a young star duo in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They will qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04 when Kevin Garnett won MVP. Clippers and Trail Blazers will make the playoffs once again while the Nuggets will make the playoffs over the Pelicans, qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 2012-13. A down year for the Jazz and Grizzlies, who were both in the playoffs a season ago. The Lakers will improve while the Suns and Kings will stick to the bottom of the West once again.

 

PLAYOFFS:

FIRST ROUND:

#1 Cavaliers over # 8 Hornets in 5

#2 Celtics over #7 Heat in 6

#3 Wizards over #6 76ers in 6

#5 Bucks over #4 Raptors in 7

 

#1 Warriors over #8 Nuggets in 4

#2 Spurs over #7 Trail Blazers in 5

#3 Thunder over #6 Clippers in 6

#4 Rockets over #5 Timberwolves in 6

 

SEMIFINALS:

#1 Cavaliers over #5 Bucks in 5

#3 Wizards over #2 Celtics in 7

 

#1 Warriors over #4 Rockets in 6

#3 Thunder over #2 Spurs in 7

 

CONFERENCE FINALS:

#1 Cavaliers over #3 Wizards in 5

 

#1 Warriors over #3 Thunder in 6

 

FINALS:

Warriors over Cavaliers in 6 (Finals MVP – Stephen Curry)

 

This will be finally be the year that Curry shines in the Finals as the Warriors win their 3rd title in four seasons over the Cavaliers.

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