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2015-16 NBA Season Predictions

I was just asked why I haven’t published this site’s predictions for the 2015-16 NBA Season yet. And my response is quite simple: The NBA season doesn’t really start until after Christmas and therefore don’t look at this article as a week late, but instead 6 weeks early.

Western Conference:nba1

In the West not much has changed as far as the best 8 teams. And although Golden State had arguably one of the greatest seasons in NBA history, the top of the conference is still not as much an open and shut case as Warrior fans would like to think. The Clippers added a few talented pieces in Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson to a roster that already rivals Golden State’s in terms of talent. San Antonio is San Antonio. The real “Big 3” just seem to stay un-aged, and adding All-Stars David West and Lamarcus Aldridge to top 10 player Kawhii Leonard and the Spurs could win ring #6. The Thunder get a lot better after the return of the best player in the West, Kevin Durant. And after Russell Westbrook’s breakout season there is no telling the damage this duo could do under new head coach Billy Donovan. And let’s not forget about the team that Golden State beat in last season’s Conference Finals, the James Harden led Rockets. And then there is the best front court in basketball in Memphis and the best front court player in the league, Anthony Davis and his upstart Pelicans.

Of course, there is also the bottom of the conference, where Portland got worse after losing their franchise player in Aldridge and now point guard Damian Lillard has even more pressure on him to perform. The Nuggets will still struggle but their rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is the real deal. The jury is still out on whether or not Kobe’s new backcourt mate D’Angelo Russell is worth passing up on Jahlil Okafor, but there is little doubt that the Lakers will be hurting in what looks to be Kobe’s last season. Meanwhile the Kings got a good front court defender to go along with All-Pro DeMarcus Cousins, but can Willie Cauley-Stein really help turn Sacramento into a factor in the tough Western Conference? No.

 

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Los Angeles Clippers
  5. Memphis Grizzlies
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. Dallas Mavericks
  8. Utah Jazz
  9. New Orleans Pelicans
  10. Portland Trail Blazers
  11. Sacramento Kings
  12. Minnesota Timberwolves
  13. Denver Nuggets
  14. Phoenix Suns
  15. Los Angeles Lakers

 

Eastern Conference:nba2

This is undoubtedly the weaker of the conferences, and the fact that one man basically beat every team in the playoffs by himself speaks to the greatness of Lebron James as well as the weakness of the conference. And once again this writer is picking the Cavaliers to win the East, this time with less King James and more K-Love, who will once again show why he is a top PF in this league.

As for who follows Cleveland into the playoffs is anybody’s guess. The Hawks had a magical season last year and could follow that up with an equally impressive 2015-16 season, but don’t expect them to be alone in chasing the Cavs. The Bulls will hopefully have Derrick Rose for more than 10 games. The Heat are still one of the more talented teams in the NBA, and Bucks look be better with Jabari Parker coming back to join Greg Monroe, OJ Mayo, and Jerryd Bayless in Milwaukee. Boston is young and talented, as are the Raptors. And if the Wizards can get anything at all out of a terrible front court their guards John Wall and Bradley Beal can help make some noise in the East. The same could be said about an underrated team in Orlando, which is more talented than many fans might think.

 

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Atlanta Hawks
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Miami Heat
  5. Boston Celtics
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Washington Wizards
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Orlando Magic
  10. Milwaukee Bucks
  11. Chicago Bulls
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. New York Knicks
  14. Brooklyn Nets
  15. Philadelphia 76ers

Teams to Surprise:

The Miami Heat –nba7

As this site’s friend, Mike Stevens, keeps reminding me, two of the “Big 3” are still in South Beach. And maybe the most underrated point guard in the league, Goran Dragic, has the ability to make the other players around him even better. And the talent around Dragic includes more than Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Gerald Green, Hassan Whiteside, and former All-Star Luol Deng all have potential to play solid minutes on a team that should compete for the Eastern Conference this season. The only reason the Heat weren’t in the discussion last season, was a freak injury to future Hall of Fame Center Chris Bosh. So if Wade’s knees can hold up, Bosh doesn’t have another one-in-a-thousand injury, and rookie Justise Winslow plays up to his potential (he’s a Jimmy Butler-esque player) then look for out for Miami to make a run in the East.

The Orlando Magic –nba5

If you read our Top 10 at each position in the NBA, you would see a Magic player in 3 of the lists (Nikola Vucevic – Center, Tobias Harris – Small Forward, Victor Oladipo – Shooting Guard). That kind of high-level talent, along with another young stud in former lottery pick Aaron Gordon could lead to a playoff push in a weak Eastern Conference. I mean, it won’t be this year, but give it some time.

nba6The Minnesota Timberwolves –

Yes, the worst team in the league last season is going to shock quite a few people this season. The Timberwolves were the big winners in June’s NBA Draft, with the selection of Karl-Anthony Towns and then last season’s March Madness breakout player Tyus Jones the Timberwolves may have moved from 16 wins to 30 wins. Those two players alongside Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine, and the T-Wolves have a great group of young talent that in the East would be highly seeded playoff team, but in the West is just short of a postseason squad. Next year though, watch out NBA.

The Verdict:

Rookie of the Year (ROY) Jahlil Okarfor – That’s right Lakers fans, the pick you should have made will take home some hardware this season, but unfortunately for him it will be one of the only things he wins as he is stuck with a pathetic 76ers organization that will compete once again for the first overall pick.

Most Valuable Player MVP: James Harden – The man who should have won the award last season will get it in the trophy case this year after he once again is the leader of a decent Rockets team. The reason being, is that Steph Curry’s Warriors will be just as dominant as they were last season but Curry is less the reason why, James will be counted on to do less in Cleveland as the pieces around him will do more, and Russell Westbrook has KD to help in Oklahoma. This all adds up to no player meaning more to his team than the bearded beast in Houston.

Western Conference Champion: The Golden State Warriors – No other team is this deep. I mean a backup won the Finals MVP for the team that is looking to repeat as World Champs. Throw in the best shooting backcourt the game has ever seen and the best defense in the NBA last season and Golden State should be looking for a repeat.

nba4Eastern Conference Champion: The Cleveland Cavaliers – We all know it isn’t as hard to win the East as it is to win the West, but none the less the Cavaliers will do what they are supposed to do and once again make the playoffs after resting their “Big 3” at the end of the regular season in hopes of remaining healthy for a better playoff showing than last season.

NBA Champion: The Cleveland Cavaliers: And speaking of a better showing in the playoffs, the Cavs will get one in the Finals with a healthy Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Look for Lebron to exact some revenge in six games on Curry’s Warriors and finally give Cleveland the championship they been waiting on for far too long.

Well there is the GameDay Sports Blog predictions for the 2015-16 NBA Season, and we will look back at these next summer to see how close we came and how far off we were on other things (I picked Auburn to win the National Championship in College Football this year).

6 thoughts on “2015-16 NBA Season Predictions

  1. Lakers will win it all…but really, probably OKC and Cleveland, and not just because they’re the best a week in…

  2. And yes, I’ll take OKC over golden state, just because I like vampire Billy Donovan over eyeliner wearing Luke Walton…

  3. I do love me some Billy D. By the way, i should be putting up a Sooners article near the end of the month. Boomer.

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