The Only League That Matters returns one week from today. To kick off Hi-Top’s NBA coverage we will ease into things with some predictions. A bunch of quick hitters highlighting the who’s and what’s that are going to mater to basketball fans over the next 9 months. Let’s go:
Rookie of the Year
The RoY Award is usually pretty clear cut in the NBA. Most years one guy is the break out star and clear winner. It’s also a decent indicator of who’s going to be a full blown star in the league. Check out the past 20 years or so:
That’s a pretty good hit to miss ratio.
Winner – Luka Doncic
The odds on favorite is Deandre Ayton but the player who will get the most opportunity to shine is Doncic. He’s already turned heads this pre-season:
Doncic will be on a fun Mavs team while Ayton is mired in the hell that is the Phoenix Suns organization.
Dark Horse – Miles Bridges
Bridges has been Capital I Impressive for the Charlotte Hornets.
He will be this year’s Donovan Mitchell.
For the first time in awhile we could be looking at a wide open MVP race. The last few years have checked off a bunch of non-LeBron names off the list. This won’t be a “legacy” sort of year. Someone will step up and grab the Belt and this year it will be….
Winner – Kyrie Irving
Okay okay call this a “homer” pick if you want but facts is facts and the fact is if Kyrie can stay healthy and the Celtics play at the level they are capable of then this will be Kyrie’s year.
Dark Horse – Giannis
Year after year the Freaky Greeky adds a little bit more to his overall game. If this is the year Giannis becomes a knock down shooter than we could be witness to a momentous leap of ability and dominance that will be hard to ignore. If the Bucks end up in the Top 3 of the East Giannis has a real shot at MVP.
The West will be a blood bath. That much is obvious. LeBron will drag the Lakers kicking and screaming (at each other most likely) into the bottom half of the Playoff seedings. Meaning a few pretty good teams are going to end up on the outside looking in. The Warriors are still the Warriors but another year older and after 4 straight years of 100 game seasons the toll will finally be felt. The Houston Rockets seem to be going for subtraction by addition but barring another Chris Paul injury this will be Houston’s year.
Western Conference Champs – Houston Rockets
Bold Prediction – Golden State loses in the Second Round of the Playoffs
The East will be better than most think. However the story will still be 🤔. As in, most of the teams in the East are still unknown quantities. What will Toronto be with Kawhi? Will Giannis drag Milwaukee above mediocrity? Will Washington ever get their shit together? How good can Boston be?
Eastern Conference Champs – Boston Celtics
Bold Prediction – Charlotte Hornets make it to the Second Round of the Playoffs and put a real scare into their opponent
Houston Rockets vs Boston Celtics
Its 1986 all over again. And just like in 1986 the Rockets will have spent all of their energy getting out of the West and have nothing in the tank for the Finals.
World Champs – Boston Celtics
The Celtics take title #18 in six games. Jayson Tatum will have a monster Finals and claim his first piece of individual hardware by nabbing the Finals MVP trophy.