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DAR Sports: 2016-2017 NBA Season Predictions

Conducted by @TrueGodImmortal w/ @Phranchize19, @Peagle05, @IUseCondoms, @ShokusApollo, and @TrueBlueLowry21 





Introduction
It's been a long 4 months, hasn't it? After the epic 7 game NBA Finals series that saw the Warriors blow a 3-1 lead, LeBron James win his 3rd title, and Kyrie Irving solidify himself, we are finally back to the NBA regular season. A new year, a clean slate for every team. The whole league is looking forward to a more than likely rematch of the NBA Finals from the past 2 seasons, building the Warriors vs Cavs to be the new Lakers vs Celtics rivalry possibly. The way the rosters are set up, it almost seems unlikely that for the next 2 seasons that anyone will take the West or East besides the Warriors or the Cavs. However, in basketball, anything can happen, and while the big money is in another Warriors vs Cavs Finals, will it happen? There's so much changing with a lot of teams, nothing bigger than Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors and Dwyane Wade joining the Chicago Bulls. There are a lot of teams making changes and adjustments, with the Knicks adding some solid players on their road to regain prominence, and the Pacers adding pieces that could prove vital. The Celtics also look like they are front runners and the Raptors haven't lost much either, so they should still be viable. The Spurs managed to score Pau Gasol after losing Tim Duncan, but with rumblings of issues with LaMarcus Aldridge and an older team, might we be witnessing a time for regrouping and restructuring in San Antonio? Will the Clippers finally get it together and make it beyond the 2nd round? The biggest story and most interesting question mark? Can Russell Westbrook lead the Thunder to the playoffs? And score the MVP award? Today, we look at the upcoming season, who will finish in the playoffs, and who will win the majority of the end of the season awards. NBA basketball is back. Finally.



*Eastern Conference
-The East is seen simply as the Cavaliers' conference now. Long gone are the days when the Celtics were the biggest problem for LeBron or when the super team (sound familiar??) of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh ruled the land. Instead, it is simply all about LeBron and the Cavs. The Cavs seem poised to once again repeat as the Eastern Conference Champions and make the Finals for a third straight time. LeBron has moved into the 14th year of his career and while I do wonder about the year he's going to have, one would be pretty stupid to bet against him leading the Cavs back to the promised land. Kyrie Irving is setting up to have a career year, Kevin Love and the entire Cavs roster should be much more confident now as champions. There is the chance the Cavs won't be as hungry this year, but if they don't win the East, who could? The Boston Celtics have a really solid team, the Toronto Raptors have one, the Indiana Pacers look much better this year, and there are new stars on both the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls. Will that make a difference for either team? Who knows. Here are my rankings for the Eastern Conference and who will make the playoffs. While I'm not 100% sold on choices 6-8, these are all teams I'd like to see make it. I think the Pistons have a great shot at winning the 7th or 8th seed however if not the Wizards or Knicks.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (58-24)
2. Boston Celtics (54-28)
3. Indiana Pacers (50-32)
4. Toronto Raptors (48-34)
5. Atlanta Hawks (46-36)
6. Chicago Bulls (45-37)
7. Washington Wizards (43-39)
8. New York Knicks (42-40) 






Let's get into everyone else's predictions for the Eastern Conference, shall we?

@Peagle05
Cavs 
Toronto  
Boston 
Detroit 
Atlanta 
Indiana 
Charlotte
New York

@Phranchize19
CLE 
BOS 
TOR 
IND 
DET 
ATL 
CHI 
WAS

@ShokusApollo
1. Cleveland 
2. Toronto 
3. Indiana 
4. Boston
5. Atlanta 
6. Milwaukee 
7. Washington 
8. New York

@TrueBlueLowry21
Cavs
Raptors
Pacers
Celtics
Hawks
Bulls
Knicks
Hornets

@IUseCondoms 
It's that time again people. Football AND Basketball on at the same time, along with the world series going on. Let's get to it. My entire Eastern Conference Predictions.

*1. Cleveland Cavaliers 60-22 
*2. Boston Celtics 53-29
*3. Toronto Raptors 51-31 
*4. Indiana Pacers 50-32
*5. New York Knicks 48-34 
*6. Detroit Pistons 46-36
*7. Atlanta Hawks 43-39 
*8. Chicago Bulls 41-41 
9. Washington Wizards 39-43
10. Charlotte Hornets 37-45
11. Milwaukee Bucks 34-48
12. Orlando Magic 32-50
13. Miami Heat 29-53
14. Philadelphia 76ers 25-57
15. Brooklyn Nets 14-86




*Western Conference
-The way the West was won. For 2 years now, the Golden State Warriors have been the Western Conference Champions and they put up two of the greatest records in NBA History. Unfortunately, they came up short (due to a bunch of reasons) in the NBA Finals and blew a 3-1 lead. In the midst of becoming the greatest regular season team, they would make a big move in the offseason, one of which MIGHT be the biggest offseason move in the history of the NBA. They acquired former MVP and 4 time scoring champion Kevin Durant. What made the Warriors so great the last 2 seasons is that they competed at the highest level against the tough Western Conference which included the hard to beat Spurs, the tough yet always slipping Clippers, the formidable threat of the Thunder, the rising Blazers, the physical Grizzlies and the sleeper Houston Rockets.




Now, with a young Timberwolves on the rise, a hungry Westbrook, a determined Spurs team, and all those same threats around, can the Warriors do it again? After losing a few key players from their bench, going into the season, The Warriors boasts the best starting 5 and they seemed to have made adjustments overall on their bench. Where a Barbosa, an Ezeli, Speights, or Bogut will be missed, they've managed to integrate Zaza into their style of play, have a solid veteran in David West (something they lacked last year in reality), a reinvigorated Javale McGee during preseason, saw flashes of brilliance from Ian Clark, have a rookie gem in Patrick McCaw, along with the two most valuable bench players on the team in Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. With a solid core in tact, the Warriors might just be the deepest team yet again this year. Add to the fact their starting 5 includes Durant, the 2 time MVP Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and a potential Defensive Player Of The Year winner in Draymond Green (runner up for the award the last two seasons), they look unstoppable on paper. Will the Warriors do it again? Will they get another championship? Or will the Spurs utilize their size to overcome the many threats of Golden State? Will the Thunder ride the wave of Westbrook to a surprise season? Or are the Blazers and Clippers ready to finally reach their potential? Time will tell. Let's get into my predictions for the West.

1. Golden State Warriors (71-11)
2. Los Angeles Clippers (59-23)
3. San Antonio Spurs (57-25)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (56-26)
5. Portland Trail Blazers (51-31)
6. Utah Jazz (47-35)
7. Minnesota Timberwolves (45-37)
8. Memphis Grizzlies (43-39)



As for an explanation on these predictions? I think the Clippers will compete heavily through the season and manage to put up a near 60 win season. I don't see them advancing beyond the 2nd round. The Warriors are likely to win 70 games again in my mind, but mostly be accident. By that I mean, they will just be so good that teams won't be able to beat them or outscore them. So even on games where the Warriors might be coasting? They'll still win. They could honestly break the record yet again with more than 73 wins, but I have them hitting around 70-71 wins, and taking the championship this year. Let's get into everyone else's predictions.



@Peagle05
Warriors 
Spurs 
Clippers 
Blazers 
Mavericks 
Thunder 
Grizzlies
Timberwolves

@Phranchize19
GSW 
SA 
MEM 
LAC 
UTH
POR 
OKC 
DAL

@IUseCondoms
*1. Golden State Warriors 75-7
*2. San Antonio Spurs 63-19
*3. Los Angeles Clippers 58-24
*4. Portland Trail Blazers 52-30 
*5. Oklahoma City Thunder 50-32
*6. Memphis Grizzlies 49-33
*7. Dallas Mavericks 47-35
*8. Houston Rockets 42-40 
9. Minnesota Timberwolves 41-41
10. Utah Jazz 41-41
11. Phoenix Suns 39-43
12. New Orleans Pelicans 36-46
13. Sacramento Kings 33-49
14. Denver Nuggets 28-54
15. Los Angeles Lakers 20-62

@TrueBlueLowry21
Warriors
Trail Blazers
Spurs
Clippers
Thunder
Grizzlies
Mavericks
Timberwolves

@ShokusApollo 
Golden State
San Antonio 
Oklahoma City 
Portland 
Houston 
Clippers
Memphis 
Utah





*MVP
-Now, this award has been won the last three years by two players who now play for the same team: Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. Curry has won this award two times in a row, and despite looking great in the last few preseason games, one would expect his numbers to drop. He hit 400 three pointers last season, so we shouldn't expect that again, right? Yes and no. With Durant on the team, Steph could end up with an open shot more than expected and all he has to do to beat that 402 number is to average just over 5.5 three pointers a game. Take into consideration that he will shoot between 8-10 threes (which is standard but still a little lower) a game and it isn't impossible to see him in that 350-400 range again if not more. Durant could once again see himself in the MVP running, but his chance for votes depends on who will be the first option for the team. In all honesty, I'd see Curry as the 1st option during the regular season, where he is unstoppable. If the Warriors win 70 games and Curry can manage to put up around 28.0 PPG, and see an increase in his rebounds per game and see an expected increase in his assists per game, it would be hard to argue against Curry for a possible third straight MVP. Is it likely? No. The most likely choice? Depending on seed and games won, Russell Westbrook. If the Thunder can claim the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th seed, and Russell can average anywhere close to a triple double on the year (he probably will), and contend for the scoring title on the year, he will most likely win it. Many pundits have said LeBron James will win it, but I don't think that's really going to happen. I feel like LeBron will be magnificent as always, but will instead try to focus on his team improving their chemistry and focusing on Kyrie more as a leader while his numbers and minutes go down a bit. If LeBron wins it, I won't be surprised, but my choice would be Russell Westbrook. I think he's going to show what he's made of this season and go crazy during the regular season. If I had to pick the four top candidates to win it this year? It would be Westbrook, Curry, Kawhi, and LeBron. However, if I have to make a choice, I'd go Westbrook. Let's see what everyone else thinks.


@Peagle05 picks Russell Westbrook


@TrueBlueLowry21 picks
Russell Westbrook

@Phranchize19 picks Kawhi Leonard


@IUseCondoms picks Damian Lillard


@ShokusApollo picks LeBron James


*Rookie of The Year
-Well, I would have chose Ben Simmons, but as of course, he's not healthy. So, my pick for this year is Buddy Hield. Most of the Pelicans team won't even stay healthy so I can see him getting a ton of playing time and making the most of it. No, he won't lead the league or maybe not even the rookies in scoring, but his numbers all around the book should be good enough to justify him winning rookie of the year. My dark horse candidate for Rookie of the Year? Kris Dunn from the Timberwolves. I think everyone expects Brandon Ingram to get it, but I see this season being a little rough for him. Only time will tell. My pick for sure? Buddy Hield.

@Peagle05 picks Brandon Ingram


@ShokusApollo picks Joel Embiid


@TrueBlueLowry21 picks Kris Dunn


@IUseCondoms picks Jaylen Brown


@Phranchize19 picks Brandon Ingram


*Most Improved Player
-There's a lot of choices for this one. Myles Turner, D'Angelo Russell, Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, and many more... but it seems we are all in agreement that this season will see one man rise up.... amidst another losing season likely. That man is D'Angelo Russell. D'Angelo will be a star for the Lakers in coming years and hopefully he turns them into a winning team within a few years. If anyone is a clear favorite to win this award, it's D'Angelo. I think everyone below agrees with that as well.



@Peagle05 picks D'Angelo Russell

@TrueBlueLowry21 picks D'Angelo Russell

@Phranchize19 picks D'Angelo Russell


*6th Man Of The Year
-A very tough category.... that's been consistently won by Jamal Crawford. It's hard to bet against him this year, but the newly acquired Brandon Jennings from the Knicks is also gaining some traction for this award. Jennings seems focused again and due to the fact we shouldn't expect Derrick Rose to play 40 minutes every single, we will see a lot of Jennings this year. Can he steal the 6th man of the year crown? I'd say no, as my pick is still Jamal Crawford. Let's see what everyone else thinks.

@Peagle05 picks Jamal Crawford


@IUseCondoms picks Brandon Jennings

@TrueBlueLowry21 picks Brandon Jennings


@Phranchize19 picks Enes Kanter


Outro
The time is upon us. The NBA is back. After the long wait, we now get the joy of months and months of top tier NBA action, as each team battles to get the no. 1 spot in their respective conference and win a championship. This might be the most exciting season in years.... I can't wait. Welcome back NBA.

-DAR 

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