10 Bold (and not so bold) Predictions about the NBA Season

 (Not so) Bold Predictions

1. Kevin Durant will win both the scoring title and MVP this season.
The Thunder will be playing without Russell Westbrook for at least the first few weeks of the season, placing more of the scoring load on Durant. Combined with the fact that this team already lacks a consistent third scoring option due to the departure of Kevin Martin and Durant should post the highest scoring average of his career this season. Also, due to voter apathy, Lebron James would need a truly remarkable season in order to win his fifth award in six seasons. With Durant doing more, he will be in line to win his first regular season MVP.

2. The Knicks will not win a playoff series
The Knicks have won exactly one playoff series since acquiring Carmelo Anthony. With the top four teams in the East (Miami, Chicago, Indiana, New Jersey Brooklyn) a clear cut above the rest, it is looking like Carmelo will be facing yet another first round exit.

3. Stephen Curry will solidify himself as the best shooter the league has ever seen
Seems bold right? But if you take a look at the numbers it’s really not. You’re too lazy to look? Okay then I’ll show you why. Right now, Ray Allen and Reggie Miller are probably considered the greatest shooters of all time. Maybe even Larry Bird for any old timers out there. But take a look at this chart.
Career 3FG %
3-Point Attemps/Game
Ray Allen
Reggie Miller
Larry Bird
Stephen Curry

Curry not only shoots as many, or more, three’s than the game’s greatest players but he makes a significantly higher percentage of them. And he’s only getting better. In the three seasons where he has played at least 74 games (he played just 26 in his only other season) he shot 43.7%, 44.2% and 45.3% from three point range. He shot 45.3% while taking almost 8 three’s a game last season. Neither Bird nor Reggie Miller’s best seasons were as a good as Curry’s worst and Allen has only shot at that well once in his career (2011 with the Celtics).

4. The team with the worst record will not land the first overall draft pick
The team with the worst record only has a 25 percent chance of winning it anyway, and they have actually only won it 3 times in 24 years. Maybe NBA teams have forgotten this since about half the league seems to be tanking. This draft is great and all, but teams better be damn sure they are getting a franchise player if they are throwing away an entire season.

5. The Miami Heat will win their third consecutive championship and Lebron James will stay in Miami
The East has gotten considerably tougher this season, but I still don’t see the Heat losing. Remember, they beat the Bulls with Rose coming off his MVP season in 5 games in 2010, before this team had really come together. The Heat have a dangerous on/off switch that could doom them and Dwayne Wade already looks old, but I see another ring in the King’s future.

Bold Predictions

1. The Detroit Pistons will win more games than the New York Knicks
Maybe I’ve just listened to my brother talk about this team too much and I’ve been brainwashed, but I’m actually excited about the Pistons this year (heads up Chris – I was excited about the Buccaneers season too and look where that went. I’m gonna go cry now).  But Greg Monroe is legit, Josh Smith is a Swiss-army-knife-type talent and Andre Drummond will be a beast. I also think Chauncey Billups will help this team a TON, although more as a locker room presence than as a player. As for the Knicks, the deal for Andrea Bargniani was awful. He plays zero defense and hasn’t shot better than 35 percent from 3 point range since 2009. Plus, I think the playoff version of J.R. Smith (14 points, 33% from the field) will rear his ugly head more than the regular season version (18 points, 42% from the field). They’ll both make the playoffs, but the Pistons will be the higher seed.

2. Kevin Love will get serious MVP consideration
Did everyone forget how good this guy was? He averaged 26 and 13 two seasons ago, before missing almost all of last year with a wrist injury. The Wolves will grab one of the last playoff spots in the West, and it will be because Love has a monster year.

3. DeMarcus Cousins will become a top 15 player in the NBA
Currently ranked No. 40 on ESPN NBA Rank (although, to be fair, those rankings are mostly bogus. In what world is Tony Parker the 12th best player in the league? He’s top 3 or 4 no questions asked. But that’s an article for another day) Cousins has always had the potential to be great. Due to maturity issues and inconsistency he hasn’t quite put it all together. However, I think this is the year he turns it around. I’m not sure how many games the Kings will win, but expect Cousins to have a monster year. 

4. James Harden will win an NBA title before Kevin Durant does
Neither may happen for a while because of a certain South Beach star, but I love what the Houston Rockets are building. They have a legitimate superstar (Harden) an overqualified wingman (Howard) and an underrated third scorer (Chandler Parsons). Add in a decent backcourt duo in Patrick Beverly and Jeremy Lin, as well as a valuable trade chip (Omer Asik) and this team could be very dangerous come playoff time. If the Rockets can flip Asik for a stretch four (Ryan Anderson maybe) they will be title contenders. As much as I love Durant and Westbrook’s talent, they gave away the piece to a potential dynasty in order to avoid amnestying Kendrick Perkins and cut costs. Ouch.

5. The Los Angeles Lakers will have a better record without Kobe Bryant than with him this season
Probably my boldest statement, and maybe I shouldn’t underestimate the Mamba, but this guy has played like 123,610,592 minutes in the NBA (unofficial statistic) and just tore his Achilles. I could see the Lakers scraping their way to a .500 record until he returns and then have things go south when he’s still trying to take 25 shots a night and just can’t do it.


The UConn Huskies will reach the Final Four
Call me a homer but really, on the homer scale of 1 to Tommy Heinson, I’m only like a 4. This team is very good. Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright will form the best backcourt duo in college basketball and DeAndre Daniels will take the next step to becoming a superstar. He’s like Kevin Durant lite. Okay, so the extremely lite version. Like if Kevin Durant were an app, he’d cost $9.99 and Daniels would be the free version that offered about 1/100th of the same stuff but gave you a tiny glimpse of what the real version was like. This team also has some serious depth and if any one of their centers can step up and become a real low post defensive presence, they’ll be very good.

By: Nicholas Danforth

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