With the 2014-2015 NBA season tipping off tonight, here are five bold predictions for the upcoming season.
1. Spurs will repeat as champions
I’m just going to get my one obvious prediction out of the way. The Spurs won the NBA finals last season with the largest margin of victory in NBA Finals in history. The Spurs have the best coach and offense in the NBA. While many continue to point to the Spurs increasing age of their stars, the Spurs continue to be successful year after year. Arguably the best player on the Spurs, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, is only going to get better in the offseason. Until the Spurs are dethroned, their level of offensive dominance and depth makes them the absolute favorites to win the Finals.
2. Anthony Davis will win the MVP
During the United States’ FIBA World Cup victory run, Anthony Davis was on another level. He dominated the event and his skills were showcased by USA basketball. Anthony Davis was the number one pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. This will be the year Anthony Davis takes the next step. He is a 6 foot 11 inch power forward who has developed a dominant post game to go along with his astounding defense. Davis’ ability to block and alter shots is second to none, and his athleticism has led to a stellar offensive development showcased in the summer. Anthony Davis will skyrocket into the position of the best big man, and player in the NBA this season.
3. Chicago Bulls will win the Eastern Conference
While everyone is predicting the Cavs with their additions of Lebron and Kevin Love to run away with the Eastern Conference, I disagree. While the Cavs are a flashier team, the Bulls, provided they stay healthy, are the better team. The Bulls have the best defense in the NBA, led by the second best coach in the NBA, Tom Thibodeau. The Bulls, while missing out on Carmelo, had the second best offseason in the NBA. Former MVP Derrick Rose returns, and has been extremely impressive in the preseason, torching Kyrie Irving for 30 points in a preseason matchup. The Bulls also added former all-star and NBA champion power forward Pau Gasol from the Lakers. He combined with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson form the best front court in the NBA. The Bulls rounded out the offseason by adding the best scorer in NCAA history, Doug Mcdermott and European superstar Nikola Mirotic. These additions give the Bulls a potent offense to go along with their dominant defense, and with their depth advantage over the Cavs, make them the favorites in the East.
4. Russell Westbrook will emerge as the best point guard in the NBA
In his playoff matchup against the Clippers last year, Westbrook dominated the current best point guard in the NBA, Chris Paul. Not only did the Thunder win the matchup, Westbrook annihilated Paul. Westbrook averaged 26.8 points, 7.3 assists and 3.6 steals per game in a matchup with Chris Paul. His incredible series was highlighted by a 38 point performance in game two where he dominated Paul in the fourth and carried the Thunder to a 105-104 comeback win. Russell Westbrook will shine in the beginning of the year, allowed to carry the Thunder offense without Kevin Durant. Westbrooks prodigal athleticism and killer instinct will have fans praising him as the best point guard in the NBA by the end of the season.
5. Jabari Parker will win Rookie of the Year
The 2014 draft class will go down in history as one the greatest of all time. This class was loaded with talent, but Jabari Parker stands to make the greatest impact in his first season. While other players may have more upside potential, Parkers polished scoring ability will allow him to adjust to the NBA game and make an impact more quickly than his peers. Playing on the Milwaukee Bucks can’t hurt as Parker will be the focal point of their offense and will get many opportunities to prove himself.