With the NBA season beginning tonight, it’s time to make my official predictions for the 2016-17 NBA season. After nearly a summer of writing away from this site — school, work, the average life of a 20-year-old — I’m back at it! Last time you heard from me was when I broke down LeBron’s All-Time Game 5 Masterpiece.
However, I did add a few things this summer to my own personal blog site — UnderratedSportsFan.com — A Boston pitch to Kevin Durant, My disappointment towards Durant’s decision, a final salute to the great Timmy Duncan, and the excitement of watching Westbrook this season.
While you read through these, here are a couple things to keep in mind:
1. They’re just predictions. I’m not a basketball God, nor do I possess the ability to say that this or that is actually happening. I make these predictions because they’re fun and they’re my personal opinion.
2. I’m writing this with the knowledge that they could all be wrong. They’re simply my opinion and reasoning. If you disagree with something, I don’t care that you do. Chances are you’re upset I didn’t give your team enough love, or you’re just a basketball aficionado.
3. An injury changes everything.
1. The Golden State Warriors are winning the NBA Finals, get over it.
After winning 73 games last season, the Warriors obviously had the epic collapse in the Finals when they blew their 3-1 series lead to King James.
Important things to remember from that series is that Curry was dinged up, Draymond Green served a suspension, and LeBron James played the greatest 3-4 game stretch in the history of the NBA. All of those things were stacked against the Warriors and they still barely lost to the Cavaliers in Game 7.
Now, add Kevin Durant to the mix and the prediction is almost a fact. However, the door is still cracked open if there is an injury, a gigantic trade, or LeBron proves he overcome this — which would catapult him above Michael Jordan. Keep chasing that ghost, LeBron.
2. Three Players on the Warriors finish with over 200 made three-pointers
As we’ve watched Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson smash the record books over the last few seasons, particularly last year (402,276), it has become obvious that this trend is only going to continue.
Now, by bringing one of the most prolific shooters and offensive threats onto their roster, Kevin Durant will have no problems following the leader(s). He has already came close to that magic number of 200 made three-pointers a couple of times (192, 186) and should have no problem helping the Warriors light the record books on fire.
3. Atlanta falls to 7-8 seed in the Eastern Conference
For as long as I can remember, the Atlanta Hawks are simply there. They make the playoffs every season, they’re a great regular season team, but they’re never a serious threat to anybody in the Eastern Conference. They were barely even taken seriously in 2014-15 when they won 60 games because well, they’re the Atlanta Hawks.
Their roster has had a lot of turnover, but none bigger than the departure of Al Horford. They lost Teague, Korver is getting older, and Millsap is a possible trade target from many teams. Luckily, the Hawks were able to snag Dwight Howard, which will likely be the reason they don’t become completely irrelevant. Howard will also be the biggest problem for this team if they want to continue playing with the pace-and-space style that they’ve become accustomed to. Mike Budenholzer still has a lot of talent to work with and will find his way to the playoffs, but it’ll be tough to get out of the first round.
4. The Clippers will finally make it to the Western Conference Finals
As everybody knows, the Clippers are one of the most repetitive teams in the NBA and Chris Paul has never played in a Conference Finals. That changes this season.
With the fallout of the Thunder, that should make it easier for this very talented Clippers roster to make it to the Conference Finals. The Spurs pose the biggest threat to LAC (besides Golden State), but they have to make it over that hump eventually, don’t they?
5. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin makes it through the entire season
One of the biggest reasons for the Clippers being stuck in the mud during the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin/DeAndre Jordan/Doc Rivers era is simply their lack of health. It seems if one of their stars isn’t hurt than the other is. Between Chris Paul’s shoulders and Griffin’s staff infection, a torn quad, and a broken right punching hand, the Clippers deserve a year off from the injury bug.
*knocks on wood*