Brian Geltzeiler’s 2016-17 NBA Season Preview and Predictions

 

The season is here.  Here are my award and playoff predictions. ….in blurbs.

League MVP-  Lebron James

Conventional wisdom would say that the MVP award has passed The King by.  However, with the last three years  MVPs on one team and the odds on favorite in Russell Westbrook being on a team that will not be a top 3 playoff seed,  MVP sets up quite nicely for James.  And besides, we just saw what Lebron is capable enough when he decides he has something to prove….

Rookie of the Year- Buddy Hield

Ben Simmons is out for the year.  Brandon Ingram isn’t going to play enough to win the award.  The same goes for Dragan Bender.  Kris Dunn is going to start the season backing up Ricky Rubio.  That leaves Hield.  He’s going to get the minutes, the touches, and playing with Anthony Davis is going to give him the requisite space to operate.  The kid is ready to make an immediate impact.

Coach of the Year- Brad Stevens

The addition of Al Horford is going to give Stevens a highly skilled guy on both ends that will take some heat off his undersized perimeter guys, who he’s done very well with.  He’s as respected as you’ll ever see and he’s only 40.  I’ll take it as far as to say that the award is his to lose.

Defensive Player of the Year- DeAndre Jordan

It’s the last chance for this Clippers group to prove they can advance past the 2nd round of the playoffs.  That urgency and what Jordan learned being an integral part of the U.S gold medal team in Rio will lift his game to a new level.

6th Man of the Year- Andre Igoudala

Golden State’s death lineup will reach new heights this year with the substitution of Kevin Durant for Harrison Barnes and because of the loss of Bogut, the Warriors will play small more often which means more Igoudala.  He won’t put up gaudy stats but what he brings as a glue guy is apparent to the naked eye.

Most Improved Player- Harrison Barnes

Barnes was never comfortable as a 4th option in Golden State.  He’s the 2nd offensive option for Dallas with a tremendous opportunity to tap into his vast talent.  It was always tough for Barnes in Golden State when he blew an offensive chance, because he never knew when he could get another one.  In Dallas, those chances will come fast and furious which should do winders for Barnes’ confidence.

 

All NBA Teams

1st Team

Lebron James

Paul George

DeAndre Jordan

Stephen Curry

Russell Westbrook

 

2nd Team

Kevin Durant

Blake Griffin

DeMarcus Cousins

Chris Paul

Damian Lillard

 

3rd Team

Kawhi Leonard

LaMarcus Aldridge

Karl Anthony Towns

Klay Thompson

James Harden

 

Eastern Conference Playoff Seeds

  • (1)Cleveland Cavaliers
  • (2)Boston Celtics
  • (3)Toronto Raptors
  • (4)Atlanta Hawks
  • (5)Detroit Pistons
  • (6)Chicago Bulls
  • (7)Indiana Pacers
  • (8)New York Knicks

Western Conference Playoff Seeds

  • (1)Golden State Warriors
  • (2)San Antonio Spurs
  • (3)Los Angeles Clippers
  • (4)Oklahoma City Thunder
  • (5)Memphis Grizzlies
  • (6)Dallas Mavericks
  • (7)Portland Trailblazers
  • (8)Minnesota Timberwolves

1st Round Playoffs

East

Cleveland over New York

Boston over Indiana

Chicago over Toronto

Atlanta over Detroit

West

Golden State over Minnesota

San Antonio over Portland

Dallas over L.A. Clippers

Oklahoma City over Memphis

2nd Round

Cleveland over Atlanta

Boston over Chicago

Golden State over Oklahoma City

San Antonio over Dallas

Conference Finals

Cleveland over Boston

Golden State over San Antonio

NBA Finals

Cleveland over Golden State.  In the end, the addition of Durant won’t do enough to solve what was wrong with Golden State in last year’s finals.  The Warriors are the best bad shot making team there is, but those bad shots when defended aggressively behind the arc, are not as effective against premium competition in the finals as they are in the regular season.  Also, the Warriors defensive switching strategy got exposed last year in the finals as the Cavs continually were able to bring one of Golden State’s weaker defenders in Curry right to the ball whenever they wanted.  Unless Golden State head coach Steve Kerr diversifies his defensive approach and uses some help and recover strategies, the Cavs are going to be able to do the same thing.  The Cavs use of tempo control versus the warriors and James’ versatility allowed the Cavs to stay true to who they were in winning last season.  Having the best player on the planet helps too and last time I checked, that distinction still belongs to Lebron James.  Look for a Cavs repeat and another strong resume item for James’ case as one of the best to ever play the game.

 

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