Echoing off Natty’s 30 bold predictions (see below) I am going to one up him by doing…10 Bold Predictions (shoot did I say one ‘up’? Whoops.)
So here are my 10 Bold Predictions for the 2017-2018 NBA Season
1. I am on the opposite side when it comes to the Houston Rockets, I think that not only will BOTH Chris Paul and James Harden land in the top 15 in fantasy rankings (ESPNs Player Rater) but I think James Harden finishes in the top 2.
Reason: Most combinations are somewhat self-cannibalizing, but I think CP3 has a way of fighting gaps and making his game insert there and improve the collective.
Reason: I’ve bought into the hype, I think the “potential” of Brook Lopez, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brandon Ingram is high. The reality might not match it but I’m buying in.
3. Last year the Charlotte Hornets were 20th in points scored, this year they are in the top 12.
Reason: I am bullish on the potential of players like Nicolas Batum, Kemba walker and Frank Kaminsky. Add in Dwight Howard who seems to thrive when he isn’t in the spot light and we have a good combination.
4. Joel Embiid leads the league in total Blocks.
Reason: It might not be bold and yet, he can’t stay healthy for a season and I didn’t save Average, I said Total.
5. John Wall lands in the top 5 in the league in average scoring, assists AND steals.
Reason: Last year he had assists and steals but in points you go all the way down to 18th to find him there. This year, with the super teams, he plans to exert himself as a star to carry his team.
6. Karl-Anthony Towns is in the top 4 in average rebounds per game for the first time in his career.
Reason: he was 8th his first year, 6th the next year, he’s rising by 2 spots each year. I was going to save top 5 but that didn’t seem bold enough so he will compete with DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside for a seat at that table.
Reason: And there it is, I saved the best one for 7th just to see if you would read the meat of the article. One of two things is going to happen, the Cavaliers, much like half the Points Guards legs, are going to collapse mid way through and Boston will advance OR Golden State will have a key injury and the overwhelming power or Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets or San Antonio Spurs steps in and lands in the final. Who knows, maybe both happen and Boston Celtics vs. Oklahoma City Thunder is your final.
8. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. These are my top 5 players in the NBA and one of them is going to miss at least 30 games with an injury this year. I just don’t know which one.
Reason: Don’t get me wrong I don’t WANT this to happen but looking at the trend:
Look at the 2011-2012 season where Stephen Curry has torn ligaments in his ankle that he works to correct and heal, James Harden through 6th man play and other factors sits out 20 games this year too.
2013-2014: Russell Westbrook has a 2nd surgery to his right knee and is out the start of the season, later on he missed another 14 games with a hand injury and other pieces.
then in the 2014-2015 season: Kevin Durant goes down 55 games with repeated injuries to his ankle. LeBron sits out 2 weeks due to a left knee injury
2015-2016 – nothing
2016-2017 – Nothing
Part of this is the willingness to play fewer games but the inevitability of injury catches us all and I think it gets a super start this year.
9. San Antonio Spurs don’t finish in the top 3 in the Western Conference fo the first time since 2014-2015.
Reason: Age is catching up to this talented squad.
10. Chicago Bulls go from the last team to qualify for the playoffs in 2016-2017 to a bottom 5 team in 2017-2018.
Reason: They got stripped clean with Jimmy Butler, Dwayne Wade and Taj Givson (their top three scorers). I’m not trying to be mean but off the top of my head I couldn’t name 3 players on their roster. This is bold, I’m putting them down the likes of last years 76ers, Lakers, Suns, Nets and Magic.