NBA Off Season Recap and Predictions

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NBA Off Season Recap and Predictions

Mason Collins, Sports Editor

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The 2019 off-season has been one of the most chaotic off-seasons in NBA history. Both LA teams made big upgrades to their rosters, with the Lakers trading Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart to the Pelicans for power forward Anthony Davis, pairing him up with Lebron James and the Los Angeles Clippers signing small forward Kawhi Leonard and trading multiple first round picks to the Thunder for Paul George. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving also switched teams and went to the state of New York, but not the team everybody was thinking about. Instead of the New York Knicks, it was the Brooklyn Nets who acquired Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant off free agency.

 

The Houston Rockets also made a roster change by trading point guard Chris Paul and a package of first round picks for Russell Westbrook combining him with MVP runner-up James Harden. Other moves around the NBA was Al Horford moving from Boston to Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler moving from Philadelphia to Miami, Hassan Whiteide moving from Miami to Portland and Kemba Walker moving from Charlotte to Boston. 

 

Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions: 

(1 Seed) Milwaukee Bucks: After finishing the 2018-2019 season 60-22, the Bucks are definitely in contention for the one seed again and now that Kawhi Leonard is out of the east, the Bucks are the favorites to go to the NBA finals this year. Milwaukee is still led by 2019 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, all-star Khris Middleton and point guard Eric Bledsoe. Milwaukee also acquired Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver during the offseason, who will help the Bucks offensively.

(2 Seed) Philadelphia 76ers: After another season of being eliminated in the eastern conference semifinals, Philadelphia decided to part ways with Jimmy Butler and helped their frontcourt by signing free agent Al Horford from Boston. With a team that still has Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons,Tobias Harris and now Al Horford, the 76ers are definitely in contention for the one seed as long as they stay healthy throughout the season. 

(3 Seed) Boston Celtics: Without Kyrie on the Celtics, Boston hopes to go in a new direction, as they acquired point guard Kemba Walker and center Enes Kanter. If Boston can get good production from their young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics can make a splash in the eastern conference standings. 

(4 Seed) Brooklyn Nets: Even without the recently acquired Kevin Durant, the Nets still have plenty of high expectations. They are led by newly acquired Kyrie Irving, who will hope to provide a spark on this young and talented roster.

(5 Seed) Toronto Raptors: After winning the 2019 NBA finals, expectations have gone down especially with the exit of Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors still have a good enough roster to do damage but the path will definitely be more treacherous than last year.

(6 Seed) Miami Heat: After just missing out on the playoff last year, Miami hopes to make the postseason this year after picking up shooting guard Jimmy Butler off free agency. The loss of Hassan Whiteside will be a blow to this team, but their roster can definitely make the playoffs in this conference.

(7 Seed) Detroit Pistons: The Pistons were the last team to make it in the playoffs in 2019. As long as their backcourt led by Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond can stay healthy and not suffer season ending injuries, Detroit can make it back there.

(8 Seed) Orlando Magic: The eight seed in the east is up for grabs for multiple teams, but the edge goes to Orlando. The Magic basically have the same team is they did last year and they got the 7th seed. As long as they continue to get good production from last years break out player Nikola Vucevic, they should secure at least the 8th seed.

 

Western Conference Playoff Predictions: 

(1 Seed) Los Angeles Clippers: After being projected to finish at the bottom of the western conference, the Clippers surprisingly got the last playoff spot and took the Golden State Warriors to six games. Adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George makes them one of the leaders to win the Western Conference

(2 Seed) Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets, led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, hope to get one of the top seeds in the western conference for the 2nd consecutive year. An underrated team with a good mix of young and veteran talent can once again sneak into the top of the standings.

(3 Seed) Los Angeles Lakers: A team who even with Lebron James couldn’t make it to the playoffs last season. During the off-season, they made moves to get Anthony Davis and signed free agent Danny Green. With Kyle Kuzma already injured, the only thing that can hold the Lakers back is the injury bug.

(4 Seed) Houston Rockets: The Rockets have been in contention to make it to the finals for a couple of years now, and they hope to make it this year after trading for Russell Westbrook. With other players to help them out such as PJ Tucker, Clint Capela and Eric Gordon, Houston will once again be a team who can make it far into the playoffs.

(5 Seed) Utah Jazz: Even with veteran point guard Mike Conley getting off to a slow start, Utah still has plenty of other talent with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. Getting to the finals will be a rough road, however, potentially having to go through Houston, Denver and Los Angeles.

(6 Seed) Portland Trail Blazers: Even with the loss of depth on the bench and Jusuf Nurkic still on the injured list, the Trailblazers definitely still have a playoff roster. The addition of Hassan Whiteside will help their back court and veterans Damiam Lillard and CJ Mcccollum could give higher seeded teams trouble. 

( 7 Seed) San Antonio Spurs: San Antonio has made the playoffs for the past 20+ years and as long as they have head coach Gregg Popovich, they always have a chance. With a great coaching staff and a mix of young and veteran players, The Spurs should once again find themselves getting one of the last playoff spots.

(8 Seed) Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas Mavericks were in rebuild mode last year but after what they saw from last years rookie Luka Doncic and acquiring Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks expectations grew a little higher from the past season. If Kristaps Porzingis can remain healthy and not have injury problems like he has for the last couple of years and they can get good production from their bench players like Tim Hardaway JR and Justin Jackson. Dallas will be in contention for a playoff spot. 

 

MVP Prediction: James Harden(Houston Rockets)

 

Rookie Of The Year: RJ Barrett(New York Knicks)

 

Coach Of The Year: Brad Stevens(Boston Celtics)

 

Six Man Of The Year: Lou Williams(Los Angeles Clippers

 

Most Improved Player: Luka Doncic(Dallas Mavericks)