By Max Liebel
The NBA season is approaching fast and aside from some of the obvious front-runners, the rest of the NBA season seems to be a toss-up. Free agency this offseason shook up the NBA and some teams got exponentially better while other are poised for a struggle. Id like to give my preseason predictions for every NBA team this season and where they will finish for seeding.
Golden State Warriors: If there was ever a time to go undefeated its right now.
The Warriors are by far the best team in the league. Golden State has five all-stars in their starting lineup there’s no reason the Warriors shouldn’t walk into the NBA finals.
Seed: 1st in the west
Houston Rockets: If there was ever a year James Harden had to play defense, its this year.
The Rockets have a chance to take out the Warriors, but with the addition of Demarcus Cousins to Golden State it just got that much harder to take out the big dogs. It will take another MVP season and stellar play from the likes of Chris Paul and company to make a run at the championship.
Seed: 2nd in the West
Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James makes it interesting but not enough to matter.
LeBron on the Lakers makes them an immediate championship contender. However with teams like the warriors and the Rockets in the way, on top of a poor supporting cast, I don’t see them making the Western Conference Finals.
Seed: 3rd in the west
Oklahoma City Thunder: The less than super team.
Last year the Thunder did not live up to the hype they had in the offseason with the pick ups of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. The re-signing of Paul George could be a make or break move for the thunder given that lack of chemistry from last years team.
Seed: 4th in the West
San Antonio Spurs: The end of an era.
What does a team with Coach Popovic and DeMar DeRozan look like? With the ageless wonders that were Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, and Tim Duncan long gone, the Spurs face an uphill battle in the west and are nowhere near contenders.
Seed: 5th Seed in the West
Utah Jazz: Dont sleep on Spiderman (Donavan Mitchell).
Donovan Mitchell was one of the most impressive rookies from a year ago. Showing he has superstar potential and alpha dog capabilities, paired with Rudy Gobert I see no reason why Mitchell, Gobert and a solid group of role players couldn’t make waves in the west.
Seed: 6th in the west
New Orleans Pelicans: A.D. gets his MVP, but that’s about it.
With the departure of Boogie Cousins Anthony Davis is poised to make a MVP run this year. Davis has finished in the top 5 for MVP voting the last three years and it would seem its his turn to holf the trophy. This isn’t going to make much of a difference in the Pelicans overall season however, as they don’t have the back court to support him in a legitimate playoff run.
Seed: 7th in the west
Boston Celtics: The only team that could make a run at the Warriors.
The Celtics proved last year with a young inexperienced group it can make deep runs in the playoffs and be a top team in the league. Adding a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward makes the Celtics the best team in the east.
Seed: 1st in the East
Philadelphia 76ers: The Process is paying off and in 4 years it could be Philly’s league.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have shown that they have potential to be that best players at their respected positions in a few years time. With an infusion of shooting talent and youth, and the Warriors and Boston’s longevity up in the air, the 76ers could be a the favorites for a title in a few years time.
Seed: 2nd Seed in the East
Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard will be the deciding factor come playoff time.
The raptors are coming off being the first seed in the eastern conference a year ago. However with the 76ers and Celtics are looking like a cant miss Eastern Conference Finals, matchup the addition of Kawhi Leonard could be what decides if the Raptors take that next step in making a run at any sort of finals appearance.
Seed: 3rd in the East
Washington Wizards: Wall, Beal and a whole lot of what if.
John Wall and Bradley Beal are going to play well and that may be enough get into the second round of the playoffs but I don’t see it getting any better than that. A series win or first round game 7 loss is a more reasonable assumption.
Seed: 4th in the East
Milwaukee Bucks: Someday this will be Giannis’s league but will it be the Bucks league?
Giannis Antetokounmpo has gotten better every year he’s been in the league. Antetokounmpo has proven that he can dominate most NBA teams by himself and lead a team to the playoffs. However with the Celtics and 76ers in the way, without significant help it may be to high of a mountain to climb alone.
Seed: 5th in the East
Cleveland Cavaliers: So…um…Colin Sexton?
Its pretty clear with the loss of Lebron the cavs revert back to their old ways. Years of resting on the shoulders have Lebron have left the Cavs with one other viable option, Kevin Love. Aside from the possibility of 1st round pick Colin Sexton becoming the next Donovan Mitchell the cavs are again poised to be a dumpster fire.
Seed: 8th in the East