NBANews365’s Mid-Season Predictions

NBANews365’s Mid-Season Predictions

A lot has transpired over the past few days in the NBA world; Kristaps Porzingis reeled in the biggest accomplishment of the Knicks’ horrid season with his Skills Competition victory, Anthony Davis put up 52 in a dunk-extravaganza that included slams far more exhilarating than the official contest that took place the night before, and the Sacramento Kings have overtaken New York as the most incompetent franchise of the new year. But now, it is time to move on and look forward to the next four months of basketball to be played.

Eastern Conference Standings

There are a lot of questions that surround the East right now. Can the tiny-yet-skillful Isaiah Thomas somehow lead Boston atop the conference and ahead of the mighty Cavaliers? Can the Washington Wizards keep their success story going? Will the acquisition of Serge Ibaka propel Canada’s team into the upper few spots of the standings? As of right now, the first five teams in the Eastern Conference seem set, though some changes in position are likely. However, it is those last three squads that need to be worried. Only 8.5 games separate the East’s 6th seed (Indiana) and 14th seed (Magic), so nobody can be counted out yet. Well, nobody except for the Nets. Sorry Brooklyn, but next time you try and deal for a few aging stars that are far past their primes, expect a long period of basement-dwelling to ensue.

[ol]

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Boston Celtics
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Washington Wizards
  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Miami Heat
  • New York Knicks
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • [/ol]

    Western Conference Standings

    To absolutely nobody’s surprise, the Golden State Warriors have dominated the league thus far. San Antonio has managed to remain in striking distance of the West’s top seed, but is unlikely to dethrone Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and company from that number one spot. The Rockets, meanwhile, have shockingly transformed from a non-playoff unit into a roster that is likely to hold home-court advantage in round one, led by new coach Mike D’Antoni and the best ballhog-turned-floor general of all-time in James Harden. In the meantime, injures continue to riddle the talented-yet-underperforming LA Clippers, despite the promise they showed to start the year. In addition, the DeMarcus Cousins deal is sure to shake things up in the bottom half of the conference, as Sacramento will likely drop to the cellar while the Boogie-AD duo in New Orleans could make a case for a postseason berth. But can the 2010’s version of Tim Duncan/David Robinson be able to make up for a depleted set of wings and a bench that would make a D-League (Sorry, G-League) team cry? That is for us to decide.

    [ol]

  • Golden State Warriors
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Utah Jazz
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Sacramento Kings
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Phoenix Suns
  • [/ol]

    Eastern Conference Playoffs

    Quarterfinals

    Cleveland- 4

    Milwaukee- 0

    Boston- 4

    Detroit- 1

    Toronto- 4

    Indiana- 3

    Washington- 4

    Atlanta- 3

    Semi-Finals

    Cleveland- 4

    Washington- 0

    Boston- 3

    Toronto- 4

    Conference Finals

    Cleveland- 4

    Toronto- 2

    The first round will go as planned, with Cleveland pounding the opposition and the Raptors providing us with their annual playoff scare. Boston-Toronto will be a very intriguing Semi-Finals matchup, with Isaiah Thomas falling one fourth quarter shy of carrying the Celtics to their first Conference Finals since 2012. Then comes the much-anticipated Cavs-Raptors rematch, except this time Toronto’s hole at power forward will be filled by an energetic rim protector by the name of Serge Ibaka. However, the Congo native won’t be enough to stop LeBron, as the King will steamroll to his seventh consecutive NBA Finals.

    Western Conference Playoffs

    Quarterfinals

    Golden State- 4

    New Orleans- 1

    San Antonio- 4

    Memphis- 0

    Houston- 4

    Oklahoma City- 3

    LA Clippers- 4

    Utah- 2

    Semi-Finals

    Golden State- 3

    LA Clippers- 4

    San Antonio- 4

    Houston- 2

    Conference Finals

    San Antonio- 3

    LA Clippers- 4

    Before you say anything, please take a look at my preseason predictions from October. Now, once you have seen that I chose the Clippers as my title selection four months ago, please also realize that I am not one who likes to change my stance, especially a stance as bold as that one. As the NBA season began, the Clippers did actually look like a legitimate contender. They bolted out to a 14-2 start, ready to finally remove that label of constant disappointment. But soon enough, the tides turned, and the yearly tradition of injuries emerged: first it was Blake Griffin, and now it is CP3 who will be sidelined for another month due to a torn ligament in his left thumb. However, once May is upon us, the aches and pains will be gone and the Clippers will be seeking revenge. Revenge not only upon the Warriors, who obliterated them twice within a week’s span, but also upon the abundance of fans and analysts who counted 2016-17 as another lost season in Los Angeles.

    NBA Finals

    Cleveland Cavaliers- 3

    Los Angeles Clippers- 4

    NBA Finals MVP- Chris Paul

    As you may have guessed, I will not be reversing my title projection from the preseason: the Los Angeles Clippers will be your 2017 NBA Champions. There may not be much reason behind this as of right now, but you won’t be thinking I’m crazy when Chris Paul is hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy come June. The Clippers will struggle to contain LeBron, as has every other unit that James faced over the past six seasons, but LA will nonetheless find a way to come out with the series. It will be a historic seven-gave showdown similar to last year, and don’t be surprised if another 3-1 lead is blown. But in the end, it will be the Clippers who break their own curse, finally rising to the top of the basketball universe. And it will be Chris Paul who reeks the rewards, escaping that terrible reputation of “great player, but no championships”. Now, three-fourths of the most famous best friends in all of professional sports will have rings to their name. Hey Carmelo- your turn next?