KARAN’S 2017-18 NBA SEASON PREVIEW
WRITTEN BY KARAN TELI
Eastern Conference 1st Seed –
1st seed doesn’t mean anything to Cleveland. They believe that even with Kyrie now on the ‘enemy’ they can take out Boston; first seed or not. I anticipate a lot of rest and nights off for Cleveland’s superstars and playoffs the main priority, and with Kyrie out to prove a point, the Celtics look set for that 1st seed.
Western Conference 1st Seed –
It’s almost impossible to look past the Warriors. Houston, OKC and of course the brilliantly coached San Antonio will have their share of wins and be near the top of the conference, but they’re really racing for second place.
Scoring Champion –
The only reason I’m not picking the best scorer in the world (KD) is because his teammate Steph Curry is the 2nd best scorer in the world. Harden now has CP3 and Westbrook has Melo and PG, so my pick for scoring champion is San Antonio’s lone star Kawhi Leonard.
He’s not just my choice for Scoring Champion. The last 3 Years Kawhi Leonard has gone from good too great to superstar. I anticipate another jump; MVP. Of the 6 best teams in basketball, Kawhi is the only one to be on a team where he is the lone superstar. Adding to that, I anticipate San Antonio, as they always do, to have a great record. Add that to the fact they’re in the Western Conference, facing harder competition on a more regular basis, I believe that Kawhi will prove himself to be the MVP of the league.
Rookie of the Year –
I’m only going one way with this. My Lakers drafted him to be the light at the end of the tunnel. While our other pick; Kyle Kuzma is looking like a STEAL, and Dennis Smith JR’s athleticism cannot be denied, it’s hard for me to look past The Big Baller that is Lonzo Ball. He will have the ball in his hands more than any other rookie, and have more eyes on him than any other too.
Sixth Man of the Year –
Reportedly ‘frustrated’ with being demoted to the bench, I anticipate JR Smith has a lot to prove in his new role. Leading the second unit with Rose and Thompson, he will have plenty of support to do what he does best. Score. That’s what the Cavs were missing last year from the bench. I think he’ll lead the second unit and be the 6th man Cleveland needs.
Surprise Team –
The Eastern Conference team that I think that should be on radar is the Miami Heat. Last season, after the All Star Break, that team came into their own; having one of the best records in the league the second half of the season. Like D Wade said, one of the reasons he did not go back was that he believed that team deserved a chance to see what they could accomplish in a whole season. He will definitely be keeping an eye on his former team while at the Cavs.
Team that will disappoint –
It depends how much you expect from Toronto. They seem to be in that place with the Wizards, fighting for 3rd and 4th place, praying for an injury to Cleveland or Boston. But truth be told, I can see Miami and Milwaukee overtaking then this season, especially in the playoffs. While Derozan shows improvement every season, the same cannot he said for his supporting cast.
Eastern Conference Finals –
Cavs v Celtics. This has the potential to go 7 games. Cleveland will finally have an Eastern Conference challenge for the first time since LeBron’s return. Kyrie v LeBron would be special and right now, I’d just, just, pick Cleveland. Throughout the season, if the Celtics add some better defensive pieces, (or potentially Anthony Davis!) that could easily change.
Western Conference Finals –
The dream scenario is GSW v OKC. Am I talking out of belief or hopefulness. Who knows. But I see this being the match up, and I see Golden State dealing with it fairly comfortably. Of all the teams that might end the Warriors juggernaut, they definitely won’t let it be Kevin Durant’s old team.
NBA Finals –
It’s the Cavs vs Warriors era; every other team is just living in it. The 2 super teams look set for another, and potentially, final match up on the big stage. After a season together, the Warriors will be better. The Cavs require a lot of gelling, and A LOT of work defensively. Either way, I don’t see it being enough. 3 in 4 Years and back to back for these Warriors.
What a surprise.