Forecasting the 2018-2019 NBA Season

Forecasting the 2018-2019 NBA Season

ETHAN WANG

Just 10 games into the 2018-2019 NBA Season, it has become apparent that much has changed since last year. The Cleveland Cavaliers, finals contenders just a year ago, currently sit at last place in the Eastern Conference, and the Houston Rockets, who had the best record in the league last year, have gotten off to a measly 11-1 start. New teams have developed into legitimate title contenders to fill the new vacancies among the NBA’s elite. The Bucks and Nuggets both currently stand as Top 2 teams in their respective conferences; however, only time will tell if their success is sustainable. Constant bottom-feeders have also seemed to make a resurgence this season. To everyone’s surprise, last year’s 22-60 Grizzlies are currently 13-9 in the Western Conference, and the Sacramento Kings are playing like a borderline playoff team.

Yet, some things have remained constant. The Warriors continue their dominance of the Western Conference behind performances such as Klay Thompson’s NBA record 14 threes in a game, and incidents such as minor injuries to Steph and tensions between KD and Draymond are unlikely to pose serious concerns. Much like last year, the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers appear to be strong contenders for the Eastern Conference title. Still, the NBA season is 82 games long for a reason. Much can change, and my predictions for the 2018-2019 NBA regular season are as follows...

Standings:

 Kawhi, the Raptors latest Free Agency Acquisition

Kawhi, the Raptors latest Free Agency Acquisition

Eastern Conference (Playoff Teams)

Raptors - 60-22

Celtics - 58-24

Bucks - 54-28

76ers - 53-29

Pacers - 46-36

Hornets - 41-41

Pistons - 40-42

Eastern Conference (Non-Playoff Teams)

Heat - 39-43

Wizards - 38-44

Knicks - 35-47

Nets - 34-48

Hawks - 26-56

Magic - 25-57

Cavaliers - 23-62

Bulls - 22-60

Kawhi is the best player in the East and should help boost the Raptors to the top of the East. Giannis is playing at an MVP level, but the Bucks don’t quite have the depth to top the East. The Celtics look to improve after getting Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back from injury, and the 76ers, now with Jimmy Butler, remain as title contenders.

Summary:

 The Warriors and their new center Demarcus Cousins

The Warriors and their new center Demarcus Cousins

Western Conference (Playoff Teams)

Golden State Warriors - 62-20

San Antonio Spurs - 54-28

Denver Nuggets - 53-29

Los Angeles Lakers - 52-30

Oklahoma City Thunder - 51-31

Houston Rockets - 47-35

Utah Jazz - 46-36

Minnesota Timberwolves - 44-37

Western Conference (Non-Playoff Teams)

New Orleans Pelicans - 43-39

Portland Trail Blazers - 42-40

Los Angeles Clippers - 33-49

Sacramento Kings - 30-52

Dallas Mavericks - 28-54

Memphis Grizzlies - 27-55

Phoenix Suns - 24-58

The Warriors’ 5 all-stars make them the best team in the NBA. Houston regresses after overperforming last season, though they should still be able to recover from their slow start. The Spurs and Lakers break into the playoffs after the additions of DeMar DeRozan and LeBron James respectively, and the Nuggets look to contend in the West behind the play of international superstar Nikola Jokic.

Awards

MVP - Stephen Curry

MIP - Brandon Ingram

6MOY - Eric Gordon

DPOY - JaVale McGee

ROY - Luka Doncic

My pick for MVP is Steph Curry. Steph has started this season on fire as the NBA’s current scoring leader and looks to return to form after a minor left adductor strain. Other stars such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard either don’t put up as good numbers or don’t compete for good enough teams. Brandon Ingram looks to have a breakout season on the Lakers, and Eric Gordon is a constant 6MOY candidate as a high-scoring shooting guard for the Houston Rockets. JaVale McGee is my sleeper pick for DPOY as he has quietly led the league in blocks. My pick for ROY is Luka Doncic, who is currently averaging over 20 points very early into his NBA career.



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