The 2015-2016 NBA season no longer looms over us, it is finally here and underway. The Golden State Warriors are looking to repeat as NBA champions after a historic season in 2014. With revamped rosters around the league and several personnel changes for a couple of organizations, this season will be quite interesting.
A variety of transactions took place over the offseason, with some marquee names bolting to different cities. LaMarcus Aldridge is now a member of the San Antonio Spurs along with veteran and former Pacer David West. Aldridge made the decision to leave a budding franchise in Portland that was deemed a promising future led by he and Dame Lillard. Now he is playing alongside arguably the best power foward in NBA league history, Tim Duncan.West departed from the Indiana Pacers, leaving roughly $11 million dollars in a year which speaks volumes. He would agree to a one-year, $1.4 million dollar deal to pursue his dreams of holding the Larry O’Brien trophy.
This past summer the Los Angeles Clippers were the winners of the De’Andre Jordan sweepstakes. The polarizing center had given the Dallas Mavericks a verbal agreement to sign, then he reneged over the course of a few drama filled days. De’Andre then re-signed with the Clippers receiving a four-year, $87.6 million dollar contract to stay in Southern California.
Those are just a few of the attractive free agents to shift to new homes in the NBA. Now without further ado I’am going to give you my NBA Season Predictions.
MVP: James Harden, Houston Rockets
James Harden was the runner up for the NBA’s MVP Award last season, with Stephen Curry claiming that honor. At the first ever National Basketball Associations Players Awards, the “Beard” was voted MVP by his peers. Harden led the Houston Rockets to the Southwest division title finishing 56-26. Last year was easily the best of his young career. Before the season Harden stated he believes he is the best player in the entire league, now it is time for the former Arizona State product to show and prove.
Last season: 27.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 7 apg, 1.9 spg, FG% 44, 3PT% 37.5
Last seasons winner: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Defensive Player of the Year: Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Hassan Whiteside had what you call a “breakout season” with the Miami Heat in 2014. Chris Bosh was sidelined for much of the season, the youngster stepped in and filled that interior void on the defensive end and then some. Many believe he should have won the leagues Most Improved Player award, but we’ll see how that plays out this year.
Last season: 11.8 ppg, 10 rpg, 2.6 bpg, FG% 63
Last seasons winner: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City Thunder
Rookie Head Coach Billy Donovan hopes to make a statement this year leading this explosive Oklahoma City team. Donovan has already gained the respect of his troops and looks to guide them to a second NBA Finals appearance. Last season at the University of Florida Donovan had one of his worst seasons to date going 16-17 on the year. Now this novice NBA coach is asked to fill some big shoes with a loaded roster. A variety of different panelists have picked the Thunder to goto the NBA Finals. Las Vegas odds for Oklahoma City are 5-1 behind only the Cavs and Warriors.
Last season: 16-17 as Head Coach at the University of Florida
Last seasons winner: Mike Budenholzer, Atlanta Hawks
Rookie of the Year: Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers
Jahlil Okafor comes into the league as a polished and fundamentally sound big man. Fresh off of a National Championship run at Duke University, he looks to soar to even greater heights. The problem most NBA Scouts had with Okafor was his lack of interior protection at times. The 7’0, 275 pounder is now in a position where he has to become a focal point instantly. Drafted third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers places alot of responsibility on those hefty shoulders. He also was selected behind another post player in Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky), assures to give Jahlil a chip on his shoulder. They will be compared for the rest of their careers after going 1-2 at the top of the NBA Draft
Last season (Duke University) 17.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg, FG% 66
Last seasons winner: Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
Sixth Man of the Year: Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks
This 22 year old from Germany is as lightning quick as they come. Playing behind and alongside starter Jeff Teague he has shown flashes of brilliance. Schroder has an uncanny feel for the game, in his short career he is already standing out and producing consistently. The Hawks finished last season with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 60-22 and lost in the ECF to Cleveland.
Last season: 10 ppg, 4.1 apg, 2.1 rpg, FG% 42.7 3PT% 35.1 FT% 82.7
Last seasons winner: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Lakers
Most Improved Player: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Standing at 7 feet and 1 inches tall, the 23 year old frenchmen Rudy Gobert is one of the elite interior defenders in the league. Gobert played all 82 games last season for the Jazz and started 37 contests. He also is a member of the French national team alongside NBA players such as Tony Parker and Boris Diaw. Gobert helped France capture the bronze medal at the Eurobasket a few months back. Last season he finished 3rd in the MIP poll, this season he plans to capture the award. If the Jazz can somehow divine intervention and lock in a playoff berth Gobert could make a strong case.
NBA Finals: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Miami Heat
Last season: Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA Champion: Oklahoma City Thunder
Last seasons NBA Champion: Golden State Warriors
With a long grueling 82 game schedule these are my predictions on this upcoming season. Feel free to follow me on twitter @Jdotbras_NBA and @Ubergawdd Facebook: Jay Ziggler IG: @jayziggler