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NBA Preview 10×10

MVP Candidates

With Kevin Durant out of action for at least 20 games, the MVP crown becomes a one horse race. Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, and Blake Griffin look primed to be the biggest challengers with big seasons and great potential story lines.

  1. LeBron James
  2. Blake Griffin
  3. Kevin Durant
  4. Derrick Rose
  5. Anthony Davis
  6. Russell Westbrook
  7. Chris Paul
  8. LaMarcus Aldridge
  9. Steph Curry
  10. Dirk Nowitzki

Defensive Player of the Year

Is this finally the year for Ibaka? Everyone on the planet saw how much he means to the Thunder defense and San Antonio was downright scared of him. LeBron and Davis might have something to say about it as well. 

  1. Serge Ibaka
  2. LeBron James
  3. Dwight Howard
  4. Anthony Davis
  5. Marc Gasol
  6. Tony Allen
  7. Joakim Noah
  8. Kawhi Leonard
  9. Michael Kidd-Gilchrest
  10. Tyson Chandler

Rookie of the Year

Parker has been the ho-hum selection for ROY since the draft. He may not ultimately be the best player in this draft, but he scores, will get a ton of playing time, and is physically ready. Elfrid Payton and Dante Exum are there waiting though.

  1. Jabari Parker
  2. Elfrid Payton
  3. Dante Exum
  4. Andrew Wiggins
  5. Marcus Smart
  6. Nikola Mirotic
  7. Doug McDermott
  8. TJ Warren
  9. Julius Randle
  10. Adrien Payne

 Scoring Champ

What was probably going to be another ho-hum victory for Kevin Durant, the Scoring Title is up for grabs. Two players that stick out are Harden and Anthony. Both the Rockets and Knicks respectably will struggle to score consistently and if either of these teams want to get where they want to go, their alphas will need to score. Russell Westbrook is the dark horse should Durant be out longer than anticipated.

  1. James Harden
  2. Carmelo Anthony
  3. Kevin Love
  4. Russell Westbrook
  5. DeMarcus Cousins
  6. LeBron James
  7. Blake Griffin
  8. Steph Curry
  9. Anthony Davis
  10. Al Jefferson

Trade Targets

Lot of options out there already for trade targets. Some obvious (Rondo), some not (West), but all intriguing. With the Cap numbers set to sky rocket at some point, could we see a team willing to pay the tax this year, who otherwise would not have? Someone will make a move nobody saw coming.

  1. Al Horford
  2. Rajon Rondo
  3. Deron Williams
  4. David West
  5. Wilson Chandler
  6. Paul Millsap
  7. Timofey Mozgov
  8. Gerald Green
  9. Larry Sanders
  10. Gerald Henderson

 

Story Lines

How can LeBron and the Cavs not be the number one storyline? Bill Simmons on Grantland pointed to the Cavs possibly breaking the home record and going 40-1 this year. As crazy as it sounds, can you really put it past them? Injury comebacks (Kobe, Rose, Durant, Rondo, George?) and another possible NBA Lockout will be covered this season.

  1. LeBron/Cavs
  2. NBA TV Revenue
  3. Injury Comebacks
  4. Lottery Reform
  5. Anthony Davis
  6. Rookie Coaches
  7. Steve Ballmer-led Clippers
  8. Jhalil Okafor
  9. 2017 Lockout
  10. Atlanta Hawks

Coach of the Year

Gregg Popovich, Tom Thibodeau, and Rick Carlisle seemingly could win this award every year. Two teams with sky high expectations and great potential story lines are David Blatt (easy) and Doc Rivers (also easy). In fact, many have these two teams set to meet in the finals. Watch out for Steve Kerr if the Warriors win the West.

  1. Doc Rivers
  2. David Blatt
  3. Gregg Popovich
  4. Tom Thibodeau
  5. Rick Carlisle
  6. Monty Williams
  7. Steve Kerr
  8. Steve Clifford
  9. Erik Spolestra
  10. Stan Van Gundy

Top Games – Cavs Version

I tried doing just the top 10 games, but half of them were Cavs! So they get their own column. The home opener will be bananas. Home games against Thunder & Bulls will be must-watch TV. LeBron’s return to Miami? Cavs at the Spurs?? Is there a game that’s not worth watching?

  1. 8/30 Knicks @ Cavs
  2. 10/25 Cavs @ Heat
  3. 4/5 Bulls @ Cavs
  4. 3/12 Cavs @ Spurs
  5. 1/25 Thunder @ Cavs
  6. 1/15 Cavs @ Lakers
  7. 12/4 Cavs @ Knicks
  8. 1/16 Cavs @ Clippers
  9. 2/27 Cavs @ Pacers
  10. 2/26 Warriors @ Cavs

Top Games – Non Cavs

In the ‘Top Games Non-Cavs Division’ it starts with the West’s most prominent rivalry on Christmas Day in San Antonio. This will be right after Durant’s return as well. Parsons vs the Rockets, Lance vs the Pacers, and all your Western Conference Heavyweight Fights top the list.

  1. 12/25 Thunder @ Spurs
  2. 2/8 Clippers @ Thunder
  3. 10/28 Mavs @ Spurs
  4. 11/22 Mavs @ Rockets
  5. 11/19 Hornets @ Pacers
  6. 11/5 Clippers @ Warriors
  7. 3/12 Knicks @ Lakers
  8. 12/25 Warriors @ Clippers
  9. 1/3 Heat @ Rockets
  10. 4/15 Heat @ Sixers

Random Predictions

As nice a fit as the Cavs new Big 3 is, they aren’t better than the 2010 Heat that lost in the Finals. It will take them at least a year to build chemistry and fill holes on the roster. I’ve got two surprise playoff teams in the West and good news for Paul George, but bad news for the NBA PR, and all five Sixers fans.

  1. Cavs do NOT win title
  2. Pelicans AND Suns make the playoffs
  3. Prokorov decides to sell the Nets
  4. Scott Brooks and Kevin McHale will be let go
  5. Sixers do NOT win 15 games
  6. A Domestic Violence case will emerge
  7. ZERO 1st round picks will be traded before trade deadline
  8. Paul George is back by All Star Break
  9. At least one more team will go up for sale
  10. This will be the last ride for both Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett

Bonus. Nobody will talk about the Spurs. Again. (Notice how I didn’t talk about them either? They just won the Title!)

We’ve waited a long time for Opening Day. It’s here, so let’s enjoy it!




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