By: Sean Golonka
We are five days into the NBA season–really six, if you count the slate of games that’s going on as I write this piece–and that means I am ready to predict how the rest of the NBA season will shake out.
Before I dive into these overreactions to the first two or three games that each team has played so far, just keep in mind that any sort of reaction based on such a small sample size likely will not be accurate, and some may even be entirely ridiculous.
But, in the spirit of the NBA itself, these overreactions are all about having fun, so let’s not think about the reality of these very much and get down to business.
The New Orleans Pelicans will win the 2019 NBA Finals.
Right now, the Pelicans are playing out of their mind. They lead the NBA in points per game and average point differential. Oh, and field goal percentage. AND assists per game. Also, Nikola Mirotic, Anthony Davis, and Julius Randle are combining for over 80 points per game, Jrue Holiday, AD, and Elfrid Payton are averaging a total of 24 dimes a game, and Holiday and Davis are playing next level defense. Now, to answer the one question that has probably been consuming you since you read my first overreaction, the Pelicans, in just six games, will take down…
The Toronto Raptors, the 2019 Eastern Conference Champions.
Other than the Nuggets, the Raps are the only 3-0 team in the league. They beat their main Eastern Conference rival by 12, as they shut down Jayson Tatum. More importantly though, Kawhi Leonard looked as good as he did when he finished third in the MVP race in 2017. Beyond Kawhi being the driving force behind the Raptors making the Finals is Kyle Lowry and his near Steph Curry-level pull up threes, along with a deep rotation of role players headlined by Fred Van Vleet, Pascal Siakam, and Danny Green. This should all mean the Raps can beat out the Celtics and any other competition they’ll face out East.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will finish as the worst team in the NBA.
To shift focus to the bottom of the league, let’s take a look at the Cavs, who, in the post-LeBron era, are currently the only 0-3 team and are last in the league in average point differential. With a poorly constructed back court of low-IQ shooters and turnover prone guards, and a not-so-deep front court past K-Love, this team just doesn’t have a whole lot of talent. And shortly before this, they were even blown out by the Atlanta Hawks. THE HAWKS. If they’re already being destroyed by other garbage teams, then the Cavs don’t have much hope of finishing above league bottom.
Kemba Walker will win the scoring title.
Through three games, Kemba Walker is averaging a tad over 35 a game, which is the best in the league, ahead of the likes of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and even Nikola Mirotic. More impressively, Cardiac Kemba has made an NBA record 19 threes through three games, which means he’s on pace to make 519 threes. So with a scoring title and a record 500 threes, Kemba should have a pretty good chance to win MVP. But…
Nikola Jokic will be the MVP of the 2019 NBA season.
Right now, The Joker is undefeated, and he’s averaging 28-10-8 on 71% shooting. With Nikola Jokic performing like that, the Nuggets are just going to keep on winning. So, when the best-offensive center in the league finishes as the three seed, one assist per game shy of a triple double, and with a shooting percentage in the top five of the league, he will be awarded basketball’s top individual award in June.
Paul George will be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
My final overreaction is a big one…Russell Westbrook is dealing with knee injuries. Andre Roberson might not be back till the All-Star break. And the Thunder are still severely lacking depth. With all these going on, the Thunder are going to enter February outside of the top-ten in the West, and that means drastic measures will have to be taken. Meanwhile, by February, the Los Angeles Lakers will find themselves in trouble thanks to Kyle Kuzma and others’ streaky shooting, the Lakers’ overall poor defense, and their lack of blue-chip talent surrounding LeBron.
The Lakers and Thunder struggles will continue till mid-season and will lead to a big time trade that will see PG13 go to the place he should have gone to two years ago in exchange for a package centered around Kuzma and a first round pick.