After a miserable ending to the WNBA fan, this Liberty fan turns to his first love in hoops, my New York Knicks.
Now, I head into this NBA season with excitement, but mainly, a large feeling of apprehension. Why? Well, my Knicks had a good season last year. 5th seed. Knocked out the Cleveland Cavs in the first round. Our first playoff series win in almost a decade. And if a few breaks went our way, we could have dispatched the Miami Heat as well. Eastern Conference Finals? Yup, we were just two wins away.
So, I'm expecting a bigger season. Yes, there are expectations for the Knicks where the bar is a bit higher, and dare I say, amongst the best teams in the league. Especially when beyond the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics (ugh...), the East really is asking for additional teams to step up.
There is hope. There is expectation. This can't be good for my mental health early for the Knicks on what is an absolutely brutal opening ten games.
But ehhh, whatevs.
Here are my 2023-24 NBA Predictions, with some wild guesses thrown in.
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1. Boston Celtics (60-22)
2. Milwaukee Bucks (52-30)
3. New York Knicks (48-34)
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (47-35)
5. Philadelphia 76ers (45-37)
6. Indiana Pacers (42-40)
7. Orlando Magic (41-41)
8. Atlanta Hawks (41-41)
9. Miami Heat (39-42)
10. Brooklyn Nets (38-43)
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1. Denver Nuggets (54-28)
2. Sacramento Kings (50-32)
3. Phoenix Suns (49-33)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (48-34)
5. Los Angeles Lakers (47-35)
6. Golden State Warriors (46-36)
7. Dallas Mavericks (44-38)
8. Oklahoma Thunder (44-38)
9. Memphis Grizzlies (43-39)
10. Minnesota Timberwolves (43-39)
Next Household Name: Victor Wembanyama (kinda obvious, right?)
Biggest Name to be Traded: James Harden (also, obvious)
Biggest Story: LeBron James' Remarkable 21st Season in the NBA
Scoring Champion: Jason Tatum
All-Star Game MVP: LeBron James
In-Season Tournament Winner: Golden State Warriors
Coach of the Year: Mike Brown
Most Improved Player of the Year: Mikal Bridges
Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis (more below)
Sixth Man of the Year: Malik Monk
Rookie of the Year: Victor Wembanyama
Most Valuable Player: Jayson Tatum
- Bulls Blow Up Roster
This is the year the Bulls realize the roster has hit it's peak. Both DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine will be moved. LaVine to the 76ers to replace Harden (once he is finally moved).
- Anthony Davis Wins Defensive Player of the Year
I know, he needs to stay healthy. I'm getting bold. AD stay healthy, takes the lead, allows LeBron to final play Robin to his Batman, and he does it all on the defensive side.
- Brooklyn Nets Quietly Earn Defensive Identity
It feels like forever since we were hoisting the Nets into Championship predicitions. It almost seems surreal to think they once had Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden on one team. Regardless, with the hype gone (as well as the attention), I think the Nets build a defensive identity lead by Bridges, Simmons, and Claxton. Speaking of Bridges, I think this is the year he takes another step forward.
- Russell Westbrook Averages 20/8/8
Yup, I'm calling for Westbrook to regain that triple-double magic, but jusssssstttttt a bit under where he used to be.
- RJ Barrett Finally Takes the Leap
- Okay, so this is more of a hope, that a wild guess. But after the eye test looked mighty good this summer with Barrett in Team Canada red, I'm hoping that translates to the NBA. I also see him doing this in a staggered effort with him doing his damage once Randle is off the floor.
- Jordan Poole Puts Up One of the Craziest Season We've Ever Seen
I actually don't know what this means. I just expect Poole to hoist a lot of shots, and also have nights where he looks like the best player on the earth. All of it just to drive the Wizards into dysfunction.
Eastern Conference: Celtics d. Bucks (4-2)
Western Conference: Nuggets d. Kings (4-2)
Nuggets d. Celtics (4-3)
NBA Finals MVP: Nikola Jokic