Isay: NBA season predictions

Isay predicts who will take awards, and the championship, in the upcoming NBA season.

Finals Prediction: Lakers vs. Celtics

Winner: Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers were carried by their two best players in the 2019-2020 season: Lebron James and Anthony Davis. They both had excellent seasons and led the Lakers to the playoffs and a Finals win. Still, some questioned whether the team’s success could be sustained (especially considering the lack of talent they had outside of Lebron James and Anthony Davis). These concerns were resolved this offseason when Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka brought in quality players such as Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell. The Lakers have added a solid supporting cast to help Lebron James and Anthony Davis. I expect them to return to the NBA Finals this year.

It is hard to predict what team will win the Eastern Conference. There are good teams such as the Heat, Celtics, Raptors, and Nets that are all in playoff contention. No team that compares to the Lakers in the West. Still, I think that the Celtics could win the Eastern Conference Finals and play against the Lakers in the NBA Finals. The Celtics have emerging superstars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as well as quality veteran starters in Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, and Tristan Thompson. While the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat will put up a strong fight to win the Eastern Conference, the Celtics have a deep rotation of good players. Unlike the Nets – who might get off to a rocky start as Kevin Durant returns from an injury and they start the season with a new coach – the Celtics are also returning with the same coaching staff and corps of players that played last season. 

In a Finals matchup between the Celtics and the Lakers, I believe the Lakers will come out victorious. Anthony Davis and Lebron James are the best duo in the NBA. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are excellent players, but they will struggle against the powerhouse duo of James and Davis in a seven-game playoff series.

MVP: Luka Doncic

Throughout the past two seasons, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has dominated the NBA and won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Many predict that he will continue to be dominant this season and win MVP again. But, last season, the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in a close series. It would not have been nearly as competitive if it weren’t for Luka Doncic. Doncic hit incredible shots throughout the series, and showed that he will be a superstar presence in the NBA for years to come. This season, I predict Doncic will continue to improve and lead his team to a top-three playoff seed in the Western Conference. Luka Doncic’s improved play and his team’s success in the upcoming season will lead to Doncic winning the MVP award.

Rookie of the Year: James Wiseman

I do not predict that any players from the 2020 draft will dominate in their rookie season. However, James Wiseman will be playing on a Golden State Warriors team with a healthy Stephen Curry. Other rookies like Anthony Edwards and Lamelo Ball will be asked to be top scoring threats for their teams – a challenging task during their rookie season. Wiseman will not be the number one scoring option for the Warriors. That should grant him the freedom to be an efficient scorer and rebounder. Anthony Edwards, the first overall pick in the draft, has the potential to be a great scorer in the NBA, yet he still needs to develop and improve his shot selection. It is possible that Anthony Edwards takes the NBA by storm and has a great season, but James Wiseman is a safe pick for rookie of the year based on his solid skill-set and role as a secondary scorer on the Warriors.

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