The 2014-2015 NBA season is closer then ever before each second of the day. So while we have the time to show off our NBA knowledge before the season starts, I will provide you with my standing predictions. So, without further delay, here are my 2014-2015 NBA standings predictions. If I get all them right, call me the analyst of the year:
1: Toronto Raptors
The Raptors surprised the entire NBA after it appeared they had given up on the 2013-2014 NBA season by trading Rudy Gay to the Kings but that was not the case. The Raptors were able to make the playoffs as the 3rd seed winning the Atlantic Division and taking the way more experienced Brooklyn Nets to 7 games. Look for the Raptors to take the divisional crown again this season.
2: Brooklyn Nets:
With the departures of head coach Jason Kidd and veteran small forward Paul Pierce, the Nets will have similar success as to which they had last season. Head Coach Lionel Hollins will be able to get the most out of Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett, Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, and virtually every player on the entire roster. Look for the Nets to be a scary team if they are able to make the NBA playoffs this season
3: New York Knicks:
Last year was certainly a huge disappointment for the Knicks and their fans, but there is a lot of hope on the way. The Knicks are implementing a new offense in the triangle offense under new head coach Derek Fisher and have a new president of basketball operations in Phil Jackson. While the talent around Carmelo Anthony isn’t up to Melo’s standards the Knicks will be in contention for the 7th-8th seed in the Eastern. The Knicks will be already looking ahead to the 2015 off-season when they have a ton of cap space to lure free agents.
4: Boston Celtics:
Rajon Rondo will be able to play a full season this year for the Celtics which will be the first time since Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are traded. The Celtics will get to see how much of a building block Rondo can be for their franchise and will get a look at their lottery pick Marcus Smart and what the development of Jared Sullinger.
5: Philadelphia 76ers:
One word: tank. The 76ers will be in tank mode until they are able to acquire top talent via their lottery picks. Micheal Carter Williams looks to be a huge part to the 76ers and Nerlens Noel will get a chance to show off his talent after sitting out last year. Joel Embiid will probably sit out a year for the 76ers to due to a foot injury. There is no doubt however the 76ers are the worst in the Atlantic and the worst in the NBA.
1: Cleveland Cavaliers:
The Cavaliers have improved a lot and this is a understatement. Not only did the Cavaliers get the best player in the NBA in LeBron James they also were able to from the next big 3 in the NBA with the addition of Kevin Love. The Cavaliers are favored to win the NBA Finals and they are my pick to make the Finals in the east. You just can’t pick against a LeBron James led team in the East
2: Chicago Bulls:
The Chicago Bulls made one of the most underrated moves of the NBA off-season acquiring Pau Gasol and with that the youngest MVP in NBA history returns in Derrick Rose. The Bulls have one of the best benches in the league which features Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich, and many other notable names. Look for the Bulls to give the Cavaliers the biggest run at their money this season.
3: Detroit Pistons:
There is no doubt last year is a season to forget for the Pistons. However, things could be looking up in Motown, as Andre Drummond is developing into a rebounding machine, Greg Monore will be back for at least one year, Brandon Jennings who is a underrated point guard, and Josh Smith who is one of the overlooked players in the NBA. The Pistons also formed a nice bench with DJ Augstin, Caron Butler, Jodie Meeks, and other notable players.
4: Indiana Pacers
Well, all that’s left to say for the Pacers and their fans are, thank god summer is over. After Lance Stephenson left for Charlotte, the Pacers then had to deal with their franchise player, Paul George suffer a horrific injury that will keep him out for the entire 2014-2015 season. With David West and George Hill set to miss weeks and games with injuries, the Pacers will have to rely on Roy Hibbert the most. Which we all know isn’t exactly Mr. Reliable.
5: Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have one of the brightest futures in the NBA. With new owners committed to keep the team in Milwaukee and a new head coach in Jason Kidd, the Bucks are ready to show off their young talent this NBA season. With some of the most underrated players at their positions and some of the youngest players in the NBA, its important not to underrated the Bucks for the future and maybe this year.
1: Washington Wizards
With their surprising upset of the Bulls in last years NBA playoffs, the Wizards are looking to rebound and are one of the better teams in the NBA. With the addition of Paul Pierce and Glen Rice Jr. getting some nice development, the Wizards are looking to be extremely dangerous this season. Otto Porter is in his early 20’s and will become a huge building block for the Wizards. The Bulls and Cavaliers better watch their backs.
2: Miami Heat:
The Heat are overlooked due to the fact they lost LeBron James who you can’t replace no matter how hard you try. The Heat still kept 2/3 of there big 3 in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and are still a playoff team. The heat have added Luol Deng as the new starter at small forward. Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts will have to provide larger roles for the Heat this year and rookies James Ennis and Shabazz Napier look to play huge for the Heat this season. Don’t sleep on the Miami Heat this NBA season.
3: Charlotte Hornets:
This team is getting underrated by everyone this season. I don’t know why to. Their starting five is Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist, Noah Vonleh, and Al Jefferson. MKG looks like he has an improved shot this season and Stephenson is a huge upgrade over Ben Gordon. However, the Hornets need to build on last years surprise before its time to discuss contenders.
4: Atlanta Hawks:
The Hawks have a nice team that I think is very underrated. This team is in one of the toughest divisions in the NBA, but people forget before Al Horford went down the Hawks were playing some of the if not the best basketball in the entire NBA. Jeff Teague is underrated at the point guard spot, Paul Millsap will build on his all-star season and remember, even though they were struggling the Hawks took the Pacers to 7 games and Pacers ended up making the conference finals.
5: Orlando Magic:
Its unfortunate a team like the Magic will finish in last but their young talent is no joke. Aaron Gordon is what he advertised at Arizona, Victor Oladipo was in contention for rookie of the year, and Elfrid Payton, the new point guard for the Magic which no one knew who he was on draft day could be a huge star. While the Magic are still far away from contending, this is the most exciting team the Magic have had in awhile.
1: Oklahoma City Thunder
Even with Kevin Durant set to miss 6-8 weeks with a broken foot, this is still the weakest division in the Western Conference which the Thunder will win. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka will help keep OKC from falling off completely. The Thunder will need increased roles from the shooting guard and center spots.
2: Denver Nuggets:
Yes, the Denver Nuggets will be the second best team in this division. Why? Everyone is overlooking them due to an injury riddled season last year but they have added significant depth to their roster. Ty Lawson is looking to become an elite point guard this season, Javale McGee is back ready to show off things he’s worked on, Wilson Chandler will continue his development, and that Nuggets bench is so deep.
3: Portland Trail Blazers:
Sure the Blazers made the playoffs and made it to the second round last season, but after starting 31-9 the Blazers feel off and barley made the playoffs. We know what we will get from Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Alridge, but the next 3 positions in the Blazers lineup are iffy. The Blazers will contend for a playoff spot, but I have them falling short.
4: Minnesota Timberwolves:
Kevin Love is gone, but the Timberwolves are the #EyesOnTheRise this NBA season. Minnesota has the 2014 NBA Draft first pick in Andrew Wiggins, a great passing point guard in Ricky Rubio, a high flyer Zach LaVine who will make almost every dunk, a developing Gorgui Dieng, and a solid rebounder in Nikola Pekovic. Give this Timberwolves a few years before they are able to become a huge threat in the deep Western Conference.
5: Utah Jazz:
The Jazz have assembled a nice young backcourt in Trey Burke and Dante Exum, have an underrated small forward in Gordon Hayward, and a nice PF-C duo in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Let’s not forget the Jazz were in playoff contention two years ago and if they beef up their bench and develop Dante Trey and Hayward along with Kanter more, the Jazz could be another dangerous team in the Western Conference.
1: Los Angeles Clippers:
The Clippers may just be the deepest team in the western conference. Here’s each starters backup: PG: Chris Paul: Backup: Jordan Framar SG: J.J. Reddick: Backup: Jamal Crawford Small Forward: Matt Barnes: Backup: Chris Douglas-Roberts Power Foward: Blake Grffin: Backup: Glen Davis Center: DeAndre Jordan: Backup: Spencer Hawes. The Clippers will contend with the Spurs and Thunder for the top 3 seeds in the Western Conference.
2: Golden State Warriors:
Who doesn’t like a good to watch NBA team? That’s what the Warriors are a huge entreating team. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are arguably the best backcourt duo in the NBA, Harrison Barnes is scheduled to have a breakout year, David Lee will be David Lee, and Andrew Bogut just has to stay healthy. The warriors will be between the 5th and 6th seed.
3: Phoenix Suns:
After being expected to tank last season, the Suns surprised everyone with just falling a few games out of playoff contention and they most likely would have made it if Eric Bledsoe was healthy the entire season. The Suns have an underrated backcourt in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, Gerald Green turned into a beast, and the power forward and center spots seem to be the only question mark for the Suns. So do they make the playoffs? I’ll let you know later on.
4: Sacramento Kings:
Well, the Kings have a nice future with Darren Collison at point guard now after the Kings signed him after an impressive backup season backing up CP3 in LA. Ben McLemore will be better, Rudy Gay is an underrated small forward who can easily average 20, Jason Thompson will develop more, and DeMarcus Cousins is well, DeMarcus Cousins.
5: Los Angeles Lakers
Well, the roster has improved a bit after losing Pau Gasol to the Bulls, the Lakers went out and got the former Bull Carlos Boozer, made a trade for Jeremy Lin and drafted Julius Randle, who looks to be a future rebound and post machine. Kobe Bryant is hoping to prove all his doubters wrong and unfortunately, the Lakers won’t be able to make the playoffs this season.
1: San Antonio Spurs:
Every year we write off the Spurs. Stop it. This is one of the most consistent teams in NBA history and its time to realize it. Kawhi Leonard makes the Spurs more dangerous and we saw how good that San Antonio Spurs bench was in the NBA Finals in which the Spurs just flat out dominated.
2: Dallas Mavericks:
The Mavericks gave the Spurs the biggest challenge last year in the playoffs. Not the Clippers, not the Thunder, not the Heat, the Dallas Mavericks took the Spurs to 7 games and became even more dangerous. With the additions of Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, and Jameer Nelson, the Mavericks could be a dark horse candidate to make some noise this NBA post season.
3: Houston Rockets
The Rockets have one of the better duos in James Harden and Dwight Howard and will have to build on an early exit from the 2013-2014 NBA playoffs and the key is chemistry. James Harden and Dwight Howard don’t eat with the Houston Rockets team and if they don’t start building chemistry up. It could mean no playoffs for the Rockets:
4: Memphis Grizzlies:
The Grizzlies played great basketball and gave the Oklahoma City Thunder a tough time in their playoff series. Mike Conley and Tony Allen showed off their talents that may or not have been seen before and with the Grizzlies missing Marc Gasol, it could be a different story for the Grizzlies this season.
5: New Orleans Pelicans:
The Pelicans have the future best player in the NBA in Anthony Davis and time will tell how much the rest of Davis’ teammates live up to their potential. If the Pelicans are able to get a nice young core of players developed, it could be something special that the Pelicans fans haven’t had since they were the Hornets when Chris Paul was there.
First Round Eastern Conference:
Cavaliers over Hawks in 4
Bulls over Nets in 6
Wizards over Heat in 7
Raptors over Hornets in 7
First Round Western Conference:
Spurs over Suns in 5
Clippers over Nuggets in 5
Thunder over Rockets in 6
Mavericks over Warriors in 7
Second Round Eastern Conference:
Cavaliers over Raptors in 5
Bulls over Wizards in 6
Second Round Western Conference:
Spurs over Mavericks in 7
Clippers over Thunder in 7
Cavaliers over Bulls in 7
Spurs over Clippers in 6
Spurs over Cavaliers in 6
Finals MVP: Tim Duncan.