With the NBA underway as of last week, fans everywhere are ecstatic for a season full of excitement and intrigue. Although we’re only a few games into the season, it’s never too early to predict what the season entails.
NBA Finals Prediction: Thunder vs. Cavs
Former MVP Kevin Durant is healthy again and the rest of the West should be cowering in fear. Durant and Westbrook will be a force to be reckoned with this season, and the additions of Enes Kantor and Dion Waiters certainly pair with them nicely. New head coach Billy Donovan, who led the Florida Gators to multiple NCAA titles, will find success very quickly with his new team. However, that success will come to a screeching halt once the Thunder face the Cavs in the finals. Derailed by injuries in the playoffs last year, the Cavs are back with a vengeance. In the first round, the Cavs lost Kevin Love with a shoulder injury, taking away a double-double machine and all-around great player for the rest of the playoffs. Still making it to the finals, the Cavs then lost Kyrie Irving, a bona fide scorer with amazing ball-handling skills, for the series after breaking his kneecap. Lebron put up a fight for the ages with contributions from Matthew Dellavadova, but it simply was not enough to take down the hot-handed Warriors. Now, with a healthy team and a few more pieces such as former Cavs star Mo Williams and Richard Jefferson, it looks as if the Cavs are ready to lock down the title this year and finally bring a championship to Cleveland.
MVP: Anthony Davis.
An athletic freak standing at 6’10”, Davis has finally settled into the league and is already dominating some of the league’s biggest stars. Averaging over 24 points and 10 boards last season, Davis hasn’t even hit his peak yet. In fact, this off-season Davis worked on developing a 3-point ball, adding to his already impressive repertoire. He led the Pelicans to the playoffs and averaged over 30 points and 10 boards per game against the Warriors during the first round, which is quite a feat for a 22 year-old. Davis is going to run the league in the near future, and it all starts with him winning MVP this season. Believe in the brow!
Rookie of the Year: Karl-Anthony Towns.
There’s a reason why this guy was the first overall pick, and he will prove to the rest of the league that he belongs with the elites. The Timberwolves definitely have some talent in Ricky Rubio and the up-and-coming Andrew Wiggins, but Towns will shine as the focal point of the team. Drafted out of Kentucky, Towns has the shot-blocking skills to make any player think twice about taking it to the hoop, and has a jump shot as smooth as most guards. Towns will make his presence felt around the league and this ROY award is just the first of the many hardware that Towns will win in his career.
Most Improved: C.J. McCollum.
The Trailblazers lost four starters this off-season: Lamarcus Aldridge, Nicholas Batum, Robin Lopez and Wes Matthews. The door is wide open for McCollum to star on this team alongside Damian Lillard. McCollum was a star all four years at Lehigh and even led them in their upset of perennial power Duke in the NCAA Tournament. At 6’4”, McCollum has the size and athletic ability to make a name for himself as a leader and ballplayer. With a whole new roster in Portland, McCollum has the potential to improve to the next level and can secure his spot as the league’s Most Improved Player for the 2015-16 season.