The highly anticipated 2015-2016 NBA season is only a couple of months away, and after some big moves this summer, it will be interesting to see how things play out. The Western Conference somehow keeps getting more challenging, while Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers pretty much run the Eastern Conference. Here are some predictions for the upcoming season.
The Clippers will make it to the Finals
As I mentioned, the Western Conference is full of powerhouse teams. However, only two teams have made signings this offseason that should vault them further into title contention. These teams are the Los Angeles Clippers and the San Antonio Spurs, whom I believe will ultimately meet in the Conference Finals. The series will of course go to game 7, with the Clippers coming out on top. This mainly because Clippers coach Doc Rivers can go 7 or 8 players into his bench and find guys with legitimate playoff experience, who could start for other teams.
In addition to their deep bench, the Clippers have finally added that wing they needed. They’ve also built a more stable-looking bench than last season, when they relied on Austin Rivers (surprisingly improved though he was) in the playoffs. The Clippers also added another solid veteran leader in Paul Pierce, who brings a ton of playoff experience and has ties to Rivers from his Boston days. This should be enough to lift the Clippers past the Spurs.
Carmelo Anthony Will Win the Scoring Title
It doesn’t take a fortune teller to foresee that the New York Knicks will likely miss the postseason. They are obviously still in rebuild mode, which means they aren’t any real threat in the East. However, they still have one of the NBA’s most underrated superstars in Carmelo Anthony, and he won’t want to sit around and let his team be the laughing stock of NBA for another season.
Melo is a high-volume scorer, as we all know. Though he’s been battling knee issues that led him to being shut down for the second half of last season, he is still capable of winning another scoring title, as he did only three years ago. Since the Knicks’ second option on offense seems to be Arron Afflalo, who is a great two-way player but not really the ideal candidate for a second option, Melo has more space and opportunities to put up numbers. The Knicks still haven’t really sorted out Phil Jackson‘s famous triangle offense, which is all the more reason Melo might wind up taking as many shots as he’s used to.
LeBron James Will Win His Fifth MVP Award
The Most Valuable Player award is not based purely upon the numbers a player puts up; rather, it goes hand in hand with the success of the player’s team. Stephen Curry winning the MVP over James Harden or Russell Westbrook is a perfect example of this. The Golden State Warriors had the NBA’s best record, whereas the Rockets were the Western Conference’s second seed and Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder failed to make the playoffs. The Warriors’ season was partly why Curry was rewarded with the award, despite Harden and Westbrook putting up remarkable numbers. This will be the reason King James wins his 5th MVP award, as he will likely put up his usual numbers and I predict the Cavaliers will have the best season in their history. LeBron has hinted that the “secret motivation” that fueled him during Cleveland’s postseason run was him not winning MVP honors. This may or may not have been the reason for his stunning NBA Finals performance, but don’t count him out for winning the award yet again.
Anything can happen, and it will be interesting to see how this upcoming season pans out. There are lots of teams that have made attempts to improve, and there are lots of players with something to prove. Tip-off is set for the end of October, so we’ll see then. It should be fun finding out!