From Roaracle to Quickin Loans, from United Center to American Airlines Arena, the NBA finally tips off today. In the past 3 weeks we have covered the off season for the entire NBA. You can read the previews here:
Eastern Conference: The Cavaliers are easily the best pick to repeat as the Eastern Conference Champions. LeBron James has put together a fantastic team to reach the finals. Dwanye Wade and James work together very well, Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder are very good supporting cast members. Boston, with their new look, will give Cleveland a tough time, as we will see that in action tonight in the opening day matchup. Washington do not have enough talent to top the Cavs, but if you want to have some fun this season, the Wizards are have 10 to 1 odds on winning the east.
Western Conference: There is no doubt that the Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA. A lot has to go wrong for the Warriors to not repeat as the the conference champions. Oklahoma City and Houston have build superteams and should be able to be competitive in the west. But hands down, barring a catastrophic injury to Steph Curry or Kevin Durant, the Dubs will be on top.
Way To Early Awards
MVP: There is an obvious bias to not include players from superteams to be in the running for MVP. In the last 4 years, LeBron has not won the award and this year, the Kyrie-less Cavs gives James the chance to win his 5th MVP award. Kawahi Leonard wold be the front runner for the award, but he has a crippling leg injury. I think, however, John Wall is be best candidate to win the MVP, especially if you are a degenerate gambler like me. If the Wizards can crack the top 3 in the East and are competitive all season long, Wall has a very good chance. He is easily the best player in Washington and if Wall has a 30/10 season, the MVP is his to take. His odds are at a +3300.
Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green is the favorite to repeat as the DOPY, but Utah Center Rudy Gobert is a force in the paint. Odds for the center start at +250. Last year Gobert was 1st Team All Defensive and has averaged more than 2 blocks a game for the last 3 years. Rudy Gobert has to be a name in all DOPY conversations.
Rookie of the Year: Lonzo Ball is the clear favorite to win ROTY, but he is over hyped and there is no chance that he lives up to the hype. Safer chances are Dallas PG Dennis Smith Jr. out of NC State and Philadelphia Swing Guard Ben Simmons out of LSU. Both players have the chance to make instant impact on their teams. Both have young line ps and instant needs for their skill sets. Odds start at +500 for Smith and +180 for Simmons.
Coach of the Year: Celtics coach Brad Stevens and longtime Miami coach Erik Spoelstra have a great chance of winning the coach of the year awards. Stevens needs to work his new team in Boston and take them past the Cavs and into the NBA finals. Boston lost last year to the Cavs and play a rematch tonight to start the season. Spoelstra needs to break into the top 4 in the Eastern conference and the Heat have to play competitively against the best teams in the NBA. Spoelstra has a young aggressive team that can do some damage this year. Brad Stevens is the favorite at +330 odds and Erik Spoelstra is sitting at a +1200.