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Official DMR 2018 NBA Season Preview

The 2018-2019 NBA Season starts tonight as teams will fight all year long to lose to the Golden State Warriors in five games in the NBA Finals. If you’re like most fans, you’re hoping for a competitive regular season and entertaining playoffs in order to counteract the fact that the Warriors will win another NBA title. To prepare you for the upcoming season, LordTreeSap and DG listed their over / unders for certain teams, individual awards, and how each conference will finish. Enjoy.

Over/Unders

LordTreeSap:

Spurs Over 43.5 Wins 

The Spurs haven’t won less than 47 games since the lockout of 1998 and that was due to a shortened season. San Antonio notched 47 wins in 2017 with 0 help from Kawhi Leonard. Now, Pop and Co. can move past the Kawhi saga with the addition of DeMar DeRozan leading the Texas franchise to yet another winning season. I loved this bet just a week ago, prior to Dejounte Murray and Lonnie Walker IV going down with injuries, but I’m riding with the Spurs until the wheels fall off.

Knicks Under 29.5 Wins

It’s going to be a tough season for us Knicks fans, but it’s ultimately for the best, looking toward better days in 2019. Kristaps Porzingis should be in no rush to return, and with the Knicks owning their first round pick in 2019, this is going to be another rebuilding team. Harvesting the young talent on the roster will sit atop Fizdale’s priorities (besides his smoking wife Natasha). Let Ntilikina, Robinson, Knox, and the rest of the neophytes learn on the job, while keeping the tank moving forward. It’s for the best.

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It's Canadian Thanksgiving tomorrow. Although I don't really have a day off to celebrate and we have a game as well so I literally have one of the busiest Mondays. However I have a minute to reflect today and I just want to say I AM THANKFUL for the journey life has taken me/us on and where our path has led us to so far. I am even thankful for all the struggles because they have helped us discover my/our potential and I KNOW that no matter what life throws our way, we'll figure it out and overcome it no matter what. I feel like this is a feeling everyone should feel regardless of who you are and where you're from so I am sharing in hopes of putting this energy that I am feeling out there. ✨✨Keep Shining and pushing through. ✨✨ Happy Thanksgiving! 🙏🏼 #thanksgiving #GoodVibesOnly #PositiveEnergy #PositiveMindset

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Wizards Over 46 Wins

Throughout the turmoil of 2017, the Washington Wizards still managed to pull out 43 wins, even though John Wall only managed to log half a season. The Wizkids should return to their 2016 form in a weaker Eastern Conference, where they put together a 49-win campaign. Washington quietly retooled their roster, finally shoring up their backup guard spot with Austin Rivers. They also acquired the polarizing yet productive Dwight Howard. Jeff Green could provide support in spots as well. Solid year coming for the win-now Wizards.

DG

Spurs Over 43.5 Wins 

I hate to agree with LTS for fear of a jinx, but this one is a no-brainer for me. The Spurs are the Patriots of the NFL. Until they fall off the wagon, how can you bet against them? Last season was their first “down” year in over 20 years and they still registered 47 wins without Kawhi Leonard. The injury to Dejounte Murray was not ideal, but DeMar Derozan is going to score 25 points per game and lead this team past 43.5 wins. Plus, when in doubt, they have Pop.

Miami Heat Over 43.5 Wins

The Heat won 44 games last year and return almost the exact team from a year ago. However, they are going to be a better thanks to the rebirth of Hassan Whiteside. Last season was a step back for Whiteside and at times, he looked lost on the court. This is the same Whiteside who lead the league in rebounding in 2017. If Whiteside returns to his 2017 form, the Heat will compete for a top 3 seed in the East. Plus, Dwyane Wade’s final ride will motivate this team throughout the year to make the playoffs.

Utah Jazz Under 50.5 Wins

This has more to do with the strength of the conference more than the talent of the Jazz. I love the Jazz. Drafting Donovan Mitchell was a home run for the organization. Just like the Heat, the Jazz return close to their entire core from a 48 win team. However, the West is the superior conference in the NBA and the Lakers, Nuggets, and Pelicans will all be better. I expect the Jazz to win 48 wins again so bet the under.

Individual Awards  

LordTreeSap:

Most Valuable Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo (+500)

It seems like to win the MVP award nowadays, your season numbers have to be accompanied by a cinematic narrative. LeBron should probably win the award again with his narrative juicy as ever, heading west to lead a possible 50-win Laker team to prominence. AD is definitely in the conversation this year as well, but I’m going with the Greek Freak to take home the hardware. He should be able to dominate a middling Eastern Conference with multiple moments wow fans and voters. A more uptempo system implemented by Mike Budenholzer makes the sky the limit, with a stat line eclipsing 30-10-5 well within reach for the year. Milwaukee just has to win more than 45 games.

Image result for giannis antetokounmpo gif knicks

Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard

A rejuvenated Kawhi Leonard should be a treat to watch this year. After only appearing in 9 games last season, the Spurs shipped the 2-time Defensive Player of the Year north of the border to hang with Drake in exchange for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl. I believe the 27-year-old returns to form in Toronto, leading the NBA in steals and absolutely dominates the rest of the East in his lone year suiting up for the Raptors.

6th Man of the Year: Lou Williams

We’re going back to back (Drake voice) with Lou Williams, who would tie Jamal Crawford as the only player to win the award three times in their career. Sweet Lou was nothing short of unbelievable, playing at the level of a possible all-star leading into the February break. I expect a similar stat line from Lou Will once again, with his unique lead guard role solidified as the top scorer in Clipper land.

Rookie of the Year: DeAndre Ayton

Simply put, Ayton can do it all on the basketball floor. It’s being reported that Devin Booker will actually be ready for the opener, so we could see the next Kobe-Shaq type of duo begin to take shape this year. Amid turmoil at the top of the organization, the Suns have one of the brightest young cores in all of the NBA and should be a fun team to land on for all my League Pass fans out there.

Most Improved Player: Markelle Fultz

After essentially taking a redshirt year to fix his shooting stroke (mindset), Markelle Fultz comes into 2018 as the 76ers starting shooting guard and the expectations are sky high for the former No. 1 overall pick. As someone who was heavily on the Fultz bandwagon coming out of Washington, I’m staying put with him possessing too much talent to not make it work.

Image result for markelle fultz gif shot

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens finally breaks through in 2018 with a loaded Celtics team to notch his first of many Coach of the Year honors. Boston should relatively cruise to the top seed in the Eastern Conference and be around the 60-win mark. He’ll ultimately be judged on playoff execution, as most expect this Celtic team to meet the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals.

DG

Most Valuable Player: Anthony Davis (+300)

It’s time for the “LeBron can win this every year, but let’s give to to someone else” award. If LeBron puts up the same numbers from last year and the Lakers make the playoffs, it’s a wrap. LeBron wins the MVP. However, the NBA loves to reward players on teams that improve significantly. That’s why I’m going with Anthony David. The numbers are there.. Last year, Davis averaged 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds despite a slow start to the season. If both of those numbers remain the same or improve and the Pelicans snag a top 4 seed, Davis will be holding the MVP trophy at the end of the year.

Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert

The Jazz shocked the entire NBA community last year by not only making the playoffs with Gordon Hayward, but defeating the Thunder in the first round. Donovan Mitchell had a lot to do with the team’s success, but the team’s anchor is Rudy Gobert, thanks to his toughness and ability to defend the rim. Gobert won this award last year after only playing 56 games. If Gobert plays a full year and the Jazz are just as successful, he will repeat.

6th Man of the Year: J.J. Redick

This award all depends on if Redick consistently comes off the bench all year. Right now, Markelle Fultz is slated to start for the Sixers. If Redick comes off the bench, his only responsibility will involve putting the ball in the basket. Redick averaged a career best 17.1 points per game last year. However, if Redick becomes the leader of the second unit of a Philly team that wins 55 games, I could see voters rewarding Redick over Lou Williams.

Rookie of the Year: Luka Donic

Dallas, it’s time to meet the foreigner who will lead your franchise for the next 20 years aka Dirk 2.0. At first, I wasn’t completely sold on Luka Donic. I felt that because of his age and lack of playing experience in the US, it would take time for Donic to adjust to the NBA game. After watching Donic dazzle in the preseason, I can safely say I was wrong. Donic is ready for the bright lights of the NBA. Donic was drafted to the perfect system for his skillset in Dallas and will have Dirk Nowitzki as his mentor. The sharpshooter will win over many fans right away.

Most Improved Player: Josh Jackson

First of all, Josh Jackson said he wants to win this award. Motivation? Check. All kidding aside, Jackson has the potential to have a monster season. In his rookie season, Jackson averaged 13 points and 4.6 rebounds. This year, Phoenix should be one of the more exciting young teams to watch with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Jackson has a chance to cement himself as a top ten two-way player this year. Expect both his points and rebounds to improve dramatically. If Phoenix can somehow compete for a playoff spot and Jackson takes the next step to prominence, he will be in the running for this award.

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens

In my opinion, this is the easiest award to pick. The Eastern Conference now belongs to Brad Stevens. Frankly, this award is long overdue. Stevens has increased his win total every year as the coach of the Celtics. With LeBron gone and Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returning from injury, it’s 60 wins or bust for the Celtics. Plus, he’s my doppelgänger so I have to support the brotherhood.

LordTreeSap:

Eastern Conference:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Toronto Raptors
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Washington Wizards
  5. Milwaukee Bucks
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Detroit Pistons

Western Conference:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Los Angeles Lakers
  6. San Antonio Spurs
  7. Denver Nuggets
  8. New Orleans Pelicans

Conference Finals/Champions:

East – Boston Celtics over Toronto Raptors

West – Golden State Warriors over Houston Rockets

Finals – Warriors over Celtics in 6

DG

Eastern Conference:

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Toronto Raptors
  3. Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Miami Heat
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Washington Wizards
  8. Charlotte Hornets

Western Conference:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Utah Jazz
  4. New Orleans Pelicans
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder
  6. Los Angeles Lakers
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves
  8. San Antonio Spurs

Conference Finals/Champions:

East – Boston Celtics over Toronto Raptors

West – Golden State Warriors over Houston Rockets

Finals – Warriors over Celtics in 7

Enjoy the season.

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