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2017-18 NBA SEASON PREDICTIONS

ALL NEW.

New uniforms, new All-Star Game format, new rosters. The NBA will look drastically new and different in the upcoming season 2017-18.

One of various highlights this off-season was the unveiling of the Nike x NBA apparel collection, featuring brandnew jerseys, warm-up gear and NBA fan merch. From head to toe, Nike will now be the official endorsement partner of the league – aside from the performance shoes, which are still dependent on the athlete‘s choice (ouch, Swoosh socks are now rocked with adidas kicks, very very difficult to stomach). Refurbishing the NBA uniforms in terms of fit and material, Nike designed four core uniforms for each team, classified as “editions“, which draw from the rich heritage of the NBA and its respective franchises. Doing away with the „Home“ and „Away“ uniforms, introducing the „Association“ and „Icon“. The Swoosh can be admired on every uniform now, finally being back on the hardwood! If you want to show some love for your favorite team, we’ve got you covered with our NBA shop on KICKZ.com.

The Global Launch Event of the Nike x NBA coop in Los Angeles was a blast!

In addition to Nike taking over the official gear of the NBA, the change in the All-Star Game format hit the headlines in early October. No more East vs. West as the NBA revamps the All-Star Game format. Captains will now pick their teams on Sunday, Feb 18th 2018, in Los Angeles from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves, making selections without regard for conference affiliation. Will changing the All-Star voting procedures help the All-Star Game in 2018? We‘ll see – at least it can not get any more boring than the previous year. LeBron James on a potential team with James Harden & other players from the West might eventually be a reason to get up in the night and watch the game again.

This off-season has been one of the busiest and most surprising one in recent years.
Absurd rumors, unpredictable trades and never-ending odyssey stories are finally in the books.

Even if there have been a lot of intriguing moves and a handful of promising contestants emerging over the summer, we will get a sense of déjà vu in the Playoffs. Warriors-Cavs IV will be the inevitable outcome. The path to any other Finals pairing would mean picking against LeBron James, which is foolish, or picking against the Warriors, which is impossible. Thus, it will be Golden State against Cleveland for the fourth time in a row and opinions on this Finals series could not vary more.

CAVS vs. WARRIORS – Who do you got?

OLD FACES, NEW PLACES

New faces and new roles will be spotted in the Q. Isaiah Thomas (get better soon, please!), Jae Crowder, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose make the 17-18 Cavs look a whole different compared to last season‘s squad. Familiar faces like Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith will have to adapt to their new place in the team. The season opener against the Boston Celtics on Oct 17th is not only the battle of the No. 2 against the No. 1 seed in the East, but a battle of former teammates, friends and allies. It is LeBron against Kyrie, Isaiah Thomas against his Celtics. Two matches that were hard to imagine only one year ago. Can the Boston Celtics avenge last year‘s Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Cavs throughout the season?

What about the West? The race for the top seed is rather boring, but the Warriors‘ pursuers will have to sharpen their ellbows. Last year‘s No. 3 seed in the West, the Houston Rockets, made one of the most aggressive moves this offseason by snagging Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers. Can James Harden and Chris Paul form a backcourt partnership that might threathen the Warriors‘ supremacy and help them outrun the Spurs once and for all?

Same goes for the Triple-Double-Monster Russell Westbrook and new arrival Paul George in Oklahoma City. Following KD‘s departure, the Westbeast was lacking a star counterpart and had to put up insane statistics night in and night out. Now, with George on his side, they could challenge the Warriors for the league‘s most efficient offense. And do not forget, they have Hoodie Melo now. After Carmelo Anthony‘s strange journey with the New York Knicks finally coming to an end, he has every reason to give his former franchise the finger and return to his star level.

A lot of things can happen in a season. There are diferent paths to take, different records to break and different teams to take the throne. At the end, the ultimate showdown will nonetheless be Warriors vs. Cavs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Sorry for the spoiler alert! If you want to know the background story to every trade, every player and every team, check the FIVE magazin and be blown away by so much NBA expertise. Get all the FIVE mags on KICKZ.com!

It would be downright negligent for the KICKZ crew not to offer season predictions before the start of a new season as well. Here you are!

 

 

ANDREY

  • NBA Champion
    Warriors vs. Cavaliers. The fourth chapter. Based on the new, very qualitatively acquired depth and the switch of Kevin Love to Center the Cavaliers will face the Warriors much stronger than last year. It depends a little bit on the health of IT, but I feel certain that LeBron James will lead his team to the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
  • MVP
    This is a tough one. It will be a battle between Kawhi Leonard and James Harden. I wish Kawhi the MVP-Trophy, but right now I go with Harden. The question is when Kawhi will find his rhythm after his preseason injury and whether he gets more Iso-Plays in Pop’s ballmovement machinery to increase his stats. Despite the arrival of CP3 Harden will build on last season and will average a near triple-double statline.
  • Defensive Player of the Year
    C’mon it can be only one guy! Kawhi „I have fingers as big as my shank“ Leonard. The best two-way player in the world! This guy is amazing!
  • Surprise All Star of the Year
    You have to admit it: LaVar Ball is a true businessman. He exploits the BBB as good as his son(s). Deserved or not. In the end Lonzo Ball will be an (surprise) All-Star. #LonzoBallLikesThat #LaVarBallWinsTheDunkContest
  • Most Improved Player
    Kristaps Porzingis. After the departure of Melo the Knicks are now in the hands of the young „unicorn”. He is their superstar and go-to-guy. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Zinger delivers 25PTS/9RBD/3AST/2BLK per game.
  • Most Improved Team
    After one (learning) season under Thibs and the badly needed acquisition of a „veteran” guy like Butler who can lead this young (wolve)pack alongside KAT, the Timberwolves will finally reach the playoffs. Hopefully they are capable to reach even more. 🙂
  • Going up to Elite Level
    For me Giannis Antetokounmpo is a true superstar. But to be an elite player you need a consistent jumpshot in your repertoire. Giannis is already doing everything on the court and leads his team in almost every category. We’ll see if he used the offseason to improve his jumper.
  • Coming down to Earth
    The 76ers after they realised that Joel Embiid isn’t capable to play more than 50 games because of injuries, and the fact they signed him to a 5-year 150M$ extension.
  • Most Overhyped Player
    Draymond Green. First, I have to praise him. He’s playing with a lot of energy and passion on both sides of the floor and he’s a key player of the Warriors. But if you put him into an other team this guy wouldn’t be the same! He profits a lot of SC, KT and KD, and because of the fact that his skillset is limited respectively isn’t elite, he gets lost in the spotlight of his teammates.
  • Most Underrated Player
    Damian Lillard. It’s a shame that Dame has been left off the All-Star roster two years in a row and doesn’t get the recognition he deserves when it comes to the discussion of the best PG’s of the league. Just remember how Dame carried the Blazers single-handedly to the second round of the playoffs two seasons ago. #RapMVP
  • I’m buying a beer if…
    LeBron James’ FT% gets worse once again. I can’t understand how the best player in the world shoots so bad percentages from the line.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if…
    LaVar Ball starts MVP and championship talks and raises the prices of the BBB shoes if Lonzo drops his first double-double. #495$ #Bargain
  • The best one-on-one matchup in the league is…
    LeBron vs. KD. Nuff said.
  • The guy I love to hate is…
    Zaza Pachulia. Where should I start? To be honest, I don’t know. It’s way too much. Just look at this guy (playing/hurting opponents) and you know why I’m hating him.
  • The guy I hate to love is…
    Steph Curry. The barrage of 3’s. Provocative half-court shots and dribblings. „Rainbow“ lay-ups/floater. All the childish playthings pregame. Did I already mention all the 3’s??? It annoys me. But on the other hand it stuns me.
  • Rookie of the Year
    No, not Lonzo Ball! For me it’s Dennis Smith Jr.. His explosiveness. His acceleration. His drive to the basket. His courtvision. This young blood reminds me of a young Derrick Rose – with a MUCH better jumpshot! This guy can create chances for his teammates (Dirk:)) and gets buckets by himself. What a steal for the Mavs! Get dem buckets ROOK!!
  • Sixth Man of the Year
    The clippers had a wild offseason and lost some key players. But they turned the corner and made very good moves. One of them was to replace J.Crossover, with Lou „I’m scoring 44 points in your face” Williams. He’s an absolute savecall for scoring from the bench!

 

DENNIS

  • NBA Champion
    Cleveland Cavaliers – Franz Beckenbauer once said ‘Gute Freunde kann niemand trennen’; That is why Dwyane Wade and LeBron James will turn the heat back on and bring the Chamionship back to Cleveland
  • MVP
    LeBron James – The King will take back the crown as Russell Westbrook will be a little bit more restricted with PG1 and Melo at his side.
  • Defensive Player of the Year
    Draymond Green – with KD, Steph and Klay there is no need for him to make a big effort in the offense and safe it all for his lock-down D and good work on both backboards.
  • Surprise All Star of the Year
    Who knows how that will work with the new All-Star Game System anyways…
  • Most Improved Player
    Dennis Schröder – taking Team Germany on his shoulders in this year’s FIBA EuroBasket he gained even more trust in his skills and he has to be the Go-To-Guy with his Atlanta Hawks squad this season.
  • Most Improved Team
    The Minnesota Timberwolves will have a better season than last year’s 31-51 with the help of Jimmy Butler and J-Crossover. Plus they will put the Timberwolves in one or another highlight video.
  • Going up to Elite Level
    Paul Zipser – Showing his talent in last years playoffs he will have a breakthrough year this season and be one of the Bulls squad’ go-to-guys! You can do it!
  • Coming down to Earth
    Russell Westbrook – after a no-regard-for-human-life tripple-double season (still can’t belive it) he has to slow down a bit and let Melo and PG1 run at least some parts of the OKC offense.
  • Most Overhyped Player
    Lonzo Ball – he is making the latest NBA 2K18 ads without one minute on the NBA hardwood.
  • Most Underrated Player
    Derrick Rose – if his knees hold up there might be the chance for another Big Three in Cleveland
  • I’m buying a Beer if…
    … LaVar Ball runs on the field during a game at one point.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if…
    … 40-year old Vince Carter throws it down so hard he makes the Season Top 10 highlight reel
  • The best one-on-one matchup in the league is…
    … Kyrie Irving vs. LeBron James aka Anakin Skywalker vs. Obi Wan Kenobi
  • The guy I love to hate is…
    … Kevin Durant. His Instagram account to argue with kids, his decission to join GSW, the fact that he can’t drink/likes beer. I don’t like him. Kudos for his game though.
  •  The guy I hate to love…
    … Kyrie! What were you thinking?! You could have had it all in Cleveland and make another run with Bron to take down the Warriors. Still you are the best PG in the league.
  • Rookie of the Year
    Maxi Kleber (alright… Lonzo Ball will make it)
  • Sixth Man of the Year
    Tristan Thompson – a different/smaller Cavs starting-Line Up will put Thompson on the bench and make him part of the second unit. Should be able to grab some rebounds on both sides to a) start the offense and b) to give the Cavs some second chances when J.R. is having one of is off-days.

 

 

PHILIP

  • NBA Champion
    CAVS! Last Finals were closer than the outcome may suggest (4-1 is not too close obviously)… It’s all about the details, about single possessions, about makes and misses. I believe that LeBron will play his best season since returning to Cleveland and I hope that Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder have brought some of the luck of the Irish with them to Cleveland. So… GO CAVS!
  • MVP
    Three letters. LBJ. LeBron is gonna run the show in Cleveland, his assists will go up and he will probably score 26+ points per game again. People in his environment have described him as “obsessed“ during the off-season. I see him averaging a double-double while leading the Cavs to the top of the East once again. All hail King James!
  • Defensive Player of the Year
    Given the Warriors’ continued success, Draymond Green would be right up there again with a healthy Kawhi Leonard. Kawhi remains the grittiest defender in the game though, when playing at 100%, so I’ll go with him for DOPY.
  • Surprise All Star
    Dennis Schröder. DS17 is the Hawks’ new go-to-guy. He is lightning quick, can drive to the hole with the best of them and is a skilled passer. He could well be averaging something around 22 & 8 this season. That’d be All Star worthy to me!
  • Most Improved Player
    The Porzingod. KP is the new face of the Knicks. He is a gifted scorer who can do it all on offense. There has never been a player his size as agile as he is. Now that it’s bombs away for him in New York his stats will reach the next level and he will receive the MIP award as the icing on the cake!
  • Most Improved Team
    Like last year I have the Wolves on my radar… However, I have to say that they were last year’s biggest underachievers. Stacked with talent, they added one of the best two-way players in the league with Jimmy Butler and a former All Star at the 1-spot with Jeff Teague. This could be enough to lead Minnesota back to the playoffs in the stacked West…
  • Going Up to Elite Level
    OKC. Russ has produced one of the greatest individual seasons in NBA history last year. And this year he has two superstars by his side, Melo and PG13. These two will help him bring the Thunder back to the top 3 of the Western Conference. Come playoff time, anything is possible for OKC and their Big Three.
  • Going down to Earth
    The Pelicans. The Brow is one of the most gifted players in the league, you simply cannot guard him. Boogie is an absolute beast down low with point guard skills. Jrue Holiday is one of the most underrated point guards in the league. Rondo probably is a unique talent with unbelievable court vision. Nevertheless, the Pelicans will once again fail in their quest for postseason relevance… Too many divas aka Boogie and Rondo.
  • Most Overhyped Player
    Lonzo Ball. A player with great talent and court vision as it seems, but his devilish father Lavar has already driven Lonzo’s career into the wrong direction if you ask me. Instead of letting his talent determine his career, father Ball has turned his family into a company, promoting his own brand wherever and whenever he can…
  • Most Underrated Player
    Jae Crowder. Crowder was integrated as an asset in the Irving-Thomas trade. But he is more than that. He is one of those players you need in order to win. A difference maker. A versatile defender with a nice shooting touch. A championship caliber player. Crowder will be crucial to the Cavs’ championship quest.
  • I’m buying a beer if…
    Dirk Nowitzki will throw down a dunk. Let’s go Dirkules!
  • I wouldn’t be surprised if…
    Milos Teodosic becomes the NBA’s assists leader in his rookie season. This guy is out of this world. He seems to have at least 4 eyes, the way he’s able to find his open teammates no matter where they are on the court. Griffin and Jordan will dunk even more than with CP3 on their team this year, lemme tell you that!
  • The best one-on-one matchup in the league is…
    Easy. LeBron vs KD. Best players in the game. Same position. Both almost unguardable. Don’t get no better than this!
  • The guy I love to hate…
    Steph Curry. The mouthpiece. Thanking the Man Above after every made 3. I just can’t stand his antics. He can ball though. No doubt.
  • The guy I hate to love…
    James Harden. There is nothing he can’t do on offense. But there is also nothing he can do on defense. Worse defender than me…
  • Rookie of the Year
    This one is tough… If healthy, Ben Simmons will be a monster. But there is so much talent coming to the land this year, that the race for ROY will be a tight one. Fultz, Ball, Fox, Monk and Dennis Smith Jr., who is my number 2, will compete for Simmons’ crown!
  • Sixth Man of the Year
    JR Smith. JR will enter every game with 3 quick shots from deep, if he finds his touch this season, he will catch fire on numerous occasions. Hot shooting for a contender… 6th man honors in reach for JR!

 

ROBBIN

  • NBA Champion
    Golden State Warriors. One more year experience as a group playing together and basically no departures. League needs to get on their level. Only a major injury will prevent another championship.
  • MVP
    LeBron James. With everyone else teaming up in super teams and taking away each others shots (and impact) the light will shine bright on Bron in Cleveland especially since I.T. will be out until the AS break.
  • Defensive Player of the Year
    Rudy Gobert. He should have won that award last year and the year before that. He’s due. Gobert is a beast in the paint and basically everything you put up there gets send back in a hurry.
  • Surprise All Star of the Year
    D’Angelo Russell. With I.T. out there’s a guard spot open on that roster and D Russ is primed for a good season on a bad team. Curious to see which team captain will pick him though.
  • Most Improved Player
    Buddy Hield will put out good offensive numbers on a lottery bound team. Is he a lock for that award? No. But the situation is perfect for him and he’s got the green light.
  • Most Improved Team
    Every year I put my Lakers here out of principle (and hope). But this time I can really see this happening. With Lopez they have an All Star Caliber center and Ball is a bonafide distributor. Fingers crossed.
  • Going up to Elite Level
    Oklahoma City Thunder. Even if there is just one basketball to share with the addition of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the Thunder will return to Elite Level. This is an easy pick.
  • Coming down to Earth
    The Utah Jazz have a Hayward-sized hole at Shooting Guard and no warm bodies to fill it. Last year’s no. 5 seed in the playoffs will have a hard time reaching the postseason at all.
  • Most Overhyped Player
    Lonzo Ball. Don’t get me wrong, I like the kid and from what I have seen so far he can really play. He might even be elite in the future, but the expectations for his rookie season are ridiculous.
  • Most Underrated Player
    Nikola Jokic. If you followed the league closely last year you saw what kind of numbers this guy can put up. You can basically run your whole offense through him as he’s also an excellent passer.
  • I’m buying a beer if…
    the Lakers will have a player in this year’s All Star game which will be played in L.A. As a Lakers fan that’s wishful thinking. I can risk to pay for some beers for that.
  • I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if…
    LeBron puts up Westbrook’s last year’s crazy numbers until I.T. is back. Triple Double in every game until the All Star Game? Nope. Would not surprise me one bit.
  • Best one-on-one matchup in the league
    I can’t wait until Isiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving go head to head in the Eastern Conference Finals playing against their ex-teams.
  • The guy I love to hate…
    Draymond Green. Something about that guy just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the nut kicking and the way he pretends it was a normal basketball motion.
  • The guy I hate to love…
    Lonzo Ball. Even though there’s a ton of reasons to hate on this kid, I love how he plays the game. Unselfish, makes his teammates better, plays hard, rebounds the ball and unbelievable court vision. Yeah, I like him.
  • Rookie of the Year
    It’s a long year and although I expect Ball to start slow I think he will get rolling by December. However for ROY you need to make an impact from the start. So my money is on Sixers Ben Simmons.
  • Sixth Man of the Year
    Dario Saric. Granted nobody knows how the Sixers rotations will look like, but if the versatile power forward comes off the bench he’s an instant boost to Philly’s offense.

 

DUSTIN

  • NBA Champion
    Cleveland Cavaliers – A little bit of LeBron fandome going into this prediction, but still: I think Cleveland needs two players besides LeBron to step up big time over those (highly likely) 7 finals games and this year they have the quality (and depth) in the roaster to do so. Got to give credit to the GSW though – they will be the team to beat and it’s going to be very hard!
  • MVP
    Lebron James – the King will reign and put up crazy stats – filling the sheet completely.
  • Defensive Player of the Year
    Kawhi Leonard – the claw is still not on his peak!
  • Surprise All Star of the Year
    Nikola Jokic – closed out the last season in remarkable way – if he can improve his game even further he will be an All-Star candidate.
  • Most Improved Player
    Nikola Jokic / Kristaps Pozingis / Otto Porter – We got Jokic, Porter came back strong from his injury and his potential is enormous – the unicorn will have to step up.
  • Most Improved Team
    Philadelphia 76ers – trusting the process
  • Going up to Elite Level
    Oklahoma City Thunder – PG, Melo, Westbrook – all three of them going for the scoring title – just kidding, if they share the ball well it’s the best offense in the league.
  • Coming down to Earth
    Los Angeles Clippers – never liked them and now they lost their key player – bye bye championship ambitions!
  • Most Overhyped Player
    Reggie Jackson / Chandler Parsons / Allen Crabbe – 16 Mio / 23 Mio / 18,5 Mio – I know I’m only going for overpayed here – but you do realize that these numbers are per year.
  • Most Underrated Player
    Damian Lillard / Rudy Gobert – Dame never getting the credit he deserves and Gobert is an overall beast – for me the best center in the league!
  • I’m buying a Beer if…
    The Clippers make the playoffs…
  • I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if…
    Giannis averages a Triple Double this season
  • The best one-on-one matchup in the league is…
    LeBron vs Durant
  • The guy I love to hate is…
    Dwight Howard – going from overhyped comedian to absolute unlikable.
  • The guy I hate to love…
    Gordon Hayward – just the general nice white dude.
  • Rookie of the Year
    Jason Tatum – he’ll be going strong for Boston.
  • Sixth Man of the Year
    Lou Willliams. He will get minutes all year playing alongside austin rivers and will profit from Teodosics ball movement and the perimeter. And: He’s always an option in everyones heads…

 


 

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About the author

Started from the University now she‘s here: Sophia was drafted this season as an intern and now represents the female voice in the team. Collecting shoes like others collect souvenirs while traveling, she leaves no country without at least two new kickz in her backpack. The franconian sneakerhead knows every sneaker blog by heart, but when it comes to a favorite brand, there is only one true love in her life: NIKES on her feet keep her cypher complete. Hobbies include: cheering for her Wine & Gold, eating sushi all day every day and playing beerpong. #nevernotballin

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