The Brooklyn Game goes around the horn to predict the NBA season.
Ryan Carbain: Anthony Davis. If you read a box score and saw Anthony Davis poured in 45 points, grabbed 20 boards and dished out 12 assists, would you blink? Is a triple double composed of points, blocks and steals totally out of the question? LeBron will likely coast a bit, Durant may get off to a slow start, Harden will be learning to play alongside Ty Lawson, so it comes down to Brow and Stephen Curry, and I think Davis’ eye-popping stats take it.
Ben Nadeau: Anthony Davis. Have you seen that The X-Files episode “Humbug,” where the conclusion of the episode is that being normal is boring? Enter Anthony Davis. Davis will start his trek towards “Old Men Will Tell Stories About Him To Their Grandchildren” status in 2015 and there’s a major chance he won’t let go of the reigns until 2025.
Devin Kharpertian: Kevin Durant. I think Curry and Davis will have better seasons. Thank voter fatigue for him over Curry. Davis might have better numbers, but the storyline is all set up for Durant to lead a 58-60 win team in the Western Conference returning from an injury. If the Pelicans miss the playoffs, I think Durant runs away with it for MVP #2.
WeMustBeNets: Stephen Curry.
Defensive Player of the Year
Ryan Carbain: Anthony Davis: See above. Monster year coming. I have to get one of them right, no?
Devin Kharpertian: Kawhi Leonard.
Ben Nadeau: Rudy Gobert. With Anthony Davis leading the way in the MVP race, it will invariably open this race back up for the rest of our NBA peasant competitors. Now, Rudy Gobert is a reasonably hot take, but he’ll anchor one of the league’s best defenses alongside Derrick Favors. If the Utah Jazz finally put it together and make the playoffs, Gobert is the Cinderella story that the media won’t be able to resist.
WeMustBeNets: Anthony Davis.
Rookie of the Year
Ryan Carbain: Emmanuel Mudiay, it’s a stat-driven award, and Mudiay gets the keys to the (probably woeful) offense right way. Good luck wrestling the keys from Kobe, Mr. Russell.
Devin Kharpertian: Joel Embiid. Just kidding. Jahlil Okafor.
Ben Nadeau: Bobby Portis. I know, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, and Joakim Noah all exist still, but Fred Holberg will hitch himself to this surprisingly NBA-ready forward. Despite Gasol’s resurgence this summer, the Bulls may opt to rest their veterans more down the stretch; and, as Mitotic proved last year, you don’t need the statistics to be a contender. Rookie of the Year tends to go to the highest scorer, but with Bulls looking like conference contenders and the Sixers (Okafor), Lakers (Russell), Nuggets (Mudiay), and Wolves (Towns) all projected to miss the playoffs, this race is wide open for me.
WeMustBeNets: Jahlil Okafor.
Sixth Man of the Year
Ryan Carbain: Ty Lawson. I’m betting that he gets transitioned to the bench quickly and becomes the playmaker the Rockets need to be a nightmare for 48 minutes. It would be nice to give James Harden a little rest, after all. Good chance to look like an idiot when he starts all 82 games though.
Devin Kharpertian: J.R. Smith.
Ben Nadeau: Ryan Anderson. In a perfect situation for success. He’ll get to fire away with reckless abandon as Davis and Asik roam the paint for potential rebounds. With Tyreke Evans already on the shelf for 20+ games, Anderson’s outside shooting will be needed more than ever. Mark it down, this will be, by far, Anderson’s best season in the NBA.
WeMustBeNets: J.R. Smith.
Coach of the Year
Ryan Carbain: Kevin McHale. This one is tough, because I don’t think things shifted very much but the Rockets have a real shot to grab the number one seed and if they make that sort of jump McHale reaps the rewards.
Devin Kharpertian: Quin Snyder. Upside pick like Mike Budenholzer last year. If the Celtics end up as good as many think they can be, Brad Stevens can steal this.
Ben Nadeau: Quin Snyder. I’m fully in on this Kool-Aid! The Utah Jazz, fueled by Gordon Hayward, alongside the aforementioned Favors and Gobert, are a wonderfully scary trio, even in the Western Conference. Their post-All-Star break surge defensively proved that they could hang with the NBA’s elite offenses, so if they can get their own going, Snyder will be in the mix for Coach of the Year come April.
WeMustBeNets: Jason Kidd.
Ryan Carbain: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards. I love them a lot more with Paul “I called game” Pierce but I like the mix they brought in to replace him. And Wall has it in him to just roast the rest of the East. Not a big surprised if Chicago or Miami become the sacrificial lamb here either.
Devin Kharpertian: Cleveland Cavaliers over Toronto Raptors. A caveat: I think the Wizards are a better team than the Raptors, but that the Wizards end up the 3-seed, which would slot their matchup with the Cavaliers in the second round.
Ben Nadeau: Cleveland Cavaliers over Washington Wizards.
WeMustBeNets: LeBron & his Cavaliers over his old friends in Miami.
Ryan Carbain: Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs: It was a toss-up between the Spurs and Rockets here, but only injury slows down The Warriors. THEY WON 67 GAMES IN THE WEST LAST YEAR! 67 GAMES!
Devin Kharpertian: Golden State Warriors over Los Angeles Clippers.
Ben Nadeau: Golden State Warriors over San Antonio Spurs.
WeMustBeNets: Golden State Warriors over Oklahoma City Thunder. The defending champs prove to be too much for the finally healthy Thunder; however, an instant classic of a series.
Ryan Carbain: Golden State Warriors. I am going to lose so much sleep watching The West this year. The Spurs, Rockets and Clippers got incomprehensibly better, the Thunder got healthy (and a new coach), and Anthony Davis looms. But the different looks the Warriors can give you night in and night out, the shooting, the passing, the defense, the endless supply of wing players – The Warriors have all the tools to navigate the West.
Devin Kharpertian: Golden State Warriors repeat. If they’re healthy, they’re just too good.
Ben Nadeau: Golden State Warriors.
WeMustBeNets: Golden State Warriors. Too much firepower once again from the defending champs.