2016-17 NBA MVP Contenders

With the regular season starting on the 25th of this month, I’ve got a few players on my radar fighting for that beloved MVP award. Some may come as no surprise to fans, while others will have them scratching their heads. If last season is any prediction of what I can expect this year, I have a feeling some of you guys will know at least a few of my picks.

Kevin Durant (small forward, Golden State Warriors)
Durant made headlines with quite possibly the greatest contract deal of the off season. I’m not sure how Durant wouldn’t be one of anyone’s top picks for MVP this year being on one of the best teams in the league. It’s proven that great teams will acquire a good player, then make him into a phenomenal player by surrounding him with elite players. I see this happening with Kevin Durant this season. When he’s paired with players like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, there’s no way Durant’s talent will go unseen. I don’t think that Durant’s talent will go overlooked by voters simply for the fact that nobody knows how Durant will play this year. Everyone will be worried about Curry and Thompson, all the while Kevin Durant will be playing his heart out and doing his job. Then, if the Warriors win the NBA Championship this year, it just goes to show that Kevin Durant was that missing piece from last year.

Carmelo Anthony (small forward, New York Knicks)
I think this one comes as a surprise to some. He’s been the league for quite a while, but it seems that this year could finally be his year. He could be that ‘old player’ who upsets a lot of the usual contenders. Anthony is surrounded by players like Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, and Kristaps Porzingis this year. Like the case I previously stated when it came down to Kevin Durant and his team, it seems all the stars have aligned for Carmelo Anthony. He’s one of those players who have been in the league for so long that this just seems to be fate. It’s really just timing for him. He’s never had a better squad than he does now.

Steph Curry (point guard, Golden State Warriors)
What’s not to say about this man? He’s a crowd favorite! Steph Curry has won MVP for the past two years: it almost seems inevitable for him to win it a third year in a row if he has another season like the last. Adding Kevin Durant to the equation is just unfair to all other teams! He’s going to act like a catalyst to Curry. If we thought we saw something phenomenal with Curry scoring 30 points per game last season, we’re in for a treat this year. I don’t think I have to say much more to convince everyone that Steph Curry is one of the top players in the league, and of course an MVP contender this year.

LeBron James (small forward, Cleveland Cavaliers)
Alright, LeBron James is just like Steph Curry in the sense that he’s just as much of a league favorite. He led his team to a championship last season. Come on guys, do I really have to explain this one to you? He’s a force to be reckoned with.

Now, I’ve given you guys just a few of the hopefuls for MVP this coming season. Maybe there will be an upset, maybe it’ll come as no surprise. Either way, it’s for the voters to choose! Let’s get this season underway!

2016-17 Eastern Conference Predictions

So, with the summer done, and the basketball season just starting up now starts the time when the speculators start asking, “Who’s going be the team to beat?” Most teams now have seven of their 82 games in, so now is the perfect time to see what great forecast and lasting predictions we can make.

First, let us start the talk about NBA teams in a rebuilding year. Two such teams are the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76er’s, as these teams fail to have any serious break through talent. Moreover, are struggling to win in their own house, and have not accomplished a victory on the road yet.

Additionally, both teams are struggling against their own division to come away with the “W”. Next, we have the Magic and the Cavaliers, both great teams from the past; however, they have always fallen in to the same issue as other teams such as, the Bulls and Knicks. This issue is where you get a star, and you let the stars talent make everyone else look good. The Magic did this with Shaq, and the Cavaliers with LeBron. While it is perfectly acceptable to do this to get your team a great fan base, what happens when the star leaves? Therefore, this is where the Magic and the Cavs find themselves now, as they try to reclaim old glory.

Next on our list, we do come to five teams that are playing (like always) very solid 500 percent ball. The teams can generally hang in the basketball fight with the solid competitors, and may even squeak one out in the fight. These teams are the Bucks, Hornets, Pacers, Pistons, and the Wizards. These teams are managing to do the most important thing any team can do in any pro-sport and that is stay above 500 percent winning at home, while staying at 500 percent or better on the road.

These teams also have talent that can be harnessed and trained; eventually they will find themselves with a team of all-star talent and top of the standing pack. However, for now, these teams will be the overall contenders for a wild card pick to make it to the NBA finals. Which does not completely rule them out from being a Cinderella story for a race to the finals.

The Miami Heat and the Raptors had to endure a lot in their rise over time, however, now they have some breakthrough talent, and are managing their house with strength. In addition, at this early time they are even managing to take control in the competitions house. The outlook for either of these teams is good, however, both the Knicks and the Hawks have been able to get the power back in the line-ups, and they will not be pushed off without a fight. This finally brings us to the Celtics. The Celtics have traditionally played hard, and they have a long line of superstar talent. The Celtic squad also knows ball control, time management, controlling their house, and how to read and break down the opponents “D”.

With all of this taken in, to account below is how I would foresee the end of the year standings for the Eastern Conference in 2016-2017.
1. Boston Celtics
2. Atlanta Hawks
3. Toronto Raptors
4. New York Knicks
5. Miami Heat
6. Charlotte Hornets
7. Detroit Pistons
8. Indiana Pacers
9. Milwaukee Bucks
10. Chicago Bulls
11. Washington Wizards
12. Cleveland Cavaliers
13. Orlando Magic
14. Philadelphia 76ers
15. Brooklyn Nets

The biggest rule as previously stated will be control your house, and maintain a winning percentage of 500 or better on the road. To do well these teams will simply have to remember clock management, ball control, rebounding, and ball movement. These are all the signs of a great ball club.

Best Head Coaches in the Current NBA

The National Basketball Association(NBA) is one of the most popular sporting associations in the country. The NBA draws a television viewership of over 4 million people during regular season and these numbers spike drastically during the much anticipated NBA playoffs.

It’s no doubt that the sport’s biggest stars like Stephon Curry, LeBron James, and Tim Duncan contribute largely to this large fan-base, but it takes more than the players to run a thriving organization. The coaches of the league play a large part in crafting the excitement surrounding the sport. Here are a few of the association’s best coaches:

Greg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
“Pop” as he is fondly called by his players is one of the greatest coaches in the League’s history. He trails only Phil Jackson in most consecutive winning seasons and holds rings for five NBA Championships under the Spurs. He has also been honored as NBA Coach of the Year three times. Popovich simply knows how to win and has enjoyed a long and successful career in one of the most competitive conferences in the country. Pop could easily be considered the best coach in the business.

Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
This young coach found success right away and has led the Heat in back-to-back NBA Championships in 2012 and 2013. He continues to propel his program despite the loss of star players like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade. Spoelstra finds under-rated players to fill the void and continues to find results. This is a true testament to his leadership and style and he should definitely be counted in as one of the best.

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
Stevens is a fan-favorite coach who has worked his way up the hierarchy after starting out as a team manager in the collegiate ranks. Shortly after signing with the Celtics the young Stevens led his team to two consecutive NBA Playoff appearances and a winning record in 2015. His calm, analytical coaching style is well-received by the players and a different approach than most coaches in the NBA.

Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks
Carlisle has a reputation of finding a way to win. Last season, Carlisle led an injured, burnt-out team to the NBA Playoffs in one of the most competitive conferences in the league. He continually finds ways to lead his team to victory despite the odds and also led Dallas to the franchise’s first NBA Championship in 2011. Carlisle clearly has a knack for inspiring his players and instilling a winning confidence.

Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
Kerr has had incredible results as the head of the Golden State Warriors. Kerr coached Golden State to an NBA Championship in 2015 and he nearly found himself with a second consecutive championship in 2016, before falling short in the finals against Cleveland. Still, he assisted the team in documenting a record 73 wins in one season which is arguably one of the best in NBA history. He was also named NBA Coach of the Year due to his results. It’s obvious that Kerr can get the job done and can be counted as one of the coaching greats in today’s League.

Each of the coaches on this list have different styles, experiences and perspectives on how to coach some of the best athletes in the world, however the group holds one thing in common: they are able to create success in even the most difficult circumstances. Their ability to fight the odds and win games makes them an integral part of the NBA’s tradition and success.

2016-17 NBA Western Conference Predictions

The 2015-16 season for the NBA Western Conference ended with Steve Kerr getting the coach of the year title and Stephen Curry getting the Most Valuable Player, after snapping 402 three-pointers. He also placed a 34-7 road record, breaking the previously set 33-8 record by the Bulls.

During the offseason, players traded teams and changes were made for all the 15 teams in the western conference. Below are our predictions on the outcomes after all the adjustments;

1.Golden State Warriors
Last Season:73-9
Predicted Record:74-8
Kevin Durant, one of the top players in NBA, left the Oklahoma City  Thunder and joined the splash brothers; Stephen Curry and Klay Thomson. Finishing the previous season with the best record in the league and adding an Ex-MVP are just some of the strong reasons as to why the Warriors should win the conference.

2. San Antonio Spurs
Last season:67-15
Predicted Record:60-22
The Spurs are also very promising this year after finishing third last year and also gaining Pau Gasol. LaMarcus Aldridge has also canceled the trending rumors of him leaving. He declared his stand with the Spurs saying he is satisfied and happy in the team! That is a great hope for the team considering the retirement of Tim Duncan from the team after 19 seasons.

3. LA Clippers
Last season:53-29
Predicted Record:50-32
A slight drop might be experienced by these boys.After the gems of the team, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, got injured, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, Wesley Johnson and Luc Richard resigning, it is going to be a very tensed season for them.However, they added Raymond Felton, Marreese Speights, and Brandon Bass and they all very promising players.

4. Portland Trail Blazers
Last Season:44-38
Predicted Record:46-36
As much as there was an assumption that they beat the Clippers last season due to the injuries sustained by Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they have shown a lot of potential during the pre-seasons.They gained Evan Turner and Damian Lillard making them even stronger and we expect them to give a slight lift to the Blazers.Turner might not be the floor spacer we would hope for, but he provides some great size and depth at the guard.

5.Oklahoma City Thunder
Last season:55-27
Predicted Record:45-37
It’s obviously very shocking to some of you that the Thunders might post this much of a drop.Losing Kevin Durant and leaving Rusell Westbrook to save the boat might make it hard for them to get any higher than our prediction states.However, do not despair because they are very promising on reaching the play offs.And again, they reached the finals(western conference) last season against the Warriors.

6. Utah Jazz
Last season:40-42
Predicted Record:43-39
Despite missing playoffs last season, they have tried to flavor up by adding George Hill, Boris Diaw, and Joe Johnson. Hill, in this case, is the team long awaited savior after he earned a player efficiency rating of 17.3 in the previous season. Don’t take that for granted! Please note, points guards for the Jazz have a PER of 11.9 over the past two seasons combined. Yes, now we can all agree Hill is the guy to get them there.

7. Memphis Grizzlies
Last Season:42-40
Predicted Record:42-40
Despite finishing at No.7 last season, we are very expectant of an improvement after adding Wade Baldwin and Chandler Parsons. They made it to the playoffs without Mike Conley who has been re-signed to a five-year $153 million deal, so they will most definitely make us smile this season. Let’s; hope Marc Gasol is in a better shape to play since he has been missing out on most of the action for the last two seasons due to a broken foot.

8. Houston Rockets
Last Season:41-41
Predicted Record:41-41
The Rockets gained a new coach Mike D‘Antoni and two players; Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. However, the loss of Dwight Howard who was very strong in defense might kill any chance of improvement this season leaving them at almost the same point.

Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to take the next two positions closing off the top 10 positions.

Houston Rockets started off very badly last season with three straight loses so they might not see the playoffs this season. They will scramble for the remaining five positions with other teams, that is, New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.