I live on the coast of Mississippi in a town called Ocean Springs. It’s right next to the somewhat well known city of Biloxi. In popular culture Biloxi is rarely mentioned. Jimmy Buffett has a song called “Biloxi” but I’m 99% sure only people in Biloxi listen to Jimmy Buffett. There was a movie with Christopher Walken and Matthew Broderick called “Biloxi Blues” but it was arguably worse than if the last Transformers movie only had a $1 million budget. My personal favorite Biloxi name drop was in “Ocean’s Thirteen” when Al Pacino says, “Biloxi is where casinos go to die.” He was right, after all. Biloxi is a big casino town, but only because casino towns are rare.

There is a reason for that. Casinos suck. History has it that they’re morally wrong and even a bit sinful. They prey on the weak minded and wishful, only to capitalize on low income households. Now I’m not saying I believe that they’re sinful. I have no care in the world if there are casinos in the world or not. I’ve seen them ruin lives down here, but these people should always know that casinos are. They are not meant for winning. If you go to the casino with the intent to win, you will always lose.

What’s even more funny is that I have friends that truly think they are good at gambling. Some of them even go as far to brag about it and claim they won money when in fact they lost. I see this so much more than you would think, and it always baffles me. I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe you can be good at gambling. Gambling is unpredictable, and there is no shame whatsoever to being bad at predicting the unpredictable.

This all leads me to my point about NBA predictions. One of the greatest things about sports is that there is always uncertainty. Nobody 6 years ago expected Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard to be what they are. Nobody expected App. State to beat Michigan. Nobody expected MCW to be one of the worst players in the NBA a year after he won ROY. Anyhow, there’s no shame in not being able to predict any of this! One of the many reason I hate Stephen A Smith, Nick Wright, Skip Bayless, and all of those talking heads is that they are always so sure about their BOLD predictions. They will die for their predictions to be true. They will even convince themselves things that aren’t true so they can ride with these predictions.

I’m not like them, or my friends in the casinos. I’ll be the first to say this right now, at the beginning of the season, as you all should too. All I know is I know nothing. Sure, the Warriors and Cavs will be good but am I positive the Celtics will be? Absolutely not. I won’t pretend to know.

I know, these is all very hypocritical for a guy who is making a predictions post. I just wanted you to know that I’m not saying these things WILL happen.

I’m just guessing, and some guesses will be wild.

Each of my 25 predictions will be put in one of 5 tiers. These tiers determine my level of assurity in the prediction combined with what I believe to be general public agreement. The tiers are as followed:

  1. Cool, Breezy Takes – In which I contradict my whole introduction and tell you that I’m 99.99% sure these things will happen.
  2. Mild Takes – In which I predict things that are possible in your mind
  3. Hot Takes – In which you’re curious if I even know what I’m talking about
  4. Scorching Takes – In which you’re starting to get upset you’re even reading this
  5. CATCH THESE FIRE TAKES – In which you have no faith in me or even humanity

Let’s do this.

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……( ‘_’) prepare the Hot Take Cannon

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Cool, Breezy Takes

1. The Warriors will win their 3rd NBA Championship in 4 years

Warriors

I know, the suspense for the other 24 takes kind of went down for you after this. The boldest thing I could have said is no more of a possibility. Oh well. They’re just too good. I’ve never seen a team as good as they are. I will never bet against them. They are the casino.

2. Lavar Ball and Lebron James squash their beef

Lebron Lavar.jpg

When Lebron told Lavar to “Keep my family out your mouth,” I wanted chaos so badly. I love Lavar. He brings chaos. That being said he really wants Lebron to come to Los Angeles. Therefor Lavar will do plenty of Lebron brown-nosing this year.

3. The Denver Nuggets will make the playoffs

jokic

I’m all in on this team for the next 2 years. They’re going to be really fun to watch and have two rising start in Jokic and Garry Harris. They have a complete team without true superstars, which is a rarity in today’s NBA. The Hawks had one a few years ago, and Boston had one last year (Definitely not this year.) They will be a great regular season team. Beyond that, I have no idea.

4. Rajon Rondo will lead the league in assists

Rondo

Rondo found himself again near the end of the season last year. He’s now in New Orleans with 2 absolute STUDS that both truly believe in him. Combine that with a coach that just wants to win and isn’t the type to butt heads with a player, and Rondo will be just fine.

5. Kristaps Porzingis will be an All-Star Starter

kristaps

The FC members in the East last year:

  • Lebron James
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Paul George
  • Paul Millsap
  • Kevin Love

Giannis and Lebron are locks and Kevin Love is the only other guy on that list still in the East. Kristaps is going to have a huge year being “The guy” and will only get more popular. He’ll get a ton of the fan vote, and will beat out Kevin Love and Joel Embiid.

 

Mild Takes

6. The Philadelphia 76ers will NOT make the playoffs

76ers

Here we go. This is bold right? They’ve picked Top 3 in the lottery the past like 10 years it feels like yet this is bold? I’ll take it. Look no matter the talent, YOUNG TEAMS DON’T WIN GAMES! That’s how it is and how it’s always been.

7. Damian Lillard will once again fail to make the All-Star team

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

 

We are in the point guard era right now. It’s amazing. No offense to MVP Derrick Rose or MVP Steve Nash, but if their best seasons were put up with the guys today they’d be great 2nd or 3rd Team All-NBA guys. The point guard era is huge, and most of it is in the West. Sorry, Dame Dolla.

8. Tristan Thompson will win 6th Man of the Year

thompson

He’ll play HEAVY starter minutes, which is what usually happens with guys that win this award, but he’s still so much better than what people saw of him in the Finals. I don’t know why the Cavs are making him a 6th man, but I do think they’ll play him with the starters more often than not.

9. Lonzo Ball will win Rookie of the Year

lonzo

He’s got the hype. He’s got the talent. He’s got the situation. He’s got the dad. He’s got the media. He’ll have the award.

This all being said, he will also probably have the 5th or 6th best career out of the rest of his draft class.

10. The Houston Rockets make the Western Conference Finals, rather easily

I’ll even say at one point they go up on the Warriors. Analytically, the Rockets are going to be gods. They have 2 amazing ball dominant guards and nothing else but 3 point shooters. As long as one of Harden/CP3 are on the court, they will be great. I’m all on in them, no matter

 

Hot Takes

11. The Los Angeles Clippers grab a top 4 seed in the West

2017-18 LA Clippers Media Day

Now this is a hot take! The West is absolutely loaded. GSW, HR, SAS in my mind are all locks for the top 4. The other spot according to the general consensus should belong to the OKC Thunder. I’m thinking there is a shot for the Clippers to be better in the regular season than the Thunder. It all depends on Blake’s health to me. He is so good when healthy. Milos and Danilo will be great additions barring health as well. Losing CP3 hurt badly, but the Clippers could still be good.

12. Lebron James wins his 5th MVP Award

lebron

In the current NBA there are as many as 10 true MVP candidates next year; Westbrook, KD, Kawhi, Steph, Harden, Giannis, Towns, Davis, and maybe Kyrie, John Wall or Embiid if they take a leap. But the person in the best situation happens to be the best player in the world, Lebron James. With Kyrie gone and Isaiah not coming back until mid January, Lebron will have to shoulder the load. With his numbers up, the people will give him his due. He should win this award.

13. Dario Saric and Malcolm Brogdon trend down, while Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown trend up.

Brogdon

Brogdon and Saric both finished 1 and 2 respectively in ROY last year, but is anybody truly a believer in them? Both benefited from injuries, and both have limited potential. Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown both were effective in small roles last year, and their roles just got a heck of a lot bigger. They’re both going to be substantially better than Saric and Brogdon this year if you ask me.

14. The New Orleans Pelicans re-sign Demarcus Cousins before the offseason

New Orleans Pelicans v Miami Heat

Boogie Cousins is a tornado to a franchise, messing things up yet having sheer effective power. The New Orleans Pelicans are a hurricane though, and they have another tornado in Rajon Rondo, a personal friend of Boogie’s. They also have a top 5 player in the world in Anthony Davis, so let’s compare him to thunder. This whole analogy sucks, but they all combine for the perfect storm!

15. The Atlanta Hawks aren’t a bottom 5 team

2017-18 Atlanta Hawks Media Day

Nets, Pacers, Bulls, Suns, and… Yes, the Lakers, will all be worse. They have a fantastic coach that does not want to tank. Trust the not tanking process.

 

Scorching Takes

16. Marcus Smart finishes Top 3 in DPOY and shoots 35% from 3

Marcus

One of the best defensive players I’ve seen in a while just lost 20 pounds and is finding his stroke. He’s about to carry the Celtic’s 2nd unit and play heavy starter minutes. The offense will flow, and he will progress just as Kyle Lowry did. I’m all on. Now that Avery Bradley is gone and the Celtics will become more of a primetime team, people will start to notice how good Marcus Smart is.

17. The Orlando Magic have someone make the All-Star game

Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Simmons will have their chances on this team to score some points, and they will be in a weak Eastern Conference lacking depth at the forward position. This is entirely possible, and it could be one of those two.

18. The Memphis Grizzlies make the playoffs

mike-conley-nba-memphis-grizzlies-houston-rockets

Grit and Grind is almost dead, and all that’s left is Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Is that enough in the loaded Western Conference? Absolutely not, but I have a feeling they will get it done. Somehow, the Grizzlies always do.

19. The Cleveland Cavaliers make the Finals… For the last time in at least 30 years

Cavs

Lebron is all but gone. He’s never gotten along with Dan Gilbert and owes the Cleveland nothing else. LA Lakers will probably have a firesale before the end of the year, and go all in on getting the whole of the Banana Boat crew. If not LA, I’d expect the Rockets to do the same. With Melo and Wade taking small contracts, Houston could trade away Anderson and Gordon and afford it. Also Lebron will want money, so Texas and California are good choices.

20. Kyrie Irving on paper is the MIP, but Kristaps Porzingis wins it

kyrie

Kyrie has so much room for improvement, and I believe Brad Stevens can bring out the best in him. The problem is that Kyrie is a tad overrated. Without the fan vote he may not have even been an All-Star last year. The public views him so well that it will be hard for him to win this award, no matter how well he does. Kristaps will have more golden opportunities with Carmelo gone, and the Knicks won’t be as terrible as people think. I think the Zinger takes the 3rd year Superstar leap and wins this award.

 

CATCH THESE FIRE TAKES!!

21. The Utah Jazz win 45 games, yet fail to make the playoffs in the West

utah

They will be a complete team, just like the Nuggets. They don’t have true stars outside of their DPOY candidate, but they don’t really have any bad players either. The West is different this year in terms of being EVEN DEEPER than it was before. The Jazz won’t be bad by any means, but there are probably 8 better teams.

22. Russell Westbrook will average a Triple-Double again, won’t finish Top 3 in MVP

Russell-Westbrook

Such a fire take. I’m actually proud of myself for this take. The Thunder added Paul George and Carmelo but my gut really says that Russell is going to still be Russell. His scoring may dwindle by a couple of points, but his assists and rebounds won’t. I also am not that high on the Thunder as a team, therefor Lebron, Kawhi, and someone else take the Top 3 spots.

23. The Golden State Warriors don’t lose to anyone in the playoffs, except for the Rockets, who take them to 7

rockets-vs-warriors-conf-finals-e1432004853543

I loathe Chris Paul and James Harden. I don’t care though. All in on the Rockets (Except for Game 7.) The Warriors are also so much better than every team in the East. I don’t see them losing a game in the Finals unless they have some starters take a game off, which is somehow entirely possible.

24. Dennis @#$%^&* Schroder averages at least 25 ppg

schroder

Dennis Schroeder is pretty decent, but this prediction is not because of that. He avg 18 last year with some pieces around him. No pieces around him this year. He will attack the rim a lot, and he will miss a lot. He will get his though.

25. Blake Griffin plays 80+ games, finishes Top 5 in MVP

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers

 

CATCH THESE FIRE TAKES!! He’s done it before. If he’s healthy without a ball dominant CP3 and the Clips are good, he can do it again, right?