Official BallnRoll Predictions and Preview for the 2018-19 NBA Season
It is the first day of October, the NBA preseason is underway and the regular season is just around the corner.
After what has been a whirlwind of an offseason, fans and players alike are chomping at the bit to get the season underway. Much has changed around the NBA, while a lot has stayed the same. The two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors have added another star to the fray, while the Eastern Conference has seen what looks to be a shift in power. As LeBron James headed west, the entire landscape of the East has changed. Of course, there is also a new batch of rookies who are ready to begin carving out their very own NBA legacies.
The offseason was a thrilling roller coaster ride and now, we are ready for the year to begin. As always, BallnRoll has you covered with your preseason predictions for the 2018-19 NBA season.
Rookie of the Year: DeAndre Ayton (PHO)
He will get touches, minutes, and all the attention from the rebuilding Phoenix Suns. As history suggests, it is usually the player with the most offensive output who takes home the Rookie of the Year. That being said, Ayton enters the league with one of the more polished offensive and rebounding games and will look to be a force from the get-go . Aside from Devin Booker, the Suns will rely heavily on Ayton to provide the team with offense and with Alex Len now out of the picture, this will become his award to lose.
- Honourable Mentions: Trae Young (ATL), Luka Doncic (DAL), Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM)
Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens (BOS)
A case could have been made for Brad Stevens last year, but all things considered, Stevens has cemented himself in conversation for not only being one of the top rising coaches in the game, but one of the best coaches in basketball. With a healthy cast of players and the East wide open for the taking, the Celtics are poised for an incredible season, and with Stevens pulling all the strings, a Finals appearance may not be out of the question for the green and white.
- Honourable Mentions: Quin Snyder (UTA), Nick Nurse (TOR), Gregg Popovich (SAS)
Sixth Man of the Year: Pascal Siakam (TOR)
We have seen shades of greatness from Pascal Siakam, who came into the league as a raw rookie, but has shown exceptional growth over the past year. Last year, Siakam turned into a high-motor big man who could play-make and score inside. Essentially, a consistent jump shot was all that was missing in his game. If Siakam comes in with a much improved shot, he will transform into a two-way beast off the bench who can cover all five positions, score, and even run the offense at times.
- Honourable Mentions: Lou Williams (LAC), Jayson Tatum (BOS), Eric Gordon (HOU)
Most Improved Player of the Year: Ben Simmons (PHI)
Ben Simmons is going to be one of those transcendent stars who do not come around often.
As he continues to develop a jump shot, Simmons will take the next step in become an All-Star is upcoming season as he hopes to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals. He is already one of the game’s best playmakers, and with his rookie season in his rear view mirror, Simmons will only continue to get better and stronger. Do not expect a sophomore slump from this budding superstar.
- Honourable Mentions: Pascal Siakam (TOR), Myles Turner (IND), Brandon Ingram (LAL)
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard (TOR)
A contract year and a year of redemption, Leonard will look to come out and prove to the basketball world that he is still the best two-way player in the entire league. Prior to his injury plagued season, it would not have been too outlandish to suggest that Leonard was on the fast-track to becoming the greatest perimeter defender the game has ever seen. With great on-court awareness, length, massive hands, and hard-nosed defensive tenacity, Leonard will reassume his spot in the NBA as the game’s best defensive player.
- Honourable Mentions: Rudy Gobert (UTA), Joel Embiid (PHI), Draymond Green (GSW)
Most Valuable Player: LeBron James (LAL)
Can their be anymore Hollywood of a story than this?
LeBron James took his talents to the west coast this past offseason, joining one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. The Lakers have failed to qualify for the playoffs the past few years and although still going through somewhat of a rebuild, have added the game’s greatest player. Expect a huge spike in wins from the Lakers, as James is ready to carry a third team to the promised land. Already feeling in midseason form, the Lakers have been the talking point all summer and will now ride the King James hype train.
- Honourable Mentions: Anthony Davis (NOP), James Harden (HOU), Kyrie Irving (BOS)
- NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors over Boston Celtics in 6
2019 All-Star Roster:
- All-Star Game MVP: Russell Westbrook (LAL)