BallnRoll’s Top 5 Bold Predictions for the 2019 NBA Year
The 2019 year is upon us and things are just starting to heat up all around the NBA.
As the second half of the season is set to begin shortly, playoff positioning is beginning to take shape and teams are already planning for the upcoming offseason which will feature a plethora of big names. Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are nearing decision time and the Golden State Warriors are hoping to tighten things up as the postseason of three-peat chasing approaches.
How will the upcoming year in the NBA play out, here are BallnRoll’s five bold predictions for the 2019 year.
5. Warriors 3-peat
Since this is a top 10 bold predictions story, let’s get this one out of the way.
The Golden State Warriors when focused and engaged are the best team in the entire NBA. Add DeMarcus Cousins into the fold and you get an unstoppable machine. In the playoffs, an opponent will be tasked with taking down the Warriors in four of seven games – yeah, good luck with that.
It quite simply cannot be done and the Warriors will once again dominant the postseason en route to their third championship in a row and their fourth title in five years.
4. The Beard Repeats
With Chris Paul out of the lineup, James Harden is single-handedly willing his Houston Rockets squad up the Western Conference ladder.
Sure, Giannis Antetokounmpo has had an incredible year for a Milwaukee Bucks team that has ascended into an Eastern Conference powerhouse. Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James are also key pieces on strong contending teams, but The Beard has been on another level since the start of December.
Sure, the most recognizable statistics are jaw-dropping as Harden is averaging 33.3 points, 8.4 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game, but diving into his advanced stats show that Harden may be the more realistic and deserving MVP pick than say a Greek Freak who seems to be the favourite at this point in the year.
Currently, Harden leads the league in VORP (3.9), a half point ahead of his closest competition. He is fourth in win share (5.9), first in offensive win share (4.6), first in box plus/minus (10.6), and has shot far ahead of the field in offensive box plus/minus (10.3).
As Harden continues to play on an unfathomable level, expecting The Beard to repeat as League MVP.
3. Sixers Move Simmons
The Process is in for a surprise.
At this point, it is fairly obvious that the Philadelphia 76ers are Joel Embiid’s team. With Jimmy Butler in the fray and the Sixers looking to lock the star two-way player up long term, that may push Simmons to become dispensable. Butler needs the ball in his hands, Embiid needs the ball in his hands, and everyone around the duo should be a shooter who can spread the floor and provide defensive value on the other end of the court.
In a league where spacing is of utmost importance, Simmons’ inability to shoot and spread the floor becomes a huge issue, especially with Butler on the squad. Now, I’m not saying Simmons is a liability and cannot be an elite NBA player due to his inability to shoot, I just mean that there are better fits for his talents and the Sixers will be better off flipping him for a few good pieces that will allow them to take the next step.
2. Kawhi Leonard Stays in the 6ix
Call me crazy, but I think Kawhi Leonard has grown a liking for Toronto.
In fact, Canada may just be the perfect fit for a quiet, to himself superstar of the caliber of a Leonard. It’s outside of the United States, it’s a whole different world and it definitely isn’t no Los Angeles or New York – two massive American markets which could very well take Leonard way out of his comfort zone. The Raptors superstar simply wants to win, keep a low profile, and play basketball.
Toronto, although a big market in itself, is just the right fit for The Claw.
1. Remaining in the Bay
There’s been rumours linking Kevin Durant to the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers.
That’s all cool and neat, but the Golden State Warriors remain the most analytically inclined franchise in the entire NBA. Moreover, they’re one of the best run franchises in the League. As Durant is set to enter the latter part of his career, he will undoubtedly look for the most money. The Warriors’ prime focus is winning and with the salary cap going up again and their willingness to go over the luxury threshold, Bob Myers will find a way to keep Durant with the Warriors.
With a new arena on its way, the opportunity to continue winning on a forward-thinking team, Durant will choose to stay in California close to his business investments.