From the Warriors’ super team, Joel Embiid’s awaited debut to Lebron’s defense of the crown, The Flyer’s predicting it all

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Photo: Sierra Stratton

The two dynamic duos of the league, Curry and Durant(top left), as well as James and Irving(top right). Third year rookie Joel Embiid(bottom left), and 2-time Defensive Player of they Year, Spur Kawhi Leonard.

Eastern Conference Playoffs

8 seed

Jeff: Washington Wizards – Perhaps one of the most exciting players in decades, John Wall has carried Washington in past years and it looks to be the same. Outside of Marcin Gortat and Bradley Beal assistance is limited.

Zyad: Washington Wizards – Wizards will take the 8th seed, because they are good enough to make the playoff bracket, but they don’t have that player that can help John Wall or come off the bench and produce while Wall and Beal are resting.

7 seed

Jeff: Milwaukee Bucks – The Greek Freak and company will lead a very well-rounded and well-coached team. The Bucks have an intriguing mix of utility players, and young, exciting talent.

Zyad: New York Knicks – Derrick Rose said Knicks are a super team, they have some nice talent but it won’t be enough to make deep into the playoffs.

6 seed

Jeff: Chicago Bulls – Despite huge additions of true point guard Rajon Rondo and former dynamic scorer Dwyane Wade, the Bulls had major subtractions and will struggle to be a contender. The place of Chicago will be determined by Jimmy Butler’s play.

Zyad: Indiana Pacers – The Pacers’ offseason went really well for them with additions of Jeff Teague, Al Jefferson, Thaddeus Young. Myles Turner is developing into a dominant center. They are envisioning a great season.

5 seed

Jeff: Atlanta Hawks – With Dwight Howard filling the Al Horford void, and Dennis Schroeder filling the Jeff Teague void, the Hawks won’t be champion contenders but will retain mid playoff status.

Zyad: Milwaukee Bucks – Hearing the news that Giannis Antetokounmpo might get a point guard role is very exciting for me, because he is filled with potential and putting the ball in his hands for most of the game will be a great decision for the Bucks. Also with such an athletic power forward in Jabari Parker, they have a nice mix of players that can lead them to success.

4 seed

Jeff: Indiana Pacers – With the addition of Jeff Teague, the development of Myles Turner, and dominance of Paul George, the Pacers plan to return to the same status that they had in 2013 and ‘14.

Zyad: Boston Celtics – A huge offseason signing of Al Horford and an improved Isaiah Thomas with one of the best coaches in the league right now. They are headed for greatness.

3 seed

Jeff: Toronto Raptors – Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry bring back the same team that fell to the Finals Champion Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. More experienced, they’re set out for redemption and validation.

Zyad: Chicago Bulls – It seems like the Bulls are rebuilding while also keeping Jimmy Butler. Adding an all around shooting guard and a passing point guard will help, but the Bulls are very short on the three point shot and that’s why I think they will be 3rd seed.

2 seed

Jeff: Boston Celtics – The addition of Al Horford has pushed this already well-coached, all-around type team into Championship contention. Rookie Jaylen Brown is also an exciting new player to watch.

Zyad: Toronto Raptors – Coming off a fantastic last season and not losing any big stars but also adding Jared Sullinger, someone who is capable of averaging a double double..

1 seed

Jeff: Cleveland Cavaliers – The King will lead his Finals Champion Cavs to the first seed yet again with Prince Kyrie breaking ankles, and getting buckets. A great supporting cast will boost this royal duo.

Zyad: Cleveland Cavaliers – I mean really keeping the same team and improving after a championship win will be too much for the eastern conference to handle.

Western Conference Playoffs

8 seed

Jeff: Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins lead the 2020 Finals Champions into this year with young talent oozing off the bench. Potential star power drives this team and an eight seed in the West this year should jolt some confidence in them.

Zyad: Houston Rockets – Losing Dwight Howard isn’t really a big loss since he wasn’t really producing a stellar stat line every game, and I think Clint Capela can fill his spot pretty well.    

7 seed

Jeff: Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizzlies embody their slogan, “Grit and Grind.” With all the injured players from last year back, Memphis retains the ignorantly highest paid player in the league Mike Conley. Also they had the nice addition of Chandler Parsons.

Zyad: Utah Jazz – Involving themselves in the three way trade was really beneficial as they really didn’t lose much and added george hill and Joe Johnson. With this new squad they are hoping for a great season.

6 seed

Jeff: Houston Rockets – With a barrage of three point shooters around the ring leader of the offense, James “The Beard” Harden, the Rockets’ offense is expected to break records with how up tempo and abundant it is.

Zyad: Oklahoma City Thunder – It’s not the end for the Thunder. They rebound pretty well and got Victor Oladipo. Keeping the ball in Westbrook’s hands could mean more turnovers but it also can mean more points, more assists, and more rebounds.

5 seed

Jeff: Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard AKA D.A.M.E. Dolla is one of the most dynamic players in the NBA and with last year’s Most Improved Player C.J. McCollum, they’re almost a lock for a middle seed at least.

Zyad: Minnesota Timberwolves – With a high octane offense and needing to improve their defense so bringing in Tom Thibodeau, a great defensive coach, is very crucial in becoming a playoff team. Also Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine are great young players to help them to succeed later in the season.   

4 seed

Jeff: Utah Jazz – Utah finally gets out of the slump they were in after Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams left back in 2010-11. Gordon Hayward and company headlines a deep and skilled team.

Zyad: Los Angeles Clippers – Keeping the team almost the same, with the stars of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan. They are hoping for a breakout season from everyone.

3 seed

Jeff: San Antonio Spurs – The best coach in NBA history will bring his consistently successful Spurs lead by Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge into this season, trying to surmount The Splash Brothers and KD.

Zyad: Portland Trail Blazers –  Blazers had a busy offseason with bringing back Allen Crabbe, Moe Harkless and Meyers Leonard. Also signed CJ McCollum to contract extension, and brought in Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli. With the new lineup and they hope to be championship contenders

2 seed

Jeff: Los Angeles Clippers – Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan can’t disappoint in many more ways. This terrific combo of players will look to finally validate themselves and also overcome the Golden State super team.

Zyad: San Antonio Spurs – For Spurs and just NBA fans in general, hearing that Tim Duncan was retiring was a sad day. Losing one of the greatest power forwards isn’t easy, but the Spurs had a nice little rebound with Pau Gasol. He doesn’t have the skills that Duncan had but he is still okay. Also, the team will be lead by one of the best coaches, and last year’s defensive player of the year.

1 seed

Jeff: Golden State Warriors – The biggest surprise of the year, as underdogs Golden State rise above expectations. Just kidding, adding Kevin Durant is the most ridiculous move of the ages, and this team is Championship or bust.

Zyad: Golden State Warriors – Kevin Durant

Awards

MVP

Jeff: Kawhi Leonard – A very latent but competent candidate Leonard is, the young star has become one of the best complete players in the world under Popovich. The last two years’ DPOTY improves every year, and last year he was stellar, so with more focus on him in the offense, this one could be legendary.

Zyad: Russell Westbrook – This player is in for a legendary season. Basically having to lead his team. Russell Westbrook has potential to get a triple double every night.   

Defensive Player of the Year

Jeff: Draymond Green – A runner up for the award last year, Draymond will be the anchor for the most talented team in the NBA again. I think with strides made by Green, he’ll at last beat out Leonard, and cross the threshold that makes him the best defensive player in the league.

Zyad: Kawhi Leonard – Leonard has won this award back to back making him the first ever non center to do so. It won’t surprise me if he does win it again. I mean, just to remind every one he has to guard some of the best players in the nba, so he has to have high expectations on defense.

Most Improved Player

Jeff: Giannis Antetokounmpo – The Greek Freak is easier as Antetokounmpo’s last name is a  mouth full. But as one of the most exciting athletes in sports he owns a 7’3 reach along with his guard like quickness and powerful 6’11 frame. Considering they’re moving this guy to point guard is scary.

Zyad: Karl-Anthony Towns – Towns has shown a flash of greatness. He has handles of a small forward and for a 7 foot center his athleticism is unbelievable. Also with a 7’3 wingspan and ball handling better than any big man I have seen.   

Rookie of the Year

Jeff: Joel Embiid – The projected number one pick of 2013 who was taken third because of injuries has come back after being out two years. With time to develop during recovery, Embiid looks to fulfill the Hakeem Olajuwon size shoes fans and analysts have prepared for him.

Zyad: Joel Embiid – Embiid is not a talked about option, but he still can win rookie of the year since he has never played an NBA game. With all the time Embiid had to recover from injuries and develop his game, this year he is going to show everyone why he was the third pick in the draft.

Sixth Man of the Year

Jeff: Enes Kanter – An inside scoring, rebounding machine, Kanter is a gigantic impact maker on the offensive side of the ball and if he sees production he has shown in the past, his work on the glass and around the rim will earn him “best bench player” honors.

Zyad: Jordan Clarkson – Clarkson has a well-balanced type of play, and coming off the bench for the Lakers I think he can be great scorer and a great assist man. Having him and Brandon Ingram can be a scary duel threat off the bench.

Eastern Conference Finals

Jeff: Boston Celtics v. Cleveland Cavaliers. CLE 4-2

Zyad: Toronto Raptors v. Cleveland Cavaliers. CLE 4-3

Western Conference Finals

Jeff: San Antonio Spurs v. Golden State Warriors. GS 4-3

Zyad: Portland Trail Blazers v. Golden State Warriors. GS 4-2

The Finals

Jeff: Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors. GS 4-2 – Despite the weakness of depth and a legitimate defender at the 5 spot, Golden State’s high octane offense and methodical floor spacing is just too much to stop. Their ability to not only force turnovers but torch in transition is solidified especially with two of the best scorers the NBA has seen and two people that might not be human; Chef Curry and the Durantula.

Zyad: Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors. GS 4-2 – I’m going to make this short and simple, the Warriors are playing small ball on all of their lineups but the incredible shooting of Steph, Klay, and Kevin is just too much to handle for any team. They will be annihilated in the post since they really don’t have a good center but the threes will be overwhelming for the Cavs.