A lot can happen from now until mid-October, so take everything here with a grain of salt. Blockbuster NBA trades that can shake up the league can happen overnight, and with the way this offseason’s free agency is going, it feels like anything could happen.
Any prediction made this far ahead of the NBA season’s tipoff is a bit of a bold prediction by nature, but these are a few picks we feel pretty good about despite the possibility of free agency mayhem.
We’ll take a look at a couple of individual player awards, as well as an Eastern Conference surprise.
3. Jordan Poole To Win 6th Man of the Year (+600)
The Splash Bros may have officially found their long-lost third brother. Jordan Poole played a crucial role in the Warriors’ run to their fourth championship in the last seven years, averaging 38.5% from behind the line during the NBA Finals.
In Game 2, Poole sank five threes, including a half-court buzzer-beater that was very Steph Curry-esque. The Warriors relied on Poole throughout the season to be an offensive spark on nights when Klay or Steph was off, or when they were just on the bench resting. Poole’s ability to hit the deep ball in tandem with his skill of driving to the rim would easily land him on the starting lineup for many teams around the league.
The fact that the Warriors’ backcourt already consists of two of the best shooters in NBA history is keeping him out of the regular starting lineup, but don’t be fooled by that, this kid is the real deal and is our favorite to win the 6th Man of the Year this season.
2. Ja Morant Wins Regular Season MVP (+1200)
Ja Morant took the NBA by storm last year, producing highlight after highlight, day in, and day out. His ability to cut through even the strongest of defenses and hit tough shots in the paint is matched by few in the league right now.
The danger with Morant is that he’ll drive to the rim but then he can either pull up and hit a circus shot, or he can posterize even the strongest defenders at will. Considering that the Memphis Grizzlies will be without their star forward Jaren Jackson Jr. for a large part of the season Ja Morant will most likely take on their offensive responsibilities and should produce some eye-raising numbers.
While he may not be the oddsmakers’ favorite to win the MVP award, we think he’s being overlooked and deserves some more credit this year.
1. Philadelphia 76ers Win Eastern Conference (+500)
Something’s got to give in Philly. Joel Embiid is simply too good of a player to not reach the Finals at least once in his career, and I have a good feeling this could be the year.
The consensus amongst oddsmakers for the top PA sports betting sites is that the Boston Celtics (+230) should take the Eastern Conference, however, they’ve (often) been wrong in the past. Philly has made some nice acquisitions this off-season, picking up De’Anthony Melton, P.J. Tucker, and Danuel House.
Alongside two superstars like Joel Embiid and James Harden, I love the 76ers’ chances of making it to the Finals this year if they can just keep Joel Embiid healthy.