With the NBA season underway, predictions for the success of certain teams and players are being thrust forward, some of which strongly going against those of expert commentators. With that said, here are few predictions that challenge those already set forth.
Paul George will have a resurgence
With little activity in recent years, Paul George has, in a sense, fell by the wayside. As one of few stars on the Indiana Pacers’ roster, George was easily contained by opposing teams who saw him as their only real threat on the court. However, with the addition of Jeff Teague this past offseason, the Pacers are now in a position to effectively utilize the dynamism of the two guards by creating a much faster offense; something not all teams can properly prepare for. The newly created duo may combine for some impressive numbers, giving George the opportunity to average potentially 20-25 points per game.
The Warriors will not win the Western Conference
Golden State’s addition of former Oklahoma City MVP Kevin Durant has been the most prominent headline this offseason. Now teammates with the undeniably impressive Steph Curry, who holds the record for most three-pointers in a regular season at 402, it’s hard to ignore the hype. However, in their first game of the season, the Warriors were dominated on their home court by the San Antonio Spurs; a team that has consistently proved to be a serious threat to Golden State in recent years. Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points in what set the tone for future matchups between these Western Conference giants, and at the moment, San Antonio looks to be the clear leader. Combining that with the persistent, constantly improving skill of Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, the Warriors truly have their work cut out for them.
The 76ers will win at least 30 games
While this may not be an impressive statistic by any means, considering the Sixers’ recent struggles, it is certainly an improvement. In the 2013-2014 season, the team finished with a record of 19-63. The very next year, they ended the season 18-64, followed by yet another year of hardship with a final record of 10-72. While things looked dreary, Philadelphia won the number one pick in the draft, taking college phenom Ben Simmons first overall. Though Simmons recently suffered a fracture in his right foot, barring him from roughly the first three months of the season, the Sixers’ other young stars are showing promise. Players like Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Dario Saric have been nothing but impressive so far in their early careers, which should be enough to give the team at least an average season, and restore hope within the City of Brotherly Love.
Dwight Howard will become an asset again
There’s no denying that over the years, Dwight Howard has stirred up some controversy. With his bitter departure from Orlando after years of success with the Magic, a less than impressive stint with the Lakers, and a fairly decent run with the Rockets, Howard’s sour exits have typecast him as somewhat of a melodramatic player. Now with his fourth team, the Atlanta Hawks, Howard almost has no choice other than to become a team player if he wishes to change his narrative. Losing the aforementioned Jeff Teague seemed like a huge to the Hawks’ roster, but with the young point guard Dennis Schroder proving his worth this past season, a combination of his skill with Howard’s defensive dominance should be enough to help Atlanta remain a contender in the Eastern Conference. Realizing this potential is key for Howard, who is more than likely to have a bounceback year with his new team if he is able to do so.