5 Predictions For The Second Half Of The NBA Season
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5 Predictions For The Second Half Of The NBA Season

Predicting the Unpredictable

5 Predictions For The Second Half Of The NBA Season

As the NBA finishes up its all star break, its time to take a look ahead as we enter the stretch run towards the playoffs. Here are five predictions for the second half of the season.

Trade Deadline

The team dominating the trade discussion as of late has been the Phoenix Suns and I expect them to make a move before the deadline. They will all but surely move Miles Plumlee and they will probably package him with one of their many point guards. Eric Bledsoe will not be moved because he is young and just signed a large extension over the summer. Tyler Ennis should be safe just because he would not bring much back for the team. This leaves either Goran Dragic or Isaiah Thomas. Dragic would bring more back and if he is moved he would go to the Rockets or the Lakers. The Rockets make more sense, but they do not have much to give up that Phoenix would want. Eventually, I think the Suns keep Dragic and Thomas and try to make a run at the playoffs; more on that in a bit.

The big name I think gets traded at the deadline is Wilson Chandler. Yes, I know he is not a household name, which speaks more to my prediction that the deadline will be underwhelming and that most of the moves have already been made. There will be a lot of small moves that will help contenders, but I do not see any blockbusters happening this year. Chandler will go to a team like the Clippers or the Blazers as the teams out west fight for playoff positioning.

Who Gets the 8th Seed Out West?

Speaking of the western conference, who gets in as the last team? I think the top seven teams are pretty solidified as playoff teams although the Clippers are on life support without Blake Griffin and need Chris Paul to turn back the clock to his New Orleans days to keep the team afloat.

There are really only three teams that are in the conversation for the eighth seed: Oklahoma City Thunder, New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns. A big part of me wants to choose someone other than the Thunder just to see a different team in the playoffs, but I cannot pick against the reigning MVP and company. I would love to see Anthony Davis continue his development in the playoffs or to see the high scoring Suns go against the Warriors in the first round, but I think ultimately, the Thunder will pull above the rest and make the playoffs. But don’t count out any of these teams, especially in the west, anything can happen.

The Mess of the Leastern Conference

Someone has to make the playoffs in the east. The top six teams are set, although the order will probably change by season’s end. That leaves two spots that have to be occupied by teams that will most likely have losing records. Honestly, Adam Silver should give these two spots to whoever does not make it out west, but that won’t happen. I think the Hornets will have a strong second half push and will be close to .500 by season’s end. As for the last spot, I think it will come down to the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. This is all up to how Dwyane Wade performs off injury for the Heat, and if Paul George can return and be productive for the Pacers. If Paul George returns mid-March and is playing at an All-NBA level, the Pacers could make the playoffs and challenge the Hawks in the first round. I think the Heat will be able to hold off the rest of the teams, but I think they will be swept in the first round.

Awards Season

According to Kevin Durant, I don’t know what I’m talking about and should not have a big say in who gets the awards every year. Well thankfully for Durant, I am just a college student and my opinion won’t sway any voters or have an impact on the result. Here are my predictions for the major awards.

Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer

He has taken a team without a clear cut star to the top of the Eastern Conference. The Hawks play as a team every night with great ball movement and balanced contributions all around. The coach of the Spurs of the East should win this award, narrowly edging Steve Kerr. Also expect Jason Kidd to get a few votes here for turning around the Bucks

Sixth Man of the Year: Jamal Crawford

No one has dominated this discussion thus far and Crawford could end up with the award by default. Taj Gibson could be in the discussion to make up for his snub last year but for now I’m sticking with Crawford.

Most Improved Player: Klay Thompson

Jimmy Butler was the runaway choice early in the year but his production has fallen as of late. Thompson has been consistent all year and has been the perfect running mate for Stephen Curry. Thompson is a top-3 shooting guard now and deserves this award.

Rookie of the Year: Andrew Wiggins

Wiggins is quickly developing into a star and he has no competition for this award. Most of the other hyped up rookies fell victim to injury but Wiggins has been healthy and productive all year. He will be the superstar we all predicted he would be and will be in the MVP conversation within the next five years.

MVP: James Harden

Stephen Curry is another popular choice for this award, but I have to go with Harden for carrying his team throughout the season. Dwight Howard has been plagued by injuries all year and Harden has had to be the guy every single night. Yes, he still is not the best defensive player but he probably is the best offensive player in the league and his team is right in the hunt for the title. Harden should hoist this trophy come season’s end.

Finals Matchup

This is the hardest prediction to make and the one I’m almost surely to get wrong. Come June, we will see the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are the most balanced team in the west and the Cavs are hitting their stride at the right time with the best player on the planet. I won’t pick a winner just yet, but this is the matchup I expect to see once it’s all said and done.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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