It’s the start of the NBA season, and that means it’s time for some…
Here are 10 predictions for the 2018-2019 NBA Season. 5 will be for the NBA as a whole, and 5 for the Bulls specifically. Wish me luck…
5 Bold Predictions for the NBA…
5. Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks will win the Rookie of the Year award. This is not the boldest of predictions, nor the most surprising. I’ve been on the Luka Doncic bandwagon since early in last seasons tank-a-thon. The Atlanta Hawks will long rue the day they traded down from 3rd overall and Doncic to 5th overall and Trae Young. That ruing will start this season.
4. The Los Angeles Lakers will finish above .500 and easily make the playoffs. Why? Two words: LeBron James. The man is the best player in the NBA. Yes, he’s another year older. Yes, he is more interested in making movies and TV shows. Yes, he is just treading water until he can play NBA basketball with his son in a couple seasons. BUT. He is also one of the greatest of all time, and a strong competitor. He has some gifted young players along side him (Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Svi Mykhailiuk, and Moritz Wagner) as well as several cagey veterans (Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, etc.). I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers make some moves (Jimmy Butler) during the season to become even more dangerous.
3. The Milwaukee Bucks will be one of the top 5 teams in the league (that is, have a top 5 regular season record). I owe Coach Mike Budenholzer an apology, he is a good coach. He is not overrated like I have previously stated. He already has Giannis and the rest of the Bucks clicking on all cylinders. They dismantled the Bulls in the preseason. They exploited every weakness the Bulls had, and maximized every advantage they could find. They knew what they were doing, and it was just a preseason match-up. There are a lot of teams that are about to get steamrolled by Milwaukee. Fear the Deer, people! Fear the Deer!
2. The 2018-2019 MVP award is going to an Eastern Conference player. I’m not sure if it will be Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or some other player (Lauri Markkanen?), but someone from the East is going to upset the world. I’m leaning toward Giannis.
1. The Philadelphia 76ers will make it to the NBA Finals and get swept by the Golden State Warriors. Philadelphia is one of the most talented young teams in the Eastern Conference, and they cause the sort of match-up problems that can devastate opponents in the playoffs. It will be hard for them to get past Boston and Toronto, but I think they are too talented to be denied a Finals appearance. That being said, all of that young talent means inexperience too. It’s hard for me to believe that the relatively untested 76ers could even win one game against the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. And yes, Golden State is headed back to the Finals. Until the team breaks up, the Warriors should be penciled into the NBA Finals every year.
5 Bold Predictions for your Chicago Bulls…
5. Jabari Parker will not have the option on his contract picked up by the Bulls at the end of the year. Fit is a real concern when constructing a roster, a lesson GarPax seem to forget every other off-season. Jabari Parker is having a hard time fitting in. Already demoted from the starting lineup after a lack luster preseason, Parker looks like he will not be living up to his $20 million contract. It’s early, and he can certainly work to turn around his disappointing start, but it has always been a long shot that he would fit with the Bulls as they are currently constructed.
4. By the time the season is over, Denzel Valentine will become the back up point guard for the Bulls. I have very little confidence in Cam Payne as an NBA player, and I think the Bulls coaching staff feels the same way. When he came back from his foot injury at the end of last season, he looked like an improved player. He was selflessly running the offense, giving effort on defense, making sound decisions with the basketball, it was as if he had finally blossomed into an NBA point guard. Payne has since regressed. He looks confused on defense and impatient on offense. A lot of bad habits have crept back into his game. If things continue to spiral for Cameron Payne, it will only be a matter of time before Valentine takes over running the offense for the second unit. Valentine’s natural play-making ability and reliable shooting make him a good option as the lead guard off the bench. It will be a hard pill for the front office to swallow, but Cam Payne out, Denzel Valentine in.
3. Coach Fred Hoiberg will NOT be fired this season. The front office doesn’t like to fire coaches with years left on their contracts, and Hoiberg has the 2019-2020 season left after this current one. If the Bulls do not perform well this season, he will certainly be on the hot seat, but I’m pretty sure his job is secure… At least until this upcoming off-season.
2. Zach LaVine will make the All-Star team. LaVine seems to have taken his scoring to a whole new level this preseason. He has been very efficient with his jumpers. He has attacked the basket, both finishing at the rim and drawing fouls. He has even exhibited effort on the defensive side of the court. With the way he has been scoring, and if he continues to put forth effort on defense, and cuts down on his many turnovers, Zach LaVine should be an All-Star.
1. The Bulls will win about 32 games this season and miss the playoffs. The Bulls have more talent than they did last season, but not much more talent. They are still a very young team that needs to figure out how to play together. This young roster is also injury prone, a fact punctuated by the unfortunate elbow injury to Markkanen, and ankle sprain to Denzel Valentine. Their most reliable player is Bobby Portis, I’m not confident he is enough to ensure a playoff appearance. The Bulls will be better than they were last season. They will probably beat the Las Vegas over/under on wins, but it won’t be by much. I expect them to finish with just over 30 wins, securing a mid to late lottery pick. It’s a rebuild folks. It takes more than one season of being bad.
Bulls News and Updates:
Ryan Arcidiacono has been given the last roster spot on the Bulls bench. He seems to have out played Derrick Walton Jr, Antonius Cleveland and a bevy of other camp signees for the final spot on the team. The Bulls also signed former Phoenix Sun prospect (and Marian Catholic grad), Tyler Ulis, to their last 2-way G-League contract. Ulis will join rookie Rawle Alkins splitting time this season between the Windy City Bulls and the Chicago Bulls. Ulis is an undersized point guard that battled injuries his first couple seasons in the league, in other words, he fits the Bulls roster to a “T”.
Blog News and Updates:
Starting this weekend, Sunday posts will be back. You can expect something a little different on Sundays: More graphs, spread sheets, graphics, lists, and less rants, well maybe not less rants, we’ll see, Sunday Posts are still evolving… Until then, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!