10 Bold Predictions for the 2017-18 NBA Season


We rounded up 10 of our Hashtag Basketball writers to give us their boldest prediction for the season. Here is what they came up with.

George Ayad: The Rockets are the team to knock off the Warriors

After having the second-best offense last season, with little defensive prowess, the Rockets addressed a lot of issues in the off-season. They brought in another mega-star to take the load off of Harden, they have a bench filled with defensive minded players, and they kept the same offensive core from last season. Add all those ingredients together and that makes for a scary recipe.

Jordan Christmas: Joel Embiid will play 65 games and will make an All-NBA team

Betting on his health is obviously a huge proposition, but we all know the type of talent he is. If everything goes right and the Sixers make the playoffs in a very, very weak east, voters are going to want to reward Embiid and justifiably so.

Evan Dammarell: Oklahoma City upsets Golden State in the second round

Before I get too far ahead here is my final prediction for the Western Conference standings:

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves
  6. Utah Jazz
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Denver Nuggets

Here is how I have the first round going:

  • Golden State beats Denver 4-2
  • Houston beats Los Angeles 4-1
  • San Antonio beats Utah 4-0
  • Oklahoma City beats Minnesota 4-2

With the start of the second round, things get interesting with Russell Westbrook and his newly star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder take on his former teammate Kevin Durant and his Golden State Warriors; with the Thunder prevailing, winning the series in seven games. The Thunder are being slept on with the fact that their big three of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George matchup with the Warriors and Steven Adams serves as the X-Factor that pushes the Thunder over the edge. It will be dramatic but the Warriors streak of Western Conference dominance comes to a close at the hands of Durant’s former team.

Devon Haripal: The Boston Celtics are upset in the first-round of the playoffs

I still have a ton of questions for this current edition of the Celtics headed into the season. Their Achilles heel is the lack of a true big man. Are we confident Aron Baynes is the answer for the C’s? Playoff basketball is a different monster than the regular season. Since they aren’t the Warriors, the Celtics will struggle when playoff basketball slows down the pace. The lack of a true big man will be killer for the Kyrie Irving-led Celtics come playoff time. Sports Betting Dime has the Celtics in the top-3 favorites to win the championship.

Jason Hynson: The New Orleans Pelicans win 50 games

People are expecting the Pelicans to flop, but when Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis played last year they were .500. Add Demarcus Cousins, the best offensive assistant in the NBA, nice bench pieces in Tony Allen, Ian Clark, and Darius Miller, and the Pelicans have a shot to be a top-4 seed.

Erik Judd: The Cavaliers will not represent the East in the Finals

I know this is heresy, and if you’ve tried to predict when a LeBron-led team would miss The Finals in the past 7 years, you would have been wrong every time. Which leads me to believe, I’ll most likely be wrong this time. The prediction said to be bold, and Shea Serrano told me to shoot my shot, so I’m banking on Boston, Washington, Toronto, and a not-completely healthy Cleveland team in May. I feel terrible about the bet already.

Sam Macey: Giannis Antetokounmpo has the first 150 steal and 150 block season since AK47 in 2003-04

He’ll join Hakeem Olajuwon, the Admiral (David Robinson), AK47 (Andrei Kirilenko), Bobby Jones and Elvin Hayes in this illustrious club. Giannis has no chill on the court, even in the All-Star game he was beating the ground trying to lock players up. Love the fire!

Mike Muskett: Joel Embiid will win DPOY, MVP, or first team All-NBA

This is a bet that he plays more than 55 games. This man knows how to play basketball.

Kevin Nye: The Spurs *only* win 49 games this year

It’s possible! If Kawhi’s injury lingers - and it seems like it could - they need someone else to carry the load. However, we’ve seen questionable returns from LMA (and his new contract, which was, um, surprising) and the rest of the team is solely riding on Pop’s greatness. Pop is great, but if there’s any slip from anyone after Kawhi, the Spurs might only be a really good team instead of the team that has finished with at least a .610 win percentage every year since 1997.

Kevin So: John Wall ends up in the top-5 for NBA All-Star voting

With Bradley Beal the only other star on the Wizards, expect Wall to do his best non-Dwight Howard Superman impression and carry his team as far as he can take them. Something like 2016-17 Russell Westbrook-lite season is possible, with less scoring and more assists.

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