Welcome to my NBA 2017-18 Predictions. Each of the last three years, the Cavs and Warriors have faced off in the NBA Finals, and Golden State won 2 out of 3 times. This year, I’d expect a similar result. I have the Warriors beating the Celtics in the NBA Finals. That would mean the Warriors will have won 3 out of the last 4 NBA titles. The Warriors dynasty is not even close to over yet. However, this season will be different than the last three. I think that there will be a shift of power between the other 29 teams in the NBA. Young teams will emerge, and older teams will fall. This year will start a new era in the NBA. Who will contend, and who will fall to the bottom? Keep reading to find out.
- Boston Celtics (59-23)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (59-23)
- Milwaukee Bucks (54-28)
- Washington Wizards (53-29)
- Charlotte Hornets (52-30)
- Toronto Raptors (50-32)
- Chicago Bulls (42-40)
- Miami Heat (40-42)
- Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
- Detroit Pistons (28-54)
- Philadelphia 76ers (22-60)
- New York Knicks (22-60)
- Orlando Magic (21-61)
- Indiana Pacers (13-69)
- Brooklyn Nets (12-70)
The tables have turned in the East. The Celtics acquired both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving this off-season. The Cavs gave up Irving after he demanded to be traded, and the Cavs received Isaiah Thomas in return. So, the Celtics have improved while the Cavaliers look to be about the same. A third team to watch out for is the Milwaukee Bucks. Watch out for some of their younger players to break out like Giannis Antetokounmpo did last season. The Greek Freak will continue to lead a young Bucks team.
The Wizards, Hornets, and Raptors could also chase the Eastern Conference title. Washington had a strong season last year, and I expect a similar result this year. The Hornets are another team to watch, they have the perfect mix of young talent and veterans after acquiring Dwight Howard and drafting college superstar Malik Monk. The Raptors are led by older veterans who are still elite, but they’ll be passed this year by some younger teams.
The Bulls and Heat will claim the final two playoff spots, but they have little to no chance of winning the east, let alone making it out of the 1st round. The Bulls are kicking in to rebuild mode, and it will take a couple years for them to contend again. The Heat have some young talent developing but they’re not quite there yet. The Hawks will miss the playoffs as they begin a rebuild of their own.
The Pistons, Sixers, and Magic will remain towards the basement of the East. The Pistons just need a few years to get good, they have a talented roster, but they need to get better as a team. The 76ers look to finally improve, led by young talent. They could be in the contention conversation a year or two down the road, but not yet. It’s the same situation in Orlando.
In the meantime, the Knicks will need to shift their focus to rebuilding. I don’t know why they went out and got Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose last off-season. Neither has much left in the tank. The Pacers will fall towards the bottom as well. They are in desperate need of a rebuild just like the Knicks. But the Nets are going nowhere, and they stay in the basement of the East again this season.
- Golden State Warriors (67-15)
- San Antonio Spurs (66-16)
- Houston Rockets (62-20)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (60-22)
- Los Angeles Clippers (57-25)
- Los Angeles Lakers (54-28)
- Memphis Grizzlies (46-36)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (42-40)
- Sacramento Kings (37-45)
- Portland Trail Blazers (35-47)
- New Orleans Pelicans (29-53)
- Dallas Mavericks (21-61)
- Phoenix Suns (20-62)
- Denver Nuggets (16-66)
Golden State will definitely remain on top of the division. They have a dynasty going here, and it’s not over yet. The Spurs will come very close though. Many are saying their dynasty is over, but their roster is stacked with talent. Superstar Kawhi Leonard will be supported by Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, and LaMarcus Aldridge among others. The Rockets could be the third 60-win team in the Western Conference. They have everyone they did last year as well as Chris Paul.
Some other teams to keep an eye on are the T-Wolves, Clippers, Jazz, and Lakers. The Timberwolves really boosted their roster with the signings of Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague. They will support the younger talent. The Clippers will still contend, but they’ll begin to fall out of it without CP3. Expect the same situation for the Jazz without Gordon Hayward. The Lakers could also emerge as a playoff team this season. They’ll be led by lots of young talent, and I think both Julius Randle and Lonzo Ball will breakout this year. The veterans they acquired will also support them.
The Grizzlies will grab the last playoff spot, just barely beating out the Thunder. The Grizzlies have a lot of elite veterans, but not enough young guns to contend much longer. The Thunder did acquire Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, but those guys aren’t in their prime anymore, and that will hurt the Thunder this year. On the other hand, the Kings’ young roster will put them back in contention down the road. This year we will see an improvement led by multiple former college stars, including Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Justin Jackson. The Trail Blazers will also be led by their rookies as well as veteran Damian Lillard to a decent season, but they won’t be contending. However, watch out for Caleb Swanigan. He was a beast in college who I think will make a big impact at the professional level.
The Pelicans may have the dynamic duo of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but they made a huge mistake trading away Buddy Hield. Now they have no young talent. The Mavericks and Nuggets will also need to find some younger talent before they leave the basement of the West. Meanwhile, the Suns are in rebuild mode, and they won’t do great this year, but look out for them next year.
I know this bracket has no upsets, but the NBA Playoffs are so predictable that it’s hard to predict an upset with confidence. It still could be a very exciting postseason though as the younger teams start to emerge as legitimate contenders. Two young teams that will have deep runs are the Timberwolves and the Bucks. Both will be led by a young player having a breakout season.
But in the end, we will end up with the same final four teams, although the Wizards, Bucks, T-Wolves and Rockets will come very close to the Conference Finals, challenging their opponents in the Semifinals. At the very least, I think there’s a chance we finally have a different NBA Finals. I have the Boston Celtics winning the East, beating the Cavs out after acquiring Kyrie Irving from them. However, I still have the Warriors winning the West and the NBA Finals.
That’s all for my predictions today. Feel free to comment with your thoughts. Stay tuned for more NBA articles, including rankings, predictions and game recaps.