The 2017-2018 NBA season tips off tonight with two games. The Boston Celtics travel to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers and the defending Golden State Warriors host the Houston Rockets. Below Goz and Eric Hannamann

Tom "Goz" Goslowsk- Co-Host of Levack and Goz Weekdays 2-7pm on 1045 The Team 

MVP- LeBron James- Did you know the last time LeBron James won an NBA MVP award was 2013? LEBRON JAMES!! Now that Kyrie Irving has left Cleveland, LeBron's importance to the franchise will be seen more clearly than in year's past. James is entering his 15th season in the NBA and is showing no signs of slowing down. The King reclaims his throne as the top player in the NBA.

Rookie of the Year- Dennis Smith Jr-The rookie of the year is a tough one to figure out because the tendencies of the voters is difficult to nail down. Do they vote for a rookie who helped his team over achieve? (Malcolm Brogdon in 2016). Do they vote for the player who stuffs a stat sheet? (Michael Carter Williams) Or do they vote for a player who is the best all around first year player? (Karl-Anthony Towns). I'll lean towards Dennis Smith Jr for doing two out of three of those this season. Stuffing a box score and helping Dallas exceed expectations.

Defensive Player of the Year- Draymond Green-Are the Warriors set to be the best team in the NBA and not win any individual awards? Someone from Golden State has to win an award and Green is always in the mix for it. The sexy/trendy pick would be Rudy Gobert and I like him as a player but I don't believe the Jazz can be a top four team in the Western Conference.

New York Knicks Record (27-55) – The Knicks had 31 wins last season. I'll ask this simple question: How are they a better team this season? The Carmelo Anthony haters will say the team will be better without him. Again I ask: How?!. Who can score like 'Melo? Is Porzingis healthy for eighty two games? He has yet to do that. I won't be surprised if the Knicks have a top three pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Brooklyn Nets Record (30-52) – A ten game improvement for the Nets is awesome! A thirty win season is not anything to brag about ten wins could potentially be the biggest win improvement for one season. Allen Crabbe and D'Angelo Russell will make the team better than last year's squad.

Top 8 Playoff Teams Eastern Conference-

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Charlotte Hornets
  7. Miami Heat
  8. Detriot Pistons

*Should I be on board for #TrustTheProcess ? I want to but this could go down as the most overrated mantra and mindset in the last twenty five years in the NBA. Embiid has played 50 LESS GAMES THAN GREG ODEN IN HIS FIRST THREE SEASONS! Yet he is the savior? Ben Simmons is a rookie who didn't even get LSU to the NCAA tournament. Fultz couldn't get Washington to the NCAA tournament? Not buying #TrustTheProcess yet.

Top 8 Playoff Teams Western Conference

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

*The Spurs fall off a bit but not much as they drop to a 4 seed. I'm so confused about Minnesota. Did Chicago really become once Butler became the face of the franchise over Derrick Rose? Can Towns and Wiggins live up to their hype? I love the combo of Anthony-Westbrook- George in OKC.

Eastern Conference Finals: Cleveland Cavaliers over Boston Celtics (in 5)

Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors over Oklahoma City Thunder (in 7)

NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors over Cleveland Cavaliers (in 7)

 

Eric Hannamann Producer for 1045 The Team, Co-Host of the Sittin' Sportside Podcast

MVP- Damian Lillard. LeBron and KD seem to be the obvious picks because they will have the best player on the best team argument but I think Lillard will have a career-defining season.

Rookie of the Year- Ben Simmons. We’ve seen it before where a player missed a whole season because of injury and wins this award in the year he wasn’t drafted; Simmons is a prime candidate and could be an immediate star in this league.

Defensive Player of the Year- Rudy Gobert. With the last 3 seasons not backing this up, big men usually win this award and you could argue the Stifle Tower was robbed last season after averaging 2.6 blocks per game. Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard will definitely be back in the conversation but I’ll put my money on a big man taking this trophy back.

New York Knicks Record (24-58) – Unless Tim Hardaway Jr. can put this team on his back, I am not sure I can really believe in this team. Kristaps Porzingis should be the focal point of the Knicks now but I honestly think 24 wins could be too generous given New York’s roster.

Brooklyn Nets Record (38-44) – If you’re saying the Knicks aren’t good, how can you say the Nets will win 38 games? I know that reaction is coming but I believe in a crazy offseason, Brooklyn made some underrated moves. D’Angelo Russell has a chance to be the focal point of an offense while Allen Crabbe will finally be able to take more shots getting out of a crowded team in Portland. DeMarre Carroll is a solid defensive-focused veteran who is a perfect mentor for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and the bench has some solid underrated talent in Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Quincy Acy. I think they will be in the thick of things for the 8th seed but as you’ll see in a moment, I think they’ll be the 9th best in the East.

Top 8 Playoff Teams Eastern Conference-

  1. Washington Wizards
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers
  3. Boston Celtics
  4. Toronto Raptors
  5. Milwaukee Bucks
  6. Miami Heat
  7. Philadelphia 76ers
  8. Charlotte Hornets

*I think the Nets and Pistons are the only other teams that will be in the running for the postseason. I’m ready for some other teams to prove me wrong (and I know I’ll get some flack when the Nets let me down).

Top 8 Playoff Teams Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Houston Rockets
  5. Portland Trailblazers
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves
  7. New Orleans Pelicans
  8. Utah Jazz

*It is hard to imagine those Memphis Grizzlies not making it but I believe this could be the year they miss for the first time in what seems like forever. The addition of Paul Millsap will keep the Denver Nuggets in the running as well and as long as Blake Griffin is healthy, I believe the Los Angeles Clippers will vie for that 8 seed.

Eastern Conference Finals: Cleveland Cavaliers over Washington Wizards (in 7)

Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors over Oklahoma City Thunder (in 6)

NBA Finals: Golden State Warriors over Cleveland Cavaliers (in 7)