Lebron James ended the NBA season on a high note last night delivering a title to Cleveland, a city over 5 decades without a sports title, despite having three major sports teams. He defeated one of the greatest teams ever (and statistically the greatest regular season team ever) and led the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. He did it in versatile and dominant fashion and ended all doubts that he is a top 5 all time player (I have him as 1B to Michael Jordan’s 1A). As someone who has loved Cleveland since my first visit to the city in 2010 (my endorsement has led to a nice renaissance of the city over the last six years) and has defended Lebron’s greatness since the late 2000s I am super happy for the city, Lebron and mostly myself for being completely correct. But now that we are left with only baseball for the next 2+ months (with a brief respite for Wimbledon) I figured I should at least compile a list of things to look forward to for next season. Here are my top 10 predictions for next NBA Season:
1) Steph Curry returns built like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – After hearing that the physical play of OKC and Cleveland damaged his game, Curry will undergo a Michael Jordan-esque commitment to weight training. He may go overboard though as he tries to go from the NBA’s Kevin Hart to the NBA’s Rock.
2) Kevin Durant goes to the Miami Heat – Pat Riley goes full Vince McMahon and brings in Durant to disrupt Lebron’s eastern conference dominance. Instead of Durant, Bosh and Wade doing a big pep rally it will be Riley coming out alone in McMahon cadence: “Oh I am happy for Lebron. He won his title for ‘The Land’… BUT NOW WE HAVE A NEW SON OF THE BEACH!” and then a curtain drops with Durant coming out as Riley flashes all his rings for the camera.
3) Russell Westbrook Has The Greatest/Worst Season in NBA History – With Durant gone, Russell Westbrook will average 38 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists, 15 turnovers and shoot 36% from the field, He will actually tear both ACLs midway through the season and still play all 83 games.
4) The Knicks Sign Harrison Barnes – Harrison Barnes was tremendously awful in the last three games of the Finals (seriously – Nick Anderson level mind issues may have occurred – it looked like Barnes was aiming his shot in Game 7). He may have cost him a lot of money, but in Montana there is one team president who probably thinks he can snatch Barnes at a discount.
5) Demarcus Cousins punches his coach – Every season needs a controversy and Cousins seems to be on the edge of all NBA talent and 30 for 30 cautionary tale.
6) The Utah Jazz Make the Playoffs and, inspired by Cleveland, start calling Salt Lake City “The Lake” if they don’t already – Hey, I am a Jazz fan so give me this one.
7) The Minnesota Timberwolves Begin Frightening the Entire League – Great new coach, loaded with young talent (and about to add another lottery pick). I think T-Wolves make the playoffs and everyone realizes that Towns-Wiggins are coming for all of you like the White Walkers in Game of Thrones (GOAT episode last night by the way)
8 ) Lebron Haters Go Completely Silent – This is the only way to tell that Lebron has been great. Look for them to reappear in 2019 to declare that Lebron is not THAT great.
9) David Blatt Joins ISIS – I think we can all agree that joining a terror organization is wrong, but Blatt is as close to being justified as anyone could be. Watching Tyronn Lue’s “coaching” get praised has to be killing him. He comes from Europe to Cleveland and is spit out by the heart of rock n’ roll? Not on his watch!
10) Steven Adams pledges his loyalty to Daenerys Targayan – Kahl Adams should date Emilia Clarke raising his celebrity profile during what should be a breakout season for the OKC big man.