We've reached the end of October, which is my favorite time of year as a sports fan. The World Series is underway, we're halfway through the NFL season and the NBA and NHL are back in action.
While I enjoy watching all sports (and playing most of them, granted not very well), basketball is near and dear to my heart.
I've been writing about basketball for over a decade. It started as a fun hobby, but I was fortunate enough to write for several NBA blogs over the past few years. It culminated in an internship with the Sacramento Kings a couple of years ago, affording me the opportunity to produce content for the team. It will remain one of the highlights of my life and career.
Now, I continue my passion for basketball writing right here. Thank you all for taking the time to read my work!
Here are my award predictions for the 2019-20 NBA season and the teams I believe we will see in the NBA Finals:
Rumor has it Simmons has improved his jump shot over the summer, and if he can display that improved shooting touch this season and the 76ers finish first or second in the Eastern Conference, he will be a leading candidate for Most Valuable Player.
Zion Williamson was a favorite for the Rookie of the Year award coming into the season, but an injury that will keep him out for the first 6-8 weeks will make it hard for him to gain traction on Morant, who I believe has a chance to lead the Memphis Grizzlies in scoring, assists and steals this season.
No explanation needed for this one. Sweet Lou is one of the best 6th men of all time.
The Greek Freak can do it all on the defensive end. He can guard big men, guards, can move quickly on the perimeter and is a force down low. Antetokounmpo very well could finish in the top five in blocks and steals by season's end.
There are several good candidates for the Coach of the Year award, but Snyder gets the nod from me because I believe the Utah Jazz will finished as the No. 2 team in the loaded Western Conference. One of the best coaches in the league who flies under the radar, Snyder will have his moment in the sun this year.
There were high hopes for the young point guard last year, but a torn ACL in the preseason derailed Murray's 2018-19 campaign. This year, he's back healthy and will help navigate the ship for the San Antonio Spurs. The season before he got hurt, Murray averaged 8.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 21.5 minutes per game. I wouldn't be surprised if he doubles his scoring and assist average this year, as he is expected to play 30-plus minutes per game.
The addition of Russell Westbrook could knock off a few buckets a game for Harden, but the shooting guard will continue to live at the free throw line, and should have better scoring opportunities sharing the backcourt with another explosive scorer.
NBA Finals Matchup
Los Angeles Clippers vs Philadelphia 76ers
These are not the Clippers of old, that's for damn sure. I fully expect Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the best bench in basketball to lead this team to its first NBA Finals appearance. If Simmons has the MVP-caliber season I think he's capable of, and health isn't a major issue with Joel Embiid and others, Philadelphia could come out of the Eastern Conference.