5 Crazy Predictions for the New NBA Season

Kawhi, rap music, LeBron’s fate in LA. Hear me out.

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Kawhi Leonard / Steve Russell/Getty Images

NBA internet, we’re one week out from opening night. So in the spirit of making premature predictions, mainly as a device for whiling the time away until first tip, here’s the five craziest narratives that will play out during the new NBA season.

Kawhi Leonard Will Stay in Toronto

Kawhi Leonard’s success this year is entirely contingent on his health. And him staying in Toronto is entirely contingent on the team’s success. But, he looks great in preseason and ranked Scorpion as his number one album of the summer. Demar who?

I am not a doctor, by the way.

Dwight’s Coach/GM Killstreak Comes to an End

The only team impervious to Howard’s negative juju (see: ORL, LAL, HOU, ATL, CHA) might be the Washington Wizards. And not because their team culture is so strong—actually, quite the opposite. Howard will replace Marcin Gortat’s on-court duties as a conventional big running rim to rim, finishing in the paint and struggling to guard the type of new age Centers that would make a more logical complement to Wall. Howard’s Net Locker Room Impact (NLRI, patent pending) should be negligible to a team already used to subversive behavior. Ironically, the Wizards may be the perfect fit.

Trae Young Breaks Three Pointers Made for a Rookie Record

Last year, Donovan Mitchell made 187 three-pointers to break Dame Lillard’s record from 2013. Of course, there is a direct correlation to attempts—Spida and Dame both led their rookie class in attempts—and Young should be a mortal lock to shatter the attempts record, at the very least. The Hawks didn’t trade the most accomplished Euro ever for Young to not shoot threes.

LeBron James Will Not Be Named to First Team All-NBA for the First Time in 14 Years

The last time LeBron was not named to the All-NBA First Team, “Hollaback Girl” was No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It has been a minute.

In the 2014–15, season, we saw Bron’s numbers dip. For the first time in six years, he shot below 50 percent from the field and was left the All-Defensive teams. In the three years following, he decided that he would increase averages in points, rebounds and assists each season to the next while aging from 30 to 33 years old.

So if he has improved statistically in each of his last three seasons, why would this be the year King James isn’t named to the First Team, you ask? A quick peek under the hood will reveal that he has de-prioritized defense during the historic late-career climb of his numbers—even LeBron historian, Brian Windhorst, called him out last season. And while you can still make the First Team while playing mediocre defense (shout out James Harden), the question is if the Lakers will be able to win enough games in the West without Bron’s energy on the defensive end.

Unfortunately, as a 34 year-old he’ll likely have to choose between First Team offensive statistics or winning caliber defense. And with KD, Giannis and even Kawhi gunning for an “F” spot on the team, Bron’s reign as a First Teamer may come to an end.

Marvin Bagley III and Iman Shumpert Drop a Collab

It’s unclear whether the Kings improved on the court since last year’s trade deadline, but they definitely got cooler. After trading for Shump, who dropped a rap music EP, Substance Abuse, in the spring, the Kings drafted Marvin Bagley (or MB3FIVE) in June. Now, Sacramento can credibly claim having the two best rappers in the league on the roster, in addition to former platinum artist and current Kings minority owner, Shaq.

Bagley is not yet as established as either his teammate or minority owner in the rap game, to be sure. But we hope that those two (or Sacramento's own Mozzy!) can help put him on.

You can read Jacob's other NBA preview articles here and here.

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