Your Favorite Rapper's NBA Predictions

Hot, hot NBA takes from some of rap's biggest legends

raekwon universal
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As the last year of the decade comes to an end, the 2019-2020 NBA season is just starting, and just like the size of your phone and your idea of what sharing a car means, this NBA is leaving the decade virtually different than how it entered the decade. James Harden is now a perennial MVP candidate who can drop 60 in half the time of a Watchmen episode, Kawhi Leonard has ended two dynasties and is in the process of starting his own and Anthony Davis is wreaking havoc on the entire league with LeBron James.

Before we enter a new decade of basketball, ONE37pm spent the last few months speaking to hip-hop artists, producers and DJs about their predictions for the 2019-2020 NBA season. We spoke with the Wu-Tang Clan and Dave East at the Rolling Loud Festival NYC; Sleepy Rose, Worl, Skooly and Hott LockedN of 2 Chainz’s T.R.U. label; Jadakiss; Grammy-nominated producers Pyrex and Ayo; Cousin Stizz; and more. 

Some were so confident in their predictions that they were willing to put up a few wagers. “If the Golden State Warriors go back to the NBA Finals, I will personally put up a YouTube video teaching niggas how to make beats just like me,” Grammy-nominated Revenge of the Dreamers III producer Pyrex told ONE37pm. 

Other predictions were based solely on hometown love, like Oakland native Guapdad 4000’s choice for MVP. “I know Damian Lillard from Oakland. I don’t know if he’s doing good or bad, but I’m fucking with him.”

The Clippers vs. Bucks was the most popular matchup prediction for the NBA Finals. Here are hip-hop’s picks for this season’s most valuable player, biggest surprise, best duo and NBA champion.

Most Valuable Player: James Harden

When you’re called the greatest offensive player in NBA history by players who have played against Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Larry Bird, like Charles Barkley, only you can decide when you’re no longer in the MVP race. The 2017-2018 NBA MVP is averaging 39.5 points per game for the Houston Rockets and would give him the highest PPG since Wilt Chamberlain dropped 44.83 per game in the 1962-1963 season. Of all the hip-hop artists, producers and DJs we interviewed, the bearded assassin overwhelmingly was the top choice.

“He’s like the next A.I. in terms of how unguardable he is.”—Pyrex, producer of Dreamville’s ‘Costa Rica’

“I’m feeling Harden’s energy, right now. That’s my boy. He’s on some bullshit right now.”—Dave East

Runner-Up: LeBron James. “This is his revenge season. They tried to write him off as washed up last year. He’s coming back strong this year.”—Jadakiss

Best Duo: Anthony Davis and LeBron James

For the first time since before the Boston Celtics formed a big three with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen during the 2007-2008 season, the NBA is a land run by duos of giants. Every team with the best chances to win an NBA title is pillared by two dominant forces. But none have been as devastating as the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the only pair that has one player in the top two of assists per game (James) and one player in the top two of blocks per game (Davis). Hip-hop knows what happens when you give LeBron James a player close to his skill level, and that’s all they need to be convinced.

“Them niggas got a combination on the low. They’re both aggressive and they’re big niggas. You have to look at how Kobe was with Shaq. He needed that stronger but effective player on defense. I think ‘Bron found his guy.’”—Raekwon

“Him and A.D. going off and they’re taking over the whole NBA.”—Q Da Fool

“I thought it was going to take them a while to find their chemistry. But, A.D’s the best player Bron’s ever had on his team and Bron gets the most out of his teammates. They have the pick-and-roll, the pick and pop and defensively they’re just a great duo. The chemistry isn’t an issue.”—Bas

Runner-Up:Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. “I’m lowkey jealous like, ‘Damn, how are y’all that good?’ So, I try to ignore them when in all reality, that duo might be a problem for the whole league.”—Dyme-A-Duzin

Biggest Surprise: Carmelo Anthony

Few phone notifications this NBA season has momentarily paralyzed people in joy and confusion like the one that read “Portland Trail Blazers Sign Carmelo Anthony.” After laughing off a bench role on the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017, being traded to the Houston Rockets after one season, then being traded and waived after only playing 10 games, the three-time Olympic gold medalist languished in the free agency while pleading his case for being back in the league. In only his second week back as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers this season, the man whom no team would sign for a year, became the western conference player of the week after averaging 22.3 points per game in that week. No genre of music has embraced the embattled hoop legend like hip-hop and they won’t stop now. 

“I don’t like the way they slept on him. In every business there’s always these ill type of politics and underhanded disrespect towards players that have been doing shit for years, killing it. I feel for him to prove himself would be surprising to all of his doubters.”—Dyme-A-Duzin

“Melo is a player that’s going to surprise you the most because he’s going to show you what he can do and that he should’ve been on that court.”—Jadakiss

Runner-Up: Luka Doncic. “I don’t know how anyone is going to surpass what he’s doing. He’s damn near averaging a triple-double, dropping 40 and hitting step-back threes on LeBron James. He might’ve ran away with that already.”—Bas

NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers

The NBA title is such an illustrious honor a few hip-hop artists surveyed didn’t want the pressure of choosing the one team that will hoist the trophy under a wave of confetti at the end of the season. The difference between the Lakers being hip-hop’s choice as the champs and the Clippers was one vote. The Lakers already got a head start over their LA rivals by having the best start to a season in the franchise’s history. The last time they started this good was in the 2008-2009 NBA season when Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol led the squad to the title. Hip-hop sees history repeating itself a decade later.

“LeBron and them up to something over there. Trust!”—Raekwon

“Lakers will win because LeBron is on a mission after last season and the Lakers play defense.”—Big Pooh from Little Brother

“You have to remember how LeBron does. Don’t take anything from him. I don’t give a fuck who anyone else got, he knows when to turn that shit on.”—Dave East

Runner-Up: Los Angeles Clippers. “They got a point to prove, and the Lakers may go in too comfortable. Plus, Lou Will is the fam.”—Ayo, Grammy-nominated producer

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