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5 Bold Predictions for the NBA in 2019

Where will KD end up? Who's getting the number 1 pick? And so much more

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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December 20, 2018

The new year is when things usually get cooking in the NBA, so we're back at it with our latest list of almost certainly correct predictions. Let's get right into it.

KD Will Sign with the Knicks

While New York’s professional (and college) teams have been lackluster for the past few decades, it still leads the league in two areas closest to KD’s heart: appreciation for raw hoops culture, and building business empires.

 

And just like a high school recruit choosing which college to attend, the most important opinion other than the recruit himself is that of the person closest to Durant’s ear. And that person is KD’s most trusted advisor and business partner, Rich Kleiman, who just happens to have grown up a die-hard Knicks fan. Kleiman co-heads Thirty Five Ventures along with Durant, and their HQ is conveniently in the Big Apple too. 🤔🤔🤔

 

The biggest threat to this Knicks pipe dream, however, is the team's front office’s reputation as unpredictable. KD is 30 years old, and too far along in his career to be interested in enduring through the growing pains that come along with a team without a clear future. This is where Kleiman comes in. If KD can leverage his gravity to finesse an executive position for Kleiman, it may mitigate any concern of shaky management.

 

These days rappers write TV Shows, former players become head coaches and agents become GMs without any experience. A successful investor and advisor to one of the biggest basketball brands acquiring a purposefully flexible title in the front office of the Knicks would just be business as usual.

 

A title in New York—especially given their recent woes—is worth two, maybe three, anywhere else. With nothing redeemable to talk shop about in the last 40 years, one ring in NYC would make KD the basketball hero of the decade in the most important basketball city in the world. Something definitely worth considering.

 

The Celtics Trade for Anthony Davis

Danny Ainge has been stacking assets since Jayson Tatum was in middle school (he’s only 20), but the issue at this point is that the Celtics are generally too young and talented at each position to make most swaps worthwhile. The only logical deal would involve packaging multiple assets for an MVP-caliber player.

 

And even though Danny Ainge and the Boston Front Office prefer to be proactive, the unexpected emergence of Eastern competitors Toronto, Milwaukee and Philly and rumors of AD linking with his fellow Klutch colleague on the Lakers might be enough to nudge the Celtics to finally make this move.

 

The league favors a strong crunchtime five over talent spread over a roster, so combining Al Horford, a first-rounder, plus a combination of Jaylen Brown/Terry Rozier’s expiring contract/Marcus Smart would be worth creating a guard/forward/center monster of Kyrie, Tatum, Davis. Surely, the Pelicans could twist the Celtics’ arm into throwing in this year’s rookie whom Danny Ainge arbitrarily chose to rave about, Robert Williams.

 

Instead of being exposed by AD leaving for nothing in return, the Pelicans would receive enough young talent to be in a favorable position once the reign of the Warriors and LeBron are over (plus a few draft picks after tanking).

 

By leaning on their youth as an excuse to be patient, the Celtics risk losing Rozier to free agency or seeing Brown’s trade value drop as a result of a crowded depth chart. Few teams interested in a deal fan offer as much young talent as the Celtics. Besides the Lakers, who might have enough prospects to drive the price up.

 

Next Year’s Number One Pick Doesn’t Sign With Nike or Adidas

Nike and Adidas and Reebok went seven straight years of inking the number one overall pick of NBA Drafts—until Puma blindsided them and inked DeAndre Ayton. And before that seven-year streak, Nike and Adidas have traded off years, never relinquishing control of the top pick for longer than a year. But as the new crop of prospects is less impressed by the big box brands, it would make sense that Puma, a foreign brand like Li-Ning, or even Under Armour undercuts one of the giants again.

Rockets Miss the Playoffs

After winning 65 games last year on their way to Game 7 of the Western Finals, the Rockets are on pace to win 36 games. To put this into perspective, this would be the largest win gap between seasons ever where a team did not lose either Michael Jordan or LeBron James.

 

Houston is tracking to have a larger drop-off larger than the following seasons:

  • ‘96-’97 Orlando Magic: Shaquille O’Neal left in free agency

  • ‘04-’05 Indiana Pacers: Lost Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson to Malice at the Palace

  • ‘73-’74 Lakers: Wilt Chamberlain retired

  • ‘17-’18 San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard played 9 games

 

The Rockets using the departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute as an asterisk is like saying the dog ate their homework. Basically, they missed twenty-seven straight threes and lost their powers. And sadly, the Rockets don’t have anyone on IR to wait hopefully for, or an asset that could make for a seamless and fruitful swap. Just a 33-year-old six-foot point guard with $160 million left on his deal :/

 

Cavs Win the 2019 Lottery

This already happened. It doesn’t matter where the Cavs finish. But they do sort of deserve as consolation for LeBron dipping. A brief history of the Cavs’ success at the lottery in the past below:

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Chart courtesy of Jacob Forchheimer

WE NEED NEW RULES!

 

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