A look back at 30 Bold Predictions before last year’s NBA season (11-20)

Last year I wrote an article before the 2018/2019 season.

I made a bold prediction for every team in the NBA.

Let’s see how it aged.

Houston Rockets 

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Bold Prediction – It’s not going to be two Western Conference appearances in a row. Sorry Houston.

Accuracy – 100%

Coming into last season, the Rockets had come as close as any team to taking out the Golden State Warriors dynasty. Chris Paul went down in Game 6 of that playoffs allowing the Warriors to take over. But this time last year – I knew Chris Paul wasn’t getting any younger. I didn’t like the Rockets losing their best defensive wings in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute and replacing them with substandard defenders. I didn’t like the incredible load placed on James Harden’s shoulders. It caught up to them this year.

Indiana Pacers

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Bold Prediction – The Pacers finish Top 2 in the East.

Accuracy – 0.1%

This was as straight as it comes, if they didn’t finish as either the 1 or 2 seed in the East, I was taking the L. Despite losing Victor Oladipo down the stretch – there wasn’t much of a chance of Indiana finishing ahead of the Bucks or Raptors. They did put in a commendable regular season performance, finishing fifth, with Bojan Bogdonavic as their number 1 option. They were very much a sack of potatoes in the playoffs, but everyone knew that. The addition of Malcolm Brogdon next year is worth keeping an eye on.

Los Angeles Clippers 

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Bold prediction – The Clippers come close to the Playoffs. Again.

Accuracy – 0.05%

I really felt like the Clippers were the most average team in the NBA coming into last season. In ways, that’s probably not far off. They definitely win the award of most overachieving team in the league – having taken 2 games against GSW in the playoffs and even finishing in the playoff picture to start with. Tobias Harris stepped up to a borderline star-level player before getting traded, and role guys like Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari and Montrezl Harrell were solid all year.

Los Angeles Lakers 

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Bold prediction – LeBron brings L.A to a Western Conference Finals.

Accuracy – 0.000001%

Look. Any team LeBron touches turns to gold. I should have had my reservations on his supporting cast though. Injuries played a factor in the Lakers underwhelming season – LeBron missing a chunk of it most notably. They never rebounded from his absence and playoff hopes just fell away towards the end of the season. A long shot from Western Conference Finals, no doubt. Even if they made the playoffs – I’m not sure how far they would have went.

Memphis Grizzlies 

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Bold prediction – Jaren Jackson Jr. becomes a franchise altering talent.

Accuracy – 25%

It might not be quite clear if Jaren Jackson Jr. has franchise altering talent ability. Yet. His rookie year was a solid one. Jackson Jr held his own in a team undergoing a total transformation. Instead of the Big 2 of Gasol/Conley – the Grizzlies will look towards Jackson Jr and this year’s draftee Ja Morant to take over the reigns. Maybe he’s more of a member of a franchise altering talent tag team, than one outright. But he’s still only 19 years old.

Miami Heat

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Bold Prediction – Spoelstra’s coaching won’t be enough for another playoff appearance.

Accuracy – 100%

Alright. We’re back with a bit of a save here. Looking at the Easter Conference last year – a lot of people believed it was thinned out with LeBron’s departure. Coincidentally – Miami’s roster had thinned out ever since LeBron left, and it was 50/50 at the time if Dwayne Wade was going to return (oh boy, he did, and we were reminded of his retirement every night). I didn’t like their chances. Josh Richardson was one element of positiveness. This summer he got traded.

Milwaukee Bucks 

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Bold Prediction – Antetokounmpo wins MVP for the first time.

Accuracy – 100%

I spoke about this on ASP Episode 29 (this week’s podcast) – a theory exists called the MVP hoax theory, or recency unbias. This is where an MVP can win one year but have to become an out of body space soldier to win the next. We saw that this year with James Harden putting up 30+ points in 30+ games and still not being enough to win. However, I did have Giannis as my MVP despite the stats, as his Bucks team led the league in wins and were consistently good all season – thanks to him for the most part.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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Bold Prediction – Jimmy Butler gets traded mid-season.

Accuracy – 100%

Jimmy Butler. Oh dear. It was pretty evident going into last season that Butler was only going to last so many games in Minnesota. He was pretty vocal in the off-season on how he didn’t gel with the mentality of the Minnesota youngsters. There was that infamous ‘practice’ story on how he led the reserves to a win over the starters and profanities were shouted.. anyways. Butler probably got what he wanted when he got traded to Philly mid-season, and had a pretty good playoff performance overall there.

New Orleans Pelicans 

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Bold Prediction – Despite AD’s heroics, the Pelicans don’t make the playoffs.

Accuracy – 100%

What a nightmare year it was to be a Pelicans fan. Fresh off the back of a semi-final Western Conference appearance, the Pelicans looked like they could be a sneaky contender under the Jrue Holiday – Anthony Davis led starting 5. Unfortunately Davis came to his senses about the poor supporting cast and demanded a trade halfway through the season. The trade deadline was quite insufferable with half the Lakers roster on the chopping block. The Pelicans didn’t make the playoffs, by a good stretch, but they did get the #1 pick and a ticket to Zion heaven.

New York Knicks 

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Bold Prediction – Trey Burke goes from relative unknown – to winning Most Improved Player.

Accuracy – -50%

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