10 Predictions for the 2019-20 NBA Season

By Roger Barajas

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The NBA Season is finally upon us! After what was undoubtedly one of the most surprising off-seasons in recent league history, the stars have finally come back to the hardwood. We can finally throw on our sports hoodies, make some hot chocolate, and spend a little too much time trying to figure what channel the game is on. Though before you get too cozy, take a look at ten early season predictions for the running 2019-20 NBA season:

  1. Trae Young becomes an All-Star for the East

Let’s start these predictions off correctly. This one is a lock. I think I’ve had enough of watching Trae Young continuously torch my Spurs every single during every single matchup; In his first game back from an ankle sprain against the Spurs, Trae dropped 29 points, 28 of which were scored in the second half. Coach Pop still hasn’t found the formula to stop this kid, but neither has the rest of the league. This season Young is averaging 25-8-4, shooting the three ball at a much more efficient 40% – a bigger boost from his rookie season in which he shot 32% from behind the arc.  With the way Young is continually growing and maturing as a more complete player, he’s bound to have an All-Star year.

Trae Young, Courtesy of Creative Commons
Trae Young, Courtesy of Creative Commons

2. The Suns Will Have a Surprising Season, though will Still miss the Playoffs

If you weren’t on the Devin Booker wave before this season started, the applications have closed. Booker declined his invitation to play for Team USA in the 2019 Fiba World Cup in the summer to instead focus on improving his all-around game, and it’s worked. Devin Booker for nearly most of his career has been among the league’s best on the offensive side of the ball. Though we only have a small sample size of 8 games, Booker is shooting a career high in field goal percentage and is one of only NBA players that won’t sweat and still drop 50 points any given night. Though as great as Booker is offensively, I’m hitting the brakes on the Suns playoff talk. I’m not entirely convinced that Ricky Rubio, Aaron Baynes, and Kelly Oubre will be ‘X-factors’ down the stretch of a 82-game season in their hopes of a playoff push; I got Phoenix just shy of sneaking into the 8th seed when it’s all said and done.

3. A Few Knicks Fans With Turn Undercover Nets Fans

Nets Fan Sitting, Courtesy of Unsplash

New York stand up! Hoodie SZN is here. Lace up those deadstock timbs, blast A Boogie for the twelve-thousandth time, and keep trying to forget that you were so close from drafting Zion. All the hopes, dreams, and aspirations Knicks fans had of creating a super-team had sadly flopped harder than James Dolan’s rock band. I won’t lie, you guys have been through sports heartbreak: You all booed, fell in love, then ultimately hated Porzingis, endured a decade of mediocrity with ‘Melo, still have the notorious James Dolan as the franchise’s owner, and haven’t experienced a championship parade since the early 70s. Trust me, you don’t have to hide your pain; I’m betting on some of you “fans” to just call it a day and cop a Kyrie Irving Nets jersey that will stay hidden in the closet.

4. The System Again Prevails: Spurs Continue Their Postseason Streak

Two Spurs, Courtesy of Unsplash

If there has ever been something to never, ever, doubt, it is to probably believe the Spurs will see the playoffs from the outside looking in. Coach Popovich, the winningest coach in NBA history, has a tendency to miraculously create something out of a lackluster-type rosters, and have them compete in the postseason such as last year when the Spurs took the Denver Nuggets to seven games. Regardless of how I feel about the Derozan-Aldridge duo, Pop found a diamond in the rough in DeJounte Murray, and as the season progresses, will have an offense built around Murray. The Spurs also have three point shooters in Derrick White, Bryn Forbes, Rudy Gay, and Marco Bellinelli; it just takes a couple of them to drop for this team to have a fluid and a modern-NBA style offense. “The Spurs system,” not necessarily its players, gets this team to the playoffs.

5. Eastern Conference All Star Pt. 2: Jason Tatum

Remember when the Celtics were one game away from reaching the NBA finals? That was just two seasons ago! The Celtics finally got rid of the elephant in the room, (Kyrie Irving) and are looking to succeed with their authentic, young core. Jason Tatum, Jalen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Al Horford were the foundation of that 2018 Eastern Conference Finals roster. Even though the Celtics’ lost a valuable asset in Al Horford, they are looking to run it back with a perennial All-Star in Kemba Walker. Early on, this team is showing great promise, primarily due to Jason Tatum’s play. I’m looking for an All-Star season from Tatum as early as this year.    

6. Lakers Become a Top-2 Seed in the West

Lebron Billboard in L.A., Courtesy of Unsplash

They look elite. If you didn’t believe this team would work before the season started, Lebron, AD, and Danny Green look to prove you wrong. In summary, ‘Bron’s actually playing elite defense, Danny Green became Kyle Korver Jr., and Anthony Davis is climbing as a “sleeper” MVP candidate. With quality early season wins against the Jazz, Mavericks, and Spurs, the Lakers are beginning to form their identity in hopes of a championship-caliber season.  

7. The NBA Coach’s Challenge Rises in Stock

For the first time ever, the NBA is experimenting with the ‘’Coach’s Challenge.’’ It can only be used once per game, and if the attempt is unsuccessful, a timeout will be charged. People aren’t talking about how much power the challenge itself contains; it can be the reason a three-pointer is deemed as a two, a blocking foul is overturned to a charge, or even at the least, slow or change the momentum of the game. Look out for controversial challenges, and the growing importance of them as the season progresses

8. Luka Doncic makes an All-NBA Team

(Sorry again if you’re still reading, Knicks fans). Kristaps Porzingis on this revamped Mavericks squad adds a new threat in which Luka can utilize. The 7’3 Latvian big man is a true threat from three-point range & also has a solid low post presence in the paint when he’s in attack mode. Luka Doncic is now beginning his sophomore NBA season, a season after winning the Rookie of the Year award. Porzingis, if all goes right, will compliment Doncic’ s all-around game and can also contribute to winning key games. 

9. The Scoring Title is Harden’s to Lose

Aerial View of Toyota Center, Courtesy of Unsplash

Stephen A. Smith thought Harden could average 40 a night. I’m not willing to go that far, but unless Harden gets injured, the scoring title is his to lose. Averaging a career-high 37 points, Harden continues to destroy defenses with his offensive arsenal, and will continue to dominate throughout the season with high-scoring nights in the high 40s and 50s. 

10. Carmelo Anthony Returns

It’s only right that he’s given one more shot. Most likely the riskiest of my predictions, but it would be an outright disappointment to never see Carmelo Anthony in an NBA uniform ever again. We haven’t seen the last of ‘Melo.