UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
The 2023 NBA Season is upon us and like always the chatter is growing with each passing day as to what will happen and who will be the last team left standing come June 2024. Well, here we won’t be giving you all the usual predictions but our NBA hot takes for the coming season and why we think those unlikely events could actually happen.
1. Dallas Mavericks to play in the 2024 NBA Finals
Well, we start bold and we don’t care if you laugh. With our first NBA hot take for the 2024 season, we back the Dallas Mavericks to win the West and play in the 2024 NBA Finals. Yes, that same time that missed the playoffs and lost 60+% of their games since trading for Kyrie Irving last year.
It is a fact that when all of Kyrie, Luka and Tim Hardway Jr played together last season Dallas had the best halfcourt offense in the entire NBA – +13.1 points per 100 possessions. None of those 3 was in their best shape or very well adjusted to play with the others. Now, after a full pre-season together and with all of them healthy and happy the Mavs are ready to go.
The squad was strengthened very well too. Grant Williams is a great addition who can knock down shots when left free. The two rookie bigs that were added on Draft night should protect the paint well and also grow fast with gifted passers like Kyrie and Luka feeding them in the post. All in all, this is a much better roster than the one Dallas had when they reached the Western Conference finals in 2022. So, we back them to go a step further this time around.
2. LA Lakers to miss the playoffs
The LA Lakers enter this season on the back of a run to the Western Conference finals last year. However, LeBron is now a year older and for the first time in his career he will be officially the oldest basketball player in the NBA. He is missing more and more games with each passing year due to injuries and fatigue. His +/- efficiency stats are falling sharply too. This trend is only likely to continue.
We also don’t trust Anthony Davies to stay healthy. He is bound to miss games due to injuries, illness or simply because he is ‘not feeling right’. The Lakers failed to make even the play-in 2 years ago. They nearly missed out on the playoffs last season too but a late push saved them.
So, now that LeBron is a year older, at this stage of his career, every year matters hugely, and we think the Lakers could be out of the postseason again.
3. Zion Williamson to play 70+ regular season games
Zion Williamson’s 4 years in New Orleans have been marred by injuries. Right before he got hurt last season the Pelicans were topping the Western Conference and looked real contenders to win it all. They certainly can be the team to beat with Zion on the court. However, in his 4 years so far Zion averaged just 28.5 games per season.
Well, this year we back him to play in 70+ of the 82 regular season matches and lead the Pelicans to a much better win-loss record. This is the make-or-break year for Zion and the Pelicans project. Both the player and the organisation know that. Zion has done some amazing work with his body over the summer. He has lost 18 pounds and seems to have added even more muscle to his limbs.
We like this new Zion and we know he will be committed to play even through pain this season so we back him to do just that.
4. Joel Embiid to ask for a trade before February
The reigning MVP Joel Embiid wants one thing only and this is an NBA title. The way things are going in Philly and with all the drama around James Harden we can see the 76ers endure a slow start to the season. This combined with the serious strengthening the other rivals in the East have done makes us think that Joel’s patience with the Philadelphia 76ers might end this year.
We think it is very likely that Joel Embiid will ask to be traded before the February trade deadline.
5. Ben Simmons to average 10+ rebounds and 10+ assists this season
Our final NBA hot take for the season backs a player who has been to hell and back in recent years to resurrect his once-upon-a-time All-Star level of play. Ben Simmons is smiling again as of this summer and this is the big news there!
Ben is over his mental issues. He has healed his back problems too after a successful surgery. Ben Simmons is also no longer in the shadow of a superstar at Brooklyn Nets. At the same time, he is surrounded by talented shooters that can spread the floor well for him.
The Nets don’t have another typical ball handler but Ben, so he will be the primary playmaker this season. Due to all that we back Ben Simmons to average at least 10 rebounds and 10 assists this regular season.
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!