Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016-17 Predictions

The NBA regular season is back!

It's that time of the year where the Celtics look to make some noise between the World Series and NFL Sundays. The 2016-17 season tips off on Wednesday night for the C's and here on Causeway Street, we got your predictions all ready to go.

Here's our roundtable discussion on all things Celtics and NBA related below:

Zachary Peloquin

Celtics MVP - Al Horford

The biggest signing in team history (both by reputation and dollars paid) is set to be the gem of the 2016-17 Boston Celtics. Horford's inside-outside game is set to perfectly mesh with fellow All-Star Isaiah Thomas and his top notch screen and roll skills. As the centerpiece of the offense Horford should be a double-double machine and looks set to be the team's clear cut workhorse on the offensive end. Big Al's defense will also provide a much needed physical presence under the basket allowing perimeter defenders to be ultra aggressive and making Boston one of the most difficult teams in the NBA to score against. Lastly, Horford brings a veteran locker room presence that embraces the "team first" mindset. His addition to the current core is a natural fit and should put him into All-NBA First Team territory with some possible NBA MVP consideration.

Celtics Record- 53-29 (3rd in the Eastern Conference)

Third in the East may come as a shock to some but Boston will need some time to mesh with its new additions of Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Gerald Green which may cost the team a few wins in the first half of the season. The tough losses early will be Cleveland and Indiana's gain...the only two teams who will seed higher than them. Boston will show a marked improvement this season by breaking 50 wins but any seeding lower than 4th in the East will be a huge disappointment. Expect them to be pushing for a top four seed all season and opening eyes across the NBA landscape.

Celtics Bold Prediction- Boston stand pat, make no significant changes to the roster this season

Boston loves its coach, its hard working players, and its direction. Expect the rumors to fly around all season about Gordon Hayward, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, and a million other names but expect nothing to happen. Danny Ainge likes this roster and knows his patience is paying off...slowly, but surely. Expect the Celtics to be picking in the top three of the 2017 NBA Draft again and accumulating another top prospect to go with it's young and exciting core.

Eastern Conference Finals - Cleveland vs Indiana

Western Conference Finals - Golden State vs San Antonio

NBA Finals - Cleveland vs Golden State

NBA Champions- Cleveland Cavaliers

Golden State will be the high flying headliners of the 2016-17 season but when title time comes, its LeBron time. The Warriors addition of Kevin Durant will muddy the waters and make for a strange bedfellow when the game is on the line. Durant isn't a premier defender and without the ball in his hands, his impact on games could be minimized. Cleveland knows its pecking order and has had two years to perfect it's game plan. This season will see off the latest edition of NBA "super teams" in a shocking six game Finals upset of the Warriors.


Josué Pavón

Celtics MVP: Al Horford 

Celtics Record: 53-29

Unlike last year’s team, the Celtics won’t drop games against teams like the Nets and the Lakers. Brad Stevens will lead the Eastern Conference’s strongest defensive team. With Al Horford anchoring the front court and Avery Bradley – Defensive Player of the Year candidate – in the back, the C’s will finish third in the east behind the Cavaliers and Pacers.

Celtics bold prediction: Marcus Smart will be traded

Right now, it’s hard to envision any team dealing for an injured Marcus Smart (left ankle) but despite his recent setback, there’s still a great chance the third-year guard puts together the best season of his career. A great time for the C’s to trade him for a big man (DeMarcus Cousins if you’re thinking big, Nerlens Noel if you’re thinking small).

Eastern Conference Finals: Cleveland vs Boston

Western Conference Finals: Golden State vs Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Champions: Golden State Warriors

Hate to sound like every other NBA blogger out there but unfortunately, it’s just the basketball world we’re living in today. This may be the best ‘super team’ we’ve seen since Danny Ainge started the trend in 2007. I know it was only preseason but after a firsthand glimpse – the hype is real. The Warriors’ offense will pan out to be just as incredible as it looks on paper. The NBA Finals will still be a competitive one but in the end, Kevin Durant and the Warriors will seek revenge over the Cavaliers


Adrian Mendoza

Celtics MVP: Brad Stevens

Yes, I know. He's not a player. However, he does crush a lot (Big Pun's voice). The best part: Stevens is only 14 months older than Tom Brady.

Celtics Record: 52-30

My heart says 60 wins, but my mind says that the Eastern Conference collectively got stronger (see Indiana, Atlanta). The regular season bar doesn't necessarily need to be raised, but the playoff bar HAS to be.

Celtics bold prediction: Jaylen Brown will win Rookie of the Month 1-3 times this year

Get ready to see him on #SCTop10 on a seemingly bi-weekly basis and/or in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA getting his chess fix on. Side note, does anyone else want to see R.J. Hunter drop 25 on his old 'mates in a meaningless game this season?

Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers

Boston owes Cleveland a counterpunch after the Indians KO'd the Red Sox.

Western Conference Finals: Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs

Will the Spurs be LaMarcus-less?  Perhaps. Doesn't matter.

NBA Champs: Golden State Warriors

Is it even a question? This might be the best three-point shooting team of all-time. Old heads will continue to complain that this style of basketball is ruining the game (I vehemently disagree), and that the "super team" theme is hurting the league. You know who'd love to have a few super teams to help their struggling ratings? Roger Goodell. Yes, the Warriors lost by 29 to Spurs on Tuesday night, but only team to jell overnight was the 2007-08' Celtics.

Random question: Is Damian Lillard the best rapper in NBA history? Shaq and A.I. in unison are saying "nah."


Sean Dutra

Celtics MVP - Al Horford 

This guy is going to change everything. He is the first skilled big man the Celtics have had since Kevin Garnett ( Sorry Zeller, you don't make the cut).  In the preseason when Horford was in the game, everything just looked...better.

The offense looks smoother, he is able to defend the post, he is a absolute beast in the pick and roll, and overall, he's a great dude. Basically, this is everything the Celtics need this year.

He may not have the sex appeal of Kevin Durant as a free agent ( Did you see his homeless Rolling Stone Cover? HACHI MACHI) and he may not be the  flashiest player but he legit looks like he could have graduated from the Brad Stevens Basketball University.

It's saying something when you join a new team and are instantly, arguably, the best player on the team. If he averages 16 points and 10 rebounds per game, and plays solid defense you instantly take this Celtics team that hasn't been able to get out of the first round in years past - to the number one team to challenge the Cavaliers in the East.

Celtics Record - 54-28 (Atlantic Division Champs)

The Celtics weren't quite able to get to the 50 win plateau last year, but this year I think they can definitely eclipse that mark.

The East has gotten better this year, but so have the Celtics. I will say anything less than 50 wins and a home series in the first round will be a disappointment for the Celtics. I don't want to hear the " we're not a championship contender" mumbo jumbo excuse from  last year that would always be thrown in our faces from Ainge, and anyone defending a bad loss. This is the year the leap has to happen.

Bold Prediction - The Celtics will have 3 All Stars this year

Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Al Horford will all make the All Star team this year.  (Sorry, Jae)

Each of these guys have legitimate aspirations to be representing the Eastern Conference in New Orleans this year. Horford will start, Thomas will come off the bench, and Bradley will be a late injury replacement - for Dwayne Wade.

Eastern Conference Finals: Cleveland vs Boston (Cavaliers in six)

As much as I want to pick the Celtics over the Cavaliers, (and if this matchup does happen I will) I think it would be quite an accomplishment for the Celtics to make it this far. Do they have enough to get over the Cavaliers? Probably not on paper but they should be able to run through the rest of the East and get to this point.

Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State (Spurs in seven)

I so hope the Warriors get up 3-1 in this series and Pop just starts laughing. Karma is mother f-er so here's to the Spurs playing team basketball as the so called 'Super Team' implodes.

NBA Champions - San Antonio Spurs 

Because f**k the Warriors. I hope Popovich rests all his players against the Warriors during the regular season. I also am predicting that the Steph Curry's bad ankles could be catching up to him this season. The past two years, the Warriors have been very healthy. I think they will be plagued by injuries all year, and never reach that potential.


Joel Pavón

Celtics MVP: Al Horford

The best pick and roll big man the Celtics have acquired since Kevin Garnett, Boston has an anchor on defense now with Big Al. The former Hawk knows he can make something special happen for the C's and it begins this season.

Celtics Record: 53-29

This will be good enough for the third seed, but the Celtics will be battling for the second seed all season long. They will finally beat out the Raptors for the Atlantic Division crown for the first time in four seasons (the Knicks won it back in 2013), and will make a push towards the Eastern Conference Finals perhaps for the first time since 2012.

Celtics Bold Prediction: Avery Bradley wins DPY & makes his first All-NBA team

Yes, you heard it here first, Avery Bradley will win Defensive Player of the Year, make his first All-NBA team (probably third team) and becomes an All-Star in 2016-17. Last season I said Bradley could be MVP of the Celtics, and look how valuable he was, and how much he was missed in the playoffs? He was selected to the First All-NBA Defensive Team (his first selection) as the only guard, meaning not only is he the best perminter defender in the league, but Bradley is arguably the best on-ball defender in the National Basketball Association. You mix that with his offense and you have a possible star in the making, so this will be the year of A.B.

Eastern Conference Finals: Cleveland vs Indiana (Cavaliers in six)

As much as the Celtics will improve this season on paper, the Pacers are stacked in their frontcourt with the emergence of Myles Turner, plus you add Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson? For now, that might be enough to challenge the Cavaliers more so than Boston. But the C's will make it to the second round in a hard fought seven games against Indiana, but unfortunately home-court will be the deciding factor.

Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State (Warriors in seven)

I had the Spurs being champs the last three seasons, and now without Tim Duncan, and rumors of LaMarcus Aldridge being in the doghouse to start the season? Then again, they did just make a statement in thier season opener, beating the Warriors at Oracle Arena where Golden State has only lost twice in over two years, there might be hope. But with the addition of Kevin Durant, the only one other than Kobe to have Pop's number in the playoffs more than once in recent years (2012, 2016), KD might have the formula once more to beat the Spurs for a third time.

NBA Champions - Cleveland Cavaliers

Despite Kevin Durant having the Spurs' number, he still can't quite solve or crack the Bron Bron code yet. In his career he's 3-13 against LeBron James including 1-4 in the Finals, he's last win against James was nearly three-years ago. So for a guy who just saw a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals disappear last spring thus blowing a chance to play the Cavaliers, he continues to come up short. So K.D. decided to join a team where there should be plenty of blame to go around if things don't work as expected in the Bay Area, it can't fall all on him right?

Contrary to a popular wish of misfortune for those in Oakland, I just don't think the Warriors will beat Cleveland due to the mental weakness that is Steph Curry (look at his last two finals appearances) and Kevin Durant (who both blew a 3-1 lead to possibly win an NBA Championship). It's not sour grapes for Durant not choosing to come to Boston, I'm just a believer of a killer's instinct that Durant has clearly lacked when it most needed to appear. Now what makes you think it will be any different this time around for Kevin against his kryptonite LBJ?

Cavaliers will win in six games

Agree or disagree with our predictions? Hit us up on Twitter and gives us your take


Picture used courtesy of the Associated Press

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