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2021/22 NBA Preview

Here is the preview for the 75th Anniversary season of the NBA. This could be the NBA version of sliding doors, as one event can trigger divergent outcomes. As a Nets fan, it scares me that they are the overwhelming NBA favorites, especially with the Kyrie Irving situation lingering and potentially ripping apart the team from the inside. 

Atlantic Division

  1. Brooklyn Nets 57-25 (1)
  2. Philadelphia 76ers 51-31 (3)
  3. Boston Celtics 46-36 (6)
  4. New York Knicks 42-40 (8*)
  5. Toronto Raptors 37-45

This season could either be heaven or hell for the Brooklyn Nets. They are the overwhelming favorite to win the NBA Championship. They have the talent, no doubt, even without Kyrie Irving. However, health is an issue as the Nets broke down in the playoffs and exited in the second round. The Kyrie Irving situation could implode everything, and the Nets could finish as bad as 44-38, and knowing my teams, that is very likely to happen. However, if things work out, the Nets should be the best team in the NBA since they have the most talent. The Philadelphia 76ers have their own issues with Ben Simmons. Simmons is likely to be traded at some point, making the Sixers a stronger team if they can get quality in return. As long as the Celtics have Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart, they will remain competitive. The addition of Kemba Walker should help the Knicks, but don't be shocked if they have a letdown season, as Julius Randle struggles to equal his success from last season. The Raptors, meanwhile, will have trouble keeping up in a strong division as they begin life after Kyle Lowry. 

Central Division

  1. Milwaukee Bucks 56-26 (2)
  2. Chicago Bulls 45-37 (7)
  3. Indiana Pacers 40-42 (9)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers 25-57
  5. Detroit Pistons 23-59

The Milwaukee Bucks enter the season as the champions, winning last season for the first time in 50 years. The season ended late, and health will be an issue, but no doubt that the Bucks will again be a factor as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday form a strong core. The Chicago Bulls were big spenders in the offseason, adding Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan; this should get them back in the playoffs, but not much further. The Pacers have some health issues as they await the return of Caris LeVert; they will compete for the postseason and should be in the play-in tournament. The Cavaliers are still at least a year away from being a factor in the postseason, as Collin Sexton develops into a strong playmaker, while the Pistons are already looking forward to the draft lottery to pear somebody with Cade Cunningham. 

Southeast Division

  1. Miami Heat 48-34 (4)
  2. Atlanta Hawks 47-35 (5) 
  3. Charlotte Hornets 39-43 (10)
  4. Washington Wizards 34-48
  5. Orlando Magic 13-69

The Miami Heat ran out of gas at the end of last season, but with the addition of Kyle Lowry are certainly a threat to go back to the NBA Finals. Expect them to battle the Hawks all season for supremacy in the Southeast. The Hawks reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, going on a postseason run that echoed the run of the Heat from 2020. Trae Young is a budding star, but the Hawks will have to wear the weight of expectations as they will not catch anyone by surprise this time around. This season, the Charlotte Hornets should make some noise as LaMelo Ball, coming off winning Rookie of the Year, hopes to get the Hornets to the play-in tournament. Bradley Beal could be on his way out of Washington as he will be floated in trade rumors all season as the Wizards will not be in the playoff discussion, while the Magic is non-existent for Orlando, who could approach 70 losses. 

Northwest Division

  1. Utah Jazz 54-28 (2)
  2. Denver Nuggets 52-30 (3)
  3. Portland Trail Blazers 43-39 (9)
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves 34-48
  5. Oklahoma City Thunder 16-66

The Utah Jazz have not changed much from last season as they fizzled in the second round. If they get everything clicking at once, they have a team that could make a solid run to the NBA Finals. However, something always falters. Again they will be among the best defensive teams with Rudy Gobert as  Utah tops 50 wins. Nikola Jokic is one of the top players in the NBA, but the Nuggets have yet to find the secondary scorer that can help left them to the top of the West. The Trail Blazers always have their ups and downs and squeeze into the postseason as Damian Lillard has a knack for winning the big game. The Minnesota Timberwolves have talent but continue to find ways to screw things up as players like Karl-Anthony Towns go to waste. The Oklahoma City Thunder are now in rebuild mode, hoping the lottery can land them in a spot to get back into contention. 

Southwest Division

  1. Dallas Mavericks 51-31 (4)
  2. Memphis Grizzlies 44-38 (8)
  3. New Orleans Pelicans 42-40 (10)
  4. San Antonio Spurs 35-47
  5. Houston Rockets 20-62

The time is now for Luka Doncic, as the Mavericks' star is a prime MVP candidate. If Kristaps Porzingis can stay healthy and play up to his full potential, Dallas can become one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies have an excellent young core led by Ja Morrant, who will be an All-Star in 2022 as he takes his team to the play-in tournament. Meanwhile, Zion Williamson, a rising star with the Pelicans, will be the subject of trade rumors as he tries to carry an otherwise non-descript team into the play-in tournament. The days of the postseason are long gone for the Spurs, who are in full rebuild mode after an off-season youth movement, while the Rockets will never get off the launching pad as they will be among the worst teams in the NBA. 

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Lakers 55-27 (1)
  2. Phoenix Suns 50-32 (5)
  3. Golden State Warriors 47-35 (6)
  4. Los Angeles Clippers 45-37 (7*)
  5. Sacramento Kings 32-50

The Los Angeles Lakers have a roster of stars, but most of these stars are nearing eligibility for AARP. They are the favorites in the West and will make a long playoff run as they seek to break the tie for championships with the Celtics as LeBron continues to be Mr. June. The Suns rose from the ashes of a lost decade to reach the NBA Finals last season; they will compete again but will not come close to the same success. The Warriors are just hoping to stay healthy after two lost seasons, as they seek to get back to where they were when they played in five straight NBA Finals. The Clippers will start the season without Kawhi Leonard; the longer he is out, the harder it becomes for them to be a factor, while Sacramento remains NBA's Siberia, don't be shocked if they end up landing Kyrie Irving or Ben Simmons as they again land in last place. 


Play in Tournament


  • Bulls over Knicks, 
  • Pacers over Hornets
  • Pacers over Knicks


  • Grizzlies over Clippers
  • Trail Blazers over Pelicans
  • Clippers over Trail Blazers

First Round


  • Nets over Pacers in 5
  • Bucks over Bulls in 6
  • 76ers over Celtics in 7
  • Hawks over Heat in 7


  • Lakers over Clippers in 6
  • Jazz over Grizzlies in 6
  • Warriors over Nuggets in 6
  • Mavericks over Suns in 7

Second Round


  • Nets over Hawks in 6
  • Bucks over 76ers in 6


  • Lakers over Mavericks in 7
  • Jazz over Warriors in 6

Eastern Conference Finals 

  • Nets over Bucks in 7

Western Conference Finals

  • Lakers over Jazz in 7

NBA Finals 

  • Nets over Lakers in 7

NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant, Nets

NBA Awards

  • Coach of the Year: Taylor Jenkins, Grizzlies
  • Rookie of the Year: Cade Cunningham, Pistons
  • Most Improved Player: Terrance Mann, Clippers
  • Sixth Man: Tyler Herro, Heat
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Joel Embiid, 76ers
  • NBA MVP: Kevin Durant, Nets