Kia Season Preview 2017-18

2017-18 Season Preview: NBA.com's expert predictions

NBA.com Staff

From Kia MVP to who hoists the Larry O’Brien trophy next June, our panel of experts from NBA.com reveal their predictions for the 2017-18 season.

Steve Aschburner

Kia MVP: James Harden, Houston Rockets

Kia Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Kia Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Eastern Conference champion: Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference champion: Golden State Warriors

NBA champion: Golden State Warriors

Finals MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Steve says: “I was one of the few who voted James as Finals MVP in 2015 after he put up 35.8 ppg, 13.3 rpg and 8.8 apg in defeat to Steph Curry’s 26.0, 5.2, 6.3 (go back and look at their respective supporting casts). No one has managed to win it while losing The Finals since inaugural recipient Jerry West in 1970 but James could make a compelling case again, just by pushing the mighty Warriors to the limit.”

Shaun Powell

Kia MVP: John Wall, Washington Wizards

Kia Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Kia Rookie of the Year: Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks

Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota Timberwolves

Eastern Conference Champion: Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference Champion: Golden State Warriors

NBA Champion: Golden State Warriors

Finals MVP: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Shaun says: “So I sifted through the predictable preseason candidates for MVP … LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook on a repeat mission, either one of two Warriors. All very solid choices. Yet there’s a hunch Wall is gonna go Derrick Rose 2011, where he takes such command of his team and pushes them to a place they’ve never been since changing their name to the Wizards. He’s trending upward, he’s a fabulous two-way player who could lead the league in steals and assists and average 25 a night, and the Wizards will win 50-plus in the Easy East. Look, I’d rather wait until June to vote MVP but don’t hate the playa, hate the rules.”

John Schuhmann

Kia MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kia Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Kia Rookie of the Year: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

Coach of the Year: Jason Kidd, Milwaukee Bucks

Eastern Conference champion: Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference champion: Golden State Warriors

NBA champion: Golden State Warriors

Finals MVP: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

John says: “With last year’s No. 5, 7 and 8 seeds taking big steps backward, with Toronto losing key components of its bench, and with Washington not likely to be as healthy as it was last season, there’s a real opportunity for the Milwaukee Bucks to move into the top three in the Eastern Conference. That would get Giannis Antetokounmpo some MVP consideration, but will also shine a light on Jason Kidd’s ability to develop a young group into, perhaps, a top-10 team on both ends of the floor.”

Sekou Smith

Kia MVP: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kia Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

Kia Rookie of the Year: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics

Eastern Conference champion: Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference champion: Golden State Warriors

NBA champion: Golden State Warriors

Finals MVP: Klay Thompson

Sekou says: “LeBron’s a man on a mission. Well, he should be. Dispatched by the Warriors in The Finals for the second time in three years and disrespected by Kyrie Irving in the summer, his clap back is to remind the world once again that he reigns supreme as the best player in the game. He has more company near the top now than he has in years — Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and James Harden, to name just a handful of challengers — but he’s still on top. He narrated his offseason via social media and it should have been clear to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that he’s still got at least one more MVP season in him. And since the Warriors will keep him from claiming another Larry O’Brien trophy once more, he’ll have to settle for the individual hardware.”

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