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October 26, 2016

Predictions for the 2016-17 NBA season

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The 2016-17 NBA season is upon us, and after a shocking finish to the season, there's no shortage of storylines heading into this year. Unfortunately for Sixers fans, it's likely going to be another year in which the majority of those storylines involve teams that only play in Philadelphia once or twice a season.

That, however, doesn't mean they won't be worth following, especially given the draft implications surrounding where some of those teams finish in the standings.

And that's why we're here, to try correctly predict how this season is going to play out. The good news -- at least if you've been following some of our other recent predictions -- is that the NBA is one of the easier sports to nail down. The two teams that are the best at the beginning of the season are likely going to be the last two teams standing (barring major injuries, of course). That's just how it tends to work out when you only have five players on the court at a time. There's less room for error, and less of chance that one of your weaker players has a significant impact on the game, especially once the postseason rolls around.

Basically, everyone knew the Cavs were coming out of the East last season. Likewise, everyone knew it was probably going to be the Warriors out of the West, unless the Spurs or Thunder were able to pull off an upset.

And guess what, this season isn't going to be any different. Here's how we see it playing out...

RICH HOFMANN

East

*indicates division winners

1. Cleveland Cavaliers*
2. Boston Celtics*
3. Toronto Raptors
4. Detroit Pistons
5. Washington Wizards*
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Indiana Pacers
8. Charlotte Hornets

CONFERENCE FINALS

Cleveland Cavaliers over Boston Celtics

West

*indicates division winners

1. Golden State Warriors*
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. San Antonio Spurs*
4. Utah Jazz*
5. Houston Rockets
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Portland Trailblazers
8. Memphis Grizzlies

CONFERENCE FINALS

Golden State Warriors over Los Angeles Clippers 

NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors over Cleveland Cavaliers

•  Finals MVP: Draymond Green

Season awards

•  MVP: LeBron James
•  Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid
•  Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens
•  Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard
•  Most Improved Player: D’Angelo Russell
•  Sixth Man of the Year: Andre Iguodala


MATT MULLIN

East

*indicates division winners

1. Cleveland Cavaliers*
2. Toronto Raptors*
3. Boston Celtics
4. Charlotte Hornets*
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Washington Wizards
7. Atlanta Hawks
8. Detroit Pistons

CONFERENCE FINALS

Cleveland Cavaliers over Toronto Raptors

West

*indicates division winners

1. Golden State Warriors*
2. San Antonio Spurs*
3. Los Angeles Clippers
4. Oklahoma City Thunder*
5. Houston Rockets
6. Utah Jazz
7. Portland Trailblazers
8. Minnesota Timberwolves

CONFERENCE FINALS

Golden State Warriors over San Antonio Spurs 

NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors over Cleveland Cavaliers

•  Finals MVP: Steph Curry

Season awards

•  MVP: LeBron James
•  Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmons Joel Embiid
•  Coach of the Year: Steve Kerr
•  Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green
•  Most Improved Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo
•  Sixth Man of the Year: Andre Iguodala


Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin   Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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