PredictionStrike's 2021-2022 NBA Preview
Good morning PredictionStrike family, and welcome to one of our favorite days of the year! I hope you are well caffeinated because we have a doozy for you this morning. Sure, we could talk about last night's Titans-Bills game, but something else is a bit more pressing. Today is the first day of “Gains Season,” or what others call… NBA basketball season!I know we are deep in the trenches of football season, but in my experience, basketball is where the money is to be made. Maybe now you can see why I am so excited! Tonight tips off the start of the 75th anniversary season, and the league has some special events lined up to celebrate long and historic traditions. One tradition we have here at PredictionStrike is to bring the whole crew together, and share our thoughts on the new season with all you beautiful people. We will discuss who we think will win player awards like MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Most Improved, and we will even go around and say who we think comes away with a shiny new ring at the end of the season. Before we get down to business, let's introduce the crew. First and foremost, we have our fearless leaders, Brad and Deven. They have graciously taken a break from creating the incredible app we all know and love to share their thoughts on the upcoming season. Then, we have Nico – PredictionStrike’s 1st hire and their Head of Strategy… AKA the man behind their TikToks! Next, we have the guys behind The Daily Dividends Podcast, Nick and Dan. If you own shares on PredictionStrike, then The Daily Dividends Podcast should be in your weekly rotation, if it’s not already. Nick and Dan are OG shareholders, so they know the ins and outs of how to make that money from PredictionStrike. And if that's not enough for you, I will also be giving you my thoughts on the upcoming season. Buckle up folks, because we have a lot of good info coming your way.
Most Valuable Player
Dan: Kevin Durant ($7.94/share)
- As much as it pains me to go to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge for this pick, Kevin Durant showed last year that may very well be back to 100% after his achilles injury from 2019. The risk in this pick is of course will he play enough games to qualify, only playing in 35 games last season. That being said, another year removed from the injury plus all the uncertainty behind the availability of the Nets other two superstars, Durant may be asked to carry the load a lot more like he did in the postseason last year where he averaged 34.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 9.3 rebounds a game. Dog.
Nick: Jayson Tatum ($10.92/share)
- He's one of the few guys that can go for 50 any given night, and seems to be getting better every season. No one has a real answer for his scoring ability.
Deven: Steph Curry ($9.57/share)
I know I say this every year, but every year I mean it. He was the runner up
last year and was frankly robbed, but I'll debate you 6 Nuggets
fans another day. With defenses having to worry about Klay ($5.90/share)
again, look for the other Splash Brother to make it rain like 2015.
Nico: Steph Curry ($9.57/share)
- I don’t see a return to 2016 Curry status, but Steph is my go-to this year. I have doubts about KD’s ability to play enough games, the ongoing turmoil over at Embiid’s ($6.56/share) 76’ers, the overcrowded talent pool in Denver and so on. The challenge will be for the Warriors to win enough games, but they had a strong draft this year.
Brad: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.98/share)
- Giannis was all but blacklisted from this award last year, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t deserving. With the narrative ALL the way against him, he still ended up 4th in voting, and only Jokic ($12.50/share) REALLY deserved it more than him when you look at the numbers. But that was last year – looking ahead, consider that we quite literally watched Giannis shed all his inhibitions and take the leap we were asking him to in those previous years’ playoff blunders. The anxiety at the free throw line went away as he seemed to suddenly realize he was stronger, more athletic, and quicker than anybody that would ever line up against him. There will be nothing stopping him this year – mental or physical – and if there’s one thing we know about Giannis, its that under no circumstances will he be taking his foot off the petal. And if that weren’t enough… did you see how silky the jump shot looked in preseason?
Alex: Luka Doncic ($6.36/share)
- It was my answer last year, it is my answer this year, and it will probably be my answer every year until he gets the hardware. It’s simple. Luka is the focal point of a team on the verge of taking the next big step. His usage and heavy volume will keep him in the MVP conversation all year long, and if he pushes the Mavs into a high playoff seed, the award is almost certainly his for the taking.
Most Improved Player
Dan: Kemba Walker ($2.39/share)
This award only seems to be given to players who come back from long injury stints and players who recently signed with a new team. Kemba fits both of those molds. After a rather unimpressive tenure with Boston, Kemba has been written off as a once talented scorer with bad knees who may be past his prime. In my opinion, Kemba is walking into the best situation of his life right now, coming back home to NY where he may be asked to be the 3rd, maybe fourth option on a tough Thib’s team that saw DERRICK ROSE’S ($4.34/share) knees make an NBA comeback. The Knicks have a real chance to snag this award for the second year in a row after Julius Randle ($3.82/share) won the award last season.
Nick: Bol Bol ($2.06/share)
Because they will (hopefully) finally let him play this season.
Deven: Michael Porter Jr. ($1.75/share)
With Jamal Murry ($4.60/share) out, he's quickly become Joker's ($12.50/share) Harlequin and he has the offensive firepower to keep that title. Let's not forget he's someone with a lot to prove after slipping big time in his draft class. Now's his chance.
Nico: Tyler Herro ($1.60/share)
Tyler showed super star flashes his rookie season before embarking on the standard sophomore slump. He showed this preseason that he is capable of producing 30 PT nights without too much issue.
Brad: RJ Barrett ($1.71/share)
Call me a homer, but I’ll put my money where my mouth is. RJ has gotten significantly better after every offseason, and by all accounts is an absolute work horse. Last year he came in and improved his 3pt shooting by almost 10%, and this season, we know that he worked on his ball handling & pull-up game. Knowing how much of a slasher he was, I’d like to see an improvement in finishing at the rim, but I almost expect the extreme improvement in spacing the Knicks will have to do that job for him (bye-bye Elfrid Payton – hello Kemba Walker). I don’t mean to put too much thought into preseason, but that Knicks vs. Wizards game came down to the wire, and RJ spent the whole game harassing Bradley Beal ($4.10/share) like only a top tier wing defender could. All that to say, I expect RJ to get the respect he deserves as a top-3 pick in the 2019 draft, and for him to be the #2 option on a surprisingly very good Knicks team. And just cause I can’t help myself – my second choice is Shai ($3.39/share). Miss me with the MPJ ($1.75/share) hype.
Alex: Jaren Jackson Jr. ($1.50/share)You might not remember him, but Jaren Jackson Jr. is a PROBLEM. He was expected to take a massive leap last season, but a torn meniscus on the 11th game of the season shut him down for the year. Now the Grizzlies are coming into the season with a healthy squad, and playoff aspirations. Jaren should be a major reason they succeed, and as long as he stays healthy, JJJ will be in the conversation for most improved player.
Rookie of the Year
Dan: Jalen Green ($5.65/share)
I’ve said this on the Daily Dividends podcast many a times, but I don’t know **** about college basketball anymore. I think the last time I really cared about college basketball was the “epic” matchup between Anthony Davis ($6.76/share) and, yep, Frank Kaminsky ($0.90/share). What I do know though, if you want to stuff an NBA stat sheet, it almost always correlates to high usage rates, and who else is over there in Houston right not to compete for Jalen Green’s touches? DJ Augustine ()? Green shot 46% from the field and 37% from 3pt land in the G-League bubble this off-season, which seems like a good start to me.
Nick: Joshua Primo ($1.31/share)
Not a popular pick, but a rookie who is raising eyebrows and likely starting this season. Playing for Pop is always an advantage, and the scoring from DeRozan's ($3.42/share) departure needs to be replaced.
Deven: Cade Cunningham ($6.23/share)
First thing's first, he was the FIRST pick for a reason. He's got the skills to be an NBA superstar. Cade is also going to the Pistons who are more than searching for answers. Expect them to try to get Cade all the experience they can and make him someone they can build around.
Nico: Jalen Green ($5.65/share)
Jalen is going to have the ultra-green light in Houston. See him becoming the Morant ($5.52/share) type.
Brad: Jalen Green ($5.65/share)
It’s going to be Jalen Green. He’ll definitely be the lead ballhandler (point guard in everything but name), he’ll probably be the team leader in minutes, and he’ll probably average 20+ PPG, maybe even 25. No other rookie will have as much freedom as he will, and seeing how many times he said that he felt slighted going #2, we know that he’s the perfect amount of crazy to fuel him in a successful NBA career. He can shoot from distance, jump from all over, and finish from any angle. I can’t promise he’ll play much defense (despite profiling as someone who will be more than capable), but he’ll for SURE give his defenders a very hard time.
For what it’s worth, I think Cade ($6.23/share) will be just as good if not better than Green when it comes down to it. But he’ll do all the little stuff that just doesn’t count as much when it comes to this award. The Pistons are (believe it or not) deeper than the Rockets this year, and Cade won’t have to shoulder much of the responsibility by himself like Green will. The league values offense over everything when it comes to this award, and when you layer that on top of the flashiness that Green provides… it’s basically a lock.
Alex: Jalen Green ($5.65/share)I am piggy-backing on Dan’s answer on this one. Cade ($6.23/share) might have been the number one pick in the draft, but by Christmas, Jalen will be the clear-cut favorite for the ROTY award. Cade is a better passer and defender, but Green’s scoring ability will jump off the stat sheet from game one. Cunningham could very well prove to be the better overall player, but this is a narrative award. Jalen’s explosiveness and freak athleticism will be more appealing to voters than Cade’s fundamental defence, and effective passing ability. Not to mention, Cade will be competing with Killian Hayes ($0.94/share) for offensive usage, while the Rockets will rely heavily on Green any given night. Give me Green for the ROTY, and a zillion shares in my portfolio.
Dan’s NBA Champion – The Miami Heat
Strange pick, I know. But lest we forget that this Miami heat squad is only 2 seasons removed from stealing a game from LeBron ($7.89/share) and AD ($6.76/share) in the NBA finals back in the days of the NBA bubble, while beating the soon-to-be champion Bucks to get there. The addition of Kyle Lowry ($6.15/share) is understated, Jimmy Butler ($8.86/share) is a DOG, and don’t forget that time that Houston almost traded them James Harden ($7.35/share) for TYLER HERRO ($1.60/share), who’s still there. If Herro can get his shooting back to where it was his rookie year, and Bam ($4.06/share) can remember how to hit an elbow jumper again, this team has a starting lineup that matches up well with just about anybody.
Nick’s NBA Champion – The L.A. Lakers
Laker’s win the chip. They're back to having bigs that can hurt you and wear you down, and the team is going to be top 5 in defense this season.
Deven’s NBA Champion – The Brooklyn Nets
I know what you're thinking-- they have $40M in cap space just evaporated this year like droplets of... never mind. All that aside, let's respect KD ($7.94/share) and Harden ($7.35/share). Both of those guys are certified buckets. Furthermore, if Kyrie ($4.86/share) finishes doing his research with his bank account and gets vaccinated this team is beyond a problem.
Nico’s NBA Champion: The Miami Heat
Wade County. 305. Espumita. Croquettas and pan tostada? Heat in 5.
Brad’s NBA Champion: The Los Angeles Lakers
Stop – don’t overthink this. I’ll hype up the Bucks and Knicks preseasons in one section, then come down here and tell you I don’t care ONE bit that the Lakers went 0-6 in theirs. Guys… LeBron skipped one of the games so he could hit a Chargers game. Enough said. If everyone’s healthy (and this goes for ALL teams), the Lakers will hoist this year’s trophy. If you’re worried about the Russ ($8.02/share) fit, you’re underestimating LeBron ($7.89/share). If you’re worried about the Nets being able to outscore them, you’re overestimating their ability to guard AD ($6.76/share) and the rest of the Lakers’ size. I feel a lot better about LA’s supporting cast than most seem to – Kendrick Nunn ($1.02/share), Malik Monk ($0.81/share), and Dwight Howard ($1.14/share) in particular, but all these guys they signed in the offseason can do one thing or another very well, despite whatever age they might be. When your top three are as good as this years Lakers’ is, everything else will fall into place. Congrats on the ring, Russ.
Alex’s NBA Champion – The Chicago BullsOk, 40/1 odds to win the championship doesn’t spark much confidence for bettors, but the team should be a blast to watch. They have stockpiled talent over the last two seasons with a phenomenal balance of young stars ready to take a major step, and veteran pieces to hold it all together. I know it's a long shot, but this team could be special. They should easily make the playoffs, and if they catch fire at the right time, anything could happen. And the cherry on top, they have NBA Champion Alex Caruso ($1.02/share) on the roster. Everybody knows Caruso was the real reason LeBron ($7.89/share) won that ring in 2020!
Happy Trading!The PredictionStrike Team
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