The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns shook the NBA last season, as both teams met up for one of the most surprising Finals matchups we have seen in a long time. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo added to his ever-growing Hall of Fame resume, dropping 50 points in Game 6 of the Finals to clinch his first championship. Can the Greek Freak and the Bucks repeat, or can the Suns seek revenge? 

Phoenix will have to go through the Western Conference juggernaut again, and the Los Angeles Lakers are retooled looking to avenge last year's playoff disappointment. The addition of Russell Westbrook will make this season very intriguing. 

Could we see the Brooklyn Nets make it, even with the current uncertain situation regarding Kyrie Irving? What about the Denver Nuggets or Los Angeles Clippers, despite their injury woes? Could the Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz recover after being conference favorites? 

The 2021-22 NBA season officially begins on Tuesday, October 19. Players now have a fuller offseason than last year, which should help teams like the Lakers or Miami Heat, which had the least amount of rest last season. 

Here are our predictions for the upcoming NBA season. 

Standings & Records

Eastern Conference

1. Milwaukee Bucks
2. Brooklyn Nets
3. Miami Heat
4. Philadelphia 76ers
5. Atlanta Hawks
6. Boston Celtics
7. Indiana Pacers
8. New York Knicks
9. Toronto Raptors
10. Chicago Bulls
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Washington Wizards
13. Cleveland Cavaliers
14. Orlando Magic
15. Detroit Pistons

Western Conference

1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Phoenix Suns
3. Utah Jazz
4. Denver Nuggets
5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Golden State Warriors
7. Portland Trail Blazers
8. Los Angeles Clippers
9. Memphis Grizzlies
10. New Orleans Pelicans
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
12. San Antonio Spurs
13. Sacramento Kings
14. Houston Rockets
15. Oklahoma City Thunder


Eastern Conference

Play-In Tournament

Pacers defeat Knicks for 7th seed
Raptors defeat Bulls in 9/10 game
Knicks defeat Raptors for 8th seed

First Round

(1) Bucks over (8) Knicks in 5
(2) Nets over (7) Pacers in 5
(3) Heat over (6) Celtics in 6
(4) 76ers over (5) Hawks in 7


(1) Bucks over (4) 76ers in 7
(2) Nets over (3) Heat in 7


(1) Bucks over (2) Nets in 6

I am personally not too high on the Nets like everyone else. I picked the Bucks to win last year when the playoffs came around. Everyone is going to mention that Kevin Durant was a foot away from the Finals, but it doesn't matter—he still lost.

The Kyrie situation does not help either. The Nets added some more depth, but I think the Bucks are still a more complete team. I think the Heat and Pacers are going to give them some trouble in their path to the East, and I think the Bucks will give them more trouble than last year. 

I expect Giannis to be even more dominant this season. We will see how he does against KD again, where he objectively held his own and even outplayed him at various points in last year's series. 


Western Conference

Play-In Tournament

Clippers defeat Blazers for 7th seed
Grizzlies defeat Pelicans in 9/10 game
Blazers defeat Grizzlies for 8th seed

First Round

(1) Lakers over (8) Blazers in 5
(2) Suns over (7) Clippers in 5
(6) Warriors over (3) Jazz in 7
(4) Nuggets over (5) Mavericks in 7


(1) Lakers over (6) Warriors in 6
(4) Nuggets over (2) Suns in 7


(1) Lakers over (4) Nuggets in 6

Don't make this too difficult—despite how old this team is, the Lakers should be the team to beat in the West. LeBron and AD got their rest, and the addition of Russell Westbrook will pay off. It will help out a ton and take the load off AD and Bron. 

I think the Lakers will easily take care of business in the first round. Don't sleep on the Warriors. The return of Klay Thompson later in the season will make their playoff seed look deceiving. I think he will make a huge impact, leading to GSW's first-round upset.

I think the Warriors will give the Lakers their toughest competition in the postseason, but LA comes out on top. Denver is a sleeper, but the Lakers will defeat them similarly to how they did two seasons ago in the Western Conference Finals. 



Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Rookie of the Year

Jalen Green, Rockets

Defensive Player of the Year

Anthony Davis, Lakers

Sixth Man of the Year

Tyler Herro, Heat

Most Improved Player

Jordan Poole, Warriors

Coach of the Year

Monty Williams, Suns

Executive of the Year

Rob Pelinka, Lakers

NBA Finals: (1) Bucks vs (1) Lakers

This is what the matchup for the NBA Finals should have been last year, but the Lakers were unable to stay healthy. This year may be the chance, as LeBron James faces the changing of the guard, as Giannis looks to be the new face of the league. 

Giannis definitely has similarities to his game and career with LeBron, and seeing these two face off in the Finals would be a treat. Along with this, both teams would match up well—making it a close one. 

However, despite the LeBron comparison, I expect to see more of Anthony Davis and Giannis guarding each other. It should be a great matchup of two defensive greats. Russell Westbrook versus Jrue Holiday is also another interesting matchup. 

I could see the Bucks winning, with Giannis trying to signify the passing of the torch from LeBron to himself. However, if there one thing that you should not do—it's betting against King James. Even at 37 years old, James is still in contention as the No. 1 NBA player. 

After winning a championship and taking the top crown at age 35, James is looking for vengeance after last year's injury-plagued season. With AD healthier, the addition of Westbrook, and an older, Hall of Fame supporting cast, I think LA has what it takes. 

I think they are going to figure it out, and we are going to see an epic Finals in the process that will have the Lakers taking home their 18th banner. 

Lakers over Bucks in 6

Finals MVP: LeBron James


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