Hoops Rumors Writers’ 2019/20 NBA Predictions

The NBA’s 2019/20 regular season will tip off on Tuesday night, as the defending-champion Raptors host the Pelicans in the early game and the Lakers “visit” the Clippers in the late game.

With opening night finally here, the Hoops Rumors writing team is weighing in with our predictions for the coming year.

Listed below are our picks for the Eastern and Western Conference standings, the major awards, and – of course – the eventual champions. Disagree with our takes? Head down to the comment section to weigh in with your own predictions!


Luke Adams:

East Eastern Finals
1 Sixers Sixers over Bucks
2 Bucks Western Finals
3 Celtics Clippers over Rockets
4 Magic NBA Finals
5 Raptors Clippers over Sixers
6 Heat MVP
7 Nets Nikola Jokic
8 Pacers Rookie of the Year
West Ja Morant
1 Nuggets Defensive Player of the Year
2 Clippers Joel Embiid
3 Jazz Sixth Man of the Year
4 Rockets Spencer Dinwiddie
5 Lakers Most Improved Player
6 Spurs Jonathan Isaac
7 Blazers Coach of the Year
8 Warriors Steve Clifford

Chris Crouse:

East Eastern Finals
1 Sixers Sixers over Bucks
2 Bucks Western Finals
3 Celtics Lakers over Rockets
4 Heat NBA Finals
5 Nets Sixers over Lakers
6 Pacers MVP
7 Raptors Ben Simmons
8 Bulls Rookie of the Year
West Zion Williamson
1 Jazz Defensive Player of the Year
2 Rockets Rudy Gobert
3 Clippers Sixth Man of the Year
4 Lakers Lou Williams
5 Nuggets Most Improved Player
6 Warriors Bam Adebayo
7 Blazers Coach of the Year
8 Spurs Quin Snyder

Dana Gauruder:

East Eastern Finals
1 Bucks Bucks over Sixers
2 Celtics Western Finals
3 Sixers Clippers over Nuggets
4 Heat NBA Finals
5 Pacers Bucks over Clippers
6 Pistons MVP
7 Nets Kawhi Leonard
8 Raptors Rookie of the Year
West Ja Morant
1 Lakers Defensive Player of the Year
2 Clippers Rudy Gobert
3 Nuggets Sixth Man of the Year
4 Rockets Derrick Rose
5 Blazers Most Improved Player
6 Jazz Bam Adebayo
7 Kings Coach of the Year
8 Spurs Erik Spoelstra

Arthur Hill:

East Eastern Finals
1 Sixers Sixers over Bucks
2 Bucks Western Finals
3 Celtics Clippers over Rockets
4 Raptors NBA Finals
5 Nets Clippers over Sixers
6 Heat MVP
7 Pacers Anthony Davis
8 Magic Rookie of the Year
West Zion Williamson
1 Clippers Defensive Player of the Year
2 Rockets Rudy Gobert
3 Lakers Sixth Man of the Year
4 Nuggets Lou Williams
5 Jazz Most Improved Player
6 Blazers Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
7 Warriors Coach of the Year
8 Spurs Doc Rivers

Austin Kent:

East Eastern Finals
1 Bucks Bucks over Raptors
2 Raptors Western Finals
3 Sixers Rockets over Warriors
4 Pacers NBA Finals
5 Celtics Bucks over Rockets
6 Nets MVP
7 Heat Giannis Antetokounmpo
8 Pistons Rookie of the Year
West Darius Garland
1 Rockets Defensive Player of the Year
2 Nuggets Draymond Green
3 Clippers Sixth Man of the Year
4 Lakers Derrick Rose
5 Jazz Most Improved Player
6 Warriors Thomas Bryant
7 Blazers Coach of the Year
8 Mavericks Nick Nurse

JD Shaw:

East Eastern Finals
1 Bucks Sixers over Bucks
2 Sixers Western Finals
3 Nets Clippers over Lakers
4 Celtics NBA Finals
5 Heat Clippers over Sixers
6 Pacers MVP
7 Raptors Giannis Antetokounmpo
8 Bulls Rookie of the Year
West Zion Williamson
1 Clippers Defensive Player of the Year
2 Rockets Rudy Gobert
3 Lakers Sixth Man of the Year
4 Jazz Lou Williams
5 Nuggets Most Improved Player
6 Blazers Lauri Markkanen
7 Warriors Coach of the Year
8 Kings Doc Rivers
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21 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Writers’ 2019/20 NBA Predictions

  1. Luke Adams

    Some follow-up thoughts on my picks:

    I really didn’t want to take the consensus top eight teams in each conference, but I just couldn’t convince myself that any of them are good bets to drop out of the playoffs. … So I’m excited to see which ones will.

    I probably have Orlando way too high, but I have a good feeling about Isaac and Aaron Gordon making leaps, and it didn’t seem quite daring enough to just put them in the 5-8 range.

    I think a Northwest team will finish first in the West, but a Pacific team will go to the Finals. Would not shock me if it’s the Jazz and Lakers instead of the Nuggets and Clippers.

    My award picks are based on the idea that voters will want some new narratives, since I could easily see Giannis, Gobert, and Lou Williams repeating.

    If Zion Williamson comes back in December and is healthy the rest of the way, I think he still wins the ROY award. I’m just not convinced he won’t miss more time later in the season (but I hope he proves me wrong).

    • Nebraska Tim

      I feel like everyone forgot what the 2017-18 Raptors were like, and how this year’s team might actually be better.

      I have them at around 58 wins this year. I could maybe see either the Bucks or Pacers push 60 (depending when Oladipo comes back), but I don’t see the Sixers getting much over 50, and Celtics are still a mess.

      I’ll post my picks later today, but it seems like I’m way off the national consensus when it comes to my view that the Sixers, Celtics, and Clippers are grossly overrated, while the Raptors, Pacers, Spurs, and Nuggets are being completely undersold.

      • brian214

        Haha, don’t bother posting your picks because they are going to be trash. If you don’t think the Sixers are gonna be one of the top 5 teams this year then there really is nothing that can be done for you. No sense in putting anything more out there to make you look even worse.

      • Luke Adams

        I’m with you on the Raptors, Spurs, and Nuggets. I had the Raptors at No. 3 in my first draft here and would be surprised if they fall further than No. 5 (barring a bunch of injuries, etc). I think I have the Nuggets and Spurs a little higher than the consensus too.

        I’m not as high on the Pacers. It’s unclear when Oladipo will be back, and they lost a lot of nice role players from last year’s roster (Thad Young, Bogdanovic, Collison/Joseph, etc). They’re still solid enough that I could see them making a run at a top-4 seed if Oladipo comes back strong, but they make me a little nervous.

    • Michael Chaney

      I was actually about to ask about Orlando being the 4 seed. I personally don’t agree (I think Clifford is a great coach and they have a few intriguing young pieces but I’m skeptical that there’s enough overall talent), but I like that you (and a lot of the others here) didn’t just regurgitate the same takes and put your own name on it.

      There are always surprises, so I think it’s cool to look out for one. This is a good way to spark discussion anyway, so I like it.

    • amk3510

      Its more popular to be edgy and pick the Clippers. People question the Lakers stars for injury concerns. Yet the Clippers 2nd star is already out a month.

  2. East:
    Bucks
    Sixers
    Pacers
    Nets
    Toronto
    Orlando
    Detroit
    Atlanta

    West:
    Jazz
    Nuggets
    Lakers
    Clippers
    Blazers
    Golden State
    Rockets
    San Antonio

    ECF: Bucks over Pacers
    WCF: Nuggets over Jazz
    Finals: Bucks over Nuggets

    MVP: Giannis
    ROY: Morant
    DPOY: Myles Turner
    6th Man: Lou Williams
    COY: Snyder
    MIP: John Collins

  3. Major Factuh

    Austin Kent with the best prediction: Mavs snaggin’ the 8th spot! I’ll take it.

  4. Michael Chaney

    I tried this last year and it didn’t go well, but I’ll try again anyway.

    East:
    Milwaukee
    Indiana
    Philadelphia
    Toronto
    Boston
    Brooklyn
    Miami
    Atlanta

    West:
    LA Clippers
    Denver
    Houston
    LA Lakers
    Utah
    Golden State
    Portland
    Sacramento

    ECF: Milwaukee over Indiana
    WCF: LA Clippers over Denver
    Finals: Milwaukee over LA Clippers

    MVP: Giannis
    ROY: Tyler Herro
    DPOY: Gobert
    6th Man: Montrezl Harrell
    COY: Nick Nurse
    MIP: Kevin Huerter

    • Austin Kent

      Never underestimate the heart of a champion Cory!

      Hahah. Good catch. I tinkered with my seeding after my final prediction was in. I’ve had Luke adjust it back to my initial gut pick… which is even wilder…

  5. Tazza

    Lots of people have the Celtics high still. I don’t understand. I see Kemba and a downgrade from Kyrie. They lost Morris and Horford, two really solid defenders and leaders for them and Terry Rozier who was a nice 6th man. They replaced these guys with G Williams, C Edwards, R Langford, Kanter and stuff but all these guys lack experience and defence. Tight games and bench minutes are usually won by vets not rookies. I see the Celtics falling to 6th.

    I think lots of people are sleeping on the Pacers. Brogdon is a solid defender and shoots efficiently. They also got in Lamb, McConnell and Holiday. Think they have really good depth and good mix of scorers, defenders and playmakers.

    I don’t think either Clippers or Lakers will finish in the top 3 in the west. Clippers will be missing PG to start the year and will take time to gel. The Lakers, well LeBron is back and will have a huge year but I can see that team as a while staying healthy. I think the Jazz, Nuggets, Rockets will out there playing their butts off trying to win 82 games.

    As for the Awards, can’t see Ben Simmons and Joel Embid getting MVP with that stacked team unless they produce insane insane numbers. I’m think Giannas goes back to back. Best defender will probably go to a big again (Gobert, Green, Embid, AD, etc) but I’d like to see it go to a wing or guard. Jimmy B or Holiday if there teams do well should be close. 6th man maybe Marcus Smart he will be vital for the Celtics. Rookie I think will be Ja Morant with a 16-7-3 stat line. Most improved, DeJonte Murray or Bam Adebayo. Coach .. don’t really care

    • Nebraska Tim

      Celtics are somehow always overrated. I think they’re very clearly worse than last year (though every good team minus the Nuggets all got worse). I think your analysis of them is spot on. I could see them dropping even further than 6th in an underrated Eastern Conference.

      I feel like people forget how important shooting is in the NBA. I’m not convinced that the Sixers can shoot enough to win big. Their big lineup is very interesting though, and I’m curious to see if bucking the trend starts a new trend. But I suspect they’ll find themselves in trouble against faster, better shooting teams. Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick are HUUUGE losses, in my eyes.

    • Luke Adams

      Damn, sorry about that. For posts like this, where I use tables, I usually double-check on the app and the mobile site to make sure they look okay. But I have an iPhone, so it’s hard to do that for Android. Unfortunately I’m not sure there’s much I can do about it besides recommending the desktop/mobile view at HoopsRumors.com for this post.

  6. Nebraska Tim

    East:
    Bucks
    Raptors
    Pacers
    Sixers
    Heat
    Celtics
    Magic
    Nets

    West:
    Nuggets
    Rockets
    Spurs
    Blazers
    Jazz
    Clippers
    Lakers
    Warriors

    ECF: Bucks over Raptors
    WCF: Rockets over Nuggets
    Finals: Rockets over Bucks

    MVP: James Harden
    ROY: Ja Morant
    DPOY: Myles Turner
    6th Man: Lou Williams (though I really want to put FVV here, but I think he’ll start too many games)
    COY: Nick Nurse
    MIP: Dejounte Murray (I think Anfernee Simons makes for an interesting high-risk pick too)

    • Nebraska Tim

      though brian214 suggests: “Haha, don’t bother posting your picks because they are going to be trash.”

      Here are my picks from last year:
      East:
      Raptors
      Celtics
      Bucks
      Sixers
      Pacers
      Heat
      Pistons
      Wizards

      West:
      Rockets
      Warriors
      Lakers
      Spurs
      Jazz
      Nuggets
      Trail Blazers
      Thunder

      Eastern Finals: Raptors over Bucks
      Western Finals: Rockets over Warriors
      NBA Finals: Warriors over Raptors

      MVP: Antetokounmpo
      ROY: Doncic (but barely, over Young)
      DPY: Gobert
      6MY: Isaiah Thomas
      MIP: Murray
      COY: Budenholzer

      via link to hoopsrumors.com

      • Nebraska Tim

        and yes, I know that last year I had the Rockets beating the Warriors, and then somehow the Warriors beating the Raptors in the final.

        I was really wavering on which of the Warriors/Rockets would win, especially since I thought the Rockets had a good shot of landing Jimmy Butler.

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