Updated: Sep 21
With the All-Star break upon us and teams hovering around the 60 game mark, it’s time for our final check-in before the playoffs!
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This is arguably the best time of the NBA calendar, with both the All-Star break and trade deadline clumped together. With superstars changing jerseys and teams making their final push to the playoffs, let’s look at what I got right and what I got wrong about the 2021-22 season!
Three things I was big RIGHT on…
1- This Wizards team would implode
I didn’t think Washington would be a playoff team, but I’ll admit I was nervous about that in October. The Wiz got off to a great start, but it appears to just have been smoke and mirrors. With Beal out for the season, so are the playoffs for the Washington Wizards.
2- The Miami Heat would be a top East contender
I thought the Heat would be really good this season, but I did not expect this. The Heat have the best record in the East, and have done so with a ton of injuries and missed games. When healthy, Miami could be the best team in the conference.
3- The Magic would be baaaaaad
I really can’t take too much credit for this one. Did anyone not see this coming?
Now for the fun!
Three things I was big WRONG on…
1- The Blazers would be a playoff team
I thought there was a chance this team could implode if Dame demanded a trade, but given that he hasn’t done that, I am shocked they are this miserable. I can’t say I’m upset though; the Blazers have broken my heart in 2K more times than I can count.
2- The Jazz would be a great regular season team
I have always been skeptical of the Jazz in the playoffs, but I thought for sure they would kick ass in the regular season. To see them this far out of first is quite surprising.
3- The Los Angeles Lakers would be a good regular season team
Now let’s make some final standings & playoffs predictions!
Updated Standings & Playoffs Predictions
1- Miami Heat
2- Milwaukee Bucks
3- Cleveland Cavaliers
4- Philadelphia 76ers
5- Boston Celtics
6- Chicago Bulls
7- Brooklyn Nets
8- Atlanta Hawks
9- Toronto Raptors
10- Charlotte Hornets
11- New York Knicks
12- Indiana Pacers
13- Washington Wizards
14- Detroit Pistons
15- Orlando Magic
1- Phoenix Suns
2- Golden State Warriors
3- Memphis Grizzlies
4- Utah Jazz
5- Denver Nuggets
6- Dallas Mavericks
7- Los Angeles Lakers
8- Los Angeles Clippers
9- Minnesota Wolves
10- New Orleans Pelicans
11- San Antonio Spurs
12- Sacramento Kings
12- Portland Blazers
14- Oklahoma City Thunder
15- Houston Rockets
1 Miami Heat def 8 Atlanta Hawks 4-3
2 Milwaukee Bucks def 7 Brooklyn Nets 4-1
6 Chicago Bulls def 3 Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2
4 Philadelphia 76ers def 5 Boston Celtics 4-1
1 Phoenix Suns def 9 Minnesota Wolves 4-0
2 Golden State Warriors def 7 Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
3 Memphis Grizzlies def 6 Dallas Mavericks 4-3
5 Denver Nuggets def 4 Utah Jazz 4-2
4 Philadelphia 76ers def 1 Miami Heat 4-2
2 Milwaukee Bucks def 6 Chicago Bulls 4-1
5 Denver Nuggets def 1 Phoenix Suns 4-2
2 Golden State Warriors def 3 Memphis Grizzlies 4-1
2 Milwaukee Bucks def 4 Philadelphia 76ers 4-2
2 Golden State Warriors def 5 Denver Nuggets 4-3
2 Golden State Warriors def 2 Milwaukee Bucks 4-3 (Finals MVP: Steph Curry)
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Curry has been my pick all season, but what Embiid has been able to do without Simmons is incredible. Him and Jokic seem destined to go 1-2 in this vote now, but my vote would go to The Process.
2- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
3- Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
4- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
5- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Defensive Player of the Year
Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
On a per-game basis, Green should win this award. But with him missing significant time, Gobert (for now) has passed him. But if Green can play 65+ games this season, I think he will win the award.
2- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
3- Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)
4- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
5- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Coach of the Year
Taylor Jenkins (Memphis Grizzlies)
The Grizzlies have greatly outperformed their expectations, and they’ve done so without Morant for stretches. Jenkins has Memphis rolling and should be recognized for it.
2- Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)
3- Billy Donovan (Chicago Bulls)
4- Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors)
5- Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rookie of the Year
Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)
No discussion needed. It’s Mobley with a bullet.
2- Cade Cunningham (Detroit Pistons)
3- Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic)
4- Josh Giddey (Oklahoma City Thunder)
5- Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors)
Sixth Man of the Year
Tyler Herro (Miami Heat)
The Heat are a good team that have had a lot of injuries, and Herro has helped keep them afloat in the East. Riding the hype he got in the preseason, Herro has emerged as the front-runner in this race.
2- Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
3- Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks)
4- Kelly Oubre Jr (Charlotte Hornets)
5- Jordan Poole (Golden State)
Stan Van Gundy Coaching Award (Worst coaching job)
Luke Walton (Sacramento Kings)
2- Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers)
3- Tom Thibodeau (New York Knicks)
Allen Iverson Award (Most exciting player to watch)
Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
Despite missing some time, Morant has been a lightning bolt and is leading Memphis to a high playoff seed.
2- LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
3- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rasheed Wallace Award (Most impactful trade/buyout player)
James Harden (Brooklyn Nets to Philadelphia 76ers)
If Harden wants to play in Philly, then the 76ers should be tough to beat. If he doesn’t, then this could be a disaster. I’m betting on him wanting to play, and so I’m also betting on Philadelphia to go deep in the playoffs.
2- Montrezl Harrell (Washington Wizards to Charlotte Hornets)
3- Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers to Brooklyn Nets)
Jeremy Lin Award (Hottest 2-week stretch from a random player)
Desmond Bane (Memphis Grizzlies)
The Grizz have been the most pleasant surprise in the NBA this season, but very few people even knew who Bane was, nevermind thought he would work his way into the All-Star conversation. I don’t know if he can keep this up, but if he can Memphis will be playing late into the spring.
2- Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls)
3- Jordan Poole (Golden State Warriors)
1st Team All-NBA
G- Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
G- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
F- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
F- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
C- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
2nd Team All-NBA
G- Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
G- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
F- DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
F- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
C- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
3rd Team All-NBA
G- LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
G- Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
F- Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
F- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
C- Karl Anthony-Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
There you have it! Make sure to check back in at the end of the season to see my official awards & playoff predictions, and make sure to check out all of our great content here at The Circuit!