Updated: Sep 21
The NBA is roughly 25% through the season, and now it’s time to look back at what The Circuit predicted and see what we got right and more importantly, what we got very, very wrong.
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Thanksgiving marks the (rough) 1st quarter mark of the NBA season. All 30 teams are somewhere between 19-22 games after this weekend, so it’s time to check in and see how our predictions are going and make some new ones!
Three things we were big RIGHT on...
1- The Warriors Are Title Contenders
I predicted the Warriors to make the Finals, but even I have to admit I didn’t think they would be this good. I thought they would be a little better than .500 until Klay came back and then would take off, but it turns out they’re just fine without an all-time great. This team will be frightening when he gets back after Christmas.
2- The Charlotte Hornets Would Be Much Improved
I thought the Hornets would be an improved playoff team, but they have looked like a borderline top-4 seed in the East this season. I expected LaMelo to be big-time, but Bridges emerging as a superstar has Charlotte thinking about postseason success for the first time since… Well, since I’ve been alive.
3- Luke Walton Would Be Fired
Okay… I didn’t think that he would be fired 15 games into the season. But I did predict we would win the Stan Van Gundy Award for worst coach in the league, and I think getting fired 15 games in just about wraps that award up for him.
Three things we were big WRONG on…
1- The Lakers Would Be A Good Regular Season Team
I have always been dubious of how the Lakers would perform in the playoffs with Westbrook, but I assumed his energy and ferocity would help Los Angeles win regular-season games, especially when LeBron and AD missed games. But Westbrook has been a disaster, and this team looks rudderless. At this rate, they’ll be lucky to make the playoffs.
2- The Wizards Would Be Awful
I still don’t understand why I was wrong about this. This team shouldn’t be a top-4 seed in the East, and I still don’t think they will be. But I have to give credit where credit is due, and they have far exceeded my expectations.
3- Evan Mobley Wouldn’t Be The Best Rookie
It’s not that I thought Mobley would be bad, I just thought Jalen Green would be the best of this class. Boy was I wrong. Evan Mobley looks like a young Kevin Garnett, and has the Cavs thinking playoffs for the first time since LeBron left the second time.
Updated Standings & Playoffs Predictions
1- Brooklyn Nets
2- Miami Heat
3- Milwaukee Bucks
4- Chicago Bulls
5- Washington Wizards
6- Charlotte Hornets
7- Boston Celtics
8- Philadelphia 76ers
9- Atlanta Hawks
10- New York Knicks
11- Cleveland Cavaliers
12- Toronto Raptors
13- Indiana Pacers
14- Detroit Pistons
15- Orlando Magic
1- Golden State Warriors
2- Utah Jazz
3- Phoenix Suns
4- Dallas Mavericks
5- Denver Nuggets
6- Los Angeles Lakers
7- Memphis Grizzlies
8- Los Angeles Clippers
9- Portland Blazers
10- Minnesota Wolves
11- San Antonio Spurs
12- Sacramento Kings
13- Oklahoma City Thunder
14- New Orleans Pelicans
15- Houston Rockets
1 Brooklyn Nets def 9 Atlanta Hawks 4-1
2 Miami Heat def 8 Philadelphia 76ers 4-3
3 Milwaukee Bucks def 6 Charlotte Hornets 4-0
4 Chicago Bulls def 5 Washington Wizards 4-2
1 Golden State Warriors def 10 Minnesota Wolves 4-1
2 Utah Jazz def 7 Memphis Grizzlies 4-2
6 Los Angeles Lakers def 3 Phoenix Suns 4-2
5 Denver Nuggets def 4 Dallas Mavericks 4-2
1 Brooklyn Nets def 4 Chicago Bulls 4-1
3 Milwaukee Bucks def 2 Miami Heat 4-2
1 Golden State Warriors def 5 Denver Nuggets 4-3
6 Los Angeles Lakers def 2 Utah Jazz 4-2
1 Brooklyn Nets def 3 Milwaukee Bucks 4-3
1 Golden State Warriors def 6 Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
1 Golden State Warriors def 1 Brooklyn Nets 4-3 (Finals MVP: Steph Curry)
Regular Season Awards
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Curry is running away with this award. The Warriors are dominating and Steph is Stephing.
2- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
3- Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
4- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
5- Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
Defensive Player of the Year:
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Much like with Steph, Green is returning to 2016 form and helping lead a league-best Warriors team.
2- Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
3- Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)
4- Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers)
5- Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
Coach of the Year:
Billy Donovan (Chicago Bulls)
This was close. Unseld and Kerr have done really well, and Monty Williams is maneuvering a minefield in Phoenix. But the Bulls are playing well defensively, so Donovan wins the award.
2- Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors)
3- Wes Unseld Jr. (Washington Wizards)
4- Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns)
5- Steve Nash (Brooklyn Nets)
Rookie of the Year:
Evan Mobley (Cleveland Cavaliers)
No discussion needed. It’s Mobley with a bullet.
2- Josh Giddey (Oklahoma City Thunder)
3- Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic)
4- Jalen Green (Houston Rockets)
5- Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors)
Sixth Man of the Year:
Carmelo Anthony (Los Angeles Lakers)
The best Laker this year has been… Melo? He’s been playing great, too bad none of his teammates are.
2- Tyler Herro (Miami Heat)
3- Montrezl Harrell (Washington Wizards)
4- Dennis Schroeder (Boston Celtics)
5- Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)
Stan Van Gundy Coaching Award (Worst coaching job):
Luke Walton (Sacramento Kings)
2- Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers)
3- Willie Green (New Orleans Pelicans)
Allen Iverson Award (Most exciting player to watch):
Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
Ball has played really well, but Morant seems to be making the leap to All-NBA.
2- LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
3- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
Rasheed Wallace Award (Most impactful trade/buyout player):
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers to Minnesota Wolves)
Clearly Beal isn’t going anywhere, so Simmons is now the best potential trade target available.
2- Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers to Portland Blazers)
3- Christian Wood (Houston Rockets to Dallas Mavericks)
Jeremy Lin Award (Hottest 2-week stretch from a random player):
Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls)
He seems to fit the Lin archetype perfectly. Can’t believe I missed this in preseason!
2- Jordan Poole (Golden State Warriors)
3- Bruce Brown (Brooklyn Nets)
1st Team All-NBA:
G- Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
G- Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
F- Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
F- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
C- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
2nd Team All-NBA:
G- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
G- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
F- Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls)
F- Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
C- Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
3rd Team All-NBA:
G- LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
G- Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
F- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
F- Miles Bridges (Charlotte Hornets)
C- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
There you have it! Our updated polls for the 2021-22 NBA season. Make sure to check back in regularly at The Circuit to see what we got right, and more importantly, what we got very very wrong.