The Circuit 2021-22 NBA 1st Quarter Polls
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. Getty Images/ Circuit Artwork 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... Getty Images 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… Getty Images 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 Eastern Conference 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 Western Conference 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 1st Round: 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 2nd Round: 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 Conference Finals: 1 Brooklyn Nets def 3 Milwaukee Bucks 4-3 1 Golden State Warriors def 6 Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 NBA Finals: 1 Golden State Warriors def 1 Brooklyn Nets 4-3 (Finals MVP: Steph Curry) Getty Images Regular Season Awards MVP: Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) Getty Images 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) Getty Images 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) Getty Images 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) Getty Images 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) Getty Images 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) Getty Images Nailed it. 2- Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers) 3- Willie Green (New Orleans Pelicans) Allen Iverson Award (Most exciting player to watch): Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies) Getty Images 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 t o Minnesota Wolves) Getty Images Clearly Beal isn’t going anywhere, so Simmons is now the best potential trade target available. 2- Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers t o Portland Blazers) 3- Christian Wood (Houston Rockets t o Dallas Mavericks) Jeremy Lin Award (Hottest 2-week stretch from a random player): Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls) Getty Images 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: Getty Images 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: Getty Images 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: Getty Images c 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.