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2014-15 NBA Season: 15 Predictions Made Entirely Too Early

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15 Premature Predictions For 2014-15 NBA Season

15 Premature Predictions For 2014-15 NBA Season
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports Images

The 2014-15 NBA season is still more than two months away from beginning, but it’s also something that the basketball-loving world is already looking forward to. With anticipation undoubtedly comes the instinct to predict things that are going to happen, regardless of if those predictions are coming too soon or not. These are 15 predictions that certainly fit that bill.

15. Utah Jazz Will Be NBA’s Worst Team

15. Utah Jazz Will Be NBA’s Worst Team
Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports Images

15. Utah Jazz Will Be NBA’s Worst Team

15. Utah Jazz Will Be NBA’s Worst Team
Kelley L. Cox - USA Today Sports Images

There are going to be a lot of bad teams in the NBA again this season with many of them again losing semi-intentionally. However, the outlook may look the bleakest for the Jazz. They have some excitement with a guy like Dante Exum, but they could have a bear of a time trying to score the basketball. Since that’s how you win a basketball game, that is not a positive outlook.

14. Detroit Pistons Will Show Noticeable Improvement

14. Detroit Pistons Will Show Noticeable Improvement
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14. Detroit Pistons Will Show Noticeable Improvement

14. Detroit Pistons Will Show Noticeable Improvement
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Despite adding talent to an already talented roster last summer, the Pistons were a catastrophe last season. However, with heavy talent on the interior, some outside shooters coming in, and Stan Van Gundy as the guy now calling the shots, Detroit could look much more like what they’d hoped they would last year going forward.

13. Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe Will Both Be Traded

13. Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe Will Both Be Traded
Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports Images

13. Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe Will Both Be Traded

13. Eric Bledsoe, Greg Monroe Will Both Be Traded
Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports Images

With all signs pointing to the summer ending with both Bledsoe and Monroe signing qualifying offers with their respective teams. Considering all of the good will that the teams have sacrificed by not getting new contracts done with their big-name restricted free agents, look for Bledsoe and Monroe to both finish the season playing elsewhere in the NBA by the end of the year.

12. Indiana Pacers Will Miss Playoffs

12. Indiana Pacers Will Miss Playoffs
Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports Images

12. Indiana Pacers Will Miss Playoffs

12. Indiana Pacers Will Miss Playoffs
Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports Images

The Indiana Pacers weren’t going to be the stalwart they were for most of last season simply due to the departure of Lance Stephenson. Now that Paul George has suffered a season-ending injury, though, kiss all hopes for the gold and blue goodbye.

11. Golden State Warriors Will Be In West’s Top-4

11. Golden State Warriors Will Be In West’s Top-4
Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports Images

11. Golden State Warriors Will Be In West’s Top-4

11. Golden State Warriors Will Be In West’s Top-4
Kyle Terada - USA Today Sports Images

As for another team rocking gold and blue, the Warriors seemed to fall short of high expectations last season, not even securing home-court advantage in the first round of the postseason. Steve Kerr, however, could bring along needed changes and help this team reach their full potential—namely being in the top-four of the Western Conference.

10. Houston Rockets Will Regress Hugely

10. Houston Rockets Will Regress Hugely
Troy Taormina - USA Today Sports Images

10. Houston Rockets Will Regress Hugely

10. Houston Rockets Will Regress Hugely
Troy Taormina - USA Today Sports Images

The Houston Rockets were stuck in a perpetual roller-coaster of performance last season. Dwight Howard, James Harden and the role players would look like title-contenders one week and a fringe playoff-team the next. Now that Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, and Omer Asik leave their roster thinner, though, I expect them to be more like the fringe playoff-team than a contender this season.

9. Charlotte Hornets Will Finish Top-4 In East

9. Charlotte Hornets Will Finish Top-4 In East
Jeremy Brevard - USA Today Sports Images

9. Charlotte Hornets Will Finish Top-4 In East

9. Charlotte Hornets Will Finish Top-4 In East
Jeremy Brevard - USA Today Sports Images

Al Jefferson and coach Steve Clifford started an upswing in the fortunes of Charlotte last season, taking them to the postseason for only the second time in franchise history. Brandishing a “new” nickname and a prized signing in Lance Stephenson, Charlotte has the chance to make serious noise in a still-wide-open Eastern Conference.

8. Los Angeles Clippers Will Make NBA Finals

8. Los Angeles Clippers Will Make NBA Finals
Mark D. Smith - USA Today Sports Images

8. Los Angeles Clippers Will Make NBA Finals

8. Los Angeles Clippers Will Make NBA Finals
Mark D. Smith - USA Today Sports Images

The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are going to be competing at the top of the West this season, but don’t forget an improved Clippers team in that conversation. If they get full contributions from their bevy of talented player on the wing in addition to their improvement of their frontcourt depth, the Clips could very well be bound for title-contention.

7. Dirk Nowitzki Won’t Get Enough Credit

7. Dirk Nowitzki Won’t Get Enough Credit
Kevin Jairaj - USA Today Sports Images

7. Dirk Nowitzki Won’t Get Enough Credit

7. Dirk Nowitzki Won’t Get Enough Credit
Kevin Jairaj - USA Today Sports Images

There are always people singing praises of Dirk Nowitzki and rightfully so. However, with the additions of Tyson Chandler and Chandler Parsons this offseason for the Mavericks, they are going to get a lot of credit for how successful Dallas will be this season. As a result, Dirk won’t get nearly the love or the credit he more than likely will deserve for his contributions.

6. People Will Nitpick To Criticize Kevin Love

6. People Will Nitpick To Criticize Kevin Love
Derick Hingle - USA Today Sports Images

6. People Will Nitpick To Criticize Kevin Love

6. People Will Nitpick To Criticize Kevin Love
Derick Hingle - USA Today Sports Images

The Kevin Love trade isn’t even official and the microscope of NBA fans is already honed in on the All-Star power forward. Assuming things go to plan and he ends up a Cavalier, there will be no player more under-fire than Love this season, even if some of the criticism is just for the sake of criticizing him.

5. Carmelo Anthony Will Be In Thick of MVP Race

5. Carmelo Anthony Will Be In Thick of MVP Race
Brad Penner - USA Today Sports Images

5. Carmelo Anthony Will Be In Thick of MVP Race

5. Carmelo Anthony Will Be In Thick of MVP Race
Brad Penner - USA Today Sports Images

The NBA MVP race over the past few seasons has consisted of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and no one else really that close to the top. With the triangle offense coming to the Knicks and if this New York team can make the postseason, Carmelo Anthony should thrive and insert himself into the race for the NBA’s most prestige individual award.

4. Nerlens Noel Will Win Rookie of the Year

4. Nerlens Noel Will Win Rookie of the Year
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4. Nerlens Noel Will Win Rookie of the Year

4. Nerlens Noel Will Win Rookie of the Year
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There is a lot of talk about the 2014 draft class and who is going to emerge as the Rookie of the Year from that class. Forgotten in that is the debut of Nerlens Noel in Philadelphia. He looked like a man among boys at Summer League and, if he’s given the opportunity, he has the talent to woo the league and take the honor from anyone in this year’s draft class.

3. Kawhi Leonard Will Be 2nd Team All-NBA

3. Kawhi Leonard Will Be 2nd Team All-NBA
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports Images

3. Kawhi Leonard Will Be 2nd Team All-NBA

3. Kawhi Leonard Will Be 2nd Team All-NBA
Bob Donnan - USA Today Sports Images

We expected a season-long treat of star-player Kawhi Leonard last season, but the switch didn’t completely flip until the postseason and the Finals. With a Finals MVP in his trophy case, Leonard must take the reigns as the focal-point of the Spurs, something he’s more than capable of doing. If that indeed happens, Leonard will get plenty of love in All-NBA voting, though you can’t yet put him ahead of LeBron and Durant at the forward positions.

2. LeBron James Will Recapture MVP Honors

2. LeBron James Will Recapture MVP Honors
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports Images

2. LeBron James Will Recapture MVP Honors

2. LeBron James Will Recapture MVP Honors
Andrew Weber - USA Today Sports Images

Though I expect Melo to be in the MVP race and Durant to continue wowing the basketball world, LeBron is still at the peak of his powers and has the spotlight on him even more prominently. When he inevitably succeeds in Cleveland, he’s going to be the league’s MVP once again after being supplanted last season by KD.

1. Chicago Bulls Will Win 2015 NBA Championship

1. Chicago Bulls Will Win 2015 NBA Championship
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1. Chicago Bulls Will Win 2015 NBA Championship

1. Chicago Bulls Will Win 2015 NBA Championship
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LeBron will succeed in Cleveland, but the Bulls may be the most complete team in the NBA not playing in San Antonio. Chicago had a fantastic offseason in terms of the draft and free agency. The team also gets a guy named Derrick Rose healthy and back on the floor; I’ve heard he’s decent. Assuming no more debilitating injuries, the Bulls have a premier opportunity to bring a title back to the Windy City.