The NBA season is upon us.
LeBron is back in Cleveland. The Spurs are together, but another year older and if you believe ESPN’s Henry Abbott, nobody wants to play with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
There is no such drama here in the Valley, where the Phoenix Suns enter the 2014-15 campaign with confidence and optimism that spilled over from last year’s surprising 48-win season.
The Eric Bledsoe contract saga is behind the organization, as the guard got a new five-year, $70 million deal from the Suns right before training camp. The NBA’s Most Improved Player, Goran Dragic, is back after participating for his native Slovenia in the FIBA World Cup in September.
Veteran sharpshooter Channing Frye is gone, but the Suns did bring in free agent point guard Isaiah Thomas and serviceable reserve forward Anthony Tolliver in the offseason and drafted wing scorer T.J. Warren and point guard Tyler Ennis in the first round.
When focusing solely on head coach Jeff Hornacek’s team, it all looks promising for a return to the playoffs after a four-season absence. The only problem is, the Western Conference is loaded…again.
We asked our staff at Arizona Sports to peer into the future, not only of the Suns, but the entire league, to predict what will happen over the course of the campaign.
Arizona Sports’ 2014-15 Phoenix Suns and NBA predictions
|Playoffs? Seed?||Yes, 8th||No||No||No||No|
|Leader in assists?||Dragic||Bledsoe||Dragic||Dragic||Dragic|
|Will Green be traded?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Bledsoe games played?||75||75||65||68||78|
|NBA Finals||Thunder over Bulls||Cavaliers over Spurs||Spurs over Bulls||Cavaliers over Warriors||Clippers over Bulls|
|MVP||Derrick Rose, Bulls||LeBron James, Cavaliers||LeBron James, Cavaliers||LeBron James, Cavaliers||Chris Paul, Clippers|
|Rookie of the Year||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Nerlens Noel, 76ers||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Jabari Parker, Bucks|
|Coach of the Year||Derek Fisher, Knicks||David Blatt, Cavaliers||Tom Thibodeau, Bulls||Steve Kerr, Warriors||Doc Rivers, Clippers|
|Def. Player of the Year||Anthony Davis, Pelicans||Joakim Noah, Bulls||Serge Ibaka, Thunder||Dwight Howard, Rockets||Joakim Noah, Bulls|
|Playoffs? Seed?||Yes, 6th||Yes, 7th||Yes, 7th||Yes, 8th||No|
|Leader in assists?||Bledsoe||Bledsoe||Dragic||Bledsoe||Dragic|
|Will Green be traded?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|Bledsoe games played?||75||80||65||75||71|
|NBA Finals||Clippers over Cavaliers||Clippers over Bulls||Cavaliers over Thunder||Spurs over Cavaliers||Cavaliers over Spurs|
|MVP||LeBron James, Cavaliers||Chris Paul, Clippers||LeBron James, Cavaliers||Blake Griffin, Clippers||LeBron James, Cavaliers|
|Rookie of the Year||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Jabari Parker, Bucks||Nerlens Noel, 76ers|
|Coach of the Year||Doc Rivers, Clippers||Tom Thibodeau, Bulls||Mike Malone, Kings||Scott Brooks, Thunder||Gregg Popovich, Spurs|
|Def. Player of the Year||Anthony Davis, Pelicans||Joakim Noah, Bulls||Anthony Davis, Pelicans||Dwight Howard, Rockets||Serge Ibaka, Thunder|