Now that the NBA offseason is winding down and the start of the 2021-22 regular season is right around the corner, it's time to make some predictions. But rather than playing it safe, we asked our writers:
What is your bold prediction for the 2021-22 NBA season?
Alex Kennedy: In October of 2019, Bradley Beal signed a two-year, $72 million extension with the Washington Wizards — much to the chagrin of many executives and fans around the NBA. While people seem to be anxiously awaiting the day that Beal requests a trade from the Wizards, I believe Beal is going to extend in Washington once again. He is eligible to sign an extension this offseason (worth roughly $181.5 million over four years), or he can opt to wait until next summer to re-sign for roughly $235 million over five years. During a recent appearance on my podcast, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report predicted that Beal will stay in Washington long-term. Beal is close with Spencer Dinwiddie, whom he recruited to Washington, and the Wizards have a solid roster that could exceed expectations this year. This will be Beal’s 10th season in Washington, and don’t be surprised if he sticks around for more.
Ethan Fuller: I think there's a very real possibility Michael Porter Jr. eclipses 25 points per game and leads the Denver Nuggets in scoring. He seriously ratcheted up the volume last season while maintaining elite shooting efficiency. Per Basketball Reference, Porter Jr. made 83.1% of his at-rim attempts last season and 44.5% of his threes. Those are unreal rates, especially for a second-year forward. With Nikola Jokic warping defenses with his passing and a healthy Jamal Murray returning, the Nuggets will have plenty to throw at defenses, potentially creating even easier looks for Porter Jr.
Spencer Davies: It might not be considered “bold,” but with so much love being shown to the Chicago Bulls’ offseason, I’ll be that guy to throw a wet blanket on things by saying the team won’t get out of the first round of the playoffs. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley certainly did a number both at last year’s trade deadline and in this summer’s free-agency period to prove to Zach LaVine how serious they are about winning... but will the pieces fit together? Chicago shelled out a lot of dough for DeMar DeRozan, an aggressive scorer and one of the most underrated improved playmakers in the league; however, how will he play when LaVine is commanding the basketball more often than not? Lonzo Ball is essentially going to be the point-man in transition and a spot-up marksman in the corners. More importantly, though, he’s likely to be the team’s best perimeter defender (next to Patrick Williams, who will have all eyes on him). But who else is going to step up guarding the opposition? Will Alex Caruso get more minutes than Coby White? On paper, the Bulls’ rim protection isn’t great, nor is the defense on the outside. It’ll be interesting to see how that all balances out.