2021-2022 Annual Last Minute (Sometimes Duplicative) Ringer The NBA Preview

2021-2022 Annual

 Last Minute 

(Sometimes Duplicative)

Ringer The NBA Preview








            1. Utah

            1. Milwaukee

            1. Phoenix

            1. Milwaukee

            2. Phoenix

            2. Atlanta

            2. LA Lakers

            2. Brooklyn

            3. Golden State

            3. Brooklyn

            3. Denver

            3. Boston

            4. LA Lakers

            4. Miami

            4. Golden State

            4. Miami

            5. Dallas

            5. Philadelphia

            5. Dallas

            5. Atlanta

            6. Denver

            6. Boston

            6. Utah

            6. Chicago

            7. LA Clippers

            7. Indiana

            7.  LA Clippers

            7. Philadelphia

            8. New Orleans

            8. Chicago

            8. Portland

            8. New York

            9. Memphis

            9. Charlotte

            9. New Orleans

            9. Charlotte

            10. Portland

            10. Toronto

            10. Memphis

            10. Toronto


            New York



            San Antonio


            San Antonio








            Oklahoma City


            Oklahoma City






  • I think Atlanta is gonna be really good. I don’t see any reason why what they were the second half of last season and in the playoffs can’t be what they are for this full season.

  • I don’t love putting Miami that high, but it is what it is, I stand by it.

  • Philadelphia is a big question mark. Without Ben Simmons, they could probably still pull a top 5 seed. If they get him back though, they could slip out of the playoffs entirely.

  • Here I am, putting New Orleans in the playoffs again. If we fail to make the playoffs again I’m just gonna throw them at the bottom of the conference next year.

  • I have New York dropping out of the playoffs but I don’t think they’ll be that bad, I think the East just got a little deeper.

  • I want Chicago to fail.

  • I’m really high on Golden State this year. I think their health will be the biggest factor but their roster was garbage last year and they still made the play-in. I think Klay will be a big boost.

  • At this point, I think it doesn’t matter what the Timberwolves do or who they add, I don’t think I’ll ever pick them to make the playoffs. They could trot out Steph/Luka/Lebron/Giannis/Jokic and I would still throw them in 10th or 11th. Sorry.

  • I wanted to leave Portland out of the playoffs, A. because I kind of get the vibe that’s gonna happen and B. I think it’ll push Dame out and put him on a fun team and I think that would be good for him.

  • Oklahoma City is last because I think they’re more committed to the tank this year than Houston. Houston has some kind of exciting talent who I think will try to win games, OKC has Shai and a bunch of 15-year-olds.

  • I don’t even remember who’s on Orlando anymore other than Jonathan Isaac, and he’s unvaccinated so he won’t even play most of the games.

  • I think it would be nice if the Clippers missed the playoffs. Kawhi’s hurt, they should take the year off and give other teams a chance. New Orleans could use a playoff appearance, Minnesota could, hell I’d even watch Houston, that’d be fun.

  • Low key think Detroit could make the playoffs if things break their way and Cade is actually as good as he’s supposed to be.

  • The East is actually kind of deep now. There are a lot of teams that I wanted to put higher than I did. The east might have more good teams than the west this year? Is this possible? Actually I’m not sure I think that. But maybe.

  • I’m not sure what the next steps for the Spurs are, but their future does not look particularly appealing to me.

  • Wouldn’t totally weird me out if Phoenix was randomly more mediocre this year. CP3 getting hurt, maybe Ayton checks out since he’s not getting paid, idk I could see it.

  • Utah gets first again and does nothing in the playoffs.

  • If Jamal Murray were healthy I’d have Denver much higher. Jokic is so good. I saw him live last week.

  • I think the Celtics are going to be better than people are giving them credit for. Do I think this every year? Yes, but this is different. Everyone thinks the Celtics underperformed last year. Everyone also thinks their roster got better this year. Tatum looks fucking jacked, Brown lead the NBA in preseason scoring, everyone is happy that Horford is back, one of their biggest issues last season was passing, but now Marcus Smart is their PG and he lead the team in assists last year. Is 3 too high? I think only if the Sixers figure out the Simmons thing.

  • I, like other people, think that the Heat will be pretty good this year, but I don’t really know why. Does Lowry really make that team a lot better? Is it just that Butler’s teams do better when Butler is happy and he seems happy? Why are they better than Atlanta? I do not know.

  • I don’t think that Philly will figure out the Simmons thing. He got suspended today for not practicing with the team at full effort. He doesn’t wanna be there and they don’t want him. Stop pretending like it’s going to work. Honestly, if I’m an Eastern Conference team, I don’t take Simmons just so the Sixers are worse. 

  • The Hornets may be the most fun team in the NBA to watch that’s going to win about 50% of their games. Melon, Scary Terry, BouKNight, and Hottie Oubre are a delicious backcourt. Bridges and Kai Jones too? Sign me up.

  • Here’s a story: This team gets the number one seed in their conference. Game one of the playoffs goes very poorly for them - the eight seed makes them look foolish. They end up winning that series, but then get obliterated in the next round. Their “DPoY” gets so embarrassed that he quits basketball. Their coke head coach is so sad that he also quits basketball. Their best player, nicknamed “Spider”, is so humiliated that he quits basketball too. Does this sound familiar? Well it should, because that’s the Utah Jazz. I think they’re going to have a step back this season with teams understanding how to penetrate their defense and because all of their best players quit basketball. 

  • I think Golden State is going to be really good again. Last year was a great season for players like JTA and Poole to step into bigger roles, so now with Klay back, they really do have a full roster of capable players. I think they could be even higher than 4.

  • People who say New Orleans is going to be bad know nothing about basketball. I don’t think they’re going to be good, especially with Zion out, but the GM survey said teams are scared of them - and rightfully so. No one stops Zion except refs. Murphy is a sick ass shooter. BI is absurd. This team could be legit if Zion isn’t out too long.

  • Minnesota competes for a playoff spot this year???? Go them! They won’t make it and the playoff spot is more of a play-in spot, but look at them having a reason for existing. 

  • Does Dallas ever become a front runner? Or do they just stay almost winning a playoff series against a better team?

  • SGA is really good. SPOILER: I couldn’t write about him below, so I needed to add this up here.

Most Valuable Player



1. Steph Curry

It’s time. Steph Curry got MVP buzz last year and the Warriors sucked! If the Warriors turn out to be good this year, and Steph is still dropping 30+ a game, with how much everybody already loves him, plus no voter fatigue since he hasn’t won it in a while, I think he has a real shot to pull in another MVP. And when Steph Curry has a shot, it’s gonna be a swish. Ha ha.

2. Kevin Durant

This is the year for the return of the 2015-18 stars. Health is the biggest factor, but if the Nets take the one seed, I see KD as a legit MVP contender. Harden seems fine to take a scoring backseat and dish 15 assists a game, and MVP is a scoring award basically, so I’d give it to KD.

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

It’s cool we can have six different MVP frontrunners and still possibly not get it right. But I like Giannis this year. I think he’s too fun to be voter fatigued, and coming off his crazy playoffs people are going to be paying a lot of attention to him once again. If Milwaukee takes the one seed, Giannis will have a very good argument.

1. Luka Dončić

If ever there is a year to win MVP, it’s this year. His stats last year were comparable to Jokic. His playoff stats last year were crazy (​35.7 / 10.3 / 7.9 on 49% shooting). His olympic stats were otherworldly (In qualifying it was 21.3 / 11.3 / 8.0 and in Tokyo 28.3 / 10.7 / 7.0). He’s going to make a jump into the clear best player in the world and it’s going to be scary to watch. The Mavs still are just okay.

2. Nikola Jokic

I think he does the exact same thing as last season and people lose a little interest in it. I think he may even deserve the MVP again, but no one cared when Russ averaged a triple double the second time. Or third. Or fourth. It sucks, but this feels kinda like that.

3. LeBron James

With the Lakers making a jump into a top team again this year, it’s pretty likely that LeBron is going to be the talk of the town. He’s going to excel with Russ and Davis at his side. Maybe having Westbrook averaging 10.2 APG will light a fire under him to try and beat that and we’ll see the first team with two players averaging triple doubles. 

Defensive Player of the Year



Rudy Gobert

This is a similar tactic to what we in the people-who-are-bad-at-sports-betting community call “emotional hedging.” Basically, Rudy Gobert wins this every year and I think that’s dumb. He’s a very good team defender, but I think this award should recognize versatility and actual one-on-one perimeter defense just as much as rim protection, even if rim protection is technically more valuable. So - I’m claiming that Rudy will win this award again so that I will be wrong as I always am and we’ll finally get to see somebody else win it.

Joel Embiid

This pick makes a ton of sense for a few reasons. 1) He was second in MVP voting last year and isn’t going to be in the top three this year, so voters are going to feel bad and give him something else. 2) Simmons is arguably a better defender, but voters love centers and people hate Simmons now. So, this vote is kinda a fuck you to Ben. 3) He’s actually really solid on defense. He was third in defensive rating last year after Gobert and Noel. I wish I had put Nerlens No-Miss here instead of Embiid, but I just don’t see a world in which a man named Nerlens wins a DPoY. Or any award. Maybe the Most Magical Name Award.

Rookie of the Year



Cade Cunningham

Gonna go with my gut here because of that time I picked Ayton over Luka cuz I thought everyone would think it would be Ayton - one of my life’s biggest regrets. But anyway, I think Cade will have a great chance to take this award. People already love him, he’ll be able to rack up points, assists, and rebounds, and the Pistons won’t be the worst team in the league, which helps. I think Cade will be fun to watch and will get people talking about him on twitter which is honestly the main prerequisite for winning any award.

Jalen Green

He’s so fucking cool. I thought Ant Edwards was cool, but holy shit is Jalen Green cool. He’s going to average like 24 PPG because their team is bad and he’s never going to want to pass the ball. Plus, he’s going to do it because he can. I would actually believe anything he tells me. He says he’s going to average a quadruple-double? I’m all in. A 5 by 5? Why not? A single-quadruple? We’re about to see someone score 1000 points per game. I think Cade is better and will have a better career, but Green feels more ready to have great stats this season. It’ll ignite something in Cade. I hope they play in the finals against each other someday and Cade just systematically picks Houston apart because of this RoY. 

Sixth Man of the Year



Patty Mills

I honestly don’t know who’s gonna win this award. If I had to bet, I’d take Jordan Clarkson just because I think nobody will run away with it, and if the Jazz are good again he’ll get some press for it. But, I like Patty Mills as a sleeper (as long as he doesn’t start in place of Kyrie). He’s been on the Spurs so long, so nobody has ever seen him play, but if he runs the bench unit like he carries Australia’s national team, he’ll be a prime candidate to be 6MoY.

Carmelo Anthony

How cool would it be if Melo won this? He’s never won a major award in the league (other than NBA Social Justice Champion Award in 2021). He’s going to be coming off the bench for one of the best teams in the NBA and probably scoring pretty well for them. I don’t even think it’s a huge stretch to say he has a chance of winning this award. It would be so cool. His book just came out too. Maybe he should have waited a year so he could write about this 6MoY award.

Most Improved Player of the Year



Chris Boucher

You know how when Bol Bol comes in at the end of preseason games, he gets like two absurd blocks and drains a bunch of threes and it looks insane cuz his limbs are like 8 feet long? That’s like what Chris Boucher can do, except Boucher can do it in real games. The biggest drawback here would be people not paying attention to Toronto this season, but if Boucher is given the minutes he can put up some impressive efficient numbers. I liked him last year, but it was too soon for him to truly shine. This year, back in Toronto, people will take note. In his career, his PPG average has gone from 0.0 to 3.3 to 6.6 to 13.6 - which means this season he’s on pace to score like 27 points per game. Wait, I should’ve put him as my MVP favorite instead.

Michael Porter Jr.

I was going to pick Markus Howard for this, but his teammate makes a little more sense. MPJ just got a huge extension and is going to get a lot of looks with Jamaal still out. He recently said that he isn’t against the vaccine, just against forcing people to take it, but I think most anti-vaxxers will change their mind once they can’t play in a game and are losing money. His rookie to sophomore seasons saw Porter Jr. double his minutes and shots per game and, obviously, his stats exploded up to 19 PPG and 7.3 RPG because of it. But, not only did his scoring increase, so did his efficiency. He shot 54.2 / 44.5 / 79.1 last year. I think he’s going to be an all-star (Cleveland doesn’t have a vaccine mandate, so he’ll probably play too) and it’s going to be enough to take home this trophy.

Coach of the Year



Nate McMillan

Easy. Nate McMillan’s got this in the bag. Last season, before McMillan arrived, the Hawks were 14-20. They brought on Nate, and went 27-11 to finish the season 41-31, and then busted some ass in the playoffs to get to the Conference Finals. Nobody saw that coming from the Hawks lol. If that was real, and they’re a legit top tier contender this year, there’s no question in my mind that Nate McMillan will get the Coach of the Year nod. Honestly I’m surprised he didn’t win it last year. If he gets Trae Young to pick-and-roll the Hawks to a top three seed, then I’ll finally get one of these right. 

Steve Kerr

I originally picked Monty to win this and was 95% finished with my paragraph when I started over. I was thinking of other coaches who could be runners up to Monty when I remembered that Golden State is going to be good again this year. There’s nothing voters like more than storylines and Kerr bringing GSW back into a top seed is a story with many lines. I love Kerr, everyone loves Kerr, Golden State is fun to watch, Curry is going to average 30 without drawing as many fouls and people are going to say, “what a play call by Kerr.” Also he only has one of these awards and that doesn’t feel like enough. I mean, for fucks sake even Budenholzer has two of them. 

Brad Stevens of the Year



Pat Riley

I don’t know if he’s eligible to win this award since he’s technically not the GM, but this feels like a Pat Riley award this year to me. The Heat made the only really notable free agent move of the offseason in signing Kyle Lowry. They also didn’t trade Tyler Herro, so if he turns out to be good again then that’ll seem smart too. But to me, Miami seems like the only contender that made any big notable moves, and I think such a move is usually necessary to get consideration for this award. This is definitely contingent on Miami being good, but I guess so are all of these awards so I don’t even know why I bother to say that in every single blurb. But yeah - if the Heat are good, give it to Pat Riley.

Brad Stevens

He had a fantastic first offseason as an executive and made some impressive moves to increase the Celtics’s depth. Their bench last year looked like a team that was trying to win the lottery and is just waiting for their youngins to accrue more talent before they can compete, alla OKC. Stevens picked up Richardson, Schröder, Horford (let’s go), Kanter, Juancho, Sam Hauser (Marquette boy. Kind of. I’m still mad at him for transfering), and more. He dumped Kemba’s contract and paid Smart. He drafted Juhann Begarin and hired Ime Udoka. When the Celtics do better than they’re expected to, look for Stevens to win this award. Also I love giving him this award for some reason. 

NBA Champion



Milwaukee Bucks

I’m loving being in the post-Warriors dynasty era where when I have to pick an NBA champion I actually have no idea and never feel good about my pick. But here’s my thinking:

Warriors: Are not good enough

Lakers: Injury concerns concern me

Utah: Gobert

Phoenix: CP3’s age concerns me more this year

Brooklyn: Honestly could win it, but I’m just not vibing with them

Atlanta: Too young. And too reliant on Trae Young.

Miami: Just not vibing with this

Dallas: Jason Kidd concerns me

Philadelphia: Need to get a real return for Ben Simmons.

With Milwaukee, there are definitely concerns, but they looked very good in the last playoffs, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t be able to do it again. Quite honestly Jrue Holiday played really badly through most of the playoffs. If he can be more himself, the Bucks could wind up being even better.

I’d imagine the Lakers are going to make it out of the West, but their roster is kind of hilarious so I could see it being Golden State or Phoenix. None of those teams impress me as much as Milwaukee (or Brooklyn, tbh), so I’ll roll with the Bucks as my 2022 champs.

The Brooklyn Nets

It feels like there is going to be a really cool thing in the Western Conference Finals where Lebron and Curry are going to have another stomp around. It’s going to be glorious and beautiful and reminiscent and deadly and vengeful and wonderful and peaceful and precise and precious and explosive and dangerous and malicious and delightful and friendly all at once. As much as I love LeBron and think that the Lakers are good, I think Golden State ekes that series out and makes it to the finals. Also the Suns do not do that well in the playoffs. GSW will win that series in 6, maybe even 5. Okay, that’s one Finals team. 

In the East, Chicago gets swept by Boston who gets swept by the Nets who sweep the Bucks who swept New York and then played a good series against Atlanta who swept Miami. Also the Nets swept Philadelphia. Phew, that’s the other finals team. Side note: This is going to be the fewest games played in the East in any one playoffs ever: 30. 

Then in the finals, the Nets and Warriors are going to have an epic battle. It’s going to be KD vs. His Old Team, Curry vs. Kyrie, Harden vs. The NBA Finals, and Kyrie vs. COVID Restrictions. Ultimately, after playing Luka, the Suns, and the Lakers, Golden State is going to be too tired and banged up to play against the Nets who just miraculously swept their way to the finals. The Nets will win in 7.