5 Bold NBA Predictions for Week 11 of the 2018 season
With the new year right around the corner, plenty of NBA teams and/or players are in search of a new beginning. It may not happen for the Knicks, who appear to be more interested in acquiring Zion Williams during the 2019 draft than they are in making the playoffs this season. It may happen for Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr., who has become expendable with the arrival of Luka Doncic. Let’s take a look at our latest installment of 5 bold NBA Predictions for Week 11.
Lakers will overcome injuries, Rockets won’t
LeBron James is out for at least one game with a groin strain, but look what the Lakers did without him (thrashed Golden State 127-101 on the road in a Christmas upset and outscored the Warriors by 21 without LeBron on the floor). Their upcoming schedule includes a road date with Sacramento followed by a four-game home-stand against mostly unspectacular opponents. Houston, which will be without Chris Paul for several weeks, is going up against both the Celtics and Warriors in the near future.
New York will keep losing—and won’t win another game until Jan. 17
The Knicks are just one game behind Cleveland in the Zion Williamson sweepstakes (in other words, they’re one game ahead of Cleveland in the standings). They have no reason to win…and they certainly aren’t! New York is in the midst of a five-game losing streak while sporting a laughable 1-10 record in its last 11 outings. A brutal six-game road trip begins on Thursday with stops in Milwaukee, Utah, Denver, Los Angeles (Lakers), Portland, and Golden State. The Knicks return home to meet Indiana and Philadelphia before finally getting a reprieve in the form of Washington at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 17.
Dennis Smith Jr. will be traded by the Mavericks
Smith Jr. was one of the best rookies in the business last season, but he suddenly finds himself on the trade block. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Doncic, also a versatile guard just like Smith, looks like he’s well on his way to Rookie of the Year honors. The 19-year-old Slovenian is averaging 19.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Smith is nearing a return from a wrist injury, so other teams may be ready to jump on his services. Moreover, Dallas has been so bad of late since a hot start that it may be willing to accept a draft pick or salary space in return for Smith as it continues to build for the future.
The Bucks will be in first place on Jan. 1
Milwaukee almost made our recent prediction (see last week’s version of this piece) come true by Christmas, but a loss at Miami prevented that from happening. Still, the Bucks are 5-1 in their last six outings and they are now tied with Toronto in the loss column (23-10 to Toronto’s 26-10). Their upcoming schedule features a five-game road trip, starting with New York, Brooklyn, Detroit, and Atlanta—and ending with the Raptors. Giannis Antetokounmpo has reached the 30-point mark in four of the last six contests.
Stephen Curry will score 50
Despite leading the Western Conference with a 23-12 record, the Warriors appear to be in one of those stretches in which they sleepwalk through some of the regular season. Urgency does not seem to be there at the moment, as Golden State got blown out at home by the Lakers on Christmas and it is just 4-3 over the past seven games. Curry was plagued by foul trouble throughout that one, so he should be eager to make amends in the near future. The former Davidson standout has two upcoming dates with the Suns, against whom he averaged 32.8 ppg during the 2016-17 campaign (his most that season against an opponent the Warriors faced four times).