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Sports Strength

Five Random NBA Predictions In 2022

In its 75-year history, 2021 will go down as one of the most transformative years in the NBA. Several franchises saw their fortunes change overnight. A once-mediocre franchise became an NBA champion and was led by a player many didn’t expect to become the best in the world. And lastly, the league continued to navigate through a global pandemic. As 2022 is mere hours away from happening, I have five predictions for what could happen in the NBA next year.

Ja Morant will win the MVP

As crazy as this sounds, it will only be accurate when it happens. The former second overall pick is taking that “superstar leap,” that consists of producing a career-best stat line (24 PPG, 5 RPG, 6 APG, and nearly two steals per game), team success (The Grizzles are 22-14), and MVP-like moments— Morant outdueled LeBron James two nights after making a game-winning shot on the road against the 27-7 Phoenix Suns.

Even if Morant doesn’t win the MVP this season, you can expect his name to pop up in the conversation, and he will probably begin the 2022-’23 season on the shortlist of viable candidates who can win the award.

The league’s interest in expansion will come to fruition

For years, the NBA’s reported interest in expansion sparked conversations that have only gotten hotter due to the number of potential teams growing. But with significant support from the general public, especially when it comes to giving the city of Seattle a team again, the NBA could make expansion a reality by the end of next year.

And besides Seattle getting a team, cities such as Las Vegas, NV, and Kansas City, MO have been mentioned as the following locations to receive an NBA team, specifically the former.

Ben Simmons will be traded… in February

Since last summer, the former first overall pick has been in a stalemate with the Philadelphia 76ers, and there have been few indications of when he’ll play for them again. As much as 76ers general manager Daryl Morey wants to get his “bang for the buck” in any deal for Simmons, there’s a reported expectation that the team will trade him by this coming February’s trade deadline.

With a sizable list of teams interested in the three-time All-Star point forward, most notably the Portland Trail Blazers, there will be a loud reaction on the day Simmons gets traded and how much the 76ers received in exchange for him.

Everyone will love an in-season NBA tournament

Even though some people, including a few teams themselves, are still against the NBA’s play-in tournament, the truth is it’s a massive success from both a competitive and entertainment standpoint. The league has been motivated to find a way to make their regular seasons more critical, and they believe a mid-season tournament can help make that happen.

Fueled by several financial and competitive incentives, as well as European soccer’s ability to hold tournaments seasonally within their schedule, commissioner Adam Silver has championed this cause, with hopes it happens between next season and 2024-’25.

LeBron James will retire after the 2022-’23 season

It’s insane to believe that LeBron James and retirement hasn’t been realistic to us NBA fans because of his insanely-high level of play, but as the man himself said on Tuesday, “he is on the other side of that hill.” So given what it takes to play at the level the four-time NBA champion and MVP is required to play at, it wouldn’t be a surprise if James made the 2022-’23 season his last one.

Other than what is happening with the Los Angeles Lakers and their title chances, James will be playing in his twentieth season and could surpass Kareem Abdul Jabbar for most points scored by a player in league history. And minus the historic chance to play alongside his oldest son, Bronny James (who’s currently draft-eligible in 2024), King James doesn’t have much to play for at this point of his career.

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Sports Strength

Yes, Drake Should Own A WNBA Team

Whether it’s releasing No. 1 albums (Certified Lover Boy) and creating successful brands (October’s Very Own) or being the inspiration for some of social media’s most memorable memes, musician Drake has impacted everything in sports, music, and fashion. But the Toronto, native’s most significant impact yet could come in the form of ownership. On Wednesday (Nov. 3rd), Drake interacted with the WNBA on his Instagram story by saying, “I need a Toronto team.”

Sports and WNBA fans alike immediately reacted to this by imagining the possibility that the league created a team in Toronto, with Drake as one of its owners. Ever since becoming a musical superstar after the turn of the last decade, the Certified Lover Boy musician has proudly represented his hometown. Between being a global ambassador of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and hosting his annual, star-packed OVO fest there for nine consecutive summers, Drake’s love for Toronto is well-documented as it has more chapters waiting to be written.

Fueling even more speculation about the prospect of a WNBA franchise in Toronto, Drake posted on Instagram a picture of himself and Las Vegas Aces star center, Liz Cambage.

The two’s friendship has been known for years as Drake not only shouted out Cambage while rapping on Travis Scott’s 2018 smash hit, “Sicko Mode” but congratulated her after she set a WNBA record for most points scored in a game with 53 against the New York Liberty during that same year.

Even though most major sports leagues in America are reluctant to actually expand, the WNBA genuinely considers it. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert confirmed the league’s interest in adding more teams to the league during her press conference during this year’s WNBA Finals.

“The data looks like it’s going to read out some interesting information for us to start having exploratory discussions with certain cities,” Engelbert told reporters. “Make sure that we can find great ownership groups to support a WNBA team and great fan bases. So that’s why I think looking at how those cities are already supporting the WNBA, whether it’s viewership, merch sales, or other things or whether they’re supporting women’s sports or women’s college basketball are great indicators of how it would get supported if a WNBA team were to go in that market.”

If there’s any market that has proven to be successful, it’s Toronto, and with Drake’s presence and willingness to contribute, the WNBA could have a relatively easy move to the 416 if they chose to do so.