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.

NFT Tech

NFT Predictions for 2022

This time last year, Clubhouse rooms were thriving, artists were learning about the new tech called NFTs that flooded their Twitter timelines, and nobody was prepared or could have predicted what would follow next.

Over the past 12 months, the space has endured parabolic growth, and it has been more than anyone could have imagined. From 1/1 auctions on Foundation to the PFP collection craze, and now more sophisticated NFTs that draw on utility for the collectors, NFTs have developed significantly across the board.

NFTs have taken over the tech world, so much so that it was crowned word of the year by The Collins Dictionary, further suggesting it is a presence that cannot be ignored.

Despite the stigma and skepticism expressed by many, it has succeeded in capturing the attention of mainstream brands and businesses, all of whom are investing to try and understand more about how the space works and how they can be involved.

From an Adidas partnership with the BAYC, a Pepsi NFT, to Nike acquiring RTFKT studios, corporate experimentation has slowly evolved to conviction, demonstrating that NFTs are not simply just a bubble.

To illustrate further, celebrities have joined the action with many prominent names investing in NFT projects such as Jimmy Fallon, Steph Curry, DJ Khaled, Paris Hilton, and Post Malone to name a few.

There has been a fair share of controversy, drama, and FUD, but equally, there have been serious signs of potential, positivity, and kindness, all of which are helping to shape the space every day.

But what is in store for the year ahead? In this article, we discuss some ideas and thoughts about NFTs in 2022!

NFTs will add more utility

In the past year, NFT collections have sold out simply because they were a 10,000 profile picture collection. However, as the months went by and we have learned more, for many, apeing into every collectible project has proven unsustainable.

Hype can only take a collection so far and the buzzword for the moment is utility. For projects to succeed in the long term, there must be something that defines them, something that makes them unique, and they have to provide value to the collector that extends much further than the art or name.

Whether it be through tokens, airdrops, access to the metaverse, or commercial rights, collections are having to think outside of the box to attract collectors, in hopes of selling out. Subsequently, we should expect to see even more utility.

More brands will enter the NFT Space

In the latter half of 2021, we began to see more and more brands take an active interest in NFTs, especially given the volume of sales reaching $9 billion in 2021, the possibilities are endless.

Subsequently, powerhouse companies such as Nike and Adidas emerged, Nike acquired trailblazers RTFKT studios, and Adidas partnered with a number of NFT companies including BAYC, Punks comic, and Coinbase.

Evidently, these are just the stepping stones, brands will continue to expand their presence in the NFT space and metaverse as 2022 unfolds and we should certainly expect more eyes on the scene.

DAOs will continue to grow

DAOs fundamentally challenge traditional business start-ups in the sense that they are public, transparent, and decentralized, no longer will there be equity, but instead, tokens. Arguably, they are more trustworthy and enable fair distribution of wealth in real-time.

As the year has progressed, DAOs have become more important with many collections adding the establishment of a DAO to their roadmap, allowing collectors to have an active say in the direction of the project.

From votes to raising money and community growth, DAOs are only going to expand in 2022. Even in the face of uncertainty regarding regulations and legal standards, we have seen potential with Wyoming passing a law that legally recognizes DAOs. They are gaining steam with their decentralized nature and based on recent momentum we will surely see more updates next year.

Tokens will be airdropped

You can be rewarded by simply participating in the space, this was exemplified through the ENS domain airdrop, and the more recent $SOS token airdrop, which both rewarded early users and supporters with tokens.

Similarly, the BAYC are planning on dropping a token that will reward holders, while gm is dropping a $gm token which will be distributed and reflective of how many times you have engaged with the gm culture on Twitter.

Clearly, these tokens reinforce the fundamental requirement to engage in the space. In 2022, we should expect more token airdrops, and what we have seen so far suggests that you should get involved in every way you can!

More NFT/Blockchain Games

Games have had a renaissance under NFTs with blockchain technology opening up new opportunities for gamers to be compensated for their time. With the foundations of play to earn starting under Crypto Kitties in 2017, the latter half of 2021 has seen a number of NFT projects add play-to-earn games to their roadmap.

Namely the BAYC, which has announced a partnership with Animoca Brands and is expected to launch in 2022. Furthermore, the NFT collection The Forgotten Rune Wizards announced their plans for a play-to-earn game, and following the announcement, their floor price more than doubled in less than 24 hours.

Renowned NFT persona Loopify has also preached the potential and possibilities for blockchain gaming with his own NFT game, Treeverse. Clearly, gamification is an avenue that NFT projects will continue to pursue in 2022.

IRL events will come

The biggest event of the year occurred in November during the week-long NYC takeover which also coaligned with the BAYC’s Ape Fest. Thousands of NFT enthusiasts traveled to the city and were able to put a face to their online persona, something that at large had not been done since many joined the space.

It was a chance to bridge the digital with reality and it proved to be extremely popular. The BAYC hosted a number of events including a warehouse party that saw live performances from The Strokes, Lil Baby, Beck, Chris Rock, Aziz Ansari, and Questlove.

Not only did they host a concert with some of the biggest names, but they also hired a real-life yacht that ape holders could attend which featured even more live music and partying.

With the events being major successes, other NFT collections have begun adding IRL events to their own roadmaps, and thus we should expect to see further real-life events in 2022.

NFTs will be more innovative

The NFT space has skyrocketed in volume with billions entering since the start of the year. But interestingly, there has not been a great degree of diversity with PFPs, 1/1s, and generative art all leading the way in 2021.

For many collections, it has become increasingly more difficult to capture attention due to the sheer volume of similarity in the market, therefore more innovative art and ideas are required.

Recently a collection was launched named JPGpeople, and it allowed collectors to participate in the generation of the art through typing a phrase, which would also be a part of the NFT.

It provoked thought, it sparked creativity and above all else, it was something new. In 2022, we should expect to see more creative ideas that diverge from the standard NFTs that simply require you to click mint.

Things are going to change

This may seem fairly obvious, but it is also fundamentally true. In the past 12 months, a lot has changed, whether it be the trends, the price of Ethereum, or the influx of brands.

Nobody could have predicted where NFTs would stand in 12 months’ time. However, now that we are here, and we can look back on what changed, and what is expected ahead, we can surely say that 2022 will be exciting for NFTs.