2021-22 NBA season preview: Predictions, picks and superlatives

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The 2021-22 NBA season begins on Tuesday with a nationally televised doubleheader featuring the league’s four heaviest championship favorites, according to BetMGM: Brooklyn Nets at reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT) and Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET, TNT).

Peruse the graphics below for the Yahoo Sports NBA team’s season predictions, from MVP picks to the playoff field for both conferences and your 2022 champion. And that’s just the start of our preview content.

NBA predictions: MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports graphic)

NBA predictions: MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Eastern Conference playoff teams and finals matchup. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Eastern Conference playoff teams and finals matchup. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Western Conference playoff teams and finals matchup. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Western Conference playoff teams and finals matchup. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Most disappointing team and most surprising team. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Most disappointing team and most surprising team. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Finals matchup, NBA champion and Finals MVP. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

NBA predictions: Finals matchup, NBA champion and Finals MVP. (Graphic by Michael Wagstaffe/Yahoo Sports)

2021 NBA draft recap

  • Goodwill: ‘Alpha male’ Cade Cunningham has runway to lead Pistons

  • Haynes: Jalen Green’s Fresno upbringing motivates him to prove people wrong

  • Rohrbach: 2021 NBA draft report card

  • Peek: The 10 most impactful NBA rookies heading into the 2021-22 season

2021 NBA free agency recap

  • Rohrbach: 10 best contracts • 10 worst contracts • winners and losers

  • Goodwill: Is criticism of Lakers’ moves fair or just another LeBron James narrative?

  • Goodwill: Chris Paul effect: NBA teams spend money on aging stars for chance at title run

2021 NBA summer league recap

  • Peek: Sharife Cooper, Jalen Johnson shedding ‘risky’ labels with dominant showing

  • Haynes: Davion Mitchell relying on unmatched work ethic to make statement with Kings

  • Peek: Cam Thomas’ prolific scoring leads top rookie performances

2021 NBA offseason storylines recap

  • Rohrbach: Philadelphia 76ers not obligated to grant Ben Simmons’ wishes

  • Goodwill: Kyrie Irving turning championship-minded Nets into total dysfunction

  • Rohrbach: John Wall testing limits of NBA’s untradable contract

  • Haynes: Carmelo Anthony on chasing his first ring with the Lakers: ‘It’s a must have’

  • Rohrbach: Thunder all but opt out of NBA competition

  • Goodwill: Karl-Anthony Towns comfortable among league’s best big men

  • Major injury updates: Zion Williamson • Klay Thompson • Kawhi Leonard

2021-22 NBA season look-ahead

  • Rohrbach: Who will follow the Phoenix Suns as the NBA’s next breakout team?

  • Goodwill: Kyrie Irving’s vaccine stance could push limits of player empowerment

  • Rohrbach: The next NBA stars available beyond Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard

  • Schedule release: 16 must-watch matchups, starring Nets and Lakers

Hot Takes We Might Actually Believe

  • New York Knicks will miss the playoffs

  • Phoenix Suns or Utah Jazz will win the West

  • Los Angeles Lakers are more pretenders than contenders

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo will win his third MVP

  • Golden State Warriors have no chance

  • Brooklyn Nets should win the title, with or without Kyrie Irving

May all your wishes comes true this NBA season. See you on the other side of opening night.



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