NBA preseason predictions: Our experts' picks for 2019-20

Will Reddish have a better career than Zion? (2:03)

Brian Windhorst, Tim MacMahon and Royce Young break down the results of the NBA's rookie survey which hailed Cam Reddish as having the potential for the best career. (2:03)

The 2019-20 edition of ESPN's NBA summer forecast is here.

Which will be the best and worst teams this season? Which superstar players will win the major awards? What surprises are on the way?

We polled ESPN's panel of basketball experts for their predictions heading into the season.

The conclusion of our rollout includes:

For all results with point totals, voters were asked for their top three most likely candidates, and we calculated a weighted score.

We also asked the students of the Sports Analytics Club Program for their predictions.

Who is the NBA's next team turmoil?

Which team will deal with the most drama and angst this season? It's a close vote between three squads that added major pieces over the summer (Russell Westbrook in Houston, Anthony Davis in Los Angeles and Kyrie Irving plus Kevin Durant in Brooklyn).

1. Houston Rockets: 69 points (21.2% first-place votes)

2. Los Angeles Lakers: 67 points (27.3% first-place votes)

3. Brooklyn Nets: 64 points (27.3% first-place votes)

4. Philadelphia 76ers: 31 points (31% first-place votes)

5. Washington Wizards: 25 points (2% first-place votes)

6. Miami Heat: 6 points (3% first-place votes)

Others receiving votes: Thunder, Bulls, Knicks, Warriors, Blazers

Who is the NBA's next team turnaround?

After finishing with 37 wins in 2018-19 then acquiring Anthony Davis, the Lakers rank No. 1 here and No. 2 for team turmoil. On the other end of the AD trade, the Pelicans are the next pick by our panel for team turnaround now that they have Zion Williamson and a deep roster.

1. Los Angeles Lakers: 95 points (42.4% first-place votes)

2. New Orleans Pelicans: 72 points (21.2% first-place votes)

3. LA Clippers: 43 points (18.2% first-place votes)

4. Dallas Mavericks: 33 points (6.1% first-place votes)

5. Brooklyn Nets: 13 points (3% first-place votes)

6. Indiana Pacers: 11 points (3% first-place votes)

Others receiving votes: Heat, Jazz, Suns, Celtics, Timberwolves, Hawks

Who are the most likely first-time All-Stars?

A group of young wings -- Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Pascal Siakam -- is the popular pick here, with Doncic receiving 87% of all available votes.

Voting results indicate the percentage of all possible votes. Voters could select zero first-time All-Stars.

Eastern Conference

Western Conference

Others receiving votes: De'Aaron Fox, Jamal Murray, CJ McCollum, Mike Conley

How many championships will the Lakers win with LeBron on the roster?

James has two more seasons under guaranteed contract in L.A. before hitting his player option in the summer of 2021.

FiveThirtyEight currently projects the Lakers as having a 20% percent to make the NBA Finals and a 14% chance to win it all in 2019-20.


  • Zero: 51.5%

  • One: 48.5%

Will Giannis sign a supermax extension with the Bucks?

In the summer of 2020, Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a five-year, supermax extension worth nearly $250 million. If Giannis doesn't extend, he'll hit unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2021.


  • Yes: 87.9%

  • No: 12.1%

Who will win NBA MVP?

The superstar duos across the league help two recent MVPs in this vote. As the clear No. 1 options on their teams, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry take the lead for our panel, followed by a deep crowd.

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo | Milwaukee Bucks: 90 points (30.3% first-place votes)

2. Stephen Curry | Golden State Warriors: 63 points (27.3% first-place votes)

3. LeBron James | Los Angeles Lakers: 34 points (12.1% first-place votes)

4. Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers: 33 points (15.2% first-place votes)

5. Anthony Davis | Los Angeles Lakers: 25 points (9.1% first-place votes)

6. Nikola Jokic | Denver Nuggets: 19 points (3% first-place votes)

7. Kawhi Leonard | LA Clippers: 16 points (3% first-place votes)

Others receiving votes: Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Paul George.

MORE: NBA experts debate the predicted MVP race

Who will win NBA Rookie of the Year?

The top-3 voting totals here follow the draft order, with Zion Williamson starting the year as a convincing front-runner ahead of Ja Morant and RJ Barrett.

1. Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans: 143 points (72.7% first-place votes)

2. Ja Morant | Memphis Grizzlies: 88 points (18.2% first-place votes)

3. RJ Barrett | New York Knicks: 53 points (9.1% first-place votes)

4. Darius Garland | Cleveland Cavaliers: 5 points

5. Coby White | Chicago Bulls: 4 points

6. Jarrett Culver | Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 points

7. Michael Porter Jr. | Denver Nuggets: 1 point

MORE: Swing skills for top ROY contenders

Who will win the NBA title?

Heading into 2018-19, the Golden State Warriors received every first-place vote in this category. Now there's more competition, with the LA Clippers leading the way as the most likely NBA champion.

1. LA Clippers: 117 points (54.5% first-place votes)

2. Milwaukee Bucks: 85 points (36.4% first-place votes)

3. Philadelphia 76ers: 38 points (6.1% first-place votes)

4. Los Angeles Lakers: 29 points

5. Golden State Warriors: 15 points (3.0% first-place votes)

6. Houston Rockets: 11 points

7. Utah Jazz: 3 points

MORE: Biggest question and greatest edge for each title contender

Eastern Conference standings

The Bucks and Sixers are the clear leaders in the East, and they came out with the top projections in either conference.

Will a third team break out as a contender to crash the NBA Finals? And can an up-and-coming team such as the Bulls or Hawks break into the playoff picture?

1. Milwaukee Bucks: 57-25

2. Philadelphia 76ers: 55-27

3. Boston Celtics: 48-34

4. Indiana Pacers: 46-36

5. Brooklyn Nets: 45-37

6. Toronto Raptors: 45-37

7. Miami Heat: 43-39

8. Orlando Magic: 41-41

9. Detroit Pistons: 38-44

10. Atlanta Hawks: 34-48

11. Chicago Bulls: 32-50

12. Washington Wizards: 28-54

13. New York Knicks: 26-56

14. Charlotte Hornets: 23-59

15. Cleveland Cavaliers: 22-60

MORE: 5-on-5: The most overrated and underrated NBA teams

Teams with the same projected record had ties broken before rounding.

Western Conference standings

Continuity wins in the West, as the Nuggets retained their core while adding a nice piece in Jerami Grant, though they held off the Clippers by only a fraction of a win. Then it's a tight playoff race all the way down to Sacramento at No. 12. Even if teams take time working in new additions, the Western Conference will be loaded.

1. Denver Nuggets: 54-28

2. LA Clippers: 54-28

3. Houston Rockets: 53-29

4. Utah Jazz: 52-30

5. Los Angeles Lakers: 51-31

6. Golden State Warriors: 49-33

7. Portland Trail Blazers: 47-35

8. San Antonio Spurs: 43-39

9. Dallas Mavericks: 41-41

10. New Orleans Pelicans: 40-42

11. Minnesota Timberwolves: 38-44

12. Sacramento Kings: 37-45

13. Oklahoma City Thunder: 33-49

14. Phoenix Suns: 28-54

15. Memphis Grizzlies: 27-55

MORE: Projected records, standings for every NBA team Insider

Teams with the same projected record had ties broken before rounding.

Vote now: What will happen in the NBA this season?

Our experts have made their picks. Now it's your turn to weigh in.

Image credits: Harry How/Getty Images; Derick E. Hingle/USA Today Sports; Chris Elise/NBAE/Getty Images; Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images; Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports; Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images; Stacy Revere/Getty Images; Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images; Ethan Miller/Getty Images; David Zalubowski/AP Photo; Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images; David J. Phillip/AP Photo