NBA Predictions for 2018-2019 Season: Playoff Teams, MVP and Title Picks From Experts Ahead of Opener

Ahead of the regular season opener on Tuesday evening, it's worth noting it's tough to predict much of anything in the NBA.

Well, not exactly.

It's tough to predict much of anything outside of who'll win the championship—it's a relatively safe bet to pick the Golden State Warriors to win it again in 2018-19.

But the year feels wide-open elsewhere. Young All Stars like Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo are rising—will they make another leap this year? Can Chris Paul fend off Father Time and help lead the Houston Rockets back to the West Finals? Is LeBron James even human—will he ever decline? What happens when, for the first time in his career, he's forced to play in the tougher Western Conference?

lebron james
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers walks on the court during a stop in play in a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. A number of experts seem to think he'll win the MVP this season. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Still, even with the relative uncertainty of what's to come, experts did their best to predict what's to come with the 2018-19 NBA season. We've collected some of their picks below to help guide your thinking for the year.

Playoff teams in East

Washington Post: 1. Boston Celtics, 2. Toronto Raptors, 3. Philadelphia 76ers, 4. Milwaukee Bucks, 5. Indiana Pacers, 6. Washington Wizards, 7. Miami Heat, 8. Detroit Pistons

FiveThirtyEight projection: 1. Raptors, 2. Celtics, 3. 76ers, 4. Wizards, 5. Bucks, 6. Pacers, 7. Heat, 8. Pistons

CBS: 1. Raptors, 2. Celtics, 3. 76ers, 4. Pacers, 5. Heat, 6. Bucks, 7. Pistons, 8. Wizards

ESPN's Zach Lowe: 1. Celtics, 2. Raptors, 3. Bucks, 4. Sixers, 5. Pacers, 6. Heat, 7. Wizards, 8. Pistons

Playoff teams in West

Washington Post: 1. Golden State Warriors, 2. Utah Jazz, 3. Houston Rockets, 4. Oklahoma City Thunder, 5. New Orleans Pelicans, 6. Denver Nuggets, 7. Portland Trail Blazers, 8. San Antonio Spurs

FiveThirtyEight projection: 1. Warriors, 2. Rockets, 3. Jazz, 4. Thunder, 5. Nuggets, 6. Los Angeles Lakers, 7. Minnesota Timberwolves, 8. Pelicans

CBS: 1. Warriors, 2. Rockets, 3. Lakers, 4. Thunder, 5. Nuggets, 6. Jazz, 7. Spurs, 8. Pelicans

ESPN's Lowe: 1. Warriors, 2. Rockets, 3. Thunder, 4. Jazz, 5. Nuggets, 6. Lakers, 7. Pelicans, 8. Trailblazers. (Added that if Timberwolves holds on to Jimmy Butler they'd catapult into the playoffs.)

Conference winners / title winners

Washington Post: East - Celtics, West - Warriors; title: Warriors

Sports Illustrated: Five of six writers picked the Celtics in the East and Warriors in the West. All five of those writers picked the Warriors to win again.

ESPN's Lowe: East - Celtics, West - Warriors; title: Warriors

MVP

Washington Post: Antetokounmpo

ESPN's Lowe: Antetokounmpo

ESPN experts: Nine picked James, four picked Anthony Davis, two picked Kevin Durant, two picked Kawhi Leonard, two picked Antetokounmpo, one picked James Harden, one picked Kyrie Irving

NBA Predictions for 2018-2019 Season: Playoff Teams, MVP and Title Picks From Experts Ahead of Opener | Sports