Four months in the making, the NBA is back. Fans watched the Dwight Howard soap opera that seemed like months in the making. Fans have watched the end of an era in Boston with the departure of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Doc Rivers (and Jason Terry, though I doubt anyone truly cares). Doc set sail for the Los Angeles Clippers to make them legitimate title contenders (I know, it was tough to write that based of their bad luck, aka Owner Donald Sterling).
Now the Big 2 (KG and Pierce) moved to Brooklyn as a great starting five coupled with Williams, Johnson, and Lopez. That “other team” in New York looks to contend for a title as well as Carmelo Anthony looks to finally win the big one. Although, four years later, the jury is still out if he and Amare Stoudemire can play together efficiently.
Then it’s Derrick Rose. Finally, Derrick Rose has come back to the NBA (Who doesn’t like a Rock reference?). Rose has looked sharp this preseason and looks to continue that momentum into the regular season. Meanwhile in the East, the Pacers continue to make minor tweaks to an already loaded team, and the Pistons and the Cavaliers look to make the playoffs this season in a weaker Eastern Conference.
1225: No, it’s not an important date in world history (I think?). 1225 is what Kobe Bryant changed his Twitter profile picture to. ESPN ranked the Lakers as the 12th best team in the West, and they ranked Kobe at 25 in terms of players who will have the most impact. The Black Mamba does not like to be counted out. Already, according to the Laker’s training staff, Bryant is on pace to be back by at the most Christmas Day from an Achilles injury that keeps most out for at least a year. Once again, the Black Mamba is NOT most.
Stop me if you have heard this before: the West is loaded. The Spurs stayed in tact after a tough Finals loss, and the team everyone’s eyes are on is the Golden State Warriors. After acquiring Andre Iguodala, the Warriors continue to grow and mature. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have two three-point snipers on the arc in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Then, there is the new-look Clippers, the Harden and Howard led Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Whew, that’s a lot to take in, so, here are my Top Ten Burning Questions for the NBA season.
1. How good can the Nets be?
– Great starting 5, but can KG and Pierce play big minutes late?
2. What will Derrick Rose look like?
– The last time Rose played nearly an entire season, he was the league MVP. Can he match that form for a competitive Bulls team?
3. Does Doc Rivers make the Clippers the favorite out West?
– Doc Rivers may be the best coach in the NBA outside of Greg Popovich, can he and CP3 maximize the talent?
4. Is this Melo’s last year in New York?
– This is year number four for Melo and Amare. Can they finally come together and contend in the East?
5. Can the Lakers make the playoffs?
– I know Kobe is Kobe, but does he have enough around him?
6. Who is Oklahoma City?
– KD can score on anybody, but now with Westbrook hobbled, can KD carry his team?
7. Who is the team to beat in the West?
– Spurs, Rockets, Clippers, Thunder, Warriors, Grizzlies, Nuggets, who exerts themselves as the front-runner?
8. Is this the end of an era?
– Could this be the last year of the legends in the NBA like KG, Pierce, Allen, Duncan, Ginobli, and maybe even the Black Mamba himself?
9. Who is a threat to the Heat out East?
– Pacers, Bulls, Nets, and the Knicks are all looking to challenge the Miami Heat. Can any of them truly defeat the Heat in a seven-game series?
10. What will the Heat look like?
– The Heat are looking for a three-peat. Dwayne Wade, once again, had procedures done on his knees. Can Chris Bosh play center and still be an effective piece for the Heat to win a title? Then, there’s LeBron James. It took me nearly 500 words to get to the King. How will he awe us again this season and silence his critics?
MVP: LeBron James
Defensive Player of the Year: LeBron James
Sixth Man of the Year: Harrison Barnes
Rookie of the Year: Trey Burke
Coach of the Year: Mike Brown
Western Conference Finals: Clippers vs. Warriors (Warriors in 7)
Eastern Conference Finals: Bulls vs Heat (Heat in 6)
Finals: Warriors vs Heat (Heat in 5)
MVP: Dwayne Wade