NBA Storylines & Predictions

Just think, a year ago we were all telling jokes about how LeBron James had no rings, no killer instinct, and couldn’t put the team on his back.  Now after he won the NBA Championship, MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal in the past year we are now asking what’s next?  Can LeBron take himself to MJ levels?  Can he be the greatest of all-time?  And that has to be the main storyline for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

The Miami Heat:  The Heat come into 2013 as the defending champions and all the pressure is on them to take control of the NBA like they did last year.  The big storyline is can they repeat?  If so, can they go on a historic run like Jordan did with the Bulls and win multiple titles in a row?  Miami not only has the best player in the NBA, LeBron, but they now surrounded that man with shooters all around him signing the best 3-point shooter off all-time, Ray Allen.  Last year in the Playoffs, the Heat figured out who they are and it only took them two years to do it!  The Heat run an unprecedented offense with “no positions”, it will consist of LeBron doing whatever he wants and surrounding him with shooters.  The Miami Heat are clearly the team to beat in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers: Arguably the next biggest storyline of the off-season was the Lakers making trades to give a three-year window to allow Kobe Bryant to at least (and hopefully surpass) Michael Jordan’s six NBA Titles.  The Lakers shocked the world by not only getting Steve Nash (the best point guard that Kobe will ever play with), they traded for the much maligned and best Center in the NBA, Dwight Howard.  The Lakers are now four-deep in their starting lineup with potential Hall-of-Famers, and the Artest formerly known as Ron, Metta World Peace will only have to be a spot up shooter and play defense.  The question is can this team gel and do they have enough in their legs to last a grueling 82 game season with a long playoff run?  Dwight Howard is the great equalizer and one of the best defenders in the NBA who can clog the middle.  The Lakers will be learning to play with each other on the run and are installing the new Princeton offense.  The Lakers will start slow but will hit their stride later in the season, don’t panic if the start off around .500.

James Harden Trade:  The Los Angeles Lakers main competition to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals to a big step when the Oklahoma City Thunder abruptly traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.  As a small market team, the Thunder “said” they couldn’t have three max players and decided to low-ball James Harden after paying Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge  .  In the short-term, the Thunder are hurt by this trade in the Western Conference, they get a big-time scorer in Kevin Martin and a developmental two-guard with Jeremy Lamb, but that won’t replace the Sixth-Man of the Year.  In the long-term the Thunder might be better off.  Westbrook and Durant are still in their early 20’s and will eventually have to sign another contract, Sam Presti and the Thunder want to make sure that the talent they have will get better and they know in three years that the Lakers will potentially be without Nash and Bryant.

The Takeover of New York:  The New York Knicks used to own New York, despite being terrible mediocre for the past two decades, having an incompetent owner and now getting rid of a potentially great and marketable Point Guard (Jeremy Lin), who they replaced with Jason “Please Ice My Knees” Kidd and Raymond “Man Titty” Felton.  Not only that, the Knicks are now without Amar’e Stoudamire for at least six weeks and this team is in trouble in the East.  But here come the Brooklyn Nets — they’ve moved into the Barclays Center (if it’s still in one piece after Hurricane Sandy — and they have an owner who may not go to games, but has the deepest checkbook in the NBA.  The Nets signed Deron Williams to a $100 million contract, traded for Joe Johnson and the $90 million left on his contract, gave Brook Lopez a max-contract (I can’t type that with a straight face) and resigned Gerald Wallace to $40 contract (still laughing).  The Battle for New York will be a funny mediocre one!

Derrick Rose Comeback:  Despite being the top team in the Eastern Conference last year, the Chicago Bulls fought off the injury bug all season, none-worse than Derrick Rose tearing his ACL in the first round of the playoffs.  Rose has a long comeback ahead of him and the Bulls are hoping he’s back by midseason.  The Bulls are talented enough to stay afloat and potentially be a 2-4 seed while he’s out, but what will DRose be when he comes back?  Are the Bulls going to be ready to unseed the Miami Heat? Lots of questions in Chicago.

David Stern Farewell Tour:  The man with potentially the biggest ego in all of sports is finally taking his Swan Song and retiring in 2014 after thirty years of being the NBA Commissioner.  Stern has taken the NBA to unseen levels of popularity,  after the booming 90s, the NBA now has a chance to pass the Golden Age of the 90s into the Platinum Age of the 2010s.  The NBA has never had as many marketable superstars and great rivalries than it does now.  Stern will look to solidify his legacy by bringing a franchise back to Seattle after he helped the former Sonics leave to Oklahoma City.  The Dictatorship may be ending soon, but Stern still has a bunch of tricks of that sleeve of his.

Predictions:

Western Conference Playoff Teams (no particular order): Lakers, Jazz, Thunder, Denver, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets.

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (no particular order): Heat, Bulls, 76ers, Celtics, Pacers, Nets, Pistons, Knicks.

NBA Finals: Miami Heat def. Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

– Lance Cartelli

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Posted on October 30, 2012, in Basketball, Celtics, Championship, Durant, Dwight Howard, Finals, Kobe Bryant, Lakers, LeBron, Lebron James, Los Angeles, Miami, Miami Heat, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, OKC, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Thunder, Ray Allen, Sports, Spurs, Steve Nash, Thunder, Westbrook and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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