Courtside View: Previewing the 2013-14 Season
The 2013-14 season is just hours away and the reigning champs are looking to start the season. off with a victory against a newly equipped rivalry, in the Chicago Bulls. Following that game on TNT, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers are showcased. I will tell you who is the most dominant team between these two. In the past, I've always said the western conference is the better conference, but with teams like the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks, all upgrading their odds to win a championship to overthrow the defending champs. The west still have dominant teams, but not like the East. This is probably one of the biggest seasons I've been most excited about in awhile. I'll also tell you why the bottom-feeder teams are going to be looking to make their ways up to the top.
Former number one overall pick, Greg Oden, either has ended up broke, or just couldn't walk away from the game without proving himself. One of the biggest busts in NBA history, Oden has returned to the NBA, ready to make an impact with the Miami Heat. The problem with Oden is that he couldn't never stay healthy. He was always hurt. In fact he signed his big contract with the Portland Trailblazers and then said he was hurt. I can just imagine his thoughts..."I can't play now, but I definitely can cash the checks." As if the Heat needed Help, the core of the team is still in tact. With LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. The Heat will be there at the end, when it is all said and done. If Wade can stay healthy, this team will be more than a handful. Add Ray Allen to the pot and you now have a complete full course dish. However, the Bulls are looking to throw leftovers in that pot. You can't forget about the Bulls...The same team that derailed the Heats 27 game winning streak, and they did it without their prized possession Derrick Rose. Add him to the mix now and this team has a roster, who can outplay anyone in the league. Did I mention they went 8-0 in the pre-season. I know it doesn't count, but it is worth noting.
The Lakers and Clippers play in the same arena. The Staples center has always been home to the five time NBA champ...Kobe Bryant. Things maybe starting to change in favor or the Clippers. This is a team I'm looking forward to seeing. The Clippers are deep and now have a coach who is defensive minded in Doc Rivers. Chris Paul is a great point guard in this league, but Rivers has called out Paul. Letting him know he hasn't done anything in this league. That's one way to push a player to play harder. I can tell you, Rivers has already won that locker room over. If he gets Blake Griffin to commit to playing better defense, no opposing team will be able to score in the low-post. DeAndre Jordan has defense, he just doesn't have offense. He makes nasty looking dunks, he just can't make free throws. Rivers will have to change that, hire a guru or something, but Jordan and Griffin have to be able to make free throws. Who is playing opening night for the Lakers, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, are the only big names. Kobe Bryant, may be in the building, but he won't be on the court. The 15x all-star is sidelined due to an torn Achilles tendon late last season. It is not known, when he will return. The scale is starting to tilt towards the Clippers side. The team is younger and more talented, while the Lakers are playing, hoping, not to establish injuries along the way.
The eastern conference has gotten better as a whole. The Indiana Pacers are going to welcome their star before their star back in...Danny Granger. Granger missed the majority of the 2012-13 season, due to an patellar injury. Limited to five games last season, Granger is going to miss the first three weeks of this season, due to a calf injury. While he was out, it gave rising star, Paul George, the keys to the team. George is an all-around outstanding player. The former Fresno State product, became an all-star, became the most improved player, and was on the second all-defensive team, thanks to Granger being side-lined. This team isn't worried about missing him. With Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West and Paul George healthy, this team will be balling-out. They replace Tyler Hannsbrough, with Luis Scola. A more well-rounded player. Scola can score and rebound. That is a great replacement. Other teams such as the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, have been talking trash all off-season, about being the better team. Who is exactly is better? The Nets acquired aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. With a team who already had Deron William, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. This team already had offensive, but now jus became defensive. If Healthy this team can go a long way. The Knicks added Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, and re-signed J.R. Smith. They drafted Tim Hardaway Jr., to a team who already had Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Iman Shumphert. No one is expecting much from this team, but I beg to differ. They broke the record for most three pointers made last season and I expect that to continue this year. That's what happens when you double team Carmelo Anthony.
Bottom-feeder teams, such as the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Milwaukee Bucks, are making the league more interesting. The Raptors, Cavaliers and Bucks have some big name people. I've seen them in the pre-season and teams won't be able to beat them, just by showing up. These teams are going to be tough to beat. They are more hungrier, than established teams, because they have more to prove. If they can hang with the tough teams in the regular season, they can make a playoff leap. The Raptors in the playoffs, yes. Same can be said about the others. You think the Washing ton Wizards are going to be easy, with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Nene, Marcin Gortat. That is a good team. Notice most of these teams are from the eastern conference, the better conference. The western conference are good, but not great. The Oklahoma Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets will be in the playoffs, but with injuries, aging and first year acquisitions, I'm not sure how far these teams will go. With the Clippers they are established, throw in a coach, who can make the right moves and you now have a contender. Who will throw the Heat off ?. The eastern conference is up for grabs. Everybody got better, but the Heat really didn't. The Bulls, Pacers, Nets, and Knicks all will be throwing blows at them. The question is, will anyone of them be haymakers! This season is going to be exciting!