After an off-season filled with trades and free agent signings, the National Basketball League returns for its first full season since 2010.
While this summer may not have been as historic as the 2010 unveiling of Lebron James going to “South Beach,” it still changed the basketball landscape.
Dwight Howard left the Orlando Magic for the West Coast, and joining him will be former Suns point guard Steve Nash, as they team up with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.
This joining of forces was not quite as glamorous as the Heat’s celebration in 2010 where Lebron said he would win eight championships. Of course, they didn’t need to; Kobe already has five titles with more possibly coming in the future.
Major additions went to the Houston Rockets this year with Jeremey Lin looking to extend the glory he had for the Knicks last February. Earlier this week, the Rockets traded for sixth man-of-the-year James Harden to accompany Lin, as Kevin Martin, the Rockets star packed his bags for Oklahoma City.
With Martin gone to Oklahoma City to join forces with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, OKC will again be a front-runner in the Western Conference.
This summer also marked the return of a superstar to the Denver Nuggets in Andre Iguodala, the first dominant player to arrive in the city since Carmelo Anthony.
Iguodala was sent to Denver in the three team trade that sent Howard to LA, this left Philadelphia with the monster center Andrew Bynum, formerly with the Lakers.
The Western Conference this season will be a race, with superstar faces littered across the conference. Last year’s Western Conference champions, the Thunder, will again have trouble and will likely have an even harder time reclaiming victory.
The Spurs, Nuggets, Rockets, Lakers, Clippers, Grizzlies and need I go on? All have major superstar talent and many have post- season experience which will be beneficial when it comes to May. The East is a different story; there are really two beasts, as in comparison to the West where any team could make a run.
All roads in the East, barring injury, will head through either Chicago or Miami. The Boston Celtics are old, and with the loss of guard Ray Allen to the Heat, the mid-range and long-ball game from the Heat will be even better. Indiana is a good team, but expecting them to knock off the Heat or the Bulls will be a bit much, with really no teams being able to match up in a seven game series.
The New York Knicks will underachieve, as always, and rely too much on Melo to make a major post-season run.
The newest face of the East is the Brooklyn Nets, who sport Deron Williams, Kris Humphries and Joe Johnson. The Nets will have a good year, but I don’t see them being able to knock off the Bulls or the Heat.
Are either the Bulls or the Heat a 73-9 team? Probably not, but the Eastern Conference does not have the amount of good teams like the West does.
This NBA season will be a historic one with King James attempting for ring number two and Kobe for number six. Young stars still looking for their rings will have a chance, like Durant and Derrick Rose.
The season will be fun to watch, especially because we will get to see the whole regular season unlike last year which was shortened by a player strike. I think the conference championship’s will come down to OKC and the Lakers in the West, and the Heat and Bulls in the East.
Who will win? We will have to see, but my prediction is the Heat over the Lakers in six games.