Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013-2014 NBA Storylines

The NBA season kicks off today, and i could not be more excited for another year of great storylines. Which is why I decided to share my top five storylines of this year.

#5. The New-Look Nets

The starting lineup for this team is incredible. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez. Is there a better starting lineup on paper?

There are still quite a few question marks about this team. How many minutes will Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce realistically have per night? Paul Pierce averaged 33.5 minutes per game last year while, KG only averaged 29 and missed 14 games. It will be interesting to see how Jason Kidd handles the minutes of these two future hall of famers.

Which brings me to my next point. Jason Kidd as a head coach, will he succeed in the form that  former point guard Mark Jackson (Warriors) has started to show and Doc Rivers ( Clippers) has shown? Or will he be just another failed player turned coach such as Lyndsey Hunter (former Suns)? On the bright side, he has a team of all-stars that should make the transition easier.

#4. Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Deandre Jordan. Need I say more?

Blake Griffin has been criticized over and over again for his lack of toughness. Luckily, there is not a coach in the league that will turn Griffin from a soft big man into a nightmare power forward like Doc Rivers will. Is he going to be Kevin Garnett? No. Is he going to let Zach Randolph get away with the insults he got away with last year? Not with Doc around. Expect more out of Blake Griffin this year than just a few dunks and some awesome commercials like this one.

Here’s something scary to think about, the Clippers won 56 games last year. This included a 17 game win streak spanning the course of November 28 to December 30. During this streak, the clippers offense exploded with 104.7 points per game on 48.5% shooting. They also turned up the defensive intensity, holding opposing teams to 95.2 ppg during the streak. This is just a preview of the potential this team has, and Doc Rivers will maximize this potential every night of the NBA season.

One more thought…

How could you not be excited for more of those?

#3. James Harden Dwight Howard Combo

The western conference is having sleepless nights, because there’s a bearded dwightmare in Houston that is coming for them.

James Harden solidified himself as an all-star caliber player last year. He went from sixth man of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to averaging 25.9 ppg as the leader of a young Houston Rockets team.

Dwight Howard did the opposite last season. He went from being labeled as the best center in the league, to someone who couldn't handle the pressure of the Lakers uniform. Was this because he was still suffering from back problems, or the product of a coaching scheme that wasn't fit for him? We’ll never know.

Enter the Houston Rockets. This is Howard’s chance to redeem himself. He has a young team around him, with a back-court made to play basketball from the inside out. The Rockets led the league with 29 three-point attempts per game. Dwight will only make it easier for the Rocket Guards to get 3 pointers in bunches by forcing the other team to actually believe Lin, Harden, or Parsons might throw the ball down low.

The Rockets are my choice for western conference champions this year. Time will tell whether I’ve bought into the hype, or I get another “I told you so.” moment.

#2. The Return of Derrick Rose

He’s BAAAAAACCCCKKK!!! After sitting out all of the 2012-2013 season while rehabbing a torn ACL the 2010-2011 MVP is back. With reported  gains of 10 pounds of muscle and 5 inches to an already impressive vertical, D-Rose 2.0 is ready to make his run at the defending champion Heat.

The Chicago Bulls were the number one team in the league both 2010-2011, and 2011-2012 seasons with Rose. If they are the number one team through the regular season again this time around, Rose would be very hard not to pick for MVP.

#1. The Super Splash Brothers.

Is there a team more exciting to watch than the Golden State Warriors? I don’t think so. The now super stardom of Steph Curry, and his sidekick Klay Thompson, could possibly be as Mark Jackson has said, the “greatest shooting back-court in the history of the game.”

At the end of the season the Warriors front office must have asked themselves “how can we be even more exciting than we were last season?” The answer: Andre Iguodala. Iggy is one of the most explosive players in the game. Adding him to an already stacked starting lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut, the NBA should be on high alert, because the warriors are here for the long run.

Final thoughts on the season

This season has enough storylines to make it one to remember. Will the heat get their three-peat? Who will lose enough games to win the lottery and get Andrew Wiggins? How many times will Brandon Knight get embarrassed this season? With all these different things to watch for I will be sitting on my couch until late June. You’ve been warned.

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