By Ragy Stefan
Last Tuesday marked the first day of the 2013-2014 NBA basketball season. For some reason, this season just feels different. It could be the fact that it’s the first NBA season in the last seven years that Kobe hasn’t started, that Derrick Rose is back in a Bulls jersey after being sidelined by a knee injury for over a year, that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer Celtics, or that Dwight Howard is now in a Rockets jersey. Whatever it is, this season is looking to be more exciting than ever this year. With the new look – Nets looking to challenge the Heat in the east, and the Clippers and the Warriors looking to battle it out in the west – there is definitely a lot to talk about at the start of this season.
Here are my predictions for this season:
• Experience will prove to be extremely valuable and the Spurs are going to come out of the west.
• The Thunder are going to struggle without a reliable third offensive option and finish 4th in the Conference.
• The Lakers are going to squeeze into playoffs despite having one of the oldest rosters in the NBA.
• Kobe Bryant will come back the week of Thanksgiving.
• Stephen Curry will break his own single season three-point record, and finish the season with a 55 percent mark from the three-point line.
• The Clippers will struggle to adjust to Doc Rivers’ coaching style in the early parts of the season, but will go on a nice run post all-star break to finish with the second seed in the west.
• The Nets, led by Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, will finish the season as the second seed behind the Heat, but will ultimately beat them in the playoffs to represent the east in the NBA Finals.
• The Celtics will struggle without Garnett and Pierce, and will miss playoffs for the first time since 2007.
• The young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Andrew Bynum, will lead the Cavaliers to the 8th playoff seed in the east.
• The Heat will continue to impress throughout the season, but will struggle in key games against teams like the Nets and the Pacers.
• The rivalry between the Knicks and the Nets will be the main story coming out of New York, leading to fights between players from both teams on and off the court.
MVP: Lebron James
Coach of the Year: Kevin McHale
Sixth Man of the Year: Vince Carter
Most Improved: Eric Bledsoe
Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams
Western Conference Champion: San Antonio Spurs
Eastern Conference Champion: Brooklyn Nets
NBA Champion: San Antonio Spurs
That’s all I have for you for this week. If there is anything you disagree with or anything you want to add, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!