The 2013-2014 NBA season is tipping off on Tuesday, October 29th. On the opening night, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will make his first season appearance since his ACL injury in the 2012 playoffs. Last year, the Bulls made it to the Eastern conference semifinals but fell to the Miami Heat in five games. The Miami Heat made it to the Playoff finals led by forward LeBron James, where they defeated the San Antonio Spurs to win their second consecutive championship. The question is: will the Heat win their third championship in a row?
One important factor to consider is the players who are recovering from injuries. With Rose back on the court, the Bulls have a legitimate chance of dominating the eastern conference and contending with the Miami Heat. Additionally, Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant is also recuperating after tearing his Achilles tendon in the late 2012-2013 season. Rose and Bryant are both crucial parts of their respective teams and their return to the game will be extremely significant to the dynamics of the 2013-2014 season.
Significant trades have also added tension and excitement to the prospects of this season. Center Dwight Howard joined the Houston Rockets after playing for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2012-2013 season. His tumultuous relationship with Bryant and his subpar free-throw skills made many Lakers fans glad to see him gone. However, Howard’s large stature makes him a good bet for inside shots and tight defense. Howard’s former teammate, forward Earl Clark, joined center Andrew Bynum from the Philadelphia 76ers to become part of the Cleveland Cavalier family. Along with Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Bynum and Clark will help fortify the Cavaliers on the defensive and offensive ends. The Brooklyn Nets will be subjected to similar improvements in their roster. Forward-center Kevin Garnett left the Boston Celtics and moved to the Nets, and he will not be alone. Forward-guard Paul Pierce and guard Jason Terry will also be bringing their superb shooting skills from Boston to join Garnett in Brooklyn.
Ultimately, there are several Eastern and Western teams that have formidable lineups for the 2013-2014 season. The Indiana Pacers dominated in 2012-2013 season by fighting their way to the Eastern conference finals and tragically losing to the Miami Heat in game seven. The San Antonio Spurs also reasserted their dominance last year by narrowly losing the championship to the Miami Heat in a riveting game seven. The Spurs had a chance to clinch the title during game six of the finals, but James stepped up and led the Heat to a victory in game six and game seven. This year, forward Tim Duncan, guard Tony Parker, forward-guard Kawhi Leonard, and center Tiago Splitter will battle hard to redeem themselves for the devastating loss in the Playoff finals. Another potentially dangerous team is the Los Angeles Clippers, which this year will be led by point guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin.
With veteran teams such as the Miami Heat and newly improved teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, the 2013-2014 NBA Playoffs are sure to be thrilling. Based on talent and experience, it will most likely come down to two prominent teams: the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. Forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook will probably lead the Thunder’s talented offense and defense to face off against James and guard Dwayne Wade, who will lead the Heat’s supreme offense. Will this year give James his third ring in row? NBA fans will have to wait and find out.