With the NBA season right around the corner, there is definitely something to be said about every single team in the league, but I've managed to narrow it down to the top 5 in my mind. Here are the most intriguing story lines of this NBA season.
#5: Boston's Aging Big 3
Has the window officially shut? Rajon Rondo is obviously offended and disgruntled that he was dangled in front of New Orleans during the Chris Paul saga. He's the glue to that team. It has to play a role in the way that team comes together this season. With a veteran lineup and leadership, I imagine they will be professionals and continue moving forward with the offseason as a distant memory. It's also going to be interesting to see how Doc Rivers manages all of the minutes for this team. KG also has a massive salary this year, and the Boston faithful will be hoping he can live up to it.
#4: The Entire Western Conference
The West is as wide open as it has been in a long time. There are a
few teams that can compete for a Finals spot this year. The Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Spurs, and Mavs are contenders for a spot, but the gap between those teams is not as wide as it has been. The Lakers and Mavs both downgraded this offseason, the Clippers upgraded, the Spurs are almost unchanged, and the Thunder have another year of experience under their belt. The offseason in the Western Conference (Chris Paul) is a forecast for the season.
#3: Dwight Howard
The Nets, Lakers, and Mavs are on
Howard's short list. The Nets seem to have been taken out of the running for Howard as of now because Lopez went down today. Without a third team in the mix, don't expect any of these teams to be able to make a deal straight up. We'll hear it every single time he steps on the court in front of a national audience. I feel for the Orlando fans and organization because until something definitive happens, Howard's future will overshadow anything that happens with the Magic.
#2: Moves the Lakers will make
All the Laker faithful are still shell-shocked from the "Stern-Gate" episode we just experienced. They are stuck looking across the hallway at the Clippers, and their prized target is standing in Red and White. The Lakers gave up Lamar Odom for essentially nothing, and replaced him with a Troy Murphy who hasn't been relevant since his last season as a Pacer in 2009-2010. They signed a fringe NBA player in Josh McRoberts and they have 2nd round draft picks that would have already made plans with their agent to go to Europe when the NBA season started any season prior to this one. They passed on signing Baron Davis and Chauncey Billups to upgrade the point guard spot, and a Dwight Howard trade looks far-fetched at this point. A major trade
involving the Lakers would shake things up significantly. Lakers fans are cross-armed and tapping their feet looking at Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss.
#1: The Heat's Championship Run
The Heat are the clear favorite to win the 2012 championship. They have a steady veteran leader with Shane Battier who will give them an incredible defensive presence and outside threat. They still have the same needs at the Center and Point Guard spot, but that doesn't seem to be a concern for anyone at this point. The house fell down on Lebron in the Finals last year, and the whole world watched. The pressure on Miami's Big 3 will be incredible this year, with the spotlight being brightest on #6. If they come up short this year, the criticism will be harsher than he's ever felt in his life. It's a task that Lebron signed up for when he made 'The Decision', and it's one that he will have to complete before his legacy as one of the Game's Greatest is solidified. There is no question that it's their year to lose at this point.
It's great to pick up right where we left off last season. Enjoy it.