November 3, 2014

A belated NBA season preview

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

Why does the NBA have to start its season this early?

With the NFL in full flight, the World Series just finishing, ice hockey getting going less than a month ago and even NASCAR and Formula 1 winding down their seasons, there’s a lot going on right now.

It’s not like the season needs to start now. The lockout-shortened season just a couple years back showed that starting the season on Christmas was probably the best thing the league could do.

It’s not like people are clamoring for these early season games any way. True fans know that the real stuff starts on Christmas Day.

And when you consider that teams like Spurs have realized the value in resting starters and giving up any idea of playing your best players for 82 games just reinforces the need to shorten the schedule.

This season should be a welcome reboot for the league, with LeBron breaking up the party in Miami, the East has become much more well-rounded and shouldn’t be a pushover whenever the two conferences collide.

Throw in a couple of huge injuries to the likes of Kevin Durant and Paul George and we should see two perennial contenders struggle mightily.

Let’s break down what could happen this season with some predictions.

ATLANTIC DIVISION: Toronto Raptors.

CENTRAL DIVISION: Chicago Bulls.

SOUTHEAST DIVISION: Atlanta Hawks.

PACIFIC DIVISION: L.A. Clippers.

NORTHWEST DIVISION: Portland Trail Blazers.

SOUTHWEST DIVISION: Dallas Mavericks.

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: Bulls over Cleveland Cavaliers

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINAL: Clippers over Memphis Grizzlies.

NBA FINALS: Bulls over Clippers

FINALS MVP: Pau Gasol, CHI

MVP: LeBron James, CLE

MOST IMPROVED: Anthony Davis, NO

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Joakim Noah, CHI

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jabari Parker, MIL

SURPRISES: Chris Bosh, Atlanta, Memphis, Charlotte.

DISAPPOINTMENTS: L.A. Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers.

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