We can feel it. It’s in the air. It’s just so beautiful. The NBA Season.
As the season openers begin to creep up on us, it’s time to preview each conference. First up, the Western Conference. We’re going to take a look at the five biggest storyline’s that we should keep an eye on as the season unfolds. You can check out the Eastern Conference version here.
WILL THE MIAMI HEAT THREE-PEAT?
The last time a team made it to four-straight NBA Finals, LeBron was two-years-old and it was 1987. If the Heat want to make it a fourth consecutive time, and have a shot at a three-peat, it’s going to take their greatest effort thus far. The East is top-heavy and everyone will be gunning for the Heat. It’s not going to be easy but at least Miami has the whole best player in the world thing going for them. Miami is overwhelming favorites to get there, if they don’t it will be considered a failure — oddly, kind of like every season the big three have been together. It’s going to be fun to watch the ups and downs this Heat team endures this season, mostly because it could very well be their last run together. 72?
WILL BROOKLYN BRING MORE THAN A PAPER CHAMPIONSHIP HOME?
On paper, man on paper, Brooklyn looks good. Really good. They’re what I like to call the “paper champions”. That’s exactly what the Los Angeles Lakers were last season. I think it’s safe to say that it didn’t bode well for them. But a team that has a starting lineup of D-Will, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, KG and Brook Lopez can’t really disappoint as much as the Lakers did last season, can they? I sure hope not. Realistically, how far can this team go though? Eastern Conference Finals? I really think that’s this team’s ceiling. Prove me wrong.
JUST HOW MUCH BETTER WILL D-ROSE REALLY BE?
There’s been much talk about how Derrick Rose is ready to take back this league. The last time he played a full season, he was pretty good. If his preseason numbers were any indication, this should be a pretty fun season watching Rose and LeBron go head-to-head for that MVP award. By the way, is Rose the third best player in this league behind Kevin Durant? He just might be.
WILL THE KNICKS’ WINDOW CLOSE THIS SEASON?
Ah, the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony talked this offseason about how this current Knicks team’s window is quickly closing. Well with Amar’e Stoudemire’s aging knees, J.R. Smith’s never-ending immaturity and Tyson Chandler’s wrong fit, it just might be. The only real constant on this team is Melo. If healthy, this Knicks team has what it takes to make a deep run in the playoffs. But when was the last time they entered April healthy? I’m not sure. If this season ends up being another injury-filled year for the Knicks, it just might be time to blow it up and start over…again.
CAVS, RAPTORS OR WIZARDS — WHO WILL BE THE SURPRISE TEAM OF THE EAST?
The Cavs, Raptors and Wizards all improved this offseason, but which of them will be the biggest surprise in the East? Cleveland has a budding star in Kyrie Irving, Toronto has a nice core in Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas and the Wizards have John Wall, Bradley Beal and now Marcin Gortat. If it all pans out, and if their development continues, the Wizards could be a real threat. From the three, I like the Wizards. I would’ve gone with the Cavs but without a healthy Andrew Bynum, they aren’t that attractive anymore.