We are just ten weeks away from the start of the regular season. Between the lockout pushing the season back, and the Olympics taking care of our basketball withdrawal for the summer, the middle of August is here, and training camp opens next month.
While we're are still a ways away, it’s never too early to speculate on
what the playoffs will look like all the way in April of next season. NBA
future odds have been shuffling around like crazy, so let’s take a look at a
few potential headlines in the NBA playoffs for next season. You can also look
at my expanded predictions for the playoff seeds in both the East and the West.
Lakers, the new super team
didn’t take long for the Lakers to return to dominance. They won the title back-to-back just two and three years ago, and with two disappointing exits
from the postseason since, they went all in this summer. They want to
squeeze two more titles out of Kobe Bryant before his contract is up.
By bringing in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, the Lakers are right there with the
Heat as title favorites. Some books have them tied while others disagree, and
have the Heat still ahead.
To me, the Lakers are almost a lock to win the NBA Title next year now. Barring a
major injury on the team, with the aforementioned three players, along with
still Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and others, the Heat don’t stand a chance in
The new Eastern Conference
the Lakers should be title favorites, the East is going to be an interesting
conference next season, with plenty of teams that could challenge L.A. The Heat
are still the favorites, but the Celtics have reloaded much like the Lakers,
and they too could challenge the Heat. What I would give to see another Celtics
vs. Lakers NBA Finals next season!
Bulls will be down, but not out, next season while they patiently wait for superstar point guard Derrick Rose to get back from a torn ACL. The Nets and Sixers could
very well make some noise as well with their new rosters. Even if the Bulls
fall to a lower playoff seed (I still think they will make the playoffs
somewhere) if they get Rose back healthy and fully repaired before the
playoffs, they could make an upset or two happen.
Teams to watch
the obvious ones like the Lakers and Celtics, but I have a few teams in mind
that could make some noise, either to get in the playoffs, or actually winning
in the playoffs.
first team is the Nuggets. They acquired Andre Iguodala in the Howard trade,
and they didn’t give up a whole lot to get him. They gave the Lakers trouble last season, and they could give any team in the West trouble come playoff
sound repetitive, but the Sixers due to the Howard trade will be a top three
team in the East. Even though they had to give up Iguodala, Bynum (when
healthy) is a dominating force.
teams that weren’t playoff teams last season that I think will take the 8th
spots are the Wizards in the East, and the Warriors in the West. Washington is
much improved since last season, and if John Wall and Nene can
lead the way, they have a great mix of good veterans and solid young guys
are in the same boat, but with a better team on paper. Their big question this
season will be health, and whether or not Stephon Curry and Andrew Bogut can
stay on the court.
All that being said, the upcoming NBA season might just be the craziest in a long