The 2013-2014 NBA season has arrived and it all tipped off with a triple header. The Indiana Pacers knocking off the Orlando Magic 97-87, the Miami Heat starting their three-peat campaign with a 107-95 beat down of the Chicago Bulls in Derrick Rose’s return, and the Los Angeles Lakers upsetting the Los Angeles Clippers in a blowout, 116-103. The most competitive game throughout was probably the Magic-Pacers game, which is shocking considering how highly built up Miami-Chicago and LA-LA was. I’m sure tonight we will get even more competitive games as almost all teams will be in action and starting their seasons. The premiere games tonight are the Brooklyn Nets @ Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz, and the Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors. The only two teams not playing tonight are the Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls, who both lost last night in their season openers.
Last year in my 2012-2013 NBA predictions, I went with the Miami Heat over Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, but instead we got the Miami Heat over San Antonio Spurs in seven games, and it was a classic game six and seven, the rest of the series, not so much. I was correct on LeBron James winning the MVP award as well. I was right on seven of the eight eastern conference teams making the playoffs as the Philadelphia 76ers didn’t make it like I thought they would and instead the Milwaukee Bucks got in. I got six out of my eight western conference teams right as I missed on the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks, and the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors got in.
In free agency the big splashes were Chris Paul re-signing with the Clippers and center Dwight Howard spurning the Los Angeles Lakers and signing with the Houston Rockets to pair with shooting guard James Harden to try to create a new powerhouse in the West. SG/SF Andre Iguodala signed with the Golden State Warriors to create an even stronger Warriors team that surprised us all and was the sixth seed in the West last year and upset the three seeded Denver Nuggets in round one in six games. PG Brandon Jennings and SF Josh Smith both went to the Detroit Pistons to the shock of everyone, and with Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Brandon Knight already in Detroit, the Pistons expect to make some major noise in the East. The Brooklyn Nets acquired PF Kevin Garnett and SF Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics and Doc Rivers left Boston to become the new head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Celtics then hired Butler head coach Brad Stevens, who has a mighty tough task transitioning from college ball to the NBA. It was a very busy off-season and we expect an even more fun regular and postseason.
Here are my season predictions. * means playoff team.
1.New York Knicks (52-30)
2.Brooklyn Nets (50-32)*
3.Toronto Raptors (37-45)
4.Boston Celtics (35-47)
5.Philadelphia 76ers (19-63)
1.Chicago Bulls (55-27)
2.Indiana Pacers (53-29)*
3.Cleveland Cavaliers (44-38)*
4.Milwaukee Bucks (40-42)*
5.Detroit Pistons (32-40)
1.Miami Heat (64-18)
2.Washington Wizards (41-41)*
3.Atlanta Hawks (37-45)
4.Orlando Magic (26-56)
5.Charlotte Bobcats (18-64)
1.San Antonio Spurs (56-26)
2.Houston Rockets (52-30)*
3.Memphis Grizzlies (51-31)*
4.Dallas Mavericks (40-42)
5,New Orleans Pelicans (30-52)
1.Oklahoma City Thunder (58-24)
2.Denver Nuggets (49-33)*
3.Minnesota Timberwolves (44-38)*
4,Utah Jazz (41-41)
5.Portland Trailblazers (38-44)
1.Los Angeles Clippers (55-27)
2.Golden State Warriors (53-29)*
3.Los Angeles Lakers (42-40)
4.Sacramento Kings (29-53)
5.Phoenix Suns (20-62)
#1 Miami Heat over #8 Milwaukee Bucks 4-0.
#2 Chicago Bulls over #7 Washington Wizards 4-0.
#3 Indiana Pacers over #6 Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2.
#4 New York Knicks over #5 Brooklyn Nets 4-3.
Eastern Conference Semifinals:
#1 Miami Heat over #4 New York Knicks 4-2.
#2 Chicago Bulls over #3 Indiana Pacers 4-3.
Eastern Conference Finals:
#1 Miami Heat over #2 Chicago Bulls 4-3.
#1 Oklahoma City Thunder over #8 Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1.
#2 San Antonio Spurs over #7 Denver Nuggets 4-2.
#3 Los Angeles Clippers over #6 Memphis Grizzlies 4-3.
#4 Golden State Warriors over #5 Houston Rockets 4-3.
Western Conference Semifinals:
#4 Golden State Warriors over #1 Oklahoma City Thunder 4-3.
#2 San Antonio Spurs over #3 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3.
Western Conference Finals:
#4 Golden State Warriors over #2 San Antonio Spurs 4-3.
#1 Miami Heat over #4 Golden State Warriors 4-2.
NBA Finals MVP: LeBron James, Miami Heat.
NBA MVP: LeBron James, F, Miami Heat.
Other That Will Be In The Mix: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks – Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls – Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs – James Harden, Houston Rockets – Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors – Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Scoring Champion: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder.
Others That Will Be In The Mix: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves – James Harden, Houston Rockets – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors – Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – John Wall, Washington Wizards – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder.
Defensive Player Of The Year: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets.
Others That Will Be In The Mix: LeBron James, Miami Heat – Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies – Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder – Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers – Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors – Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks.
NBA Coach Of The Year: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls.
Others That Will Be In The Mix: Mike Woodson, New York Knicks – Jason Kidd, Brooklyn Nets – Mike Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers – Scott Brooks, Oklahoma City Thunder – Kevin McHale, Houston Rockets – Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors – Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers.
All NBA First Team: PG – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors. SG – James Harden, Houston Rockets. SF – LeBron James, Miami Heat. PF – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. C – Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets.
All NBA Second Team: PG – Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers. SG – Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat. SF – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. PF – Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers. C – Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls.