Last year’s National Basketball Association champions, the San Antonio Spurs, are one of the biggest competitors in the Western Conference and have been a four-year rival to the Miami Heat.
Although the Heat is not the same team it was last year, the Spurs have almost the exact same team returning. This puts San Antonio in a really good place. If the team does exactly what it did last season, it has the potential to win a championship for the second straight year.
But that is banking on the assumption that teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers haven’t improved. This is a game that usually changes rapidly based on new talent and the game of probability that comes with trading.
The Spurs have built a legacy of tradition that not many teams today can rival. That’s the way they are built and that’s not something they show signs of changing in the near future.
Many people don’t believe that the Spurs can repeat their performance from last season again. They proved many experts wrong, however, when they dominated the NBA Finals last June against the Heat.
One team to watch will be the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have been right on San Antonio’s tail in the preseason standings.
The question on everyone’s mind about the Rockets is if they improved defensively. Last season, there were high expectations with guard James Harden and center Dwight Howard being the ultimate duo. Unfortunately for Houston fans, they just didn’t perform as well as anyone thought they would.
Ultimately, I’d place my bets on the Spurs to win the West––then again, there is always room for new teams to make a big impact.
With the National Basketball Association season just around the corner, the anticipation level could not be higher. The 2014 NBA draft had one of the best classes since the 2003––which included superstars like Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. The league is waiting for the next batch of talent to come through.
The biggest rookie names in the Eastern Conference are Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott. All three of these players were standouts at their respective colleges, with McDermott finishing his college career at Creighton University as the fifth highest all-time scorer in NCAA history. These rookies are going to be starting right away and will have big impacts on the success of their teams.
The East as a whole is not very strong—the Western Conference is significantly stronger top to bottom as the teams are more balanced. With the Miami Heat losing James to the Cleveland Cavaliers and former Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love joining the Cavs as well, Cleveland seems to be the clear favorite to win. That being said, I believe the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference are the Cavaliers and the Bulls. Alongside James and Love, they still have third year point guard Kyrie Irving. This makes them a real threat—they have the “Miami Heat effect,” of having three superstars on the same team.
The Bulls have stars like point guard Derrick Rose, who is returning after a two-year hiatus from multiple knee injuries. They also have all-star center Joakim Noah. Combine those two with McDermott and guard Jimmy Butler and you have another tough team from the East. I believe that the Eastern Conference finals will come down to the Cavaliers and the Bulls, with the Cavaliers winning the series 4-2.