Hey everyone! Hope that everyone that has been reading our blog and potential new readers have been enjoying our content and having fun with the way it has been coming across to the public. That being said….today’s post is discussing the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season with a team-by-team breakdown. Earlier this summer, we had smaller NBA previews regarding the major stories and our opinions of the offseason and what we believe will happen during the regular season.
The next posts will give a more in-depth look at each team from the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. This will be the NBA Eastern Conference look at the top 4 teams in the East this season.
Note: We will be breaking own only the teams who we feel will be in the playoff hunt in the league.
1) Miami Heat
The Miami Heat have lost very little that would tell me that they won’t be the best team in the East again. The biggest issue for the team this season will be handling the possible distractions of LeBron James possibly becoming a free agent after the season and possibly leaving South Beach and going to New York or to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team brings back its main core of players, James, Wade and Chris Bosh, along with mainstays Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers and backups Norris Cole and Chris Andersen, who came completely out of nowhere last season and gave the Heat that extra edge of toughness that they showed in tough series against the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs.
One of the potential big acquisitions with the Heat is the addition of forward Michael Beasley. Beasley was originally drafted by the Miami Heat before being sent away by Pat Riley and essentially being shipped around the league. The young player out of Kansas State, who is only 25 years old, can become an extra option off of the bench and even a spot starter who has shown the ability to score from inside and outside, rebound, and has the length to be a strong defender………as long as he can stay off of the marijuana an out of other troublesome situations that have plagued him even during his college days.
The Heat do lose the “soul” of the team in many ways in SG Mike Miller, who signed a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason. Miller was a guy who wasn’t the greatest defender or shooter, but who could hit the big shot and was a warrior through all of his numerous injuries over the years. The team had to move on from Miller, but the big question will be who will take on the role of soul leader on the team?
We believe it could be Birdman Andersen, because of the respect that the locker room has for him and vice versa, and the fact that he had the ability to go and sign with various teams around the league but decided to stay with the team that gave him a chance even after his legal issues were ongoing. Birdman is clear now and has shown that he can be a true energy guy off of the bench, but will be become one of the overall leaders of the team? Only time will tell.
2) Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are still a very mystifying team and can go in a variety of positions right now as a franchise. The team is working on resigning forward and All-Star Luol Deng, but the deal hasn’t been completed yet, and there isn’t a guarantee that the deal will be done during the season.
The team could use Deng has trade bait to possibly get a big-time scorer during mid-season, something the organization is desperately needing as the team ranked 29th in the league in scoring last season.
It doesn’t help that the team lost PG Nate Robinson in the offseason to Denver, either. Robinson was a spark plug and the team’s best player last season during their playoff run, particularly in the Game 5 playoff game against Brooklyn where there were times when he singlehandedly carried the team on his back with his dynamic play.
The Bulls are counting on the return of that former NBA MVP…………..that guy from Memphis………….Chicago-born kid………who’s that guy?? Haven’t seen him in a bit……….ahh….yes…Derrick Rose.
Rose sat out all of last season after surgery on his ACL and MCL after getting injured in the 2011-12 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. If Rose can come close to his MVP form, the Bulls will still be pretty much what they are……..a gritty team who will get just far enough to get to the semifinals or possibly the Eastern Conference finals before falling to Miami or New York.
The Bulls desperately will need a scorer at some point this season if the organization has any hope of getting to an NBA Finals. The defense is outstanding, and the rebounding is strong with Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and even Jimmy Butler at times. But without that one go to guy who can shoot from outside and inside to possibly spell Rose a bit, the Bulls will go far, but probably not as far as the team should be going at this point in their development.
3) New York Knicks
The Knicks are a team that is on the rise right now, and will be pushed further by the Brooklyn Nets in New York City. Leading scorer and franchise player Carmelo Anthony will be able to opt-out of his contract after this season and can become a free agent, and with rumors abound that ‘Melo could be heading to Los Angeles to join a possible revamped Lakers squad.
The Knicks have the scoring in Anthony, and added to their toughness in the offseason by bringing in Metta World Peace as a free agent. Having Metta along with Tyson Chandler and a hopefully healthy Amar’e Stoudamire in the frontcourt could challenge most teams in the East and let teams know that the Knicks can’t be intimidated or pushed around.
Having Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr., gives the Knicks scoring all over the court and gives the depth that the team will need to make a long run in the playoffs. The Knicks from 1-12 look very strong and look as though they are ready to take the next step, as long as Anthony and Chandler can lead them there. New York has not seen an NBA championship since 1970, and die hard fans like Spike Lee are yearning for one badly. This could be that time.
4) Detroit Pistons
The Pistons may surprise many as a team that is ready for the playoffs right now, but for those that have been following the team on a regular basis, its not that far fetched.
The team has built quite possibly the most dominant frontcourt in the league with Greg Monroe and second-year player and defensive force Andre Drummond, who is still very raw and has a strong upside. The team bolstered the frontcourt in the 3-spot by signing free-agent Josh Smith, formerly of the Atlanta Hawks.
The team also went back to their championship days and brought in veteran PG Chauncey Billups, who was the guard on the NBA Championship team of 2004. Billups is still a great spot-up shooter as well as an okay defender, but where he will be utilized the most will be on the leadership front, to help out a guy like Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and the newest guard in Brandon Jennings, who will look to be the impact scorer that the Pistons haven’t had in many years.
Keeping with the theme of the 2004 championship team, the team has brought in Rasheed Wallace to be an assistant coach on the squad. Sheed has always been one to voice his opinions, whether good or bad, but he will also be a great guy in the locker room for the team as well as a great teacher of defensive basketball for the young players, as well as for the overall development of Monroe and Drummond down low.
The pieces are in place, and for GM Joe Dumars sake, this has to be a strong season because if not, the team will be out of his hands and he will be out of a job position.
Tommorow will be the bottom half of the Eastern Conference top 8. Have a good evening!