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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

The 2013-2014 season will be the 68th season of the National Basketball Association.  The season will open on October 29, 2013 with the defending champions Miami Heat hosting the Chicago Bulls.

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As the season unfolds, there will be several interesting storylines that will be followed the upcoming season:

1) King Holds Court. King James and the Miami Heat have won two consecutive championships and are looking to have a rare three-peat.

Another championship would cement James’ legacy as one of the greatest players of all time, hot on the heels of His Airness Michael Jordan. The Heat’s line-up is mostly intact from last year and they have added two low-risk, high-reward players in Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. However, several teams have reloaded and the Heat will have a tougher time this time around.

2) Return of Rose.  After recovering for about a year and a half from an ACL injury, 2010-2011 MVP Derrick Rose is back with a vengeance.  Judging by his preseason performance, Rose looks fully recovered from the injury and is explosive as ever. He joins a Chicago Bulls team that was able to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals without him. With its core intact and Rose in harness, the Bulls are ready to challenge the Heat for supremacy.

3) The New Look Nets and Clippers.  The Nets want to win a championship now and they took in Hall-of-Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to bring them one step closer.  The Nets have one of the most formidable starting units in the league and now have the locker room influence of two tested veterans.  The real question here is chemistry.  Too many alpha males on one team are difficult at best.

Out west, the Clippers have a coach they can respect and take them over the top.  Doc Rivers is a no-nonsense coach who has enough credibility and clout to lead the Clippers to the Promised Land. These two teams are darkhorses and can come out on top in their respective conferences.

4) Other Comebacks.  Several NBA superstars were sidelined last season due to major injuries and can’t wait to get on the hardcourt.

This includes Rajon Rondo, Kobe Bryant, and Danny Granger.  Bryant has been recovering from a torn Achilles heel and is badly needed by a dysfunctional Lakers team not projected to make it to the playoffs.

Granger, meanwhile, returns to an Indiana Pacers team that has a new star in Paul George.  He is not expected to be the go-to-guy and will have to adjust to this new reality.  Rondo, the only Celtic left from the 2008 championship team, has no pressure whatsoever to return right away.  The Celtics are going to be tanking this season with the expectation of getting a high draft pick.

5) Tanking. The 2014 NBA draft promises to be one of the richest in the past several years. It is no wonder that several teams are likely to “tank” the season and get a chance to win the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes. Teams like the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers are on this list.  What are the warning signs your team is tanking?  Excessive rest, odd player rotations, and excessive draft picks are sure signs.  It will be a long year for the fans of these teams.

raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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