With the 2013-2014 NBA Season only hours away, here are a few things to watch this season.
Will teams intentionally tank?
With the 2014 draft class looking stronger by the day, many teams (such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks, and even the Boston Celtics) will consider intentionally losing games in order to get a better draft pick.
One anonymous GM has already admitted that his team will tank, but it will be interesting to see how these teams fare. There seems to be a common theme of "developing young players and letting them learn from their mistakes" but it will be interesting to see what teams are actually trying to take strides forward, and what teams are prepping for Andrew Wiggins.
Will Miami 3-Peat?
As a Celtics fan, this is the last thing I want to think about this season, but I must admit that it is a relevant topic of discussion going into this season. The Heat have reigned supreme over the NBA the past two seasons, and with Lebron James only getting better it seems as if a third championship is in sight.
At the same time, Lebron may be getting better but so is the rest of the East. Derrick Rose returns from the ACL injury ready to lead the Chicago Bulls back into the spotlight, The Brooklyn Nets bought themselves into title contention by recruiting some old friends, and the Indiana Pacers (who took the Heat to 7 games last year) have reloaded their bench with veteran talent in hopes of taking the Eastern Conference title.
Who will win the battle for Los Angeles?
The Clippers are getting a heck of a head coach in Doc Rivers, and they have surrounded their two stars with veteran role players that can be relied upon to do their job on a night to night basis. Doc seems to be shying away from the old "lob city" style in favor of a more serious brand of basketball. The Clippers have all the tools to contend for a title this year, but will they be able to make the jump from a early exit playoff team to a true contender?
Meanwhile in the purple and gold version of Staples Center, Kobe Bryant is out for who knows how long with an achilles injury while Nick "Swaggy P" Young does his best to impersonate him, Steve Nash can barely stay on the court, and Shawne Williams is starting at power forward. But for some reason I can not count the Lakers out. It may be Kobe's work ethic, or the Lakers history but I believe if they can get healthy they'll be able to make some noise in the West.
These are just a few stories to follow during what should be an exciting NBA Season .