After a four-month hiatus, the NBA is back. The 2012-2013 season gets underway on Oct. 30, with three games on the schedule.
The Miami Heat are coming off their second championship since 2006, and the first since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in 2010. After finally winning a title, James and company are favorites to take home another championship. The Heat are 7/4 favorites to win the 2013 title.
The Los Angeles Lakers may be the most intriguing team of the new season. L.A. made a few major trades in the offseason, dealing for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the Lakers have four potential All-Stars in their starting lineup. Los Angeles’ moves have made them favorites in the West. According to sportsbook.ag, they are 2/1 favorites to win it all.
Just days before the start of the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder shook up their roster. The runners-up in the 2012 NBA Finals traded one of their young stars, James Harden, to the Houston Rockets. OKC hopes the addition Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, along with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, are enough to make another Finals appearance.
Both New York teams are expected to do big things in 2012-13. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are both looking to make deep playoff runs.
The addition of Joe Johnson to the Nets makes them formidable competition in the East. A healthy Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace make up one of the best starting lineups in the league.
If the Knicks hope to get off to a hot start, they’ll have to do it without Amare Stoudemire. The big man is expected to be out for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. Carmelo Anthony will have to carry the load for New York.
The Knicks and Nets will have to dethrone the Boston Celtics for the Atlantic Division crown. The Celtics have won the division for five straight years.
The Clippers, Spurs and Pacers are also looking to make championship runs. All three teams had winning percentages of over .600 in the lockout-shortened season.
With multiple teams reloading and gunning for the title in 2013, this could be a very competitive year. Here are some predictions for the upcoming NBA season:
MVP: Kevin Durant
Rookie of the Year: Anthony Davis
Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard
Most Improved Player: Raymond Felton
Sixth Man of the Year: Ray Allen
Coach of the Year: Kevin McHale
Atlantic Central Southeast
Boston Indiana Miami
New York Chicago Atlanta
Brooklyn Milwaukee Washington
Philadelphia Cleveland Orlando
Toronto Detroit Charlotte
Northwest Southwest Pacific
Oklahoma City San Antonio L.A. Lakers
Denver Houston L.A. Clippers
Utah Memphis Golden State
Minnesota Dallas Phoenix
Portland New Orleans Sacramento
NBA Finals: Miami Heat over Los Angeles Lakers