Monday 22nd April 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

6 Big Questions Heading Into the 2014-15 NBA Season

The NBA preseason is in full swing and opening night of the 2014-15 NBA season is two weeks away. A lot has changed in the mere four months since the Spurs finished off their annihilation of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals (#RIPHeatles), and there is plenty of excitement and anticipation heading into the 2014-15 NBA season. Here the top six questions on NBA fans minds:

Will the new big three in “The Land” bring home a title in year one?

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The biggest story of the offseason was the King coming home and Cleveland turning itself from a cellar dweller to championship contender/favorite overnight. With Love, Irving and a cast of talented young players and savvy veterans in tow, will LeBron be able to bring the city of Cleveland its first professional sports championship in 50 years? I can’t wait to find out.

Will Duncan be able to put up one more championship to match MJ himself with six titles?

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It’s mind boggling to think the Spurs are potentially a Ray Allen desperation three away from going after a three-peat this season and giving Duncan an incredible seventh ring (although you can never know what course of events would have transpired had San Antonio won it all in 2013). The Spurs were the most dominant and impressive championship team since the Lakers in 2001 last year and maybe played the most beautiful brand of selfless team basketball we have ever seen. It will be fun to see if they have another title run in them.

How good will Kobe and D-Rose be this season?

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In actuality this may be the most interesting thing to monitor heading into this season. Both are former MVP’s and are coming off a few major injuries. One is 26 and the other is 36, but I have a feeling and I feel like most others do as well, that Kobe Bryant as much as you may dislike him (count me in that camp) is a maniacally obsessed non-human robot from another planet sent to make endless 18-foot fadeaway jump shots and get buckets. As such, I feel as though he will come back as a 22-5-5 type player like usual and be elite for another couple seasons. Rose on the other hand seems as though he may be ready to be 80-90% of the player he once was and stay healthy for the Bulls for most of the season once again. I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I don’t think we ever see 2010-11 Derrick Rose ever again, although Chicago may need that to have a legitimate shot to beat Cleveland or one of the top three teams in the west in order to win an NBA title.

How big of a step back will the Miami Heat take without LeBron?

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In the words of the immortal and debonair Pat Riley, “Everybody’s gotta get a grip” and realize that the Heat are no longer championship worthy after the departure of the best basketball player in the world from their roster (Riley made that statement in a much different context before LeBron left when it was starting to look like he was headed out of South Beach by the way). Many, myself included saw the rapid deterioration of the Heat’s depth and production from its role players last season, coupled with Dwayne Wade’s achy knees becoming much more of an issue and developed the conclusion that LeBron was the only thing keeping the two-time champions afloat and remotely close to being able to three-peat. We wondered how far the Heat could have gotten in a watered-down Eastern Conference without LeBron running the show, well now we will be able to find out. It will be fascinating to see if Wade can muster enough health to be an alpha dog for a playoff caliber team once again and whether Chris Bosh is really a much better player now than he was when he left Toronto in 2010 as he claims. Will Wade be able to stay an elite player with LeBron making life easier for him? Can Bosh take over and be “The Guy” for a playoff team, albeit in the Eastern Conference? We will have the opportunity to find out this season.

How will Durant and Beal’s injuries affect the Thunder and Wizards?

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The news of Bradley Beal’s broken wrist (Friday) and Kevin Durant’s foot fracture (Sunday) just broke in the past few days and each has an identical timeframe of six to eight weeks for how long each player could be out. This means each will be out the first 12-20 games of the regular season if their recovery closely aligns with the expected recovery time. Not having the MVP for the first month to month and a half of the season is a huge blow in a hyper competitive Western Conference and could result in the Thunder sliding from a potential one seed heading into the playoffs to a four or five seed. Losing Beal isn’t quite as damaging a blow for the Wizards conversely, but could still put them in a slight hole and affect their chances to win the Southeast Division as they figure to be in competition with Charlotte, Miami and Atlanta.

Will Rajon Rondo be a Boston Celtic past the trade deadline?

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I have no real idea whether the Celtics value Rondo as a big part of their future and rebuild, but with his angst, attitude, and the fact that they choose to draft Marcus Smart in this year’s draft, I have a hunch that Rondo’s time in Boston is ticking. He is an interesting case, he is incredible and shines when it matters most in big times as we saw numerous times during the KG-Pierce-Allen era of Celtics basketball, but Rondo doesn’t seem to be a player you build around and isn’t as interested or motivated to be an elite point guard on a poor team. He’s the type of player who will have 22-13-12-5 stat line in a big game on TNT against a rival on a Thursday night but just look angry and disinterested on a Tuesday night in Milwaukee, which is not what you want as a leader and franchise cornerstone. He is an enigma in the truest sense. I feel like he is exactly what a team like the Houston Rockets needs to be a true championship contender, but not meant to champion a Celtics rebuild. I have no idea how this situation will turn out. It would also be extremely fun to see him get dealt to Sacramento and play with the NBA’s other big enigma in DeMarcus Cousins.

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