I must be honest. As a Los Angeles Lakers diehard fan, I don’t remember a year where my enthusiasm for the impending NBA season was so low. Nevertheless, basketball is a sport I love and will always love, so I will watch, I will enjoy and I will feel some sense of satisfaction when my predictions for the 2013-2014 season come true.
LeBron James will win his fifth MVP award and the Miami Heat will repeat (again)
Told you these predictions wouldn’t be surprising. LeBron has firmly established his place as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, and he’s still in his prime at the age of 28. The only wings you could throw in the same sentence would be Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. And even that’s an unfair comparison to James since he plays all five positions as well as anyone in history, including Magic Johnson. Nothing short of a devastating injury or Kevin Durant scoring 50 points a game will knock the King off his throne.
The Los Angeles Lakers will miss the playoffs for the third time since 1976
This pains me to write, but even the most loyal Lakers fans see the writing on the wall. Last season’s seventh place finish was a complete disaster, and the team has been blown up with no significant improvements in the offseason. Dwight Howard abandoned ship after failing to live up to the hype while recovering from surgery. Now the hopes of the Lakers rest in the hands of Canada’s founding father Steve Nash, a pair of seven-foot cavemen [age and facial hair considered] in Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman, and a trigger happy journeyman wing referred to as “Swaggy P.” Shooting guard Nick Young fills the void left by Kobe Bryant and figures to be the Lakers’ leading scorer as long as Kobe is rehabbing. Of course, Kobe is the toughest athlete in the nation and could surprise everyone with an early triumphant return, and Pau is aging gracefully as a still effective starter. But the stars are aligned for the team in red that plays at Staples Center this year.
The 76ers will “win” the “waste for Wiggins” race
With the balance of power in the NBA extremely top-heavy for the last decade, teams realize that being awful and throwing a season in the hopes of landing the top pick in the draft is more advisable than dwelling in mediocrity for years and years. Just ask the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers, among others. The 76ers could be historically bad, with the Andrew Bynum experiment ending in failure and their best player Jrue Holiday being traded for a first round pick with a torn ACL. Nerlens Noel is out for the season, leaving Evan Turner as the only solid starter on the entire roster. Spencer Hawes has shown flashes of being a very productive player, but the team will still be awful even with those two playing their best basketball.
We could see some great stories this season. The Cavaliers could return to contention, the Pacers will be better this year, and the return of Derrick Rose to the Bulls could give the Heat a run for their money. But at the top of the hierarchy, the song remains the same. Cheers to classic rock references.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of October 23, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
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