NBA Season Preview: Who’s Better? Eastern vs. Western Conference [Poll]
With the 2013-2014 NBA season only a few weeks away from beginning, let the debate begin on who the strongest teams are.
Yes, some of you may have a small idea after playing NBA 2K14 for a couple days. But that’s a video game. So let’s ask who really is the strongest conference in the league.
Let’s start off with the Western Conference. Just a few years ago, they were considered the strongest conference with all the big men controlling the being on those teams. Since then the game has changed and small ball is now ruling the league.
The Los Angeles Lakers are no longer a power house without Dwight Howard (not that that experiment worked in the first place), byut who are the real threats in the West?
They may be a year older, but the San Antonio Spurs is still not a team to be messed with. They nearly beat the Miami Heat in the finals, and have essentially the same team as last year. It may not be pretty or flashy, but you cannot deny that when it becomes crunch time in the playoffs the team of Duncan, Leonard, Parker, and Ginobili (when healthy) is scary.
With Mike Miller returning to the Memphis Grizzlies after being amnestied from the Miami Heat, they may be dangerous for the tail end of their window. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol is easily one of the best 1-2 punches in the paint in the game. I don’t see the team needing time to adjust to their new coach David Joerger too much as the three point shooting and tough defense will complement well in the West.
Golden State Warriors have one of the most exciting teams in the league this year. Andre Iguoldala will help balance out a team who LOVES to run and shoot the three point. With the Curry brothers shooting threes, David Lee coming back healthy, and another year of experience this team is ready to make a deep run this year.
Will Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard be the next John Stockton/Karl Malone? Doubt it. But if those two can come up with 25% of the chemistry they had, mixed with a balanced-high tempo pace, and give a chance for James Harden to shine, this team can be in the finals this year.
It’s hard to imagine a team with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan jumping out the arena being hard to beat. Health issues just seem to plague them every year, and the Los Angeles Clippers become a disappointment for everyone. They are now the team to watch in Los Angeles and they must deliver. Darren Collison backing up Paul, and J.J. Redick joining Jamal Crawford on the outside should be fun to watch this year. If they stay healthy, I look forward to a Warriors/Clippers matchup in the playoffs.
Last but not least, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Losing Harden proved to be a big deal last year, as although they played strong, they just couldn’t get over the hump. Russell Westbrook not being available the start of the year hurts them alot. Yet, I expect them to recover with Reggie Jackson growing into one of the best backup point guards in the league. By the end of the season, the team will in the discussion as a threat in the West, but falling behind the Rockets and Warriors in the discussion.
I don’t see too much changing in the standings in the Eastern Conference, where the strong got stronger and became a dominant conference looking to unseat the Miami Heat.
Let’s get it out of the way, the Heat won the championship and still made themselves better in free agency. The core remains with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh still playing in their primes. Ray Allen is still making 3-point shots, and Mario Chalmers can still do the minimum while helping the team manning the point guard position. The “Birdman” Chris Anderson proved he can still play last season, and now they add once top draft pick Greg Oden to the conversation. Being around the veteran team could also help oft troubled Michael Beasley help contribute to the team, and the best part is they don’t have to count on him. They are by far the best team again in 2013-2014
The talk of the town in the east is also the battle of New York City, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks.
If it was 2k14, it’d be a given that the Eastern Conference Championship game would be Brooklyn against Miami. Unfortunately it is real life, and with reality come questions such as age, chemistry, and the management of first year head coach Jason Kidd. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will add some much needed toughness to a team, which at times looked soft last season. Add that with another year of Brook Lopez, a healthy Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, this could be a fun team. Drafting Mason Plumlee helped add depth to the team which managed to keep rebound leader Reggie Evans on the team, yet depth on the bench could still be a question with an aging Jason Terry, Shaun Livingston, and Andrei Kirilenko helping out.
A strong New York Knicks team can’t be overlooked either. Essentially the same team as last year, they looked great until falling flat in the playoffs. Acquiring center Andrea Bargnani is a big deal as with Tyson Chandler, and Amare Stoudemire in the mix it will bring some options from the big man position. A mix of athleticism and toughness means another big year for a Knicks team looking for another chance to take down the Heat.
Indiana Pacers should strike fear in every team in the NBA. Paul George shined in Danny Granger’s absence. Yet those two together could make matchup nightmares for everybody involved. Tough defense, and a strong driving offense will surely make the Pacers a tough team to beat this year.
Chicago Bulls reached the second round of the playoffs without Derek Rose last season. At the end of the season they did it with essentially most of their star players missing. With essentially the same team returning, and a healthy Rose, a strong minded team will certainly be better this season and will be a threat to beat any of the teams mentioned above this season.
With teams in the Eastern Conference stacking up to beat the Miami Heat, it’s hard to say they are not the best conference in the NBA. We want to know what you think, give us your vote below!