Top 25 Storylines Heading Into NBA Training Camp

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Top 25 NBA Storylines Going Into Preseason

NBA
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA season is quickly coming upon us. The league is full of storylines already, even though there have only been summer games played. The superstars have rested, and the role players have perfected their game. It is time to welcome basketball back.

Like every season in sports, the beginning of the season is where most people are optimistic. There are fans of every team that thinks their team can surprise this season. With so many successful underdog stories, can you even blame them?

There are so many stories coming into this season. There are a bunch of superstars that are coming off injuries. Although there was no Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony, there was a lot of players who moved around. It seemed like the top seeded teams got better while the lower seeded teams are tanking for this upcoming draft, which is supposedly stacked with talent. This will make some of the playoff matchups in May very, very exciting.

This season may be one of the most exciting in recent memory. The Miami Heat are looking for a three-peat, but showed some major holes last season. New York has a legitimate fight for which team will run that town. The Los Angeles Lakers are desperately trying to hold on to LA while the Los Angeles Clippers take the grip on the city from them. The San Antonio Spurs are looking to bounce back after a heart-breaking NBA Finals Loss. Without further ado, these are the top 25 storylines to watch going into the 2013-14 preseason.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also contributes to the NFL, MLB and NBA content.

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25. Can The Pelicans Compete In The West?

Pelicans
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans made some moves this winter. Can the additions of Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday put the team into playoff contention? The second year for Anthony Davis will also help their case.

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24. Are The 76ers Bad Enough To Win Less Than 10?

76ers
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers seem to have given up on this season before it even started. They brought in Nerlens Noel in the Holiday trade, but he will miss part of the season recovering from knee surgery. Their highest-paid player will not play until January. They are currently the only team in the league that is under the salary-cap floor. It may be a good season for fans to get into hockey.

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23. Who Will Be The Surprise Team?

Cavs
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It is always fun to see which teams look very good out of nowhere in the preseason. This season could be a plethora of teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers should be a team to watch. They are ready to make the jump.

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22. Will Jason Kidd and Kevin Garnett Get Along?

Nets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It seems there is already a disconnect between head coach Jason Kidd and new forward Kevin Garnett. This is a bad sign, but something that will be fun to watch. Kidd just cannot have the same relationship that Doc Rivers had.

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21. Are The Wizards Ready To Be Good?

Wizards
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like this question is asked every season and the answer is always "no". Since the days of Gilbert Arenas, the Washington Wizards have not been relevant. Seems like they might have the chance to compete for a playoff spot, but that is all they can hope for.

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20. Is Dwyane Wade Still A Superstar?

Heat
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If you ask me, then the answer is no. Dwyane Wade is not a superstar on the court anymore. Can he have superstar-like performances still? Yes, but he cannot do it on a night-by-night basis. He will be a great compliment, but no longer a superstar. That also is if he can stay healthy.

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19. How Bad Are The Celtics?

Celtics
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports-

If they don't see Rajon Rondo on the court sooner rather than later, then really bad. They are lucky enough to play the 76ers four times in order to pad their total. At least they picked a good year to tank. It just won't work out well when your best player is Jeff Green.

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18. Will The Spurs Ever Look Their Age?

Spurs
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs will continue to look very good as long as Tony Parker plays like a star. He has been this team's mask at the age of everyone else. They may not be as good as last year because of the losses they saw on their bench, but they will still be contenders.

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17. What Will The Thunder Look Like Sans Russell Westbrook?

Thunder
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder looked like a completely different team when Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury in the playoffs last season. There was a complication and now he will miss 4-6 weeks of the regular season. Can Kevin Durant lift this team to respectability all by himself?

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16. Is Andrea Bargnani A Good Fit In New York?

Knicks
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports-

It is yet to be seen. Andrea Bargnani could help out an offense that wasn't the issue. This New York Knicks team made interesting moves this offseason, and many could be described as risks. This one might be a great pickup, or a historically bad one. Time will tell which way it leans.

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15. What Can We Expect From David Stern's Last Season?

NBA
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

From a strict dress code, to crazy new basketballs, to a lockout, David Stern has been in the headlines for interesting decisions in the past decade. This season will be his last. Will any other craziness occur before he hangs over the reigns to Adam Silver?

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14. What Can Be Expected From The Hawks?

Hawks
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Does anyone ever know? Every time one thinks this team will do bad, they fight for a fifth seed in the playoffs. When they are predicted to win, the Atlanta Hawks disappoint. Anyone can make a guess on this and sound like an expert.

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13. How Will Paul George And Jamal Tinsley Co-Exist?

Pacers
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Granger and Paul George play very similar games for the Indiana Pacers. George just got a superstar contract and this is clearly his team. How will that hurt the chemistry with him and Granger? Will they ever be on the court together? Is Granger going to get shipped to another team?

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12. Did The Mavericks Moves Fix Their Team?

Mavs
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

On paper, the Dallas Mavericks look like they did a ton to help Dirk Nowitzki. They brought in Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris and Samuel Dalembert, among others. The smell of their championship two seasons ago is now gone and Mark Cuban is going to want to see some progress this season.

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11. Is Andrew Bynum Still A Worth While Piece In The NBA?

Cavs
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The seven footer has had a career in which he is dominant, but only when he is on the court. That is not often. The Cavaliers took a chance on Andrew Bynam this summer after he played zero games last year. Eventually we will see when they start to regret it.

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10. What Is Rajon Rondo's Future In Boston?

Celtics
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It will not be answered in the preseason, but it will certainly be talked about plenty. Rondo has been the subject of trade rumors for years now, and this season may be the one where it comes to fruition. Where would he go? Does he want to be traded? This will play out interestingly during the season.

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9. Is Doc Rivers The Championship Piece For The Clippers?

Clips
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rivers left the now middling Boston Celtics to join the star studded Clippers. This was no doubt a good move for both sides, as any of you would most likely be an upgrade over Vinny Del Negro. Chris Paul returns to try to end the three-peat dreams for the Heat.

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8. Is Carmelo Anthony Going To Repeat Last Season?

Knicks
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
p>With the way that this team is constructed, it will be hard. Anthony put this team on his back and carried them to the two seed in the Eastern Conference. It was the best season in almost two decades from the Knicks. With a healthy Amar'e Stoudemire, a returning J.R. Smith, newcomer Bargnani and sharpshooting Ron Artest, I mean Metta World Peace, how many balls will be left for Anthony to shoot?

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7. Is Greg Oden Going To Make It Out Of Camp Being Able To Walk?

Heat
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Who knows with Greg Oden? He hasn't played an NBA game since the 2009-10 season. The Heat took a calculated chance on him, but it just seems like the guy can't stay on the court. Maybe he can sit on the bench and make the rest of the team look younger.

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6. Did Cavaliers Mess Up With The Anthony Bennett Pick?

Cavs
Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Bennett was picked in some expert mock drafts as low as eighth. The Cavaliers made him No. 1. Will that end up being a severe mistake? They could have taken Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter or Ben McLemore. The team will have to live with it if this ends up being a Sam Bowie/Greg Oden-type pick.

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5. Will Dwight Howard Make The Rockets Contenders?

Rockets
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets look so good on paper. How will that work out on the court? It didn't do so well for the Lakers last year, will this be different? Who is the superstar on this team, Dwight Howard or James Harden? This team will compete for a playoff spot, but not for the title in such a deep league.

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4. Can The Warriors Repeat Last Season's Performance?

Warriors
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

They added Andre Iguodala to help them defensively. They are bringing back a healthy David Lee and Andrew Bogut. This team could be even better than last season. Stephen Curry could even see top-five MVP votes after last season's performance.

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3. Are The Nets The Biggest Obstacle For The Heat?

Nets
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Although the moves they made caused a lot of buzz and made them better, I'm still going to go with no on that question. The coach is still unproven. The Chicago Bulls are going to be very good. The West is superior as a conference. The Heat are going to have a hard time winning it all once again.

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2. Is Kobe Bryant Nuts Thinking He Can Return So Fast?

Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Probably. Kobe Bryant suffered possibly the worst injury an athlete can have. He tore his Achilles tendon. He is currently in Germany getting knee treatments. He is just in a bad situation for a team that won't be dominant. He should at least sit out until Christmas, if not longer.

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1. What Can We Expect From Derrick Rose?

Bulls
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The last time we saw Derrick Rose play a game, LeBron James was still ringless. Two Heat titles later, and Rose is finally ready to play after a torn ACL. Will he be the same player? Will he be afraid to put a ton of weight on it? He holds the Bulls season in his hands. If he is the same Rose we remember, they could conceivably win it all this year.

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