The start of the 2013-14 NBA season is less than one week away. The upcoming season is primed to be one of the more entertaining years in recent history. Major shifts in rosters, upcoming free agents and the Miami Heat‘s chance of a three-peat already have fans on the edges of their couches.
While we never know what to expect in the NBA, it’s always fun to predict what we think will happen. Everyone does it, so I figured I’d join in on the fun as well. I may be wrong about some things and I may be right about others, but either way it’ll be fun to see exactly how it all plays out. Drum roll, please:
Most Improved Team – Detroit Pistons
The Pistons used to be known as the “Bad Boys” of the NBA, but all they have been in recent years is just plain bad. More than aware of the lack of talent on the team and fed up with their losing ways, the Pistons put together one the best offseasons in team history. Their big moves included the signing of Josh Smith and Chauncey Billups. The team also traded for point-guard Brandon Jennings.
More important than those moves will be the development of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The two big men are on track to being All-Stars within the next few seasons. Expect the Pistons to make a strong push to make the playoffs and maybe even make some noise in the postseason. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended the year as a top five seed in the Eastern Conference.
Defensive Player of the Year — Serge Ibaka
For the last two years, Ibaka has clearly been the most important defensive player on any team in the league. Why he has yet to win the award simply puzzles me. The award was given to Tyson Chandler two years ago, then it was handed off to Marc Gasol last year. I have no doubt that those players were strong candidates, but I don’t think their impact was as big as Ibaka’s, who averaged three blocks per game for his Oklahoma City Thunder.
I guess the slight edge in rebounding that Gasol and Chandler had over Ibaka may have been the difference. I expect Ibaka to be more active on the glass this year, which should be enough to put him in first place in the race for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Next In Line — Andre Drummond, Tyson Chandler
Most Valuable Player — Kevin Durant
That’s right, I’m going with my man Durant as the 2013-2014 NBA MVP. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s tired of seeing LeBron James win the award year after year. Don’t get me wrong, this just isn’t about me not wanting to see James win, but more about me actually believing that Durant will be the best player in the league this season.
Durant has shown an incredible amount of growth over the last two years while James has done what everyone expects him to do. The world now knows that Durant can do just as much as James, all while racking up wins. There’s no reason to think that Durant isn’t capable of putting up 30 points, nine rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. If he does, he’ll be sure to have his first MVP award when it’s all said and done.
I’m expecting bigger things than ever from Durant this year, and I’ll be watching every move he makes en route to being crowned league MVP.
Next In Line — LeBron James, Paul George
2013-2014 NBA Champions – Oklahoma City Thunder
After years of falling short, the Thunder are in position to take the throne as best team in the NBA. They’ll be healthy and better than ever come playoff time. Russell Westbrook‘s return, Kevin Durant’s dominance and the added depth of the roster will be enough for OKC to clip anyone standing in their way.