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NBA Season Preview: Guide to Top 8 in East and West

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The NBA season is upon us, and it's going to be an exciting one. With LeBron's move home, wild trading, injuries and plenty of redemption needing to be served, we're in for one terrific season.


Here, I tell you which 8 teams from each conference will make the playoffs this season, providing my predictions for how they'll fare on the court and breaking down their vital components.



Western Conference

San Antonio Spurs

This is the best team in the NBA, they have the best coach in the NBA and no one from last years phenomenal championship team has left. These group of guys know what it takes to win, they care more about winning championships than earning more money. People have said they're old, but they play as a team. 

They're smart while making decisions and they don't take dumb shots, and most importantly they're disciplined. The Spurs have such a deep bench, that's also an important part of how they won last years championship. The west is extremely tough but San Antonio is the conferences best team. 

Tim Duncan and the Spurs hoisted the coveted title last season. Image: ABC News
Oklahoma City Thunder

With the leagues MVP Kevin Durant going through successful surgery on his fractured right foot, he will be missing action on the court for about 1-2 months. It's a big loss for the Thunder, but I feel that Russel Westbrook will keep this team on top while their leader is gone. 


Russel will have to carry a big load to keep his team at the top, but if his supporting cast can contribute to working together and play good basketball then Westbrook has nothing to worry about. 


The team improved this off season by adding Sebastian Telfair, Perry Jones, Mitch McGary, and Anthony Morrow. Steven Adams, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, and Serge Ibaka need to play great in the post for the Thunder to have success. Their back court looks good, Reggie Jackson and Weestbrook have the potential to be one of the best back court in the game if they play hard and play together. There's no doubt about it if they will make the playoffs, I have them sitting at 3rd in the West. 

Los Angeles Clippers

Here's where it gets interesting, the Clippers will be the second best team in the west. They have a top 3 coach in the league and his name is Doc Rivers. He's one a championship before and the off season moves they made this year was just brilliant.


They added Jared Cunningham, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jordan Farmar, Spencer Hawes, Ekpe Udoh and CJ Wilcox. They have the best PG in the league in Chris Paul who can do it all, he's been such a enormous help to the Clippers success for the last 3 years. Can't forget his buddies Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan who are dominate in the post and who catch lobs and dunk it in for 2 points. Jamal Crawford is such a incredible player and can shoot outside of the 3 point line anytime, he's a great 6 man player but this year I think he will start. 


The Clippers are a fast paced team and they will strike back with a basket if another team goes on a big run. They will do work. 

Houston Rockets

Houston can be a really good team this year, with additions of Jason Terry and Trevor Ariza their lineup has improved from last year. Losing Chandler Parsons was a big deal, he contributed in big games by scoring 15-20 points and showed up when he needed to.


But I think this roster is experienced, once they get their chemistry working they'll win about 50 games. Kevin McHale isn't so bad as a coach, he knows what he's doing and he has the right players to succeed as a coach in this league. Troy Daniels and Nick Johnson are two young guys that can help the team win as well, Daniels is a fantastic three point shooter and he's proven that in last years playoffs. Nick Johnson will have success on this team because he has the right supporting cast and he fits well in McHales system. If Patrick Beverlys shooting improves, that'll be a huge step forward for McHales squad. Patrick is a tremendous defensive player, if his offense can improve he can be a legit point guard in the NBA. 


Harden needs to improve HEAVILY on defense because he just gets lazy and that's not going to cut it in the NBA. He's a great offensive player but at times he can ball hog and take dumb shots, if that improves they will be a huge threat in the West. 


Dwight just needs to be himself, he needs to go back to being the guy he was in Orlando. And in Houston he has a much better team and that can help him a bunch. 

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland didn't really add much to their roster this year, but this team did pretty good in the playoffs last year and lost to the defending champs in the second round. 


I would say they're a young team, they have a couple of guys who have been playing for a long time but other than that most of them are young. They're quick and fast paced and sometimes it only takes one of them to really get around you on a fast break and score. I like the coach, he fits well with Portland and he could lead them to a championship. It's a matter of how Lillard and LaMarcus can play in the season and carry that on in the playoffs. 


A key to their success is making 3 point baskets because they have guys who are dangerous in that area. Their bench is pretty good if you look at it, they have some veterans who have been there for years and have found ways to win. I love their starting lineup, it starts at the PG position with Lillard who's so quick and strike you with his step back jumper or who can take you to the basket and get around you like a snake. He's a good passer, he doesn't make dumb mistakes and he's patient. The boy is so young and he is the future of the Trail Blazers. Matthews is a great three point shooter and is a great defender, he makes mistakes especially when he's on a fast break. Needs to calm himself down while on the run, but other than that he is a key guy to this team succeeding. 


Batum is a spectacular offensive player, mid range is great and his three point shooting is brilliant. He has size, strength, and durability to take anyone to the basket. Aldridge is the best PF in the league in my opinion. His mid range is good for a PF and his post game is outstanding, it takes a lot for a guy to stop him. He's so big and strong and that's what helps him on defense, he's smart and he can force you to dribble into a direction where you're trapped and you will turn the ball over. Him and Lillard as a duo are amazing, they just never stop attacking you on offense and they're never ignored. Lopez needs to step up playing his role because at times LaMarcus will be double teamed and Robin will need to contribute into helping scoring points. I see Portland winning 53 games.



Portland's Lillard thrived in the playoffs last season. Image: TotalProSports
Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr has these boys working, Golden State has a fantastic team, I think they would've beaten the Clippers last year in the plaayoffs if Andre Bogut was healthy. 


With this team healthy they can go far this year, it's a matter of how Kerr will handle the pressure in certain situations. Curry and Thompson are the best backcourt in the league today, the two phenomenal three point shooters can get hot at any moment and they'll be unstoppable. 


They give defenses such a hard time, you have to plan a special scheme just for them. Their bench isn't so bad as well, but they have one of the best starting lineups in the league. If they stay healthy the whole year, they could be one of the best teams in the league. I have them finishing in 4th place in the west, but don't be surprised if they finish 3rd.


Dallas Mavericks


This is the team to watch out for in the west. They acquired Chandler Parsons from free agency and they additional got Raymon Felton and Tyson Chandler from a trade. Jameer Nelson and Aminu were also added on the team, these guys are experienced and whom have been in the league for quite some time. Rick Carlisle has done a good job in years past and won a NBA championship a few years ago, he's got a squad that can make some noise this year. I have them winning 50 games this year.


Phoenix Suns


The final team that will make the playoffs in the west will be the Suns. There back court will be great by adding Isiah Thomas from the Kings. Along side him is Goran Dragic, two guys who have a good mid range. They also can create scoring opportunities for their team, that's of course dishing dimes everywhere. 


I like their coach a lot, and that's because he has them disciplined and ready for the start of the season. They're young and have a fast pasted offense, they can hang with you during the entire game and they won't be as tired as teams would be. They're conditioned real well, I see them winning 49 games this year and earning the 8th spot. 


Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls


I love this team a lot, but they have to stay healthy. Derrick Rose is one of the best PG in the league and the most athletic PG in the league when healthy. He can get past you in a split second and he's so explosive when driving to the basket. 


They added Pau Gasol who's a huge addition into the post. Next to him is the best defensive player in the league, both guys are phenomenal when passing the ball. Jimmy Butler is a guy who I think is underrated and can create some damage at the 2 position. Their bench looks good and they have one of the best coaches in the league in Tom Thibodeau. This will be the best team in the east. I have em winning 56 games this year. 




Cleveland Cavaliers


I really don't see this team going far. Even though they acquired their hometown hero Lebron James, I don't see him fitting in well with the Cavs. Kevin Love is an excellent basketball player, so is Kyrie Irving. 


But those two guys haven't been to the playoffs in their career before and they haven't had the good players around them to succeed. They were the best player on their team and they would ball hog, Lebron, Love, and Kyrie need to gain chemistry together so they're used to playing with each other. 


Their coach isn't good and their bench is awful, these three guys can't play the whole entire game they will be worn out. I see them winning 50 games only because they're in the eastern conference. 




Miami Heat


I like where they're headed this year, Erick Spoelstra hasn't earned the credit he deserves for winning two NBA championships and coaching his team into the finals for four straight years.


If is such a big word in terms of the meaning to it, what I mean by that is if Dwyane Wade is healthy the whole year, this team can be the best in their conference. They have the talent and coaches to do it, and don't count Pat Riley out just year folks. You'll see what his team will do. They lost their best player Lebron James but added a couple of guys who bring a lot to the table. 


I think they spent to much money on Chris Bosh because he's not worth 118M dollars. If they gave him 90M that would've left them with 19m to work with, but nonetheless they will win 53 games if their team is healthy. If not, the will win 48. 


Toronto Raptors


Young, experienced, fast, conditioned. 4 words to describe the Toronto Raptors, they have most of their guys returning this year. 


They added Louis Williams to their squad as they needed another backup, they have a coach in Dwane Casey who is confident in his squad and I think he's a great coach. Their point guard is a legit guy who is a top tier point guard. The way he plays is just astonishing, without him they wouldn't have a leader. I see the Raptors winning 47 games.


Washington Wizards


Despite losing Bradley Beal for 6 weeks, the Wizards will still succeed in the east. Adding Humprhies, Blair, and Paul Piere, the Wizards will be a god team with or without Beal. 


Pierce is a big free agent they acquired, he's a veteran who has experience and has won a NBA Championship. They can shoot from the outside and create scoring opportunities for their teammates, especially in the post. They will win 46 games this year. 


Charlotte Hornets


I like the direction this team is going in, Lance Stevenson is a huge addition to this team and he helps the starting lineup improve even more. Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker are no joke either, they play well together and they added a couple of more guys to their roster who are experienced veterans and these guys just need to add chemistry together. I have them winning 44 games. 


Atlanta Hawks


I like this young team, they have a great squad that are just those guys that can force coaches on the opposing team go nuts. Adrian Payne and Seflosha are key guys they got this off season, Kent Bazemore and Elton Brand are also two guys that they added who are pretty good. Their big men are absolutely fantastic in Horford, Brand, Milsap, Payne, and Antic. They will win 42 games this year.


Detroit Pistons


This is my favorite team in the East. They added a lot of guys during the off season, their starting lineup is brilliant and it's one of the best in the league. Last year they were lacking chemistry, and a better coach. 


They hired Stan Van Gundy who's a great fit in my opinion and he will lead the Pistons to success this year, his squad is looking tremulous right now. With the additions of Meeks, Bulter, Augustin, and Joel Anthony, they will help contribute in leading Detriot to victories. Their bench is very good and that's a key to success for them this season. They will win 47 games this year. 



*****

End of Season Prediction: San Antonio win title after defeating Chicago Bulls in 6 games.

The basketball season is almost finally upon us. Eagerly awaiting tip off, there is a plethora of surprises ready to emerge in what is sure to be an amazing season for NBA fans.



Back to back for the Spurs it is.

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TheSportMatrix • We Live For Sport: NBA Season Preview: Guide to Top 8 in East and West
NBA Season Preview: Guide to Top 8 in East and West
An in-depth preview and breakdown for the teams and the storylines for the upcoming 2014/15 NBA season.
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TheSportMatrix • We Live For Sport
https://www.thesportmatrix.com/2014/10/NBA-2014-15-Season-Preview-Breakdown.html
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https://www.thesportmatrix.com/2014/10/NBA-2014-15-Season-Preview-Breakdown.html
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