The 2013-14 NBA season is here!
While it is clearly a rebuilding year here in Phoenix with the Suns, there is arguably more parity league-wide than we have seen in some time.
The Miami Heat are the defending champs and are going for a three-peat (don’t sue us, Pat), but several teams are poised to challenge them for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Oklahoma City will get Russell Westbrook back at some point, which will make the Thunder formidable in the West. Derrick Rose is back from his knee injury and gives the Chicago Bulls a boost.
We’ve been throwing dirt on the aging San Antonio Spurs for years, but Gregg Popovich’s team took Miami to seven games in the NBA Finals last June.
The Brooklyn Nets have pieced together an All-Star (if not old) lineup for rookie head coach Jason Kidd. The Indiana Pacers get Danny Granger back after giving Miami all they could handle in the Eastern Conference Finals and young teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors are all intriguing contenders.
We asked the staff of Arizona Sports 620 and ArizonaSports.com to peer into their crystal balls and predict what will happen in the 2013-14 season.
Here’s a look at what they came up with.
First a look at what our 12-person panel thinks the playoffs will look like starting in April.
|Team||Playoff Votes||% of Playoff Votes||High Rank||Low Rank|
|Golden State Warriors||12-of-12||100%||2nd||6th|
|Los Angeles Clippers||12-of-12||100%||1st||6th|
|Los Angeles Lakers||3-of-12||25%||5th||7th|
|New Orleans Pelicans||3-of-12||25%||7th||8th|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||12-of-12||100%||1st||4th|
|Portland Trail Blazers||4-of-12||33%||8th||8th|
|San Antonio Spurs||12-of-12||100%||1st||6th|
Western Conference Notes:
• The same number of voters have the Lakers making the postseason as do the Pelicans and Timberwolves, who have combined to make two postseason appearances in the last five seasons. Incidentally, the voters who have the Lakers returning to the playoffs are Doug Franz (8th), Craig Grialou (5th) and Dave Dulberg (7th).
• Only the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings failed to receive any postseason votes from the panel.
• Only Grialou doesn’t have the Memphis Grizzlies locking down one of the eight Western Conference playoff spots.
• Only Jules Tompkins believes that the Utah Jazz will join the postseason party.
• Four different teams (Houston, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City and San Antonio) got first place votes from our panel.
Western Conference Champions