The 2014 NBA season is just over a week in and we already have some interesting storylines that may effect the rest of the season.
Among the most surprising of teams so far this year has been the Philadelphia 76ers. A team that finished 14-games below .500 last year, the 6ers have started the season 3-0 behind the efforts of Michael Carter-Williams. Included in those wins are victories over the Bulls and Heat. Many people assumed the 76ers would take a dive this year in hopes of getting the number one overall pick in next years draft. But with a 3-0 start, we’ll have to keep an eye out on how the rest of their season plays out.
As for the Heat, who Philly beat in their season opener, they have started their 2014 season in a fashion that we’ve gotten used to over the past few years. At 2-2, with loses to Brooklyn and the 76ers, the Heat have shown that their seems to be a bit of rust on the machine that won the NBA Championship last year. Luckily for fans in South Beach, when you have Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, you shouldn’t worry too much. They will right the ship and figure out a way to make this a positive season.
Another team that has been waiting for the start of this season is the Chicago Bulls. After missing all of last season, the Bulls got back former MVP Derrick Rose from knee surgery. The Bulls may not have started the season they way they hoped, having a record of 1-2 in their first three games. But we assume that once they shake the cobwebs off, this team will be the formidable Chicago team we’ve seen in recent years that may give Miami a run for the top spot in the East.
Hoping to fend off the Heat, the Bulls and any other team that gets close is the Indian Pacers. The Pacers have stared the season 3-0 and are winning games on the defensive end of the hardwood. Only averaging 93 points a game, the Pacers have held their opponents to a league-low 83 points per game average. This is a team that took the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, so they appear to be ready to make another run this year behind Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Danny Granger.
Shifting gears to the Western Conference, fans in Houston are hoping that they finally have a dynamic duo, or trio, that can help them win an NBA Championship. After a forgettable year in Los Angeles, Dwight Howard has shown up in Houston and had monstrous games to start the season. In the first three games of the season, Howard has averaged 15 points a game and 17 rebounds, as well as nearly two blocks. The other element to this Houston offense is James Harden, who is averaging 26 points a game, 4 assists and nearly 3 steals. If these two can come to play night in and night out, and get the occasional help from Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin, this team will be tough to beat in the West.
One team that is hoping to stand in Houston’s way is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Led by Kevin Durrant, the Thunder have been in the thick of the top tier teams in the league for the last two years. The great news for Thunder fans is that Russell Westrbook made a return from knee surgery nearly an entire month early. With his 21 point effort in his first game back, he look raring and ready to go to help Durrant lead this team.
Other important things to consider this year is how the Lakers will do while they wait for Kobe Bryant to return from his own injury. And once he returns, what type of Kobe Bryant can we expect to see on the floor? How will the New Orleans Pelicans look, with their new team name and colors? Can the Splash Brothers in Golden State carry the Warriors deep into the playoffs? How will the new look Nets fair with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce now on the team? And which team will win the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes with the number one overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft? We’ll be sure to keep you updated on all of this and more as the NBA season continues on.