The first game of the regular season is tomorrow. Which means, as of now, every team in the NBA is equally as likely to win this season. But this doesn’t stop predictions, and Lakers Nation has a group of these for you. Check out who we see being the top five teams in every division in the country and our reasons why. Cheers to the NBA basketball season!
Pacific Division: Home to the Los Angeles Lakers, it only felt fitting to start here. Almost everyone is anticipating a Lakers victory this year, but you may be surprised to find out that LN predicts the L.A. Clippers to come in a close second.
What will be a source of frustration for Lakers fans are these first few games; members of both the starting lineup and reserve unit have missed time this preseason, mainly due to injury. The starting five only played one game together, which could result in a rocky first few matches.
Make sure to check out the rest of the post to see why we believe the Clippers are the team to look out for on the tails of the Lakers. It will no doubt be a battle of L.A..
Northwest Division: The Northwest Division is surely developing into one of the tougher divisions in the league and the off-season moves made by the teams will make this upcoming season very interesting. Not only should OKC win their division, they seem to be the number one difficulty for the Lakers in the West. But almost every team in this region is tough.
Remember last season when the Utah Jazz surprised many by earning the eighth seed in the Western Conference? Or how about the Denver Nuggets who also made some nice additions during the off-season? Keep your eyes open for one interesting battle in the Northwest.
Central Division: With an injured Rose, the Central Division will get interesting this year. After tearing his ACL in the playoffs last year, the Chicago Bulls fell to the 76ers in the playoffs, unable to cope with the loss of their MVP. But even when Derrick gets back, LN predicts the Pacers to still clinch the number one spot in the Central Division.
In last year’s playoffs, Indiana surprised everybody by giving the Miami Heat a run for their money, and have made a name for themselves as division contenders. Disagree? Check out the rest of the post to see the team breakdowns.
Atlantic Division: The only true title contender in this division appears to be the Boston Celtics. However, there are still four legitimate playoff teams in the Atlantic. The Celtics have won five consecutive Atlantic Division titles, dating back to the 2007-2008 season, but unlike years prior where the “Big Three’ ruled and harmony resided in Boston, team drama could unravel the solid east coast organization.
This could give another team the opportunity to swoop in and take the division title. Like the Knicks, who have made major strides in improving their team. Plus, if Carmelo Anthony can figure out how to harmoniously co-exist with the other major contributors on the roster, their potential chemistry could be detrimental.
Southwest Division: The Southwest Division has seen it’s fair share of change and roster turnover over the past 12 months. The Spurs are the more obvious pick for the #1 spot in the Southwest, with Duncan and Parker remaining strong on and off the court. The New Orleans Hornets did some remodeling this summer. New owner Tom Benson has a few tricks up his sleeve, and like his acquisition of Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, and an accompanying guard in Duke’s Austin Rivers. The southwest, though, may be the one place with a lack of season surprises.
Southeast Division: When you look at the Southeast Division, you see a lot of teams in rebuilding mode. To start, there is Joe Johnson’s departure to Brooklyn. And who can forget Dwight Howard, who said goodbye to Orlando and came west to the Lakers. All in all, the Miami Heat will most certainly take the southeast, and take it easily. Orlando has always been the team that challenges the Heat year in and year out, but with the debacle the past year, and Howard leaving Florida, this outcome is very unlikely. Our pick for second place? Click the link and check it out!
Injury Update! Over the past few days there’s been a lot of concern about whether or not Kobe Bryant will be good to go for the Los Angeles Lakers’ season opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. After being listed as day-to-day with a right foot strain, Kobe is officially a game-time decision according to Lakers coach Mike Brown. Kobe’s first game will likely be against the Los Angeles Clippers on Fri. Nov. 2 unless no progress has been made with the right foot strain.
Jordan Hill also looks to be a concern for the Lakers The forward suffered a herniated disc during the preseason and has only recently gotten back on the floor for the Lakers. As of right now, he is listed as day to day. Good news though; Dwight Howard will get the start against the Mavs on Tuesday night. As of right now, the starting lineup will be Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Howard.
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