Vegas odds makers have the Miami Heat listed as a 2:1 favorite of winning the NBA championship — generous odds to the rest of the field. The Heat will win the championship next year, hoist the O’Brien trophy, and become the most hated NBA champions in the league’s history. I don’t want it to happen, but it will.
If I had it my way, the Clippers would be the champs. Nevertheless, it will be Lebron’s team. The Heat will probably have the second most potent fast break offense of all time, only bested by the Magic-led ’80’s Lakers. Between Dwayne and Lebron, the Heat will accumulate a large amount of steals. They will be able to pile up never-ending scoring runs, and run up the scores that will make the aforementioned Vegas odds makers weep.
The Lakers will win the West, but have not improved enough to keep up with the Heat. Ron Artest and Kobe will probably not have better seasons than last year, and the oft injured Andrew Bynum will not provide the necessary punch. Big man Pau Gasol will be solid inside for the purple and orange. In fact, the only matchup the Lakers will likely win will be Bosh-Gasol down low.
On the other hand, the East is weak. Boston will be worse; don’t expect a half-retired Shaq to boost them. Orlando’s no better, and the Cavs are obviously out of the picture. The road to the championship will be easy for the Heat.
Consider the fact that the Cavs trounced the Lakers twice last year with a group of B-rate starters. With Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, it will be tough to pull off a win, yet alone a playoff series.
The main X factor for the season will be injuries. If star players are sidelined, then all bets are off and the odds dramatically shift. With rosters holding pat, the Heat will win. Lebron and co. will coexist peacefully and put in extra effort to disprove the doubters and spiteful opposing fans.
The Lakers, Celtics, and Heat have all begun the season with strong starts. However, the regular season should not be the primary indicator for the NBA’s elite. As the Celtics showed with a lackluster last season, it’s all about the playoffs. The Heat may not finish the season atop the standings, but come next summer they will be champs.