NBA Outlook: Who are the Front Runners?
Written by Jesse Spraggon. Media by Matt Miller
With the NBA season a week in the books, it’s hard to tell who is going to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of the year. Although the season has barely begun, there are promising signs for some teams, and bad omens for others. One team that has played surprisingly well is the Miami Heat. Many people thought losing LeBron James was going to send the Heat into rebuilding, but with a resurgence from Chris Bosh, they have come out of the gates swinging, showing that they have enough talent to make a run at a championship. While they are definitely not as good now that LeBron is gone, they still started off with a 4-1 record on the shoulders of the Eastern Conference player of the week, Chris Bosh. Averaging 24.2 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, he has kept Miami relevant for this new season and gives fans hope that they can contend. Look for them to continue to play well as long as they can keep their veterans healthy while continuing to mix in new talent.
Another case where a team is without their superstar talent is Oklahoma City. The reigning MVP Kevin Durant is out for 6-8 weeks recovering from surgery to repair his broken right foot. He is expected to miss roughly 20 games, and with OKC’s rough 1-4 start to the season, things are looking bleak. To add to their woe’s, their other superstar Russell Westbrook is also injured, and will miss at least a month recovering from a broken hand. This surely puts them in a grim spot, and may keep them out of the playoffs this year. They will have about 60 games left when Durant is back on the court, but in the tough Western Conference, things could already be out of reach when he finally sees the court.
A look around the rest of the league shows Washington, Chicago, and Toronto tied at the top of the East; while Memphis Golden State, and Houston are all undefeated in the West. All six of these teams should make the playoffs easily, barring a Kevin Durant level catastrophe. At this point, I’m sticking by my preseason pick of the Washington Wizards or the Cleveland Cavaliers, despite their 1-4 start, to go all the way this year.