The NBA season is set to tip-off Tuesday night and only few things can make a fan happier. The start of the season gives fans hope that this just might be the year their respective team is able to achieve the ultimate goal, which is to win an NBA championship.

Unlike last season, the players will be playing a complete 82-game season which hopefully eliminates some sort of risk towards injury, as opposed to the conduced season in 2011-2012.

LeBron James won the NBA MVP for the third time in his career to go along with his first NBA championship. Tyson Chandler won defensive player of the year last season, while Kyrie Irving took Rookie of the year.

With the new season starting tomorrow night, here are some of my predictions for the 2012-2013 season.

MVP: LeBron James

LeBron James October 2012

Last season, LeBron James took the award with only Kevin Durant being a true competitor to steal the award from him. LeBron is the best player in the game of basketball and he has already said publicly said he wants to be the "best of all-time". The three-time MVP, however, will have to, again, compete against his good friend and summer workout partner, Kevin Durant.

Durant along with Chris Paul will give LeBron a run for his money, but ultimately I think that the King will have his team, the Miami Heat with the best record in the league and he will, yet again, put up ridiculous numbers.

Defensive Player of the Year: Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard October 2012

Dwight Howard believes, he, not Tyson Chandler deserved to win the Defensive Player of the Year award last year.

"I feel like I didn't because of the whole situation," he said at the time.

Of course, Howard was referring to the whole "Dwightmare" situation. He might have a case as he was voted as the starting center of the All-Defense team, ahead of Chandler, but injuries did take a part in the voting and the defensive culture that the New York Knicks showed in Chandler's first season was just too much too ignore.

In 2012-2013, however, I fully expect Howard to return to form and earn his fourth DPOY award. Chandler will have a chance to retain his tittle, with Serge Ibaka also getting some votes around the league when it's all said and done, but the Los Angeles Lakers center has something to prove this season and it is a scary thought for the rest of the league.

Rookie of the Year: Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard October 2012

The rookie class this season isn't one of the strongest the league has had in recent seasons to say the least. The first pick in the draft is usually the favorite to win rookie of the year, as often, he is the most talented player from the class.

Anthony Davis was the first pick this season by the New Orleans Hornets, and he is no exception to the rule. Davis is picked to be the ROY by a lot of people, but usually, its the player in the right system that ends up receiving the award at the end of the season.

This season, I believe Damian Lillard, the number six pick by the Portland Trail Blazers is in the right system for him. Lillard is paired up with LaMarcus Aldridge which is one of the better power forwards in today's game. The point guard out of Weber State will get plenty of run as he is unquestionably the starting point guard for the Blazers.

Lillard is a great scorer as he averaged 24.5 in his last season for the Wildcats. In addition to being a great scorer, he has Aldridge as his pick-and-roll guy that will definitely help out his assist total.

If Lillard can make the most out of his minutes, he should take care of the rookie of the year award at seasons end. If not, players like Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist among others will be trying to snatch the award, themselves.

Eastern Conference Champions: Miami Heat

Miami Heat October 2012

On July 9th, 2010, The Miami Heat, as you all know, had a controversial introduction ceremony for then newly-acquired, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. In that ceremony, the words that set the bar for the Miami Heat were uttered by James. I don't need to get into exactly what he said, as even my five year-old nephew has heard them time and time again.

After a disappointing ending to their first campaign together and a shaky start to the 2012 playoffs, the Heat finally accomplished what was expected from them since day one and got the monkey of their backs as they were crowned NBA champions. LeBron said it best: "It's about damn time."

Now that they have their first, the team is hungry for more. After all James, did claim not five, not six. Learning from their failure following their 2006 NBA championship, Pat Riley reloaded for yet another run at a tittle. Riley brought in the all-time leader in three-point field goals made, Ray Allen and also added Allen's Seattle teammate, Rashard Lewis to the mix.

The Eastern Conference got a lot better this season with the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, Knicks, Philadelphia Sixers and the Brooklyn Nets making major decisions this off-season. Boston seems to be the favorite to knock off the Heat off their two-year reign of the Eastern Conference.

Although I wouldn't sleep on the Pacers. The East has improved a whole lot, but none of the teams mentioned above have LeBron James on their roster. LeBron had one of the best seasons in basketball history last year that was culminated with his olympic gold medal in London.

James is the best player in the world and the Miami Heat are the best team in the NBA, unless injuries to Dwyane Wade, or Chris Bosh occur they are undoubtedly the team to beat as they want to taste the champagne once again riding down beautiful Biscayne Boulevard.

Western Conference Champions: Denver Nuggets

Ty Lawson October 2012

The Denver Nuggets? Really? To be completely honest, I'm not quite sure this will happen, but I'm sick and tired of the routine picks of having a Heat-Lakers finals or a repeat of last years finals as likely as they are of happening. I didn't pick a bold sleeper in the East because the Heat are far, far superior than the rest of the pack in the Eastern Conference.

In the West, however, that's a different story. The Western Conference is the best conference in basketball which surprises nobody and the gap between the best teams are very slim. Yes, the Lakers added Dwight Howard in the big blockbuster trade of the summer, but quietly the Nuggets added all-star and Olympic gold medalist, Andre Iguodala in that deal to an already deep squad.

The Nuggets are one of the deepest teams in recent memory and are coached by an all-time great in George Karl. The Nuggets have lacked a true superstar to take over late in games but I sincerely believe, Ty Lawson will have an all-star caliber year for the Nuggets this season and average double-figure assists.

Lawson is a very talented guard and has more then enough help around him. The Nuggets return their entire core group while adding Iguodala and will have JaVale McGee and Wilson Chandler for an entire season after spending half of the year playing in China during the lockout.

The Lakers and Thunder undoubtedly have more star-power than the Nuggets but if Lawson, or any other player on the roster can step up and be the star-figure this team lacks, they have enough talent and depth to dethrone the Oklahoma City Thunder and beat the Lakers and maybe, just maybe make my prediction of picking them as my Western Conference representative look a little less insane.


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