2014-15 NBA Season Preview

The 2014-15 NBA season will officially begin on Tuesday, October 28. Are you ready? So are we.

Last season, we saw the San Antonio Spurs take home the Larry O'Brien trophy, annihilating LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals to win in five games.

That offseason, a lot of things changed. Of course, we have LeBron James heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only that, but Kevin Love got paired with both James and Kyrie Irving on Cleveland.

Can the Cavs win it all in their first year with their new group? Or will it be the Oklahoma City Thunder? With Derrick Rose, are the Chicago Bulls back in the discussion? What about the Spurs repeating as champions?

All of these questions answered and more in our official 2014-15 NBA season preview on FootBasket.com!

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Eastern Conference Standings

Kyrie Irving Derrick Rose October 2014

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25) - I believe the chemistry between LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will be a lot more smoother process than what James had with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat their first year. First month may be a bit rough, but I think they'll pick things up fast thanks to the other quality pieces on the roster.

2. Chicago Bulls (55-27) - Derrick Rose is back, and hopefully sticks through this whole season. I pray that he does. The man looks like he hasn't lost a step. If he plays the majority of the season with that stacked roster, the Bulls will be a scary team.

3. Washington Wizards (50-32) - John Wall and Bradley Beal will produce this season, and they can definitely make a case for the best backcourt in the NBA. I also think the addition of Paul Pierce will help thanks to his leadership and experience. He'll keep the young guys in check.

4. Toronto Raptors (49-33) - The Raptors will be back with almost the same core last year. Expect the same results. However, I do think this will be a breakout season for Jonas Valanciunas.

5. Charlotte Hornets (46-36) - This team can easily be one of the top three teams in the East within the next few seasons. This year, their core will have to learn together that features Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Al Jefferson. They're gonna be fun to watch this year.

6. Miami Heat (42-40) - Even though LeBron is gone, the Heat are not dead. Expect to see Chris Bosh become a 20-10 guy again like he was back in Toronto. I think Dwyane Wade will be improved this year as well, along with Mario Chalmers. Miami's depth at the point guard position with Shabazz Napier, Norris Cole and Chalmers will help. Can't also forget Luol Deng and Danny Granger either. Being in a weak conference, there should be no excuse for Miami to miss the postseason.

7. New York Knicks (41-41) - The first month or two is going to be rough as they learn the triangle offense, but I think they'll pick it up by January. With that, expect this Knicks team to start making some serious noise with Carmelo Anthony leading the way.

8. Brooklyn Nets (38-44) - This Nets team will make the playoffs, but they're going to be rough to watch. Kevin Garnett is a shell of his former self, Paul Pierce is gone and who knows what is up with Deron Williams? If Williams can improve and if Brook Lopez stays healthy, this team remains live. I think Joe Johnson leads the team in scoring.

9. Atlanta Hawks (36-46) - The Hawks were impressive last season without Al Horford, as they were still able to make the playoffs and force a Game 7 with the Indiana Pacers. They have a nice, young core. With Horford back, I don't think the postseason still. It might be an off-year, but who knows they may prove us wrong.

10. Indiana Pacers (34-48) - There's not much to say about this team since Paul George will likely be out the whole year. This season will mainly be about if Roy Hibbert can actually lead this team and not be a disappointment like he was for the second half of last season. I think David West ends up leading the team in scoring. Watch out for CJ Miles, though. He's a Most Improved Player candidate.

11. Detroit Pistons (32-50) - Stan Van Gundy's first year will be rough. I don't think he will gel well with Josh Smith. In fact, I think Smith ends up getting traded this season. This will be another good developmental year for Andre Drummond, though.

12. Orlando Magic (29-53) - Not much to say about this team. They won't be good, that's for sure. However, I am looking forward to seeing Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic play.

13. Milwaukee Bucks (27-55) - Jabari Parker is my vote for Rookie of the Year. He'll have a nice season, as well as Giannis Antetokounmpo. That's about it, though.

14. Boston Celtics (25-57) - It'll be another rough year for Brad Stevens. Rajon Rondo is the only guy to watch for this team really, unless he gets traded. Bring on Marcus Smart!

15. Philadelphia 76ers (18-64) - Tanking. That is all. In all seriousness though, Nerlens Noel is gonna be a player to watch for this team.

Western Conference Standings

Kevin Durant Tim Duncan 2014

1. Los Angeles Clippers (61-21) - The Los Angeles Clippers can take advantage of a prime situation here with Kevin Durant out for the first few months and the San Antonio Spurs on a NBA Finals hangover. I think they can steal the Western Conference's top spot this year. Blake Griffin will be a prime MVP candidate.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder (58-24) - KD will be out for the first two months, but Russell Westbrook will put the team on his back in that time. I think the Thunder will start getting things going and finish in the top 3 in the West once KD returns.

3. San Antonio Spurs (55-27) - I think the Spurs aren't too worried about where they finish as long as it is top 3 or 4 in the West. I do, however, think they'll suffering from a tremendous Finals hangover. Don't count them out, though.

4. Portland Trail Blazers (52-30) - Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are going to ball out this season. They will be a fun squad to watch.

5. Golden State Warriors (49-33) - Splash Brothers are back in action. The Golden State Warriors will basically finish around the same place they were last year. We'll just have to see if they can have more playoff success this time around.

6. Dallas Mavericks (47-35) - The Mavs look really nice on paper, and I think their performance this year will reflect that. Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki will be a nice combo this season. Also, don't underestimate the additions of Raymond Felton and Al-Farouq Aminu.

7. Houston Rockets (46-36) - The loss of Chandler Parsons will hurt. If only they were able to get Chris Bosh, they'd be a top 4 team. They'll suffer, but James Harden and Dwight Howard will be enough to propel them into the postseason.

8. Phoenix Suns (44-38) - After last season's surprising success, the Suns hope to make the playoffs this time around. They are fun squad to watch, and I think they will do enough to get the eighth seed. Watch out for their three-point guard lineup, too.

9. Memphis Grizzlies (43-39) - The Grizzlies have a nice, solid core, but I think they'll miss the playoffs barely. If only they were in the East...

10. Denver Nuggets (41-41) - After last season's disappointment, I think Brian Shaw will get this squad back on track this season. They still have some ways to go to be a playoff team, but they'll be much more improved this year. Gary Harris is going to be a guy to watch, I think.

11. New Orleans Pelicans (37-45) - They have a nice core, but they aren't ready yet for the playoffs. Anthony Davis, however, will have a breakout season. If anything, they should prep big for next season. I think next year is their year.

12. Los Angeles Lakers (36-46) - Kobe Bryant, that is all.

13. Sacramento Kings (32-50) - DeMarcus Cousins will be the man, that is all.

14. Utah Jazz (29-53) - I hope the Jazz have both Trey Burke and Dante Exum in the backcourt this season. That will be dope to watch. Pair it with Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert, this team is on their way to being a playoff squad in a few years.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves (26-56) - They'll be the worst team in the West, but they'll be one hell of a team to watch. Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine will be the Lob Brothers, and Ricky Rubio will be tossing them. I also think this is the year for Anthony Bennett to redeem himself. Looking at this core, they can be a pretty good team within a few years.


LeBron James October 2014

MVP: LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers - He's back in Cleveland, and I think the voters are going to heavily dig that this year. If James puts up his regular LeBron-like numbers and leads the Cavs to the No. 1 seed, the MVP award is his to lose.

Coach of the Year: Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers - Coming off the Donald Sterling scandal and leading the Clips to the No. 1 seed? If it happens, he gets my vote.

Rookie of Year: Jabari Parker, F, Milwaukee Bucks - Really nothing to look forward to from the Bucks this year. Parker will be a fun player to watch. He's the most NBA-ready, and I wouldn't be shocked if he averages around a 20-7 this season.

Most Improved Player: Anthony Bennett, F, Minnesota Timberwolves - I believe Bennett will redeem himself this season. Minnesota will be counting on him to make plays, and I think he can in an environment where they won't be so much pressure on him.

Sixth Man of the Year: Taj Gibson, PF, Chicago Bulls - Gibson had a good chance of winning it last year, but Jamal Crawford took it home. This is Gibson's year to get it, though.

Defensive Player of the Year: Anthony Davis, PF, New Orleans Pelicans - He's been in the discussion for it ever since he entered the league. I think he'll finally get it this year.

Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs

Dwyane Wade Erik Spoelstra October 2014

(1) Cavaliers over (8) Nets in 4 games - Should be an easy sweep for this stacked Cleveland team against a burnt Nets squad.

(2) Bulls over (7) Knicks in 5 games - Knicks can only do so much in this series. One win is probably all they can do against this depth-heavy Bulls squad.

(6) Heat over (3) Wizards in 7 games - This will be the series of the round. I think Wade and Bosh will carry the Heat to seven-game series victory. Bosh is going to go HAM.

(4) Hornets over (5) Raptors in 6 games - Raptors will sadly lose in the first round again. This Hornets team, in my opinion, finish off the second half of the season strong, and they'll carry that confidence into the playoffs.

Western Conference First Round Playoffs

Klay Thompson Stephen Curry October 2014

(1) Clippers over (8) Suns in 5 games - Suns will do enough to get one win, but this Clippers team is too strong.

(2) Thunder over (7) Rockets in 5 games - Howard and Harden won't be enough to pull off an upset against this Thunder team.

(3) Spurs over (6) Mavericks in 6 games - Mavericks will give the Spurs another tough series like last year. I don't think San Antonio will allow another seven-game series like last year, though.

(5) Warriors over (4) Blazers in 7 games - The series of this round for the West. Both teams match up pretty nice, but I think the Splash Brothers and Co. come out on top.

Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs

Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 5.31.05 PM

(1) Cavaliers over (6) Heat in 5 games - LeBron against his old team? Yep. How epic would that be? James and Co. is gonna knock them out of the park, though.

(2) Bulls over (4) Hornets in 5 games - The Hornets are good, but won't be good enough to top Chicago. Derrick Rose vs Kemba Walker and/or Lance Stephenson will be a dope matchup, though.

Western Conference Second Round Playoffs

(1) Clippers over (5) Warriors in 7 games - Warriors matchup pretty nicely with LA, and I think they'll do enough force seven games. However, I believe Blake Griffin will put the team on his back in Game 7 to allow the Clippers to advance.

(2) Thunder over (3) Spurs in 6 games - I don't think the Spurs repeat as champions. Thunder will end their streak of going to the Western Conference Finals right here.

Conference Finals

East: (1) Cavaliers over (2) Bulls in 6 games - LeBron vs the Bulls again the East Finals. I don't know what it is about these LeBron-led teams, but they always get past the Bulls in six games or less in the playoffs. I think it happens again here.

West: (2) Thunder over (1) Clippers in 7 games - The Clippers will be kind of gassed from a seven-game series with the Warriors, and I don't think they will do enough to keep up with OKC this round. They can do enough to force a Game 7, but I'm trusting Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to lead the way in the elimination matchup.

NBA Finals: Cavaliers vs Thunder

This is probably the matchup all NBA fans would want. Who wouldn't want to see LeBron James, now back with the Cleveland Cavaliers, face off against Kevin Durant once again in the NBA Finals?

I believe the Cavaliers build on their chemistry throughout the season. I believe the development and chemistry will gel much faster than what happened with James and the Miami Heat in his first year.

The Thunder will give it their all, but I don't think their Big Three of Serge Ibaka, KD and Russell Westbrook will be enough to matchup the Cavs' of Kyrie Irving, LeBron and Kevin Love. They are both pretty equal, but I believe Cleveland will prevail.

LeBron beats KD once again in the Finals, capturing his third ring and the first for the city of Cleveland.

Cavaliers in 6


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