I am pleased to introduce you to the “Experience Aurie’s Take” – “E.A.T.” series of blog entries. From time to time, I will dig into one of my biggest passions – Sports – in order to lend perspective the way I see things. Be sure to follow the tag “EAT’ as the series grows.
Am I falling back in love with baseketball at the NBA level again? How about a resounding yes.
Billed as one of the most anticipated – if not the most anticipated – season openers in NBA history, the new look Miami Heat stepped onto the court of the new Boston Garden to face the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics. Although I wasn’t there in person, I heard that the atmosphere was so electric, you thought it was the NBA Finals. The media coverage of the Lebron “Decision” had really set the stage for what took place on opening night. Here you have the quintessential power struggle of the new “Big 3” trying to depose the older “Big 3.”
The bigger picture for the NBA is that there is officially more interest in this season than there has been in easily a decade. Whether you are rooting for or against the Miami team, it is evident that the league is better for this super team coming together. You now have more quality at the top of the East unlike in previous years where the Western teams have been quite dominant overall. Having more relevant teams across the largest population centers is great for the professional game. In past years, I admit that I started to look forward to college basketball more than I did the NBA. This was because I knew that I didn’t need to watch NBA games with any interest until April because there was no real intrigue until the best teams were playing meaningful games. Now with all of the controversy and the shifting of talent across the country, there are more quality match ups night in and night out. As I see it, the West is still very dominant, but I can now look forward to teams in the East that have a legitimate chance to be great. Here are my preseason picks for the playoffs in this NBA season.
Western Conference – The Wild West
- LA Lakers*
- Dallas Mavericks*
- Oklahoma City Thunder*
- Portland Trailblazers
- Denver Nuggets
- Utah Jazz
- San Antonio Spurs
- LA Clippers
Eastern Conference – Beasts of the East
- Orlando Magic*
- Boston Celtics*
- Miami Heat*
- Chicago Bulls
- Atlanta Hawks
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia Sixers
- New York Knicks
I know that many will argue with either the selections or the rankings, but this is what I want to see happen based on everything that I’ve seen so far. In my opinion, the teams with an asterisk all have a legitimate shot to make it to their conference finals and possibly the NBA finals. Provided that injuries don’t decimate some of the lower ranked teams, I think that the games are going to be more competitive than people think. I have been nostalgic for the days of Sunday afternoon NBA on NBC programming when you looked forward to huge rivalry games between teams like the Knicks, Bulls, Pacers, & Heat in the East…Lakers, Spurs, Rockets, & Suns in the West. Maybe this new generation can create a new era of glory days in the National Basketball Association.
All I can say to everyone who loves the game is stay tuned….