10 Best Stories to Watch as NBA Regular Season Approaches
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NBA training camps opened this past Tuesday, and teams around the league are preparing for the 82-game gauntlet that comprises the regular season.
With blockbuster trades and a plethora of off-season moves, the upcoming season will certainly feature plenty of interesting narratives. Here are the best 10 stories around the league you should watch for as the regular season approaches.
The Heat's Title Defense
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After a successful 2011-2012 campaign, the reigning champs will look to defend their crown. After solidifying their second unit, it's likely that the already-seasoned team will be even better.
Whether the Heat will still have the same back-against-the-wall desperation remains to be seen, but regardless, they will be one of the best stories throughout the season.
Can the Knicks Finally Figure It Out?
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After a season that featured one of the year's biggest stories—the emergence of Jeremy Lin and ensuing "Linsanity" that followed—the Knicks now face a season of uncertainty.
The Knicks acquired veteran point-guard Jason Kidd in the offseason, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to finally get Melo and Amar'e Stoudemire on the same page offensively.
Brandon Roy's Comeback
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After retiring prior to the 2011 season due to cartilage damage in his knees, Brandon Roy is back in the NBA. Now finding himself in a Timberwolves uniform, the former Trail Blazer and NBA All-Star looks to have the same success in Minnesota as he did in Portland.
While it remains to be seen if Roy can go a full season without any injury trouble, his comeback will no doubt be one of the best stories this season.
How Do the Thunder Respond?
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After a brutal Finals defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat, the Thunder will no doubt use last season's failure as fuel for the upcoming season.
Still one of the NBA's youngest teams, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden will continue to develop.
Even though they came up short, it's a safe bet the Thunder will be a force in the league for years to come, and this will be their first year to prove their resolve remains unshaken.
Will Philly Be a Threat in the East?
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Following the blockbuster trade that brought Andrew Bynum to the Philadelphia 76ers, the playoff landscape in the Eastern Conference certainly changes.
Following a brutal seven-game series which Philly lost last year to the Celtics, the Sixers are hoping Bynum can lead a Philly team to a possible Eastern Conference Finals appearance.
Several other players were added to the roster, including Jason Richardson and Nick Young—a pair of sharpshooters that will help a Sixers' offense that struggled from beyond the arc last season.
The Sixers' new roster will definitely be an intriguing storyline, but a lot of their success hinges on whether Bynum can gel with his new team, and whether he can stay healthy.
Derrick Rose's Road to Recovery
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After Rose's horrific injury in the first round of the playoffs last year, the effect on the Bulls' roster and their collective morale was devastating.
Due to the severity of his ACL injury, he will likely be sidelined for several months, but whether he'll possess the same speed and explosiveness is unknown.
Can the Bulls buy enough time until Rose is back at 100 percent, or will they fade from the standings without their MVP and All-Star guard at the point?
The Nets' First Season in Brooklyn
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Although Brooklyn is still a few pieces away from being a serious contender, there are certainly high expectations for the Nets this season after they acquired Joe Johnson to provide Deron Williams some much-needed help.
The enthusiasm and excitement will definitely make for an interesting season, and it will be fascinating to see whether the high hopes will be short-lived, or whether the Nets can earn a playoff spot during the first season in their new city.
Will the Rockets Get a Dose of 'Linsanity'?
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Although the Rockets are not one of the better teams in the Western Conference, it will still be interesting to see how big of an impact Jeremy Lin makes this season.
The Rockets came very close to clinching a playoff seed last season, but they had a bad streak of losses right before the end of the regular season.
With a fast-paced offense and young core, the Rockets will be a must-watch team this season as they look to clinch a playoff spot with Lin at the helm.
Are the Celtics Too Old to Be a Threat?
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After last year's crushing Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Heat, the Celtics also lost Ray Allen—who was a key cog in the Celtics' 2008 championship team.
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo will be out to prove this season that they are still legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference.
The New-Look Lakers
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The Lakers' new super-team is poised to go on a championship run after adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
As Nash and Howard look to win their first championship, Kobe has his eyes on a sixth, and thanks to the added help, it seems like the Lakers will have a good shot at winning it all this year. Their offense will be spectacular, and they'll without a doubt be the must-see team this season.