10 Things We'd Like to See This NBA Season
The number one thing that every NBA fan would like to see this season is a championship for their beloved team. Unfortunately for the majority, that isn't a realistic possibility.
The collection of "super teams" that are building around the league has resulted in only a handful of franchises holding legitimate title aspirations for the upcoming campaign.
Consequently, a vast number of NBA enthusiasts will need to take satisfaction in other happenings over the course of season 2012-13.
So what will those things be?
Maybe it will be the rise of a collection of new stars that will grab the public's attention. Maybe it will be the effects of new rule changes that will be a spot of positivity for the league. Or will it be something else?
Here are 10 things that both the casual observer and NBA die-hard would like to see this season.
10. A Healthy Derrick Rose
Put simply, the NBA is better when Derrick Rose is healthy and playing.
Watching his Bulls succumb to Philadelphia in the first round of last season's playoffs was a reminder of just how good Rose is.
In his absence, a team that was considered a genuine title contender was reduced to a middle-of-the-road outfit.
Chicago fans will be desperate to see the return of their explosive point guard and former MVP.
Although his rehabilitation has seen him return to practice, it appears that Rose's earliest possible return would be after the All-Star break.
Whether you're a Chicago fan or not, Rose's impact in the league combined with his astonishing athleticism make him a must-watch player in the NBA.
The game will be better for his return.
9. Brandon Roy to Have a Successful Return
Before his career with the Blazers was cut short, Brandon Roy was one of the most likeable stars in the NBA.
An extremely versatile guard with a level of talent that was only exceeded by his heart, Roy's blossoming career in Portland was derailed by knee injuries.
The former All-Star now has a chance at a second beginning after being given a lifeline by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Given that Minnesota is desperate to get back to the playoffs, Roy could quickly find himself leading his new team in the absence of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio for the early part of the season.
All NBA fans are hoping this chance isn't dogged by injury and that he's able to take the opportunity with both hands.
8. Close in on the NBA's Return to Seattle
It's a dreadful shame that the NBA no longer travels to Seattle.
A great basketball city, Seattle has been deprived of pro-hoops since the franchise departed to Oklahoma City in 2008.
However, an NBA return to the far north west is gaining momentum, with NBA Commissioner David Stern reportedly determined to return basketball to Seattle.
After announcing that he'll step aside in 2014, it's possible that Stern wants to return the NBA to the Emerald City in one of the final acts of his career.
Although Sonics' fans will never forgive Stern for his role in the team's relocation, Seattle supporters have the right to be enthused despite the fact it's still some time before a team steps on to the floor.
If it is Stern's wish to return basketball to Seattle, then hopefully this season sees significant progress towards that goal.
7. Fans Willing to Accept Charges
The NBA's new flopping rule is undoubtedly going to cause much debate this season.
In each arena around the country, cries of flopping are going to be levelled at many players that go to the floor after contact.
Although the new rule is a definite step in the right direction, we as fans will need to accept that many instances in which players go down do actually occur from genuine forceful contact.
Of course we want to rid of the game of the petty playing for fouls that can occur at times, but we must be mindful of charges in particular.
Given that the NBA is becoming increasingly athletic every season, when a player steps up to take a charge, it's likely they will be hit with significant force.
Hopefully the calls of flopping on these plays are limited.
6. More Stan Van Gundy Rants
Former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy is possibly the most entertaining personality in the NBA.
Unlike so many others, if Van Gundy has something to say, he just says it.
From complaining about the playoff schedule to announcing to the media that Dwight Howard asked for him to be fired, the former Orlando coach has always been a breath of fresh air in a league that ignores the right to freedom of speech.
It appeared that we were going to be hearing a lot more from Van Gundy in an ESPN role this season, however that fell-through after it was announced that a deal couldn't be agreed upon.
Of course, Van Gundy hotly disputed the claim in typical fashion.
Whereas so many others simply refuse to comment, Van Gundy shares with us the the pieces of brilliance that run through his defiant mind.
Hopefully there's more to come from his mouth this year.
5. Less Speculation Regarding Impending Free Agents
In the past few season's, we've had to endure endless speculation regarding the future whereabouts of the league's biggest names.
While it's completely understandable, it has eventually become too much.
With some luck, we might be able to get through this season without another similar episode.
Although Chris Paul will bet the brightest star of the 2013 free agent class, the Los Angeles Clippers are a team in a big market, moving in the right direction.
While it's certainly no guarantee that Paul will remain, those two factors are definitely advantages for the Clippers.
With that being the case, there may be a chance we will have a season that isn't dominated by free agency possibilities.
4. Stars Staying Healthy
There aren't many things in the NBA that are worse than star players going down with injury.
In a league dominated by superstars, the NBA is genuinely harmed when it's very best players are sitting on the sidelines.
Not only do these injuries rob teams of the chance to genuinely compete, they deprive the fans from witnessing the epic encounters that make basketball so compelling.
Kevin Love is one big name already missing for the start of this season, and along with Derrick Rose, the league will be without two of the game's best 10 players when the new campaign begins on October 30.
If we are going to witness a truly great season, we must hope that players of this ilk remain on the court and not in the physio room.
3. A New MVP
As great as LeBron James is, it would be nice to see another player rise up and wrestle the MVP trophy from the King's grasp.
Winner of the award three times in the last four seasons, James is once again the favorite to add a fourth trophy to his rapidly growing collection.
However, just as it was when Derrick Rose ascended to the top of the NBA pile in 2010-11, it would be fascinating to watch another player do the same.
Kevin Durant is the player at the top of the list to knock James off his perch, but given the current MVP's growing confidence (isn't that a scary thought), Durant would need to compile one of the greatest seasons ever recorded if he is to snatch that trophy from it's current holder.
Whether it be him or another player, it would be great to watch someone step up to that challenge.
2. The "Super Teams" Challenged
Rightly or wrongly, everyone enjoys an underdog.
With franchises like Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers boasting star-power that few can compete with, many fans will hope these teams are genuinely challenged over the course of the season.
Whether it simply be a struggling team pushing these outfits in the fourth quarter, or the likes of Indiana and Denver taking them to seven games in a playoff series, the majority of fans will relish the contest.
In a period of time in which competitive balance seems to be losing all traction, it will be a rather mundane season if these teams go on to steamroll the rest of the NBA.
Consequently, let's hope that there does prove to be some substantial resistance to these "super teams" in 2012-13.
1. Heat vs Lakers in the Finals
Although we want to see the "super teams" genuinely challenged, this is the matchup we want to see.
Ever since LeBron James entered the league in 2003, the NBA has been eager to see him take on Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals.
Given that both men now find themselves surrounded by elite talent, there is no better time for James, Bryant and their respective teams to go head-to-head.
Although a vast majority of fans supporting the NBA's other teams would prefer to see anything but this, the potential spectacle that this matchup could put on in the Finals is mind blowing.
It must be remembered that the NBA, like all great sports, is defined by the epic encounters.
On that scale, this matchup would be the ultimate.