13 Bold Predictions After Seeing the Debut of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and More

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IOctober 27, 2010

13 Bold Predictions After Seeing the Debut of LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and More

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    NBA's opening night came with a few surprises.

    The first of which was the Miami Heat losing their first game of the season. There are people, mostly outside of Miami, who are rejoicing at the moment and had a ton of gratification watching the "big three" fail right off the bat.

    Having good first nights were Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, the other "big three" in the NBA, who all played well for the Boston Celtics in their win over Miami.

    Also tipping off tonight were Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, Brandon Roy and the Portland Trailblazers, and Yao Ming, who makes his return to the NBA tonight, and the Houston Rockets.

    With only three games going on, it's hard to make a prediction on what is going to happen this season in the NBA, but I guess I can give it my best shot.

    Here are my 13 predictions for the 2010-2011 NBA season.

No. 13: Kevin Garnett Will Be the Key For Boston

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    If the Boston Celtics are going to get back to the NBA Finals, Kevin Garnett is going to be the key to that happening.

    No disrespect to Paul Pierce or Ray Allen, but Garnett is the heart of that team. Without him, the Celtics would be in trouble.

No. 12: Aaron Brooks Will Be a Player To Watch

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    Already off to a fast start to the first game of the year, third year guard Aaron Brooks out of the University of Oregon could be a player to watch.

    Through not even two quarters against the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooks is 4-of-6 from the field with 15 points.

No. 11: The Lakers Will Flounder If Kobe Bryant Can't Stay Healthy

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    I don't know if it's just me, but Kobe Bryant could have come back a tad bit too soon. The Lakers are down big early to the Rockets and Bryant just doesn't look as explosive.

    Call it first game jitters or chalk it up to coming off offseason surgery, but the Lakers will need him at 100% if they're going to stay in the hunt.

No. 10: Chris Bosh Wasn't What the Heat Were Hoping For

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    I'm not sure what the Heat, or LeBron James, saw in Chris Bosh but they'll learn quickly that they need a bigger presence inside.

    Bosh won't bring them what they need.

No. 9: Jason Richardson Will Make The Biggest Impact in the West

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    On a team that already has Steve Nash and Robin Lopez, Jason Richardson will soon find himself labeled as one of the best players in the Western Conference.

    He'll be the key to the Phoenix Suns getting back to the top of the Pacific Division.

No. 8: Paul Pierce Will Put Together MVP Type Season

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    The Celtics were just that close to another championship, but they came up short to the Los Angeles Lakers.

    This year, Paul Pierce and company are hungry to get back to the top of the NBA once more. Pierce is off to a good start after opening night and will put together an MVP worthy season.

    He still has a lot more in his gas tank, especially with the guys he's playing around.

No. 7: Dwayne Wade Will Be Far Overshadowed in His Own City

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    It was still supposed to be his team, his city. But now there's a huge shadow that's blocking his spotlight and his name is LeBron James.

    The "big three" looked like the "one and only" against the Celtics.

    Wade is going to be overshadowed night in and night out, and that might get old quicker than most of us realize.

No. 6: Portland Trailblazers Will Win the Northwest

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    You heard me right. The Portland Trailblazers will win the Western Conference's Northwest Division, beating out the likes of the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets just to name a few.

No. 5: Boston Celtics Headed Back To the NBA Finals

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    The Boston Celtics have, arguably, the best team in the Eastern Conference and should win the Atlantic Division without much of a fight from anyone else.

    Not only that, but they'll get back to the NBA Finals.

No. 4: Houston Rockets Will Come Up Short Of the Playoffs

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    Even with Yao Ming back in the mix, the Houston Rockets will still have one heck of a fight in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference.

    They'll have to deal with the like of the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and the New Orleans Hornets.

    Though they'll get close and they'll make a run toward the end of the season, they'll come up short of making the playoffs.

No. 3: Phoenix Suns Are Improved, But Not Quite Enough

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    Phoenix Suns continue to improve and having guys like Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, and Robin Lopez in the mix, you're sure to have a solid team.

    Unfortunately for them, when you're having to deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, you seem to be left in the rear view mirror.

    They have an uphill battle to climb and one that's just too tall to overcome the Lakers.

No. 2: Los Angeles Lakers To Meet the Celtics in the Finals

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    Even with a hobbled Kobe Bryant to start the season, they are still the defending champions and they are still the team to beat in the NBA, no matter what people might say about Miami.

    The Lakers will not only get through the playoffs unscathed, but they'll meet the Celtics in the NBA Finals once more.

No. 1: Miami Heat Dispatched By the Celtics In the Playoffs

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    The Miami Heat better get used to seeing the Boston Celtics, because they'll be facing them come playoff time.

    But, "the big three" will soon find out that it takes more than three players playing well to get through a seven game series, it takes all five guys on the floor playing together that gets you to your ultimate goal.

    These youngsters will learn that lesson the hard way as they exit the playoffs at the hands of the Boston Celtics.