Tahlequah Daily Press


October 29, 2013

New looks and a familiar favorite for NBA in 2013-14


Here are five other things to watch around the NBA this season:

Sitting speedsters

While Rose returns after sitting out last season with a torn ACL, Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo remain out recovering from knee surgeries. A healthy Westbrook makes Oklahoma City a title contender while Rondo could help the Celtics exceed expectations — or perhaps become the next player they trade.

Up and comers

They're not ready to contend for a title, but keep an eye on New Orleans, Washington and Cleveland, all with dynamite young players who may be good enough to carry their franchises back to the postseason.

Changing commissioners

Adam Silver replaces the retiring Stern as commissioner on Feb. 1, exactly 30 years after Stern took office. Silver has done much of the heavy lifting for years, but he'll be replacing one of the greatest executives sports has seen. "I'm excited for the league and for the future, and for the fact that having been at the league now for 36 years, we've reached this point and there's a really extraordinary executive in Adam ready to take it to the next level," Stern said.

Summer stories

Business will really pick up after the next NBA champion is crowned. Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, should he decide to enter the draft, could become the most sought-after prospect in years. Free agency will then open on July 1 with James and Carmelo Anthony perhaps set to top the class.

Who wins?

The Heat are the choice of everyone from odds makers to the executives who voted in the NBA.com GM survey. But they were enormous favorites last season after a 27-game winning streak during a 66-win regular season and almost fell. This time, there's even more teams capable of finally knocking them off. "They are the favorites, but I don't think they're the heavy favorites," Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley said. "Everybody's picking the Heat right now, but there's some teams, they're going to have some stiff competition."

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