It’s Here Again!

by

By: Chip Whipple
Assistant Sports Information Director

It’s that time of year again. I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not talking about carving pumpkins or dressing up as your favorite superhero. I’m talking about basketball season. From little kids’ leagues to the pro’s, the end of October (I’m as shocked as the rest of you that we are already at the end of the month) signals the start of hoops season.

I enjoy basketball at all levels, including playing it when I get the opportunity, but the NBA is what I watch the most. I understand a lot of people say they prefer watching the college game where the game is more about the team and not the individual. I watch the NBA, because I want to watch the world’s best basketball players in competition with one another. With that said, here are five storylines to look for as the NBA season kicks off with three games on October 30.

1. Full 82-game season. Following a lockout shortened 66-game season last year, the NBA is back to its 82-game slate for each team. Unlike most people who don’t watch the NBA until February when football is over, I love watching the earlier games in November and December. As a fan, you get a feel for who the breakout players are going to be, you get to see how teams and their offseason acquisitions gel and you get to see how any of the new rule changes affect the game. Speaking of rule changes …

No more flopping fellas

2. Anti-flopping rules. The NBA is implementing a new anti-flopping rule this season. Basically, league officials will conduct video reviews of each game, and if players are deemed to have flopped, penalties will be enforced. The first violation is a warning from the league, and each violation after that will result in a fine for the player. It would take six violations for a player to receive a possible suspension for flopping. Here is a link to a video the NBA made on what is a flop and what isn’t. I would be shocked if a player actually ended up getting suspended for flopping. You will hear a lot about it early on with multiple players receiving warnings, but as the season moves along it won’t be as prevalent.

3. The Lakers Get Superman. I don’t know if you heard, but Dwight Howard is now playing basketball in Los Angeles. He came to the Lakers in an offseason four-team trade with the 76ers, the Nuggets and the Magic. Los Angeles gave up Andrew Bynum, but not much else to get the most dominating center in the game today. Will it be enough to get the Lakers their third title in the last five years? I’ll have more on that in a bit.

4. Will the Kings be in Sacramento at the start of next season? After another arena deal fell through with the city of Sacramento and the Kings, at any point this season there might be an announcement about the Kings leaving to go to Anaheim, Kansas City, Seattle or insert name of city that has an arena but doesn’t have a NBA team. I hope Sacramento and the Maloofs (the owners of the Kings) can work out an agreement. As a Cleveland fan that saw the Browns leave to go to Baltimore in 1996, I never want to see teams leave the city they are in.

I think we will probably see this again

5. The Heat will win the 2013 NBA title. Don’t get me wrong; I really hope someone else wins. But LeBron is still the best player on the planet and with Bosh, Wade and now Ray Allen the team is only going to get better. I know some of you are thinking the Lakers have what it takes now, but I’m not sold on a 38-year-old point guard (Nash), a 34-year-old shooting guard (Bryant), a for lack of a better word, unstable small forward (Metta World Peace), a 32-year-old power forward (Gasol), a center who just had back surgery (Howard) and probably the thinnest bench in the league. The Thunder have a shot and you can never count out the Spurs, but it’s the Heat’s title to lose.

6. David Stern will step down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1 2014.  I know I said five storylines, but this was announced yesterday so I added a bonus sixth one. I’m not sure how much of an impact this will have, but Stern has been the commissioner of the NBA since 1984. There will be some change, (Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver has already been named the commissioner-in-waiting) but I’m not sure it will be that impactful until the 2014-15 NBA season.

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