Say goodbye to 2013 and hello 2014. New Year’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year because whatever mistakes or bad experiences you had during the old year the new year offers you a fresh start.
I’m sure a lot of NBA teams would love to have a fresh start.
The new year also means some fresh opinions and bold predictions. The past year brought us a second straight Miami Heat championship, a fourth MVP for LeBron James and a devastating injury to Kobe Bryant.
What will 2014 bring to the table? Here are five bold predictions:
KEVIN DURANT CLAIMS HIS FIRST MVP
If there’s anyone who can derail the LeBron MVP monopoly it’s KDTrey5. The injury to Russell Westbrook may keep the Oklahoma City Thunder from finishing with the best record in the Western Conference, but it could very well raise Durant’s profile. KD should win his fourth league scoring title, that’s almost a given. With Westbrook reportedly sidelined through the All-Star break, the ball will be in KD’s hands most of the time during this stretch and he should post astronomical numbers even LeBron won’t be able to touch.
SPURS WILL FINISH BEST IN THE WEST
The Spurs may not be the most exciting or sexiest team in the league, but they remain the most efficient. All they do is win, win, win. The Blazers and the Thunder are the early clubhouse leaders, but both teams could hit a rough patch. Portland’s starters are logging heavy minutes, and it could take its toll down the stretch. OKC won’t have Westbrook for six weeks, so it will be hard pressed to maintain its fast start. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Spurs just keep on rolling.
UTAH JAZZ SELECT JABARI PARKER
If the Jazz are lucky enough to win the draft lottery, they will most likely select Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker. The teenage All-American was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah has the largest Mormon community in the U.S. And the church’s headquarters is based in Salt Lake City. Having Parker play in Utah would be like LeBron James landing in Cleveland. A marriage made in heaven.
CARMELO ANTHONY HEADS TO L.A.
Melo has already announced that he will test the free agent market this summer, making the Knicks extremely nervous. Melo could re-sign with the Knicks for more money, but that would be the wrong move. The Knicks are far from winning a championship and the roster is not getting any better. So, what Melo should do is leave the dysfunctional Knicks in favor of the dysfunctional Lakers. Anthony is one of the few players in the world who can tolerate Kobe Bryant, and it won’t be long before Anthony claims L.A. as his own. The final deal-maker here could be Melo’s wife, La La. The allure of Hollywood could be too much to pass up.
MIAMI PULLS OFF THREE-PEAT
Pat Riley will finally be able to own the word he copyrighted more than 20 years ago. Riley was the mastermind behind the three-peat title, but his Lakers fell one title short. In 2014, with the help of Spo, LeBron, D-Wade and Bosh, Riley will get a taste of the three-peat for the first time. It’s a feat that’s only been done four times in NBA history: Bill Russell’s Celtics, Michael Jordan’s Bulls (twice), and the Shaq and Kobe Lakers. A third straight NBA championship will definitely cement LeBron’s legacy as one of the game’s all-time greats.
Joel Huerto is the editor and publisher of OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @onemanfastbreak.