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Top Four NBA Finals Contenders for 2013 Stuck
Posted on August 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM.

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Although itís been only about two months since the conclusion of last yearís NBA season, a lot has happened in the world of professional basketball. As we near the halfway point in the offseason, letís take an early look at the projected top four finals contenders for 2013 (all odds from sportsbooks.com):

4. Chicago Bulls (+1000)

Chicago was on a tear at the end of last season; then a tear got the best of them. Star PG Derek Rose injured his ACL in the Chicagoís first playoff game against the 76ers, and a few days later the Bulls had gone fishing. All indications are that Rose is healing well, however, and with a fully healthy lineup the Bulls should be as good, if not better, than last year. Look for Chicago to try to make some noise in the top-heavy Eastern Conference.


3. Oklahoma City Thunder (+450)

The Thunder used their youthful energy and otherworldly athleticism to propel themselves all the way into the Finals last year. Led by league scoring champion Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City appeared to be unstoppable throughout most of the playoffs, before finally succumbing to the force that was (and continues to be) the Miami Heat. A year later, the team has not lost a single key piece of their contending squad, and each of their players has another year of experience with a title run to boot. With such a potent offense already, Oklahoma City is likely to be a contender for as long as they can keep their core together.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (+220)

By far the biggest winner of the offseason so far has been the Los Angeles Lakers. After locking up two-time league MVP Steve Nash, the Lakers acquired star center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic for an unbelievable price. Now they have arguably the best 1 through 5 in all of basketball, and are ready to use their ample experience to bring another title back to L.A. If Nash, Bryant, Gasol, and Howard are able to mesh well, and everybody stays healthy, the Los Angeles Lakers should be heavy favorites to win the West.

1. Miami Heat (+220)

When considering future title winners, you can never ignore the defending champs. Last year, Miami took on an Oklahoma City team that appeared to be on a rampage, and calmly disposed of them in five games. Although the big three may be entering, or even settling in, their primes, each of them should have a few more seasons at the top of their games. If that is the case, look for Miami to continue to improve as a team into next season, making them an even more threatening contender than their were last year. If the front office can navigate the teamís treacherous financial situation and finagle another veteran or two to come play for the league minimum, Miamiís odds to win will only get better. Consider the Miami Heat early front runners for the 2013 NBA Championship.


Who do you think will win the 2013 NBA Championship?


Noah Weber is a regular blogger for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter: @gobluenoah.
Comments
# 1 Wa1337 @ Aug 17
Stopped reading at Derek Rose.
 
# 2 DEFAULTCAMERA @ Aug 17
Should be

4. Celtics
3. Lakers
2. Thunder
1. Heat
 
# 3 mattykaps @ Aug 17
smh the bull should not be on this list if d rose wont be back till at least march. and @defaultcamera the Celtics only got worse this off season. if anything the knicks moved into that 4 spot.

4. Knicks
3. Thunder
2. Lakers
1. Heat
 
# 4 THE YAMA @ Aug 17
I'm going with:

1. Heat
2. Lakers
3. Thunder
4. Spurs

In no particular order.
 
# 5 riichiieriich @ Aug 17
Bulls should not be there. Derek won't be anywhere near as explosive as he used to be when he comes back. That's what made him so hard to stop.
 
# 6 poloelite @ Aug 17
1. Lakers
2. Heat
3. Thunder
4. Celtics

Celtics were one game away from the Finals and have gotten better. Lost Ray, but didn't have Bradley. Added Terry and Sullinger. Plus the best coach besides maybe Pop, is still on the sideline. Injuries, playing a full 82 this year, will determine who's going to the finals. In my opinion, at this point, Lakers vs. Celtics again.
 
# 7 poloelite @ Aug 17
Let me add that the Lakers adding Howard and Nash was huge, but adding Jamison and Meeks was the clincher. You now have a stretch 4 who can score 15-20 off the bench and a lights out 3 point shooter. The best defensive and offensive big men (Dwight and Pau), 2 guard (Kobe) and an elite PG (Nash). I don't know how they pull this stuff off legally.
 
# 8 icemanfrost @ Aug 17
Its really funny how everyone is not counting the spurs who where the best team in the league for 99% of the season. The media want you to fall in love with the young stars that is why you hear all the talk trying to compare players now to the ones back then. The truth is the old saying caught up to the spurs "Whenever you have a long winning streak most of the time its followed by a losing streak regardless of the sport." The spurs just had bad timing. Everybody can say well its the playoffs blah blah blah. I You blow this team out twice in the regular season win the first two games very easy and lose four straight. The thunder didn't turn it up the spurs just ran into that funk teams run into after a long winning streak, missing shots they usually make etc.
 
# 9 riichiieriich @ Aug 18
@icemanfrost

The regular season don't mean jack shizz. They got backdoor swept by the Thunder, their best players are all old as hell, and the have no upside for the future. Do you really think DaJuan Blair and Tiago Splitter are going to be any good? Kawhi Leonard? They'll be marginal talents at best.
 
# 10 bccards13 @ Aug 21
@riichiieriich DeJuan* Blair is also one of the strongest post players in the league and can average 10+ rebounds a game at 6'7. Kawhi Leonard was 4th in ROTY voting and made the rookie team. His athletic ability is great and he can be a solid starter. Tiago Splitter isn't what everyone thought he would be but he can do a good job in the post every now and then.
As for the age thing, well Duncan sure didn't look old when he slammed it on Ibaka. Ginobili is still a threat coming off the bench. Tony Parker is only 30, his best years may be behind him but he has solid production still ahead. Daniel Green has exploded since he came to San Antonio and he's another young player they can capitalize with.
The Spurs still have just as much talent as any other team, I think last year should have made some people realize that.
 
# 11 kjames33 @ Aug 27
ok here's my prediction from playoffs to finals in the nba 2013 postseason...

quarterfinals round:

east conf.

1. heat
2. celtics
3. nets
4. knicks
5. pacers
6. sixers
7. hawks
8. bucks

west conf.

1. lakers
2. thunder
3. clippers
4. spurs
5. nuggets
6. grizzlies
7. portland
8. wolves

conf. semis round:

east conf.

1. heat
2. celtics
3. nets
4. knicks

west conf.

1. lakers
2. thunder
3. clippers
4. nuggets

conf. finals round:

east conf.

heat vs celtics (4-1)

west conf.

lakers vs. thunder (4-2)

nba finals:

heat vs. lakers (4-2)

2013 nba champions:

Miami Heat

(reason: offense--> 3 point bombs outbreak from bench (allen,lewis,jones and cole) and inside cutters and open

jumpers all from lebron assists...defense-->let howard do much of the scoring load w/c is pretty much sure (but

in a state of foul trouble that is!; through bosh's perimeter scoring and fakes with lebron's slashing through the paint)...let shane have its way with

kobe...james with gasol..and let dwade guard nash...and just let chalmers harass on world peace (w/c will

eventually score much on spot up 3s)...)

there you have it! the miami heat will repeat 80% chance...(of course 20% is injuries the only thing can alter everything!!!)

Bonus:

2013 all star starting lineup:

east:

C Andrew Bynum
PF Kevin Garnett
SF Lebron James
SG Dwyane Wade
PG Deron Williams

west:

C Dwight Howard
PF Blake Griffin
SF Kevin Durant
SG Kobe Bryant
PG Chris Paul

It will be a fair fight....
 
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