Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Now, Nostradamus: Give us an outrageous (but realistic) prediction for 2014.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Somehow, some way, perhaps even in spite of a playoff berth and maybe the Atlantic Division title, the Toronto Raptors are going to wind up with top prospect and Canadian product Andrew Wiggins when the smoke clears from the 2014 Draft.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Dwight Howard shoots a perfect 20-for-20 from the free throw line in Game 7 of the NBA Finals and the Rockets beat Miami for the championship. Oh, you said realistic? He makes 19 of 20.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: The Lakers finish with the worst record in the Western Conference and win the Draft Lottery.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Paul George wins the scoring title. Nobody would have predicted it at the start of the season, and I don’t know if many would even now. But George hasn’t reached his peak and still should be in the MVP conversation. Watch the upward trajectory continue in the second half.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: I don’t know how outrageous this is considering the state of the Eastern Conference, but … the Charlotte Bobcats will not only win their first playoff game, but they’ll win four to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Kevin Durant will snatch the MVP trophy away from LeBron James this year. He’s tired of finishing second. I’m tired of hearing about him being tired of finishing second. And I suspect plenty of other people are, too. No one can dispute LeBron’s impact on the game night after night. But 2014 is KD’s year to take that trophy and perhaps a few others down the line …
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com All Ball blog: Kobe Bryant returns and has at least one 50-point game down the stretch. I’m on record thinking that Kobe will (eventually) come back healthy. And if the Lakers are in full-on rebuild mode, why not let Kobe get as many shots and points as possible in pursuit of the all-time scoring record? The Lakers might not be fighting for a title, but fighting for something is always better than fighting for nothing.
Akshay Manwani, NBA India: If Indiana can maintain home court advantage right through to the 2014 Finals and have no injuries, the Pacers can win it all. Remember, it was these same Pacers who pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in the 2013 East Finals. Now with Danny Granger back, a stronger bench and home court advantage, they can go the distance.
Aldo Avinante, NBA Philippines: The 2014 NBA Finals will have a rematch of the 2012 edition and the OKC Thunder will win the Larry O’Brien trophy in seven games against the Miami Heat.