One-on-One: Who will be the best team in the NBA?

Oklahoma City Thunder

As the weather outside turns colder, the action inside heats up.  The NHL has started, and the NBA kicks into action later this month.  That means now is the perfect time to figure out who the best team in the NBA will be.  I think that team will be the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder won 60 games last year but lost Russell Westbrook to a knee injury in the first round. They were eliminated by Memphis in round two.
Miami would go on to win the title over San Antonio.  Even though the Heat are the favorites, you can’t count out the Thunder.
Kevin Durant led the Western Conference in scoring last year.  Westbrook averaged more than 23 points and seven assists per game, while Serge Ibaka pulled in nearly eight rebounds per game.  They have the players to compete with anyone, but they haven’t proved it. They will this year.
But the key for them, as it is with every NBA team, is staying healthy. They already lost Westbrook for the first month of the season. They can recover, but can’t afford to lose anyone else.
It may not be pretty early, but things will change when Westbrook returns. The momentum of his return will push OKC back to the top and prevent the Heat from winning it all, again.

-Garth Shanklin

 

Chicago Bulls

Speak of the Chicago Bulls, and every reply you get will be filled with some sort of disappointment.
Starting with Tom Thibodeau’s first year as coach, the Bulls have managed to come up short in what seems like a million different ways. The main reason why seems to be the reigning two-time NBA champion Miami Heat.
The Bulls arch-nemesis for the past three years has seemed to have their number when it mattered most. But this season, that may change.
The Bulls come into the 2013 season with star PG Derrick Rose returning from his ACL injury in 2011.
While they lost players such as Marco Bellineli, and fan favorite Nate Robinson, the Bulls front office replaced them with veteran talent, such as 3-point sniper Mike Dunleavy and athletic rookie Tony Snell.
But the biggest factor could be how well shooting guard Jimmy Butler plays with Rose. Butler, a shut down defender with a shot, could lead a one-two punch with Rose, which would be hard for even an superstar-filled Miami team to beat.
This year, the Bulls could shake Miami off their back, and bring back a title to sweet home Chicago.
-Chris Kwiecinski